Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Payday Splurge

I did splurge today as it is payday.

Someone on a dyeing board suggested that I probably won't have issues with superwash wool because of how it is treated. I had my doubts about it. But I picked up the Schaefer Lola yarn at Rhinebeck. I tested it out and it seems fine. Woohoo. So I am going to cast on some socks with that tonight or tomorrow.

I ordered from two companies to see if I like their yarns. I got a skein of Socks That Sock Mediumweight in Atomic 6. I have heard such cooing over STR. I also saw some at Rhinebeck and I do like it a lot. (I didn't want to wait in the Fold line when I knew I could get it online for the same price...)

I am trying two of Lisa Souza's yarns in Mars Quake & Wild Things. The pics on Wild Things don't do it justice. I found some on Flickr that are good like this one. They are beautiful colors.

I wanted to get one skein in Sock and the other in Sock Merino. But she only had the Wild Thing in Sock. It would have taken about a week before she could have sent it out. So I think I am getting both in Sock. I would have liked to try the 100% superwash. But I am excited to get it sooner. *smile*

Time to scoot! I need to get on the train before the Halloween madness begins!

Alpaca Drops Cabled Socks Finished!

I am a very happy gal. I finished the Alpaca Drops cabled socks last night!

Cast On:

Sunday Oct. 7th.


Tuesday Oct. 30th.


100-19 Socks with cable pattern in Alpaca


Catalina Yarns Baby Silk in Claret

70% baby alpaca/30% silk


2 circs - 5 size for the leg & a size 4 for the heel & foot

Used my Knitpicks and the Boyds. Like having the two different ones as I can tell them apart.

If you want to see the pictures larger, click on them. I have very large images on Flickr. But I didn't want the page to take eons to load.

Front View:

Alpaca Socks in Drops Cable Pattern - Front

Side View:

Alpaca Socks in Drops Cable Pattern - Side View

Flat View:

Alpaca Socks in Drops Cable Pattern - Flat

I have posted the rest of the pics as links. I really don't want to overload anyone's connection. Paul took a lot of pics for me.

You can also click on the Flickr set and browse them that way.

Side Close Up

Flat View 2

Flat Single Sock

Front View 2

Back of Calf

Back of Calf 2

Top of Foot

Flat Single

I did these socks as part of the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous Oct. sock knit along. (The ravelry links only work if you are on ravelry. But they will be opening to the public someday.) Happy to report I finished on time.

The cool thing is that the KAL has 2 months to complete the monthly challenge. So I could have taken until the end of November. I don't think I would have taken on this pattern if I had to get them done by today. So I took on something more complex as I knew I had the time to finish it.

It took nearly an hour to transcribe the chart & lay it out in Excel. However, I think it was well worth the time.

I was a bit intimidated by the complexity. However, it wasn't too bad. I just had to stay focused. So they weren't really mindless knitting.

The pattern is really beautiful. I love the color and they should be pretty warm.

I think there are a couple flaws in the pattern. In the M.3 chart,it says 16 rows. In fact it is 18, just like the M.1 pattern right beside it. It also appears that in the 11th row from the top of M.2, one of the knit stitches is in the wrong spot.

I should post the chart & the written out directions I made for this soon. It could be helpful to others. Though I should modify the pattern a bit with the notes I made. I tweaked it for two socks on two circs.

I picked up the yarn at Adirondack Yarns in Lake Placid, NY. I got it while I was up there. Tee had mentioned that there was a book store in Saranac Lake that had some alpaca yarn. The guy at the store said alpaca shouldn't set off allergies. So I stopped by when I was up there. I did a test swatch and it didn't bother me after having it on for 3-4 hours. So I was thrilled to find I am not allergic to alpaca.

I confess, I think the yarn was a bit too fluffy for the pattern. It would probably have shown much better with a different yarn. However, I really do love the yarn, the color and the way they came out. So I am happy with the socks.

I don't know if these socks will wear well at all. It may not be plied tightly enough. Also, they may not have enough memory to stay put. But I don't care. I like the way they came out. I will just have to be sad if they wear out.

I really want to find some good alpaca sock yarn! These feel wonderful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Event to Check Out

There is an Etsy Truck Show on Friday, Nov. 16th. It is in Brooklyn. I might need to go. I do love Etsy.

The start of my work conference was shifted from Monday, Nov. 26th to Tuesday, Nov. 27th. I was excited as I thought it meant I could hit the first day of the Smiley Yarn sale in Manhattan. No such luck. That is Tuesday - Saturday. Ah well.

I did get to the one in NJ. But it is a lot smaller than the Manhattan one. So I would still love to hit the one in the city. Might have to beg Paul to go and see if he can get some Lana in navy. I want to make some mittens with it but I need a contrasting color to the stuff I already got. And the yarn is discontinued. *sigh*

Ah well. I know, I have enough yarn, right? Nah... never. *grin*

Knit Serenity!

Someone actually knit up Serenity!

(Also posted to my LJ)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Top Down Cardigan Pattern

There is a site called that has a free Top Down Cardigan Pattern.

Though I admit, I dislike it that the site requires a credit card to get the pattern. They don't charge anything to the card, but still. I really don't like giving out the info.

Their patterns are set up so you can create a custom piece with some measurements & gauge. It will then allow you to calculate how many stitches to cast on, etc..

I have put it into a Word document that is linked to an Excel spreadsheet. I figure this is much easier than having to do the calculations each time. I suspect it might be useful, so I would share it.

I think I have set it all up correctly. But please, if you give it a try and see an error, let me know.

The Word document is linked with the spreadsheet. So you will have to have both the Word document & the spreadsheet for it to work correctly.

You might need to reset the links. I know Office is fussy about the locations.

Custom Top Down Raglan Sweater Word Doc

Custom Top Down Pullover Sweater Word Doc

Top Down Sweater Spreadsheet

I should see if I can create a pdf to handle the entire thing. However, I am really not up for tinkering with it any more today. I do loathe MS Office. But it was the quickest way I could think of to do it.

Too Fun for Halloween

A Saw scarf?!!

Too funny...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dyeing & Reskeining Issues

I am consistently having some of the same issues when I am dyeing. I really need to figure out if it is something I am doing or if it a product of the dyes I am using.

I had been using Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes. I think they are working very well.

The problem is they seem to take forever to rinse out. It takes several hours. I am soaking them for 15 minutes, then swishing them around, trying to work the dye out for under the tied points. I empty the sink and do it again. I generally have to do that 5-6 times before the water is light enough that I can wash it.

Then I wash it with Synthrapol. I have to wash it at least twice with this. Again, there is even more color coming out as I rinse it.

Then I wash it with Milsoft. This softens the fibers and gives back some of the feel the yarn had. But there is still color coming out during this part of the process as well.

This all takes 4-5 hours. So if I want to dye, I have to have a complete weekend at home. Saturday is dye day, Sunday is wash day.

So all that is done, right. It is done. Right? Nope.

Now comes the nightmare of reskeining/making balls of the yarn.

Thing is, I haven't had an easy time of this either. I had hoped the swifts would really resolve this issue. It didn't.

I suspect part of that is about the way I have been tying up the skeins. I have been tying them all together. For instance, with this last batch there was 3 different pieces of yarn. I think it is a big problem that I tied them together. So they get tangled into each other. So it makes a mess. I suspect that is part of the issue. The next batch each length of yarn will be tied off separately.

I also fear that part of it is about the way I wash the yarn. I am trying to get the dye out from under the tie points. I think that by moving it around with my fingers, it is tangling the yarn under the tie points. Thus making a mess of it.

Here is a pic of the tangles:

Undertow 100% Bamboo Yarn - Tangles

This only happened at the tie points. Not at the parts where the yarn was loose. So I think that by working at those points, it is making things worse.

I really want to make this process better. I do love dyeing yarn. I love creating interesting colorways and playing with the colors. It is very free form and a lot of fun for me.

The problem is that I am not sure it is worth all this time and frustration. Every time I am pulling out my hair by the end of the reskeining/ball process. I spend hours untangling yarn. And it doesn't seem to make any sense.

I keep wondering if it isn't something in my process that is doing this. I can't imagine anyone would dye yarns in small batches to sell if they go through all this.

But part of me just keeps wondering if this isn't more about the fiber reactive vs. acid dyes. And also wool yarn vs. cotton/bamboo/etc.. I am hopeful that there is something in my process I can change so that this doesn't continue to be such a headache.

Hand Dyed Yarn Batch - Undertow

This is the batch of 100% Bamboo yarn I dyed.

It is in different greens with a bit of blue. So I named it undertow. Just reminded me of seaweed & the water.

I should have taken some pics before I tried to wind it into balls. It would show all the colors. Ah well.

Undertow - 100% Bamboo Yarn Dyed for My Sister-in-Law

Undertow - 100% Bamboo Yarn Dyed for My Sister-in-Law

Undertow - 100% Bamboo Yarn Dyed for My Sister-in-Law

Undertow - 100% Bamboo Yarn Dyed for My Sister-in-Law

Undertow - 100% Bamboo Yarn Dyed for My Sister-in-Law

Tangled bits after dyeing:

Undertow 100% Bamboo Yarn - Tangles


Sarah's Yarns 100% Bamboo


Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes


Large skein made with swift. Given I had it on the largest size I could get, it should be around 12' I think.

Color Length:

Colors are in 2" to 6" sections. Random. Not self patterning.

I dyed this yarn for my sister-in-law who loved green. I used the forest green dye as well as mixing two other greens & a weaker mix of the forest green. I also added azure blue.

I like the shimmer/shine that the bamboo has. It doesn't take the dyes as deeply as the cotton. But they look really good.

Overall, I really like this batch of yarn a lot. I am hopeful my sister in law will like it as socks.

I admit I am nervous about making her socks. I am still not sure about the bamboo yarn having enough stretch. Though the swatch I knit had a lot more give than I figured it would. So I am hopeful.

I am leaning towards a simple rib for this. Mainly because I am not sure what else would have enough elasticity to it to be sure it will stay up on the calf. Open to ideas though.

I will probably do these as toe up shoes to make sure I have enough yarn to complete them. I keep wondering if I should make my bamboo socks first to check out the yarn. Or if I should just dive in on Jennifer's. Decisions decisions. *grin*

Monday, October 22, 2007

Completed Projects

Charity Hat for Hats for Alex

Cast on Tuesday Oct. 16th.

Finished Friday, Oct. 19th.

Started this hat to help show a co-worker how to knit.

Here's Moose in his modeling debut. Figure Bear has his chance. He is a natural poster boy as he came from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company (who has lots of ads with lots of his brothers and sisters, cousins, etc.).

Alex Hat on Moose - View 1

Alex Hat on Moose - View 2

Alex Hat on Moose - To the Side

Alex Hat - Flat - View 1

Alex Hat - Flat - View 2


Alex Hat - Top

Alex Hat - Flat - Close to Top View

I wanted to complete it by Saturday, the 20th so I can put it into the box for Hats for Alex. And I did.


Lion Brand Chunky USA Purple

Acrylic (but hey, washable which is the point)


I put in a pattern but wasn't really following one.

I sorta winging it. Cast on 48 stitches. I did a ribbed edge. Then for the knit part, I did a k1, yo, K2 together each 3 rows. On the other two rows, I knit. It gave it some open holes, but they don't show as much as I figured they would. However, it is a minor touch that added a bit to the hat.

For the decrease, I followed the Ann Budd decreases in Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.


Size 9 Knitpick 32" circ with Magic Loop Method


Was going to drop in box for Hats for Alex. I forgot to write down *where* the donation boxes where. Oops! I didn't see them so I figure I will mail it. I need to contact Trillian. Though I can always donate it to another charity as well if she has plenty already.

Cable Scarf

It is FINALLY DONE!! Woohoo.

I just finished it up last night. I am pretty excited. I need to lay it out and block it. The ends are a bit funky and I am hoping the blocking will help with that.

However, it looks pretty good. I really hope Kyle likes it. *crosses fingers*


Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Turkish Olive Brown


Blue Cabled Scarf


Size 10 Knitpick 32" circ with Magic Loop Method

I don't think I will ever do this pattern again. Just took so long. But if I did, I would *definitely* add 2-4 rows of garter stitch at the top and bottom. I think given it has a garter stitch border, it would look good & resolve the issue with the cable pulling at the top and bottom edges of the scarf.

Swift Pics & Yarn Dyeing

At last, as promised, yarn swift pics. Woohoo.

My darling husband Paul built the swifts for me.

Yarn Swift Made by Hubby

Yarn Swift Made by Hubby

Yarn Swift Made by Hubby


Yarn Swift Made by Hubby - Detail

The sweet thing is that they are fully collapsible. The cross pieces come apart. They detach from the upright as well. So they take up a lot less space when not in use. Very nice.

Paul built me two swifts in hopes I could use them for creating a long skein. However, I am not sure it will work for that. I tried and it didn't seem to work correctly.

The long skein on the two swifts had the same issues I had when I did the two chair method. If you pull the yarn too tight, it is stretching it. If it is too loose, it is longer than the pieces around it. So it isn't even overall. There are some parts that hang down longer than others.

I found that meant that the pattern in the socks were different in different areas which was a problem with the self-patterning. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it did have some problems when I knit the Bruise socks.

I will probably try using them for reskeining dyed yarn sometime though. I heard it can work well with dyed skeins. Though I can only see the point of reskeining if I decide to sell the yarn. And I don't really see that happening. But I never say never.

Still, the single swift is great for skeining and unskeining the yarn. The cross pieces are about 4 feet long. The holes are an inch apart. So it is very adjustable. It can range from a small skein to a very large one.

It also worked well for creating a skein. I wound the yarn on it from the smaller skein to get a larger one. That seems to have gone pretty well.

I do admit, there are some modifications that need to be made still. I definitely want ends on the posts so the yarn doesn't slip off. I am thinking some wood door pulls glued to the end would work well.

Paul also suggested something about drilling through and having a piece at the back so they won't come out. Not sure how that will work exactly. They can be a bit loose and slide out sometimes.

The materials for the two swifts ran about $30. Not bad at all. The holes are about an inch apart. So it is very adjustable. Pretty cool.

I used the swift with the ball winder with my Schaefer Lola & the massive 8 oz skein of the Peruvian alpaca. They both worked really well. So much easier and quicker than wrapping it around something and doing it by hand. Pretty thrilled.

The yarn on the skein is Sarah Yarns 100% bamboo yarn. It started in the natural color. I used the Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes on it. I used the forest green. But I also mixed two other greens. I added some Azure Blue patches as well.

I should have taken some close ups of the yarn. I will try to remember to take some pics of the yarn when I get home. Though I did already make it into balls so it won't show all the colors.

I dyed this batch for my sister-in-law Jennifer. I am hoping to make her socks for Xmas. But if not, maybe her birthday. Or there is always next Xmas. *laugh* I figure we will see when they get done.

I *have* to find a better way to reskein/make balls out of the dyed yarn. This skein wasn't a long one. Still, it was super tangled in spots. I had to wind the balls by hand in order to untangle it. Took two hours to detangle it and make it into balls. *sigh* I can't think that is normal.

I do think part of it is about the fact that I tied all the skeins together. In future, I really need to separate each skein from each other. I think that should help with the tangling issues. I am sincerely hoping that will resolve it.

I got so frustrated with the tangles yesterday I was thinking about just giving up on dyeing. It is sad because I really do love the way the yarns come out when I dye them. It is so delightful being able to dye them and knit the yarn. It really is great. But the tangles are driving me batty. Got so pissy about it yesterday that I yelled at Paul. I apologized about a dozen times. But still. Not good. (Mind you, it was also the nasty PMS demon taking me over as well.)

I really do love the way the yarn looks. It is so wonderful the colorways I can create. And having it in yarns I like.

Though given I can probably wear some superwash wools, the dyeing issue isn't as critical. But I would still really like to do it. So I am hoping to figure out what to do better next time.

Rhinebeck Stash Acquisitions

Look at all the lovely Rhinebeck stash!!

Rhinebeck Stash

Rhinebeck Stash

I got all the yarn at NY Sheep & Wool on Saturday.

I should post to my general journal about the beer. *chuckle* I didn't get this at NY Sheep and Wool, but at a place on the way home. But it was the same trip. Just a different sort of stash! *grin*

Schaefer Lola

Schaefer Lola

Schaefer Lola

I have been drooling over the Schaefer yarns for a while now. A couple different podcasts have mentioned them, including one with an interview ('course I can't recall which one now).

Their colorways are so beautiful. I really love them. But many of their yarn lines are pretty pricey.

I found some lovely Lola. Lola is made with superwash wool. It is pretty soft. Though it is also pretty thick. So I didn't honestly know if I could use it for socks. So I did it as a purchase that was open to use.

It seems Lola isn't done in specific colorways like the ones listed on their site. So they are less expensive. I read that Lola is made with whatever dyes are left over for the day. So they vary a good deal. And why may not ever do something similar. I think that is pretty nifty.

The upside of that is Lola is a yarn I was able to actually afford! *grin* I love the one I got. It is different reds with some browns & grey. Pretty thick so it will be quick to knit up.

I am *definitely* going to do these toe up. I want to use every bit I can of the yarn. I am not sure if I want to just do a simple pattern or something more complex. If the gauge is right, I might try the toe up Jaywalkers. I think that might work well. I need to knit a swatch & see.

I hope I remember to look when I get home. I can't recall what booth I got this from.

Peruvian Alpaca

Peruvian Alpaca from A Touch of Twist

Peruvian Alpaca from A Touch of Twist

I picked a lovely bunch of Peruvian Alpaca at A Touch of Twist. It should be plenty for a nice, simple, black cardigan.

This was my big splurge item. I really debated if I should spend the money on it. This was my last purchase. I had picked up the Lola and a $10 mixed bag of yarn. So I felt like I had been very restrained. I had set aside a pretty good chunk of money for this. So I figured it was the time to take the plunge.

I have been wanting to make a black cardigan for a while now. But I am always hesitant to purchase that much yarn. I knew it would be a pricey item to make in anything I wanted to wear much. (Yes, I could get acrylic for cheap enough, but I sorta felt like if that was the case, I should just buy a black cardigan.)

Paul said I looked kinda white after making the purchase. *laugh* I guess it is that I spent a good deal of money so now I want to make something good with the yarn. And that makes me nervous.

Now, I need to find a simple top down cardigan pattern. Preferably one knit in one piece. I really do loathe sewing seams. *grin* Too funny given I can sew. But with knitting, it just seems so wrong to do it. *laugh*

It is so super soft. I kept kidding Paul I could just use it as it is as a pillow. I was resting my head against it. It is definitely yummy.

I also think I want to figure out some way to have a way to attach different cuffs and collars. I figure I can do a simple round collar. But then I can create collars and cuffs to attach to it. For instance, I have that lovely hand spun & dyed purple silk yarn. It would be great to make cuffs & collar to compliment the sweater.

Mixed $10 Bag

One of the vendors has boxes of bags with yarn in them. They are seal so you can't always see what exactly is in there. But with a bit of moving them around, you could make it out with some of them. It was sorta like treasure hunting. I did pretty well.

I ended up getting a bag with 4 different yarns. I think the blue cotton was what drew me to it. But the fact that two others were machine washable stuff made me think they would be ideal for some charity knits. So I figure it was money well spent.

Mystery Fiber

Rhinebeck Mystery Fiber

No idea what it is. Looks like it could be wool. Not sure. Greyish blue with some purplish flecks. Really wish I had a clue what it was as it could be good to use for something. But without having any idea how to care for it, I don't think I would know what to do with it.

There is about 50 gms of it.

Reynolds Gypsy

Reynolds Gypsy

100% cotton. Very shiny. Like the blue color.

50 gm/ ~82 yards

I don't know what I will do with it. Though I am thinking that if I have changeable collars and cuffs for the cardigan, this might be kinda pretty for that.

Bergere de France Bergereine

Bergere de France Bergereine

50% wool / 50% cotton. Machine washable. Not sure what I will do with it. Thinking perhaps a baby hat for charity. There is only 50 gms/~104 yards.

So not my color. But the fiber feels pretty nice actually. It might be a bit slippery to knit. Not sure.

Reynolds Eternity

Reynolds Eternity

Color 764 - Burnt Orange

51% wool, 49% microfiber.


50 gm/ ~88 yards

Probably gonna be for a charity item.

All in all, I think I did pretty well. I am excited to cast on something with the Lola & the alpaca. I started the alpaca swatch this morning. I will probably swatch some of the Lola tonight. Though I am sorely tempted to hold off on casting on a second pair of socks until the pair I am working on now are done. Not sure yet.

*does a happy dance* Happy stash.

My First Rhinebeck!

My first Rhinebeck! Woohoo!

I am happy that I was warned there was sooo much there. I am also so thrilled with the Ravelry forums. They really helped me to get a good fix on things. The spreadsheet & research really helped before hand. It gave me some good ideas about what I should see and what I could skip.

Paul dropped me off around 10:00. He headed off the Aerodrome that is super close to the fairgrounds.

First thing I did when I got there was check out The Fold. I had heard on the Ravelry forums that they had a bunch of Socks That Rock. I wanted to see the STR up close & personal. And I am happy to say, it is some yummy stuff. I definitely see what all the fuss is about. They are some beautiful colorways and super sock yarns. I definitely will buy some of their stuff.

Thing is, I got there at about 10:15-10:30. There was already a huge line to pay. So there was no way I was waiting in line to buy something I could get online. I don't really get it. I suspect I would have had to wait at least 30-45 minutes. That would have been a waste. I really do wonder why The Fold gets such a small booth & why they don't have more registers. Seems like they are loosing business. Ah well.

I did check an alpaca vendor. The yarns weren't what I wanted but they had a simple pair of premade socks. Figured that was a good purchase as they would be nice and toasty. I am sure winter will appear sometime soon, right? *grin*

I wish I could recall in which booth I found the Schaefer yarns. I have been eyeing their yarns online in a big way. I heard about them in a couple podcasts. Their colorways are so beautiful. I really love them. But they are pretty pricey.

However, I did find some Lola. Lola is made with superwash wool. However, they aren't a specific colorway like the ones listed on their site. So they are less expensive. I am going to do a separate entry with what I got & all the pics as a separate entry. So that will have more details.

I had decided to limit myself to two sock yarns with superwash wool. After doing the test swatches last week, it seems some superwash wools will work for me. Some won't. So I set myself a two types of superwash wool for socks cap to make sure I didn't go overboard.

There were a couple sock yarns I absolutely adored. There were several of the Mountain Colors sock yarns I sooooo wanted. But they are one of the price fixing companies. So there was no way I was going to buy that. I put them back and swore at them a lot. *grin* There was one or two other companies I found that had the same issue. *sigh* I really hate that. But I can't support people who won't support fair pricing.

I found a couple places with bargain bins which was kinda fun. One had $10 bags. The bags had 3-4 different yarns in a sealed bag. I purchase one bag with some mixed stuff. It included some pretty cotton yarn that was very shiny. As well as some other ones that I will probably use for donation stuff. I figured for $10, it was worth picking it up.

I did stop by the Ravelry/Blogger meeting at noon. The problem is that I am so not good with going up to people. I did say hello to Necia as she is on the 6th Borough group. I have posted to that board a lot and knew she was local. There were a lot more people there. I was already feeling overwhelmed by the number of people around. So I just couldn't bring myself to stay long. Hey, for me, going up and introducing myself to a complete stranger is an achievement. *laugh* I am just *terrible* with large social groups.

I kept seeing Cat from the Let's Knit Together podcast wandering around. I debated saying hello and telling her how much I love her podcasts. But I figured she had enough going on already. *smile*

I did have a Yarn Harlot spotting late in the day (about 4). Though again, I didn't say anything as I suspect the poor woman was probably already getting too many people coming up to her. She had on her amazing Kauni sweater which looks just like the pics. Pretty cool.

I feel a bit of an idiot though. I put together the info on all the vendors, maps, etc. What did I forget? I forgot to write down what booths had collection boxes for Hats for Alex. I did look, but didn't see anything obvious. So I carried the hat with me all day. It was small & in my purse. But I feel so goofy that I have to mail it because I forgot to write it down. *laugh* Ah well.

At about 2, I gave Paul a call. He was just about to head over to the fairgrounds to join me. He had a great time at the Aerodrome and grabbed a beer at a local brewery bar. I was glad when he joined me. But I was just as thrilled that he got a lot of time doing things he enjoyed.

When he joined me, he was amazed. I only had the Lola & the $10 bag of yarn. He was stunned. *laugh* I had seen some yarns that were nice (like the Opal ones and some others). But there wasn't anything was screaming buy me right this instance! There were some yarns that I will probably buy online at a later date. But I knew I could get them online so I didn't see the point of getting them there unless they really spoke to me.

Though on a surprise note, there were some of the Lion Brand hand painted sock yarns that tempted me. I nearly did get some. But again, didn't see the point when I could get them online.

So I spent some time thinking. I figured *if* A Touch of Twist had more of black alpaca, it was a sign that I should splurge and get enough for a sweater's worth. I have really been wanting to make a simple black cardigan with something I would wear. But it is challenging when getting enough yarn for a sweater is pretty pricey in any yarn I would really want to wear for a long time.

I went back and low and behold. They must have gotten some more stock put out. Because when I was there the first time, there were only 2 skeins. This time there were 5 large 8 oz. skeins. Which are approximately 691 yards, so 3455 yards. I think that might be more than enough.

Wow. I really should have used my calculator. I was trying to make sure I got enough for a sweater. What I found for yardage said I should have about 2500 yards. So that was what I was aiming for. Oops. Ah well. It is black. It isn't like I won't be able to do something else with it! *laugh*

I was so happy that I got to see Diane. She mentioned she might be there. She is the woman who taught me to knit. She was on the look out for me which was good. 'Cause I was not looking at all at that point. I was in overload already. I think this was around 2:30-3:30.

It was so wonderful getting to meet her daughter Claire at last. She is sooo adorable. Though the poor girl did not fair well with the car & all the commotion. But her baby booties where adorable! *grin*

In review...

I don't think I need to stay overnight. I know a lot of people swear you can't do it all in one day. For me, that wasn't true. I had enough time to look over what I wanted to see and enjoyed the experience. I was definitely in overload by the end of the day. I don't think I could have faced going back to the crowds the next day.

If I started spinning, I can *definitely* see why I would need two days. There is a ton of spinning stuff there. Since I don't, there were entire booths I could skip easily.

Also, since I have allergies, I tend to just give a quick glance to all wool places. So that also cut down on how many places I need to see.

I would love to get to some of the workshops. If I took the workshops, I would want to stay a while longer.

But I suspect next year, I will just stick with day tripping again.

I am definitely glad I did all the research. It helped me to figure out what I needed to see. I think I wouldn't have been as interested in A Touch of Twist if someone hadn't recommended them. I found with the recommendation, I took the time to take a closer look. And their prices were good for the yardage. So I am pretty thrilled.

I was definitely exhausted by the end of the day, but happily so! *grin*

I will have to do another post about the other stash acquisitions. But they should probably go on my general journal as they weren't knitting related. *smile*

Friday, October 19, 2007

Author Signings

I am excited about going to NY Sheep & Wool this weekend. There is bunch of authors signing on Sunday. But I am going on Saturday.

I have to confess, I am just not that into signed copies. As a book fan, it seems like I should be.

This morning it clicked why I don't care.

Part of it is that I work in publishing. So I don't get too wowed about authors in general. They are just people. In some rare cases, people lucky enough to earn a living doing it.

I also realized a good part of it is the distaste I have for signings. I had just started with Putnam. I was with the company maybe 2-4 weeks when I had to attend an author signing during the work day! They gave us money to pick up copies of the book and get them signed.

Why? Because the author is a nut job. They figured she was going to freak out if there weren't a ton of people at the signing. *shakes head* Mind you, she is a bestselling author. And despite this being 11 years ago, I think she was at the time too. She really shouldn't need her ego stroked more. It left such distaste in me that I think it just made me never want to go to one of these things voluntarily.

Rationally, I know most authors are nothing like that woman. Most of the authors I have met are actually pretty good people. But still. I have never really gotten why people want autographs in general even before that. So maybe it is just me. Wouldn't be the first time I was just weird. *chuckle*

Superwash Wool & Allergies

My allergies are about itch factor. I find it itches and I get red bumps in the area where I am wearing something that affects me. I don't have hives or trouble breathing. It isn't that sort of thing. It is mild. But it is too irritating to actually want to wear anything made with wool.

When I posted to a dyeing group about my allergies, a woman told me that superwash wool should not set off my allergies. She explained they are treated with a polymer to coat the wool (thus making it machine washable). This coating should allow me to use superwash without the response I normally have.

I was certainly willing to give it a try. There are some beautiful superwash wools out there, especially a lot of hand dyed ones that are amazing.

My mother-in-law was kind enough to give me some Sockotta yarn. It was leftover from pair she did. I made a swatch in the round a couple days ago. I wore it around my wrist for all of about 10-20 minutes before I took it off. I found it was scratchy and not good for me.

I check online and read some reviews. It seems that people without wool allergies have also had some trouble with that yarn. A lot of people complained it was rough, scratchy & hard to knit. One woman even said it was so scratch she threw out the yarn. So it may not have had anything to do with allergies.

So I knit a test swatch of Sarah's Yarns Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Silk Blend. It is 65% super fine grade merino, 20% bamboo and 15% silk. Machine-wash-and-dry which has so much appeal. I wore the swatch for about 3 hours yesterday and another 2-3 in the evening. It didn't seem to affect me at all! Woohoo!

So it seems I may be able to wear some superwash wools. But it seems to come back to *some*. Not all. So I need to feel it & do a test swatch before committing to it.

On the plus side, I can always check out some of the superwash wools at NY Sheep & Wool this weekend! Woohoo! I definitely want to feel the Socks That Rock yarn after hearing so much about them. I don't know if I will buy any there. I will see. I have heard the Fold is the place that sells them. And last year the wait to pay was 30-60 minutes! That seems way too long to wait if I can order them online. But I will see.

I suspect I should limit my superwash purchase to enough to make 2 pairs of socks for me. I can always pick up wool yarn for others. But in case it doesn't work for me, I would rather not have a bunch of yarn I can't knit for myself.

*wiggles happily* In less than 24 hours I should be there!

Rhinebeck and the Geek I Am...

In my typical geeky fashion, I find when I am heading off on a trip or to a big event for the first time, I need to research it to no end. *laugh*

So in order to be less overwhelmed when I walked into Rhinebeck, I decided to put together a spreadsheet with some of the map & vendor info in it. (Any you say anal, boys and girls...*smirk*)

I have put in the vendor name, map location, booth, Ravelry recommended, website & type of items (when I had the info).

I figure others might find it useful. It isn't pretty at all. I am going to be making it into a Palm database for myself so I don't need to be.

I have posted it as a zip file & and excel file.

Please, if you can unzip a file, download the zipped file. It is smaller & won't use as much bandwidth.

Zip File
Excel File

I am going to convert this into a Palm database today.

I posted it on Ravelry as I hope it might help others.

It did help me to look at the different vendors. It gave me a better sense of what might be there and where I should go. Definitely some interesting vendors.

What I am happiest about is how many alpaca vendors there will be. I am hoping to find some good stuff.

Ideally, I would like to get enough black alpaca for a cardigan. But I am completely aware that that might not be in my budget. But I figure it can't hurt to look.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cthulhu Knits

Too much fun.

Though scary thing is, there are a bunch of cthulhu knits!

There are more:

Too funny...

Learn Something New...

I just read the most recent Yarn Harlot post. It is about a yarn she purchased on a cone.

I never knew that cone yarns are generally sprayed with oil. So the yarn tends to fluff up & expand when it is washed. Huh.

The cone yarn I have is from School Products. I have only used it for my fist scarf & some donation hats. But I would be very curious to see how it changes.

It is good to know this before I ever attempt something like a sweater with it.

Learn something new every day if you are lucky. *grin*

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Misc. Knitty Bits

I am glad I caught up on my knitting project babble & pics. That is progress. Now for the various babble bits.


Paul made me two swifts. I need to take pics when I have them set up. They are pretty cool. They are the windmill type. I figured that would work better. He did a really great job though of course, he isn't happy with them. *shakes head*

Carrie/Dharmafey from the Socks in the City podcast mentioned on Ravelry that she uses two skeins to help with her dyeing. I figured I would give that a try.

I was hoping that it would work for creating a long skein. It didn't honestly. I tried but it was not working for the long skein. They work beautifully for a typical hand dyed skein though. It just doesn't work for creating a super long skein for self striping yarn. I really think I need to create a warping board that is bigger to see it that will help.

I dyed a smaller skein batch of the Sarah Yarn's 100% bamboo yarn during my vacation. I did it in various greens with a little bit of blue. The thought is to make my sister-in-law Jennifer some socks for Xmas. She doesn't like wool as she gets too hot.

Thing is, my sister-in-law Tee is making her some socks already with some Panda Cotton in Roses. Which is actually my fault! *laugh* Jennifer mentioned that Tee *might* make her some socks. I thought Jennifer said Tee *was* making her socks. *chuckle* Ooops.

Tee is a super-experienced knitter. So of course, the socks she is making are looking really good honestly. So I am hesitant. I also feel like I have been taking on a lot of knitting for the holidays. I will see. If they get done, great. If not, no worries. *smile* Or hey, give Tee the yarn and she can make them for Jennifer? *laugh* (Just kidding if you read this Tee.)

NY Sheep & Wool

I am excited that NY Sheep & Wool is so close! *wiggles happily* I am going up this Saturday. Spending the day, though not staying overnight.

I really do hope I don't get too overwhelmed. It does seem like there is so much to see.

I have been reading the Ravelry boards about it. Getting lots of helpful hints for the NYS&W newbie.

The consensus seems to be:

You can't see everything so don't stress it.

I know I want to see everything, but good to know I probably won't.

Buy things you like when you see them.

They probably won't be there when you go back.

Bring cash.

Not all the vendors take credit cards. (And hey, it is probably better not to get into too much trouble frankly!)

Wear mud resistant shoes.

It is a fair ground. So if it has rained at all recently, it will be muddy.

Take lunch & snacks with you.

The food lines can be really long. So it helps not to spend time online. And hey, more money for fiber. Though I may not be strict about that. I love lamb and all. And you can rarely get it. But I heard the lamb burgers are like hockey pucks. So I will definitely skip those.

The fried artichokes are worth the wait.

Might have to find out... *grin*

Get there as early as you can.

Things sell out throughout the day. The later in the day you get there, the less vendors have. Though I know Paul isn't getting up at 7 am no matter how much I want him to!

I am sure there is more.

I want to go to a couple of the after parties. Seems that Morehouse has one. They are the people I got my nifty dragon scarf pattern from which I love.

The Ravelry folks are talking about having one. But there haven't been any details posted yet. I doubt I will go as Paul will kinda want to do other things with the evening.

He will probably spend the day at the Aerodrome museum. It actually looks cool. Though they won't have the air show this Saturday. It seems that stopped this last weekend.

Missing the Yarn Harlot

I am sad. The Yarn Harlot and a bunch of other authors will at NYS&W on Sunday, but not Saturday. I am going on Saturday so I won't get to see the Yarn Harlot speak. On the other hand, more shopping time, right? *grin*

I do want to see her speak sometime. But she has just finished up a new book so I suspect she will be doing the rounds again when the new book is released. Her publisher really does seem to have her working hard.

The Never-Ending Scarf

I really think the cable scarf for Kyle is the bane of my knitting. I am knitting at least 8 rows a day. It is my homework. And it takes about 15 minutes for the 4 rows. I am guessing I am a very slow knitter. Thing is, I was praying it would be long enough at the 4 skein mark so I could use the last skein for a hat. No such luck. I can't recall if Kyle wraps his neck once or twice. But either way, it just isn't long enough to wrap. It would be fine without a wrap. But I know how he wears his scarves. So I have started #5. *sigh*

Mind you, it isn't terribly challenging. It is just taking soooo long.

There should be a link on the side with a pic and such so long as I am working on it. *Love* that I have my works in progress from Raverly in my side bar. Soooo cool.

Teaching a Coworker to Knit

I spent my lunch hour trying to teach a coworker to knit! I really hope I explained things well. I am not sure if I did.

She ordered a cupcake kit from Etsy. I have the same kit which I am planning to do for my neice for Xmas. Thing is, the vendor shipped the completed purse. The coworker's daughter loved it so much she didn't want her to return it. Mind you, she isn't sure if she could have gotten the order wrong anyhow. And given it was a Friday at 5:30 when I was talking to her about ordering it, it could have easily been mixed up.

Instead I am doing a hat with her. She has a 4 month old son who is wearing 24 month old clothing! He is a big boy. He was 10+ pounds at birth. She doesn't have little babies! All three of her kids have been 10+ pounds. Wow. *shivers*

So I figure we can do a rectangle that will become a hat. I mean, I found a scarf a good starting project. But the Yarn Harlot and others say that is a lot for a beginner to take on. The hat should be small enough to be manageable.

I hope it comes out alright. I took the measurement for a 24 month old head, added 1/2-1" and did it according to the gauge. She is knitting kinda tight. Which I so get as I did too. But I think it should still work. Hey, we can always add a panel if it comes out too small and say it is a design element, right? *grin*

Okay. I think that mostly catches me up with any new stuff. Not sure but I am heading off very soon either way. The NYC Homebrew club is meeting tonight. Paul and I haven't gone in ages. So I figured it would be fun. Off to that.

I think I might have too many expensive hobbies between knitting, beer & bellydance. Though have to say, it has been ages since I have gotten to bellydance class, much less spent money on it. Ah well. Maybe I will get to class *this* week!

Drop Stitch Scarf in Recycled Silk

I cast this on last Wednesday, the 10th.

Drop Stitch Scarf in Recycled Silk

The color on the pic isn't great. Hard to get the depth of color. I really shouldn't take pics with my camera on my phone. They always come out more grey and dark. I tweak them as much as I can, but it is still not really great.


Double Dropstitch Scarf Pattern


Recycled Silk Yarn

3 skeins - 150 grams (0.33 pounds)/approximately 85 yards per skein


Size 8 of the Knitpicks Options circs. Love those needles.

Have to say, the yarn is pretty rough and gets twisted pretty easily. I chose the pattern as it would mean large areas that I had to knit less with the yarn overs.

I cast on 48 stitches as I wanted a wider scarf. Though I think it may be too wide. I am nearly done with the first ball and it is only about 12-14" long. Whoops... *frown*

I don't think I will have enough for a full length scarf unless I get more yarn. I suppose I could make it as a table piece or something. I really don't know.

There are some people on Ravelry that are willing to sell their recycled silk yarn. I should check to see if any have it cheap enough that it would be worth grabbing. But the has increased the price to its normal price. And for $9 a skein, it is not worth buying it.

I started this as a project that I could give away for Xmas. I was thinking it would be good for my sister, Millie. I suspect it will go to her. Not sure if it will be this Xmas or not. Kinda depends on if I can get more yarn or what I suspect. It is an easy knit so I can't complain about that.

Oh, the totally bizarre thing about this yarn?!! It turns grey under the yellow lights in the tunnel on the way to Baltimore!! It was so bizarre. Paul was fascinated by that. *grin* I really find it bizarre that all the color vanished. Really weird.

More work to do. Still have a couple more things I mean to post about today. Hopefully, I will have some more time. But maybe it will wait til tomorrow.

Drops Socks with Cables in Alpaca

I cast a new pair of socks on last Sunday, the 7th.


Drops Socks with Cable pattern in Alpaca


Catalina Baby Silk in Claret

4-ply Worsted

70% baby alpaca/30% silk

2 skeins with 100 grams (3.5 oz)/218 yards each


Knitpicks size 5 & Boyd size 5

Doing it two socks on two circs method


Drops Cable Alpaca Socks - Front


Drops Cable Alpaca Socks - Back

I am hoping to complete these for Raverly Sock Knitters Anonymous Oct. sock knit along. Hope to finish in time. Though the good news is that the deadline for the knit along is Nov. 30th. Just has to be cast on during October.

The pattern is definitely interesting. It is originally in Danish or another Scandinavian language. It took me nearly an hour to transcribe the chart & lay it out in Excel. I think it will be worth the time.

I was a bit intimidated but the complexity, but once I got used to it, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Though the cabling in the pattern on the front is a bit odd. I have never done single stitch cables with it moving between knit and purl. So that has been interesting.

The pattern is really beautiful. I really hope mine will come out well.

I think there are a couple flaws in the pattern. In the M.3 chart, it says 16 rows. In fact it is 18, just like the M.1 pattern right beside it. It also appears that in the 11th row from the top of M.2, one of the knit stitches is in the wrong spot. It should be one over from there.

I should post the chart & the written out directions I made soon. It might be helpful to others. Though I am guessing that if a knitter doesn't bother writing out charts, they would probably be fine with the pattern as it is. I just don't work that way. I like it written out.

I have about 21 1/2 cm out of 25 done for the leg. They are close to knee high. Something I hadn't done before, so it is interesting as well doing calf shaping. Though it doesn't require as much as I feared. So that is nice.

I am going to change to a size 4 needles for the heel flap & the bottom of the foot. I do worry that these won't wear very well. I am hoping the silk will help the wear, but I am not certain if it will. But hey, they are attractive and I like that they should be warmer.

Best get some things done for work. I hope to post more later today.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ravishing Socks Completed

I have a good deal of catching up to do. But given I just got back to the office after my week off, it might take a few posts to get my knitting up to date.

I completed my fourth pair of socks over a week ago on Saturday, Oct. 6th. Woohoo!

They were made with hand dyed yarn that was created to be self-patterning. I like the way the dye job came out. I call them my ravishing socks. It is mostly about the ravishing red color. And that I like having silly names for the colorways I dye.

I like the finish project. I think the Elann Esprit is a bit thick, but the cotton/elastic blend really seems to fit well on the foot and is pretty forgiving. I definitely like them.


Elann Esprit


Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes


Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns Basic Sock Pattern


Size 5 Knitpick circular & Size 5 Boyd

Front Shot:

Ravishing Socks - Front View

Side View:

Ravishing Socks - Side View


Ravishing Socks - Flat