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My name is julia. I'm married to the most wonderful man and we have three children: a boy, a girl and another baby boy. I love being a mother, a wife and a creative person. I knit socks and crochet dolls. I make books, cards and work on mixed media projects - mainly canvas and when the mood strikes me, I art journal and sometimes I sew.

stuff i made

magic ball of yarn

just a little random yarn magic...


When I had to abandon knitting last May I stuffed my started projects and my basket, bowl and bags of scrap yarn into one of the higher book shelves (which my husband had cleared out for me when I moved my crafting space into the living room). I extracted the above wooden bowl overflowing with the smaller scraps the other day - without causing an avalanche of other stuff to knock me off the chair I was standing on. The little balls of yarn in the fabric bag and the pile on the floor are what's left from my Opal yarn advent calendars from 2016 and 2017. 


I felt like sorting through them and joining the smaller bits to my magic ball of yarn.


I have no idea how many scraps of yarn there are in this ball and what the center looks like. I just add to it whenever I have enough small-ish bits so I can join them roughly colour coordinated. 


These are all the little balls I chose to add...


... aren't these dinky little balls cute? 

I totally could join the larger scrap balls as well but I usually save those to use in scrahappy socks and only join scraps that appear too small to yield about five rounds in a sock - I've never measured so I can't be sure how much yarn that is exactly but the really small balls of yarn also get lost and tangled easily so making a magic ball is a nice way to keep them safe... Any scrap balls bigger than a ping-pong ball stay in the bowl/basket until I've used more of them somewhere else.


This is the ball after a few scraps have been added. I use the "russian join" for connecting the ends. It is an easy, knot-free way to join two pieces of plied yarn (it doesn't work for artsy single spun yarns). You can find a short video how to do it here but there are plenty of others on youtube to choose from. And while looking for that russian join video I also found this alternative which I want to try next time I need to join yarn ends.


Above is the magic ball with even more scraps added and below is how it looks now:


I love to look at my magic ball from various angles because there are different colours peeking through all the layers and there are little glimpses of what's further down. 

And since we're talking about yarn related magic: I've finally found a colour combination I'm happy to make Ravenclaw Socks with! I've made Gryffindor Socks already, as you may know - both in the block stripe inspired by the first two movies and the design with the narrow golden stripes they used after that - although I stuck with the brighter, not quite so very deep red they used in the first two (which is still not the scarlet originally described in the books). I find the very deep burgundy colour not so great but that's my personal opinion... Okay, I'm getting side tracked here - sorry!

#113 01 gryffindor socks


(The yarn I used for these is AKTIV uni 2532 (red) and 2522 (golden yellow) by They also have darker shades of red and yellow for anyone wanting to make Gryffindor socks that are closer to the movie version.) 

Anyway, I've been wanting to make my husband some Ravenclaw socks for ages but couldn't find any yarn in a colour that could pass for bronze that 
a) I liked
b) looks good with the shade of blue I chose and
c) is neither grey (as they used in the movies - WHY?) nor copper-ish (which is what I've seen a lot of knitters use who also didn't seem to like the grey version but couldn't find bronze coloured yarn)

Potterheads will know that the Ravenclaw house colours are blue and bronze. The house points are counted using saphires and I think I found sock yarn in a shade of blue that works well for that. I've bought several balls of sock yarn in various shades of sand to brown from different manufacturers in the hopes that one of them might work as bronze and most of them looked promising when I saw them on the screen and couldn't compare them to each other. 


I put in the mustard and orange-ish copper yarn you can see above for comparison: I've seen shades like both of these used to make what people called "Ravenclaw Socks" before and I really don't think it works (but that's not saying it's not okay to do it - everyone to their own taste and liking). There is too much of a glare in the above picture but the medal is a bronze medal my son won last summer and I borrowed it for matching the colours.


The sandy colour in the middle also didn't make it but I knew that already.

I think you'll agree with me that bronze is a very difficult tone to recreate. It's a metal, not a colour and making a colour look like a metal without adding plasticky stuff that glitters or shimmers is apparently not that easy... I find it very hard to describe the exact colour I'm looking for: it's brown, yes, brown-ish with a slight hint of orange but not too orange, a little deeper than orange, more in the direction of deep red, maybe almost with a touch of purple? Would that be it...?


From all the contestants I collected the one above seems to be the closest match but I'm still not happy with it - it's too coppery, too orange-ish, it lacks the "maybe almost touch of purple" I was describing... I can picture the socks these two yarns would create and I'm not entirely happy with them. They appear too random to me, just blue and light brown striped socks...


This drift-wood-brown yarn is not the best match compared to the actual bronze medal but I like it better for a couple of reasons:
a) I like how it looks next to the blue - it doesn't undermine it - it's clear that it't not the main colour (which is absolutely not a problem for me with the Gryffindor Socks - somehow the equality of the red and yellow works much better for me than it does for the blue and bronze)
b) it is a lighter shade, almost grey but warmer and definitely not grey
c) it is very close to Stylecraft Special DK's shade nr. 1064 "Mocha" which I'm currently using to make a Ravenclaw scarf (the blue I'm using for that is nr. 1831 "Lapis")


I chose the colours for the scarf using the little Stylecraft Special DK swatches I've been generousely sent by two fellow members of the knit and natter group on facebook (who actually took the time out of their days to coordinate their respective stash so that I'd get a full set! How amazing is that!)
It wasn't easy but in the end I went for Lapis and Mocha because I find it pleasing to the eye and both colours go really well with my husband's coat (which is what the scarf will be worn with)...


It was very hard to take a photo that shows the difference in shade but in the above picture you can see the Stylecraft and the AKTIV sock yarn side by side. The blue sock yarn is a touch deeper than Stylecraft "Lapis" and the sock yarn stand-in for bronze is a touch more yellow than Stylecraft "Mocha" but overall I'm rather pleased with the match. It's not like the scarf and the socks will be on show side by side a lot... 


According to the swatches in the above picture Stylecraft "Lobelia" (second from the bottom) might have been a better match for the sock yarn (swirl on the top) but I didn't have the sock yarn yet when I chose the colours for the scarf. The colours don't show particularly well in my photos, I know - I think it was too bright... Anyway, "Lobelia" was too purplish for my taste and didn't look enough like saphires to me. "Royal" is generally not a shade of blue I'm a big fan of (just like the standard shade of uniform Navy) so that was out of the question and as I already above: Lapis and Mocha go well with the colour of the coat and liking it is the most important thing in the end. 


There are many swatch comparisons for different colour families, shades and combinations on the internet that are much better than my pictures but I still want to show you how I decided what to use. In the above picture you can see various shades of Stylecraft neutrals that are not grey or silver (I'm not sure if these are all the colours available in the line but what I have here is plenty - I know Stylecraft has a shade called "Silver" which I've often seen suggested for Slytherin colours). "Gold" at the bottom is once again for comparison and I didn't even bother to put "Copper" next to it - that was out of the running from the start. My sock yarn is in a swirl at the top again - and for some reason looks much darker and browner than it really is or it just looked much too light two pictures above - why? - but you can see that it is the closest match to "Mocha" (even though I matched them the other way round and chose Mocha long before I found the sock yarn) and the other swatches are all too light, too yellow, too sandy, etc. 

If you'd like to see really good colour comparisons for Stylecraft Special DK yarn I'd suggest you hop over to this post by Attic24 where, especially towards the bottom of the post, you'll find lots of pictures with all the shades sorted by colour family side by side (although there were some new colours added to the line since the post was written - it's an older one but still very useful) or you can just use google images and search for Attic24 yarn pegs which shows many, many colour combos and side-by-side comparisons. 

Now I'm off to look for a stripe pattern for the Ravenclaw socks. I definitely won't be going for the solid block stripe, I think. Maybe I can find something other than the design I've used for the Gryffindor Socks, just to shake things up a bit and have different styles for the different houses. We have a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw in the family and two members who won't be sorted for a while so maybe we'll end up with a full set - haha!
(If you want to be sorted into a Hogwarts house, hop over to the wizarding world website to take part in the official sorting ceremony. You will need to create an account but it's worth it =) you can find out what your patronus is and be chosen by a wand as well.)


Lots of love! xxx


P.S.: I don't think I showed you the Gryffindor Scarf I made for a very dear friend during the summer of 2019:


It is very long - roughly 160-170cm - and I used Stylecraft Special Dk "Claret" (1123) and "Sunshine" (1114). (If you want shades more similar to the ones used in movies 3-8 then "Burgundy" (1035) and "Gold" (1709) are a good choice.)
Each block stripe is 20 rounds long, I used 4mm needles and cast on 70 stitches (or so - I can't remember exactly but it doesn't really matter - just try and see if you like the width). 

I'll tell you about the little Hogwarts style note book in a separate post. 

Aug 22, 2018

Sep 19, 2017

Jul 12, 2017