Saturday, June 28, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

What to knit, what to knit?

I finished the Monkey socks. They’ve had their grafts tightened and their ends woven in. They’ve been washed and blocked and will be delivered to their owner on Monday.

I have no socks on the needles.

I have an embarrassment of sock yarn. Perhaps you recall that it takes over nearly half of my queen-sized bed. I certainly recall it.


So, what’s a geek to do when in possession of empty sock needles?

Well, here’s what I did.

I exported my Ravelry stash as an Excel File. Then I created a separate list containing nothing but sock yarn. Then I plugged the list into this random list generator and it thought for approximately half of one second and presented me with a randomized version of the same list.

So, my next pair of socks will be knit with this yarn from Pagewood Farms.


Now then, I need to come up with a nice geeky way to pick a pattern...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why Yes, I Did Buy More Yarn

The marketplace at the Black Sheep Gathering was simply breathtaking. Everywhere I looked, there was more texture, more color and more beautiful things. Wool, alpaca, cashmere, linen, cotton, silk, hemp… any fiber you can think of using for spinning, weaving, knitting or crocheting, there was something there for everyone.

When my mother and I got there on Friday morning, I headed straight for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. I knew it would be crowded later in the day, and I wanted a chance to shop it without fighting a crowd. Our timing was perfect, and I dove right in.

I’d been mooning over their Raven Clan colors for the longest time, and I had promised myself that if they had any of their Silk Thread in one of those colorways I’d buy some. As if someone were reading my mind, there it was… Silk Thread in Valkyrie. I picked up two of them, 2500 yards of this glorious stuff.


One of my friends at knit night compared it to blackberries.

This picture captures the sheen quite well.

It’s incredibly fine.

This is destined to be the Spider’s Web Shawl (Ravelry link) from Victorian Lace Today.

Blue Moon also brought a huge selection of Mill Ends, which don’t quite match the rest of a dye-lot. I picked out a skein of lightweight in this sort of berries-and-cream colorway.



I also got some lightweight in Rare Gems, another colorway that just knocks me out. How do they do that?



Later in the day, after we’d visited all the animals and told them how lovely they were (they knew that), we found ourselves at the booth for Skaska Designs. Lace yarn, lace yarn everywhere.

I got a 100 gram ball of Yarn Palace Graceful. The color repeats are long, and the 1800 yards is quite a put-up. Should be enough for a decent-sized stole.



I had told my mother at some point during the morning that if she saw a sock yarn she loved, I’d buy it for her and make her socks… eventually. Now she had even more reason to pick up skeins of yarn. Eventually we reeled into the Chameleon Colorworks booth. We were giddy from the color, and the mutual sarcasm was going strong. I am happy to report that the artist is a really good sport, and obviously an old hand at dealing with fiber-drunk customers.

As soon as I saw this yarn, I had a strong feeling it would be the one mom would pick out.

Cherry Blossom, how perfect.


It’s called Bambino, and it’s a blend of bamboo and superwash merino. It's so soft, and so luscious; it's going to be a joy to work with. I think it’ll bloom up beautifully when it’s been knit and washed.

I liked it so much I bought some for my own feet, in a colorway called Mourning Dove.



Saturday I was in a lace-knitting class, which I want to blog about separately, so lets just skip that day for now.

On Sunday I took my best friend to the market. These are the kinds of things friends do for each other, right? Take them to fiber events so they get a chance to see all the pretties? Wave exotic yarns under their noses, whisper to them about how impossible it is to find things like this at the LYS?

OK, maybe that was a little mean, but I got her two gorgeous skeins at Interlacements and another two at Blue Moon… and I’m not sorry at all.

The last thing I bought at Black Sheep was this skein of Yarn Palace Heaven from Skaska Designs.



It’s a merino/tencel blend, and has a staggering 3280 yards. When I entered it into my Ravelry stash, the database informed me that it’s cobweb weight. I got a little light-headed…

I mean, I can remember when sport-weight felt tiny, and here I am with a huge yardage of this teeny-tiny yarn, firmly convinced that I’ll be able to knit a masterpiece with it.

Did I mention that it’s cobweb weight? Have you ever seen cobweb weight yarn up close and personal?


I’m thinking I’ll probably get a good gauge with 2.25 mm needles. I’m probably going to need some new glasses… and a really good lamp.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Black Sheep Gathering

I went to the Black Sheep Gathering last weekend… all three days of it, in fact. It was tremendous, and overwhelming, and tremendous some more. There were two buildings of animals, three buildings of fiber in various forms, all kinds of colors and textures wherever I looked. Really, if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it.

You get to see lambs…

Such a darling face

and you get to see goats.

Who knew they came in dalmatian?

Some of them even have dreadlocks.

Can I get away with saying “peek-a-boo”?

They get all primped up for their turn in the show ring.

I can’t believe they just left me tied here

And some of them are completely uninterested in the people trying to make friends with them.

Mom gets a closer look.

I think this guy was for sale, but I’m not sure I could have convinced my husband that he was less trouble than a cat.


And the yarn… did I mention the yarn? So much yarn, in so many colors and fiber combinations that it made my head reel. It’s a good thing there were tables set up outside, every now and then we just had to go sit down and take a break.


Somewhere behind this crowd is the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. Clever bloggers will go to this booth first thing in the morning, and then they will feel terribly smug when they take this picture…

My mother likes pink… really a lot.

Yes, that’s silk and cashmere… for heaven’s sake, don’t look at the price tag!

Perhaps you have a child who needs entertaining? Get them one of these.

Marionettes look kinda creepy just hanging there.

And, lest we forget about the spinners and weavers, I took some pictures of the Sheep to Shawl competition:


Five spinners and one weaver make a shawl in five hours. Wow.



I had a marvelous time. People were friendly and knowledgeable, and nobody got into fistfights over the yarn.

Here’s a quick look at what I came home with. In my next post I’ll bring you up-close and personal with it.

Such a tease.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Speaking of Socks…

I’m actually knitting some.

I have fallen under the spell of the Monkey. It’s a far simpler stitch pattern than I thought it was; I had it memorized halfway through the third repeat.

I initially started them on a set of 2.5 mm needles, but I thought the fabric was coming out too tight and stiff. So I frogged the sock and started it over with 2.75 mm needles.

Well, then the fabric was a little looser, but the sock was just too big for me. See how far up my ankle the heel flap goes?


This sock came terribly close to being ripped out altogether, but I was having so much fun knitting that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Look at that sock, how could I just frog it?


So, since I obviously wasn’t knitting a pair of Monkeys for myself… I needed to find the feet I was actually knitting for.

My husband? Nope, our feet are the same size, and I don’t think he’d want to wear these under his work boots. He prefers tube socks.

My mom? No, her feet are smaller than mine are; she’d swim in these.

I thought about a couple of my favorite co-workers, but I seemed to recall that the person I had in mind had feet which reminded me of canoes.

I was beginning to feel like Prince Charming. (Mom, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t laugh yourself silly at this point… I can be perfectly charming when I want to.)

Last week at knit night I had my best friend try on the sock. It fits her, but the foot was too long. After consulting with our resident sock expert, I decided how much of it to rip back, stuck the sock in my bag and resolved to get to it ASAP. It might have been a good idea to actually write that down.

Of course, when I got the sock out of the bag I couldn’t remember how much I’d decided to rip. Was it one-and-a-half repeats or two-and-a-half? I decided to play it safe, ripped the smaller amount, put it onto some 2.25 mm needles, and started the second sock.

Teresa, for heaven’s sake, bring your feet over here, I need to measure them again!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stash Dive

When you promise to send someone random sock yarn from your stash, you eventually realize you’re going to have to haul out all of your sock yarn and take a good look at it.

Spread it out on the bed and realize that there’s quite a bit more of it than you thought...


Ravelry’s all very well and good for getting an idea about your stash, but if you really need to know how much sock yarn you’ve got, try this.


Get nose to nose with your sock yarn, and try not to think about how many miles of it there might be.


It’s lovely stuff, but I must admit that it surprises me. It’s not that I don’t recall buying it or something like that. It’s more that I had no idea I’d actually bought quite this much of it. It’s hard to hide from when you spread it all out on the bed though. I’ve got a lot of socks to knit, that’s all there is to it. When I brought my husband to look at it all he said was, “You know you’ve got holes in all your socks, right?” I told him I’m knitting as fast as I can.

Some of my sock yarn is fairly easy to lay one’s hands on, like the three balls of Tofutsies, or the Lana Grossa.


Some of the colors are quiet and muted:


Some of the yarn has silver spun into it:


Some of it is precious because it was part of a gift:


While some of it is precious because it was hand dyed by a dear friend:


Somewhere in here is some random sock yarn for a friend... it shouldn’t take me more than a few days to find it!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More About Me

I’ve been tagged again, this time by Kyle.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Wow, 1998… I was finishing up an Associates Degree in History, getting ready to go to University, and working in a computer lab. I had no idea that I’d end up with a career in IT, that I’d become a System Administrator, or that I’d learn to knit. Or that I'd be blogging, however sporadically.

Five snacks I enjoy:
Chips and Salsa (medium)
Häagen-Daz Lemon Sorbet
Popcorn and Apple
Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Five things on my to-do list today:
Rip back the over-long foot of a sock.
Clean out the fridge.
Go to a farewell dinner for some co-workers who will be sorely missed.
Visit my mom at her volunteer job.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Quit my job. I love it, but c’mon.
Pay off my debts.
Buy my brother a house.
Set up a foundation for homeless children with developmental delays.
Join 50-100 yarn clubs.

Five jobs I have had:
House cleaner
Assistant Manager at a movie theatre (great job)
IT Phone Support
System Administrator

Five of my bad habits:
I’m very opinionated, and if I don’t watch myself I tend to bash people over the head with it.
I procrastinate.
I’m sarcastic
I’m an instigator. I’ll poke at people just to get them riled up.
I get too set in my ways, and the next thing I know I’m in a rut.

Five places I have lived:
Eugene, Oregon for most of my life.
Idaho, when I was a wee lass (sorry, I don’t know what town)
Boston, Massachusetts
Oakland, California
Emeryville, California

Five people I want to get to know better:
Oooh, I’m so bad at tagging…
Tell you what, if you want to tell me more about yourself, leave me a comment so I can go look.

Five random things:
I talk to myself (drives my husband nuts).
I have khaki green eyes.
I collect cobalt blue glass.
I’m a news junkie.
I love watching Formula 1 racing.

Wow Kyle, thanks for tagging me, that was fun!

Contrary to what this blog has been looking like recently, I haven’t actually given up knitting. I have all kinds of excuses for why I have no WIP pictures for you, first and foremost that the weather here in the Northwest has been leaning heavily towards rain, and getting decent pictures has been nigh unto impossible.

That’s my story, and you’ll never budge me from it.

I’ve got two pairs of socks on the go, Sidewinders and Monkey. The Sidewinders are one row away from the loooooong (117 stitches) graft, and the Monkeys have just recently escaped frogging.

I thought I was knitting the Monkey’s for myself, until I tried them on and realized that I was obviously knitting them for someone with bigger feet. The feet have been found, so the Monkey’s will live.

Pictures… I must take more pictures!

P.S. My husband noticed my haircut last night.