Category Archives: Socks

Sock Summit – I’ll never be ready or finished!

You know it’s been over a month since I started my goal of knitting three pairs of socks for the Sock Summit. I’m barely done with just one, and actually I think I’ve decided I’m not going to be done with this one because I want to make knee-highs. Oh well, such is life.

I am almost finished with the Nautillina shawl I started and I’ll have it ready and blocked I think by Friday. But this isn’t for me, it’s for someone else.

Also, I needed to knit something fast so I’ve been thoroughly entranced by gigantic needles. Yes, this is the same woman who once swore off knitting with anything larger than US 10 needles because knitting with anything bigger than that was like doing the “Chicken Dance.” But I had the perfect opportunity to use those size US 19’s that were gathering dust behind my laptop. So I finished a shawlette with some Artfibers Baccarat (a lovely iridescent ribbon yarn that reminds me of Japanese Beetles) which has been languishing in my stash, but I have so much of it left that I think I’m going to undo the bind off and continue knitting until I have a full shawl.  Arrrrgh. I’ll never be done. I need to lie down on the floor and remain calm.

Mulberry kettle dyed socks

These are the socks that never end...

 

Nautillina Shawl

Nautillina Shawl

 

Bacarat Shawlette

This yarn reminds me of Japanese Beetles

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Almost 25 Ways to Get Rid of my Sock Yarn

What do I do with all of this?

Two years ago, I didn’t buy loads of sock yarn at the Sock Summit, because I already had a serious butt load of sock yarn… including a bunch of Drops Fabel and Regia Sock Yarns which have become my fast favorites because of their durability and dependability (I sound like a commercial from the 50’s). I do sometimes struggle with making socks.  You can see the sweater most of the time… socks you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing a work of gorgeous Aran artistry and cablework. So I decided to use Ravelry and my websearching skills to compile a list of things I could possibly create with the multliple boxes of sock yarn I have stashed away. I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Crochet:

  • Fingerless Mitts: Look quite warm and snuggly for your hands.
  • Chihuahua Sweater (double stranded):(though I’d have to make a lot of these just to get rid of my KP Imagination.
  • Vera (gorgeous shawl pattern that eats up to 2000 yards of sockyarn) –  I’m linking to a photo fo the pattern here to entice you. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
  • Snowflake Christmas Ornaments: forgot about fabric stiffener. These look like great fun.
  • Reusable Tampon (Oy, not for the faint of heart) – I probably will abstain from making these… unless, of course civilization comes barrelling down around me and I can’t buy what I need from a store.
  • Eyeball with Nerve Endings: Make a bunch of these for your Halloween party. Then through them at your guests… then they can say they had the unique experience of being pelted with eyeballs.
  • Monkey (OMG this monkey is so cute)
  • Naalepuder (flower-shaped pincushions): Really cute especially with variegated or rainbow yarn. Original pattern in Danish. Floral Pincushions

Knitting:

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

Pirate Mittens (Available on Ravelry as a free download):

Pirate Mittens

Pirate Mittens

The Beanis (warning may offend… what is it? It rhymes with ‘beanis’… you figure it out. No I’m not posting photo here.)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pirate Eye-Patch for your cat. I couldn’t post because the pattern/website no longer exists. But one could easily use their imagination to create one of their own.

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Filed under Aran, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fun Stuff, Gifts, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Patterns, Project, Sock Summit, Socks, Stashbuster, Yarn

More thoughts about the Sock Summit

I am very reflective… sometimes I will return to an event or idea that happened or occurred to me months or years back. Sometimes I wonder why I even blog… I’m a bit of a turtle when it comes down to documenting things. It took me a bit of time to really digest what happened to me at the Sock Summit 09. I’m going to post my discoveries or epiphanies here:

Discovery 1: Heather Ordover (of CraftLit) is a really nice lady.
I got to meet Heather Ordover in person… what a lovely person she is. I accidentally popped into her class early, but I just sat there listening to her voice. Because I love listening to her podcast and usually listen to it at night before I fall asleep, I found myself being lulled into a pleasant trance just listening to her talk. She was really the only person at the Summit whom I wanted to have my picture taken with… and here it is.

Okay it’s not the greatest photo of me… but she looks quite lovely in it.  Heather has done a lovely job discussing some of my favorite books including Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, & The Scarlet Letter (yes, I enjoyed reading the Scarlet Letter when I was in High School). If you are not familiar with Heather’s podcast and you love listening to classic audio books, her archive guarantees hours and hours of listening/knitting pleasure.

Discovery 2: I liked taking short classes.

I knew that I didn’t have the stomach to take an all or even half day class about sock knitting. I could do a sweater workshop, but not a sock class. Don’t get me wrong. I love making socks but I adore making sweaters even more. I would give my eye teeth to go to a sweater design conference actually.  I took mainly 1 hour classes from folks like Cookie A & Chrissy Gardiner, and I also made sure that these were classes on techniques that I could use in making sweaters. Overall my learning experience at the Sock Summit was very productive.

Discovery 3: “It’s not about the time… it’s about what you are making.”

That’s a quote from one of the Luminary Panel members. My memory is fading so I cannot remember who said it.  Obviously, as knitters we’re in it for the ‘process’ since none of us can compete with the speed at which ‘manufactured’ knits are produced. Knitters knit because of their devotion to their craft and the love that goes into producing the knitted object. Many of use knit to give our products to others, and we often internalize the experience that went into the making of the object… thus imbuing it with additional meaning.

Discovery 4: Quote from Anna Zilboorg, “Exams are Stupid!”

I wish I’d written more about this in my notes or even remember the context in which it was said. I think she was getting to the point that the formal world can be such a trial full of trifles that we really don’t need to deal with. Some of the hoops we have to jump through are ridiculous, but the creative part is figuring out how to get around or under them 🙂

Discovery #5: I want to attend a Sweater Summit or a Lace Summit or both.

Socks are great and I make several pair a year, but I would really love to attend a knitting conference focused on either sweaters or lace knitting.  Wouldn’t it be great to attend a fair isle design class or a steeking workshop? How about learning how to create the perfect sleeve cap. After knitting several stockinette based sweaters this year… I really want to focus on improving my technical skills in knitting and that includes knitting lace.

Discovery #6: I have more reserve than I thought

I actually didn’t buy too much yarn… two skeins of sock yarn and enough Blue Moon Fiberarts Twisted to make a bolero… oh and some roving. After viewing the ‘flashed’ Sock Summit stashes on Ravelry… I actually don’t feel that bad about how disciplined I was in not buying too much sock yarn.

Regret… I have but only one:

I wish I had talked to or said hello and thank you to Lucy Neatby. I wish I had her sign my DVD. Thanks to her I now know how to create gorgeous button bands. I really love her knitting videos and she seems to have the kind of dry wit I do love.

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Filed under Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Sock Summit, Socks, Stockinette

Sock Summit Finds

I’m done.

I came away from the Sock Summit with a respectable but not an extravagant haul. Some of my favorite finds were two skeins of yarn from “Creatively Dyed Yarns.”  I apologize for the graininess of the photos, I will try to take photos in daylight soon and post them here.  I’ve become a big fan of the speckled dye job. I was just imagining really pretty socks coming from both of these yarns, but there’s over 500 yards of fiber so either skein can become just about anything including a crocheted scarf.

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Check out the character of the dye/coloring

Check out the "character" of the dye/coloring

Sorry he looks sort of sad here trapped in a plastic bag, but I found the most adorable pattern for a “bendy” bunny.  I actually did a better job photographing his monkey friend. The title of the pattern is actually called “Harry Rabbit.” He looked very alive in a muppet-like way… staring at me from inside the bad. Okay, that’s kindof creepy, but I couldn’t resist. The pattern comes fromCiD Hancom Designs with two pink eyes, bendable wires for arms and legs and a square of pink felt. I purchased this from the  “The Fold’s” booth.  I almost bought the monkey, but stopped myself when I realized I’d never have the time to make him.

I also purchased some tussah silk & dyed pre-drafted roving both for spinning, and two sets of circular square needles (no that’s not an Oxymoron. They’re from Kollage. I plan to knit with them and hopefully write a brief review soon.

Harry Rabbit

Harry Rabbit

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

I didn’t purchase these from the Sock Summit but instead at the Naked Sheep during their “Sock Summit” promotion. During the entire Sock Summit weekend if you mention the code word “Sock Summit” you get 15% your entire purchase. I was able to purchase the slate gray and plum colored colorways. Bob and Meghan kindly named the plum or mauve after me (blushing). I’d actually begged Meghan to make a mauvish color which has become one of my favorite shades. I’m sorry I’ve been Anglicised and I call it “Mohhhh-ve” instead of “Mahhhh-ve.” 🙂

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Filed under Amigurumi, Craft, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Sock Summit, Socks

Swatch Day and Blueberry Socks

I know I said I was going to write about swatching as part of my process in the whole “Raglan Sweater Series” of posts. I lied.

I know a lot of knitters don’t like hearing the “Sermon on the Swatch.”  Maybe it’s just part of the lesson. Knitting a whole sweater that doesn’t look or fit right. I’ll be honest. I have had this happen to me… more than once. As a result, I now swatch.

That’s all I’ll say on this subject for now.

I did have time today to swatch a few yarns I’ve been wanting to try… some yarns for spring: a cotton/hemp blend, Silky wool, and a mystery yarn from Yarnia that I purchased at last years Knit & Crochet Show (Fall). It’s a mystery because I lost the tag.

I’m a little worried that the Coto Canapone (cotton/hemp) is a bit heavy and stiff, but I think it will soften up after washing and blocking.  I’ve heard some really great things about using hemp and I’ve swatched some pure hemp before. It was a bit too harsh for my liking, and I realized that it would take many washings before I could get it to the softness I wanted. Though perhaps I should think of this as a trade off for the fact that hemp takes a lot longer to wear thin than cotton.  Apparently hemp had quite a history as a much used textile until recent times.  Perhaps with the economy being as it is… more people will turn to having durable clothing items rather than disposable ones they replace or trash every year.

I’m quite charmed by the Yarnia yarn.  Unfortunately the photo of the swatch I took doesn’t reflect the different greens\ and purple shades in this gorgeous yarn. Some people have noted that they find the loosely spun plies difficult and splitty to work with, but I’ve always felt that if you take proper care, even splitty yarn can make nice fabric as long as your knitting on the ‘snug’ side.

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

I was also able to finish my pair of Heritage Paint socks for the shop model for my “Toe up Socks” class coming up.  I have to say, this yarn is pretty fantastic. I think it’s pretty durable and still fairly soft with no itch. Plus it’s pretty inexpensive and the yardage is huge… 437 yards a skein. I found that the solid colors of this yarn are quite a bargain at around $12-13 dollars a skein. That’s a good price for yarn for handknit socks that should last quite some time.

My Blueberry socks in Heritage Paints

My "Blueberry" socks in Heritage Paints

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Needed some color to brighten up my winter

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the snow for now. Hopefully.

I meant to post more photos from the dye work I did in December. I finally got around to snapping pictures of the more of the skeins of yarn I dyed.  Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

Northwest Woods (probably for a pair of socks for my brother Ted)

Autumn Fire

Amazon Parrot

Note, I’ve discovered the fine art of squeezing the dye and painting the right amounts of yarn.  I was happy with all my colourways except for one. I didn’t include it here, it was supposed to emulate the colors in a peacock feather, but i think I should have used more dark green. I need to overdye this yarn or repaint it.

Sample of the Blouson from Interweave Knits

I also dyed a good deal of peruvian cotton (about 17 skeins) for the 1824 Blouson pattern.  Let me tell you, dying cotton (and I assume other plant fibers) is a royal pain in the ass.  It wasn’t so much the pre-washing of the fibers in a solution of synthropol then soaking them in a soda ash solution, or dissolving the large amounts of salt into the dye water before adding the urea solution and dye. I REALLY REALLY hated the process of washing out the excess dye and other chemical badness in the yarn after the dyeing was over. Ick. I could never truly felt  that I got it ALL  out. On top of that I’m not sure I want to make a simple stockinette stitch pattern like the Blouson… since dyeing this yarn was such a labor intensive process. Two or three skeins of the yarn are a bit darker than I expected. I think I may have soaked them in too much soda ash solution, but I don’t mind the color imperfection. I think it adds more appeal and a hand-fashioned look to the final product.

Not to mention the warning on the package of the dye said something like… the state of California warns that this produce may cause cancer!!!!

I have decided that I will dye up a few more batches of cotton yarn, just enough to use up the dyes I purchased and from now own I’ll only dye wools, animal fibers and nylon. Or I’ll use Kool-aid and other foodbased dyes.  I have a sweater’s worth of Artfibers Rush I need to dye and some skeins of mercerized cotton. Maybe I should invite some friends over… “Hey, share the cancer!”

Luna dyed with Seafoam & Grey Mist (formerly "Sunlight" yellow)

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Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Craft, Creativity, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Eco, Fibers, Fun Stuff, Knit, Knitting, Socks, Stockinette, Techniques, Wool, Yarn

I’m almost there.

I just attached the arms to E’s seamless raglan sweater last night… so I’m on my way to finishing this. But more importantly I’m 93% done with my Christmas knitting! Okay, I was a little Obsessive compulsive this year and put things into a spreadsheet with a bar graph, but hey, IT WORKED!

knittingprogress.jpg

Click to get a larger view

I had a few detours including socks and handwarmers for other folks outside of my immediate family… but oh did I get to sample some pretty nice yarns. Also, the lovely thing about working with different projects with varied gauges of yarn and patterning or stitching is that I can avoid repetitive stress by shifting to different projects. Next year I think I’ll start earlier say do one Xmas project a month so I can focus on doing more variation in my gifts. I’d like to knit socks for just two family members a year so I don’t burn out on the socks and more importantly, I can knit my own socks and look forward to having pairs for myself.

I actually think I’m going to scrap the Percy Bag for now and just focus on getting the raglan sweater done. By the way, he knows this is what he’s getting, it was just to hard to hide it. He’s not big on the ceremony around Christmas, but I did get him something else that will be a surprise!

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