Monday, September 24, 2007

Of sock clubs, and more yarn and FOs

Well, I finally hauled off and joined a sock club. I figured it would be a challenge to my inner control freak, to not know what's coming and just do what I'm told. And so far it's working out!
This is what I received from Woolgirl last month:

The yarn is Miss Babs sport weight sock yarn, and I do like the purples a lot. The sock pattern isn't too challenging--which is probably a good thing for me as I generally knit plain stockinette socks. I'm not sure I like a lace pattern with suck a thick yarn but I'm not opposed to it.

The swag is nice, too--there's a contest, and a notebook and lip balm and a stitch marker. And here's the pic of my first finished sock!

The other sock is just as pretty. Finished a pair for Eric, for his 40th birthday:

Regia silk 6-ply. I love that stuff.

I'm also currently in the middle of two pairs of Cherry Blossom Fibers socks, and I just finished a pair of house socks for Doris' birthday in Urban Gypsz Twisted:

I need to make another pair for Scott, too, as it was his birthday as well last week. Or maybe mittens!
And this is the progress on my latest Jaywalkers:
I've traded an awful lot of yarn lately on Ravelry...if you're on it you can see my latest acquisitions from Lindalu--lots and lots of STR, Cider moon, Yarn Pirate, Regia Silk, etc. I have also bought a lot of Smooshy. And Dashing Dachs is my new fave.
As I've been trading a good bit of yarn, I haven't actually spent as much as I would have. I've also sold off a lot of yarn I wasn't going to use, and as my paypal balance is currently up, and I haven't spent anything I couldn't pay for with what I'd sold, I don't feel too guilty.
I'm resigning myself to the fact that I'm a sock yarn collector, and that the ability to "use" it all isn't the biggest factor. I like having it. I've made my peace with that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let it Bleed

So, I have given up on a sock yarn. Tess' sock yarn, which I blogged about earlier. I got one sock done. It was very reasonably priced: $15 for a skein with enough yarn to make a pair of adult socks, which is an absolutely great price for hand-dyed yarn. At first it gave me some trouble pooling, but I frogged and changed the cast-on and that fixed things.

But, well...the yarn bled more than any other I've ever used. My hands were constantly brown from knitting it, and I must have washed it four or five times and the water still didn't run even remotely clear. I don't think it's too much to ask for a sock not to just effing bleed all over everything. I know that's the danger with denim yarn, but sock yarn? I don't know what I'll do with that little sock, but I'm not going to waste my time knitting a mate to it.


Working on some cherry blossom fibers yarn now--two socks in two different colorways. Raspberry Truffle and Tartan. The raspberry truffle is lovely, and very soft. Knit up into a wonderfully snuggly sock, and what a pretty juxtaposition of color.

Two knit picks, however. One is that this yarn is advertised as "self striping". I suppose there are stripes, sorta. But they don't always go around the whole circumference of the leg. I think "self-lining" might be more appropriate, but confusing. When a yarn is advertised as striping, I want stripes, not polite little lines. Also, again, the sock bled. I even washed the hank before knitting from it, and then washed the finished sock a couple of times. Pink water, pink water, pink water. I've washed enough socks to know that it's very possible to produce a yarn, even a brightly-colored one, that doesn't produce a sinkful of dye when washed. Still, the yarn is incredibly soft and the sock is wonderful.

Finished the jaywalkers, tho'! The big lesson here was not to try to complete the toe late at night with a couple of beers in me, while my husband is rubbing my feet. Also, I totally spaced doing that slip stitch down the leg on the second sock. SLOPPY!

But pretty nonetheless. Yarntini is just...gorgeous. I have a couple of skeins of the variegated, but I just love the striping stuff.

Started a new jaywalker, in Online Holiday color. Nice electric blue, with stripes/lines that show of the pattern well.

Also, more yarn.

Fly-dyed Butterfly yarn. I think I like her monarch best, but I got this for a song on ebay.

Fiesta's new Baby Boom--shockingly soft and springy, but very expensive (about $29 to make a pair of socks--I got a 20% discount via my ordering from Webs).

Shi Bui--base yarn is Louet Gems Pearl? Seems like it. Lovely shad-y colors.

Franklin yarn in McCaw. Saw the Yarn Harlot was knitting a pair of socks in this color and I felt I needed some.
I'm spending most of this week anticipating my first sock club shipment from Woolgirl. I feel in my bones it's going to be pretty fabulous!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What the Yarn Wants to Be

So, at the workshop with Ginger Luters on miters at Stitches Midwest, she was talking about a class she teaches on determining what you should knit with the yarn you have. Seems ass-backwards, but it made sense. Yarn wants to do things, wants to be things that we may not see, or may not even agree with. There are obvious points to be made here--Shetland yarn for fairisle and steeking, et al., but sometimes the conclusions are not that apparent. Case in point--a rather seductive skein of yarn I bought a few months ago. A skein of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, in 572, a blood red, bought at my LYS.

I live in the deep south, where there is no cause for Alpaca. This was to be a petting skein. I put it in my stash, thinking of what I might make with it (fingerless mitts, or nothing), and put it out of my mind. Then, I was in my LYS again the other day, and I thought of my little blood-red skein, and thought I should knit her into something. I needed another skein, though. At least one more. I bought a skein in 571, a mahogany brown. Then, I brought it home to try to knit with it.

I thought a scarf. My friend Tom likes scarves, and has been asking for one. I'm sick of scarves, really, and have been for awhile, so I looked around for something fancy-ish to do with it. Maybe a red cable with a brown border, i-cord, something like that.

I swatched. The yarn did not like stockinette, that was sure. It looked sloppy, and felt not drapey but rather sort of flappy. "Perhaps a garter stitch border" I thought. "There, that's better..." the yarn seemed to say. And then proceeded to resist any attempt to wrench it into anything else.

So, I had to knit Tom a garter stitch scarf. To make it interesting, I cast on so that there would be long vertical stripes, instead of horizontal stripes, on the finished product. Six rows of garter in red and brown two times, then four rows of the same two times. Diminishing lines. Then just some knotted fringe. Because of the way I worked the garter stitch (evenly), it looks "clean" on one side and a bit more "rustic" on the other. My husband likes the rustic side. I am fonder of the clean side.

Gosh, but the yarn is happy. It is so cushy and thick and soft as this scarf. Tom will appreciate it, even if it's a bit too warm for these parts.

In case you're interested, co 165 stitches on 8 needles. The rest you will figure out for yourself.

Also arriving today in my mailbox was this:

Online Supersocke in this gorgeous mostly-electric blue colorway. With all of the yarns out there, I really haven't seen much dominated by this sort of blue. Also, I bought two skeins of Kaffe Fassett's Regia yarn, also with a stripe of that same blue.

When will I use them? Who knows? I seem to collect yarn like I am preparing for some sort of apocalypse. A yarn-pocalypse. I hoard. I pat. I say "pweshuss" and stroke it gently, cuddling it back into its drawer after I'm through pawing at it. I have actually gotten to the point where I hestitate to wind the hank into a ball, because that would somehow change the purity of it. I want to have my yarn and knit it too. In any case I have to stop buying sock yarn. I have to remind myself that the spinners and dyers of the world are not going to suddenly expire from a some fiber-lover's disease.

I also received Cat Bordhi's new book, New Pathways for Socknitters. I've heard it's filled with errors, but I so seldom see something really new with regard to sock knitting that I just closed my eyes and bought it, full price, because it's not to be had anywhere at a discount (I hear it's self-published). I knit my plain vanilla socks and I like that. I basically knit the same sock over and over again. But I like looking at the gloriously unusual and different, the same way one might peruse a travel brochure for a country one knows one will never visit.

And I can't really begin to describe the book. I've only flipped through it, but I can say that I am not at all sorry I purchased the book. It's beautiful, for one, with large, clear color pictures (one can't always say this about knitting books), and every pattern seems to me pretty revolutionary. And terribly, terribly interesting. It's like a collection of short stories in genres I've never even heard of before.

Also, I'm on RAVELRY! Same name, so if you're on Ravelry too, check me out. Friend me. I am methodically trying to catalogue my stash, and as far as sock yarn it's pretty complete.

(Until the Monarch yarn arrives. Oh, and the Sundara and the Miss Babs and the sock club yarn from Woolgirl which should ship next week and am I excited? Am I? Good lord, I need to be medicated!)