Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Finishing My First Pair of Socks & Baking Christmas Cookies

We're on the home stretch for Christmas! Just a couple of days away on this Sunday! Welcome back to the blog everyone. How's your day going? Make sure you stay safe and warm if you're traveling, the roads are getting very icey.

Today I bring you a big Knitting Update/Recap! If you're new to the blog I'm a beginner male knitter who picked up knitting back in September when my Mum offered me the chance to take over a blanket she was knitting for my little brother Chrissie. I had attempted knitting when I was younger but I had regrettably given up on it. I wasn't sure if knitting would work out for me but after doing some rows on the blanket I got hooked... Or casted on... Because this knitting not crochet, haha. Anyway there's no turning back now I've officially become a knitting nutter and I absolutely love the projects I've completed so far. You can check me out on Ravelry as ZAKMan and I plan on doing a big knitting recap at the end of the year talking about all my projects and finished objects from this year! For now though let's talk about one single project that I just completed. To be honest there's been a bit of a dry period considering knitting topics on the blog hasn't there?

This has been in the works for over two months now... After a lot of hard work and second sock syndrome... I have completed my very first pair of socks!

While these socks are not tasty (Don't let the plate fool you.) they are warm and festive! I dubbed these socks the Fall Leaves Socks because of the color. They're plain vanilla socks as these are my first and I didn't want to get carried away (Like I did on my hat, though that still came out nice.) I knitted these socks using Patons North America Kroy Socks FX with Copper Colors and a Dye Lot of 210981. FOR THE MOST PART I used Size US 3 Addi Turbo circular needles using the magic loop technique. Though if you've been reading about these socks from when I first started them you'll see I actually started the first sock of this pair on DPNS (Double Pointed Needles.)

I really did not like DPNs (Especially when casting on... Ack) as they got quite fiddly so Mum helped me switch them over to magic loop and I never went back to DPNs after that. I did 12 rows for the ridge, it gave the sock just enough ridge not to curl but also made it look nice. The body is just a simple stockinette stitch. Magic Loop is so much more enjoyable for me and I actually made a ZAK Knits episode talking and showing off the differences between the two.

I learned quite a few new things about knitting despite these socks being vanilla socks. For one I learned how to make an enforced heel flap that won't wear out easily when worn with shoes

Nothing was really ever that difficult, not even the heel turn and gusset, which I found out was just doing short rows on your heel flap until it turns into a flap then pick up your side stitches and the yarn on your scrap cotton. I really recommend using cotton when making a heel flap, that way your loose stitches won't get tangled up or drop off.

You see in order to make the heel flap you need to take half your stitches off, which as I was doing a 64 round stitch sock I had to take 32 off. Cotton is probably the best option for this. The enforced heel flap, by the way, was done by slipping the first stitch and knitting the next stitch. You repeat this slip and knit pattern to the end of the row (making sure you end with a knit) then turning, slipping the first stitch and then purling all the way to the end. I repeated this for 24 rows, that way it covers my ankle to the bottom of my foot. This stops any wear and tear from my shoe.

Of course after the heel turn and gusset the rest of the sock was a straight beeline to the end using stockinette stitch for the foot. Then comes the toe, in which I decreased using SSKs (Slip slip knit) and Knit2Togs (Knit 2 Together) until I had 12 stitches on both needles. To finish of the toe I did a kitchener stitch. Now I had already practiced some kitchener before this sock by making this little earbud pouch.

So yeah I had some practice before my sock and this was a good idea too as I actually messed up the kitchener on this earbud pouch.. oops. I didn't have any problems with my sock though and the toes of my sock came out perfectly.

The second sock has come along a lot faster as I already had everything written down from the first sock (Okay I didn't write down everything and I had to take some risks... If mum wasn't helping I probably would of made some mistakes.) and I didn't have to make any corrections either. I did slow down a bit last week (Hence the lack of knitting blogs) as Christmas was here and I was busy doing things with the family as well as having some business stuff to take care of. I have my first pair completed finally though and they feel nice and warm.

Excuse the hairy legs but this is how they look on my feet, I don't think they would fit anyone else's feet. I am going to be going down a size in needles for future projects to 2.75 MM needles. This should solve my size issues for the future. Anyway that ends another project in my knitting saga! I may actually get one more project done before the New Years, my washcloth, but we'll just have to see on that. I really enjoyed making these socks, I thought they would be hard and I had absolutely no idea how you got a heel turn in there, actually it's kind of magical how the heel turn just happens with  just a couple of short rows on the heel flap. I will definitely be making more socks in the future so stay tuned! I'm thinking of perhaps making a pair of gloves before my next socks though.

Moving on from the knitting we've been breaking out the flour and cookie dough to make some cookies!

I've been baking some Chocolate Chip Cookies for Christmas! Don't worry though all the cookie dough went into the cookies, not my mouth, haha. My sister, Annie, was also making some awesome red and green Christmas sugar cookies!

Here's the cookie dough before it's actually dough.

Now I add the butter and eggs and mix it all together until it all melts together and turns into cookie dough.

And onto the tray it goes! Time for the oven! This part got very goey...

The final product! They're not perfect but I think they turned out pretty great. They're super yummy and I'm having to resist eating them all... Though I do have more dough to make a second batch.

Here is Annie's Sugar Cookies! The green ones anyway.

Here's the red ones. Annie also added some contrasting red and green sugar to the tops of these cookies making them super sweet and yummy.

So yeah that's part one of our Christmas baking! We got more baking on the way so be sure to check out Friday's blog for some more Christmas yummies!

So we've come to the end of the blog for the day but before then I want to talk about this wonderful Christmas song from Redbridge High School for Special Needs students in Liverpool, England. It's called Message of Christmas.

It's sung by the wonderful staff and students of the school and it's an awesome addition to your Christmas music playlist! Also all funds from this song go to help the school improve their equipment and give this kids a better life. You can buy it on iTunes!

Anyway that's it for now! See you Friday! It's going to be the last blog before Christmas so...

See you on the next blog!

PS I'm on Snapchat now apparently as ZAKManK

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