Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

February 22, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Drum carders and Hybrids… I have a Toyota Prius!

Drum carders have been on my radar since a few months after purchasing my Kromski Sonata (which I’ve named Ruth) spinning wheel, which I named Ruth. I bought her last February. Since the carder is most definitely a ‘want’ I put that item on the back burner, however, within the next few months, I’ll be turning that want into a reality and so I’m back to researching drum carders again. Eventually, I will be selling some of the fleeces that I do process and I’m thinking a medium sized drum carder would suit me well. No rush, I’m still looking.

2003 Toyota Prius – Stock Photo

My non-fiber related share is that that last Thursday, I purchased a Toyota Prius. The used car dealer brought it by the house. He let me take it for a test drive while he waited at the house. My goodness is it quiet. I can’t hear this vehicle when it’s running. Needless to say, he left our home without that Prius. He’d brought another person with him in case I purchased the vehicle. After he left, I went online and a few clicks later and I had insurance for my ‘new to me’ vehicle and about five minutes later, I placed another call to him to share the insurance information. Why? He’d offered to pick up the tags for me if I wanted him to. Wasn’t that nice? I did.  Since this was purchased at a used car dealership, it has been inspected. Do you what’s even more amazing? I’ve been waiting for a used Prius for about two years. It was something I’ve been praying about, but refused to jump at other opportunities. Of course I did my research, on my Prius, and researched it’s history and it checks out fine.

Don’t get me started on the mileage I’m receiving. In my Ford Expedition, 12 miles regular driving and perhaps 18 miles per gallon on the highway! Yes, that hurt. With the Prius? I’m currently I’m averaging 41 miles per gallon and on the high 51 miles per gallon. It only holds 9.9 gallons of gas and uses gas and electric. I’m definitely loving this hybrid and when I do have to purchase another vehicle (which hopefully won’t be for years down the road) it’ll most likely be another hybrid and yes… next month, I’ll start saving for my next car. By the time I need another (Lord willing years down the road) the funds will be there, just like this time. Ants and honeybees are my favorite insects, as a child, I would observe them for long periods of time as they went about performing their tasks. I was always impressed with their work ethic and it’s something I determined I would emulate. I had wonderful examples with my parents. Which brings to mind the following verse…

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7 Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8 Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8
New American Standard Bible

But back to my ‘new to me vehicle.’ It’s a 2003 Toyota Prius. That’s the first generation, second generation was produced in 2004. This car has only two owners, and they were maintained well.  This car does has 142, 000 miles. The mileage doesn’t phase me. High mileage is something that I’m seeing with a lot of Prius users and while I knew a a bit about them before, since acquiring one for myself I’ve done a lot of research as I do with anything. I’m not phased. I’ve read a lot about Prius’s and one thing they are known for is their mileage. That’s the first generation. And while I’ve always purchased used cars and have always paid for them in full. I dislike debt, and so I don’t have any. I must say that this is the oldest car that I have purchased and I love my Toyota Prius.

Oh by the way, I’ve named my Prius Naomi. I don’t usually name items. In fact, this is only the second item I named. The first being my Kromski Sonata, which I called… Ruth.

February 19, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Superfine merino, yak and silk for hand-knit socks… what’s not to love?

Towards the end of last week, I finally had the chance to take my brand new hand-knit socks for  test drive. These are the socks that are a blend of superfine merino and yak. I wore them to the gym! Of course, I took them off for my downtime in the sauna (which lasts and hour). Upon showering and returning home, I did not take them off my feet.

Hand-knit socks: Merino and yak

Yes, they felt that good. It’s still much too early to tell how they’ll hold up in several months. However, additional research seem to confirm my initial conclusions of yak. It appears to be a sturdy fiber. These socks have already been hand washed (twice) and they still look great, no pilling. I truly hope they are durable, because if so, I’ll definitely be purchasing more of that yarn. This blend is from Juniper Moon Farm – Tenzing, it’s sports weight,60% superfine merino wool and 40% yak. I specifically chose this blend because of the yak.

I didn’t follow someones pattern for the above socks.

Row 1: k2, p2

Row 2: Knit (repeat rows until you’ve reached desired length)

If I am knitting a patterned sock I don’t use a design on the sole of the sock. I much prefer using a simple stockinette stitch and then I pick up the pattern after finishing the heel.


Recycled photo: The above socks were originally being knit four at a time.

Do you remember this photo? I was knitting socks four at a time, but last week, I removed the socks on the right (daughter’s school socks) and put them on their own 40″ cable. I’ve decided to focus solely on her hand-knit socks and so they’ll be knit two at a time. How did I transfer them? I knit the new stitches onto the new interchangeable knitting needles with the 40″ cable. It worked perfectly. By the way, I used my needles from my new Hiya Hiya Sharps Sock interchangeable needles.  I used my size 0 needles.

My daughter’s school uniform socks: I’m knitting these socks two at a time. I’m using a fleegle heel with these socks.

Unlike the socks in the first picture,  I’m actually following a pattern for these socks. They’re called the Olympian socks and they were designed by Sheryl Giles. It’s free on Raverly! For this yarn, I chose Valley Yarns – Charlemont. It’s fingering weight and is a blend of 60% Fine Superwash Merino Wool/ 20% Silk/ 20% Polyamide. I tend to stay away from superwash and nylon, but since these were going to receive a lot of abuse, while she’s at school, I decided now was not the time to get picky. I do believe it will take at least one more week to complete these socks. They are going to be knee-highs and I’m on limited time.

The month is almost over and I’ve only knit one pair of hand-knit socks in February. Which brings the total number of socks that I’ve knit for 2017 to be six. My goal is make 20 hand-knit socks this year. I have 14 more pairs of hand-knit socks to complete. Barring anything out of the ordinary happening, I think that’s doable.


February 14, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

My valentines day (hand-knit) socks

Early this morning (a little after 12:00 a.m.) I finished knitting these socks. I’ll take better pictures soon.

My Valentine’s Day socks. Handknit socks Fleegle heel

I realized, when I was finishing them, that this is Valentine’s Day, and so I’ll just call them my Valentine’s Day socks. Currently, they are soaking in a nice bath of tepid water to which I’ll be adding a few drops of essential oils of lavender and cedarwood.

Handknit socks and yarn chicken

You know what? This is the first time I’ve played yarn chicken. See that strand at the top of the sock. That’s all that was left. I’ve been knitting since I was eight (38 years) and I never had to do that, until this morning.

I must say that I’m thrilled that I’m finally finished knitting these socks. Why wouldn’t I be? They were frogged four times, before I finally got them exactly how I wanted them. I’m a process crafter and I’m stubborn, so I will keep redoing until I get something exactly how I want them. With the amount of “do-overs” that happened, I could have easily knit two pairs of socks. These socks should have been ‘easy’ socks to finish (and completed in record time) since I used DK weight yarn instead of my fingering/sock weight yarn. However, I really focused on customizing these hand-knit socks and I also used a personalized sock template designed specifically for my feet. I adore the sock template! It was extremely helpful in gauging when I needed to start my heel. Moving forward, I’ll definitely be using them with all the socks I knit for my daughter and myself. Another ‘new thing’ with these socks was the fleegle heel. I will be using it in the future.

Because of the (seemingly) never-ending frogging  I really had a chance to put my brand-new Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable knitting needles set to good use and I must say, these were well worth the purchase. Yes, even though I already own the other two Hiya Hiya interchangeable Sharps (Small and Large) knitting needle sets. As my recent postings testify, I have a hand-knit sock addiction. My only regret is the Hiya HIya sharp sock interchangeable set don’t go down to a 000. However, I have fixed Hiya Hiya circulars that do.

I know I’ve said this many times since starting to write about my hand-knit sock obsession, but these are the most softest hand-knit socks that I’ve ever created. A softer fiber keeps knocking previous hand-knit socks out of this position.


These socks are made with super fine merino and yak. Yak, yep that shaggy animal makes an appearance in the creation of these hand-knit socks and it’s my first time knitting with this fiber. It’s still on my list of exotic fibers to spin. Because of the incredible softness, a minor thought is how will they withstand a lot of wear, but since I’m in not stopping knitting socks anytime soon, that’s fleeting, since there will be plenty of other hand-knit socks to wear.

After weaving a few ends (I typically do this while knitting so this is a non-issue) I did try them on and oh my goodness do they feel good. Since I knit these with my Size 0, Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock needles using DK weight yarn, these actually feel as if they would provide support, almost like a compression sock, might feel. I’ve never worn them, but based on how those socks are typically described, these might be similar.


February 8, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable knitting needles, Fleegle Heel and frogging

Yesterday, I was able to try out my new Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable knitting needles and I must say that I’m really pleased with them. As I already mentioned in an earlier post, I already have the Hiya Hiya Sharp Small and Large interchangeable knitting needles set and so acquiring the set devoted to sock needles, means I have all the sets.

If you already own the Hiya Hiya Sharp Small set, you might not want to make this purchase since two of the five needles are repeats; 2 US/2.75mm 4″ and the 2.5 US/3mm. However, since I do tend to knit a lot with both of those needles (and was already planning on purchasing at least one more of each) I bought them.

Hiya Hiya interchangeable tip adaptor

The Hiya Hiya interchangeable sock set set contains  one set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable tip adapters. These adapters are useful since you can use your larger needles from the Small interchangeable set with your Sock needle set and while some knitters might not swap between sizes when knitting an item, I do. Yes… even with my much loved hand-knit socks. What I did not see was an interchangeable tip adapter that allows you to swap from your sock needle set to the small set.   I’ll have to research a bit more to see if those are available and if not, I’ll follow up with one of the owners who is on Facebook.

But back to my new Hiya Hiya interchangeable sock needles. The cable color is different than the blue cable that I’ve become used to with the Small and Large Hiya Hiya interchangeable set. The cords are pink. I’m unsure if that’s the standard for all the interchangeable sock needle sets, but it’s the color in my set. Although it’s a minor detail, I do prefer the pink cable over the blue. Which is saying a lot, since I don’t actively choose pink with anything.

Below, I’ve included pictures of the socks in progress that I used with these needles.

Fleegle heel. I’m about to do the decreases

This is that squishably soft yarn (superfine merino and yak) that I wrote about in an earlier post. What heel did I use? Fleegle! The ‘Fleegle heel’ is a “new to me heel.” I used the size 1.5 needles for the heel flap on my latest socks, which I’ve shown above. Before, I was mainly using german short rows for my heels.

Hand-knit socks – Fleegle Heel

I must say I really like this heel a lot and it will most likely be one that I use often.

Hand-knit socks – Fleegle heel

While I was extremely satisfied with the fleegle heel, I wasn’t thrilled with the socks fit and so these socks will be frogged… again. Yes, I said… again! This will make the fourth time that I’ve frogged (ripped out stitches) these socks. It’s definitely my fault. With the first frogging, I forgot that this yarn is DK weight which meant I did not need to cast on as many stitches. The second frogging I decided I wanted to switch to different pattern (another one by me) and the third frogging? Well, it has everything to do with the fact that I did not make the foot long enough. So much for eyeballing, right? Instead of having to go through the hassle and sticking my foot into the sock, today, I will take the time to trace my feet and mark where I will stop for the heel flap.

Thank goodness, that I am a process knitter. Although I’ve easily spent 30+ hours on these socks (I’m factoring in everything) I’m not bothered by that at all. When it comes to my crafting adventures, I enjoy the journey.

Earlier this week, I posted the links for creating the fleegle heel. However, I’ll post them again. Enjoy!

Check out this link for the written tutorial of how to create a Fleegle heel and be sure to view the video included below.



February 6, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

They’re here! Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable set

In my last post I mentioned that I finally purchased the Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable Set. This had been sitting on my want list for months and while I could have easily purchased them when they were released, I didn’t. Well, I’m happy to say that they arrived today and while I have not had a chance to take them for a test drive yet, I’ll be knitting with them soon.

Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable set

Check out the beautiful brocade knitting case. Isn’t it gorgeous? Do you see those socks? They are my newest socks in progress and I’m actually knitting them two at a time. I’ve been knitting socks four at a time, so this is a step down from my normal way of knitting socks. The fiber is superfine merino and yak! Yes… yak! Yak is at least three times warmer than sheep’s wool. I must say this makes for some incredibly soft yarn. In fact, this is the softest fiber that I’ve used for socks thus far. I’ll be tempted to see how they hold up?

What sizes are included with this set?

  • 1 set of 0 US/2mm 5″ HiyaHiya SHARP Steel Interchangeable Tips
  • 1 set of 1 US/2.25mm 5″ HiyaHiya SHARP Steel Interchangeable Tips
  • 1 set of 1.5 US/2.5mm 5″ HiyaHiya SHARP Steel Interchangeable Tips
  • 1 set of 2 US/2.75mm 4″ HiyaHiya SHARP Steel Interchangeable Tips*
  • 1 set of 2.5 US/3mm 4″ HiyaHiya SHARP Steel Interchangeable Tips*
  • 2 24″ Sock Interchangeable cables
  • 1 32″ Sock Interchangeable cable
  • 1 40″ Sock Interchangeable cable
  • 1 Set of SOCK Interchangeable Tip Adapters
  • 1 Interchangeable Tool
  • 1 Set of Needle Grips
  • 1 HiyaHiya Interchangeable Needle Case
  • Hiya-Hiya Sheep Needle Gauge

The Sock Interchangeable Tip adapters allow knitters to utilize the HiyaHiya size 2-8US interchangeable tips with the Sock Cables.
*Using 4” 2 and 2.5US cables with the Sock Interchangeable Tip Adapter and a Sock Interchangeable cable creates a 5” interchangeable tip.


I now have all three Hiya Hiya interchangeable Steel Sharps sets

I love that my Hiya Hiya interchangeable sock needles case is a different color than my other two Hiya Hiya Sharp interchangeable sets. Because of that, I’ll be able to easily identify my sock/lace knitting needles from the other two sets.

Another view of my Hiya Hiya Steel Sharp sets. Look at all those pointy needles!

Here’s another look at all three sets, but this time I’m showing all my needles. In total, I spent over $200 for them. I didn’t purchase the sets all at once. I’ve had my Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeable Set (small and large) for at least three years and of course I purchased the Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable set last week. Like this purchase, these sets were on my wants list for a bit before I made the purchase. I will say that I have no regrets in any of these purchases. My Hiya Hiya needles are the only knitting needles I use now. Before, I was using KnitPicks Options, however I gave those away to another knitter. For her, they were an upgrade.

Well, I’m about to take my new sock needles for a test drive. Checking out the first picture, you’ll see my two at a time, toe-up socks. I’m about to add a lifeline and start making a Fleegle heel. It’s my first time using the Fleegle heel and so it makes sense to install a lifeline in case I make mistakes. Check out this link for the written tutorial of how to create a Fleegle heel and be sure to view the video included below.