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FO Spotlight Tips

My First Afterthought Heel

There are a few things on my knitting bucket list from brioche to toe up socks and one of the techniques on that list was an afterthought heel on a pair of socks.

If you’re not familiar with the afterthought heel technique, basically you knit a sock tube with a cuff and toe, but no heel. Then when you’re done the sock you go back to place your heel by picking up stitches and…cutting into your knitting!!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The idea of cutting into your finished work can be kind of scary, in the whole afterthought heel process that’s what worried me the most. But after I learned how it’s done I saw it’s really not that scary at all!

About my socks!

Before getting into the technique, I want to share a bit about the yarn that I used for these socks.

I used Lion Brand Mani Pedi which has been in my stash for FOREVER in the colour Boot. I only used one 50g skein and I was expecting these to end up being shorter than they turned out, so I’m please how much leg I actually got out of just 50g.

I actually didn’t want the stripes to match on these socks, I was just aiming to use the full skein and so I didn’t care if they matched. And they ended up being exactly the same practically down to the stitch!

For the cuffs, heels, and toes I used Lion Brand Sock Ease in the colour Grape Soda which has also been in my stash for a while. I’ve used this yarn for cuffs, heels, and toes before.

Tutorials

I looked a quite a few tutorials and how-tos when I was preparing to start these socks and also when I was figuring out where to place my heel and how to pick up the stitches and cut my knitting.

The resource that I used most is this video tutorial from KirbyWirby. She takes you through the whole process of how she does her afterthought heels. I watched this video before I started my socks and then I watched it as I did the afterthought heel completing it step along with the video.

I watched the tutorial from KirbyWirby during the entire process. it was a huge help!

I also referenced these blog posts/articles about afterthought heels while I was trying to figure out where to place my heel.

Process

Because I knew I wanted to use as much of this 50g skein as possible, I weighed my skein as I knit. Once I was about 25g through the skein I started the toe on my first sock.

I did about 28g left to make sure I wouldn’t be cutting it too close I ended up with enough yarn leftover to put a square in my Coziest Memory Blanket (Ravelry link).

I knit both of my tubes before starting the heels so that when I measured and placed my markers I could be certain it was the same on each sock. I definitely didn’t want a pair of socks with different foot lengths!

For the heel I really just followed all of the steps from KirbyWirby’s tutorial.

For placing my heel I followed KirbyWirby’s instructions for measuring. My foot length is 9.5 inches (women’s size 8) and so I subtracted a quarter of an inch for a snug fit because you want some negative ease in your sock.

The toe of my socks were 1.75 inches. So 9.25″ – 1.75″ = 7.5″ from the tip of the sock toe to placing the heel.

Right after cutting and undoing the stitches in my first afterthought heel!

Once I knew where I was putting the heel it was pretty easy to count the stitches down the socks and place my markers. Although I have to admit my eyes were a bit sore after from looking at the tiny stitches for so long. Especially because I double and triple counted to make sure it was correct.

Challenges

The hardest part for sure for me was figuring out where to place the heel. I agonized over this part it probably took me longer to actually place the heel than it took to knit it LOL.

But I ended up following KirbyWirby’s instructions to the letter and it worked perfectly!

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Measure your foot from toe to heel – I also compared to my shoe size and how many inches it should be based on that to know my measurement was correct.
  2. Subtract a quarter inch to make sure you have a snug fit.
  3. Measure your sock’s toe from tip to start of decreases and subtract the length of your toe.
  4. Measure that length from the tip of your sock and that’s where you put your markers for your heel!

Would I do it again?

YES! Here’s what I love about the afterthought heel:

Compared to a short row heel it’s much cleaner especially if you follow the tips from KirbyWirby’s video tutorial for keeping the corners tight.

You can see in the picture above which is a short row heel done with the wrap and turn method that the heel is not as clean and there are small holes at the corners.

The afterhought heel has cleaner corners and no holes along the side.

The thing I love most about this method is that you can can just knit and knit and knit a tube without worrying about when you have to do the heel.

It’s great for knitting during movies or on the go. I’ve taken socks with me when I go camping and trying to do the heel while talking with friends or in the darkness around the campfire is the worst! But with afterthought heel I could easily knit up two sock tubes and not worry about heels at all.

Working on a heel flap during a camping trip last Summer!

And thirdly, because you’re knitting the heel in the round you can have a striped heel! When you do a short row heel or a heel flap your self-striping yarn won’t really follow the pattern in this area because it’s a smaller amount of stitches, so it ends up more colour blcoked than striped.

But with the afterthought heel you’re knitting the heel in the round, so you can get a fun self-striping heel. I’m planning to do this on an upcoming pair so follow my Instagram to see those when I knit them!

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FO Spotlight

FO Spotlight: Campside Cardi

Today I want to share some more information about my Campside Cardi.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

I had this pattern in my queue for a long time when I saw that Purl Together was hosting a Campside Cardi Knit-a-long! I had some Cotlin DK from KnitPicks left in my stash from my Daybreak tee, but I was a bit short on yardage.

I decided that I would go ahead and make the Campside Cardi out of this yarn and figured I’d just do short sleeves. But as it turns out I didn’t have to because I managed a full length sleeve and I still have about 300 yds left.

I’m not sure how that magic happened, but I’m happy that I was able to complete the full cardigan. A short sleeve version would have been nice, but the long sleeves make this a great layering piece for chilly summer nights.

This pomegranate colour is a bit out of character for me, I don’t really gravitate towards red. I was gifted a sweater’s quantity of this yarn from a friend who was de-stashing. And I’ve managed to get two garments out of it!

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the remaining yardage, maybe it’s enough for a My Little Secret Crop (that would be my third one!).

The Campside Cardi is part of a whole pattern line by Alicia Plummer. Each of the patterns includes this stunning eyelet lace pattern.

Sometimes I struggle with lace, but I found this project was a joy to knit and I love how the different lace sections come together to form the finished piece.

I tried out a new bind off technique for this project. The pattern recommends using a stretchy bind off, I wanted to make sure my collar and bottom edge weren’t scrunching up so I looked up the instructions for a stretchy bind off.

I ended up following this tutorial from Very Pink. It was so simple and I’ll definitely use this technique again when I need a stretchy bind off, especially for 2×2 ribbing.

I even used this bind off on the sleeves, I would typically do a tubular bind off on my sleeves, but I didn’t feel like doing the set up for 2×2 ribbing. I do feel that on the sleeves it’s a bit too loose and they flare out a bit. If I were to make this again I would do a regular bind off on the sleeves.

The Campside Cardi is a raglan construction, and I think I’m beginning to learn that I don’t love a raglan construction for a cardigan…this is my second raglan cardigan, I knit Harvest by Tin Can Knits about a year ago. I always had issues with my Harvest slipping down off of my shoulders and I just figured it was because it was heavy cotton and also it’s a bit too big. But I’m finding the Campside Cardi does the same, especially if I wear a tank top underneath.

But at least the slipping is not so bad with a t-shirt because of the friction, it’s actually much much better with a t-shirt. It’s a bit of a shame because I like to layer with tank tops, but that’s okay. I still love this sweater.

Cardigans are one of my favourite wardrobe pieces, they’re so cost and versatile. And I’m definitely putting a cardigan with set-in sleeves on my queue! Any suggestions?

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FO Spotlight

Perrin Cabled Scarf: FO Spotlight

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

Today the Finished Object Spotlight is on the Perrin Cabled Scarf, this is a knit gift for dad that I made for his birthday last year! 

Dad is all smiles posing in his Perrin Cabled Scarf!

You may recall that in honour of Mother’s Day I posted an FO round-up of the knitted gifts I’ve knit my mom over the years. And wow there was a lot, everything from socks to a knitted dinosaur. I haven’t knit my dad as many things (although he does have his own dinosaur), but as Father’s Day was last weekend I wanted to showcase his favourite handmade gift from me. 

Dad’s GIANT Ichthyosaurus (used bulky instead of sport…whoops)

The Perrin Cabled Scarf is designed by Leslie Alcock who is a fellow knitter and designer that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know through Instagram. Go give leslieslakelife a follow to keep up with her knitting and design adventures! 

This classic cabled scarf will suit anyone’s style and with the ability to use any colour combination you can dream up it will also suit every personality. It calls for worsted weight yarn and a US 10 needle size, which I found was a great gauge to work at.

Bold stripes, meditative garter and a cable detail make this a timeless scarf design

This would be a great first cable project for a beginner knitter and Leslie has even included tutorial photos in the pattern that show cabling step by step. 

The garter stitch is meditative while the striping pattern and cables keep the project engaging. It was such a joy to knit. And it’s definitely a pattern I will knit again! I’ve been thinking of making myself one out of some leftovers using a different colour for each section, maybe even doing some marling by holding lighter yarns double.  

I chose grey and black for my scarf as those are my dad’s favourite colours (very exciting right?! lol) but there’s nothing wrong with neutrals and the result with this pattern is an elegant scarf with a high contrast stripe that doesn’t feel overwhelming. 

I opted not to add any fringe or tassels, this scarf looks great with or without fringe! When I make one for myself I think I’ll probably add fringe.  

I couldn’t resist trying this scarf on before handing it over

I used Bernat Super Value for this project in the colours True Grey and Black. I chose this yarn because I wanted something that was going to be easy for my dad to take care of and would hold up over time. I wanted to make sure he felt like this was an item he could use every day in Winter, and not something delicate he could only pull out for a special occasion.  I also chose this yarn because it’s the suggested yarn for the pattern.

My dad absolutely loves this scarf and, as I think I’ve mentioned, so do I and I will definitely knit it again. Keep an eye out as the colder weather comes because you’ll probably see some posts from me about a scrappy marled version. 

You can check out the Perrin Cabled Scarf and Leslie’s other designs in her Ravelry store! And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram to keep up with what’s coming next!

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FO Spotlight

Mom is Knitworthy: FO Round Up

In honour of Mother’s Day this coming weekend I thought I would do a bit of an FO Roundup of knitted gifts that I’ve made my mom! My mom is really knitworthy and she’s one of the only people I knit gifts for.

If you follow me on Instagram then you’re familiar with her. This is Brenda!

Okay…Here’s a nice one…also an old one, clearly mom and I need to step up our selfie game!

Mother and daughter smile at the camera, wearing Winter jackets and scarves,
A picture of mom and I enjoying a walk from a few years ago

The first gift I ever made for my mom is this cute little dinosaur. I went through a whole dinosaur knitting phase, and I actually have a couple long-abandoned dino WIPS…I should pick those back up!

A purple and green knit Mesosaurus on a white blanket

Mom keeps her on the bed with her decorative pillows. Her name is Debbie the Dino. Debbie is a Mesosaurus knit from Knitted Dinosaurs by Tina Barret.

The second gift was this cowl. I made this many years later when I picked my knitting back up in 2017.

A woman smiles at the camera wearing a winter coat and a red, pink and grey striped knit cowl
Mom wearing her striped ribbed cowl at the mall in 2017

I used Caron Cakes, I think this colour is Red Velvet. It’s just a simple 5×5 rib pattern. This was right at the beginning of my Instagram career so of course, we had to do a photoshoot with this Christmas decor at the mall!

mother and daughter smile at the camera in front of a gold decorative background

I didn’t knit this hat specifically for her, or for anyone. It was just part of my Braided Cable Beanie obsession! But she took a liking to it so I gifted it to her in 2018, complete with a faux fur pom pom.

A knit striped hat in red and purple tones on a white background

Unfortunately, I don’ have any pictures of her actually wearing it!! This is also knit with Caron Cakes, but the Chunky kind.

What else is there…birthday socks!! Okay, I’ve knit way more things for her than I thought I keep remembering more as I go.

These are the Shag Carpet Shorties by Nicole Bracey. It’s one of my absolute favourite sock patterns. I’ve written a whole blog post about the Shag Carpet Shorties, it really reads more like a gushy love letter I love them so much!

Hand knit socks with an intricate cable in beige yarn
Close up of the beige version I knit my mom

When she asked for a sweater for Christmas in 2019 how could I say no?! I let her pick the style out of a few options I already had in my Ravelry library and she picked The Weekender by Andrea Mowry. But I kept the colour a complete surprise!

Read my The Weekender FO Spotlight (you haven’t already) for the project details! This is my favourite project for my mom, and I think it’s probably her favourite too. Just look at that happy face.

A white woman stands against a grey wall wearing a green knit sweater

…and I love it too. It was hard to give it up!! I’m definitely going to knit myself one.

A young white female takes a selfie in the mirror wearing a green knit sweater

Most recently I knit her a pair of Bun Bun Slippers for her birthday which was a couple weeks ago in April. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, I haven’t been able to give them to her yet, but I know she’s looking forward to cozy feet!

A pair of red knit bunny slippers on a comforter

These slippers are really cute, I have a pair that I made myself and I’m planning to make a few more to use up some of my Thick & Quick stash.

Well, that’s it…I think…al the things I’ve made my mom. As you can see she’s very knitworthy and she appreciates and loves every piece. Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I haven’t picked out my gift…I guess it’s time to hit Ravelry!

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FO Spotlight

FO Spotlight: Flax

A special FO Spotlight today on Flax by Tin Can Knits. An older project made new! This is my new favourite sweater that is getting me through COVID-19 quarantine keeping me looking professional on video calls and cozy all day long. 

I originally knit this Flax sweater for Matt in late 2018. But after realizing a couple of weeks ago that he never ever wears it – I took it back! There are no hard feelings for him not wearing the sweater, it’s not his style and he’s particular about the way things sit on his neck and the neck is a bit high for his liking. 

A young white woman takes a selfie in a mirror, she is posed with her hand on her hip. She is wearing a blue knit Flax sweater and grey leggings
I’ve pretty much been living in this sweater for the past week

The Pattern 

Flax is part of the Tin Can Knits Simple Collection which is a collection of free patterns that are designed with beginners in mind. 

Flax was the first sweater I ever cast on (just not the first one I finished LOL). I find it really easy to follow and I didn’t use any of the video tutorials which I”m sure are amazing and would further help first-time sweater knitters. 

I really enjoyed making this sweater and I plan to knit another one as well as a Flax Light

A picture taken from above of a white woman sitting cross legged, her torso, left arm and legs are visible. She is wearing a blue knit Flax sweater and grey leggings
The garter stitch on the sleeves is one of my favourite details

I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern, however, when I knit it again intend to add short rows at the back of the neck to bring the neck up in the back so it doesn’t sit so high in the front. 

The Fit 

This is a size medium and it should fit me with 1” of negative ease, but as you can see it’s a loose fit. My gauge is too big by half a stitch per inch so that’s why it’s a bit bigger. I like the fabric I’ve achieved and I like the baggy fit. 

It fits like a favourite sweatshirt and is so comfy to wear with leggings, but also looks good dressed up with jeans. I think it would look super cute layered with a white collared shirt underneath!

A blue knit Flax sweater lies spread out on a hardwood floor
The first FO picture of the sweater on the old wood floors of our last apartment!

When I make my next Flax I’m intending to size down to the small/medium size and knit at the same gauge, I’m using the same yarn. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

One of the things that is so great about this pattern is that it looks great with both positive and negative ease!

The Yarn

I used Wool And The Gang Shiny Happy Cotton for this sweater in the colour Cloudy Blue. Matt picked out the colour for this sweater and although it’s not a colour I would normally pick for myself I really like it. 

Shiny Happy Cotton

  • 100% cotton 
  • Aran/worsted weight (it’s on the heavier side)
  • 155 yds to a 100g ball

This yarn is super cozy and soft. I know that some knitters find knitting with cotton unpleasant and that it hurts their hands, I enjoy knitting with cotton in general, but I didn’t have any of those issues with this yarn. 

I used 6 skeins to make this sweater. 

A partially finished knit Flax sweater sits on a white background next to a cactus in a square yellow pot.
I love raglan detail! (RIP to the plan in this photo….I have a brown thumb)

You can check out my Ravelry project page for Matt’s Flax to see some more photos and yardage details. 

I’m in love with this sweater, and I can’t wait to make another and see how it turns out with a bit of negative ease. And I’m really excited for my Flax Light that I’m going to knit with a slub base. I’ll be sure to share those with you when they’re finished!