Monday, October 30, 2006

Knit, Dye, Vote

Wow! Things have been busy ever since Wendy posted about my sock yarn. I have something like 7 skeins all commissioned to dye this afternoon. I know this may not sound like a lot to the bigger independent dyers out there, but it is for little me. Especially when I thought that I was going to gear down for the winter. Oh, well. I am enjoying the success and just how many people love my yarn and everything. I do enjoy dyeing and in fact I am adding two new yarns to my shop very shortly, which I will talk about in my next post. I would post up sock yarn pictures, but they keep disappearing from my shop, so keep an eye on my etsy shop, or request yarn from me directly if you are interested. The closest to sock yarn pics I can get is this one:

This is a really nifty tool that I use here. My husband bought me this wonderful clothing rack from Target (which I can't seem to find on their site) a couple of months ago and it has been a life saver. I used to just dry all of my skeins in the bathroom, but our bathroom doesn't seem to dry things very quickly. During the summer I had it outside where everything could dry in the great outdoors (if it didn't go on the laundry line). Now I have it in my living room with buckets underneath to catch unfortunate drips. It is really awesome and if you dye or spin it is definately worth having.

On the knitting front, I didn't think I would really have anything to share with you, but as luck would have it I do! I finished the commissioned hat and scarf set, which has made me very happy. I adapted a scarf pattern from Sarah to make the brim of the hat. I am really happy with how it turned out even if this isn't the most flattering picture of me. The hat is also a little big for me, but that is fine since the recipient's head is also larger than mine. As soon as I get it written, the pattern for the hat will be available at Knot Another Hat.
There's just one more thing I would like to add. Chrissy has started a blog that has prizes for knitters who vote, called I'm a Knitter and I Vote! I think it is really awesome and I am blogstalking it. I probably will answer the questions she posts, though, because they are very interesting. I like it because it isn't about standing on a soap box and professing your views, but more of a discussion and promotion of people, especially knitters, getting out there and voting. I hope that you will check out this site, or at the very least get out there and vote! The wonderful thing about Oregon having mail in voting is that my husband, my parent's, my brother, and myself have already voted!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Socktoberfest Continued

I know that this is several days after Lolly posted these questions, but I thought they were interesting and this is the first chance that I have gotten to really answer them, So here goes:
Where have your handknit socks been?
My handknit socks have gone wherever I have gone. I love travelling just about anywhere with a pair of socks. They are easy and portable, so I take them wherever I can.

What is the furtherst they have traveled?
The furthest I have ever traveled with a pair of handknit socks is to Europe. Namely France and Italy. While I was in college I had the rare opportunity of traveling to Florence, Italy to study silk jacquard weaving at Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio. For those that weave it is like weaving with something like 500+ shafts at 250 threads per inch. At least that's what we figured from the metric. It actually is 100 threads per centimeter. For those of you that don't weave it is like trying to make highly intricate bed sheets out of silk finer than a strand of hair. It was a fascinating experience that is most certainly (at least for me) once in a life time. Back then I was still making socks out of my handspun, which isn't as fine as it is today. I made these lovely socks:

They are made from handpainted BFL roving by The Twisted Sisters (Woolgatherings), which I think have either stopped dyeing yarn or are on a very long vacation. I spun it all up before leaving in mid-August. Then I cast on for the socks while waiting in the airport for the plane to arrive. The stewardesses on the plane were really interested in my sock and it made me happy. They were knit on size 4s, using Clover mini circs, which have recently been discontinued. I knit the second one while traveling around and during down time at the weaving studio. I think I might have even tried them on while we were there, though it was too warm to wear them. It was strictly sandal weather. When I got home I threw them in the wash because I am lazy and because they were a little big. Now I use them when we go Christmas Tree hunting because they are really super warm, far too warm to wear regularly.

In other knitting news: I finished the Travelling socks. All the threads are tucked in and so I should have credit for both Sock-A-Month 2 and for Socktoberfest. I think I have pretty much all my goals met. Though I'll go over them at the end of the month just to check.

I even got some work done on these babies. Look at the wee little skulls peeking out. Isn't it cute? This pattern is adapted from Hello Yarns Skull Hat pattern. I figured out that it is 3 skulls across the front and back (for a total of 6 skulls) to fit around Blair's leg. They are knit on size 3 12" mini circ's by Clover out of Cool Wool. These are horribly late, but I am determined to keep working on them. Maybe he will get to wear them for work someday when I get them done =).
And what does a good sock knitter do when she finishes a pair of socks (Namely my Traveling socks, not the skull socks)? Cast on a new pair. This is out of my yarn Mine! Don't Touch!, they are on size 2 inox needles and they are my first toe up socks. I should have a new skein of it up in a day or two in my etsy shop. This is one of my mini skeins that runs around 80 grams, instead of 100. I want to see how much sock I can make out of them. My theory is this, that Sarah can knit one pair of socks for herself and one pair for her 3 year old out of 100 grams. I weighed the children's socks and they weighed around 28 gram, so doing handy dandy math says that a pair of normal women's socks (around size 7) should be roughly 72 grams. We shall see if this holds true. I am pretty excited by this whole toe up deal. I'm doing a short row toe that I am making up out of my head, because I have done loads of short row heels before. I hope it works!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Breaking News!!!

Ok, I thought I would let you all know this pretty exciting news. At least it is exciting to me. Wendy of Wendy Knits bought some of my yarn. Not only did she buy my yarn, but when she got it she bought more. AND she posted this very lovely post on her blog with a toe already knit up. I am just so happy and proud of my yarn. It's so pretty all knit up like that. Anyway, I thought I would share with you all my little dancing glee. It really means I need to get dyeing bright and early tomorrow. Good thing the yarn and dye are all set up for it already. *Think happy warm sunny weather!!!*

A Little Drive

While half the knitting blogosphere is writing about Rhinebeck and making me drool, my husband and I decided to go out for a bit of a drive to see the changing leaves.

First of all we stopped by the Harvest Festival that was going on this weekend. I have gone to pretty much every one since I was a small child. Unfortunately, they wouldn't allow cameras, but I smuggled one in anyway. Though the only picture I could safely get was this one of my aunt Linda's booth, where she was selling Hanners Apples, like those used when I made applesauce. These are the really big ones that are sold to the public. They range from 1 3/4 lbs to just below 2 lbs.

On the way out I did manage to get a nice picture of Hood River. This is what my hometown looks like, well at least most of it.

Next we went on a little drive up the valley to see the changing leaves. It is so pretty up the valley. I also love taking pictures out of the car window while driving. It's always interesting to see what turns out and what doesn't.

We ended up at Lost Lake, which is really nice right now. All of the camping season is over so everything is boarded up for the winter. There is absolutely nobody out there and the silence is almost overwhelming. The only thing left are the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. We wandered around a little and took lots of pictures. It was really super cold and we weren't really dressed warm enough to hike to far. Maybe next time.

We did manage to take a few pictures of Mt. Hood. It was so crisp and clear that day that it just begged to have its picture taken. You can see that it has a fresh layer of snow on it, which also helps to explain our colder weather here and at the lake.

Finally, in case you thought that I had forgotten that this is indeed a knitting blog, my travelling sock. I am practically done with the travelling sock. It is so pretty. It almost blends in with the changing leaves. I just couldn't resist taking a picture of it up at the lake.

Coming Soon: One finished pair of traveling socks. A Socktoberfest update. Maybe some yarn dyeing with two new special yarns!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Thoughts

I just thought I would put up a small post up with some happy news. My husband is employed! And I mean really truly wonderfully employed. He got his dream job! We're not certain if we can actually mention the company itself, but I will say that it is a pretty awesome company in the tech industry. Blair has been walking on air ever since he found out. I just wanted to thank everyone who thought good thoughts for us.

Another happy thought is this lovely post by Sarah. The middle school kids each wrote notes to all the wonderful donors of yarn. Their notes definately made it worthwhile. I am so happy that Sarah and I could organize this. They now have enough yarn for both this year and for future classes.

So, today I am off with my hubby to go to the Harvest Fest and possibly a drive to take pretty pictures of the changing leaves.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prizes, Surprises, and a Whole Lot More

So yesterday Sarah and I went and taught the middle schoolers how to knit hats. Sarah did most of the talking, since a room full of middle schoolers tends to give me flashbacks of middle school. I wouldn't go back for anything. She had a very nice lecture on knitting a hat flat with diagrams and everything. I did, however, manage to teach a few of them a knit on cast on instead of a backwards loop for better stability (Check Vogue Knitting if you want to know what I am talking about). I have at least taught this age group in learn to knit classes, so that wasn't so bad. They are all very good kids, if a bit chatty, and all are very interested in knitting.

Here is a picture of my travelling sock with the class. It had to get it's moment of glory. I am only 10 rows away from the toe, so I am sure that I will get it done for both Socktoberfest and Sock a Month 2.

Before we left we held the drawing for a skein of my lovely handspun and for the gift certificate to Knot Another Hat. The winners are: Peninah, who won my yarn, and Teri Strauss, who won the gift certificate (she is local, and I hope I spelled her name right). What is really interesting is that Teri was our very first donor and Peninah was one of our very last donors. Thank you to everybody who donated to our worthy cause, we are very grateful to you all. If you did not get a chance to donate to us Major Knitter is still accepting donations for the children she is teaching to knit, so go check her out! Also, check out Sarah's blog for more pictures of the middle schoolers and her take on the event.

I also wanted to mention a few websites of interest out there. The first being Chrissy, a wonderful designer from Portland has updated her website with fabulous new patterns and pretty things. She was one of our donors to our middle school project and is a really cool person. I haven't had time to test out any of her new patterns, but I really want to, because they all look really awesome. So, go and check her out and buy her patterns =).

The other link I have been meaning to mention for awhile was sent to me by Figknits, who is another really cool designer. It is a list of knitting related movies. They have a long list that is still growing. You can also add any movies that they have missed at the bottom of the page. I am really excited about this, because I love to knit while watching movies and I especially love to knit while watching knitting movies. I have contributed a couple to the list already and am now keeping my eye out for even more knitting movies. So go and check it out too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Projects Galore

I promised you guys an update on knitting and here we go:

I finished and have now blocked the Commission Scarf. I have started the matching Commission Hat, but there isn't enough of it yet to post a picture. I'm going to give the hat pattern to Knot Another Hat as a companion piece to the scarf pattern.

Here's the yarn for the top of the hat. It is beadless because the commissioner felt that it would be over the top to have that much beaded yarn. Smart choice!

I finished the slippers for the most part for my grandfather. They still need to be trimmed up a bit for loose ends and have the leather soles put on the bottom. I'm going to let Knot Another Hat borrow them as store models until I need them for Christmas.

The rest of today is pretty busy. Today is my little brother's 20th birthday, though I probably won't get to wish him a happy birthday until tomorrow. This is mainly because Sarah and I are going this afternoon to teach the middle school students to knit hats for the hospital. Then I have a learn to knit class to teach after a small break for dinner. I think that I will be a very tired girl by tonight.

Now I will leave you with this lovely picture of fall:

This is a picture from our deck. The water is the Hood River flowing by the lovely fall trees. It's a bit rainy out today, which makes it a nice day to curl up and knit for a bit before doing everything else.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I have been working away on this pretty:

I am really happy with how it is turning out. I picked this pattern to go with a jacket for the intended person. I think I can also put the pattern into a hat brim, it will be such a cute combo. This is the commission that I've been working from out of the yarn in this post.

My other commission is more of a secret project so no pics. Pretty much I was doing repair work on some gorgeous handknit Christmas stockings. They are really awesome, but the owner has Christmas plans, so I'm not allowed to talk about them. I know nothing. It all comes from being in a small town where everyone knows everyone.

Other than that I have been really busy. The shop has been really busy. I shopsat on Sunday and didn't have time to even knit, except for maybe one round on my travelling sock. This next week looks pretty busy too, but I am hoping to keep the blog updated on finished objects, knitting, and harvest fest.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thank You!

I have so many thank yous to give, so I thought that I would bunch them all together. It's also a catch up on some odds and ends I have been meaning to post up.

Thank you Peninah for this really awesome bag. It is definately Lavendersheep fabric if ever there was any. I really love the little sheep and wish that I could find more of it. I have no idea what I would make out of it, but it is really rocking awesome!

Even the bunny likes it! I've decided to name her Daisy and she really likes her new hat, even if that wasn't the intended purpose! And yes, I know that I am nut for putting it on her head.

Thank You to everyone who sent me links and helpful information about the Sugarplum Pullover. I think that I will be alright. I've been emailing and blog stalking I think that it is all good. Thanks to you guys I even managed to find a single blog out there with the sweater completed. So, my hopes are up that can go ahead and knit it. Also, if anyone is looking for errata for Handknit Holidays there is an errata page here.

Thank you to Sarah for posing with this lovely eye pillow. I have had this pic for a bit and have been meaning to post it. It is an action shot of one of the La Luz Eye pillows, which you can find the pattern on the sidebar.

Thank you to everyone that has donated yarn so far to the middle schoolers. The deadline is still this Sunday, so there is still a little bit of time left. We are going to have the middle schoolers draw the names this next week when Sarah and I go over to help teach them how to make hats. I'll make sure to take pics and let you know of the results then too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wanna Know What I've Been Doing?

Well, here goes:

To start off with, this is the sock complete for KAH. Which means that I completed one goal already for Socktoberfest! This is the one and possibly only time where a single sock is a project complete. That's because we only need one sock for a display model in the shop. I really love these socks, even though I did name them the Interminable Socks. I think it was more of a mental block than anything. They are made from Opal Solids and they blocked up beautifully. They are so soft and so pretty, I was just amazed when they were all blocked out. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks and is called Ribbed Lace (their picture does not do it justice!). I love them so much that I want this one as payment and eventually I will knit a mate to it. I have all of my notes (hmm...maybe I should at least cast it on soon). My other sock goals for Socktoberfest are coming along well too. I am past the heel of my second travelling sock, but no pictures. They are really lovely and I hope to be done with them soon.

Next up on the store models is the awesome baby hoody from Debbie Bliss Special Knits. I love this hoody. I have wanted to make this hoody for some time, but there are no babies apparent on the horizon. (I have a strange feeling that at some point everyone I know will be having babies and I will be struggling to keep up, but for now there aren't any!) So, a customer has been coming into the shop and I talked her into making this for her two grandsons. It is just so cute, it made me want to knit it up even more. Luckily I now have my chance, I get to knit it up as another store model for KAH. The back is already finished. It is knitting up so fast, though that happens with it is on size 8s and made for a newborn. It is knit out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran Color #207, which is a lovely soft yarn that is machine washable. So awesome! I love her patterns and I love her yarn, so perfect project.

I am almost done with the slippers for my grandfather. I just have the second sole to do on the second slipper and then they can go into the wash. They are knit out of Cascade 220 and the pattern is Fibertrends Felt Clogs. This has been so fast to knit up, which has really impressed me. My grandfather wears a size 13, so making footwear for him is usually a long and arduous task. These have been a lot of fun and I have been amazed at how fast they have gone. The second one took part of an evening to get everything but the second sole done.

My last project that I am working on is a commission. I have been commissioned to spin beaded alpaca and knit it into a scarf and hat combo. I really like this combination of brown alpaca and red beads. It isn't something that I would put together, but sometimes it is nice to work outside of my color palette. I will keep you updated on the progress of this project as well.

In other news: Yesterday I spent all day with my mother out shopping and such for her birthday. Little known fact about me (well to the blogging world) is that my mother is an identical twin and so is my husband's father, believe me it makes me a little nervous for when I have my own kids. My mom's twin sister couldn't make it down for their birthday, so Blair and I took my mother out for a day of shopping in Portland. It was a wonderful day and I got a lot of work done on my travelling sock.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I have decided to knit the Sugarplum Pullover from Handknit Holidays (page 126). It is a gorgeous sweater, but I am slightly dubious about it. Mainly it makes me nervous because I have found two errors to the pattern before I even cast on.

The first being that it says that the yarn is 400 yards to an ounce and is then knit on 5s without doubling it. By finding some online somewhere I figured out that it is really only 100 yards to the ounce, so that was one problem down.

The second mistake that I found is that the majority of the sweater (ie everything but the colorwork) is knit on 5s but the say to knit the gauge swatch in st st and not in the colorwork on size 7s. I did a little math of the size around the chest when it is still knit on 5s and it most certainly has to have that same gauge on 5s. Which means if I had knit my swatch on 7s that the sweater would be incredibly too small by the time I switched to 5s.

It does make me incredibly nervous about knitting this pattern. So, my cry for help is that if anyone else out there has knit or attempted to knit this sweater to give me a heads up. From reading the rest of it the pattern seems fairly straight forward, so I am going to go ahead with it. (Read: I am too stubborn to give it up). Your thoughts and comments would be great so let me know =)

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Socktoberfest is upon us and I am really excited to work on socks this month, like every month. I love having socks to work on as my non-thinking project. So, for Socktoberfest my goals are:
  1. Finish My Traveling Socks (Trekking socks in the sidebar)
  2. Finish the Sock for KAH
  3. Work at least a bit on My Husband's Skull Socks
  4. Cast on a new pair of socks
Now to start Socktoberfest off we were asked by Lolly to answer the following questions, enjoy!

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I started making socks while I was still in college (so 2001/2002). I taught myself first with the Christmas Stocking book and then with the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. I love that book and is certainly worth having if you are interested in spinning/dyeing/knitting. I actually adapted the sock pattern onto the mini circs made by clover (size 8, 8.5" long)

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

My first sock was actually a stocking that I made on dpns with awful acrylic yarn. I got the cuff done and the heel was fascinating, but I lost interest with the foot, so it was eventually frogged. It sat a while in my stash before that happened. I made an actual pair of socks not too far later (on the clovers) by adapting the Twisted Sisters pattern to a chunkier sized yarn (my handspun). I have no idea which pair that was or even if they were for me. That year I made socks for everyone in my family for Christmas.

What would you have done differently?
I know that my first pair were really chunky. They were made on size 8s after all! If I had it to do over I probably would have used tiny needles and sock yarn or tried to spin finer. My spinning has improved a lot since then.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I love my handspun yarn, my handpainted yarn, Trekking, Blue Moon, just about anything. I love sock yarn! (Actually I love yarn!)

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I knit on two circulars. I really love my mini circs as well, but the smallest size is a 4. If they were smaller I probably would use them. I do use the 12" size 3s on my husbands socks, because he has good size feet.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I love my short row heel. It is the one from The Twisted Sisters. I love how it looks like the socks in the store. I have done a couple of flap heels and they are alright too.

How many pairs have you made?
I really have no idea. I know I made a bunch for Christmas when I started. Then a pair every year for my mother out of handspun merino/silk (handpainted by the Twisted Sisters). I've made a few pairs for myself and a couple of pairs for my brother (including handspun knee socks that he never wears *cry*). I can't think of too many more, but I don't have a count. I hope that this works =)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gift Ideas - Free Patterns

The holiday season is upon us (or at least it is for me). I have been working on a couple of patterns for my class in December. I am teaching a Last Minute Knitted Gifts class in the last two weeks before Christmas. For the class you can choose to make a hat, or a scarf, or a bag, or an eye pillow.
This is my final set of Eye Pillows. There are two options: one plain and one with a simple cable. They are made out of La Luz (100% silk, 220 yards/2 oz) and knit on 5s (3.75mm) either straight or circular needles. What is awesome is that you can get 3 eye pillows out of one skein of La Luz. It is so luxurious that I know it would make a great gift for a variety of people. Mine even have lavender from my garden so they smell extra nice and really relaxing.

My second free pattern is for a holiday gift bag. It is made from Ivy (50% alpaca 45% merino 5% estellina, 137 yards/50g). It is such a luxurious yarn to knit with. I really love working with it. It also has a slight sparkle that is very delicate and perfect for holiday things. I think I might have to make a sweater out of this yarn at some point. It would also work well for a hat or a scarf. This bag took less than a ball on size 8 (5 mm) needles.

So, go and check them out and let me know what you think. I had a lot of fun designing them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Those Applesauce Days

Quite literally! I love making applesauce. It always feels more like fall when I get to go out and get apples from the orchard and make them into beautiful, delicious applesauce (using a secret family recipe, of course!)

I must say, though, that our #1 secret ingredient are the apples that my family grows. My family grows the some of the largest apples in the world, which were in the Guiness Book of World Records in 2000. The apple in it weighed nearly 3.5 pounds, (though, apparently (I just looked it up) we have been beaten (sigh!)). We tend to use the runts off the ground, since it doesn't matter if they are damaged or not. Either way it is really really tasty and far more preferable than the stuff you can buy in the store. They taste similar to a fuji and make great applesauce and great apple pies. They make a one apple apple pie. Pictured above are 3 of the apples next to a Nalgene bottle for scale.

Here is Blair working away. I use both of my crockpots (wedding gifts) and a pot on the stove. The applesauce will go to feed us through the winter and to make lovely applesauce pies at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here it is cooking away. I completely forgot to take pictures of the final sauce, but I will soon.

This is all of it peeled and the rest of the apples waiting to be sliced up and put in the pot. We ran out of space in the pots and ran out of containers. So I sent Blair to the store to buy more. Usually I make it with my mom and she has tons of containers. Though I did make a little while I was in college in one of my crockpots. All together I estimate that we made about 5 quarts of applesauce from a little over a dozen apples. It's quite a good amount and should be more than plenty for us to eat. We had it last night over vanilla ice cream and it was delicious.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yarn News

I have been dyeing up a storm lately and some of it will be in my etsy store soon (hopefully today), so keep your eyes out they tend to go fast.

Here is my latest in sock yarn. I am introducing two new colors this time: Candy Cane Lane and Happy Hanukkah. I'm very happy with these two festive yarns and I am sure will be fun to knit up as socks for a special someone or for your very own. As you can see from the amount that I dyed that dyeing has been a bit slower around here. I do most of my dyeing outside, so as it gets colder I am probably not going to be doing as much as I did over the summer. I am thinking that I will be able to go pretty strong through this month and possibly into November. Don't worry though if you really need a specific yarn I will do custom orders over the winter and spring. I will start back up dyeing regularly when it is warm again. (I really think I envy Scout for her beautiful year round weather, at least from a dyeing perspective). If you're worried about the store, it does not mean that it will be empty over those months either. I have some wonderful patterns that I am working on that will be put up there and possibly some other items. We shall see.

Here is some more yarn that I dyed. It is going to be used for Christmas presents for a couple of the guys in my life. Some of them might read this blog so that is all I am saying for now.

Right now I am working on felted slippers for my grandfather. I am feeling pretty good about this because usually he is one of the last people on my list and I have a hard time shopping for him. Everyone in the family brings him chocolate and nuts and alcohol so it is hard to be original. I am hoping that he will like these. His one foot kinda drags now so I am hoping that these will be alright. I am going to put leather bottoms on them so he won't slip.

The finished pattern looks like this. Much much better than what they look like in process. The pattern is Fiber Trends Felt Clog pattern, which is one of the most popular patterns that we carry at Knot Another Hat. I am knitting it out of Cascade 220 in colors #9449 Midnight Heather (dark blue) and #8555 Black. I really like the combination even if it doesn't photograph well. It is very manly and, even though my grandfather likes more browns and oranges, I am making them out of blue and black because I like them better. I'm sure that he will like them too. They are a lot of fun to knit so far and I will keep you updated as to their progress.

Coming Soon: Two free patterns for quick holiday projects.