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Archive for the ‘socks’ Category

It’s been a busy summer. So busy that I haven’t even thought about updating this blog until my friend Pixie mentioned that I should a few days ago. And she’s right, so here I am typing nonsense because the problem is, so much has been going on and happening in my world that I don’t know where to start. Hmm, what is blogworthy…

blueyarn_inpotWell, let me begin by showing you this sock yarn I was kettle-dyeing yesterday in a few different shades of beautiful blue. Right now, I’m dyeing about one or two skeins each dyeing session, maybe three times per week, so roughly three to six skeins are done per week. I honestly don’t think I could do any more than that and still keep the same quality in each dye job because sometimes a single skein will take me four hours to finish. Each skein of yarn that I dye is uniquely and meticulously handpainted or kettle-dyed to my own personal satisfaction. I’ve seen some people on some blogs that output a large amount of handpainted yarn at one time (over ten skeins) and I just don’t understand how they do it, unless they have a small army helping them.

skein_wndr1The reason I’m dyeing all this yarn is because I’m going to be a vendor at the 2009 Fiber Festival in Snow Hill, Maryland, coming up on October 10. I have to build my inventory so I have quite a bit to sell there. Of course, teen had a small fit when I told him I needed him to wind up all this yarn on the niddy noddy (right now I’m looking at 24 skeins that need winding and the niddy noddy makes my arms ache), so I invested in a new knitting tool. This is my new maple Will Taylor Clamp-On Skeinwinder/Swift, which I ordered from Carolina Homespun, and it’s wonderful! The teen is off the hook, at least for now.

1stsock2Thanks to Pixie, I’ve also gotten back into my knitting. I finally finished those Nightmare Socks with her encouragement, and they fit although I loathe them now because they took two years to complete! I think I got tired of looking at them, the pattern wasn’t the easiest to follow, and the yarn wasn’t as soft as I would have liked, but Plymouth Sockotta was the first sock yarn I ever bought for myself. That was before I learned how to dye yarn and now I’ll never buy any commercial brands again. Unless I absolutely have to. Not to mention the fact that I have approximately two bins full of my own handpainted yarn already.

toeup2On to the next project: Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up Socks on Two Circulars, from the book, “Knitting More Circles Around Socks” by Antje Gillingham. I have her first book too, and both include very nice patterns that are easy to understand. These are only my second pair of socks, and I’m knitting them with my own kettle-dyed yarn, Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino SW. I’m a little further than the image shows and so far, so good. These will be a demo project for my yarn at the festival, and I’ve given a skein of my Kona Sock yarn to Pixie to knit up in some kind of amazing lacy project. Many, many thanks to Pixie for the motivation and help. 🙂

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Since Thanksgiving, we haven’t really had any adventures to speak of, and since I finished my Clapotis, I don’t have any really good knitting news, either. There is the second scarf I made for my Ravelry Scarf Exchange pal, Rae, which was mailed to her over a week ago. I know that she probably received it by now, although she hasn’t emailed to say so.Diagonal Knot Stitch Scarf

Completed and blocked, this is the Diagonal Knot Stitch scarf which I knit out of Malabrigo Merino, colorway Violetas. The pattern really opened up once I blocked it, but I do need to find my iron because I could have done a much better job with it. Once I find it, I will be able to block my Clapotis, and finally be able to wear it, hopefully in time for Christmas. (I don’t know what it is about that project, but I’m itching to make another!)

The second nightmare sock of the pair I started eons ago is getting additional rows added to it here and there when I have time at night, which is the only time I get to knit anything anymore. There is just too much to do during a day with homeschooling and housecleaning and cooking and now decorating and Christmas shopping. Phooey! I’d love to just sit and knit all day!

My perfect day would include everyone going out so that I was left alone in the house. The first part of my day alone would beCorey practicing his typing skills. spent in the kitchen dyeing yarn, and the second half of it would be spent in the living room knitting in silence. In fact, that’s not even a day, but about eight hours. Eight hours that I could spend doing the laundry or vacuuming or cleaning the house. Eight hours that I could spend teaching long division to my 6-year-old. Did I mention he’s learning to type, too? In the image at right, he’s practicing his typing skills! 🙂Stitch markers!

Congratulations to my good friend, Anita, who’s handmade polymer clay stitch markers are featured in the current issue of Knit Simple magazine! You can get a set of these adorable stitch markers for yourself by visiting her etsy shop, Yarndemon Designs. I have a set of those sweet peas, and I’ve gotta tell ya, the real thing is soooo much cuter than the images, by FAR. Her shop also features the perfect accessory that every fiber crafter needs: little tape measures with very nice hand-crocheted covers on them. When Anita sent my stitch markers, she also include one of these tape measures which I keep in my little accessory bag and gets frequent use when I’m knitting! Wouldn’t you know it’s that time of year — the season for gift giving, and these stitch markers and tape measures would make PERFECT stocking stuffers!

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I’m going to master socks, and I’m going to try to master them two-at-a-time and toe-up, via the magic loop technique. This link should definitely get me going in the right direction!

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Last weekend, I spent a good bit of time dyeing yarn in my kitchen, and I had this great idea — sock sets. Have you ever seen socks that have different-colored toes and heels? I’ve seen a few and I really like the effect, as long as the colors match. So I decided to dye yarn to make a sock set. I’m curious what sort of response these will generate. I’ve only done one set, and they are listed in my Etsy shop for sale as one item.

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set – Indigo and Jewels TooSand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK

Then I found a couple of skeins that I forgot to list that have been done for awhile. After I got off the phone with my DH today, I immediately knew what to name the colorway. At right is Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK – Clueless.

Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DKAt left is the same yarn in the colorway Chartreuse. This yarn is so crazy bright, you may need to wear shades to knit with it, and I love it!

In my stash were a couple of skeins of KnitPicks Simple Stripes, and since I didn’t like the colors of it, I overdyed it and now it’s wonderful. Two skeins makes an average-sized pair of socks, and I’ve got another couple of skeins overdyed in red drying in my bathroom right now. Tomorrow I’m planning on overdyeing the final two skeins in another color.

Sand in My Stitches Sock String

Sand in my Stitches Sock String – Darkness

Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock

This final image is of Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock – Turquoise and Lime.

The base yarn is Dale of Norway Baby Ull and is so very soft; very similar to Sand in my Stitches SoftSock. Of course it would make great adult socks, but it would also make a super baby set — hats, mittens and socks — know anyone who’s expecting? 😉

All of these yarns have been listed in my Etsy shop for sale. Now I would like to add a huge thank you to everyone who’s given me the confidence to do this, and to all of you who knit and crochet because I truly am inspired by you. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what would make a good yarn and color combination for a certain project or pattern, and if I could make it (which, in turn, keeps me creative), and I really appreciate that!

Knitting-related, I’m working on a secret scarf for a swap. Once I get that secret scarf done, I’m going to (hopefully) knit a pair of mittens for my SP11 pal and then I can ship her final package to her. I’ve never knit mittens before, so we’ll see about that one. And I’ve got everything ready to go into an “angel” package for my second pal in the dishcloth exchange.

Whew! When these three swaps are done, I’m planning on finishing all my WIPs (entrelac scarf, nightmare socks, Clapotis, log cabin baby blanket) and concentrating on mastering the art of knitting socks. Will that day ever come? Only time will tell!

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Finally, my nightmare sock is completed! I don’t really like how the ends of the kitchener stitch turned out on the toes, but I’m not sure that I want to try to make them less elvish or not. I am very much a perfectionist, so I probably will end up redoing the toe grafting. Take a look:

My first sock, affectionately referred to as “Nightmare”.

Unblocked

Another view…

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Mason Dixon ballband dishclothThe day before Mother’s Day, I spoiled myself and bought the Mason Dixon Knitting book because after browsing around the many knitting blogs and forums, I found there were a lot of patterns from it that I wanted to try. Plus my Secret Pal knit one of these for me and I had to know how it was made. That was a purchase I’ll never regret, as my boys and DH got me a wonderful knitting accessory for Mother’s Day: a swing/hammock with a canopy! Very wonderful, indeed… I will be able to sit and knit these dishcloths outside while enjoying the beautiful warm weather (which will soon be blistering hot) and watching the Furryland children playing in the backyard. DH is going to put it together today and it’s gorgeous outside — I can’t wait!

14-point star dishcloth

The ballband dishcloth took me two days to complete, and I used Peaches & Creme 100% cotton in two colors. The variegated red and white was leftover from two of these 14-point star dishcloths that I knit last year at a friend’s request. She wanted to use them as hotpads, but the two I made weren’t of equal size, so I couldn’t sew them together. They work well enough as a single layer, thankfully. If you are interested in this pattern, please email me.

Regarding handknit dishcloths… I can’t bring myself to use them on a dish, but as a washcloth for the bath… I think I really like that idea. In fact, my Secret Pal sent me that knit ballband washcloth wrapped around a sweet bar of soap. I don’t think I would have thought of that idea, but it’s perfect for gifts of all types.

In other craftiness, I’m still working on the “nightmare sock”, as I’ve come to think of it. There is a Delmarva Knitters group gathering today at the local Barnes & Noble, and hopefully a sock-experienced person will be able to help me overcome my sock issues!

There is a Round Ripple crochet-along at crochetville.org, and while I don’t want to join the -along, I have wanted to make one of these baby blankets for a long time now. Now that I have a pattern, I will be able to start on it and use up some of that baby yarn stash that Granny gave me a few months ago, but considering my track record in finishing large objects, only God knows how far I’ll get with this one!

My FBB (fat bottom bag) has about six rows on it, but it’s currently on hold because I need the proper stitch markers for making this bag. The ones I’ve been creating are for knitting purposes only, as they slide from one needle to the other. However, stitch markers for crochet are actually for stitches themselves, as they are placed in a stitch of a project. Perhaps an earring would work from my jewelry box; the kind with the hook that slides into your pierced ear. Hmm, since I don’t wear earrings anymore, I do believe I’ve just recruited them back into service!

Thanks to my MIL (Nana, as we like to call her), I’ve also pulled out a cross-stitch project that I started working on a couple years ago that’s been lurking in a dark closet. Slowly, I’m adding stitches to that, but now I have so much going on that it’s going to be hard to devote a lot of time to any one project. Plus there are a bunch of stitch markers that I like to make to keep busy when I don’t feel like working on anything else. After they’re photographed, I will be posting them, and perhaps selling them at etsy.

I have more to write, but my DH is pestering me and I can’t concentrate. ARGH!!! Everyone’s outside and I’m trying to write this post, but he keeps coming over and bugging me… and he’s doing it on purpose because he knows he’s driving me nuts! ARGH! So I will finish for now… but there’s so much more that needs to be posted…. maybe later!

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Iberis White Lace around a Furryland tree.Since the crocheted market bag was done so quickly, I decided my next crocheted project will be the Fat Bottom Bag from the book, SNB Happy Hooker. Using a hank of Classic Elite Provence in color 2635, which is 100% mercerized Egyptian cotton, I’m making a test swatch first for gauge, because it seemed that the stitches were very loose when I did the first two rows of the bag. Usually, my gauge swatches are right on target for each pattern, whether crochet or knit, so I usually don’t have to make any changes. We’ll see! I’m excited to finally be starting this bag because you can really personalize it with a fabric lining, and I really need to get my sewing machine moving again. I’m envisioning an apple green floral print satin fabric for the lining. Does anyone know where I can find some? Something is telling me I’m going to have to visit Goodwill and search through their shirt and skirt selection. The handle I have on hand is a clear lucite handle, but if I find an Asian floral satin fabric, I might go out and get one in bamboo.

The knitted sock I’m working on is taking a very long time, and not because I don’t know what I’m doing, but because I either don’t touch it for days, or don’t have time to do very much; two rows a day isn’t going to get me anywhere! I’ve only gotten two inches of the leg done, but since I’m expecting those 40″ Inox circulars to come in the mail any day now, I may have to frog this pathetic beginning and restart them yet again as toe-up, two-at-a-time socks on one circular (as I originally wanted to do). I’m already suffering from the second sock syndrome, and I’ve gotten nowhere on sock number one! I know… it’s pathetic…

Right now I’m listening to a lawn mower riding around our yard, and I’m amazed. This morning, my youngest wouldn’t stop pestering him to hurry up and go outside to see if the mower would work from its long winter break. Surprisingly, it wasn’t very long at all after they went outside before I heard it start up. This may be the last season that our old mower sees any lawn mowing action, then we’ll have to get a new one. It’s in pretty bad shape.

Baltimore Ravens logoAlmost forgot! DH asked me to get tickets to the pre-season Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles football game on August 13th. So I did. He wants to take our teen (who loves the Eagles) to the game as a type of father-son surprise thing. I think it’s a wonderful idea because they don’t get to do that father-son thing often, although it will be interesting to see who returns in a bad mood because a game of Ravens vs. Eagles means that father and son will be rivals.Corey (4) at our previous Six Flags adventure in 2004.

Also, we received a flyer in the mail inviting us to Home School Day at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland, so we’re planning on going as a surprise for both our boys too. They’ve worked really hard and have done really well in their schoolwork, so this will be a good reward for both of them. Personally, I can’t wait to get on the coasters, especially Superman: Ride of Steel! Inside this Christian family-oriented, yarn-obsessed home school mom is a thrill-seeker desperately trying to escape, if only for a few fun hours…

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