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[Note: I came up with all sorts of punny, cheesy titles for today’s post: Sock It To Me, Sock-cess, Put a Sock On It…aren’t you glad I resisted temptation?]

Back in November, in the midst of Christmas crafting, I made a pledge. I promised myself that January would be dedicated to making something (maybe even more than one something) for myself. Just for me. I’ve gotten a bit side tracked on other projects (more on that another day), but I have, in fact, kept my promise to myself.

First, I finished my hat.

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Pattern: Driftwood Cap by Ellen Gormley (Interweave Crochet, Fall ’08 )
Yarn: Knitpicks Bare, DK weight, Dyed by Yours Truly
Hook: Handcarved, probably an H

I love it.

After I finished the hat, I recomitted to making my first pair of socks.  If you’ve seen my new Twitter feed over on the left, you may have read some of my frustrations and triumphs as I crocheted them.

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Pattern: Origami Turkish Socks by Deb Burger
Yarn: Knitpicks Bare, fingering weight, Dyed by Moi
Hook: F (Hero)

This pattern is unique for socks, in that you crochet them flat, based on the measurements of your foot, then seam them up, hopefully for a perfect fit.

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I have to admit to a lot of frustration at the beginning of this project.  My first two tries ended up with cuffs waaaay too large for my ankle.  I did finally figure it out, though, and once I got that fixed and started on the foot, it went really quickly.

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As you can see, the foot portion fits like a glove.  The cuff is a bit loose; it sort of feels like I’m wearing a loose turtle neck around my ankle.  But I can get used to that.

I’m ready to try my second pair of socks.  Jason bought me some Alpaca Sox when he was in Seattle last week, and he informs me that he’d like to see them crocheted up sometime soon.  See how he twists my arm?  Every crafter needs a good enabler.

As Jason suggested, I used my Kool New Yarn to make myself a hat.

Unfortunately, out of the thirty or so hooks I own, I can find every single one except my only “I” hook.  Seriously.  I have 3 “N” hooks, 2 “J” hooks, and multiples of several others, but I only have one “I,” and it’s nowhere to be found.

So, I used the hand-carved hook I bought for my Grandma at Fisherman’s Wharf when I was in high school.  It felt like it might be a little bigger than my “H” hooks (yep, I have two of those, too).  Apparently not.  The hat is approximately the right size for a seven-year-old girl (gamely tested by one of our friends at karate class).  I do not have the head of a seven year old girl.

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I briefly considered simply giving the hat to said seven-year-old, before remembering my pledge to do make things for myself after months and months of gift making.  Plus, I love that yarn, so I frogged it halfway and am adjusting as I go.  It really is pretty.

In dyeing news, I was so thrilled with the end result of this yarn, I decided to use the last two packets of Kool-Aid (orange) in the pantry.  But on what?  Ah-ha!  The ugly yarn I dyed last summer!  And we’ll add a bunch of yellow food coloring in for good measure.

Before, a greyed-out pile of pink and blue yarn.  Blah:

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During – I tried in vain to get a photo that didn’t look like overcooked pasta:

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After – much better:

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This is going straight into my stash.  It’s not a soft yarn, so I’m loathe to make a wearable out of it.  We shall see what it becomes!

Last summer, I bought a skein of Knitpicks Bare fingering weight, with the intent of dyeing it to crochet my first pair of socks during the Olympics.

Didn’t happen.

With the advent of the new year, and our major housework behind us for the time being, I was inspired to pull out that skein and do something with it.  I had told myself many times that January would be a month of crocheting purely for myself.  And if it’s going to be indulgently mine, shouldn’t it be my favorite color?  A semi-solid green was my goal, so I decided on the crock pot method, with lemon-lime in two glasses, lemon-lime and lemonade in one glass, and lemon-lime and blue raspberry in the last glass.

Step One:

Dye it!  (OK, for all of you in the know about dyeing, this shouldn’t be step one, should it?  Step one should be soaking the yarn.  I was a little over-eager and plunged right in.  Literally.)

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So, since I missed a step and shoved the dry yarn right into the dye, it exhausted instananeously.  The result of this was that not all the yarn got hit.  And I was out of any variation of green Kool-Aid, with a strict prior oath to myself NOT to buy a single thing for this project.  Dang.

After letting it heat up for a couple of hours, I crossed my fingers and over-dyed most of the skein with a mixture of blue and yellow food coloring, rinsed it, spun out the water, and hung it to dry.

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Ooh, pretty!

Even more pretty once it’s all skeined up.

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I’ve begun crocheting my socks, and I’ll give details on those once I figure out what I’m doing and can take a photo of some sort of progress.

Last night, I made the mistake of browsing Ravelry’s Kool Way to Dye group’s gallery at 10pm.  By 10:20, I was setting this up for a microwave dye with another hank of Knitpicks Bare (DK weight) I had on hand:

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(That’s a mug set inside a Corningware dish.  This time, I did remember to soak the yarn first, but it still exhausted so quickly I was left with big-time white space.  I remembered as it was happening that this is common when dealing with superwash.  Pretty when it’s what you’re going for, but not at all what I wanted.)

After a couple of spins in the microwave, I had something not at all like I wanted.  I had set out with the intention of doing a mostly blue skein with some reds, pinks, purples…or something like that.  This was not it.

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So, I set up for another dye.  More blues!  And, hey, let’s add a little grape to make it a purplish blue.

Ugh.  I didn’t even take photos, I was so unhappy with it.

At this point, I thought, “What the hell?  I hate it, so what’s the harm in really playing around?”  I put more water in the tea kettle and mixed up some orange for a little dip dyeing.  Then repeated with the packet of strawberry I had in the pantry.  Jason called it a “rainbow of fruit flavors.”

I went to bed with this hanging in the laundry room.  I was not happy.

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As soon as the boys were on the bus this morning, I went in to ponder my mess.  I was still not happy, but I figured, if all else fails, I can put it up for sale or trade on Ravelry.  Someone might like it.

So I reskeined it.

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Umm…that’s not so bad…

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In fact, that’s pretty darn gorgeous.  I’d call it a keeper.  Jason suggested I make myself a hat, and I think I will.

My boys

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