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November 02, 2008

Giveaway Winner

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Thank you all for your comments on my Giveaway entry! I had a great time visiting some new blogs as well as stopping by my current favorites. Rachel (Wanderlust) is the lucky winner of the Morello Mash Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn. She's a new knitter and is looking forward to knitting her first socks very soon.

Happy Socktoberfest!

October 29, 2008

A Blue Cowl and a Giveaway

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I knit another cowl yesterday (the Delores Park Cowl) with yarn I'd received the day before from Eat.Sleep.Knit. My local yarn shop doesn't carry the chunky Malabrigo and I wanted to use the yarn that the pattern called for, so when Ravelry recommended Eat.Sleep.Knit in the online store options, I clicked it. Service was super-fast and my yarn arrived on a day (Monday) when most yarn shops are closed anyway. I'd never knit with the chunky before and I loved it, so it's definitely on my list to knit again. This serene blue is the Blue Surf colorway.

The cowl craziness is due to my wanting to find some quick knits for loved ones who need some warmth. They're one-skein, instant gratification projects and fast enough to knit during other ongoing projects.

For a Socktoberfest surprise, click behind the cut:

Continue reading "A Blue Cowl and a Giveaway" »

October 02, 2008

Socktoberfest 2008

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I'm joining in the fall festival of sock celebration otherwise known as Socktoberfest IV -- and I'm fully embracing the 'no rules' mindset that Lolly's always envisioned for Socktoberfest. I've not been able to focus on socks for months due to a number of different group knitalongs and design projects but those commitments are winding down and I'm delighted to return to sock knitting this Fall. I love that there are exciting sock knitting books still being published and new patterns to peruse on Ravelry and Knitty (and several other new online knitting magazines). If you'll notice, however, I'm knitting a sock from a pattern that is nearly three years old (but still as popular as ever). It's a wonderful pattern -- and if you can knit a Monkey sock, you can knit the Embossed Leaves sock pattern. The good news is that you no longer have to try to hunt down a back issue of the Interweave Knits in which it appeared; it's in the Favorite Socks book.

I don't yet know what my focus will be for this year's Socktoberfest, but I do know that Twisted Yarns has some exciting new sock yarns (Dream in Color Smooshy, Shibui Sock, Colinette Jitterbug, Regia Kaffe Fasset . . . plus so many more) but I'm the most excited about the saturated semi-solids like the Colinette Jitterbug -- I'm using the Morello Mash colorway for the Embossed Leaves socks. So, since buying sock yarn is another hobby of mine, expect to see some stash enhancement.

Happy Socktoberfest!


October 27, 2007

Socktoberfest 2007 Progress

On Tuesday, I finished these socks and have already started another pair (Lorna's Laces, Shepherd Sock, "Jeans") for my older son.

Finished socks

I cast on 56 stitches with a 2.25mm double-pointed needle but knit them for about an inch with 2.0mm - I used a simple ribbing pattern throughout - K3, P1. The yarn was enjoyable to knit with but had a weird tangled knot in the middle of the ball (while I was knitting the second sock). I had to cut the yarn and when I resumed knitting, the striping pattern was a bit off resulting in mismatched toes. However, the recipient totally didn't care and insisted on trying on the socks while they were still damp. He asked me to "make them dry" so he could wear them to bed. Although I had handwashed them, I crossed my fingers and put them in a warm dryer for a bit until they got dry enough for him to wear. He LOVES them. They fared well through the dryer and the washing machine (and dryer again) the following day. The fit is great with a tiny bit of extra room in the toe to allow for growth.

The best part? His reaction to the socks and his happiness with them. It is the most awesome feeling to knit socks for somebody who loves them so much.

Orange Crocs and Socks

October 14, 2007

Leaves, Laurie and Llamas

Obi inspiration
Leaf Lace Scarf - photo taken before four more inches were knit

You know, it's difficult to blog about knitting progress while you're making it. I've focused on the scarf quite a bit over this past week and have become an even bigger fan of the Malabrigo laceweight. Lace knitting purists might not like this yarn, but it is so soft and easy for me to work with. It grips my needles in such a way that it's perfect for my wonky knitting technique. Paired with an Addi Lace needle, it's a dream. I'm sorry if I owe you an email or a phone call -- this project has had my devotion.

However, thanks to my friend Megan's willingness to drive to Yarntopia in Katy, Texas, I did get out to meet Laurie (Crazy Aunt Purl) and purchase a copy of her book (now autographed). When I got home, I started reading it and finished it a few hours later. You don't have to have been drunk, divorced, or covered in cat hair to enjoy this book. If you've ever hit bottom and found your way back again, you will relate to her heartfelt and humorous story. There are even a few knitting "recipes" in the back of the book, including one of Staci's. Laurie's felted bracelet bag is adorable and unique.

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If you love Rowan, Fleece Artist, Louisa Harding, and Mama Llama, Yarntopia is the perfect place to go to see a full selection of each of these yarns (they have some Rowan yarns I'd never seen in person before). Catherine of Mama Llama Knits was having her trunk show yesterday and I found some irrestible green sock yarn (the green -- it's an obsession):

Mama Llama - Green Obsession
"Forest" Mama Llama Original Sock

Time to get back to the knitting -- I have socks to finish!


October 05, 2007

Feeling like Fall

Socks with Crocs
ONline Supersocke 100, Holiday - Color 90

Earlier this week, I shared my Socktoberfest 2007 goal of knitting socks for my family. My husband already has handknit socks, so I'm focusing on knitting socks for each of the kids -- and using yarn in their favorite colors.

My youngest son loves orange -- he even chose orange Crocs this past summer. His older brother chose a safer color -- blue Crocs. They'll each get socks to match their Crocs. My daughter loved the Madeline Tosh "Lettuce Leaf" sock yarn so I'm going to knit her socks with those. Can I knit three pairs of socks by the end of October? We'll see.

I also recently finished a basic ribbed beanie with leftover Cascade 220. I've got another hat on the needles but it's a "practice" hat for my son. For a number of reasons, his learning to knit hasn't been our focus this past week, but we have a long weekend coming up and I hope to take advantage of the extra time.

Basic Beanie

The thought has kind of crept up on me that I need to knit more for my family. I love the idea of knitting for charity, but I want each of my kids to each have useful things that are handknit by their mom. How shameful would it be if I knit hats (or socks or scarves) for others when my own kids don't have them?

Thank you very much to those of you who've helped me release some of my stash! I've figured out that the "stash" number on Ravelry is static regardless of whether a yarn has been moved from the main stash page to the "for sale/trade" page. I'm trying not to obsess about that too much. Part of me would like the overall stash number to decrease. Most of what I've released are yarns I've had for two or more years -- some are yarns I purchased as a new knitter. And there's a bit more to come if you all are still interested. It's very empowering to think about the future "dream" projects and figure out what I most enjoy knitting and what I get excited about. Socks. Scarves. Shawls. Hats. I'm learning that I like simple, classic clothing best on me. It's just all very enlightening and I hope to be able to work through some of my thoughts and put them here soon.

Last but not least, I put together a lovely bracelet based on some inspiration about the meaning behind turquoise gemstones. I had enough gemstones and closures to make two bracelets, so I'm keeping one and selling one:

Turquoise

If you're interested, the bracelet is $39 and includes postage and handling (now spoken for). As before, the first person to express an interest will have priority.

October 01, 2007

Fleece Artist Handmaiden Sea Wool Socks

Fleece Artist Handmaiden "Forest"

I thought I had blogged about this sock already, but I now realize I haven't. Although it's just another plain sock (slideshow here), I wanted to share a few details about the yarn -- it's an intriguing combination of wool and "sea cell" (seaweed?) The color was what was so appealing to me so I bought it (via Yarntopia) with the intention of having something to knit as my "waiting in line" socks. It was unusual to knit with, but once it's washed it feels amazing -- soft and cool on the feet. My only concern was running out of yarn, yet I ended up having enough to knit a pair (with a tiny bit left over).

And . . . Socktoberfest 2007 is starting today! Here's some information from Lolly's Ravelry Socktoberfest group:

"A very simple concept with very few restrictions - Socktoberfest is a month-long (throughout the month of October) celebration of socks. It is a simple celebration of the accessories that we make as crafters to cover our feet. Think of it more as a festival than a knitalong - people who love something come together and celebrate it!"

My goal for Socktoberfest this year is to knit a pair of socks for each family member who doesn't yet have a pair -- and using my sock yarn stash to do so.

And, if you're interested in the Flickr group, here's the link: Socktoberfest on Flickr

Happy first day of Socktober!

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November 01, 2006

Say nothing

The Yarn Harlot's graceful solution to one's desire to have an out-of-control verbal reaction: Say nothing. Knit. Knit. Knit. Have you ever known somebody who claimed to want you to share your inner thoughts but was, frankly, wanting you to do so in order to use it as a weapon against you? Say nothing. Write nothing. Knit. Knit. Knit.

I found this charming photo and blog entry through Kristin Nicholas' blog entry today. Primitive sock knitting has been on my mind for a number of reasons, but the origins of sock knitting in general fascinate me. I also discovered that I love seeing photos on your blogs of well-worn handknit socks. Socks are meant to be worn out. If you're ever given handknit socks, the best compliment you can give the knitter is to wear them often.

For my Socktoberfest recap, my goal was to focus on sock knitting, acquire some never-before-tried sock yarn from small independent producers and visit new-to-me blogs of Socktoberfest 2006 participants. There was one small project I had in mind for Socktoberfest that I didn't get to complete -- a short video of me knitting socks. I will eventually have a link to a sock-knitting video in my sidebar, but the only videotaping equipment I had access to was seriously lacking for this project.

From last year's photo archives:

Finally I have something Hable

Hable Construction inspires me. The Hable pincushion is in my kitchen where I can see it every morning as a reminder to be curious, adventurous, and grateful. With so many family tragedies along with unnecessary drama last year, I really just wanted peace in 2006. And I've had that. In 2007, it's time to launch and fly.

October 24, 2006

Adventures in stash enhancement

Lisa Souza Can't Elope Hand-dyed sock yarn
Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks (colorway above is "Can't Elope")

Alexis mentioned Lisa Souza yarn in one of her entries so I decided to try it for myself. I received the yarn late last week and it's SO incredibly soft and I love the colors in the skein. it's waiting in my sock basket for its future sock fate.

Now if you haven't done so already, scoot on over to Lollygirl's blog and read the great interview with Nancy Bush. Coincidentally, I have been immersing myself in Tasha Tudor so I was delighted to hear that Tasha had once invited Nancy Bush to teach a "Folk Socks" class in her home. In January 2007, I'll be taking an Estonian Lace class with Nancy Bush.

There's a great quote that Tasha Tudor shares in The Private World of Tasha Tudor:

"The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy." (Fra Giovanni)

October 18, 2006

Project Paralysis

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I have this hovering paralysis resulting from having too much to do. I've avoided the knitting because so much more is pressing in this week. I think this is what Stephen Covey is referring to when he writes about the "tyranny of the urgent." I find myself in Quadrant I when I prefer to be in Quadrant II (.pdf)

The ideal thing would be to work on the socks I started last week; I've turned the heel and completed the gusset decreases so now I'm just working on the foot portion. Obviously, I'd like to finish the pair before the end of the month, but it's not looking good at this point. I remind myself lately that my knitting's not on a deadline around here. It has to remain the ONE thing that helps me keep other important things in perspective.

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I've a shop model to complete and a wonderful cardi I'm jonesing to cast on, but it's not a race. I've had some small victories in areas that have been causing me distress. I can't really explain it here without going in to a lot of personal details, but I'm pleased with the steps I've taken with regard to my online presence. I'm much more than just a knitter, but knitting is the only thing I choose to put "out there" publicly.

October 09, 2006

Sock retrospective

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I got serious about sock-knitting last year during Socktoberfest 2005. That's when I made it a priority to really understand the concepts of sock construction. By January 2006, I was making it my goal to have socks on my needles at all times. This was my first completed pair of 2006. The next socks I completed were the Sockapalooza socks for my sock pal Deidre (now, sadly blogless).

For my husband, I knit my first pair of socks for him using Lorna's Laces "Pinstripe." Shepherd Sock is just WONDERFUL to knit with. I enjoyed the yarn so much, I decided to finish the Purl Soho custom-colored Lorna's Laces I purchased last year. I wear these socks often!

After that, it was back to knitting another pair for my husband with Mountain Colors Bearfoot.

Socktobfest Retrospective

This month, I plan to finish at least one in-progress pair of socks in addition to doing a special project in honor of Socktoberfest 2006.

October 02, 2006

Socktoberfest

I might or might not have purchased something in honor of Socktoberfest Stash Enhancement (a new category worthy of Socktoberfest, don't you think?)

It might or might not be called HUNGARIAN HORNTAIL DRAGON.

And it might or might not have been part of Dani's Sunshine Yarns offerings at her Etsy Shop.