Category Archives: KNITTING

Patterns and projects for the handknitter.

Plant Dyes and Your Health

Did you know that textiles dyed with plant dyes can be good for you?
As a part of my personal search for a healthier lifestyle, I am on an ongoing quest to learn more about natural plant dyes, their uses and how to achieve the range of colours that plant dyes can produce. In this age of mass production, I fear that we are losing much of the knowledge that our ancestors had about how to make things using the raw materials that nature provides.

In my latest googling, I made a remarkable discovery (well, remarkable to me at least, as I had never heard of this before) Most natural plant dyes are anti-microbial. When yarns or fabrics are dyed using natural dyes and come into contact with bacteria, they prevent their spread.

Amazing, right? It is amazing to think that our ancestors who made and wore natural plant dyed fabrics, before the days of antibiotics or even much knowledge about germs, were also giving themselves protection against the spread of disease- Naturally.

Nature looks after us. The trees and plants clean our air. Roots of some plants clean up the soil, removing hazardous materials. Plants provide humans and other animals food to live on. Plants provide us with clothing (such as flax and cotton) Before the age of pharmaceuticals, plants were used as medicines. Plants also add colour to our clothing. And in addition to that, the natural dyes from the plants reduced the spread of harmful bacteria.

Yet here we are, purposefully destroying our whole eco-system that has sustained us for thousands of years.
We are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful effects of fossil fuels, of the use of plastics that pollute our rivers and streams, of the destruction of the rain forests. The problem seems insurmountable as our planet struggles with climate change.

I think to tackle part of this plastics problem, we have to start small, with the positive things that we can do within our own environment. Saying no to plastic bags, re-using and recycling whenever possible. Making changes to our buying habits. Shopping for locally produced foods and materials. Read labels – don’t buy products that contain plastics, acrylics, polyester.

As part of this, I think that textile crafters can play a huge part in this – choosing not to use yarns and fabrics that contain plastic content. Buy natural wools, cottons, linen, hemp, alpaca, mohair, silk and other natural fibres instead. Say no to superwash yarns. And in helping to revive the traditional crafts and skills of textiles, working with fibres, spinning, weaving, natural dyes. I know that it is currently quite difficult to source and find natural wools but a few are still available. Yes, clothes may need a bit of extra care when washing, but then you know that your washing machine is not flushing micro-plastics into our water systems.

Clothing is one of our major commodities and fabric and clothing manufacturing is a high polluter. If demand for plastics and synthetic fibres diminish, the industry will change. Knit, crochet, weave and wear yarns and clothing that have been dyed with natural plant materials rather than harmful synthetic dyes. Experiment with using and making natural dyes. Some of these dye plants can be found in your kitchen – such as promegranate peels, onion skins, turmeric and other spices. If you have space, plant some trees and a dye garden. The bonus of using natural materials rather than synthetics is, that your clothing will also provide you with some protection against diseases, reducing the need for antibiotic use.

Natural dyes are a good thing. In my research, I came across numerous research studies that have been done in the past several years about dye plants and their effectiveness against harmful microbes such as:
Escherichia coli
Sarcina lutea
Proteus vulgaris
Bacillus subtilis
Klebsiella pneumoniae
Staphylocccus aures
Enterococcus faecalis
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Candida albicans

Researchers have been investigating the anti-microbial properties of plant dyes in order to develop commercial applications to produce textiles for use in hospital and clinical situations to help reduce the harmful spread of bacteria.
Some of the plants were more effective against different bacteria than others. Also stronger dye concentrations had higher microbial effects. I suppose that if you wore clothing of different colours and dyed with different dye plants, there might be a synergistic effect, giving you better microbe resistance. Also perhaps overdye techniques could be used with the dyes, producing different colours as well as added resistance.
In addition to confirming that many natural dye plants have bacteria killing properties, they also tested the washability of the plant dyes and found that the dyes were wash fast and the anti-microbial effects did not wash out of the textiles when they were properly mordanted.
Potassium aluminum sulphate (Alum) was used in most of the studies as a mordant.

Some of the natural plant dyes that have been tested with positive results for their antimicrobial resistance are:

LATIN NAME – PART OF PLANT/COLOUR – COMMON NAME (links to Dye Recipes)
Rhamnus petiolaris –  Fruit Yellow-orange – Persian berries, Buckthorn bark
Juglans regia –  Green fruit- peel Brown – Walnut
Laurus nobilis –  Leaf, Light yellow –  Bay tree
Erica manipuliflora –  Above ground – Brown, yellow, – Heather
Vitex   Leaf Light brown, greenish –  Chaste Tree
Juniperus foetidissima – Leaf, Light yellow, -Juniper
Juniperus excelsa – Leaf , Light yellow, – Greek Juniper
Berberis vulgaris – Fruit, Yellow-Orange –  Barberry
Lawsonia inermis  -Leaf Red, Brown -Henna
Agrimonia eupatoria – Leaf, Yellow  – Agrimony
Cistus creticus –  Leaf, Brown Yellow – Cretan rockrose
Reseda lutea-  Flower, Yellow –  Weld
Sambucus nigra – Leaf, Yellow – Elderberry
Punica granatum – Fruit peel, Yellow -Pomegranate
Eucalyptus globulus  – Leaf  – Eucalyptus
Matricaria chamomilla  – Flower  – camomile
Pinus brutia –  Bark , Brown – Pine tree
Platanus orientalis – Bark , Red, Sycamore –  Oriental Plane
Cartamus tinctorius -Flower, Yellow ,- Safflower
Salvia officinalis ,Leaf  – Yellow-orange, green –  Sage
Verbascum orientale – Leaf, yellow – Mullein
Allium cepa – Dry outer leaf, Yellow-orange – Onion
Rhus coriaria – Flower ,Yellow, brown  – Sumac
Curcuma longa – Flower, Yellow – Turmeric
Olea europaea – Leaf , Yellow-green –  Olive tree
Quercus infectoria – Oak galls
Acacia Catechu –  Cutch
Rheum Emodi – Himalayan rhubarb
Rubia cordifolia –  Indian madder
Rumex maritimus – Golden dock
Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum -Shikonin –  Purple Gromwell
Alkanna tinctoria – Alkanet
Haematoxylum campechianum – heartwood, blues, grey, brown, black – Logwood
Butea monosperma – Flowers, yellow – Bastard Teak Flame of the Forest
Rheum australe – Rhizomes, oranges, yellow – Himalayan Rhubarb

With winter and ‘flu season coming up, perhaps it is time to knit a scarf using naturally dyed yarns?

References
Antimicrobial Activities of Some Natural Dyes and Dyed Wool Yarn
In this study researchers tested 25 natural dye plants for their effectiveness against micro-organisms.
Punica granatum (Pomegranate peels) Berberis vulgaris (Barberry), Agrimonia eupatoria (Agrimony), Rhus coriaria (Sumac) were effective against all bacteria. Sarcina lutea, Bacillus subtilis, MRSA and Enterococcus faecalis were sensitive to almost all dye extracts even at low concentrations. The dyed wool material tested with microorganisms, and maximum inhibition rates were obtained against S. lutea and MRSA of wool samples dyed with P. granatum and R. coriaria, respectively, while there was a drastic decrease in E. faecalis growth with the A. cepa (Onion skins) and R. petiolaris (Buckthorn).

Antibacterial Activity of Cationised Cotton Dyed with Some Natural Dyes
Madder, Logwood, Cutch and Chelidonium majus (Greater Celindine) were tested against common pathogens Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus favus and Candida albicans. Chelidonium majus dye was most effective and showed maximum zone of inhibition there by indicating best antimicrobial activity against all the microbes tested.

Antimicrobial activity of some natural dyes
Four natural dyes Acacia catechu (Cutch), Kerria lacca (Lac), Quercus infectoria (Oak Galls), Rubia cordifolia (Indian Madder) and Rumex maritimus (Golden Dock) were tested against common pathogens Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Quercus infectoria dye was most effective and showed maximum zone of inhibition thereby indicating best antimicrobial activity against all the microbes tested.

Antibacterial Efficacy of Natural Dye from Melia compositaLeaves and Its Application in Sanitized and Protective Textiles
“Almost all these synthetic colorants being synthesized
from petrochemical sources through hazardous chemical processes
pose threat towards the environment and human body health.”
.
“Worldwide environmental consciousness coupled with increased awareness of environmental hazards of synthetic dyes has led to the revival of interest in natural dyes due to their non-polluting and nontoxic nature. Consequently, numerous researches in recent years have focused on development of non toxic and eco-friendly natural dyes for textiles colouration6. Natural dyes are being preferred over synthetics owing to their eco-friendliness i.e. they do not create any
environmental problems at the stage of production or use
.  Furthermore, in addition to their dye-yielding characteristics, some of dyeyielding plants also possess medicinal value. Some natural dyes have
intrinsic additional properties such as antibacterial, antifungal, moth
proof, anti-allergy, anti-UV, etc”

Melia composita (China berry) leaves were extracted into boiling water for 70 minutes. The extract was used to dye silk, wool and cotton. The fabric dyed with the natural dye was tested against gram
positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus epidermidis
and Bacillus cereus and gram negative bacteria, Escherichia coli,
Klebsiella pneumonia, Shigella flexneri and Proteus vulgaris. The dyed samples were evaluated against Ampicillin and Streptomycin. Ampicillin and Streptomycin. “The study led to the conclusion that leaves of Melia composita can be a potential source of ecofriendly natural dye with
remarkable antibacterial potency and the textile materials dyed with
this natural dye can be very useful in developing sanitized fabrics for
medical applications and protective clothing to protect users against common infections.

Natural dyes and its Antimicrobial Effect
Textile manufacturers are aware that there is a growing trend to natural and environmentally safe products.The International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) –Volume-42 Number-3 -December 2016 states that:
“In the early 21st century, the market for natural dyes in the fashion industry is experiencing a resurge.Westernconsumers have become more concerned about the health and environmental impact of synthetic dyes in manufacturing and there is a growing demand for products that use natural dyes.Completely capturing the market with natural dyed fabric is an urgent need to maintain a safe environment. “

Colour, health and wellbeing: The hidden qualities and properties of natural dyes
In the journal of the International Colour Association (2013), Kate Wells discusses the possibilites of the uses of natural dyes to improve the health and well-being of mankind.

More
No-Nylon Sock Knitting

Natural Dye Books

The Wild Dyer: A Maker’s Guide to Natural Dyes with Projects to Create and Stitch (learn how to forage for plants, prepare textiles for dyeing, and … from coasters to a patchwork blanket)

The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers

A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present

Natural Dyes: Sources, Traditions, Technology & Science

No-Nylon Sock Knitting

Since I had cancer last year, I have spent time examining how I live and what possible environmental effects could have had an influence on getting this disease. I have had to change many things in my life and to examine what foods I eat, the types of fabrics and clothes that I wear, the yarns, fibres and dyes that I use in my work. In addition to the air pollution around us from cars and factories, working as a weaver/spinner, we know that fibre creates dust and small airborne particles that we breathe. Those particles get into our lungs, our food, and everything we touch and can be absorbed by our skin.
As we know, in recent months there has been growing concern about the use of microplastics, that pollute our rivers, streams, oceans and invade the delicate balance of our world. The concern is not just plastic bags, plastic water bottles but also the bits of plastic particles that are in most of our clothing and fabrics.

So the gentle hobby of knitting that we enjoy also has an impact on our world. What yarns we choose to knit with and to wear can make a difference. Since it is November and the days are cold, I have been knitting some socks and mittens. There are many yarns and fibres to choose from – wools, mohair, silks, cottons,yak, alpaca, cashmere. A random Google search led me to a huge selection of sock yarns. When I looked at the fibre content of the yarn blends, most of them contain 10% to 25% nylon/polyamide. That might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up.
I begin to wonder, is nylon really necessary to add to the sock to give it strength? When you add up all the wools and other yarns that contain nylon, that adds up to a lot of microplastics.
When I knit socks that contain nylon, I find that they do wear out rather quickly at the heels and the bottom of the foot. I look at the yarn and how it has worn, and I see that the wool has broken and the nylon remains. I wonder if the nylon could be abrasive and causes the wool to wear?

I thought back to the days when my mother used to knit hats, mittens, socks, sweaters for our family. My Dad, my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews each got a sock, hat and mitten set every Christmas. She only used pure wool for her knitting. The socks were hard-wearing and almost never wore out. Our sock drawers were full of hand knit socks, made many years ago, though we did get a new pair to add to the collection every year. When the socks did get a bit worn, she would darn them with other bits of leftover wool. Make do and mend, and those socks would again be warm and durable.
I found some of my mother’s old double point sock knitting needles. I remember that she would use different sizes of needles for the socks – for the body of the sock she used a slightly thicker size of needle and a thinner one for the heel and foot of the socks. I measured her old knitting needles – and the fine ones were 2.0.

Sock Knitting Needles
Sock Knitting Needles

For socks that I knit, I have been using the recommended 2.5 mm to 3.0 mm for most of my knitting and the socks do wear out quickly. Perhaps the socks also need to be knit with a tighter tension to give the sock more strength. I will test this and knit with my mother’s fine needles on my next pair of socks.

As a hand spinner I am aware that the type of wool fibre that you use can make a difference to the durability and softness of the sock. And also how the yarn is spun – with a tight twist or a loosely spun one.
Wool spun for socks should be made from a sheep breed that has a long staple length and is worsted spun with a tight twist. Soft wools such as merino are not really suitable as the fibre is very fine, the staple length is short and I find that merino tends to break off and pill when it is worn. Merino is better suited for knitting lace shawls, hats or wool sweaters that don’t demand a lot of hard use.
I have some wool sensitivites and I find that many wools make me itch and can give me a rash. A sheep breed such as Blue Faced Leicester is my favourite yarn for knitting. Romney is also another favourite of mine, though it is difficult to find in the UK.
It is difficult to find a sock yarn that doesn’t contain some amount of nylon. Perhaps if we as consumers become more demanding and ask yarn companies to produce yarns that are nylon free, non-superwash, and use eco-friendly dyes and methods, this will change. For now, I dye my own yarns with natural plant dyes. Both for personal use and for sale. You can find some of my Indie dyed yarns in my Paivatar Yarn Etsy Shop. Please also support other Indie dyers and crafters who work with natural materials.

Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers
Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers

Comments from Readers
After publishing this post, I received this comment from a long time friend and All Fiber Arts community member.

I never did like the idea of nylon in our wool socks. I did not believe that it make the socks last longer; I just could never understand how it could. What I knew was that the wool would disappear and the nylon would remain behind — and we THOUGHT that made the socks stronger. It didn’t.

I remember many years ago, I had purchased a pair of socks, machine made, that looked sort of home-made. They were in a natural sort of uneven grey colour, and appeared to be warm. They weren’t. They were not even wool, but mostly a loosely spun acrylic! [I didn’t read labels very carefully back then!] They wore out very fast…. I perhaps only wore them twice, and they seemed to wash away! I had holes in the bottom of the heel and ball of foot.

So I darned them. I decided to do duplicate stitch. After all, I could see the stitches (in nylon) and the rest of the sock had vanished. So it seemed so easy to just stitch over the stitches as they were already there, and it would all be good! Famous last words.

It seemed to take so long to do! I used my own hand-spun yarn, and covered the hole with neatly made stitches just as they were. For a darning mushroom, I used a light bulb (remember those?). I stitched a little beyond the hole so it would blend in. The heel was done with short rows, and I followed the pattern, and discovered how they were made. I stitched under the ball of the foot, and then the toe, and any thin area. I never knew where to stop! I mean, should I go only up to this stitch, or should I include the one next to it as well? I really felt that I could have knit the socks from scratch with my own yarn faster than it took to darn them! But it was a very good learning experience.

[I do remember where I was living at the time. I was sitting in my kitchen, with the oven door open — it was very cold then in winter, and I had little heat. I was listening to the federal finance minister presenting his budget at that time as well. I remember very well thinking whether he ever has sat and darned his own socks! If he did, THEN he could talk to me about restraint and higher taxes!]

When I did a lot of weaving, I do remember reading somewhere that you should NOT use nylon as a warp when weaving rugs because it would cut through your wool weft. That was a revelation to me…. and I always remembered that. So putting nylon in socks seems to be counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t the nylon cut through the wool? Of course it did! But that only meant you would have to buy more socks sooner! [there is some sense behind their madness!]

I could never understand how the addition of the nylon, whether blended with the wool, or added while knitting, could make the wool last longer. All I could see is that the wool could disappear, but the stitch would still hold together… there could still be some fabric there…. and it would “last longer”.

I thank you for bringing this to our attention. I don’t like the prevalence of all these synthetics in our lives. I can’t believe they are doing us any good. I am so distressed when those ignorant knitters on the forum write that they HAVE to use acrylics for their grandkids because their children are too busy to be able to hand-wash any baby clothes. But they prefer to give them toxic clothes instead? Have any of you ever seen a baby burned by melting acrylics?? As you know, wool does not burn without a flame on it. Only one conclusion in my mind.

We need to be reminded of these things from time to time. We soon get caught in the ways of the world, and we forget. Until it is too late.

TG

Plastics and Pollution
I was very happy to see in The Guardian newspaper today a beginning of awareness that the clothing we wear has an impact on the world around us.
The Christmas Jumper, so loved by everyone in the holiday season, is causing harm to our planet.
Christmas Jumpers Add to Plastic Pollution
“95% of the jumpers were made wholly or partly of plastic materials. The charity said the garment had become one of the worst examples of fast fashion, now recognised as hugely damaging to the environment.”

The contribution of washing processes of synthetic clothes to microplastic pollution
Recent estimations have assessed that synthetic clothes contributes by about 35% to the global release of primary microplastics to the world oceans, thus becoming the main source of microplastics.

More
Plant Dyes and Your Health

Sock Knitting Books
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Patterns

The Sock Knitter’s Handbook: Expert Advice, Tips, and Tricks

The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime

Knitting Vintage Socks

Knit Like a Latvian – Socks: 50 Knitting Patterns for Knee Length, Ankle and Footless Socks

150 Scandinavian Motifs: The Knitter’s Directory

Poppy Day

November 11 – Remembrance Day
It’s poppy time!
Why not knit or crochet a hand made poppy or two to remember this day and those who fought so that we can be safe. Please remember, if you sell any of these handmade poppies, please donate the funds to your local Legion. This is their main source of funding.

Here are some links to free Knit and Crochet Poppy patterns:

Crochet Poppies

1: Using Black yarn Chain 6, join.
2: Double Crochet 12 stitches in round.
Change to Red Yarn
3: 2 Double crochet in each stitch (24)
DC, *(2 Treble in next stitch) repeat 4 times.DC. This forms the first petal.
Repeat 3 more times.
4: 2 DC in each stitch.
5: Change to Green Yarn. Join yarn in between 2 of the petals.
2 DC. Turn
6: Chain 1, 2 DC. Turn (3)
7: Chain 1, 1 DC in each stitch. Turn
8: Chain 1. 1 DC in each stitch. Turn
9: Chain 1. 1 DC in each stitch.
Cut Yarn and sew in all the ends.

More Crochet Poppy Patterns

Poppy Pattern

Womans Weekly Poppy Pattern

Knitted Poppies

ChiKnitters Stitch’n’Bitch
Our local Stitch’n’Bitch group that meets weekly at Chichester’s Park Tavern Pub crocheted some poppies last year. Proceeds from sales went to the British Legion – Last year our efforts made it into our local newspaper.
The Observer

Knit and Crochet Flower Pattern Books

Crochet Flowers: 66 Different Flowers to Crochet

Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More

200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments & Trims: Contemporary designs for embellishing all of your accessories

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Prym sock loom heel

In an earlier article I described how to knit in the round on a Prym sock loom. I find the instructions that come with the knitting loom a bit difficult to understand, so I have adapted the method slightly. I hope that you will find this a bit easier to follow. Please let me know if anything is not clear or you need additional help.

Prym sock heel

For this sock I used Regia 4 ply sock yarn – which is quite fine so I have used a double set of loops as I cast on. For heavier weight yarns you would only use 1 loop around the pegs. I am using an E wrap stitch for knitting this sock.

Regia Sock Yarn Prints – Clown Rings

The Prym sock loom is conveniently marked with the start and end positions for turning the heel. In the centre of the knitting loom you will see labels 1R, 1L and 16R, 16L (for the Medium size loom)
Once you have knit the length of the leg of the sock and you are ready to start the heel, you will be working on only 1 half of the stitches to complete the heel. So knitting from 1R to 16R and reversing back, knitting from 16R to 1 R. The remaining stitches 1L to 16L stay on the hooks, untouched until you complete the heel.

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Decreasing the Heel

Heel Row 1: To knit the first row of the heel, starting at 1R, knit as usual, wrap the yarn around the pegs from 1R to 16R and cast off.
Heel Row 2: At 16R reverse the direction working your way back to 1R, wrap the yarn around the pegs and cast off that row.
Heel Row 3: When you are back to 1R, then work your way back, this time starting at 2R. Wrap the pegs from 2R to 15R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 4: Reverse the direction, knitting your way back to 2R.
Heel Row 5: Starting at 3R, wrap the pegs to 14R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 6: Reverse the direction and wrap the pegs from 14R to 3R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 7: Starting at 4R, wrap the pegs to 13R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 8: Reverse the direction and wrap the pegs from 13R to 4R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 9: Starting at 5R, wrap the pegs to 12R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 10: Reverse the direction and wrap the pegs from 12R to 5R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 11: Starting at 6R, wrap the pegs to 11R and cast off the row.
Heel Row 12: Reverse the direction and wrap the pegs from 11R to 6R and cast off the row.

Prym sock loom diagram

The instructions that come with the Prym loom suggest that for the Left sock, work your way from 1L to 16L in the same fashion, but in my opinion this doesn’t really matter as usually socks for left and right feet are the same, unless you are knitting a pattern into each sock that is only on one side.

Once you have knit the heel back and forth to pegs 6R – 11R the heel will have a V-shape.

Prym Sock Heel

You will now do the reverse of the knitting as you did above, but increasing a stitch on either side, working your way from 6R back to 1R.

Increasing the Heel

Because you have increased rows over part of the sock, there will be a gap or hole left at the end of each row of the heel. In order to avoid this gap from forming, you will need to also pick up or carry a stitch from the next peg as you knit the next row. This is similar to passing over a slip stitch in traditional knitting.
To do this, as you work each row back and forth, pick up a stitch from the previous peg and lift it to the peg you are starting and ending on.
I find it easier to use a small 2.25 mm crochet hook to do this, rather than the pickup stick that comes with the Prym loom.
Crochet Hook Size Chart

Prym sock knitting

Heel Row 13:
Working on peg 6R, Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 5R and lift it onto 6R. There will now be 3 loops on peg 6R.
Do the same on the opposite side. Pick up the loop from the back of peg 12R and lift it onto peg 11R. Peg 11R will now have 3 stitches.
Prym Sock loom heel
Wrap the loops from 6R to 11R and cast off the row.
(As you wrap the loop around the first peg (6R) this will now have 4 stitches on it. Cast these off until you have 2 stitches remaining. Continue to knit around to 11R – where you will have 4 stitches on the peg, knit these off back to 2 stitches)
Heel Row 14: Knitting in reverse, wrap the loops from 11R to 6R and cast off the stitches.

Heel Row 15:
Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 4R and lift it to 5R.
On the other side of the sock, Pick up the loop from back of 13R and lift it to 12R.
Wrap the loops starting with peg 5R to 12R and cast off the stitches.
Heel Row 16: Knitting in reverse, wrap the pegs from 12R to 5R and cast off the stitches.

Heel Row 17:
Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 3R and lift it to 4R.
On the other side of the sock, Pick up the loop from back of 14R and lift it to 13R.
Wrap the loops starting with peg 4R to 13R and cast off the stitches.
Heel Row 18: Knitting in reverse, wrap the pegs from 13R to 4R and cast off the stitches.

Heel Row 19:
Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 2R and lift it to 3R.
On the other side of the sock, Pick up the loop from back of 15R and lift it to 14R.
Wrap the loops starting with peg 3R to 14R and cast off the stitches.
Heel Row 20: Knitting in reverse, wrap the pegs from 14R to 3R and cast off the stitches.

Heel Row 21:
Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 1R and lift it to 2R.
On the other side of the sock, Pick up the loop from back of 16R and lift it to 15R.
Wrap the loops starting with peg 2R to 15R and cast off the stitches.
Heel Row 22: Knitting in reverse, wrap the pegs from 15R to 2R and cast off the stitches.

Heel Row 23:
Pick up the loop from the back of the previous peg 1L and lift it to 1R.
On the other side of the sock, Pick up the loop from back of 16L and lift it to 16R.
Wrap the loops starting with peg 1R to 16R and cast off the stitches.
Heel Row 24: Knitting in reverse, wrap the pegs from 16R to 1R and cast off the stitches.

Prym sock heel diagram

You have now completed knitting the heel and you can resume knitting the foot of the sock in the round, as you did for the leg of the sock.

Prym Sock Loom: How to Knit the Heel – You Tube Video

COMING NEXT:
How to knit the toe of the sock.

Prym Sock Knitting Loom

The Prym knitting loom is currently available for sale in the UK. You can purchase it on
Amazon UK

Prym Knitting Sock Loom
Prym sock loom

Canada
Karp Styles
UK
Here a few other vendors in the UK who sell the Prym knitting looms. Perhaps they are also willing to ship worldwide.
Knit and Sew
Purple Linda Crafts
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Loom Knitting Books
Loom Knitting Socks: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting Socks on a Loom with Over 50 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)

Big Book of Loom Knitting: Learn to Loom Knit

Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary | Knitting | Leisure Arts (75566)
Loom Knitting Primer (Second Edition): A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting on a Loom with Over 35 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)
I Can’t Believe I’m Loom Knitting (Leisure Arts 5250)

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Ashford Kiwi-3 Spinning Wheel - Unfinished, Folding Treadles - FREE Shipping

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Prym sock loom

I purchased a Prym sock loom today. I have read mixed reviews of them but thought I would give it a try. This knitting loom is similar to the round knitting looms but it is oval in shape. It has a rubberized base and the metal pegs look like bent paper clips. With the unique paper clip shape to the pegs, there is plenty of space to pick up or hook the stitch as you are knitting the loops. There are no rough edges and I find that it is quite easy to hold in your hand, and compact and portable to toss into my purse or knitting bag to take with me. The Prym knitting loom comes with a pickup stick that looks similar to a knitting needle. I use this for picking up the stitches but have also found it handy to also have a small crochet hook for picking up different weights of yarn.

The Prym Sock Loom comes in 3 sizes ranging from small to wide feet:

SIZE # PEGS CIRCUMFERENCE UK EU US
Small 28 pegs 26 cm 3.5-12.5 20-31 4-13
Medium 32 pegs 29.5 cm 0-5 32-38 2-7
Large 36 pegs 33 cm 6-11 39-46 7.5-13

Sock Size Knitting Chart

You can make the socks any length you like, regardless of which size of knitting loom you purchased.
This chart gives the length for foot of the sock for different shoe sizes.

EU UK US Foot length
39-40 5.5-6.5 7.5-8.5 16 cm
41-42 7-8 9-10 17 cm
43-44 8.5-9.5 10.5-11.5 18 cm
45-46 10-11.5 12-13 19 cm

Knitting with this type of sock loom is very similar to spool or cork knitting.
How to Use a Corker

Prym sock mill

The instructions that came with the knitting loom are a bit difficult to follow as they are written in several languages.
I have rewritten the instructions to make this easier to understand.

To knit on this loom, each loop round is followed by a cast off round. Together this makes a knitted row.
To start, For thicker yarns, loop the yarn around each peg in 2 rounds, followed by a cast off round.
For finer yarns, loop the yarn around each peg in 3 rounds, followed by a cast off round.

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I am using Regia 4 ply sock yarn for this pair of socks. Because I am using a fine yarn, I am using the Triple loop method, looping 3 rounds onto the pegs before casting off.

Looping Round
1. Place the yarn from back to front onto starting position 0, leaving a length of 15 cm hanging from the back.

2. Loop the yarn counter-clockwise around the peg 1L, then around peg 1R, 2R, 3R and so on, working your way clock-wise around the loom.
Prym sock knitting
3. The first looping round is finished when peg 1L has been looped twice.

4. Loop the second round in the same way on top of the first round.
The round is finished when peg 1L has been looped 3 times.
Prym sock knitting mill

Cast off round
Use the cast-off needle to cast off.
To do this, pick up the bottom loop on the peg and lift it up and over the peg.
After each cast off, push the stitches down the peg to adjust the tension.
Continue to cast off working your way around the loom.

To cast off Double loops, Lift the bottom stitch over the top stitch and over the peg. The peg now has one stitch left.

To cast off Triple loops, Lift the bottom stitch over the 2 upper stitches and over the peg. The peg now has 2 stitches left.

Continue working around the sock knitter, alternating between Looping and Casting off rows.
The knitting develops behind the pegs. After about 5-10 rows (depending on the thickness of your yarn) you will begin to see the knitted rows below the knitting loom. I found it much easier to control the tension once the sock had some length as I could gently tug on the bottom of the sock to keep the yarn from slipping off the pegs.

sock loom knitting

Continue knitting around until you reach the desired length for the cuff of your sock.

U-Tube: How to Knit on a Prym Sock Loom

Knitting with the E-stitch

NEXT:
How to turn the heel
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Prym Sock Knitting Loom

The Prym knitting loom is currently available for sale in the UK. You can purchase it on
Amazon UK

Prym Knitting Sock Loom
Prym sock loom

I am not sure if the Prym knitting loom is for sale yet in the US. If it is, could you please let me know so that I can add links for where to purchase one.
Canada
Karp Styles
UK
Here a few other vendors in the UK who sell the Prym knitting looms. Perhaps they are also willing to ship worldwide.
Knit and Sew
Purple Linda Crafts

Loom Knitting Books
Loom Knitting Socks: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting Socks on a Loom with Over 50 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)

Big Book of Loom Knitting: Learn to Loom Knit

Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary | Knitting | Leisure Arts (75566)
Loom Knitting Primer (Second Edition): A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting on a Loom with Over 35 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)
I Can’t Believe I’m Loom Knitting (Leisure Arts 5250)

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#3 Shaker Signed JH antique spinning Wheel Sabbathday Lake Maine

$225.00
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Early Antique Spinning Wheel

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Ashford Kiwi-3 Spinning Wheel - Unfinished, Folding Treadles - FREE Shipping

$479.00
End Date: Wednesday Mar-4-2020 10:35:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $479.00
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Knitting – Why Knit? : why-knit

Why should you take up knitting?

knit sheep

Many people associate crafts like knitting and crocheting with old ladies, however this is a stereotype which could not be more wrong. An increasing number of young people are now getting into this creative past time and are knitting scarves, gloves and even toys. Plus in this economic climate, learning a skill like knitting is a great way to save money by making home made gifts.

With the current popularity of these crafts and the variety of yarns and fun projects available, there’s never been a better time than now to take up this creative activity. If you normally spend your free time watching reruns of TV shows or playing some FoxyBingo.com online, but now you would like to try being more creative and productive, then it sounds like knitting is the perfect hobby for you.

Knitting relieves stress

After a long or stressful day at the office, there’s no better way to relax than sitting on the sofa, enjoying a cup of tea and getting on with some knitting. You’ll find that all the worries of the day melt away due to the relaxing, rhythmic and simple nature of knitting. The repetitive movements of knitting help to lull us into a relaxed rhythm because all we need to do is focus on just one task. In addition, knitting helps you to gather your thoughts and find a calm and positive state of mind where you’re not mulling over the past or fretting about the future.

Health advantages

There’s more to knitting which meets the eye. According to research conducted by Professor Richard Davidson of Wisconsin University, it is thought that practising rhythmic and repetitive movements such as knitting for eight weeks can have a positive effect on brain function and even strengthen the immune system. This is because therapeutic activities such as knitting evoke relaxation responses which can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and help to prevent stress related illnesses.

Knitting improves your mood

In research by Dr. Barry Jacobs of Princetown University it has been discovered that repetitive movements in animals enhance the release of serotonin. In depression, serotonin levels are low but rhythmical movements such as knitting release a chemical called serotonin which can help you feel more calm and happy.

So when you are feeling stressed at work, it’s time for a knitting break!

Investigating Healthy Minds
An interview with Richard Davidson

What Causes Depression
New insights into serotonin, neurogenesis and depression.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Knitting Needle Sizes

Crochet Hook Sizes

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#3 Shaker Signed JH antique spinning Wheel Sabbathday Lake Maine

$225.00
End Date: Tuesday Mar-24-2020 7:04:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $225.00
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Early Antique Spinning Wheel

$125.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Feb-28-2020 12:09:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
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Ashford Kiwi-3 Spinning Wheel - Unfinished, Folding Treadles - FREE Shipping

$479.00
End Date: Wednesday Mar-4-2020 10:35:56 PST
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Felting Project – Waterlily: waterlily

A great way to use up some of your handspun stash is to knit flowers and felt them.
Here is an example of a waterlily that I knitted.

Felted Waterlily
Felted Waterlily

The pattern came from a book I purchased from Amazon – Knitted Flowers, 20 to make.
The pattern calls for double knitting weight yarn. I substituted this for my woolen hand spun in variegated colours.

Knitted Flowers (Twenty to Make)

To make the flower first knit the set of outer petals in garter stitch following the instructions given.
knit waterlily

The inner petals of the flower are knitted in a similar fashion, but slightly smaller in size.
knitted waterlily
The center of the flower is knit in a contrasting color by simply casting on and casting off. For this I used another hand spun wool yarn dyed in yellow.
knit waterlily

After knitting the flower sections, sew them together following the pattern instructions.
Then I felted the completed flower, by putting it into a sink full of hot tap water with a bit of dish detergent. I rubbed and massaged the flower quite vigorously until it felted. I further felted the flower by dipping it into cold and hot water repeatedly.
felted waterlily

Flower Knitting Pattern Books

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More
Noni Flowers: 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers
Flowers to Knit & Crochet
75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit & Crochet

Felting Projects

Wet Felted Cat Bed
Felted Pillow
Felted Mittens
Felted Posey Pot
Needle Felted Dolls

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Wool Roving Top 29 lb White, Wholesale Wool, Spin Wool, Bulk Wool Roving, Fiber

$324.96
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Baby Lock Embellisher EMB12 Needle Felting Machine with TONS of Extras

$550.00
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GRAY Wool Roving, 8 lb BULK Merino Grey Wool Roving, gray roving, Gray wool Top

$159.00
End Date: Saturday Mar-21-2020 19:00:01 PDT
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How to Make a Russian Join: russian-join

What is a Russian join? A Russian join is a very effective way to join 2 yarn ends without using a knot. It works well on any type of plied yarn, especially when the yarn doesn’t felt, such as for cotton, linen or superwash wool yarns. It can be used for knitting and crochet. I also like to use this method for nalbinding.

How to Russian Join Yarn

Step 1:
Thread a needle with one of the yarns you wish to join.
Work the needle back through the yarn for about an inch, forming a loop.

Russian join yarn step 1

Step 2:
Pull the thread through, leaving a loop in the yarn end.
Russian join yarn step 2

Step 3:
Thread the second yarn end through the loop.
Russian join yarn step 3

Step 4:
Thread the needle with the second yarn.
Work the needle back through the second yarn end for about an inch.

Russian Join
Russian Join

Step 5:
Pull the needle through the yarn, leaving a second loop.
Russian join yarn step 5

Step 6:
Pull gently on both yarn ends to close the loops.
Russian join yarn step 6

You can now trim the yarn ends leaving you with a neatly joined yarn.
Nalbinding Supplies on Etsy
Look for nalbinding yarns, needles, kits and yarn in my Etsy Shop.

Nalbinding Books
Nalbinding – What in the World Is That?
Nålbindning – The easiest clearest ever guide!
Nalbinding Made Easy
Viking: Dress Clothing Garment

Nalbinding IPhone Case
What is a McMorran Balance
How to Make a Twisted Fringe

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#3 Shaker Signed JH antique spinning Wheel Sabbathday Lake Maine

$225.00
End Date: Tuesday Mar-24-2020 7:04:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $225.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Early Antique Spinning Wheel

$125.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Feb-28-2020 12:09:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

Ashford Kiwi-3 Spinning Wheel - Unfinished, Folding Treadles - FREE Shipping

$479.00
End Date: Wednesday Mar-4-2020 10:35:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $479.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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