Friday, January 29

The Lessons We Learn

Learn about the yarn you are purchasing, so that you can make an informed decision about your project construction. I say this because there are yarns out there that can surprise you in how they wear. Even if marketed as a sock yarn, it may still relax significantly after use, resulting in a loose fitting, saggy sock. Ask me how I know...

That said, here are some tips if working with 100% merino sock yarns like Kiogu KPPM

1. Always use a smaller needle: I used US Size 2 (2.75mm) with a gauge of 8 sts per inch. The finished and blocked sock was tight and firm, but I might use US 1 next time
2. Wash after each wearing. This by itself should return the spring to the string. The wear stretches out the wool (even when knitting in negative ease, with tight ribbing, and cables), resulting in a a saggy, baggy look - most likely due to the lack of nylon or other elastic-y content. Hand washing is recommended, though several Ravelry gals have told me that machine washing on gentle and low heat in the dyer for a few minutes helps a lot without the risk of felting. *I* haven't tried that, so follow your own gut.
3. Just accept that it won't be the firmest fitting sock of all time, but it will look BEAUTIFUL! :)

I hope my sage words of wisdom (.... or inane ramblings ...) guide you on your sock quest.

Tuesday, January 26

Ahhh Decisions

Not that I have ANY time to knit for myself in the near future (its a blessing and a curse, I tell ya), but have you seen Marnie's new pattern, Hair Apparent? It just looks so fun and funky! I also have the same freakishly small ears as Marnie does (you know? the kind that no ear piece will ever stay put in?), so I'm thinking it is just the hat for me.

But, I can't decide what yarn to use...
Should I spin my own yarn out of MM's Dryad?

Or perhaps use some Claire from SB?

Of course, I could actually copy the pattern for once and find the recommended yarn. :) But, that would be too easy, my friends.

Ahhhh.... decisions.

Monday, January 25

Congrats to me!

I received an email of acceptance from Creative Knitting Magazine. So, not only will you see one of my patterns in the Sept 2010 issue, but you'll also see my handiwork again in Nov. Yee-haw for me!

And terribly sorry - but, that's all for today. I thought I would end on a high note. =)

Sunday, January 24

Some finished, some nearing completion

I have already knit an 18-24 month sweater AND a pair of socks in less than 3 weeks. Yegads! I'm hoping to complete two more projects before the end of the month. =)

The sleuthing hoodie (the yarn, Red Heart something or other, was quite painful to work with on the hands. Edited to Add - but totally worth it because it sure came out cute. "wink" to V.):

The socks (Koigu 100% Merino. Purely de-lish!):


I really wish I had a friend who is also an amazing photographer at my beck and call (you know, since mine suck?). One day...

Thursday, January 21

Just a note...

My mom (an amazing sewer of toys and child clothing) is hosting an auction for Baby Maddie.

Quite possibly the cutest baby doll EVER. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Doctor's Without Borders, so let that cute factor encourage your donation. :)

Tuesday, January 19

Highlighting Some Dyers

I thought today, I'd give shout outs to my *favorite* mama dyers out there (and that's really about all I can muster today as the roofing guys, with their incessant pounding, are completely drowning out the voices that reside in my head).

Sugarbubbie - Tina is such an AMAZING dyer with deep, rich, vibrant colors. My jaw literally drops with yarn lust when I see the new wonders she cooks up. Her love of it really shines through in her work and she is one of the few HC's out there that offers up different/fun yarns. My current faves are: Claire, Chrisalis, and Wild Flowers. She's also been showing up at Revolution, too!

A Time To Dye - Lamar is practically prolific in her art. She pulls from her spiritual studies when it comes to naming her colorways, which are often soft, beautifully blended, and knit up wonderfully. I LOVE Boaz and Songs of Meditation

Disco Baby Knits - one of my other TLC gals, Kara, is really creative with her dying. Her colors are often earthy, bright, and always knit up as I imagine they would. Definitely give Solar Storm and Beautiful Dreamer. As a side note, 100% of her auction donations are going to Haiti, so check her out!!

So, that's all the highlights I'm going to to spit out, but I'll add that I am a big fan of Mosaic Moon, Three Irish Girls, and Fairy Blue, too. Ok, off to stuff cotton in my ears so I can finish some chores.... enjoy the links!

Monday, January 18

Life of a dreamer

I am always dreaming, always envisioning, and, thus, always planning too many goals. But, at least I don't get too dejected when I don't meet them all. It is better to dream ...

So, goals for the week are to:
1. finish one sleuthing hoodie and one pair of socks
2. start another hoodie (and finish at least 1/4 by Sat)
3. graph out a child's summer top design and swatch it. This one is getting to be pretty important, because my children keep harassing me to make them something. lol
4. graph out two sock designs for my book (shhh... its a secret!).

Oh, and I want to swatch for my mittens because winter is FAR from over in Colorado.And Elyll (the fiber, not the yarn) is insisting that I make time for her this week - she is nearly ready for plying.

So, yeah, I'm a dreamer.

Saturday, January 16

Help for Haiti

Designers on Ravelry are pulling together to donate part of their profits for emergency aid efforts for Haiti, so I've signed up to do the same. For the month of January, 50% of my profits from the sale of my sock patterns will go towards Doctors without Borders (MSF). Just click the "Buy Now" buttons to automatically go through the purchase and I will take care of the rest. Thank you for your help.

Friday, January 15


I always overload my plate (as many of you know), but it keeps me motivated. Not to mention, I excel when it comes to self-imposed deadlines. (at least most of the time).

So, what's on the agenda? For custom knits, I am currently booked until the end of February! Gah! Two Sleuthing Hoodies, 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair of yoga socks, and 1 pair of knee highs. It appears that I have been recruited to come up with a knitting themed donation for my daughter's school (they are having a huge Spring Fling complete with silent auction! Fun! Yup, I'll be snagging the hubs for a special dress-up date night!) - I'm thinking perhaps a skinny lace scarf, certificate for 2 to 4 hours of private knitting instruction, perhaps some yarn and/or needles... If you have ideas, let me know.

Oh! And I am so so so honored to be asked to finish a pair of socks started by Colleen. She was an amazing person and sweet friend that passed away over a year ago. She loved knitting, spinning, and dying ... and was amazingly good at it. I think I can do her skill a bit of justice and perhaps have a gift for one of her family members in its completion.

I have in mind to take a couple of picture or video tutorials for a friend, as well as an e-book in the very near future. AND I am trying to get some socks finished for an Alice in Wonderland themed stocking at TLC, but at the moment, my hopes for that are thing ... simply because of the time crunch. Ah, well. I suppose I can't do everything, eh?

I do hope to get this awesome hat on my knitting itinerary! Awesome!

And to finish up - Haiti. Desperately needing us. Make a plan to help today. We are all Knitters without Borders, so make a donation to Doctors without Borders (or any emergency relief agency). Even if not much, every bit of support makes a difference. 

Thursday, January 14

Socks are pretty much my obsession. Literally. I knit them for customers, for myself, for family... I think I knit well over 30 to 40 pairs of socks just last year! Psychotic? Yes, I freely admit it. It is with practiced hands and a discerning eye that guides me when it comes to purchase sock books. I'm quite picky. With that thinking, I thought I'd share a bit about two of the sock greats. At the very least, the authors will appreciate my sentiment.

I had the fabulous fortune of being a sample knitter for Janel Laidman's new book, "The Enchanted Sole: Legendary Socks for Adventurous Knitters." This is SO not a book for beginners, but it will surely provide them the inspiration to develop their skills. The designs are rich, detailed, and outstanding in their complexity. Though Laidman only uses chart representation for most of the designs, the deisgns are clearly written. Your mouth will literally drop when you see Firebird, Alchemist, or Galadriel. The downside to the book is that all of the socks are written for a size 7 woman's shoe, which means some guesswork and/or needle size change in order to alter. But, that's just the name of the game when it comes to stranded colorwork. A great aspect to the book is the very clear photos used to demonstrate every single step for techniques provided in the glossary. So, if you are eager to try your hand at colorwork, beads, and a bit of lace, this book is a perfect addition to the collection. And of course, look for my name and the sock, Tree of Life, that I knit!

Now, Cookie A, most often seen on Knitty, is quite fond of cables and lace. She has a really cool book out called "Sock Innovation," that I have since convinced friends to buy. What attracted me most to the book was that the entire first half was devoted to understanding charts, converting written to chart form, and sock design. She also goes into great detail about various fits, toe and heel shapings, fabrics and the resulting elasticity, and pattern transition. Just that section alone is invaluable to sock enthusiasts! Many of her patterns can be a little intimidating to newbies, but with a little perseverance, they will learn much from their experience. Even advanced sock knitters will enjoy the challenges that Cookie A presents.

So, there you have it - two of my favorite sock books. I *do* have some more, but I'll save those for later. In the meantime, wish me luck. I've sent in some designs to Creative Knitting Magazine and Interveave Knits ...

Wednesday, January 13

Winter Classes

I have two classes for this winter season (for now) to help get you going on your desire to learn sock knitting!

First, a Cat Bordhi style class focusing on the Coriolis Sock (toe up). We'll learn about special cast-on techniques, awesome ways to hide short row wraps, and Bordhi's special knitting language. This will be on Saturday nights, 6pm, from Feb 20 - Mar 13. Thanks to Wendy for hosting at her house!

Then I have a Sock Knittnig for Newbies at the Recycled Lamb on Wednesdays, 6pm, from March 10 - March 31st. Get comfortable with double-pointed needs, learn sock construction, and come away with lots of little tips and tricks that will benefit all your future knitting projects. Swing by the shop to sign up.

If you would like to see other classes or are willing to host at your home, let me know.

Saturday, January 9

Spinning = Whhheeeeeee!

One of the biggest highlights of 2009 was my brand spanking new Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel!!! Can I tell you how AWESOME it is?!?! LOL


Each one is "unique" in that it has a ladybug in a different spot for each wheel...

I took a class with the fabulous Pat Martinek at the Recycled Lamb to learn all about the basics, have repeatedly devoured the information in Spin Control and Start Spinning (both books are must haves for the beginning spinner!), and am now spinning my way through all the holiday fiber I received. Here are some finished products that I am quite proud of ...

This was spun on British Merino Top, dyed "Jungle Chic" by Disco Baby Knits


And. most recently, "Promise" by Sugarbubbie, Merino (tried my hand at Navajo Plying)


Friday, January 8

Long time, no see!

Apparently I failed miserably in the blog department last year. Oops!! While I don't necessarily believe in New Year Resolutions, suffice it to say that I am determined to remedy my blog inadequacies in 2010. Let's get the ball rolling with all the projects I had on my place over the past few months.

1. Design Acceptance! Creative Knitting Magazine accepted a pullover design, so be sure to look for that this coming September issue! Woot!!! It was quite an emotional day as I realized it was only the beginning...

2. The holidays! Oh my.... it was overwhelming to say the least, especially when you throw in the CK deadline of Dec 18th. Here are some highlights of the gift-giving season ...



And that's just to show a few - I also knit scarves, shawl, and socks for hubby.

3. Orders! I had a about 4 pairs of socks to knit, as well as a FABULOUS Sleuthing Hoodie (of which I am now a licensed knitter!). This was for my friend Denise's son ...
My favorite part about sock knitting is that I have so many opportunities to come up with new patterns, like this one (thinking about writing it up for sale) ...


2009 ended with lots of ups, a few downs, and definitely too much chaos. But, it was a good year. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store! Happy New Year, my friends.