Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I have finished my socks for the Holiday Sock Swap. If you stepped into fresh snow with just these socks on, you'd melt big holes in it. With such a HOT colorway, I chose a HOT pattern as well - called Lava Flow from the Sock-Bug (link in project specs below). It is just a simple slip stitch pattern, but adds just a touch interest to a yarn that would compete heavily with just about anything other than plain stockinette stitch.

I am very pleased, and I think my swappee will be too. This particular colorway was virtually impossible for my camera to capture well in any lighting condition - I tried them all. After a massive photo shoot and some photoshop doctoring, this is pretty close, with the bottom one representing the colors best and also allowing a glimpse of the slip stitch pattern.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Lava Flow from The Sock-Bug
Yarn: Shaefer Anne, color 46
Needles: Addi Turbo #1
Notes: First time using the Magic Loop method. I had a rough start, but I think I like it and will use it again. Also first time with a short row heel. I don't think I prefer it to a traditional turned heel - it just doesn't seem to look as nice to me. The yarn was new to me as well, and I really, really like it. Its superwash, mohair and nylon and it comes in HUGE skeins (560 yards/4oz) and I have a fair amount left over. It seems like it will make for long-lasting socks. They have some really gorgeous colorways as well. It bled like a mo-fo though when given a bath- which I expected with all that red, but it just kept going and going and going.

They are all wrapped up, along with a little something extra, and ready to go in the mail as soon as I get my butt to the post office.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Some Assembly Required

Wheel is here!!! It will be a little while until I can spin on it though. The Louet S17 I bought is a kit, so she needs her wood to be finished and then assembled (I am already anthropomorphizing, and it has become she). Here's what she looks like now:

It even came with 8oz of Corriedale, sandpaper and a wrench and screwdriver - how cool. I love this kind of work: both the wood finishing and the assembly. I know people always groan at furniture/toys/whatever that needs assembly, but I'm a dork, and I love doing that. I have already sanded/stained all the little bits you see in the last shot. Big pieces will be tonight hopefully, then move on to some poly for a little sheen. She's going to be beautiful! Can anyone guess what color she is?

Knitting Unto Others

I had a very productive long holiday weekend. The 3+ hours in the car each way to Maine provided me enough time to complete my Holiday Sock Swap socks. They are relaxing on a nice warm radiator cover right now, getting ready for their FO photo shoot.

The rest of my knitting time has been spent Knitting Unto Others. I'm making several of Susan's "Live Dangerously, Don't Swatch Hats"

The yellow-blue one is made from my own handspun! There is something magical about knitting with yarn you made yourself. I followed Susan's pattern and did the sides in the half-linen stitch she explains in post #2 of the hat. It is quite pretty:

The Blue hat is done in 2x2 rib and with one skein of Noro Cash Iroha. I received 3 skeins of this delicious yarn from my knittyboard SP back in the day, and it has tried to become several things over that time, but nothing quite worked out. I think a nice soft warm hat for someone in need is just what they were destined to become.

I am almost done with Gram's cashmere scarf, which means I can hope to produce several good "Unto Other" projects over the next couple weeks.

In spinning news, my wheel, according to UPS package tracking, is scheduled to be delivered today - yahoo!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Not Terribly Stupid

Thanks to Laura, I've discovered that I'm also Totally Smart

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

Although, I am one point "stupider" than she.

Happy Turkey Day to all those who are turkey-ing it tomorrow. We are up to Maine for the bulk of the long weekend.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Knitalong by Default

After reading Cara's last post, I've become a member of the Jaywalker Knitalong by default - sweet! I'm calling these my Bostonian Socks, as the pattern, as we all know, is by our friendly neighborhood Grumperina, and the yarn is by another Boston local, Adrian of Hello Yarn, and its being knit by me, a near-ish Boston knitter. Here's my progress to date:

While shooting the socks, I realized I've been remiss in my sidebar WIP updating as well. I need to add this scarf to the list:

This is the only holiday gift knitting I've commited to (so far). It will become this scarf, and it is for Gram - my husbands only remaining grandparent. She is just about the sweetest, strongest and wonderful woman I've met and its a pleasure to knit for her. Its also a pleasure to knit with the Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere - melts in the fingers and makes me want to unravel it all into a big pile and just bury myself in it like the little chipmunks who are burrowing away in the pine needle mulch in my garden beds.

I just have to say that as I'm writing this, my 2.5 year old son is freakin' vaccuming the living room! This kid asks to get the vaccum cleaner out and will just go to town (and does a pretty good job to boot). Ahhhhhhh.....I'm savoring it while it lasts.

Friday, November 18, 2005

One Happy Camper

Ye-haw! I finished spinning and plying my Muppet Vomit yesterday and it came out pretty good for a first attempt. My fears about the barberpoling at the singles level appear to have been misplaced - you can't even notice it in the finished product. Here it is along with the yellow stuff, which I kept as singles, and with which I am also very pleased.

Also, I completed sock #1 of my holiday sock swap sock this morning:
The yarn is Shaefer Anne - in colors that are extremely difficult to photograph - reds, pinks and even orange. It is kind of a crazy combination, but I'm pretty confident my swapee will enjoy it. I'm first-timing two things here: a short row heel (not sure if I like over a typical turned heel) and using magic loop technique. At the beginning of the sock, I came very close to just putting it on DPNs on more than one occasion, however, I stuck it out and I like it a lot more than I did at first. We'll see if it becomes my method of choice.

That is all folks - more spinning and sock knitting for me this weekend. Hope you have a good one too.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dyeing, Spinning and a Question on Barber Poles

Having Adrian's wheel has been awesome. I spun up the rest of the Copper Moose - with much more pleasing (to me) results. Take a look:
The bottom hank is what I spun up first, the top hank is the second half and is what I was looking for all along - plied up its roughly heavy worsted - not super bulky and really quite even - yipeee! I got double the yardage out of the same amount of wool, and I am very very pleased.

I've also been dyeing:

I really like the first yellow-y stuff a lot. The red I've decided is going to be named Muppet Vomit - its looking a lot more neon pink-y here on my monitor, it is a little more subdued than that, but not by much. I stuck with straight up colors here - i.e. I just used them as packaged with no mixing of my own shades. I hope to do more today and make my own colors.

Now, my plans for the dyed stuff was to ply each color batch it up on itself, and get some pretty barber-pole results like you see out there in spinning land. I'm feeling some trepidation about this, due to the fact that as I'm spinning this hand-dyed stuff, my singles are barber-poling themselves - you can see it below a little bit - esp. right at the top of the frame with the white and gold wrapping around eachother:

I worry that two plies of already barber-poled singles will come out looking rather craptastic. So I ask all you experienced spinners out there - is there some crucial bit of technique that I am currently oblivious to that will prevent this? I'll most likely still ply this up and just see what happens, but I've been working while spinning the Muppet Vomit to keep this from happening, and I just can't seem to make it happen. No matter what I do, as I approach a color change, I have to end up drafting a bit of one color with a bit of another and they just sit there, wrapped up against one another in stripes. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, don't for get to put yourself on the Frappr Map!

And, I put up a "100 Things About Me" over in the sidebar - I've enjoyed getting to know all of you who have one a little better by reading yours, and attempted to think of 100 things about me so that I can return the favor

And, and, I bought a wheel. The same one I've got on loan from Adrian - a Louet S17. I am beyond excited. Early Merry Christmas to Me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Yup - I'm a fan of the Frappr Maps too. Here's one for PumpkinKnits - show me where you're at!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Hazards of Shopping Online

I thought I was getting this:

Instead I got this:

No, my order wasn't messed up, that is the same colorway. I knew shopping for Koigu online would be especially troublesome, but I did it anyway. I was hoping for a red-ish colorway, but what I got is distinctly black with peach and beige highlights. Very pretty in its own right, but not quite what I had in mind. Off it goes, back to the store to get swapped out, with hopefully some human help on the back end, so that I am not thwarted by photography and monitor resolutions again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Holiday Sock Exchange

I had so much fun with my last sock exchange with the TownsendKAL group that I've signed up for yet another.
Here are my answers to the exchange questions:

1. What are your foot measurements?
9.5" long and 9" around the ball of foot (all patterns I've knit fit just fine circumference wise)

2. Do you have a favorite sock yarn?
I'm a fan of soft wools or wool blends, preferably a washable one.

3. Is there a specific pattern you favor?...lace or ribbed?
I like it all!

4. What colors do you prefer? Do you like solids or stripes?
I prefer to knit with variegated/stripes, as it adds interest, but I would happily wear solids. I'm not terribly crazy about the jaquard-type striping. As for colors, I have no real dislikes - surprise me!

5. Do you have any allergies to a specific fiber?

6. Holiday that you usually celebrate?

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Little Butterfly Love

So my poor little Butterfly vest has not gotten the proper blog attention lately. I spent a lot of my weekend knitting time with this, and I've made it past the addition of the armhole steeks! I am still finding this such a challenging and engaging knit. It is most strictly a "child-free" project, as the box of pretty yarn and dangling balls (think of the google hits I'll get with that phrase) proves too much temptation for even the best behaved toddler. I am getting much better at keeping the pattern repeats going in my head, learning to rely on the colors on the row before to tell me if I'm screwing up. Or at least I was until the addition of the two arm steeks - they break up my groove, and with decreases added in next to them, my brain has to do some work when I get there. Thats all good though, I like having to think on this one. I get to add yet another steek for the neck in a little while, and I'm sure that will really throw me for a loop.

You can see the steek all the way down the center here - arm steeks are not in frame.

Today I was able to ply the 4oz of Copper Moose that I spun a little while back. I managed to do it without spazzing out and going too fast. Its funny, because I though I got my singles pretty damn thin after a while, but its amazing how much they fluff out during plying. This ended up being a lot bulkier than I anticipated. I'm trying to spin the last 4oz thinner, we'll see if I'm succeeding when I ply it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Long Suffering Husband Socks

I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which subject the phrase "long suffering" modifies. I knew these took forever, but I am abashed to discover, after poking around my archives for a bit, that these buggers have been on the needles since late June - eek! These are the first item I have ever knit for the Husband. He has a request in for a hat/balaclava he can wear while snowblowing this winter as well.

And of course, I have cast on for another pair `o socks. Shortly after doing so, I was able to finally get a good photo of just how freakin' wonderful tubular cast on is:

That is the top of the sock cuff, in 1x1 rib. I cannot express to you how much I love this technique. It gives the cleanest, most stretchy edge imaginable. If you have not tried it already, you must. No, really you must. This is the site I used for reference, and I think if I can get hubby to cooperate with some photo taking, I'm going to do a blow-by-blow pictorial when I cast on my second one (which, unlike the Husband Socks, will hopefully be less than 4 months from now). No sock-knitter should be without this technique, resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Little Mitts

During the lull between finishing the Flower Basket Shawl and getting the wheel, and under the threat of last weekends early snow, I whipped up a pair of mittens for the PumpkinBoy. Never done mittens before, so they were fun. They fit perfectly, which means they won't fit by the time true winter get here most likely, but they are cute.

wee mittens Posted by Picasa

Project Specs:
Pattern: my own, knit "backwards" from top down, not cuff up
Yarn: scrap ball of Patons Classic Wool color Peacock, and true scraps of unknown white worsted
Needles: #6 dpns
Notes: I had fun inventing these as I went. The snowflake design is not true stranded knitting, I just kind of left it hanging and crossed it back when I hit the next row - that accounts for the puckering you see, which should block out if I bother to do it.

Edited to Add: several of you have requested the pattern. I wrote it up based on scribbled notes and memory, and a link is in the sidebar, as well as project specs above now. Let me know if you knit them (and if I have any boo-boos in the pattern!)