Monday, March 23, 2009

Those Are Some . . .

. . . Damn Sexy Knee-highs!




I took these picutures myself so they aren't the best or frankly all that flattering, but this is what happens when there is no one else around to take pictures. I told ItShe that taking pictures of knee-highs while wearing them should be a new type of yoga.

I finished these in 12 days, but it was so exciting I couldn't stop. I knit the pattern as written. There are several mistakes in them (but really I could care less) but it's not the patterns fault, that would be the knitter's fault. But the pattern was great, the charts were wonderful.

I seriously want to make every single skein of Wollmeise into this pattern, it is taking a good amount of self restraint not to break-out the swift and crank away.

I been looking for the perfect pair of Mary Jane shoes for many years now. I wanted a pair that had a heel but not to high, cute not clunky, and comfortable. For a while I really thought that it wasn't going to happen and thanks to The Red Hot Knitter I found the perfect pair. They are Dr. Marten's, cute, heeled, not clunky, cute, and very, very, very, comfortable! I love them so much I got two pairs (thanks to Big A who bought one pair for me) black-silver and plain black! They show off hand knit socks wonderfully.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I finished my knee-highs earlier today. I'm so excited. I will take some pictures tomorrow and post them up. But I had to shout it from the mountain tops that I finished the pair in 12 days!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If You Find Out Where All the Lost Socks Go Please Let Me Know

Jaywalker II in Vesper Strange Little Mama

It was bound to happen, but I was hoping it wouldn't. I have lost my first handmade sock. I took my pair of Vesper socks in Strange Little Mama colorway to Stitches West, I wore them and I think I brought them home, and now I can only find one.

So sad. I have torn-up my house for two days looking for the other sock, still can't find it. So I thought that I would hunt the yarn down and make another pair, the yarn it was made out of has been discontinued. So even if I wanted to make another pair I can't. So sad indeed.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I have always loved knee-high socks, there is something about them. Perhaps it was all those years living in Boston where you get so sick on winter you try to coax sping to show itself by putting on a skirt but it's still to cold to bear your legs so knee-highs are the answer. I have a collection of argyle (another addiction I have) knee-high socks but I have really muscular calves which really add to the problem of finding knee-highs that will fit me correctly.

So I decided to knit me a pair of knee-highs. But not just a "Plain Jane" pair because I wanted to finally break into my stash of Wollmeise. I have looked and looked for just the right pattern to show off just how gorgeous Wollmeise really is and to do justice to the yarn. Not to mention I wanted to use as much of the obscene amount of yardage you get in one skein, 575 yards, yes in one skein (for what she charges even with international shipping it's one of the best deals out there). I had casted on about 3 other sock patterns with Wollmeise but it just wasn't working so I frogged them all. Thank goodness for Ravelry (for many reasons) I was looking at what people had made with their sock club color Jultomte and jenniepoo made these amazing Lakeside's within the first second of seeing them I knew I had to have them.

The pattern for Lakeside is in the Winter issue of Knotions e-zine, it was free but I would have paid good money for this pattern. There are 5 different charts, very clear instructions and genius too! The designer Julia Vaconsin has you cast on with live stitches so you can make a casing for a length of elastic to be secured inside to help the sock stay up on your leg, genius I tell you. I also did a picot edge like jenniepoo (she is one smart cookie). The back of the sock is gorgeous (go look at the pattern page there are tons of pictures) but it is very difficult to get a great picture (that is close to flattering) of the back of a knee-high while wearing them. I know there are a few mistakes, but really I noticed them way, way, way to late to go ripping back to fix them, so I'm alright with them, normally I'm not the kind to let a mistake go but now they are "custom" lol.

Here are some pictures, more to come once I can find someone to take picture of the back of my sock.



The only problem is I have to knit the other one so I can wear them in public, but don't think I haven't been wearing the one I made around my house!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The First FO for 2009

Sad but true, my first Rockin' Sock Club shipment is my first FO for 2009. Normally by this time of year I would have had few project completed but 2009 has gotten away from me big time. Most of the time I don't do any modifications to the sock patterns that I get from the club but this time I really wanted to do the Momoftwins toe mod which is to continue the diamond pattern. I really liked it and I think it looks pretty good.

But at least this year I finished the first shipment before the second shipment got to my house. I'm excited to see what the next shipment has in store for us. A lot of people on Ravelry were talking about yellows, and as much as I don't really care to wear yellow in clothing I wouldn't at all mind a bright sunny pair of yellow socks.

Well here are a few pictures of my lovely beaded blue socks.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Learned A Lot , But Not How to Pronounce the Danish Word Skra-Troje

But before we get to that I wanted to thank ItSheKnits, Grape, and socalknitgirl for their VERY generous birthday presents. They are remarkable, talented, and passionate women who showered me in so many birthday presents I had to bust out the second empty bag just to get it all home. Thank you all it was one of the best birthdays ever.


This year at Stitches ItSheKnits and I took only one class, granted it was a 12 hours class, but it was a great class. The class was the Danish Skra-Troje, yes that's right the Skra-Troje. Oh you don't know what a Skra-Troje is don't worry I didn't either. Basically it is a stranded color worked sweater that has a special gusset where the under side of your arm would rest if you held your arm down at your side. The class covers several techniques such as working with two different colors of yarn which are also two different weights of yarn. Making a half-gusset, a seam stitch pattern, working in the round and flat stranded knitting, two-end knitted braid, sew in sleeves, neck slit facing, and crochet ending. We tried our hands at some of the techniques while making a mini-version of the sweater.

The class was taught by the lovely and patient Beth Brown-Reinsel from Putney, VT. IF you ever have a chance to take a class from her I highly suggest it. Her handouts are wonderful and she has a great grasp on the historical context of what you are attempting to learn. She also did a huge amount of research on the original garment that was made and why she thought the original crafter made the decisions she did.

I had never done any color knitting and I really wanted to learn the technique for a while now. I have taught myself many different techniques before but I really wanted to learn from a highly qualified person and Beth was just that person. I have tried stranded knitting but could never really grasp it, I knew I wasn't doing it right, and it was really really ugly.

I would like to say that I did learn a lot and I think that I didn't do a half bad job considering it was my first project with two color knitting. Now before I show you a picture of my mini-sweater in progress (no I didn't finish it) I know that it is not perfect somewhere I got off in my chart reading. For this I blame the elderly ladies behind me who was counting and talking themselves through all the techniques out loud, very loudly right behind me (ask ItShe). But I'm proud of my little sweater in progress none the less.

Here is a picture of the back of the sweater:

Here is the picture of the gusset (which is the side view, the back of the sweater is on the left):

And the picture I'm most proud of is the inside of the sweater:

I know it seem ridiculous to be proud of the inside but trust me anyone that knows anything about knitting always flips it inside out, they might not do it in front of you but when you turn away they look. You can learn a lot about a knitter by the "private" side of a garment.

I really want to finish this sweater and hopefully I can get back to it before the information gets pushed out of my head. But now that I have all these techniques I can knit many more things, like this which I want to make, this which I have always had my eye on, and this which just come out in the latest issue of Twist Collective which I want to make into a rug for the side of my bed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stitches West Part II

I promised pictures of the stuff that I purchased from Stitches West. I was trying to be very good and not spend a lot of money so I got 5 things, two of which were mill ends.


The first purchase was mill ends at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I got 2 skeins; one light and one medium at a super deal, no wonder people kill each other to get their hands on mill ends. The only problem is that the skeins are hung on a display that hold about 8 skeins of yarn and if you want the one in the way back you have to get the other ones off first. The lighting wasn't meant to penetrate 8 skeins back so a color you thought you wanted finally emerged from the way back into the light of the Market to be something you didn't want and now have to put back on the rack. ItShe was brave and when for the yarn on the bottom of the display, I seriously thought she was going to get eaten alive.

Here is the picture of the lightweight in what I think is Dutch Canyon. The first time I saw this colorway it was a few years ago and I loved it. I have been keeping this colorway in the back of my head because I didn't have a need for it but always wanted it. The reason why I said I think it's Dutch Canyon is because the mill ends don't have a colorway on the label.


Here is a close-up of the same skein:

The second skein was medium weight in what I think is Puck's Mischief. I was so taken by the color (it's so me, seriously you will see why in a minute) and I couldn't tell what it was (no colorway on the label) that I bought it. When I got home I tried to figure out what color it was which is kinda of hard since not all the colors are on the site at the same time. So I was adding the newly acquired skeins to the Blue Moon section of my stash and I hold it up to the two skeins I have in heavy weight and what do you know they are the same colorway - Puck's Mischief. Oh well at least I got a great deal on it, it's in a different weight, and I'm consistent right?

Here is a picture, the darker color on the top is more maroon-ish in person.

Here is the skein up-close and personal:

The next thing I bought was a darning egg from Knitting Notions. They are a lovely family company from TN that makes all their own wooden fiber accessories such as swifts, pins, nostepinnes, wooden sock blockers, and darning eggs. I read about them before I left and wanted to check it out. I wanted an egg made out of cherry or mahogany and when I got to the booth there was only one left in mahogany so I bought it.

Here is a picture off their website because I ran out of light here to take a picture, mine looks like #1 not exactly but close.

The next purchase was from Creatively Dyed. I have got to know Dianne through the wonderful world of Ravelry and it was nice to meet her and her husband (who she calls Superman, and yes he is super indeed). I wanted to buy something that was sort of out of my comfort zone so I got fiber instead of yarn (for when I start spinning) and I got it in a colorway that reminded me of the beach and sea glass.

Here is a picture of the fiber, it's 20% milk protein, 20% silk, and 60% wool:

The last purchase was at Webs I wasn't going to get anything else at the Market but there were special circumstances that pushed me over the edge. Before I left home I got the latest copy of the Webs catalog, there were two projects that I really loved. One of them was the Taconic V-neck sweater made out of Valley Yarns Williamstown. I wanted to touch the yarn and look at the colors myself since a few of them look very close on my monitor. The yarn was softer than I expected and really a very nice tweed (I'm a sucker for tweed). I picked color #14, it's sort of a purple/maroon.

Here is a picture from the Webs catalog (sorry it's a crappy picture but it's the one that is on their website) it is a deep V-neck sweater with cables that run down either side of the v-neck and down the center.

Of course Webs has great prices and I like most of their yarns and of course it's something that I could have gotten at a later date but there were reason why I bought this yarn at the Market this year instead of waiting. One, a bunch of us girls did a big group buy so we could all get 25% off. Two I didn't have to pay for shipping. So I got a sweater's worth of yarn which would have cost me well over $60 for a less than $40 which I thought was a pretty good deal.
Here is a close-up of the yarn:


So that does it for the Stitches West '09 purchases. Later I will post all the wonderful birthday presents I got while we were at Stitches and a few free goodies too!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Year Older and Hopefully a Little Smarter

I personally think that it is a little gift from the universe that my birthday and Stitches West are very close to each other on the calendar. This year my birthday was on Tuesday and Stitches started on Thursday (really how lucky can one girl be).

This year it was the usual suspects (the OC girls) and a few new comers (Grape, Wendy, Denise, and Laura) and as always we had a wonderfully fun time. It is amazing how funny, talented, wise, and creative our little Stitches group really is. If only we could have that group together all the time, it would be the best!

This year ItShe and I applied what we learned from last year's Stitches West to this year's experience. We learned last year that eating 3 meals a day from a slightly swanky hotel adds up. We also learned that enjoying alcoholic drinks at said slightly swanky hotel REALLY adds up. So this year we checked into the hotel dropped our bags and headed out on the bus to the closest Trader Joe's. We stalked up on oatmeal, fruit, granola bars, yogurt, cheeses, crackers, egg white salad (super yummy), healthy "just add boiling water" rice stick noodle bowl soups and most importantly booze (many many bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne for mimosas). This allowed us to do two things, eat much healthier and save a huge amount of money. Lesson one learned.

Lesson two, last year we did the "Almost the Works" package, this left us with one time slot open, that is one time slot out of 8 possible time slots. This made it almost impossible to sleep (we got less than 16 hours of sleep in 4 days) hang out with our friends very late, and it was very exhausting(very fun but draining). This year we took 12 hours of classes as opposed to 24 hours of classes (which was also cheaper too). This allowed us to go to the gym (twice), sleep in on day two (which was key), hang out with our friends, and most importantly keep our sanity. Lesson two learned.

Lesson three, don't spend money just because you can. Last year we both stayed within out budget (we should be given an award for that alone) but both of our budgets were bigger and I think slightly more fluid (i.e. if we skipped on a few drinks we could move that money from food to yarn). But this year the main goal was to save as much money as possible on all fronts and that included the yarn budget. I still have a lot of what I bought at Stitches last year so this year I was very selective on what I bought this year. I added up what I spent last year without hotel, airfare and classes (because those are out of my control) so I compared this year's money spent on yarn and food and I saved $400.00. That's right 400 HUNDRED dollars and I saved far more calories as well. Lesson three learned.

Lesson four get in line at the Market early. Last year we got in line early (we waited almost an hour) but the Market opened later in the day. This year the market opened at 5pm and we were the FIRST people in line (pretty cool actually). There were people who were sitting in the chairs close to the Market area but we were the first people at the door waiting. I think the combination of the market opening early, people in class till 4:30, and the slow economy "helped" I'm sure. Lesson learned.

Lesson five, know where the good deals are and go there first. Last year we missed the mill ends at Blue Moon Fiber Arts because we didn't get there soon enough and by the time we got there it was a mad house and all the good stuff was gone. This year we were in line first (see lesson 4) and we went straight to Blue Moon. We were the mad house, but it paid off. Normally a skein of lightweight Socks That Rock cost $20, we got the mill ends for $12 (yes 12 bucks). I wish I had a bunch more money to spend on mill ends but I was trying to be very good at not spending money (see lesson three). But I did get two skeins, one of which I have been seriously wanting for over 2 years, and boy did I get a deal on them.

So this year I think we did a very good job of applying lessons that we learned from last year (go us!).

I will post pictures of my (very few) purchases and what I learned in class in the next few days.

Stitches West Rocked.