Southwest Stockings KAL: Part 4 Finishing

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Hello and welcome to the last day of the Southwest Stockings Knit Along! We've done a lot of knitting and now it's time to embellish our big Christmas sock. If you've knit the Cozy Socks then you're probably on your way through the second sock and almost done. For the Christmas Stocking knitters today we'll add a hang loop and top it with a pom pom. Woohoo!

Remember, you can always watch me work these steps on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

Knitting a hang loop for a Christmas Stocking

In the pattern it tells us to cast on 4 stitches and work back and forth in garter stitch for 6". That's all we need to do.

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Now we stitch that little strip of fabric to the top edge of the stocking. Lay the top of the stocking out flat and attach the hang loop to the first 2 and last 2 stitches of the ribbing at the top of the stocking. Use the tail and the darning needle to sew it securely.

Bring the other end of the loop around and stitch that down to meet the first edge. Sew, sew, sew. Remember, this is what holds that stocking up when it's all packed with presents!

And, done! A cute little loop.

Our next job is to weave in the yarn ends inside the stocking. I usually flip mine inside out, weave them in, then flip it back the other way. When you're all done give your stocking a good blast of steam to help set the stitches. I use my regular iron set to the highest steam setting. Hover the iron over the fabric and let the steam relax the yarn. Never touch the iron to the project! Set the iron aside and let the stitches cool before touching them. Ahh, look how even!

Making a multi-color pom pom

Now for the best part, pom pom time! I made pom pom with the Llamallooma Pom-Pom Maker by Betz White. This little llama is so adorable that I had to use it. 

The first step is to wrap a long strand around the llama's body. This will be the yarn that secures the pom pom together after we cut the strands. 

I decided to make a pom pom using all 4 colors that are in my stocking so I lined them all up and wound them around the llama's legs until it was thick and full.

Next we untie that original loop and tie it tightly across our wrapped yarn.

Remove the yarn bundle and carefully cut the loops in half to make a fluffy pom pom.

Trim your pom pom to make it round. There's always weird long pieces on any pom so give it a good haircut.

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And attach it to the top of the stocking by the hang loop. 

And there we have it! A finished Southwest Stockings Christmas Stocking. I can't wait for Santa to come and fill it with goodies in a few weeks!

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Be social! Post photos. Ask questions. Say hello!

Southwest Stockings KAL: Part 3 Closing the toe and Kitchener stitch

Hello! Welcome to Day 3 of the Southwest Stockings Knit Along. Today we're going to close the toe of the sock and learn to graft stitches with the Kitchener stitch. The Kitchener stitch is something that gets a bad wrap in knitting but I think it's fun to work. We only have 12 stitches to close so it's just the right amount to learn on and practice your skills. Remember, you can always watch me work these steps on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell

Closing the toe of a sock

Here we are, we've worked all the stitches on the Fair Isle chart and we're ready to narrow the end of the sock to close around the toes.

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Break any remaining yarn colors and take a moment to admire your sock knitting accomplishment. To close the toe we work Rounds 1 and 2 of the toe section.

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Round 1: K to the last 3 sts on Needle 1, k2tog, k1; Needle 2, k1, ssk, k to end; Needle 3, k to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; Needle 4, k1, ssk, k to end.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat these two rounds until 28 sts remain. Here's what the toe will look like at this point.

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Then we continue to work Round 1 until just 12 stitches remain. 3 on each needle.

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How to work the Kitchener Stitch

To get ready for the Kitchener stitch we need to have all the stitches organized in a specific way. We're going to take it down to just two needles -- here's how. Knit across 3 sts on Needle 1 to set up for Kitchener Stitch. Slip stitches from Needle 2 on to Needle 3. There should now be 12 sts arranged on 2 needles with 6 sts on each.

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Arrange the needles with wrong sides facing each other and the yarn coming from the first stitch on the back needle. Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail. Thread a darning needle with the yarn tail.

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Now we're ready to get started! We are going to be knitting and purling these stitches but we use the threaded yarn needle to work them. We get started with two setup sittches.

Kitchener Setup: Insert the yarn through the first stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL and pull yarn through leaving the stitch on the needle. Insert the yarn through the first stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT and pull yarn through leaving the stitch on the needle.

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Step 1: Insert yarn through the first stitch on the FRONT needle as if to KNIT. Slip the stitch OFF the needle.

Step 2: Insert yarn through the next stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL. Leave the stitch ON the needle.

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Step 3: Insert the yarn through the first stitch on the BACK needle as if to PURL. Slip the stitch OFF the needle.

Step 4: Insert the yarn through the next stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT. Leave the stitch ON the needle.

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Repeat Steps 1-4 across the row adjusting the yarn and stitch tension to match your knitting. Weave in all yarn ends.

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There we go! The toe is closed and it just looks like another row of knitting. The best part is that there's no uncomfortable seam inside that would irratate your little tootsies. 

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Take the time to securely weave in the yarn tail from the Kitchener stitch. 

And there! We have a finished sock! Can you believe it? If you're making the Cozy Socks now is the time to get started on the second sock. A finished pair is always better than having one cold foot so be sure to work all the way to the end.

If you're knitting the Christmas Stocking then meet me back here on Tuesday for the finishing steps like making a hang loop and an adorable pom pom to adorn the top. 

Be social! Post photos. Ask questions. Say hello!

Southwest Stockings KAL: Part 2 Sock heel flap and turning the heel

Here we go! It's Day 2 of the Southwest Stockings Knit Along and today we've worked the ankle of the sock and we're ready to start the heel flap and then turn the heel with short rows. It's fun to knit in a different direction like this. I've got a lot of pictures here for you but if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment! Remember you can always watch me knit these steps on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

Setting up and knitting the heel flap

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The heel flap is only worked with Color A so we can cut any other strands we have remaining. Now with A we knit across Needle 1.

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Then... we TURN the work. 

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There's the inside of the stocking. Slip the first stitch as if to purl and then purl the rest of the stitches on Needle 1 and across to Needle 4.

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Now we have 24 stitches all on one needle with Needles 2 and 3 holding the other half of the stitches and waiting patiently for us to return to them.

To work the heel flap stitches we slip 1 stitch as if to purl, then knit 1 stitch. Alternate these two moves across the row.

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And, turn. Slip the first stitch and then purl ALL the other stitches back across. As you continue these two rows you'll see this squishy fabric start to happen. This makes a reinforced heel on a regular sock and it's a good technique to know so we do it the same way for the Christmas stocking. Plus, it looks cute on a project of that scale!

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The pattern tells us to "Repeat these two rows for 24 rows total. There will be 12 chain stitches on each of the new edges. These are what we're looking for -- 12 chains, here I have 8.

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Continue on until you have completed the heel flap. It should look something like this. 

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Turning the heel

Now we start the fun of short rows! It sounds scary but I think this is the most fun part of making a sock. This is the part of the sock that wraps from the back of the foot and hugs the heel. It's a fun adventure that will amaze you if you haven't done it before!

Knit across 14 stitches. Just plain knit, no slipping here.

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Next you're going to decrease with SSK or slip, slip, knit. To perform this decrease slip one stitch knit-wise, slip a second stitch in the same manner. Then insert the left needle into the front of the two slipped stitches and knit them together. That's an SSK. Now knit 1 stitch and TURN.

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On the inside, slip the first stitch purl-wise then purl 5 stitches.

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Purl 2 stitches together, or P2tog, by picking up two stitches and purling them together. Purl 1 more stitch and TURN.

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Now you'll start working back and forth as the pattern says. You will be able to see a gap forming where you have turned your work. Can you see the gap in the middle of my row? 

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Continue working the two rows until 16 stitches remain on your needle. Wow! Isn't that awesome? Look that how the heel just suddenly appears. 

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We're all set and ready to join the bottom of the heel flap back to the rest of the sock. Cut Color A and begin following Fair Isle Chart 2 on page 3.

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With Color D as the chart shows, knit across 14 stitches from the base of the heel.

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Rotate your work slightly. We will now be picking up stitches down the edge of the heel flap. Insert your needle in to the large, slipped stitches on the edge of the heel flap, wrap your yarn around the needle and pick up a stitch. 

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Continue picking up stitches along the heel flap until you have 12 additional stitches on  your needle. This needle looks a little intense with all those stitches but we will even it out as we work our way around.

From Needle 1 head to Needles 2 and 3 to work those stitches that have been waiting for us. Then we get back to the other side of the heel flap. Pick up 12 stitches down the edge in the same manner as the first side.

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Now we're left with this offset orientation. Knit across 7 stitches from Needle 1 directly on to Needle 4.

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Ahh, happy organized sock needles! You'll have 19 stitches on Needles 1 and 4 and 12 stitches on Needles 2 and 3 for a total of 62 stitches. Woohoo! Success at socks.

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Knitting the instep toward the foot

Ok, so we have a ton of stitches now but we don't need that many forever. This is where we start decreasing to get the sock back to 48 stitches. On the Fair Isle Chart I placed a little dot next to each row where you'll be making a decrease. You'll do 2 decreases on these rows and that happens 7 times. 62 - 14 = 48!

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To decrease on Needle 1: Knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.

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Work across Needles 2 and 3 as normal. To decrease on Needle 4: K1, SSK (just like we did on the heel), knit to the end of the round.

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And there we have it! A sock heel is born. Continue decreasing and working Fair Isle Chart 2. If you're making the Cozy Socks when you get to the end of the chart you can try the sock on for size. Be careful with those needles but slip it over your foot to check the length. The sock should be about 1 and a half inches less than the length of your foot. If you think it needs to be a bit longer add a few more rows by making up your own Fair Isle stitch combination, adding stripes, or working your favorite section of the charts again.

I'll be back on Thursday the 16th to talk about decreasing for the toe and finally grafting our stitches together to close the sock using the Kitchener stitch. 

Be social! Post photos. Ask questions. Say hello!

Southwest Stockings KAL: Part 1 Starting your stocking

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Hello! Welcome to the Southwest Stockings Knit Along! This project debuted on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell where she and I taught how to knit these adorable Fair Isle socks. This knit along goes through all the steps on the Handmade Holiday episode along with giving you some of my tried-and-true tips and techniques. Here's Vickie and me:

Hi, Vickie! 💗

Take a few minutes to watch the show if you haven't. Here's the episode free on YouTube.

We're starting this knit along and we'll work through all the steps of the free Southwest Stockings knitting pattern. You can make Cozy Socks or a big Christmas Stocking from this design. To find more info about the Southwest Stockings KAL see the Introduction and the Supplies list.

Today we're getting started! We're going to cast on to double-pointed needles and try our needles at all this fun color work. Let's dive right in!

Choosing yarn colors and their position

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An important part of this project is organizing your yarn colors and keeping it all straight while you work the color charts for the ankle and foot of the socks. I have decided to make a second Christmas stocking for the KAL and I'm using the same four colors of Baa Baa Bulky yarn for this one but I'm rearranging the colors so my husband I have a mismatched pair to hang for Santa. 

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Because my colors don't match up to the color chart I took a minute to decide my new order and make some notes on my pattern pages. I wrote in the placement of Colors A, B, C and D and then I made little arrows to help me visualize it when I'm using the color chart on page 3. You should do this too before we get started.

Keep in mind that everything I say here in these knit along posts applies to both the Christmas Stocking and the Cozy Socks. The pattern is completely the same! 

Casting on to double-pointed needles

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Let's get this party started! When beginning a project on double-pointed knitting needles, also called DPNs, I like to cast-on all my stitches to one needle. For this project we cast on 48.

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Now we need to move distribute these stitches evenly across 4 needles. We're going to slip 12 stitches to a fresh needle, get a new needle, slip 12, ...until we have 48 stitches broken up into four 12 stitch sections.

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Another little trick I like to do when knitting in the round is to criss cross the first and last stitches on the needles. This locks the beginning and end together and helps prevent the little gap you can sometimes see at the starting edge of a hat or other project knit in the round.

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I'll admit this step is fiddly. Feel free to skip it if this is the first time you're working with DPNs! It won't even been an issue if you're making the Christmas stocking because we'll have a hangloop and giant pom pom up there when we're all done. 

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Next we knit! Well, knit and purl. The first 7 rows are worked as K2, P2. So go ahead, grab that 5th needle and k2, p2 your way across 12 stitches, rotate to the next needle, k2, p2 across, rotate, ...until you've gone across all 48 stitches.

I know it may seem crazy if you haven't worked with double-points before but all you want to do is focus on 2 needles at a time just like with regular knitting. You have one in your left hand and one in your right hand and that's all you need to think about! Just work those 12 stitches. The first row is always crazy for every knitter no matter their skill level so keep going!

The next little tip I have is to add a clip ring stitch marker to your project. I add it add it to a stitch near the beginning of Needle 1 so that way I always know where my round begins.

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And now we keep going! We have 6 more rows of k2, p2 to work. You'll have a nice little start like the one below -- 7 squishy rows of work.

How to knit with 2 colors of yarn

Here we are! Time to get down to the fun stuff, Fair Isle knitting. It's one of my favorite things to knit because every row is different so I never get bored. Each round is like a new little puzzle that I get to build to unfold a growing pattern.

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With any color work we will have a chart to follow. The chart for our Southwest Stockings is on page 3 of the pattern and we're starting with Fair Isle Chart 1. To work a chart we read it from right to left and bottom to top. We start right here at the corner of Round 1 and Stitch 1. 

All the stitches from here to the heel will be knit. Since we figured out our color placement ahead of time we know that the first row just continues using Color A so we knit one time around with A.

Round 2 has a little block of Color B. Woohoo! Now what?

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Now we just grab our Color B. I run the tail down through the middle and the working yarn out to the top. Then we knit the first stitch with B.

Grab that new yarn and knit your first stitch. Bam! You're a color work knitter!

The chart reads that we knit 1 stitch in Color B and then 3 stitches in Color A. It's just that simple and we do it all the way around repeating that as we go. But! We have to keep our stitches loose and relaxed enough so that moving between colors doesn't pucker our work. Carrying the non-working color of yarn is called "floating". These floats need to be loose enough that the knitting can stretch a bit and not too tight that it could disfigure the project. Getting a comfortable float tension will get easier over time. 

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I work with one color in my right hand and one color in my left hand. You can watch me do this live on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell. As you can see, I stretch the float yarn loosely across the back of the work before making the next stitch. On these early rows it's always a good idea to stop and check each float and maybe adjust the length of it before moving on to the next stitch. It's ok to go slow and get comfortable with this new technique.

This is what the inside starts to look like, long loops behind the work. Take your time! Watch the video. Remember that I've been doing this a long time. We have all weekend to get this right before moving on to the next step!

If you have a question message me on Instagram at @eweeweyarns, drop a comment in the Ravelry group, leave a comment here, or email me! I'm here, let's chat.  

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Look at that! We're knitting with color! Next is two rows of Color A and then we sprinkle in some Color C. I'm going to cut this strand of B so it's out of my way since we don't use it again until Round 17. Leave a tail so you can weave the ends in later. 

Continue knitting and working the color chart as you go. 

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And, we're off on our way! I love how festive these colors are looking together. Work all the way through Fair Isle Chart 1 over the weekend and I'll meet you back here on Tuesday the 14th to talk about how we make the heel of the sock. 

Be social! Post photos. Ask questions. Say hello!

Southwest Stockings KAL: Supplies

Southwest Stockings KAL

Southwest Stockings KAL

Here's a roundup of what you'll need to knit the Southwest Stockings. First decide on a project. Your choice is the Christmas Stocking or the Cozy Socks:

Christmas Stocking for the Southwest Stockings KAL

Christmas Stocking for the Southwest Stockings KAL

Cozy Socks for the Southwest Stockings KAL

Cozy Socks for the Southwest Stockings KAL

The pattern is exactly the same for both projects. The only difference is the needle size and yarn weight (and if you knit the Cozy Socks you need to knit two!). 

Christmas Stocking Supplies

Sizes: Santa size!
Measurements: 8" wide x 24" long
Pattern: Southwest Stockings by Heather Walpole for The Knit Show (Free!)

Yarn: Ewe Ewe Yarns Baa Baa Bulky, 132 yards, 100% merino superwash
   Color A: 1 skein (60 Teal)
   Color B: 1 skein (20 Red Poppy)
   Color C: 1 skein (97 Brushed Silver)
   Color D: 1 skein (90 Vanilla)

Needles: US 10.5 (6.5 mm) double-pointed knitting needles
Gauge: 14 sts to 4" in stockinette stitch.
Supplies: Clip ring stitch marker, darning needle, large pom pom maker (optional)

Christmas Stocking supplies

Christmas Stocking supplies

You can choose any colors of Baa Baa Bulky to fit your home or take a look at the color combo kits we put together. These kits contain enough yarn to complete the project. 


Cozy Socks Supplies

Sizes: Casual size
Measurements: 10" foot circumference
Pattern: Southwest Stockings by Heather Walpole for The Knit Show (Free!)

arn: Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted, 95 yards, 100% merino superwash
   Color A: 2 skeins (30 Saffron)
   Color B: 1 skein (10 Berry)
   Color C: 1 skein (50 Pistachio)
   Color D: 1 skein (95 Chocolate)

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) double-pointed knitting needles
Gauge: 22 sts to 4" in stockinette stitch.
Supplies: Clip ring stitch marker, darning needle.

Cozy Socks supplies

Cozy Socks supplies

You can choose any colors of Wooly Worsted to fit your style or take a look at the color combo kits we put together. These kits contain enough yarn to complete the project. 


Where to buy your supplies

We've heard from a lot of our local yarn stores that they're ready to knit along! These shops have let us know they have yarns in stock to make one or both of the Southwest Stockings projects. Stop in or shop their websites for your yarn:

...have you any wool?, Berkley, MI
Cream City Yarn, Brookfield, WI
Gather Here, Cambridge, MA
The Hillsborough Yarn Shop, Hillsborough, NC
NobleKnits.com, Exton, PA (warehouse pickup available)
Park Avenue Yarns, League City, TX
The Tinsmith's Wife, Comfort, TX
Wasatch and Wool, Park City, UT
Yarn It & Haberdashery, Grandview Heights, OH
Yarnover Truck, Los Angeles, CA

If you want to browse through our color kit ideas you can take a look at the Christmas Stocking kits and the Cozy Sock kits here on our website then buy at your favorite shop.

Free Pattern: Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket

Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket FREE crochet pattern

Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket FREE crochet pattern

Well, hello there sweet one. Look how lovely you are! The Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket is a simple crochet pattern that is designed using Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky washable merino yarn. It is easy to make, easy for new parents to care for, and snuggly soft for the new baby!

Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket free crochet pattern

Hayden Color Block Baby Blanket free crochet pattern

Baa Baa Bulky yarn comes in great colors that are perfect for baby. Mix and match a light color and a darker tone or match it to the nursery. There's tons of great options! 

I hope you enjoy making the Hayden baby blanket for a new little one in your life! Find the free crochet pattern below. Find the yarn at a Ewe Ewe yarn shop near you or here on our website.