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Three Pairs of Vanilla Socks

The night before Felix was born, I cast on two pairs of socks, just to have some simple knitting lying around my favorite haunts in the house: one on my nightstand and one in my knitting basket by the sofa.

easter egg rainbow sock
This is the start of my Easter Egg Rainbow socks, which have been living on my nightstand. I haven’t got very far on these despite having spent more time in my bed in the last 10 days than perhaps ever before. I seem to get caught in a time warp while I’m in bed, where nursing and staring at my baby, and perhaps a little dozing takes five hours, but it’s only felt like two. I hope to spend a bit more time on these, because I’m really having fun watching the color distribute. These are going to be very happy, springy socks.

rowan fine art sock
One of my purchases from my new local yarn store Yak n Yarn.
It’s Rowan fine art sock yarn, and it is merino, mohair, silk and polyamide. You know me and mohair, I can’t resist it–and if it’s mixed with silk? Even better! These socks are for Brock. I still owe him two sweaters, but since I don’t have the mental fortitude to knit sweaters right now, I’m knitting him two pairs of socks instead. I’m not sure if he will see this as any consolation, but it’s what I have to offer. I’m loving this color progression. It reminds me of that mud pie stuff that’s made with chocolate pudding with a crushed oreo crust–but in a classy, made of silk and mohair type of way.

I’ve been knitting on these in the evening during Felix’s after dinner nap. I should mention that this after Felix’s dinner, not mine. I usually have just enough time to eat my dinner and get settled in enough to knit three or four rounds before Felix is ready for dessert.

brocks rainbow socks
The third pair would be super impressive if I also cast them on the day before Felix was born, but alas, this pair of rainbow socks, the second pair of socks Brock is getting instead of a sweater, was cast on sometime in March, I think, and then lived at my Father-in-law’s house for three weeks. They are so close to being done–just a couple more inches and a toe! But again, I usually only get three or four rounds in before baby calls. (Yarn is Bright Neon Rainbow by Munchkin Knitworks.)

Felix and I are still working out where knitting falls in our relationship, but I am finding time, little by little, to resume some parts of my life that aren’t all about baby. Now dishes and laundry, I haven’t quite figured out how those fit in yet.

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Sock Day Saturday

Saturday Sock
My job completely wore me out each day this week. When I get home from work is usually when I do the creative stuff whether for pleasure or profit. This week, Monday through Thursday I did absolutely nothing but eat dinner and stare at my tablet screen. I wanted to knit, but all of my projects on the needles involve cabling. I love cables, but this week they were just too much work. I haven’t been fit for anything other than stockinette in the round–if that.

Last night, I finally cast on for a pair of socks, my favorite kind of stockinette in the round.

Saturday Sock Yarn
I used this yarn, which is very similar to the stuff I just posted in my shop, so if you were wondering how it knits up, you’re welcome.

I dyed this last year for a sweater project for myself, which I have since cannibalized to knit this pair of socks and then to turn into another baby sweater/hat/bootie set.

Saturday Sock Through Heal Turn
I guess I was really jonesing for a simple knit, because as soon as I cast this on, the stitches starting flying, and so did the ideas for all the other projects I wanted to knit. In one evening I knit what you see above: cuff, five inch leg, heal and heal turn. Today I’m going to try to finish this one and see how far I can get on the second sock tomorrow.

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I did it. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was so close to them, I just had to cast on for the Thigh High Stripes. These socks are so delicious, I can’t wait to have them finished and on me. It’s so much wool, and I wish to be clothed in all of it’s bright, colorful gloriousness!

I am making minimal changes to this pattern. I basically changed the brown to a dark charcoal and picked colors similar to the originals out of Knit Picks Palette, because whoa, these socks take a lot of yarn. I didn’t know if I would like Palette, but this is the second pair of socks I have used it for and I really like how squishy and sticky it is. I will report back how it wears.

Of course, I am going to have wait until these socks are done because it was a bit disingenuous of me to say that I have knit two pairs of socks out of it. when I only knit one of the French Market Socks–and not in a size I will ever be able to get on my foot. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, it was her first real stranded color work project, the gauge was too tight.” And you would be ever so wrong. My gauge is fantastic! It’s exactly what the pattern should be, though I used US size 3 needles to get it, but you know I usually go up a needle size or two when knitting in the round. The reason I can’t wear this sock, is that it is knit for someone with feet the size of a doll’s.

Can you spot the meme?

Now, dear reader, you must be asking yourself why in the world I didn’t knit this sock long enough for my ginormo lady feet, and then knit a mate to go with it so I could have toasty, classy, French feet this winter? And the answer to that question is because I would have stuck four very large double pointed needles in my eyes by the end of it! I’m sorry, I think the design for these socks is gorgeous. I think the colors I chose show off the design perfectly, but seriously, what the heck was I thinking? I am not classy and understated. Me, the woman who is attempting to plan out how long before she can be self-employed again so that she can dye her hair hot pink, thought she could knit this very elegant pair of socks in understated natural colors. It was like trying to be someone I wasn’t at a very base level every time I sat down to work on them. Like I was trying to be a knitter that I am not. My original color combination was much more me. Remember that one?

Oh practice swatch, what a lovely dream you were. . .

The French Market socks are my one cheat from the whole book. I figure that so many other people have modified the Thigh High Stripes to be knee highs or even normal high socks so they would have a pair of socks they would actually knit that I can skip a second sock that I would never ever wear ever. Don’t tell the knitting police.

In other news, I am also working on the Happy Go Lucky Boots Socks

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Sport

These have become my work / car knitting, so they are going rather slow, but the pattern is fun. I particularly like the color combination here. They remind me an old-fashioned Professor’s office with dark wood and leather everywhere–and one of those desk lamps with the green glass shade. These socks look like a they should be wearing a tweed jacket.

And finally, I am combining two of my favorite things: sock yarn and Jane Eyre. I dyed myself some periwinkle yarn and cast on Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl along with the craftlit folks. I am quite happy with the dye job, and knitting the pattern while listening to the book is just about the most sublime combination for someone who should have been a librarian, but couldn’t quite make it because the lure of having pink hair was just too strong.

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Drive By Photos

Where I have been–in photos

Athrun Captain America in his Halloween parade.

All of my yarn in one place, conveniently arranged on shelves at the Twisted! Fiber Festival

Brock’s new winter hat-in-progress.

The fourth pair of socks from the Sock Knitting Master Class.

Starting Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl to keep up with Heather Ordover from Craft Lit

Do you think Jane would like the periwinkle?

And a quick note to say that my etsy shop is now back online. And there’s a special sale running if you visit my facebook page.

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A Tuesday Jumble

Life has been a jumble lately.

Yesterday I came out to my car after work (late, of course) to find that my right front tire was flat. This didn’t really surprise me because I haven’t been able to keep air in the thing to save my life and kind of just gave up on filling it up the last few weeks. The kicker is that I get off work with just enough time to get across town and pick Athrun up from school. And it was raining, can’t forget that part. You’ll be proud to know that I only panicked a little bit

I managed to snag a ride, Brock was out of class, so we picked Athrun up, put the donut on the car and drove home, dreading having to pay someone for a new tire, because I pretty much dread paying anyone for anything–except yarn. I will happily pay for yarn in almost any circumstance. At least I knew I was going to have Tuesday off, so I had plenty of time to take care of getting the tire replaced.

Having Tuesday off is not a normal thing. Last week, my place of employment played host to Kansas Book Festival, which meant I had to be at work all day long on a Saturday, which is apparently so awful it earned me an extra day off during the week. I chose Tuesday (today, for the record) not just because it makes more sense for my job, but because it seemed more special than having Monday off, because you know, that happens sometimes. Let me tell you, having Tuesday off is awesome. I didn’t have to compete with anyone else for the washer and dryer in the basement, I didn’t have anyone to mess things up while I cleaned, and nobody stepped on the sweaters.

That’s right, I dedicated my day off to fall cleaning. (That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as spring cleaning…but it’s the same basic principle, just preparing for winter instead of recovering from it.) I cleaned the house from top to bottom, did all of the laundry, tidied closets, and washed sweaters. I love cleaning the house when there is no one home. I don’t know why, but that’s just the best time to do it. And it has been a long time since I have been home by myself for an entire day. Call me crazy, but it was heaven. I have shining floors, clean carpets, and when the weather turns for good, the family will be prepared with freshly laundered woolens.

All of this, however, has not left me very much time for knitting.

After getting distracted by two pairs of socks and a sweater, I am making a good faith effort to get my brother his birthday socks before the weather turns, even though he could probably use them now. He rides a motorcycle, and I know from my Moped days that it’s always 10 degrees cooler on a bike. So I have put all other projects aside until I can finish these.

That means my other projects look like this:

Almondine is one sock plus one sock cuff, and the yarn for the French Market socks finally arrived. I bought a lot, because I plan on doing a lot of swatching. Besides, don’t you just love the colors? I will admit, I chose these colors partly because of their names. The cream is, strangely enough, called Cream, the dark brown is called Bison, and the fawn color is called Wheat. The French Market socks will henceforth be known as Kansas Socks, because I know of a farm where I could one of each of these products within twenty miles of where I live. (The other reason I chose them is because it reminds me of the three most common Alpaca colors I have seen, and I really wanted to do these in natural colors. This way I can just pretend.)

I also have a design in my head for a sweater. And it will probably stay there for the foreseeable future.

Then there is this.

Yes, I found a craftsy class on stranding and steeking. The class was on sale, so I bought it over the weekend. I have never wanted to use the same exact colors I have seen in the pattern before, but I want that vest exactly. I just have to wait until I can afford all that yarn…but it’s so gorgeous! I have been watching the classes, and I think I can handle the steeking when it comes along–I think.

What have you been up to?

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On Saturday I did something I have never ever done before. I visited a bunch of different yarn shops all in the same day. Okay, so it was only three yarn shops, but that’s two more than I have ever been to on the same day before. And, I bought sock yarn at that them all. (buying sock yarn, of course, is highly usual behavior for me)

I know you are all asking yourselves, but why did you spend most of your day in the car so you could hit a few little, but very cute yarn shops in central Kansas? Well, there is the obvious reason…what knitter needs an excuse to buy yarn? Yarn is always needed. Then there is the reason for the trip, which was equally exciting and no less important than the need for MORE YARN. Well, this is why:

I am in the midst of planning Topeka’s brand new Fiber Festival. Myself and a couple of ladies from the Potwin Fiber Artisans have been hard at work finding a locale, plotting floor plans, emailing like crazy and just plain old dreaming big. We want to create something fantastic–and we need you help. We need volunteers to teach. We need volunteers to help hang fliers, to bake goodies for our bake sale, to donate to the silent auction, to just be around and help out. We need vendors. We need artists!

If you’re in the area and are interested in helping us make this event great, please contact me at marla at potwinfiber dot org.

All right, enough with the commercial. I went down to meet and make friends with some LYS Owners, and it was wonderful. I had never been to any of these yarn shops before, and I found something to love in each of them.

First stop was Wildflower Yarns and Knitwear in Manhattan, KS. And this is what I found:

A yarn so delicious I wound it up and cast on Almondine almost immediately. (Yes, I realize this is project three in the book, but the yarn for project two isn’t here yet and you know I already finished owls. What’s a girl to do?)

This is a little out of date, as the sock now has a heel and a gusset and everything, but you get the general idea.

The yarn is Knit One, Crochet Too Crock-O-Dye in a color way that is mostly numbers. It’s a butterscotchy, brassy mix of browns out of wool, silk, and nylon.

Next up was The Shivering Sheep in Abilene, KS. Cutest shop ever. She had things I drooled over. Including, but not limited to this lovely skein of Fleece Artist yarn.

I am not sure what pair of socks this yarn is destined for just yet, but it will luscious.

On next was Yarns Sold and Told in Salina, KS. This shop has soo much yarn. We got there just before closing, otherwise I could have spent all day browsing (and lounging in their gathering area which I wish was my living room!) Instead I walked away with skein of Cascade Heritage that is the same color as Lamb Curry take away from the local Indian joint.

I am thinking this yarn will be perfect for one of the more masculine patterns in The Sock Knitting Master Class book. Brock needs some curry socks, I think.

All of the ladies I spoke with on my little road trip were lovely, and you should visit their shops when you are in there area, whether you live in Kansas or not.

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Pineapple Socks aka Assymetical Cables

The first pair of socks from the Sock Knitting Master Class is finished!

The yarn in Tiny Dino Studios Protoceratops (100% Merino, 3-ply) in Pineapple. Out of a 100g skein (490 yards) I used 75g (approximately 370 yards) to knit the largest size sock in the book. While I think I will continue to use a deeper gusset on my top down socks, I feel as though the rest of the sock is a tad too loose–which is not going to stop me from wearing them.

Because they are fabulous.

What I learned:
How to to drop down and retwist a mis-twisted cable
How to cable without a cable needle (to clarify, I already knew how to do this, I had just never actually practiced it. I think I still prefer a cable needle)
That I still really believe in my own products
How to do a proper kitchener stitch instead of the one I made up that was close enough

As far as ease of knitting goes, these socks are fairly simple. I knit them over lunch breaks, while listening to podcasts, and while watching tv, but they still require you to pay attention to what row you are one. I wouldn’t take them to a lively knitting group, nor would I work on them during an action-packed thriller drama. They are better suited to re-watching Gilmore Girls for the billionth time (Which I may or may not be doing.)

so comfy….

Next up, the Stranded-Colorwork Socks of DOOM!

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Sock Inspiration

One of my favorite things to knit in summer is socks. Top-down vanilla socks are easy for me now, because I can carry the pattern around in my head and I don’t have a large wool something on my lap when it’s 115 degrees outside. (And I do wish I was exaggerating.)

Here are a few pictures I took a couple of weeks ago of socks I have been working on.

I used yarn left over from my Daybreak shawl to knit a cute pair of shorty socks.

I really love these colors together!

Then, I treated myself to some Ginny Weasley sock yarn from Gnome Acres. I will admit I bought the yarn because of what it was called (it’s no secret that I love my Harry Potter), but the colors are gorgeous too.

Here’s how it’s knitting up for my size socks. (64 stitches over 8 stitches per inch, your mileage may vary.) Of course, this was a couple of weeks ago, so that sock is long finished. And I am onto the second one. I am seriously considering indulging in the Bertie Bott’s colorway next.

If you are a local, and want to learn to knit socks for yourself (and your friends and family) I still have space in my sock class!

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Striped Pajamas

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my son in the car on the way home from school, and I don’t remember how it came up, but he told me he had never seen Lady and the Tramp. I had let my son grow to school age without setting him down and forcing him to watch my favorite childhood movie of all time. This movie is the reason my family had a cocker spaniel growing up. I would watch it every day when I could convince my little sister not to watch Cinderella again.

I had failed him.

So, within the week we had scrounged up a copy of the movie, shared a pizza, and settled in to watch. We had a lovely time. Athrun showed appropriate amount of enjoyment at the screening to satisfy me. I still got a thrill watching the old blood hound track the black and white striped caterpillar across the porch in his sleep even. And it made me wish even more strongly that we could afford to move to a place where we could have pets.

Keeping that in mind, last night I cast on a pair of socks to knit while I caught up on Sherlock. (I am working on the left front of my Vignette cardigan, where the shaping starts and I have to pay attention. I knew I would mess it up watching engaging tv.) I prefer to knit plain vanilla socks, because I like having and easy, portable project that doesn’t take too much energy, but still leaves my hands busy. Vanilla socks fit the bill perfectly.

I bought a skein of self-striping sock yarn from Spinning Fates on etsy as a Christmas present to myself on Cyber Monday. It had been sitting on my desk screaming “knit me!” for more than a month. Yesterday I gave in.

Once I had a couple of inches, it reminded me so much of that jail-bird striped caterpillar in Lady and the Tramp that I had started calling them my Striped Pajamas socks. Of course, they would be the uniform at a very glamorous jail house, seeing as they are pink and sparkly, but that suits me just fine.

I have been enjoying them so much (I flew through the leg in record time) that I have been devising new ways of dyeing self striping yarn that isn’t a pain to do. I have a few ideas, so don’t be surprised if you see some striped yarn crop up in the shop in the next couple of weeks.

What’s been inspiring you?

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FO: Fuchsia Socks

Two finished projects in two days, I am blazing! (Which isn’t entirely true, I finished the sweater a week ago and didn’t knit very much as I prepared for the Winter Woolfest. Unfortunate I know.)

Last night I finished a pair of socks I started in October when I was knitting for everyone else I know. I thought I would start myself a little something just for fun. Of course, I hardly worked on them at all. I finished one sock on plane rides to and from shepherding camp in November. The other I knit over the course of the last three evenings now that I am knitting for myself again, leaving only one sock done for months! Three evenings breaks up a sock nicely, leg, heel, foot/toe knit all in different sittings. Plus, I love a good vanilla sock. Stockinette in the round = relaxing, meditative knitting.

The yarn is my favorite workhorse sock yarn, Protoceratops. It’s a practice skein from before I opened my shop when I was experimenting with saturation of hue. I love how bright these socks are. The surprise of color is joy when I take off my boots at night.