Jean Murdoch

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Westport, CT, United States

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More on Scrunch Socks

Today I am starting on another pair of the Scrunch Socks. I had gotten an order just prior to Christmas and am going to try to get it to the woman in Arizona for the New Year. I did manage to knit a pair for my daughter for the holidays and this is her picture she sent me. Perfect! Happy New Year...hope it is a great new year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Holiday Cookie Time

Taking a break from is cookie tiime! Great Sugar cookies and just loved icing them. Funny how baking cookies gets you into that spirit!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Holidays

I am just finishing yet another pair of scrunch socks and shipping them off to Florida. It will be my last scrunch socks knitted this year as I really have to get going with family things and holiday festivities! I love this time of year but can do without the stress. My thoughts are for the new year how to grow my business on Etsy. It will be my fourth year on Etsy and I love it and have enjoyed the contact with fellow hobbyists and followers of my shop. I am blessed that I have a following and that my socks do sell. It gives me more hope for next year as I think about new and interesting patterns to knit.
For all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cotton Scrunch Socks

I cannot believe that I have knitted 10 pairs of the Scrunch Socks with 2 Custom orders that have to be knitted. This have become quite the sock and actually love knitting them. I have memorized the pattern and now with doing cables without a cable hook it has been an easier sock to knit. The only problem is when I knit the socks for custom and having to alter the pattern slightly to fit the dimensions that are given. That becomes a challenge but I have really loved knitting these.  I know I have to order more cotton yarn but have been putting it off until I can order enough for free shipping...can you believe that!

Citrum Cotton Scrunch Sock Detail

Sunday, October 30, 2011

But can you believe the snow we got on the CT Shoreline....amazing to see snow in October and the cracking and popping sounds of trees falling all evening was not exactly part of the beauty of the snow. We had a couple of big limbs pop off of our trees and a close call of wires going down...At least we still have power and that can't be said for many others on the East Coast. The good thing about storms is that you really are locked in and that in turn gives you more time to knit. I have an order of 3 Scrunch Socks to knit for a couple in Florida and the storm did give me alot of time to catch up...but today I think cleaning up the storms wake will be the chore of the day.

"Alfred" the first winter storm of the year dumped a ton of snow. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cable Without a Cable Needle?????

Well I finally figured it out and really wasn't as complicated as I thought. Got rid of my cable needle and now just use the "sticks" and yarn. Certainly is faster to knit this way! The only thing is to be extra careful when doing the cables as you don't want to lose the stitches. So it is off the left hand needle, carefully putting whatever stitches you need on the right hand needle and putting them back on the left hand...and make the cable! Really that simple...although wouldn't want to be doing this in the car riding on bumpy roads, or in crowded subway trains...steady as you go!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can knitting socks become a business?

There are times that I think I could really have a business on Etsy...then I look at the product I am creating and try to figure out just how to make it a real business. Hand made items especially knitting them is a long process and although I am always elated to sell a pair of socks I clearly get a little frustrated that I have less items to sell in my shop. Currently I have 16 items in my shop. I like to have 20 or more but recent sales have dropped my inventory and now I have 2 pairs of custom orders that I am knitting...yikes!

I need to get more in the shop so this week I have decided to not just knit during the evening but knit during the day as well to see if I can produce more and have a healthier looking site.

I do make enough to feed my hobby and extra for gifts but really would love to have a real shop without loosing any of the quality and joy I like to give in each item I knit.

I do love to knit!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

Taking a moment to reflect on the life of Steve Jobs....the visionary, the leader, the amazing inventor...our hero. Quoted from his 2005 Stanford Speech:

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

He ended with (talking about the Whole Earth Catalog and life:

"Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you."

Words to live by.

Listen to his speech:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Scrunch Socks again!

So really have been busy...these Scrunch Socks have been a real winner. Did this grey pair last week and working of a red pair now. I really have to knit fast as I have a list of personal socks I wanted to knit as well as a couple of mitts I wanted to try to design. Wish there was more time in the day...Etsy Scrunch Socks

Thursday, September 15, 2011

OTracyO Dancing Socks

Just couldn't help myself...had to do up another pair! Just love knitting them and got an order for a custom full scrunch sock...with toe and heel! Really love the feel of this sock.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

OTracyO Dancing Socks

And then inspired by my sister in law, Tracy, to do the Scrunch Sock with open toe and heel for dancers, yoga and fitness enthusiasts...this is results. Very soft and actually a very nice look when fully up or scrunched. Might be a good sock to do a pattern for but will see if it sells on Etsy before I do anything. I am doing a really nice royal blue in this style as well...then it is back to some basic cable socks for the Holidays. Love those socks. byhaandbyjeanshop

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene Came and Irene Went

Irene did visit us with much wind and rain. Eye of storm passed over my town and all power was cut off.
There were floods around us but we didn't get that type of problem. There were trees uprooted and power lines broken. We did get that. Today is first day on line. We had 5 days of no power and I don't wish that on anyone. It amazes me how much our lives revolve around electrical power. I think that 1-2 days of no power is manageable but it gets pretty old on the 3rd to 4th days. By the 5th day you are exhausted by the thought that this might go on for a couple of more days and you really are tired and your mind is like mush...only thinking of the day the power might go on. When the power finally came on a couple of hours ago I hugged my husband  and we both had hugh smiles. Went to see my neighbors and we all really should have had the block party we were suppose to have last week to celebrate our fortune.

But my mind also goes to all those who really are still without power and some say it will be still a few more days. Having gone through the few days we did, I truly feel sad for those who have to endure yet more days of stress and tension. I hope that it doesn't happen again but we live in the will but we can only hope it doesn't come with so much power.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waiting for Irene!

Actually waiting for hurricane Irene to hit the north east. Had a golf tournament cancelled because of the storm coming this weekend...but what a great time to sit indoors and knit. Just got a delivery of some needed cotton yarns so I can now start on the "dancer" (yoga) scrunch socks I have been thinking of doing. You know, no toe and heel but a great leg of cable combinations to scrunch. Really a relaxing look but warm for the ankles and lower leg. We will see how that goes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking For A Pattern

Last week of July I had gotten a picture from a woman of a pair of socks that she wanted to have knitted for her. It was an interesting project in that I had never really gotten an order like that. I tried looking for the pattern and asked the question to the different chat rooms I belong to...but never got an answer so...I decided to try to duplicate the pattern from what I saw in the photo.

It was quite the challenge...and I guess the real challenge was finding the correct yarn (Cotton) and weight that could carry the look. Then there was the size and gauge of knitting. I tried #2 needles and ended up with #3. The Yarn was a cotton sports yarn from Knit Picks (Comfy Sport). I knitted an example for the customer and she liked what I did. So I proceeded to do the job. I did add a little elastic thread to the cuff for a more stable fit and did alter the first sample I did to make sure it would fit the customer's dimensions.
So I think it all worked out really great and will try to do this sock again. Very nice scrunch look and cozy comfy feel.

This is the photo sent me and the result.

This was the front view result.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Braided Cable socks

Sometimes when I sell a pair of socks I feel a little sad to see the sock leave it's little place on my finished projects shelf. As most of the socks I knit are usually patterns that I alter or redesign or just expand on, this pair took a bit of time to figure out for some reason. I really love the way they turned out and was trying out the Bare Stroll yarn from Knit Picks for them. Just off white enough to give that warm white hue. Love these and hope they go on feet that love them as much. 
Braided Cable socks

Friday, July 22, 2011

Looking For A Pattern

I received a note from a woman who wants this sock knitted for her. I think I can do it and improvise but would be wonderful to get the pattern. If anyone knows where this pattern is or from a source that I can find, it would be great...but in the meantime, I will improvise. The main cable pattern looks to be a moss stitch with a diamond cable and the sides are I think just a basic 6 stitch cable. Really a great looking sock and will use a cotton sports weight yarn and probably #3 needles. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Classic Men's Cable Seed Socks

I was looking for a quick fill in project and saw these skeins of yarn that I had gotten sometime ago from Jo Ann’s Fabrics. I had purchased this yarn for a custom project and this was the extra skeins I had. So thought I would do yet another Cable sock, this time for men size medium. I think they are beautiful, striking, soft and warm. Great classic with cable and seed pattern combined to hug the foot and make the most comfortable pair. Cable was done over 6 stitches and 8 rows of knitting, with seed pattern as the background stitch. Really nice.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And they fit!

Wanted to share this picture from my daughter. The socks fit and look great!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stash Socks Lorna Laces

Ever wonder what to do with those extra strands of yarns that have filled your basket or storage bins. Well, I knit alot with Lorna Laces Sock Yarns, solids and multi colored and just took all I had and knitted a couple of pairs of socks alternating 6 rows of different colors. Not really thinking about which colors but just thinking about the tones of dark and lights. Each sock was different and put together they actually looked like a great pair. My daughter Leslie and her husband Thomas were the recipients of these socks and it just made me really happy to have been able to get 2 pairs out of the strands of yarns I had. Never toss your yarns away...not even 3-4 yard lengths. Never know what you can do with them!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lacy Socks Custom

Today sold this pair of Lacy Socks to a woman with a narrow foot and long. I loved knitting them using Lorna Laces Sock Yarn new color Monkeyshines!. This pattern was a pattern that I have done before based on a 8 stitch repeat it was fun to do it again. I had to alter the stitch counts to customize for the buyer and that was interesting. I did learn alot. Sent them off and hope they fit her foot!
Check the link: Custom Lacy Socks

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Custom Order Problems?????

Have been under the weather for last couple of weeks but back to knitting today. Received a custom order to do for my Winoma Lacy Socks....silly me forgot to post these socks with the pattern I used. So for the last couple of hours I have been pouring through my patterns. When I knit socks sometimes I am just being creative and figure out something I like and do it. That is the case of these socks. So I have to reinvent the pattern. Strange but does happen and hopefully I will have it solved. I think that the pattern was  taken from Sensational Knitted Socks and hopefully it will work. At least that is what I am attempting. Remember...always write down patterns that you do, create or edit. I am going to remember to do just that. The client that wants these socks also picked a beautiful yarn from Lorna Laces...a new color  "Monkeyshines". Really nice soft pale hues of yellows, greys, tans. Should look great!

Lacy Socks

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baby Blue Socks

I thought it might be fun to knit a pair of socks for my niece Moriah who recently had a baby knitted up a pair. These are similar to the pair I gave to Moriah except these have a star knitted onto the heel. The pair I gave Moriah had a heart knitted onto the heel. The pattern is a easy lacy pattern but almost any pattern can be used and what I liked about the project was that it was creative, fun to do and really a quick project. I can see many different things that can be knitted onto a heel to make the socks really special and fun.  The only problem was what size to knit's feet do grow fast and I did settle on knitting this pair for a 2-4 month old...average  length of foot 3-4". These socks measure 4.5" from heel to toe.

Wondering if knitting a pair of mittens might be a nice pairing with the socks....hmmmm.

Baby Socks on Etsy

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So had to put this in...I am a big, big UCONN fan and men won last night and got into the final four. Amazing!
Check out the story!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fair Isle Men's Socks

And so after doing those polka dot socks I thought I would try these.  These were knitted with Berroco Ultra Fine Alpaca yarn (Peruvian Wool, Fine Alpaca and nylon). I have found that using a finer yarn weight than sock yarns when knitting Fair Isle is less bulky and much more smooth on your foot. These are in combination of Grey, Black and White.   

Had gotten the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch from my daughter and loved the way she laid out the various patterns used in socks in the book. This pattern #2 was an example of taking the pattern and just using portions of it for these socks. I also did not do the heel in short rows but used a flat flap heel. The book has many various cable and stitch patterns A good book for your library. 
I love this yarn…very easy to work with and soft and warm and will probably work with this yarn again. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cable Double Twist

Really nice to see this sock pattern sell on Etsy. I love this pattern and next will knit it in white...but first finishing up a black and white Fair Isle pattern sock that is really looking pretty good. I know I said I wouldn't do another of these Fair Isle patterns but had the Berrocco Ultra Alpaca yarns and just had to try using them again. This is becoming my favorite yarn for softness and warmth!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Polka Dot Socks Finally Finished

The pattern base was from Patons but never again...Finally finished this pair of socks and took much too much time…but probably because i had knitted them and took them apart 4 times. The pattern is not great for many reasons but first and foremost it really doesn’t really have size changes. You really have to figure it out for yourself. Instead of casting on 64 stitches i had casted on 72 for the cuff and then added 5 more stitches for the leg to accommodate for the pattern…which was crazy too. Not enough room here to tell you why but I really did the pattern differently because my first attempts following the pattern ended with a not so perfect placement of the polka dots. They were not evenly dispersed in the pattern. Adjustments and more followed as the heel was really not written well and went to another source to do the short row heel!! Would love to try this again but not for a long while as was not fun to do…but for what it is worth I don’t like to not finish a project before I start a new one and I did finally finish this one. Would not recommend this pattern to a novice knitter! Well I guess my husband's happy he has another pair of socks. At lease they are warm and I can recommend the Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn...beautiful to knit with and so soft and warm.   Can't wait to start my next pair...back to cables for me I think.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Short Row Heel

So I have tried for the last week to knit the "Polka Dot Socks" by Paton and can't seem to get it right. Have knitted to the heel 4 times and have taken the stitches out only to try again. The problem is the size and the heel. I have worked the pattern using 2.25, and 2.75 needles and have used sock yarn as well as a finer yarn and I am now at the point of loving the polka dots but hating the basic sock pattern from Paton.
I have just gone to  Short Row Heel   and was delighted to see how to do this heel visually. I have now gotten a renewed understanding and will once again attempt this sock. Truly a great looking sock...just not written very well. So I am going to increase the stitches and do this short row heel and keeping my fingers crossed will have knitted a pair that will work! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Rewards of Knitting...

What can I say but yet another snow storm on the east coast. We now have so much snow we have no where to put it and as I look at the "pretty" (at least they were a month ago) flakes fall pass my window I can't seem to muster the stuff to get me out there to shovel...again. When will it ever end. These are the times that I feel so blessed that I can knit.

Knitting has been that activity that has seen me through so much and given me such pleasure. When I want to get away from the toils and problems of the day...I just pick up my sticks and knit. When I want to find a little pleasure and put a smile on my face...I just love the clicking sounds of my needles. When I have a few spare moments and want to feel productive...I love touching my yarns and k1, p1. I am so blessed that I can do this. I can only hope that others out there are feeling the same as I feel. So now...I guess a little shoveling is in order!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cuffed Fingerless Mitts at a Wedding!!!!!

This was great!!!!! Sold my mitts to a young lady so that she could wear them at her wedding. It was held in a chilly New England state and she sent me pictures of her wearing them...They worked out perfectly for the ceremony and I was thrilled to see these pictures. Good luck and best wishes to her and her husband!
The Bride
The Bride and Groom
Bridal Maids

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intarsia in the Round Again.....

Intarsia in the round...more on this method. Still working on the best way to do this method in the round...Came across this site:

Thought I would keep this on my blog so I can reference it.
Work to the colour change.
Slip every stitch of your contrast colour.
Turn the work, twist the yarns to ensure no gaps and purl the stitches, thus returning the yarn back to the beginning of the motif.
Turn and slip the stitches just purled.
Proceed as normal.

I love this explanation...soooo simple! Now I have to do a sample up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Need for a Hugh Yarn Shop!

I have for a while been looking at Berroco Sock Yarn (Ultra Alpaca Fine, actually Fingering weight) and purchase a couple of skeins from a shop on Ebay akyrn I haven't a clue as to how this yarn is but hope it is what I have done research on and that I will be happy with the choice.

I have bought yarns from eBay shops before and have had good luck with prices and quality of the products. I live in an area that doesn't have local yarn shops and the one shop nearby really caters to the lessons given, not exactly a hugh array of yarns to feel and touch. We use to have a great yarn shop with every type of yarn and fiber manufactured, along with all the needle crafts, including needle point, tapestry and volumes of books and magazines. It was one of those big grand yarn shops that you could immerse yourself into for hours and not realize how the time just flew by, because you were having so much fun! I did visit my daughter in Seattle last year and we went to a wonderful yarn shop close to her was great with selections of yarns and books and so much inspiration. You need to just walk into a "yarn" shop to get the feeling and the creative juices flowing so that you can make beautiful projects. So I try to just remember how it was when I got lost in my now gone yarn shop and hope that someone will open another like it in my area.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Check out my "Workroom".

Yesterday my husband decided to take some photos of my "stock room". We knitters all have various places to keep our yarns and stash but would you believe that this is most of the yarns that I have. I try not to buy new yarns until I am ready for another project or have a specific order I need yarn for. They sit in a hugh basket in front of me while I am knitting. When I work on a project, no matter what, I finish that project before I start another. I have tried to discipline myself so that I will complete a project and not have projects just "almost" completed. It really does make for a more efficient use of space and actually has made me more mindful of finishing not only projects but tasks that I do on an everyday basis. This is a very good thing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cuffed Twisted Cable Fingerless Mitts

So nice to see my pattern actually used and "Little Women" did just that. View on Ravelry this was the result of the knitting and the comment..."A great pattern, really fun to knit. It has character all it's own. I'll have to knit again several tried to walk away with this pair......" I just love it.

Little Women Link on Ravelry.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year of Knitting!

So my New Year's Resolution was to spend more time in developing the knitting business and joining more groups and conversations with fellow knitters in discovering more interesting ways to knit. Yes, still my passion is socks and with a few other items thrown in...but socks is the thing for me. Working on a pattern that I will post in Ravelry on a very basic cable sock that I have done alot. I know the pattern by heart but am going to lay it down on paper and see what happens. Everyone should have a basic sock pattern and this one is mine. I always have a version of it on Etsy and I think it is a good pattern for beginners and intermediates that just want to knit mindlessly! Just keep those fingers and hands moving will be my motto this year.


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