Wipocalypse July Post

Dessert of the Month!

Hey, guys, guess what I finished?! I finished stitching it, that is! It’s the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery’s Dessert of the Month Sampler. Woot woot! I just threw my arms up into the air for myself. It took a while (a year) and I was ready to murder over the number of different DMC colors it required, but I’m done.

Dessert of the Month!

This picture above shows one of my favorite rows. The cupcake is adorbs. However, my husband just eyes the June bubble tea picture suspiciously while pointing out that technically strawberries ripen in June and he was cheated of having the strawberry shortcake for his month. He even helpfully added that they could have given a raspberry dessert to July to console it. (Raspberries being my favorite, I think that would have made July better, but I kept silent on that point.)

Dessert of the Month!

The flan above is an evil flan. Do not second guess that. One time, right after college, one of my friends asked me to travel to visit him in Corning, NY. I agreed and when I got there, he told me we needed to make a flan for a party we were going to. I hated all cooking at the time, but he was a good friend, so I sucked it up and started helping. About halfway through the cooking of the flan’s sugary caramel layer, I wondered if the sugar was hot at all and I decided to touch it to test it.

If you just winced and cried a little for me, thank you. That was the worst burn of my damned life, and I full on put my hand down on an electric stove burner when I was ten. This burn put that burn to SHAME. I have hated flan fully and horribly since that time. I refuse to taste it even. I had it prior and did not like it and now it just inspires me to curse at it. Sorry, May, but your flan is making me angry. Flan did teach me an important lesson about sugar and how not to test food you are cooking.

Dessert of the Month!

Okay, anger for flans aside, do you see the strawberry shortcake? I get my husband’s anger over it. It’s so cute I want it to be September’s dessert! Nom nom nom, little shortcake.

Well, the question for the month is It’s halfway to Christmas. Do you start your holiday stitching this early? If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

I did not know people did Christmas stitching? I guess it makes sense. I don’t do it though. Question does not apply to me, sorry.

As for you reader, do you think I should finish that Mirabilia piece I’ve had lying about for the last ten years or so? I think I’m ready for it, right?!

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Socks For Me!

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Sometimes, after I finish a pair of socks, I put them aside and say things like, “I guess they’re okay.”  I think you know what I mean!  The ones where the colorway didn’t come out exactly as you expected, or the pattern wasn’t perfect for the yarn, or where you just have bad feelings about knitting them.

But, then, occasionally, are the ones you love.  For instance, I had a peachy-pinky pair of socks that I never would have said were my color, but I loved them after I finished them.  So bright and cheery!  The pair I knit while I was pregnant with N and which I wore to pieces at the hospital and at home with him every day.  They were green and pink but the color was done so well that they looked more like a semi-solid in my mind!

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These socks are the latter type of sock.  The mix of crazy and fun pinks and teals mixed so well with the peacock blue of the toes and heels.

I learned a bit with this sock pattern.  I’ve never done socks with an alternate color for the heels and toes so I was really happy I had done it this time.

It was also my first time using the afterthought heel and I definitely liked it and will most likely use it for stripe-y socks, though I think I’ll stick with the short row for my normal non-striped socks.

Mostly what I’ve learned is I need a pair of sock blockers for cuter photos!

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Project: LambyToes Anklets! (ravel it)
Yarn: LambyToes BFL in the Kitten’s Choice colorway and Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Douglas Fir
Needles: Size 1
Pattern: Afterthought Heel

While I loved knitting this, it’s definitely time to cast on for my next project in a new yarn!  Are you guys still sock knitting or are you quitting the knitting for the summer?

Update On A Past Success

Wow, it’s been quiet around here, just when I was picking up steam on posting!  But, I’m still making stuff, just so close to the end of several things that I’m waiting on posting about my WIPs because most of them are going to be real FO posts soon!  Also, the crafting is slower in the summer, especially with the addition of Project Life to my crafting life.

I did manage to wrestle (like, literally wrestle) my daughter into a dress I had made her in the past, and she looks so adorable in it now.  I wiped her tears away first.  This is her wearing it last year after I had made it.   Oh my God, baby!  She has no hair.  She’s teensy.

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This is her now!

She wore this dress for a visit to Whole Foods and Starbucks.  And she picked flowers and played with rockets in it, so it’s very versatile.  Good for buying organic, being 100% dreamy, and engineering!  (Hey, her father does all three of those things well too, so perhaps she takes after him!)

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At Starbucks, the cashier smiled at her holding her milk box and said, “Her dress is awesome.  I love it.”  Like all people who make their own stuff, I got that immediate gratification hit!  I was all, “I made it!  Thank you!”

Then, I was like, “Did she just compliment it because it looked so homemade and she wanted a tip?”  My insecurity, folks!

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I think half the reason I’m posting this is because I’m working myself up to some enthusiasm for the next Kid’s Clothes Week.  I mean, I have just failed the last few times, you know?  I want to succeed at this!  Look what last spring’s week got for me!  She’s gorgeous in this.

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How do you encourage yourself to craft when you are reluctant for no good reason, reader?  Do you doubt compliments about your hand made goods?!

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

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Did you just think of Gilmore Girls when you read the post title?  You probably did, right?  Ugh, that episode.  I just kept wanting to shake Rory.  Up until that point in the whole series, I tended to like Rory the most and wonder if Lorelei was the worst.  After that episode, I was like, “Rory, you’re the worst.”

Anyway, how’s your summer been so far?  Lazy?  Crazy?  Hazy?  It’s been all three here!

We’ve all been waking late (well, not P who, unfairly, still has to work) and playing hard and going to the pool and taking naps and reading books and thinking of ways to celebrate summer.

042It’s been the kind of life that I vaguely and distantly remember from  my own youth, and one I’m happy to pass onto my children.  As I’ve said to P over the last few weeks, “Summer is always summer, but when one has a kid in grade school, it really feels like summer.”  I’ve never noticed how structured school had made us until we broke out of its routine.

I always feel like I should be crafting but I’m not because I’m either trying to be super focused on my children or I’m winding down from being super focused on my children.

I continue to read articles about how quickly children grow and then can’t resist my babies when they ask me to read them more books or play with them more.

Also, N has reached that weird but glorious age where I can crash on the couch for half an hour while he safely cuddles up next to me with Minecraft or a sticker book.

021My daughter continues to find new ways to confound me.  Her love of Brussels sprouts and salmon leave me bewildered.  Her speech is highly developed, she knows and reads off letters and numbers to me all the time, and she makes leaps of logic I never expect from her.  She argues with N and I all the time, but in a way that is rational for her age.  For instance, hearing me tease N about a new toy he just received, she latched onto me saying, “I think it’s my toy, N!”  She immediately dove for it and hugged it to herself.  When N tried to grab it back, she started screaming mightily, “MINE!”  He rightfully argued that it was his and he had just received it.  She looked at me hopefully and said, “Mommy’s?”  She knows that I tend to give her what she wants and she had hoped that by conferring ownership of the toy to me, she could play with it.  Now, I have to be extra careful when I tease her brother!

N is quickly gaining his normal toasted marshmallow tan that he gets regardless of incredibly high levels of SPF.  He tans and tans and tans and becomes more of a all-over golden shade every day.  Belly is turning pinker and pinker.  In fact, we held off on the pool yesterday because I’ve noticed her pinkness is getting a bit too pink.  N finds this annoying as his friends are all at the local swim club jumping as quickly as possible into the pool.  Does anyone have recommendations for a teensy girl who turns pink after half an hour in the sun while wearing SPF 50?  I don’t want to put her into long sleeved swimsuits, but maybe I need to?

I know all of the blogs and social media is all, “I can’t believe we’re half done this year” but I’m not that way.  I love autumn and the rush towards it only thrills me.  I will say, though, that this summer has been so old-school summery to me that I’m loving it more than I used to.  I think what I’m really thinking is “How can this summer be a third over already?!”  September, I love you, you know it, but let’s just drift lazily along now, okay?

Readers, I do have more crafting stuff coming.  Believe it or not, I picked up sewing on N’s old abandoned pajamas and I’m almost to the two of my socks and I’m cross-stitching.  I’m just taking my time on it all!

I Am Making Bags

Remember I showed you that fabric I had cut to make a somewhat patchwork open-wide pouch?  It’s okay if you didn’t, that wasn’t my best post.  Anyway, I whipped up that bag, finally!  Here’s my cute little mermaid bag!

There were so many things wrong with that bag.  The pattern I used to make it (Noodle-head’s) was a great starting point, but I immediately realized there were things I did wrong and other things I wanted to change to either improve or make it easier to make (for me).

I did like the little tab at the end of the zipper and fussy cutted a fish out for that!

Cute, no?  This is actually a great picture for showing you how I messed up the zipper, though.  My zipper foot is wonky (they gave me the wrong foot with my machine and gave me the wrong foot when I went in to trade in the original wrong zipper foot) so I’m just using my normal standard foot.  Apparently, I can’t sew with a quarter inch seam unless I have a zipper foot?

I basically, immediately after making this, did an order to Zipit, and got a ton of zipper so I could practice bag making much more at a reduced cost per bag.  Ignore the wonky slightly turned view below, this is a properly shaped bag, I promise.

Sewn Toy Bag

When the zippers arrive, I set about making N’s new Angry Birds bag.  I used a different type of interfacing for this bag (nicer because it’s stiffer and stands up much better, worse because it has bubbling, can you see it?), I cut out the fabric so it was no longer a rectangle, but oddly shaped with shaping for the bottom, but which made for an easier time sewing and a nicer result, and I got rid of the tab to see if it balanced the bag more (it did not).
Sewn Toy Bag

I made some vast improvements in the sewing of the zipper in this one, though.  I did not pin or baste the zipper at all.  I simply held all three layers together and got a perfect zipper installation.  So, I saved time and made my product better.  Win-win, right?

I also improved some of my top-stitching.  I think if I bought proper top-stitching thread, I’d do even better for looks, but I’m pleased enough with the results here.

I’m planning on making more of these bags, but now I want to change their size, see about improving the lining (how to finish it super neatly?) and possibly improving zipper yet again!  I’m considering going back to the tab because I do like how it allows the bags to open more, but I think the more closed option is nice too.

Also, expect to see some boxed bags sometime, and perhaps some pencil cases and/or notions bags.  I don’t want to waste too much of my zippers, so you might see a quick glimpse before they get disassembled by P.  I told him I couldn’t take apart something I made and didn’t hate, so he offered to rip out zips for me.

Do you guys sew bags?  Do you like the ones I’ve sewn?

Friday Links #6

What?  It’s been six years since I did one of these?  So what!  Let the linking begin.

This is a great and thoughtful post about discussing the #yesallwomen Twitter movement with your children.  I find it interesting that she discusses how she felt she had nothing to add to the hashtag before she realized that she had a ton of big and small things that she just forgot because they’re so commonplace in the life of a woman.  I also had felt that when I started reviewing the hashtag.  Then I distinctly remember being at a gas station and being harassed by some guy who felt the need to talk to me at length about my legs before I finally shut him down by telling him I was going to go meet my very tall, very good looking, and very smart boyfriend who would not appreciate his remarks.  That’s what made him give up.  He left cursing me.  I’ve also had the experience of plenty of guys at a younger time of my life cursing me for being “too good” to respond to their catcalls.  But, you know, that happens to all women so you just let it fade into the background.  I think that is what the hashtag is trying to point out.  We live in a world where that type of harassment is so omnipresent that society as a whole doesn’t much notice it and, thus, silently condones it.  I hate the idea of Belly going through this at some point in the future.  Bonus points to the linked article for her discussion with her children about a mildly annoying plane ride she takes in which a man won’t leave her alone. I think it neatly points out how people believe women should just deflect attention rather than shutting it down.

My friend Amanda is opening a shop on Etsy called Lambytoes!  If you’re the type of person who likes to buy yarn, please buy yarn from her.  If it’s not already open, she has a forum post on Ravelry with a sneak peak!  (I love supporting people by buying on Etsy AND I plan to open an Etsy store sometime this year.)  Vive le confetti yarn!

I’m pretty sure I’m going to make Nathan a tooth fairy pillow.  How about a star shaped one?

Ready for the weekend, readers? My son is having his school party for his sixth birthday!  We’re ready to party around here.

 

Project Life, Project Obsessed, Same Diff

First Attempts At Project Life

So, if you know me in real life, you might know I’m obsessed with paper crafts.  OBSESSED.  Scrapbooking paper, stickers, stamps, little cute embellishments, oh man.  I practically drool when I walk through store aisles that contain this type of stuff.  In fact, several years back, before we had children, P’s mom had started to scrapbook and I’d admire her work.  Like all crafters, she loved to show off her work to a person who would admire it with actual interest, so she’d detail what she did.  I told her I wanted to start scrapbooking, and she got me a beginner set.

I got one page done before I threw up my hands and said, “This is dumb and I do crappy work!”  Seriously, one or two photos per page?  No thanks.  I’m a photo addict.  When I make an album, I want lots of photos!

So, a few years later, I got a basic card making magazine.  It had the same supplies (cute paper, stickers, stamps) but it also had a purpose.  CARDS.  Yeah, I made half a card before I again said, “No point in this!”  That’s code for “my card was ridiculously sad looking”.

At this point, in anger and frustration, I threw out all the scrapbooking paper I had.  I did not throw away any stickers because I’m not crazy.  I had never acquired any stamps because those things are crazy expensive, considering.  I gave up any hope of paper crafting and said to myself, “I’ll just admire that stuff from afar.  Also, I’ll use stickers on everything for my children.  I’ll give them stickers of my own when they get good grades.  Or grades.”

Then, this year, one of my blogs linked to a product called Project Life.  Here’s a line from the description:

The Project Life “way” of memory-keeping is so crazy-simple, it has become known as revolutionary in the scrapbooking industry. All you need is one of our Core Kits, an Album, and a Big Pack of 60 Photo Pocket Pages.

People would show pictures of their layouts that included a lot of photos.  The basic premise is that you have two pages of photos and cards per week or month and you build that into a single album.  It looked so simple.  I sat on the idea for ages, considering and throwing out the idea because it seemed expensive.

Then one day, I was walking through Target and I spotted a rip-off Project Life album and journal card set.  As with any walk through Target, you start to believe anything you can purchase there seems like a great idea, so I bought it.  The next thing I know, I’m using some old photos I had already printed to create a new intro page to see if I liked doing Project Life.  I justify that if I do, I’ll spend more on it.  In fact, I promise myself if I make a few pages, I can buy more stuff.

In other words, three weeks later, and several pages, I’ve subscribed to Studio Calico’s Project Life subscription.  For the love of God, if you decide to sign up for that, please use that link so I get a referral bonus.  Every month, a package of cards and embellishments and stamps comes to me.  I bought a rubber stamp mount.  I just can’t stop myself.  Please stop me.

Luckily, I have two things which are slowing me down when it comes to Project Life.  I am trying to do only one layout a week, which means that the most I can focus on this is really one time a week.  Since I’m only doing one layout a week, I really don’t need to buy any junk for my albums since my subscription gives me enough stuff for the full month.  So, yeah.  I might pick up a few stamps as time goes by, especially in the autumn and winter, but I’m in love with this so far.

If you’re a failed scrapbooker or card maker, this might be the paper craft for you!

Look for future posts on products I like, how I go about this, et cetera.  I might need to make a new category!

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Almost Forgot June Wipocalypse

Dudes, I made a post YESTERDAY about how I was going to separate out my cross-stitch WIPs from the rest of my craft WIPs (knitting, sewing, Project Life), because Wipocalypse, you know?  Then, I was like, “Hey, I should check on the next date for that.  Isn’t that coming up?”  Yeah, good thing I checked.

At first I was disappointed it was so soon because I haven’t made that much progress, but then I saw where I was last month and I really have made progress!  Go me!  I’ve only worked on one project for cross-stitching, the Dessert of the Month Club from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  Sometimes I get so envious of all the pages I visit where people have about five HAED projects in rotation, but then I realize if I did that, I’d probably need to give up all my other crafts.  And the internet.  I’ll never give up the internet.

I finished up April, and started and completed March, May, June, and January!  That puts me over half way through this AND I know what I want to do with this when I’m done.  I’m super glad I got a nice sewing machine, because I’m pretty sure this is going to become a panel in a tote for library books or other such stuff.

Where I was last time.

What I completed.

And:

I have totally never been to a stitching retreat or festival.  Hell, I’ve been knitting obsessed for years and I’ve only ever gone to like two knitting things.  I barely go to stores that sell stuff related to my crafts.  That’s because I’d hate for my bank account to leap out of my bank and into the hands of other people who will give me pile of craftastic goodness.

Just so you all know, I’m also on Instagram and I overgram my cross-stitch work.  Just saying.  Or check out my non-cross-stitch WIPs. 

Creativity Stalled, HELP!

I swear, if I were smart and really wanted to make a lot of stuff, I’d have our internet turned off and our iPad burned.  They are my time sucks.  I am blogging now, I know, so perhaps I should get up and knit, but isn’t blogging creative?  Let’s review the non-cross stitch projects I’m working on, shall we?  I think I’m going to keep my Wipocalypse posts for my cross stitch updates.

First up, the Snowman Blanket of DOOOOOOM!

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I have been rewarding myself every time I knit eight or ten rows of this with the ability to either knit on socks or work on cross stitch.  You might mock me for that, but it is slowly getting done.  I’m almost done the face now, and am working my towards the hat.  My son is now showing much more interest in the blanket as it gets to a more complete state and hugs it and says it is soft.  So’s his face.  (Literally.  He’s just such marshmallow cheeks.  It’s hard to resist just nibbling on them at times.)  I’m running out of white, so this might stall very very soon as I wait for some new balls of yarn to come in.  The worst part is that I’m basically so disillusioned by Knit Picks that I’m not even going to buy any other yarn there, so I’m paying shipping for two or three balls of yarn.  THE WORST.  They don’t even have any of the white yarn available until the end of June!

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My other knit project is my new anklets.  I’ve not gotten very far on them, but they are started and doing okay.  I’ve picked out a yarn for contrasting heels and toes and I’m hoping to have enough yarn left over from this very special hand dyed yarn from Amanda to make a hexipuff after this is all done!  Do you see my line for the afterthought heel I’m going to shove in?!

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On the sewing front, I’ve decided to get my butt in gear and I’ve cut out some of an open-wide pouch.  I’ve been wanting to try to make one.  Of course, rather than starting simple, I decided to do a patchwork bit on the exterior.  As I told my husband, “There’s no craft I don’t love to make more difficult and prone to failure!”

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That’s one of the fussy cut mermaids for the bag.

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Lastly, Project Life.  Ugh.  It’s my newest obsession.  I’m so so so obsessed.  I practically cuddle my journaling cards before I go to bed.  I’m surprised I don’t draw hearts with my name and their products on my notebooks, but if I had notebooks, I’d probably use scrapbooking embellishments to make those hearts.  I have a whole post planned for Project Life, so don’t be surprised to see that in the future.

What are you up to, readers?  I know some of you are very busy bees, but others never answer here.  I’m honestly curious, especially as I’ve seen a TEENSY uptick in readers recently.  (So tiny.  Like, if I get two new readers in a month, I honestly consider this amazing.)

Sock Differential

My cousin’s sweet sister-in-law (the one married to her husband’s brother rather than her husband’s sister) is crafty.  She sews, she knits, she asked me a question about socks on Instagram when I mentioned I planned on doing afterthought heels for the first time ever.  While most of the people who read this blog are either family, cross-stitchers, or sock knitting experts, I thought I’d give a quick run down of the different sock types for her.

The first and biggest difference, to me, is your basic choice of cuff-down or toe-up.  There are pros and cons for each type, but to break it down, cuff-down starts at the cuff.  You cast on the cuff and, normally, end up with kitchenering the toes shut.  This is the “normal” (ie, old-fashioned) method of knitting a sock.  It’s also the only method I’ve tried though I am going to try toe-up soon.

Toe-up is especially popular nowadays amongst the “in” knitting crowd, often combined with magic looping.  You cast on with the toes, sometimes with Judy’s Magic Cast On, and you bind off with the cuff, hopefully with a stretchy bind off like Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  (I’m 95% certain Judy and Jeny collaborated on the naming of the popular methods of casting on and binding off of toe-up socks just to confuse knitters.)  This method combined with two at a time knitting allows for using ALL of a yarn if you are really keen on using every last inch of yarn.

What’s that?  You want to know what magic looping is?  It’s one of the three popular choices of knitting needles for socks.  Basically, you use a circular needle with a gigantic cord (30-40 inches) and you use the cord to hold stitches you’re not working with.  This method is terrific for trying a sock on as you go.  Again, it is super popular amongst sock knitters, but I hate it.  I find the fiddling with the cord to be extremely fussy.  I know at least some of my friends who are knitters think it is the bee’s knees!  What are the two other popular methods?

DPNs.  I once had a knitting shop owner ask me what I meant when I told her I wanted to buy DPNs.  I never went back there after I told her and she sneered that she didn’t use internet lingo.  So, double-pointed needles are your classic sock knitting choice.  They normally come in sets of 4 or 5 and they come either longer (about nine inches) or shorter (about six inches).  DPNs are my beloved choice and I prefer to work with 5 needles.  They’re a throwback in this world of new and popular knitting techniques, but they definitely have a devoted following.

The third popular choice is two circs.  This basically means working on two circular needles with average length cabling.  This doesn’t have the fanbase that it used to have, but people who like to knit both socks at once LOVE this method.  (Prevent Second Sock Syndrome, they state.  Make sure your second sock never languishes unloved.)

There is a fourth choice which I don’t see being made very often and that is knitting a sock on a 9 inch circular needle.  Folks, that’s just crazypants.

What is another big choice for sock knitters?  Well, that’s what started this whole post.  What type of heel are you going to use with your sock?  Let’s go classic.  The heel flap is the old-fashioned choice and works normally with DPNs and cuff-down socks.  It’s not what a non-knitter thinks of when they think of the heels of their socks.  It normally consists of working approximately half the stitches of the sock into a flap which you then turn into a heel and finally pick up all the other stitches and gusset back down to a normally amount of stitches.  Here’s a look at a heel flap, cuff down sock.

Lorna's Laces SocksAnother popular choice (and my preferred method) is the short row heel.  This is much more what a non-knitter thinks of when they think of a sock heel.  You use short row knitting to create a pocket for holding your heel.  Let’s check one out.

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Over the last few years a lot of popular heel knitting methods have become popular, with the afterthought heel being a bit of a hit.  A lot of people swear by this method of heel knitting because it allows you to knit a straight tube (so easy) and then add a heel in afterwards.  It also seems to work great with self-striping yarns, which is always a big concern for people who pay a ton of money for pretty yarn.  You don’t want to see the heel looking less than fantastic!

The newest and biggest sensation is the Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  It’s the new kid on the block and it has knitting podcasters swooning.  I have yet to try it, but perhaps that might something I give a look at this year.

The very interesting thing with sock knitters is that most of them are both incredibly loyal to their favorite style/method of knitting/knitting needle choice/heel, but are also, simultaneously, looking for their new favorite.  So, for instance, this means that I normally knit a sock using a cuff-down method, with metal DPNs, a short row heel, and that I use my favorite type of yarn or colors.  However, I also will almost just as often switch out one or two of those things to try something new to see if I might like a different style or method of doing something to learn if that is my new favorite.  This will sometimes lead me to curse (like the time I tried to magic loop with Knit Picks needles) and it will sometimes mean I fall in love with something new (such as short row heels).  My suggestion is to keep learning but to also know that if you find something that works well for you, it’s okay to keep doing that method.

Sang-mi, I hope this helped you.  I know you stated you’re using Wise Hilda’s Basic Ribbed Sock pattern.  That is a cuff-down, heel flap sock pattern.  It’s a pretty good basic pattern and if you have problems, let me know.  I knit about ten pairs like it when I first started!

To the rest of you, I hope this was not boring, but I thought it’d be a good little bit for a beginner sock knitter to find if they ever came across it!