Day 24 – Christmas Eve Socks

In 2016, I started a new tradition for my family of 3.  As a teen, I had a german friend who stated her gifts to me had to be opened on Christmas Eve – my younger brother then argued he should get to open a gift Christmas eve, and then it carried on from there.

For my husband’s family tradition, they had nothing under the tree before Santa arrived…so empty tree going to bed, means you can’t choose a gift to open Christmas Eve…so I created a tradition to work for both.  In the evening, I place a box under the tree marked “Open Christmas Eve” and inside are 3 pairs of socks.

Knitvent Day 13 – Practical gift

Someone grew two shoe sizes in a very short time period this year.  He obviously is desperate for socks since he put them on his list for Christmas(???).  When I knit things throughout the year, I have a spot (box) I put the gifts into, in December I pull out what is completed and can plan what is left to knit.  I had these completed in early November.  A couple of weeks ago, because he was searching for socks to wear with his suit to a hockey game, I pulled these out thinking he needed them now rather than wait (I could always knit more!?!?)

Those socks sat on my living room couch for two weeks.  I did ask him multiple times if he was going to wear them, and being a typical teenager, I got a grunt in response (not sure if it was a yes, no or I didn’t hear you grunt).

So I’ve grabbed these back and put into the box for wrapping…

Pattern is my own.

Knitvent Day 12 – Time Outs

There are times when a project isn’t working the way I expect, or the yarn isn’t behaving or *gasp* I’m not being consistent.  If I start getting far too frustrated with a project, I set it aside and move onto another project.  In essence, the one frustrating me gets a “time out” and sits in a project bag or shelf until it learns its lesson (or I finally run out of time and have to revisit it).  Some get knitted, some get frogged (ripped back).

These socks looked beautiful on Ravelry.  I borrowed the book from the library and tested 3 yarns before commencing. However, I haven’t been happy with my tension (though I found blocking will even this out) and I unfortunately ignored some of the Ravelry comments that criticized the pattern.  The criticisms were valid, but I thought I could persevere.  This item has been on time out for 3 weeks, and I need to get back to it…or choose an alternative…

Knitvent Day 10 – Playing with math

Quite awhile ago I created my own pattern for seamless baby booties to match a hat I had designed nearly a decade previous.  It’s my goto personal pattern for baby gifts.  I had the booties test-knit, the pattern tech edited, but never got to publishing it, thinking I wanted to do something more.

Last year I thought these booties would make great slippers.  So I’ve been playing with yarns, needles, math to upsize the bootie pattern.  This past weekend I’ve knit a mens’ small in Drops Eskimo wool, and a ladies medium in Premier Appalachia.

I like how they look, but there’s more work to be done before I’m ready to test knit, pattern write, etc…but these are quick gift knits!

Happy Holidays & a new Christmas Eve tradition…

It all started with a pinterest post that I didn’t even read –

The socks gave me a new idea for my family gift knitting!

After some pinterest Ravelry searches for both Christmas and Holiday Socks…I found that Drop Design (Garnstudio) has a number of Christmas socks

And so begins a new Christmas Eve tradition…

Merry Christmas – Christmas Eve socks – #knitmas

A photo posted by Katherine Caughran (@stringandbeans) on


All the best to you & yours this holiday!






Sock Fix: Swiss Darning

My mending pile now remains filled with MY items…always the last to be looked after…what is it they say about the cobbler’s shoes?

My first pair of socks that I knit for myself are from 2007, and although its held up quite well, the heels were getting ‘weak’ so they needed some boosting before I actually created holes.  It’s much easier to mend weak stitches than recreate something that is no longer there (ie mending a hole).

If you look up darning socks on Pinterest and the like, you’ll see a number of methods of knitting or patching over top of the holes.  Reknitting or swiss darning are my preferred methods of mending knitwear.  My interpretation of swiss darning is basically doing a duplicate stitch over the weaker stitches.  I didn’t think of taking better photos for the blog until after the socks were already fixed.  I had luckily taken photos of the before shot to show family members (read: my husband) when they should be providing me their knitwear for mending, not after they create a huge hole.  But I digress…

A photo posted by Katherine Caughran (@stringandbeans) on

I no longer had the matching yarn, but this is on the bottom of my foot, so I really didn’t worry about matching the yarn, besides it’s easier to show the mend when its a different colour 🙂

Sock Fix: Skinny legs, Long(er) Feet

To further my spring cleaning of the mending pile, I took a pair of Kman’s outgrown navy socks (barely used) and ripped out the toes to make them longer.

Background:  Kman goes to a Montessori school and wears a uniform consisting of navy or white socks, navy pants and a white or red golf shirt.  He prefers navy socks and each year asks me to knit him a new pair of navy socks.  Last year his shoe size grew so FAST he hardly had a chance to wear the socks that I had knit him.  But his ankles and legs are still the same circumference.

So, rather than knit new socks, I thought I’d save some time and rip back the toes and reknit to lengthen.  I have lots of navy sock yarn purchased just for him!  After I reknit the first sock and had him try it on, he did say the band was a bit tight.  So in addition to lengthening the socks, I ripped out the top of the sock band and cast off using Jeny’s Super Stretchy Cast Off. 

The photo might not show it  well enough, but you should see the original sock length on top of the new sock length – I added over an inch in length!

Spring Cleaning

Following up to my business idea of fixing sweaters, socks and the like…I had a pile of socks with wear that I needed to get caught up on…

The first, a sock I had knit for my dad, which was confiscated by my mother as her bed socks…unfortunately she caught the toe on something, and it needed major surgery…

I started with picking up the ladder with my crochet hook, to determine how much I may need to stitch, but that showed me that there were two different places the yarn was cut (not just one), so instead of doing swiss darning, I tore back the toe and reknit it using a russian join to reconnect the broken strands.
My mother is happy to have socks again (although had she given me both socks, I probably would have reknit both toes and resized the socks to her feet, since they were originally intended for my father)…

Upside down and backwards

It’s been years of me saying I’ll knit myself a new christmas stocking, since mine is so much smaller than hubby & child’s…(yes I’m glossng over the fact its been years since I last posted here).

Each year, I’m usually too busy with gift knits to get around to my stocking, so this year, I started the stocking after Christmas, so it’ll be ready for next year.  I’m following this Falling Snowflake pattern and after starting off great, realized I needed my name added.

Now, when knitting a sweater or blanket, you just chart and go…but this stocking is in the round and top down…so I could chart my name using excel, but needed it to be upside down.

I tried a couple of things:

1) I searched Ravelry for upside down alphabet charts – didn’t find one
2) I googled upside down alphabet charts – didn’t get results I needed.
3) I charted name as per usual in Excel then knit it backwards from what I’d usually do with a chart.

  • I set my column widths to .74cm so it would look like the graph chart in use by the stocking pattern
  • I chose to have the letters in the same height as the 2nd snowflake band of the pattern so only 10 rows high
  • My letters were ‘narrow’ but I still had to add an extra repeat of the snowflake pattern (ie cast on an extra 32 stitches) in order to fit my whole name.

And now I have my own ‘larger’ stocking, albeit still smaller than the other two