Tag Archives: yarn

One Year (Sock) Anniversary!


I am going to completely sidestep the fact that I have not blogged since May. I am not going to mention the ongoing guilt I have for not keeping up with this blog because there are, truly, so many things I want to write about. I am just going to bask in the glory that is October 18th – which is the day I finished my first pair of socks last year!

It’s hard to imagine that its been an entire year since that first pair of socks came sliding clumsily off my double pointed needles. I thought I would never finish that first pair, but as it turns out their completion started an obsession that has lead to 29 pairs of finished socks …. 29! Five for my husband, three for my Dad, four for friends and the rest reside in my sock drawer.

Double points, two circulars and magic loop. Patons, Lions Brand, Plymouth, Serenity, Regia and Trekking. Toe-up, Top-down and the ill-fated two-at-a-time …. Seems I’ve made a pretty good dent in my sock education. I’ve still yet to make a patterned sock but I seem no worse for wear on this – I love the ease of a simple stockinette sock. There is a mindless joy of looking down and realizing you’re creating something functional and that the knitting has calmed your mind to a pleasant zen-like state.

So please allow me to share with you a year of obsessive sock knitting and as always, I cannot wait till next years recap!

What a finished pair looks like. It smells like victory though!

What a finished pair looks like. It smells like victory though!

Second Pair of Socks

Second Pair of Socks

They are almost perfect!

They are almost perfect!

My Dad's First Sock.

My Dad’s First Sock.

First pair of finished socks for 2014!

First pair of finished socks for 2014!

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Singin' the Blues Socks

Singin’ the Blues Socks

Feet - and that is my ceiling ;)

Feet – and that is my ceiling 😉

Opal Socks.

Opal Socks.

Patons Socks

Patons Socks

Afterthought Heel

Afterthought Heel

I LOOOVE these socks!

I LOOOVE these socks!

Prince Charming Needs More Socks!

Prince Charming Needs More Socks!

Two at a time madness.

Two at a time madness.

Perfect for Hiking!

Perfect for Hiking!

Prince Charming Needs Socks!

Prince Charming Needs Socks!

Regia Socks!!

Regia Socks!!

Neon Gum ball Socks

Neon Gum ball Socks

Cashmere for a sick friend!

Cashmere for a sick friend!

Monet's Watercolors

Monet’s Watercolors

Easter Egg Rainbow - I like it!

Easter Egg Rainbow – I like it!

A Night in the Woods

A Night in the Woods

Ohh....Purples

Ohh….Purples

The Hubby

The Hubby

They Glow in the Dark! (not really but darn close)

They Glow in the Dark! (not really but darn close)

Serenity Sock Yarn

Serenity Sock Yarn

Celestial Blues

Celestial Blues

 Plymouth Stiletto Sparkly Socks.

Plymouth Stiletto Sparkly Socks.

I want to leave you with this. Happiness, in part, is a full sock drawer!

 Happiness is a full sock drawer.

Happiness is a full sock drawer.

A Month of Knitting: Part 1


It’s been over a month since I last posted, hard to believe given that I used to be so devoted to keeping up with it. The thing is, when time is precious you begin to…covet it. When I’m not working, with family or friends I want  to be knitting or spinning. It’s even stranger because as I am knitting I am actually thinking about writing about it. What to say, questions to ask, things to share – these things bubble in my mind and quickly as my needles navigate the fiber.

So in the interest of keeping up with the blog I am no longer going to pressure myself into doing it, I am going to let it be something that is enjoyable and not just another obligation. That being said, I cannot wait to share all the shenanigans that I’ve gotten into this past month. Hope your still reading friends and neighbors – and I hope it was worth the wait.

The Bend Hat

The Bend Hat

  • Project: The Bend Hat – Event Charity/Single Skein in Ravellenic Games
  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft – about 175 yards worth.
  • Verdict?: I really like the pattern, but the ribbing was a bit big for my taste. I will definitely make this again – just shorten the brim by half.
Cross Timbers

Cross Timbers

  • Pattern: Cross Timbers by Alexis Winslow
  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Plum Heather and Dark Gray
  • Verdict? : I really loved this for my first colorwork pattern. I did, however, block it till it screamed and it was still too tight. I used the largest amount of stitches called for, but if it doesn’t block for me (oh please let it block for me!) the I will know to add pattern repeats to make the circumference bigger. It still came out to 11” length wise so I don’t know if this is what’s suppose to happen or if I knitted too tightly – even though after watching I went up a needle size.
Gloria's Doctor Who Mitts

Gloria’s Doctor Who Mitts

  • Pattern: Rose Tyler’s Fingerless Mittens by Dana Berry
  • Yarn: Zitron Trekking 6 fach 6 ply in 1806 Blue Grey
  • Verdict? : I really enjoyed this pattern. The chart was well written and the mitts look just like the ones from Doctor Who (except not pink – Gloria would hate pink). When I make them again for myself, I am going to knit the back section instead of purling. I don’t think that it will change the integrity of the pattern and I hate purling in the round on such small needles.
Leaves on the Line

Leaves on the Line

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  • Pattern: Leave on the Line by Susan Ashcroft
  • Yarn: Casscade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in Fall (9801)
  • Verdict? : I LOVE Susan Ashcroft! If I had the funds I would buy every pattern she has ever written and make them all at least four times. The idea of measuring your yarn for a pattern is freaking ingenious. You get the most out of your expensive skein of yarn. I cannot wait to give this to my Aunt Kathy!!
Purl Ridge Cowl

Purl Ridge Cowl

  • Purl Ridge Cowl by Stephen West
  • Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Midnight in Misty
  • Verdict? : Great pattern – totally brainless and ends up looking far more intricate that it actually is. It is also a great stash-busting project and I will be making loads of these for the holidays.

So here is part one. There was a lot more knitting going on than I thought, so breaking it up seemed the best idea. I hope your still there friends and neighbors – I know I’ve been a crummy blogger but I am at least going to try to get caught up with your blogs. Missing your blogs is like missing a friend, it hurts and it’s super annoying!

 

WIP Wednesday


So far the B.A.D.D doesn’t seem so bad….hardy-har-har. However this is going to be very short, as I hate discussing things I haven’t finished yet. It seems a little redundant, but I am trying to recover my blogging ability – I miss you guys when I’m not on the site.

1. Fiori Autunalli – It has been successfully frogged and is not sitting in time out until I can look at it without breaking a sweat.

Bad Lace… or Bad Knitter...

Bad Lace…
or Bad Knitter…

2. Jayashiri Pullover – I have actually pulled this out of hibernation! I am slowly putting the mileage on it and all I need is another two inches to do the bust increases. Who knows? This very large (oh goodness it is soooo large) pullover may actually happen.

Look! Progress!

Look! Progress!

And finally…

3. The Rose Tyler Doctor Who Fingerless Mittens – A FREE pattern on Ravelry, I thought that these would be perfect for my Doctor Who loving niece Gloria. I love this pattern, I love the mitts… I HATE purling in the round on size 1US needles! I am hoping to get them done before March. By the way, the picture is courtesy of ©Dana Berry because I want to do a blog post when they’re all finished!

© Dana Berry

© Dana Berry

So those are the big to-do’s on my knitting list. Of course there are also leg warmers, but for the life of me I cannot post another picture of leg warmers. So until next time, which I hope is soon, have a great hump day!

The Ravellenic Games Main Event Project!


I joined the Ravellenic Games for the first time this year and I went all out for Team Sasquatch! My main event was Event Shawl, but I also signed up for Event Charity, Event Single Skein and Event Modular (which was a huge mistake but more on that another day).

My main event was to knit a shawl. Since my disgrace with the Fiori Autunalli by Rosemary Hill I have been downright scared of knitting lace. Did I mention the disgrace came from 1. Reading the wrong chart 2. knitting the wrong chart 3. switching rows while knitting the wrong chart and 4. frogging about 1,000 sts in tears at my LYS? Word to the wise friends and neighbors, don’t knit when you’re too tired to remember your middle name!

Anyway, here I am rambling again! I choose for my Games piece a shawl knitted in worsted, I felt like it was my knitting equivalent of a nightlight. So The Lonely Tree Shawl by Silvia Bolvia (which is not only amazing fun to knit but FREE on Ravelry) seemed like the perfect choice. I gathered up some Caron Simply Soft in Dark Sage from my yarn stash and was off!

Humble Little Beginnings

Humble Little Beginnings

I was going really slow until the leaves started to emerge, trying to remember that lace knitting is only as hard as I let it be in my head. Once I got to this point I felt kinda confident.

(Disclaimer: Some lace knitting really is freakishly difficult, my problem lies in my lack of confidence after mucking up the same pattern so many times.)

and it kept growing….

and it kept growing….

and growing...

and growing…

Before I knew it, it was time to bind the bad boy off. I felt bad for not picking a harder, more involved project at this point though. I know that point of the games is/was to challenge yourself, and I stand by my reasoning that I had to conquer my fear of lace – otherwise the Fiori is never going to get done.

But my shawl is done!

Blocking

Blocking

High Def filter - I love the leaves!

High Def filter – I love the leaves!

Leaves! Done correctly!

Leaves! Done correctly!

It's about 350 yards - much bigger than it looks.

It’s about 350 yards – much bigger than it looks.

Aww….Happy Place!

Aww….Happy Place!

So there you have it friends and neighbors, the first leg of my Ravellenic journey came to an end. I’ve already given the shawl to a friend. I forgot to take a picture on the mannequin but I gotta tell you – giving away something that gave me a little confidence was pretty epic!

Happy Tuesday!

Slowly Working on Getting Back to Blogging


In an attempt to slowly get caught back up on blogging my posts may be short. I know, I know – you’re just dying for me to ramble on incessantly about how amazing and interesting my life is but please, don’t cry! 😉

Where to start? Hmm…at the beginning I suppose, catching up on three weeks of knitting. If I go by my Flickr  timeline then I need to start with (one) of my new pairs of socks! Thanks to Operation Sock Drawer and especially Knitting with Sarah’s #sockswithsarah KAL my sock drawer is almost presentable! This pair was once again Magic Looped, which is now officially my favorite way in the world to make socks. I used Patons Kroy Sock Yarn in the color way  Singin’ the Blues – which is a great name for a pair of socks! I’m also sticking with my version of the Knitmore Girl’s Vanilla Sock Pattern. I know it’s time to try something new, but until my hubby gets a pair of socks on his feet I’m sticking with the happy-go-lucky sock pattern that makes me so … so happy!

Singin' the Blues Socks

Singin’ the Blues Socks

I am really getting the hang of this whole sock thing, so much so that this is my seventh pair since October. It used to be that turning the heel really slowed me down, but learning to knit backwards has saved my hands that awful back and forth motion. I used to cringe when I saw this on my needles….

Time for the (not so) dreaded instep shaping.

Time for the (not so) dreaded instep shaping.

Now I just go merrily along my way. Next pair? Well (spoiler) they’re already done! But that is for another day. Remember – I am trying to recover from my B.A.D.D so give me a little time. Until then friends and neighbors, I am going to be chillin’ in my Singin’ the Blues Socks!

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!


Since my last post was very word heavy, lets make this one picture heavy shall we? I tried to take pictures of the progress of my Hogwarts Express Shawl by Susan Ashcroft. It was a lovely gift from a friend for my birthday – no worries if your reading this, I will keep your identity safe. 🙂 I used Malabrigo Sock Yarn  (my first time working with Malabrigo – also a gift) in Cordovan. Any other information you would like to know about my project – or the minuscule tweaks I made with 440 yards of this luxurious yarn, click HERE.  Otherwise, let me let the pictures talk for themselves.

The Yarn was already caked.

The Yarn was already caked.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

Garter section is done

Garter section is done

The owls have eyes - all 34 of them!

The owls have eyes – all 34 of them!

Max does not like being stared at.

Max does not like being stared at.

Completed at 4am

Completed at 4am

I can't quit taking it's picture.

I can’t quit taking it’s picture.

On the bed in the basement

On the bed in the basement

Still pretty darn stunning

Still pretty darn stunning – and my favorite picture.

Friends and neighbors, I love this shawl!!

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The Incredibly Heartbreaking Story of How I Came By My First Skein of Malabrigo


Has there every been a time in your life that you really, truly wished there were hidden cameras recording the moment for posterity? Well on January 29th such a day happened to me at my new Local Yarn Store. I want to share with you the story as close to verbatim as I can, because the incredible oddness of it was blessedly unique.

~Setting the Stage~

I was sitting at a long table at the front of the shop. I had come in for a bar of Lo-lo to Go (which was 75% off) but remained lingering – throughly content to fondle the yarn and work on my pattern.

A woman comes in through the back entrance with a cake of (yummy) yarn in her hand. The weather is crummy, we are actually just a few hours from getting 10.5″ of more snow and she was obviously in a hurry. Here is the conversations that ensued. 

  • Woman: I would like to return this please. I don’t have the tags but I remember what it is and I should be in your system.
  • Clerk: I am so sorry but we cannot accept returns on yarn that has been caked.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk:  I wish that there was something I could do but there is no way to inventory it.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk: If you’d like I can suggest a pattern for you to…
  • Woman: I only buy one project worth of yarn at a time and I decided not to do a project with sock yarn. I am going to use worsted yarn, so I cannot use this.
  • Clerk: (makes desperate eye contact with yours truly) I am sure that we can modify the pattern you are doing so you can use sock yarn. Let me have a look, Rachel – what do you think.
  • Me: I love modifying things!

I walk over to the checkout counter and the strap on my purse breaks, spilling the contents of my purse all over the floor. I laugh but the woman is looking at me strangely, strangely enough that it actually makes  me nervous. The clerk is pulling up the pattern on Ravelry when the woman turns her full attention to me….

  • Woman: What’s your name?
  • Me: Rachel, what’s yo….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a stash?
  • Me: Um, yes I d…(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you knit with sock yarn?
  • Me: Yes. (I have temporarily given up on more than one word answers)
  • Woman: Do you like this yarn?
  • Me: Yes, it’s lovel….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a project that could use this yarn to the best of it’s abilities?
  • Me: Um…
  • Woman: A pattern. Do you have one planned?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Woman: What is it?
  • Me: The Hogwarts Express Shawl
  • Woman: And who is it by?
  • Me: Susan Ashcroft.
  • Woman: When did you buy the pattern?
  • Me: I didn’t. It was a gift for my birthday from a very dear f….(cut off).
  • Woman: When was your birthday?
  • Me: December 27th…? (at this point I wasn’t sure)
  • Woman: Let me see your queue.

At this point the store clerk is staring at me with open mouth amazement. She hands me her iPad and I pull up my queue. There was the message from my gifter and the pattern.

  • Woman: Here you are. (She’s handing me the freaking cake)
  • Me: I cannot just take this, at least let me buy your worsted yarn (I didn’t have the money for this, but I was flummoxed and I did owe her one).
  • Woman: Do I look poor to you?
  • Me: Uhhh…No. (she didn’t – but then neither do I)
  • Woman: I can afford my own yarn thank you. Here are the specifications on the yarn (she pulls a scrap of paper out of her purse). Just do me a favor.
  • Me: Uhh….anything!
  • Woman: Let this be your next finished project. Go home and cast it on, and use it. I hate languishing yarn.
  • Me: Okay…

At this point she turns back to the befuddled store clerk and lists, which such precise clarity the yarn brand/weight/name/quantity that she needs. The clerk all but runs away to go get the items the woman asked for, leaving me alone with the woman. I was planning on thanking her again and giving her my Ravelry name so she could see the FO when she said….

  • Woman: My daughter was on Xanax.

I am confused, then I realize that when my purse spilled open my own anti-anxiety medication bottle fell out of my purse – she must have seen it.

  • Woman: She committed suicide several years ago when she quit taking her medicine. She lost her job and lost interest in everything she did – I didn’t notice.
  • Me: I am so sorry….
  • Woman: Can you do me one more favor?
  • Me: Anything.
  • Woman: Tell the people you love to pay attention if you cannot list, on the spot, something you are passionate about. To pay attention if you quit doing something you so obviously love. Tell them to pay attention.
  • Me: I promise.

Friends and neighbors, thank you for letting me share this story.