Category Archives: socks

I Still Exist!

And I’m still making things!

I won’t linger over the details anymore, but I’ve been busy in the metals lab since I stopped keeping up with this blog. Here are a few things I’ve completed.

This is a labradorite bead riveted into a silver frame. I like the look of these riveted projects but I’ve become tired of trying to find long beads that are drilled through cleanly and without chips around the ends (which can cause the rivet to bend and distort.) I had to really ream this one out–but it was so worth it.



Ah, I finally found something to do with the copper “crazy quilt” disc I made a couple years ago when I was experimenting with copper solder. I really like how this turned out (and I also recently made a bead with nine little texture samples on each side like this, but don’t have a picture.)


Here’s a bit of fun made with some scraps. I got the color with a power stripper.


Malachite is always good for some drama, I think.


Inevitably, when you get a reputation for making jewelry, friends and coworkers come up to you with broken jewelry, hoping you can fix it. This piece is pretty much a copy of a cheap, plated bypass ring that someone I work with wore for years until the band snapped at the point where it adjusts to size. She’d hoped I could fix it–nope. But I thought about it, and made a band that night with a piece of sterling wire and a hammer and a mandrel. From there, I got the OK to recreate the ring (tip: get the shell bits out by heating the back with an alcohol lamp until the epoxy weakens and they fall right out.) She was really pleased with it, and I am too. It was a good learning experience (and I made the band thicker so it won’t break this time!)


After I finished the above piece, I still had bypass rings on my mind, so I hammered out one for myself and tried out different stones until I fell in love with the look of this red agate. Soldering was tricky, but I’m getting better all the time.


I bought this stone a few years ago and made a few failed attempts to design a pendant and set it (remember?):


Well, here she is now! That brass framework was a real . . . challenge. I bought my own solderite board to bring to the studio–perfectly flat, and with grooves carved into it to hold those pieces exactly where I needed them. The end result comes close to what I had in mind all this time. Still waiting for the chain to tarnish a bit, though. I randomly melted some silver solder around for an old, industrial look (note the solder around the joined areas) but it doesn’t quite show up on the links yet.


Here’s a fun scrap piece I made with some wire bits I melted together some time ago but never knew what to do with. At one point last spring I was making a simple ring with this stone (and, for the first time, adding a jump ring inside the bezel to make the stone stand taller) when I held it up next to the scrappy bit and thought, “Wow! Perfect!” And that’s how this happened.


Remember these old dudes I hammered out back in the day? The two on top became earrings, and I hung onto the big piece for a long time, trying to think up a good necklace idea. A little extra piece and a little crochet later:

I rather wish I hadn’t punched holes in the corners, but I did, and that made what I ultimately came up with a bit more difficult than if, say, I had soldered loops on the back. Still, I’m loving the simplicity of this one. I’m glad I waited on it.


I sketched this out last October, hoping to make use of this neat sardonyx cabochon I’d been holding on to. This piece turned out a bit difficult due to its size (and trying to solder on square copper wire bits without silver solder blorps everywhere!) The back has a pin mechanism that was a bit tough–the pieces are so tiny and need to be placed exactly, and you have to be sure not to clog up or fuse the catch during the process . . . but I pulled it off. I even made a pin/pendant converter with a piece of tubing and wire.


My teacher, Bob, was recently given a huge box full of jewelry supplies, casting stuff, sterling silver, you name it, from a donor who had retired from jewelry making and didn’t want the stuff anymore. Among the treasures was a spool of 30 gauge argentium which he had no idea what to do with–but knew that I would, as a knitter/crocheter. I ended up buying it off him (with proceeds going back to the studio) and made this crochet cuff with some beads and a sterling frame I made myself. It’s got a bit of beginner’s wonk to it, and I ought to have practiced more before making the real thing because one side of the strip is looser and sloppier than the other, when I started really getting the hang of it. But this was interesting–and I’m in the middle of using the remainder to make a kind of mesh amulet bag from instructions I found in an old Lapidary Journal from the 90s.

And last but so, so not least. Remember when I started futzing around with wax to carve rings?

I finally got these both finished after months of inactivity, messing up one and doing it over, and just generally worrying about doing something wrong and ruining all that work. Last week, they were cast in silver.

They’re still not done (clearly), but man, is it a relief to have gotten this far! They are heavy as hell–I wish I’d carved away more wax on the interior but the wax was getting delicate and I was nervous about breakage. I shouldn’t have been, though. The thing on the left, if you’re wondering, was a slice of ring wax that I’d carved into with a new set of wax working tools as a kind of technical exercise. I figured if I made the design well enough, I’d cast it. And so I did–with a different design on each side. It’ll be a reversible pendant when I’m done.

And that’s about where I am on the jewelry front. As for knitting, I haven’t bothered all that much. I’ve got two pairs of socks made with crazy rainbow yarn I tried to dilute with solid colors, and a clone of my cat.

Pattern: SlipStripe Spiral


Pattern: Ugly Duckling Socks


Pattern: The Parlor Cat

And that is . . . probably . . . all for now! I’m sure I’ll catch up again in a few months. Until then, keep crafting!


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Yipes Stripes


My days of one-month socks seem to be over. This pair took me two. That’s okay. I’ve got other things going on. Like this.


But back to the sock. It’s Mystik Spiral in Patons Kroy (a really good sock yarn you can find in big-box craft stores). I altered the toes for slantiness, which suits me better, and used the Fish Lips Kiss heel, although maybe a different style would have looked a bit better.

stripesheel1Meh. It’s ok.

Now that I’ve tried it out, learned it, and like it, I’m ready to do this pattern again with a very special sock yarn.

A very special, neon sock yarn.

It will be . . . totally awesome. Outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. To the max.

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Here’s something I finished recently:


If you’re a bit tired of this pattern, well, maybe I am too. It’s definitely my go-to for very colorful yarns (all the slipped stitches certainly break up the pooling) but I’ve done this, what? three times now and I’m ready to move on.

Also, my finger might need a rest.


Wonder if that could become permanent? Maybe my tension is way too tight.

Next time around: a new (to me) pattern with diagonal stripes in it. Diagonal! Should be fun.


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30 Days Hath September . . .

. . . but it took more than that to get my September socks done.


These are adapted from the Whiz Bang pattern, but without the Bootylicious heel (I’ve become partial to afterthought heels, if only because you can replace them easily if they wear out.) I like the slanted, foot-specific toes a lot–they fit me right and will probably become my go-to toe in future.

And now that I’ve finally fallen behind on my one pair-per-month goal, I think I’m going to release myself from it. Knitting is a hobby, FFS, and doesn’t need goals and micromanagement like everything else in my life. I want to make a scarf now, and I’ve got just the pattern so I can finally use the worsted weight Noro that I bought as a mistake three years ago.

Coming soon: soldering, casting, and all that fun stuff.


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So, a week and a half ago, I bent over to pick something up and threw out my back pretty hard. Go figure. The good news is, I was able to take a few days off work and lay in bed reading novels. The bad news is, I had to miss a jewelry class plus quite a few days of tinkering in the basement. I’m doing better now, though, and am recommitted to getting back in shape (hello again, yoga) and losing a few pounds.

I’m also back to the jewelry, and hope to have an awesome silver project to show soon.

Meanwhile, I finished up a pair of socks.


Nope, these aren’t my hairy gams; I gave this pair to my significant other. They’ll be nice for wearing around the house in winter. I didn’t keep them for myself because they are rather large, which is my main problem with the pattern. I didn’t quite make gauge, though, so I shouldn’t complain, but based on my experience and comments I’ve read, I’d advise anyone thinking of trying it to go down a size.

Here’s something I do like about the pattern: garter stitch heel. It’s pretty quick and easy and looks like it will stand up to wear. And the star toe is cool if you don’t want a really fitted, pointy kind of toe. The slip stitch ribbing can break up a busy yarn nicely, but may be a bit much with a very busy yarn; here’s a close-up from my first attempt at this pattern with a different yarn, as you may recall:


So, that’s my sock for August. As the Year of the Sock continues, I’ll be doing another slip stitch pattern with a stash yarn. Stay tuned!

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My Socks Are Truly Outrageous.

Truly, truly, truly . . .


80s. I’m kind of a sucker for neon; it takes me back to my middle school years.

This self-striping yarn is by String Theory Colorworks. I like it quite well, though some of the black is a bit streaky in areas. I don’t think anybody’s going to notice, though. And I’ve got my eye on a similar colorway that also includes green for a particular sock pattern . . . but I don’t know yet. Want to use up some other yarns first, not to mention get away from socks for a little break.

So that’s it, except for an outtake. Because of course this happened.


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June Socks, Right on Time

Although my knitting has slowed considerably what with the new job and all, I got these done in time to keep up with my one-pair-a-month year of socks.


Looks like I made the foot a touch too long. It can be a bit hard to judge with the afterthought heel, and I always want to err on the side of too long rather than too short.

So what’s next? Well, I brought almost all of my sock skeins to my friend Kristi’s house this week, and between my swift and her ball winder, we got them wound up.


Interesting how different a colorway can look from skein to yarn cake. I actually like some of the ones I didn’t like so much better than the ones I thought I loved. (Of course, I learned a lesson about expectations in the socks above, in which the colors seem a bit muddy and muted now.)

But I did neglect to bring one special skein which I bought online after falling in love (I’m generally not the type to do this.)


This will probably be my next project. It will be both simple and Totally Awesome, in a 1980s kind of way.

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