It’s winter in California. This means that flip flops and sandals must give way to something a bit more substantial. I bought some really cute ankle boots for fall & winter.

Unfortunately, one of the pairs did not play nicely with socks. Even though I bought wide, the shoe is still snug across the bridge. This leaves little to no room for socks — stockings/tights, yes, but not socks.

The tops of the ankle boots were rubbing. Without the protection of socks, my ankles were very uncomfortable by the end of the day.

To solve the problem, I thought I’d make a pair of boot cuffs. I tested the idea out by using a pair of long wristlets I had laying around. The idea had merit, but the cuff kept riding up, rendering it worthless from the the ankle protection perspective.

L: German Long Tail Cast On, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off, Cabled Cast On, and Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off
R: Jeny’s Slip Knot Cast On, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off

Then I remembered that 80s fashion wear — stirrup pants (remember those??). I set about to knitting a pair of stirruped ankle cuffs.

The wristlets were also tighter on one edge than the other — cast on or bind off edge — I can’t remember. But they were not even. And that bothered me. That will never do.

I pulled out some leftover Malabrigo Sock and set out to make some cuffs using elastic cast on and bind off. First stop, Jeny’s Slip Knot Cast On and Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off at the heel and Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off at the top. (right cuff)

Heel detail

I wasn’t happy. The slip knot cast on had a very tidy edge, but it didn’t match the cast off edge. The cast off was all ruffly and stretched out. The cast on edge in the heel (row after I casted off for the heel) was more refined (slip knot cast on).

Top: Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off
Bottom: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off

So, when it was time to cast off at the top, I chose Zimmerman’s sewn bind off. Yuck! It was all ruffly in a bad way. It didn’t follow the 2×2 rib as closely as I would like (not unexpected, but I didn’t expect it to be this ugly.)

So, onto the second cuff. I decided to use the German Long Tail to start. It matched the cast off edge a bit better.

All streeeeeeeetched out!
Top: Slip Knot Cast On
Bottom: German Long Tail

But how did the elasticity differ? Actually, not very much at all.

Confession: I attempted to take a picture of the stretched bound off edges at the top. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized that I have photo of a top and bottom, not top to top. Oh well.
(Click on link if you want to see. As you can see, the stretch is fairly consistent cast on/bind off edges.)

Forget all that technical stuff, did the cuffs do the job????

Yes and no.

Yes, the cuffs are keeping my ankles from getting chaffed.

No, the stirrups are … dare I say it? too stretchy. The stirrup on my right foot kept sliding out from under foot and up the back of my foot. Did it have something to do with the cast off/cast on at the ankles? I switched the cuff/feet part way through the day to check, but the right stirrup is still slipping off.

It has something to do with how my right foot moves when I walk.

In any case, the 2×2 ribbing under the arch is too loose. I can do one of 2 things: (1) less stitches at the stirrup, or (2) something other than ribbing; something not as stretchy width wise — perhaps garter stitch.

Of course, by the time I finish with all my experiments and have the perfect stirrup cuff pattern down, the boots may stretch out enough to wear regular socks.

Stay tuned.

P.S. I just had a thought. I am a knitter, damn it!! I can knit the feet with finer yarn at a smaller gauge then switch it up to thicker yarn/gauge for the cuff when I get there. The question remains, though, do I really want to knit fine gauge socks (finer than my usual 8-9 sts/in)? I think I already know the answer to that questions.

More Yarn

This post has been a long time coming. The yarn was plied months ago on the Lendrum as I mentioned, but all was not happy. I decided to use the jumbo flyer and plying head. It was sooooooo slow and my plying was less than even. On the bobbin, it looked like I had a several sections of really underplied yarn mixed in with “normal” looking yarn.

I was so disgusted I left the yarn on the bobbin for months, trying decide my next steps.

I finally decided to wind the yarn off and see what I had. I thought that I could put it on the squirrel cage reel and see if a few turns on that might help even out the twist a bit.

merino silk

Guess what? It looked pretty good in skein form! There were no obvious underplied sections. Some sections might have been a little overplied. No matter. I think it will even out a bit more once it hits it’s bath. It’s not my best work, but it’s not horrible either.

Here’s a tip that I learned from Stephenie Gaustad a few years ago…

  • Tie the beginning and the end of your yarn to each other so that the skein is essentially a giant single loop of yarn (but wound in skein form).
  • If the beginning and end are not close to each other on the skein winder, tie on a piece of scrap yarn as extender.

This allows the twist to flow freely throughout the length of the yarn.

Next, tie lots and lots of loose figure eights around your skein to keep them under control. The key here is loose. You don’t want to bind the skein in anyway — remember you want the twist to move freely throughout.

Yarn Stats:

  • 8 oz of Merino/Silk from RedFish Dyeworks
  • 1,662 yards of 2 ply yarn (approx. 3,300 ypp)

The yarn in fiber form and as singles. What was disappointing is that it lost the fresh out of indigo bath look (chartreuse, green, and blue) and is mostly green. I’ll have to see what to pair the yarn with to bring that original impression back.

Done and Tested


Took it out for a test ride today. It didn’t stick to my neck and the Koigu is nice and soft against my neck. It looks like I am wearing rainbow colored Croakies to boot.


Bed Runner

You’ve seen them in hotels. That little strip of cloth across the foot of the hotel bed. The ones I’ve seen in Indonesia were gorgeous — beautiful handwoven pieces that were woven for that purpose. The ones in the US? Not so much. They are woven on giant commercial looms and cut up and sized for the hotel bed.

For years, even before they first showed up in the hotels across the US, I used a strip of linen across the bottom of the bed. It’s light and it doesn’t add weight on my feet. My intent was an attempt to keep cat hair off the bed. That didn’t work out so well — My cats refused to sleep where I designate as their sleeping spot.

You know what else? That strip of cloth doesn’t do much when you just want to pull something over you when you go down for a nap. I don’t want to go under the covers because I don’t want to get too cozy and sleep longer than intended.


This weekend, I made a bed runner / nap blanket with a piece of quilting cotton and a piece of coordinating cotton flannel, 2 yards each. Folded in half lengthwise, it looks like a bed runner. Spread out, it’s the perfect size as a cover during a light nap. Since it is just quilting cotton/flannel, it’s easy to toss in the washer/dryer to get rid of cat hair. (Yes, I know it clashes with the duvet cover.)


It’s even Stormy’s approved. She’s a bit grumpy because I woke her up to take the picture. Best of all? It’s still light enough that it doesn’t weigh down my feet. That is, if you discount the 10 pound fur ball on top of it.


I know, 2 posts in a row. Please pull yourself off the floor. I have some backlog waiting for photo editing and text. We will resume to normal non-posting schedule shortly.

Hummingbird_2Our felting group worked on needle felting small birds this month. We all decided to work on hummingbirds, because they were small. Ha! Small doesn’t mean a light on details! I think an owl would have been faster.

No in progress photos, unfortunately. What you see is 100% wool.

The inner core was some unknown wool batt that Ginger had on hand. I rolled that into a cylinder and started to prick the heck out of it to make a very small dense core in the rough shape of a hummingbird body.

Hummingbird_3I took a small amount of black wool and wrapped that around a toothpick to make the beak. I then gently pulled it off the toothpick and wet felted it into shape. I was too worried about my fingers to try needle felting something that small.

Then, I covered the body with scrap wool from my various spinning classes. Most of it were from Ashland Bay, I believe. The throat was a mix of black, pink and purple blended with my fingers.

The wings were roughly shaped separately before felting into the body. It still need a bit of trimming to shape. I also need to decide on what type of feet to attach and how to perch the bird.

Believe it or not, the hummingbird is fairly true to size (length) and weight of an Anna. So happy with this.

Unfortunately, I found the little bird next to Stormy’s food bowl yesterday. I am not sure how she got it off of the high shelf it was on but she thinks its a cat toy. I need to clean it off a bit — get rid of the cat hair. Sigh.