Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nubby Cowl #2

Nubby Möbius Cowl

Here is a recent cowl I made. I actually have made two of these cowls, but haven't taken photos of #1 yet. I am sending this off in the mail today so I snapped some quick photos. Rainy/snowy today so the lighting and photos are not great. 

This is a möbius cowl which means it has  a twist in it. It's a very simple pattern, cast on an ODD number of stitches and join to knit in the round. Normally patterns say "be careful not to twist the stitches when joining in the round", but this pattern instructs you to twist the stitches on purpose to put the twist in the cowl. For this pattern, you just knit 1, purl 1, over and over, which creates seed stitch.  You just need an odd number of stitches for it to work. There is no need to mark the end/beginning of the round because there is no beginning or end in a möbius design.  For this cowl, I cast on 111 stitches on US Size 11 needles. 

This yarn is some hand dyed and hand spun yarn which was gifted to me. My mother-in-law found this beautiful yarn at a Farmers Market in Iowa. 

This last photo looks a bit yellow but I included it to show a close up of the texture. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Entrelac Socks

Entrelac Socks

Oh, somebody stop me. Why did I start another pair of socks?

This is actually my third attempt at entrelac socks.  I decided I wanted to use this great pea green yarn from Knit Picks and I kept pairing the green yarn with scraps of sock yarn. I was never happy with the yarn combination I selected... until now.  I have the first cuff completed as you can see in the photo above.  Boy, oh BOY!  Entrelac is a lot of work.  I am already worried about Second Sock Syndrome for sock #2 in this pair. 

I've recently finished up two Mobius cowls. I just need to take photos.  I'll get to that soon.

Until then... happy knitting!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ampersand Socks

Ampersand Socks

I am knitting another pair of socks and the pattern is called "Ampersand".  The yarn is Bernat Sox and the colorway is "Camouflage". The pattern is written for knitting from the cuff down on two circular needles; I am making the socks two at a time, from the toe up, on one long circular needle (40 inches, 2.75 mm needles). 

I had to Google "ampersand". I kept picturing "@" but that seemed incorrect. 

Yep, turns out an ampersand is this... "&". 

I am not sure why these socks are called Ampersand, but I tell you... I sure got educated about the history of the ampersand when I was poking around on Google. I find languages and their history fascinating. If you would like to read an interesting article about "&", you can find the article at the following link:

Yep, I am a nerd.  It's a rainy/snowy day in Colorado. Definitely good knitting weather. 

Happy Knitting!

Friday, April 15, 2016

B & B Socks

B & B Socks 

I cast on two new pairs of socks this week.  

This means I have about five different pairs of socks in progress. Crazy... I know. 

The socks pictured above are B & B Socks, which stands for basket weave and braided cable. Here is the pattern link:

Here is the yarn label. Yes, this yarn contains silk and it's made in the U.S.A. 

The colorway is "Victorian Dusk".  I found this yarn at my local yarn shop. It's very nice and it has a little silver thread running through it for some sparkle. 

I am enjoying using my knitting abacus bracelet for this project. The pattern is an eight row repeat. Every time I finish a row, I slide a bead. 

I'll share about my other new socks some time soon. 

Crazy Socks

Crazy Socks

At my local knit shop (The Yarn Shop at Words of Life), these socks have are affectionately known as "Jerri's Crazy Socks".  Jerri said she learned how to make these socks while she was visiting her daughter in California, and now she's sharing what she learned. 

Belinda and I had a class with Jerri to learn how to make these socks.  So far, we are just working on the foot portion but, as you can see, these socks are knit on the diagonal.  The pattern includes some tricky increases but I think I am finally getting them down pat.  Tomorrow we will meet up with Jerri to learn more about how to complete the heel.  An interesting thing about this pattern is that there is a left sock and a right sock.  I also hear that there is some grafting (Kitchner stitching) in the heel; maybe I'll get to that spot tomorrow.

The yarn I am using is Plymouth Diversity.  I got this colorway because I think it will go great with my new shoes!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pin Striped Socks: Done!

Yay!  Done!!!

Started 3-26-16
Completed 4-11-16

Pretty quick actually but it felt like forever. I was really struggling with Second Sock Syndrome. Just did not want to work on sock #2.  I have so many other projects I am excited to start. 

Yarn is Twinkle Sock in the "Rainbow Bright" color way by Western Sky Knits. I purchased this yarn at Yarn Fest 2015.

I have now officially completed all of my projects with yarn purchased at Yarn Fest 2015. Woo hoo!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yarn Fest: Miscellaneous

Wow, I can't believe it's already been a week since Belinda and I were at the Yarn Fest in Loveland. It's been a busy week since I've been home.  I had a few random photos left over from our trip and I thought I'd share a bit more about our experiences.  Above, is some yarn I was eyeing. I do sort of regret not getting it, but I already have a LOT of sock yarn.  It's hard to shop in a huge marketplace such as the Yarn Fest's Marketplace.  

I've been to three really big fiber festivals like this and it kind of helps to have a plan. The first time I went to such an event, I was just so overwhelmed; I ended up purchasing a lot of random hanks of sock yarn with no particular plans.  Yes, with sock yarn you can always make socks, but having a plan is a good thing.

Last year at the Yarn Fest, Belinda and I were really drawn to the "shop samples" we found on display in the various booths.  Above you can see these amazing hand dyed gradient yarns and a little shawlette in pink and black. The color changes very slowly through the yarn, there are no color repeats, and the very beginning of the yarn was dyed especially dark.  In this booth, they had a sample knit up so you knew exactly what you could do with this special yarn. Last year, we both ended up buying yarn and planned to make the projects just like we saw knit up in the booths.  Last year, we also bought some kits that had the patterns and yarn included.

This year we decided to shop for yarn so we could make particular patterns we've been eyeing.  We also wanted to look for more hand dyed sock blanks since we enjoyed buying and knitting socks from them last year.

We ended up finding hand dyed sock blanks at two booths this year and they were Western Sky Knits and Greenwood Fiberworks.  The ladies in these booths were especially nice.

Again this year, we were inspired to make purchases based upon samples we saw knit up in the various booths.  So I guess my point is that it's hard to stick with your plans when you are overwhelmed and inspired by so much amazing yarn and so many, many choices. 

We learned that next year, the Interweave Yarn Fest will be held at a different location.  We are curious to hear where exactly it will be held (we heard some where in Denver).  I have to say I was disappointed to hear the location is changing since we loved staying at the Embassy Suites and we've really learned the area, restaurant locations, etc.  So we are staying positive and hoping that the next location will just be even better.

We liked the Embassy Suites because they have a wonderful free breakfast each morning.  We also discovered that each evening, they have a Manager's Reception, which included appetizers and drinks in the hotel's atrium.  Since we had late lunches each day and we had snacks in our room, it ended up that the only meals we paid for were lunch.  So if you spend less money on eating out, you have more money to spend on YARN!

Another nice thing about our Yarn Fest experience this year is that we stayed two nights (instead of just one night... which is what we did last year).  This gave us more time to just hang out, relax, and knit.  One afternoon, we decided to sit in the hotel's lobby area where there are lots of small seating areas.  Through out the Yarn Fest, you could find participants sitting and knitting in the lobby.  Belinda and I sat in an area with four chairs, and soon enough a nice lady, Denise, joined us and we all chatted away.  The next day, we met up with Denise again and she brought her friend Jill.  Denise brought in this amazing circular shawl she had knit and we enjoyed checking it out.  You can't see them well in the photos, but the shawl if full of copper colored beads and pearl beads.  Really stunning!

The items we purchased at Yarn Fest will keep us busy for a long while. I look forward to Yarn Fest next year!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Yarn Fest: War and Peace Sock Class

It wasn't until I uploaded this photo that it occurred to me that my knitting above sort of looks like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. 

Funny.  I must be hungry...?!?

While at the Yarn Fest, Belinda and I took one class.  Some folks go to these events and take a lot of classes but the classes are not cheap. The classes are about $100.00 for a three hour session (and that's the Early Bird Rate for signing up by a certain date; otherwise classes are about $110.00 each). 

We decided upon a class called "War and Peace Socks" by Kate Atherly.  In this class, we learned the technique for knitting two socks at once and the socks are knit with one sock inside the other! Crazy, right?!?!?  Apparently, in Leo Tolstoy's book entitled "War and Peace", the technique of knitting one sock inside another is mentioned in the book's epilogue.  I found an article about it HERE if you'd like to know more (the article includes the passage from the book that mentions the socks).  I found it interesting.

"War and Peace" was written in 1869, so the sock technique referenced is NOT new.

I have never tried double knitting but it turns out that knitting one sock inside of another uses the double knitting technique. 

If you look closely above, you can see I am knitting a chocolate colored sock on the outside and peanut butter colored sock on the inside.  On the needles, the stitches alternate between the dark and light colors.  The socks are actually being knit right sides together, so when I am working on the chocolate colored yarn, I am purling and when I am working the peanut butter yarn, I am knitting.  The instructor had us use dark and light contrasting yarns for the purpose of instruction and to learn the technique. 

The technique is just fascinating and it was a great thing to learn in a class setting. I cannot imagine trying to learn this technique just from reading written instructions.  While it's complicated and tricky, it's also incredibly logical and intuitive just so long as one has already become proficient in knitting socks from the cuff down, in the round, and with a heel flap, heel turn, gusset, etc. 

All in all, I am really glad I took this class.  This little mismatched pair is almost done but is full of little problems. I'd like to make another little pair following the pattern instructions a bit more carefully and to re-inforce what I learned in the class.  The big downer about this technique is that it simply is not a good way to knit socks. It is not easier or faster; it's like solving a puzzle.  Our instructor said it best when she described the technique as a "party trick" or a "parlour trick".  I guess hearing that made me feel a bit deflated... as in... "well then, why the heck did I take this class?", but I am tickled to have learn what I learned. 

Now, why am I craving a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pin Striped Socks: Half Way There

One down; one two go. 

This pattern is Pin Striped Socks and the yarn is Western Sky Knits "Twinkle Sock" in the Rainbow Bright colorway. 

I need to get sock #2 done. 

Uh oh!  I feel a case of Second Sock Symdrome coming over me. I found some possible remedies in this article. 

Yarn Fest: Shop Till You Drop

Belinda and I had a great time at the Yarn   Fest in Loveland, Colorado, this past weekend. 

Of course, we shopped in the Marketplace. 

(Above) We both plan to make the Dogwood Leaf Cowl from this beautiful DK weight yarn from Western Sky Knits. 

(Above) We saw samples of the Endless Rose Cowl knit up in a booth called "Wall of Yarn". Belinda and I will both be making this project as well. 

(Above and below) This yarn at Western Sky Knits spoke to me so I had to get it. When I saw this yarn, I said "goldfish"!!!!
Turns out it is called "fishbowl". This may become socks or something else. Time will tell. 

(Above) From Greenwood Fiberworks, I found this highly textured yarn. This will become a möbius cowl; we saw a sample in the booth. Belinda and I are both making this project as well. 

(Below) Also from Greenwood Fiberworks, a pair of hand dyed sock blanks. From this, I plan to make socks. 
I think Greenwood Fiberworks was my favorite booth this year. 

At the Marketplace, I also got a pair of  needles and the needles are a SQUARE shape (not round). That should be interesting. I also got a new kind of stitch marker which was unlike any other I've seen before. 

I'd like to dive into all of these projects, but I have pillows to make and ship tomorrow. I am behind after my fun weekend. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Yarn Fest or Bust


It's been a busy week!  I hurried to get pillows made and shipped so I could pack and prepare for my trip to the Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado, with my friend Belinda. We've been looking forward to this for a year!

Of course, priority #1 for any trip taken by a knitter is planning what projects to bring to work on. I had to bring items for the class we planned to take as well. 

Then I had to think about packing things important items such as allergy meds (spring in Colorado!), cell phone charger, wine (don't forget the cork screw), and I  charged up my Nook in case I had time to read. I searched Ravelry for patterns I've been thinking about and printed out more patterns. A girl has to have her priorities. Oh, I even whipped up some Cinnamon Spiced Nuts for snacks. You can't go with out snacks!

Eventually I had to think about what to wear.  Outfits we're carefully planned and coordinated with hand knit socks. 

Yep, I got everything. All I needed was Belinda. So I left my house a little before 8:00 am on Thursday. 

Adele (Belinda's dog) surprised us and hopped into the back of my car when I opened the back hatch. 

We are having a GREAT time at Yarn Fest. I'll share more soon... 

Belinda and I are wearing our Bremen Muster socks in the photo above.