Thursday, February 26, 2009

Traveling with Socks

Well, I'm back with my sock blockers, so I can finally get some decent pictures of the beaded (Black)hearted socks:


And a close-up of an adorable little beaded heart:


I realized after taking another look at my last post that I finished two of my own sock designs in a row. That was a little odd. I actually only knit Diamondy once before (while writing the pattern) and those socks were a gift, so it's nice to have my own pair now.

And I've knit a few pairs of (Black)hearted. The first pair, long before I actually wrote up the pattern, was a gift. Then I knit the pair for Valentine's Day last year, which is the one pictured in the pattern. I have yarn somewhere for a pair to match the pink pair in the pattern pictures (MJ knit those), but the Stitch Jones yarn was just perfect, and it *was* Valentine's Day, so I made the beaded pair to hold me over. I guess that's the good thing about mix & match patterns, none of mine will be exactly the same.

I got a little more knitting done on the train yesterday, and I now have one completed Leyburn sock:


I almost always knit my socks 2 at a time, so this one is giving me an opportunity for 2nd sock syndrome. I've already cast on the second sock, but we'll see how long it takes me to finish it...

I modified the pattern to be knit cuff-down and used only 60 stitches which should be plenty for me. The yarn is Socks That Rock lightweight in Carbon Dating.

Listening to: Eye ~ Smashing Pumpkins, Dope Hat ~ Marilyn Manson


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Socks, Socks Everywhere

The sock knitting has continued in full force these past few days, even though I've been hopping between states and without internet for quite a bit of that time.

Early in the morning of February 14th I finished my Space Dust Diamondy twin socks:


Pattern: Diamondy
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight in Space Dust
Needles: 2.25mm
Started: 1/27/09
Finished: 2/14/09
Miles: .18 (-10% because they were started before the beginning of the Sock Marathon)
Total Marathon Miles: .41

I seem to have a bit of an obsession with knitting Valentine's Day socks. I'm not even all that fond of Valentine's Day, though this year I made valentines with my little sister and sent them to the yarners.

I wanted to knit my (Black)hearted pattern since it was one of this month's choices for the Thrifty Knitters Sock Club on Ravelry, but I wanted to mix it up a bit so I did these ones with beads.


They're my first socks with beads, and I think they turned out great! (forgive the bad finished photo, I'm not with my sock blockers and it's dark outside)


Pattern: (Black)hearted
Yarn: Stitch Jones in Secret Touch
Needles: 2.25mm
Started: 2/14/09
Finished: 2/18/09
Miles: .24
Total Marathon Miles: .65

I found this yarn when visiting Twisted in Portland, and had to buy it. I claim not to like pink, but I was drawn to this very-Valentine-y colorway, and I had to have it despite the fairly frightening name.

The yarn was quite thin, but made a very nice fabric on size 1 needles. It's extremely soft but didn't fuzz much even with the beads dragging on it. The dyeing was really nice - two very distinct shades of pink, red, and a bit of white - and there was hardly any bleeding of the red / pink into the very-white white. I'm wondering what the base yarn is, most of the yarns I've seen are more of a natural white.

Also, I've been meaning to show this adorable button that one of my Salem knitting buds, Snarfy, made for me:


Hopefully I'll be back in a few days with even more finished socks!

Listening to: Holding On for Brighter Days ~ 27, The Love Song ~ Marilyn Manson

Friday, February 13, 2009

My friends are awesome!

Happy Friday the 13th! I actually like Friday the 13th, it's usually a pretty good day for me and so far this one has been too.

Yesterday I headed over to Stephania's house for some dyeing. Here are the results (with a bit of sock laundry too):


The yellow is a semi-solid wool/nylon I dyed in the crock pot for a design I've been thinking of. The turquoise is on her wool/bamboo base, and was also dyed in the crock pot. It turned out much more variegated, though.

The two flats were a cute idea I had... I've been wanting to get some blank flats and paint a star on one - I'm not dumb, I know it won't come out as a star on the socks, but it's like... stealth stars! So when we went to the Superbowl Sale at The Purl District and I saw that Flat Feet was 50% off, I decided I'd go ahead and pick some up. The light blue flat was a semi-solid that I thought would work well for painting on, and the darker blue one was just such a nice color.

I always think it's strange when I see Flat Feet with vertical stripes because that's going to come out just like if you dyed it in a skein - what's the point of doing it in a flat? So I doctored up the dark one by painting some horizontal stripes - they're not really going to show up over the darker yarn, but there will be stripes of different colors in the lighter sections. I think it will be a cool effect.

For the lighter flat we printed out a star and cut it out, and I painted around / over the paper. Then I spattered the flat with the same blue so that it wouldn't be only confined to the star area - I think it will add some interest. :) Both of the flats only show half - the other side is painted to match.

Then today I got a package from my most amazing friend Cathy:


Before I left Boston, I lent her a book, a project bag, and gave her some yarn one day when she was at my house with nothing to knit. Perhaps because of that - though I don't quite remember - she said she'd knit me a pair of Conwy socks. I have a shorter pair that I knit, but I *hated* knitting the pattern. I love the resulting socks, though. She likes knitting the pattern so I gave her a skein of my JKnits and she made me those Conwy socks.

I got the package today returning my stuff, sending me the above socks, and with a bonus yarny gift - Aussi Sock which she said I hadn't tried yet and it was my colors. Right on both counts!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things I Love

Well, thanks to my V-day SP (again) I have something to post today too!


While I walking up the driveway with two dogs and an armful of mail, my SP box was making scary rattling noises. I was worried something was broken, but all was well. (Also, an aside, I love how my SP wrapped everything up individually. I don't usually do that when I send boxes mostly because I don't have festive wrapping and tissue around and don't think to go buy it, and partially because I'm kind of lazy unconcerned with presentation.)

Anyway, the little packages were unwrapped to reveal this:


Clockwise in a spiral: A pretty handmade card, raspberry jam which looks delicious!, some beads to make a necklace / bracelet, a button describing the steps of Kitchener Stitch, a bath... thing (not salts, but something bath-y), chai flavored mints!, Panda licorice (Hey! Pandas! Was that a clue yesterday?), a skein of Dream In Color Classy in Night Watch, an organic dark chocolate truffle bar, a grow your own wand, with a star on it, cherry 3 Musketeers.

My SP says a lot of the package is local to her area and where she spends the summers, which is a really cool idea. :) I'm going to the ocean with my family over Valentine's Day this weekend so I'll bring the licorice to share. I like licorice, but some of my family *loves* it. But that dark chocolate truffle bar is all for me!

The yarn is for my Blurple Waves blanket. You haven't seen it since I first started, but now it looks like this:


It's my blanket for all my random blue and purple worsted weight - a lot of which was gifted to me by SPs. I figured it would be nice to have it all together in a big project instead of making countless hats and scarves. At the moment it's looking pretty purple, though. Maybe this Classy should go in next.


That middle stripe (Eskimo by Bouton d'Or, from a past SP) is actually a light blue, but the lavender above (Woolarina handspun, prize from the Knittyboard WIP-along) makes it look purple. You can see more details on the Ravelry project page.

In other knitting news, I spent some time last night making Excel versions of the charts for a couple of patterns - Marble Arches from the 2006 Rockin' Sock Club and The Mystic Sea from my first time at sock camp. I started these socks ages ago and had to rip them out because I couldn't find my notes on pattern modifications or I forgot which size needles I used. I took screenshots of the charts and put them on my iPhone! I love my iPhone. Now I can start up the socks at home and not have to worry about carrying patterns with me when I take them to knitting group. :)

Listening to: Closure ~ Opeth, Nightdriver ~ Klimt 1918

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear USPS,

Today I got a lovely card from my Valentine's Day swap pal.


Isn't that panda adorable? It's a pop-up card! She says hi and tells me that there's more to come - I can't wait. :D

I also received a second envelope from the USPS:


Click to embiggen if you can't read it.

Now, I see two problems with this situation.

#1 (noted in red) - The collection envelope states there is 34 cents postage on the envelope, when there is very clearly $1.

#2 (noted in purple) - My SP went into the post office and had a postal worker weigh and put the postage on this envelope - that is apparent from the kind of label which is on it. I know, I spend lots of time at the post office, and even the label from the APC is not like that. So even if there *is* 34 cents postage due, that is not my fault and not my SP's fault!

Sorry USPS, you're just going to have to eat that 34 cents since it was your own mistake. After being incredulous, I was actually quite amused by this. Thanks SP for inadvertently giving me some extra amusement today.

Now, let me say that overall our postal system is very good. I know that, and I appreciate it. Sure, packages get lost. Sure, they keep raising the rates. But on the whole we have an efficient and affordable postal system, and I'm glad it works as well as it does. But this? This is just silly! :P

And yes, this post is only very tangentially related to knitting. Sorry. Um, look, socks!


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Monday, February 09, 2009


As I mentioned after finishing the Nutkin socks, I had some ideas for some modifications. I knit a pair "my way" which also ended up being my first pair for the Sock Marathon!


Pattern: very modified Nutkin
Yarn: Interlacements Beibi Seda
Needles: 2.5mm
Started: 2/1/09
Finished: 2/8/09
Miles: .23
Total Marathon Miles: .23

The main modifications I made were:
1. Substitute 2x2 rib for the picot edging, beginning with a p1 to match it up with the purl columns in the stitch pattern later.
2. Knit 1 repeat of the chart as written, then mirror it (changing the decreases to k2tog). Do the same on the back of the sock.

I also did a heel flap instead of the original heel and didn't do purl ridges before the toe. It would also be possible to use the pattern to form toe decreases by omitting the yarn overs - but in this case the end of the pattern repeat came where I intended to start the toe decreases anyway, so it wasn't necessary.

Mirroring the chart gives the sock a very different look and also solves the problem of biasing since there aren't a whole bunch of decreases all going the same way.


I got the yarn from the Interlacements Sock Gang a while back, but judging by the fact that no one else has entered it in Ravelry, it's probably not out there in the world. It's a fingering weight silk / alpaca blend. It's quite fuzzy and a little more drapey than a lot of sock yarn, but it's very soft. I don't think it's going to be particularly hard-wearing, but it's more of a "luxury" sock yarn anyway.

Listening to: Synesthesia ~ AFI, Weaken ~ God Lives Underwater

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Yarn Crawling and Weaving

Saturday after posting the Happy Birthday to MJ, I set out with my fellow Salem knitters and went on a yarn crawl in the Eugene area.

First we went to Ben Franklin, where I wasn't inspired to buy anything. They had a very nice selection of sock yarns, but most of them were things I had already. We went on to The Knit Shop which was really a nice store. They had a pretty decent selection of sock yarn (and a really great selection of lots of other stuff, but I'm not really an "other stuff" knitter). I wanted to get some Panda Wool, but none of the colors really appealed to me so I restrained myself.

Next we hit Soft Horizons where I found some Zauberball. This is a strange stripey yarn rolled into a rather lopsided ball - and in beautiful blues. :) I also couldn't resist a skein of Dream In Color Smooshy in Some Summer Sky. So pretty! I've been trying to pick semisolids or very lightly variegated yarn when I buy now, since I like to knit more complex patterns but don't like it when they don't show up.

Our last stop was Fiber Nooks and Crannies. They had a lovely store with lots of yarn and a small selection of spinning fiber. A huge amount of Koigu too! And a nice selection of sock yarn including some beautiful Arucania stuff that sadly had silk. I would have bought it otherwise.

It was a lot of fun to hang out with all the knitters, and nice to see so many new shops too. :)

As for knitting, I've been slogging along on a few different things, but nothing exciting enough for pictures except this:


I wove! After reading a book about weaving and doing a little experimentation with the loom - I had to figure out how to tie the heddles so they would move - I started a little practice weaving with the warp that was already there and some random scraps of yarn.

The tension is really uneven since I was too lazy to tie the warp on properly and it's been sitting on there for upwards of 15 years, so I think it's slipped sideways a bit. Also there were a couple of strings missing, you can see a thicker band of stitches (?) towards the middle.

But so far not bad. I learned how to make the heddles move properly, learned what kind of tension I need, fashioned a shuttle of sorts, and learned how to change yarn (you can see a bit of pink peeking out. I also learned that using a fuzzy single ply warp is probably not the best for a beginner - the strands sort of stick together and make it a bit hard to separate so there are a few spots where one of the "up" yarns stayed down and vice-versa. (Yeah, my weaving speak is so technical.)

I think I will go ahead with my sock yarn project, provided I can figure out how to warp the loom. And I've also discovered, already, that two heddles is not enough. With two you can only do a plain or "tabby" weave. That's what I wanted for my sock yarn scarf anyway, but if I was going to get into weaving I would want to be able to do stuff that was a little more complicated. I think I would definitely want at least a 4 heddle loom.

Listening to: Strange Machines ~ The Gathering, Muzzle, Smashing Pumpkins

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Sock Yarn

    A quest to use sock yarns:

    Yarns I've had:
    * means I really liked it

    4-ply Soft
    A Piece of Vermont*
    Artyarns Supermerino*
    Austermann Step
    BMFA Sock Candy*
    Black Bunny Fibers*
    Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport
    Chinese Mystery sock yarn
    Claudia's Handpaints
    Conjoined Creations Flat Feet
    Crystal Palace Maizy
    CTH Supersock
    Dicentra Designs
    Dorchester Farms
    Fearless Fibers
    Gloss (KP)
    Interlacements Beibi Seda
    Interlacements Tiny Toes
    Interlacements Toasty Toes
    Jarbo Raggi
    Jojoland Melody
    Kona Superwash
    KP Essential
    KP Merino
    KP Palette
    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock*
    Macek Designs
    Magic Stripes
    Mega Boots Stretch
    Nature's Palette
    Noro Kureyon Sock
    Panda Cotton
    Paton's Kroy*
    Peru DK
    Peruvian Quechua
    Regia Bamboo*
    Regia Cotton
    Regia Strato*
    Ruby Sapphire
    Socks That Rock*
    Star (Classic Elite)
    Stitch Jones
    Sunshine Yarns*
    Three Fates Cauldron Sock*
    Wool Ease
    Yarn Pirate*

    In Progress:

    Perchance to Knit
    Yarns in the stash:

    All Things Heather
    Ancient Threads
    Apple Laine
    Araucania Ranco
    Artyarns Ultramerino
    Autumn House Farm
    Baby Ull
    Ball and Skein
    Baywood Yarns
    Bearfoot (Mountain Colors)
    Briar Rose Fibers
    Brooklyn Handspun
    Cavyshops Handpaint
    C*eye*ber Fiber
    Cervinia Calzetteria
    CTH Superglitz
    Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks
    Chewy Spaghetti
    Classic Elite Alpaca Sox
    Colinette Cadenza
    Colinette Jitterbug
    Country Classic Yarn for Sox
    Crash Into Ewe
    Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop
    Curious Yarns
    Done Roving
    Dream in Color
    Duet (A Swell Yarn Shop)
    Dye Dreams
    Ellen's Half Pint Farm
    End of the World Farm
    Fashion Trend Sportivo
    The Fiber Denn
    Fleece Artist
    The Flock Bransonas
    French Hill Farm
    Froehlich Blauband
    Gjestal Silja
    Great Adirondack Soxie
    Greenwood Fiberworks
    Jaeger Matchmaker
    Jarbo Mini Raggi
    Jawoll Cotton
    Just Our Yarn
    Knit Purl Natural Collection
    Kona Superwash
    KP Dancing
    KP Essential Tweed
    Lime & Violet
    Lisa Souza
    Louet Gems Pearl
    Mama Llama
    Merlin the Cat
    Meilenweit Cotton
    Meilenweit Trend
    Mind's Eye Merino/Tencel
    Mirasol Hacho
    Misty Mountain Farm
    The Natural Dye Studio
    Neighborhood Fiber Company
    Over the Rainbow Twinkletoes
    Pigeon Roof Studios
    Pine Woods
    Posh Yarn Lucia
    Prism Saki
    Pucker Brush Farm
    Regia Surf
    Reynolds Swizzle
    Reynolds Soft Sea Wool
    Rio De La Plata
    Royale Hare
    Roz Houseknecht
    Schaefer Anne
    Scout's Swag
    Sheep Shop Wensleydale
    Shelridge Farm
    Sockenwolle Unipo
    Spirit Trail Fiberworks
    Spunky Eclectic
    Steinbach Wolle Sockenwolle
    Sundara Yarn
    Tess Designer Yarns
    The Unique Sheep
    Universal Ditto
    Valley Yarns Franklin
    vanCalcar Acres
    White Oak Studio tvyarn
    Wisdom Yarns Marathon
    Wool in the Woods
    The Woolen Rabbit
    Yarn Botanika Radiance
    Ysolda Yarn
    Zen Yarn Garden

    To check out:

    Sophie's Toes
    The Spinning Bunny Yarns BFL

WIPs and FOs