socks


Or…what I’ve been up to in the past several…months. Sigh.

I went to the coast for my birthday with my mom & her dog Maddie

It was cold – I wore my wool hat all weekend.  But it was wonderful.

She taught me to crochet…and I liked it.

Adva Scarf – I need to do a proper photoshoot of it, this sucker is long.

I blogged about these guys for work. Violet the Octopus is my favorite.

Sun Hat, pattern by Linda Permann, who’s one of my favorite crochet designers now.

I started sewing again after several months hiatus:

Yup it’s a skirt again, though I did buy something to challenge me a bit:

The yellow is actually much lighter.  I’ve been into yellow lately.

I went to Black Sheep Gathering

Yes it’s an alpaca, not a sheep.  I loved this guy.

4 generations – Grandma, Mom, Me, and Niece.

Unsurprisingly, Blue Moon got most of my Black Sheep money again.

I also finally finished a pair of socks this year.

Oh My Goth socks in fact. In my defense, I only worked on these at work during meetings, except for the last couple of inches.  I love them, although a cashmere blend mid calf pair of socks isn’t great for July.  Though it has been quite a cold summer this year.

I started a new pair:

Pattern is Gull Wing by Chrissy Gardiner, yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Mango semi solid.  I’m also into orange lately.

And my latest obsession the past couple of weeks

I’m running, as well as working out on a regular basis.  I started Couch to 5K a few weeks back & I’ve grown to love it.  I’m on Week 5, and doing pretty well.  I also started going back to my favorite class at the gym, Power Flex.  And I’m paying for not going in several years – OUCH.  But I’m just tired of being a fat cow. :/

So that’s my couple of months in a nutshell.  I think between blogging for work, writing my project info on Ravelry, doing short updates on things like Twitter, and just not in the mood to write when I have the chance, this poor blog gets left by the wayside.  I miss it though.

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…yet

Calvin & Ripple Socks

Started: September 20

Finished: Oct 4

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight End – no idea what color it was suppose to be but I love it.

Pattern: Calvin & Ripple by Cristi Brockway

Needles: size 1.5US circ – magic loop

Notes:  This is how I got my sock mojo back.

I manged to finish these in 2 weeks, which used to be normal time for me.  Of course I did little else, knitting wise, but these were so worth it.

I may have a new fave sock pattern.

This is a wonderfully unique sock pattern – one toe up, one top down, different stitch patterns for the front, the same stitch pattern for the back of both heels

And believe it or not, I enjoyed the toe-up sock more.  Maybe it was the very fun Calvin stitch pattern (it’s the one on the left in these photos), maybe it was the fact it was the first toe-up I enjoyed (Judy’s Magic Cast-On & doing Magic Loop instead of dpns played a significant reason for that), whatever the reason, I loved it.  While the Ripple pattern is lovely as well, I couldn’t keep the stitch pattern in my tiny brain – even to the very end I had to keep tinking back every other row because I would mess up somehow.  Still they look so lovely together – I never have had so much attention paid to my socks at work.

I didn’t really plan to use similar colors as the pattern – though it makes sense for a couple of orange kitties.  There’s not much more I can say about the yarn that hasn’t been said before by me or others – I freaking love love love Socks That Rock.

And am I over my toe up phobia?  Well I started another pair of Calvins for a holiday gift for my mom – what do you think?  🙂  Thank you Cristi for such an awesome pattern!

Oregon Flock & Fiber was last weekend, the 4th (and last I believe) of the fiber/knitting/yarn festivals I’ve been to this year.  I almost didn’t go. Saturday was an exhausting day for me – working 6am-3pm then heading to the outdoor Pearl Jam show. It was great show, but I got very cold & sick of the drunk & stoned assholes that seemed to be surrounding me where ever I went – I was stone cold sober, much to my annoyance, which made it worse.  I’ve loved Pearl Jam for a very long time – even before Ten came out – but after this show & the one in MA I saw last year, I’m realizing I hate their fan base.   Anyway, we didn’t get home until about 1am so it was a very long day.  But when I got up on Sunday, it was a gorgeous cool crisp fall day & something out there was calling to me.

Alpacas!  I love alpacas & I missed them at Black Sheep Gathering.

They are just so cute.  I want one!  But, uh, that’s not in the cards at the moment.

And there were Angora bunnies there too!  I actually hadn’t been to a fiber festival that had them so that was a treat.  I wanted to hold them, but felt bad because I wasn’t actually going to buy one.  Still, they were so cute.

And of course, I had to hit Blue Moon.  I’m realizing, especially with my current sock project (1 down!), I could knit socks only with STR & be perfectly happy. Of course, there are a few exceptions – Lotus Yarn most notably and of course the company I work for!   I behaved – I mean, I am very lucky to live close by a yarn store that sells it anyway and it’s not like I didn’t already buy a lot this year at BSG & Sock Summit.  But the sale & mill ends were too much to pass up.

The lighter one is a mediumweight mill end – I haven’t done any research on the colorway but it really called to me.  The other two are heavyweight in Jubilation – I think this is going to be scarf/shawl for me – I’m even thinking a Clapotis since I wear my other one so much.  But I will probably wait until after Christmas to start it

And believe it or not, that’s all I bought at OFF.  My allergies were kicking in so I didn’t stay very long (note: going to a fiber festival when you are already feeling crappy from allergies is not a good idea).  But it wasn’t the only yarn I got this week.  Check this out:

Yes, you are reading that tag correctly.  Mink & cashmere!  And yes, it is a soft as you would think it would be.  This is all very animal friendly – you can read about it on the Great Northern Yarns website – so I won’t be getting red paint thrown on me.  And the price was great – a member of the Ravelry group Yarnthropology – my fave group I always read but never post in – had listed it as her current favorite yarn & I figured it would be a similar price to say, quivet (ie expensive as hell).  But nope, this 100 gram DK weight skein was $19.90 – the same as most good sock yarns.  I had to try it out. And it’s going to be a lovely cowl for myself – I can’t wait to wrap it around my neck.

And you know what I’m most excited about?  It’s finally fall in the Northwest!  Time for baking & wearing wooly items.  Of course, I’ll be sick of it in a couple of months, I’m sure, but right now I’m so happy to not be sweating to death. 🙂

So this weekend was spent finishing a couple of projects.  It was a lovely cool grey Saturday, so it was perfect.

First was my biggest sewing project to date:

I made duvet cover for my bed!  And I’ll probably never do another one!

So, I hated the comforter on the bed – the fabric was a little rough & I was getting super tired of it – I bought it 3 years ago when we bought the bed.   When I bought Simply Sewing, I saw the pattern for the duvet & thought “prefect!” (after my first reaction of “12 yards of fabric? Are you kidding?”)  It’s not a difficult project when you read over it – basically 5 long pieces of fabric sewn together, then folded in half & sewn up again.  But…those pieces of fabric are LONG (especially for our king sized bed) – 105 inches in fact.  So first was the adventure of ironing the fabric & cutting it out while trying to keep the cat off the pieces since I had to use the floor.  Then sewing it together tried my patience.  That was a lot of cotton fabric, which is not light.  But it was worth it in the end, I even had enough for some pillows.

The fabric is from Connecting Threads – the other company I work for.  I saw the colors in the Twilight Frost collection & decided that those were the ones I wanted in my room.  Luckily, the fabric is really nice & not too expensive.    So I really love it – I’m trying to convince myself I sleep better with it on my bed.

I also realized, with this project,  it is unlikely I will ever quilt.

The other finished item is a pair of socks I’ve had on the needles for an embarrassingly long time.

Groovy

Started: April 3

Completed: September 19

Yarn: Handgefaerbt Merino Extra Fine (or as I like to call it, the “Other Pretty German Hand Dyed Yarn”

Pattern: Groovy Socks

Needles: Size 1.5US

Notes: No I don’t know why it took me so long to finish these.

The yarn is nice. The pattern is nice.  The first one I finished is nice.  I just couldn’t get motivated to work on the second sock.  I never used to suffer from Second Sock Syndrome but it hit me bad.  I finished one in, oh way back in April. I think I even cast on for the second right after I finished the first…and ignored it until Sock Summit.  Then I worked on it there & completed the heel…then I ignored it again.  Finally last week I picked it back up & finished it up.  And hey, guess what?  They are nice socks.

Mostly I wanted to finish them because I really wanted to start a new pair (I am going to conveniently ignore the other two socks with unfinished mates I have, as well socks for CoffeeBoy for now).  When Cristi stayed with me during Sock Summit, she made me promise to do a pair of toe up socks, especially after I learned Judy’s Magic Cast-On.  What better way to do it then with Cristi’s own pattern?

So this is my first adventure in a very long time of doing toe up socks (what can I say? I love my top down socks.) Judy’s Magic Cast-On made a huge difference – you know when people say they hate kitchner stitch? I bloody hate provisional cast-ons, which is what my other toe up socks started as (short row toes).  I am just an idiot when it comes to crochet hooks apparently.

The pattern I choose is Calvin & Ripple (although, sorry Ripple, I keep wanting to call it Calvin & Hobbs).  I freaking love the stitch pattern.  I still didn’t quite get the toe (forgive me, I did just a plain toe) but I’m having fun with it…partly because of the pattern, partly because of the yarn…it’s a Socks That Rock mediumweight mill end, no idea what color way it was suppose to be but I love it.  It reminds me of fall, which is officially starting tomorrow, (according to the calendar although Mother Nature isn’t paying attention because it’s suppose to be in the 90s again. UGH).  Anyway, I’m enjoying every bit of this sock…I haven’t decided if I’ll do another Calvin Sock or switch to Ripple…hey maybe that will solve my Second Sock Syndrome!

I have had a serious case of startitis over the past couple of weeks in regards to my knitting projects.  Not finishitis unfortunately.  I think I have a WIP in every main knitting category now.  I just need to start a toy & some mittens/gloves to be complete! (No wait, that’s a bad idea.)

For example:

Socks:

The second of my Groovy socks that I worked on during Sock Summit & another pair of boy socks for CoffeeBoy which are honestly only worked on when it’s too dark for anything else…or I’ve had too much to drink.

Sweater:

My Calluna out of City Tweed.  I want to work on this, but the time or mood never seems right – too hot, not enough time to fully concentrate on rows that have 228 stitches & a chart to read, laziness.  It is going to be a lovely sweater though.

Hat:

A Sunny Cabley Beanie out of one of my Blue Moon purchases at Sock Summit.  It’s the pattern Clamber and I’ve only knit the brim so far.

As a side note, I really need to stop buying knitting books because it seems most of my projects are free internet patterns.  Sigh.  Although this week I ordered Made In Brooklyn.  Sigh.

Shawl/Scarf

The Prairie House Shawl out of Lotus Yarns Medusa.  I started this at knit night last week – it’s a good project for something like that.   Those are also the new Zephyr needles…I started this project with the Nickel Plated actually since I had just got a couple of sets. I had never tried them but  I didn’t really like them, for this project at least.  (I should also warn that I’m not a fan of knitting with metal needles & they were so heavy to me.)  Switched to the Zephyrs, which I like better – much lighter – but still prefer the Harmony needles overall.

Washcloth/Dishcloth

Started this for the World Record Breaking Knitting since it’s the only thing I could think of that I could use (short)  straight needles on.  Simplest knit ever – garter border, seed stitch for the inside.

To be honest, the knitting I’m most working on is a project for work which of course I can not photograph yet.  But I should be done this week, then it’s off to work on my multiple WIPs!

Our fearless leaders - ST-1, Tina Newton & Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Our fearless leaders - ST-1, Tina Newton & Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Another really great thing at Sock Summit is seeing all these authors, designers & yarnies in one place – mingling, teaching, posing for picture after picture.  These are people I admire, learned to knit from, and giggled at their musings from afar. (I learned nearly every one of the knitterati I interacted with is funny as hell)  I didn’t get any photos of the 2 biggest draws for many people to the Sock Summit – namely Meg Swansen & Barbara Walker – but I did get to meet some fantastic people.

Side note:  I very rarely pose for pictures with someone. Why?  Because I freaking tower over everyone (see the Rubberneckers picture in the last post for an example).  Plus I was mostly wearing big clunky Mary Janes to show off my socks which added at least another inch or 2 to my height.

My first knitting class ever was with Anna Zil boorg & Tina Newton – I may as well start big!

It was such a fantastic class – Colorful Stitches.  It helped me look at color in different way – even a small thing like twisting different pieces of yarn together to see how it looks makes such a huge difference.

And I love Anna – I want to be her when I grow up.

We had a bit of excitement in the class – the poor woman next to me got stabbed with a knitting needle & required a trip to the ER (she is fine, she was joking about it later on Ravelry).   I did not get pictures of this though.  However, my one & only conversation with Tina was asking her “Is this how all knitting classes are like?”

I also got to meet Charlene Schurch, the whole reason I can actually knit socks.

Hi. Im a dork.

Hi. I'm a dork.

It was so awesome to meet her & I also took a class from her – Top Down Socks That Use Up All The Yarn.  I forgot my camera that day (sigh) so no photos from that.  I did learn some great tips & I know all you toe up sock people (you know who you are) will be delighted to know I learned Judy’s Magic Cast On.

A couple other people I had several interactions with:

Amy Singer, who I adore more than words can say.  I’ve met her before – she was in town a couple of years ago and Melissa and I went to the meet & greet to knit with her.  So it was fun hanging out with her at the Ravelry party – she is hysterical (I am now known as Local Girl).

Weird interaction I must share: my one and only conversation with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is not about how much I enjoy her work but instead “Have you seen Amy Singer?  I have her oatmeal.”

Another person I ran into all over the conference to the point where she & I were both saying to each other “I’m not stalking you!” was Sandi Wiseheart of Interweave.

But if I’m going to be stalked by someone, shouldn’t it be someone as sweet & adorable as Sandi?

Last but not least, the Ravelry bunch.

Jess (sorry about the closed eyes!), Casey and Me with the Bob stand in

Jess (sorry about the closed eyes!), Casey and Me with the Bob stand in

I felt more awkward about going up to them than almost anyone else – I’m just really shy about just going up to people & chatting with them, no matter if they are famous or not.  Cristi has no such qualms & made me pose with them anyway.

Mary-Heather & Me - I have no idea what that stupid look on my face is about.

But it was really great to meet them – I had a great conversation about beer & Portland with them and I want to thank Casey for letting me know who sang this song I hear all the time on the radio (it’s Mgmt by the way – he was playing it at the Ravelry party.  Great song.)

I’m home sick today but plan on uploading my photos for part 3…the purchases. I know you are dying to see how I embarrassed myself by gorging on yarn.

So…I still do knit.

While I’m really enjoying sewing (I have a couple more bags to show off – thank you everyone for your compliments & suggestions I sell them.  They really are not good enough to sell – I’m not going to take pictures of my crooked stitches!  Maybe in the future – after I’ve been sewing longer than a week & half!), knitting really is my favorite crafty activity & I don’t really see that changing.  I even finished a couple of little projects this week.  Funny enough, while I won’t get much use out of these until the fall, I finished them up on cooler grey days so I put them both on immediately.

First up – no surprise – some socks.

Lunasea Socks

Started: June 15

Completed: July 8

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock – mediumweight in Lunasea

Pattern:  Just a plain pair, short row heel, plain toe.

Needles: Size 2US circ

Notes: Not really much to say about these – I’ve made so many pairs of plain socks but they are the best for movie/work knitting because I don’t have to pay attention to what I’m doing much.  I started off with 60 stitches, did a 6 inch cuff & a short row heel, finished with my usual foot & toe.  It did reaffirm my love of STR – I actually love how the colors worked out and I’m very excited for my class with Tina Newton at Sock Summit!  Plus I’ve noticed my STR socks have really held up  – STR, Opal, & various Knit Picks socks have survived multiple washings & wearings- I don’t wash them any different from the rest of my socks but they all are still very wearable.

After finishing these, I needed a new on the go project so I chose a hat.  I haven’t actually made a hat for awhile so it was fun.

City Tweed Shouch

Started: July 8

Completed: July 12

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW in Jacquard – 1 ball

Pattern: Le Slouch (pdf) by Wendy Bernard

Needles:  size 7 & 9 US circs

Notes: So I really loved everything about this project.  This pattern has been in my queue for awhile & it just seemed perfect for this yarn.  It’s funny though, I’ve made several of Wendy Bernard’s patterns but I wasn’t that excited by her book – I checked it out from the library but didn’t see anything I wanted to immediately knit up.  Anyway, when looking at the projects on Ravelry, I didn’t see many that were as slouchy as I wanted so I added an extra inch on the body before beginning the decreases for that extra slouchy effect.

forgive sleepy puffy face - but how cute is my favorite mug?
forgive sleepy puffy face – but how cute is my favorite coffee  mug?

And the yarn…okay, I have been obsessed with trying this yarn since it was first released (before I started working there, I might add) and it did not disappoint.  I loved it – next to the skin soft & comfy & loved the texture & the tweedy bits.  I have two more balls of this color so I might make a matching scarf or cowl but then…well, I really don’t need to start another sweater but I am obsessed with the Calluna Cardigan.  It has some my favourite elements – cables & tweed plus it’s a cardigan!  I live in cardigans!  I’m trying to convince myself that the other sweaters I’ve started are more spring type sweaters while this is a fall sweater and should be done first.  And you know, since it’s work related, I shouldn’t feel bad about starting it.  Sigh.  I really want to start it, I do get paid this week…

As a note, while I do now work for the Knit Picks company, I want to point out that my gushing over the products has gone back years.  I’m not getting anything out of it.  I just wanted everyone to know that.

Now, back on the needles is a pair of socks I started awhile ago but broke my size 0 needle so I couldn’t finish them at the time.  But now I’m ready to finish up all these single socks!  Oh I also have a bunch of new bags to show off (not all for me either – I’m seeing my family next weekend for a long standing date to see the new Harry Potter movie!) but I’ll save them for a separate post.

(note-smallish Harper’s Island spoilers ahead – though not the BIG spoiler.  But if you haven’t watched the show & want to, don’t read any further. If you just haven’t seen the finale, it’s okay.)

Still kind of recovering from the finale of Harper’s Island last night.  The show started out a bit lame – I didn’t like any of the characters & thought it was a little boring.  But by the 5th episode, I started to really enjoy it and ended up, as the weeks went on, loving some of the characters (RIP Cal & Chloe – who funny enough, when they were first introduced, I told my sister “wow, I can’t wait until they get killed off”.  They ended up being my favourite characters, along with JD, who I also didn’t really like at first.).  I also feel so vindicated as I thought the person who ended up being the killer was a bit creepy back in the 3rd or 4th  episode and was totally convinced it was him/her by episode 8.  My family thought I was crazy, but I knew it! Sadly they haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t gloat. Usually I watch it “with” my sister – either in person or exchanging texts or chatitng online but they were out of town this weekend.  I did get to exchange tweets with Carrie though, which didn’t make me feel quite alone. 🙂 Anyway, it was good summer show (they really should have started it later, rather than in April), so if you like somewhat silly slasher/mystery movies, it’s a fun one to check out online or on dvd when they come out.

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