sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Contest winner, and minus a foot...

Guess what came in the mail? :)


My Knit Picks prize from winning Heide's contest :)

No guesses on the nose, (though lots of good ones!) so says they'd like to be the first to congratulate Melissa for winning my little contest! Congrats! LMK your mailing particulars (I'll shoot off an email later too) and I'll get the Kona superwash fingering and dyes in the mail to you.

Speaking of contests, we made the "choka on it" wall of fame, week 12 for our sheer volume of additions to the world's longest poem during my Lisa Souza sock yarn contest... while katrina grace and deborah *and* kerrie - Big Sis both all earned singular mentions for their rad couplets! So go choka on it again sometime (perhaps another contest? or is that too boring?)

As for knitting progress, my kingdom for a foot*...


My pictures of lace are always wobbly.

Almost there, just need a few more inches on the foot for the "evening stockings for a young lady..." The closer sock is the more accurate color. I still haven't tired of it, even though its creeping up on almost 2 weeks straight of just this project.


Well, not "just"...


I started Devan from Knitty Spring 2004 on Friday (5/26/06), in Patons Kroy 4 ply for a little "easy" knitting for car trips and such. As for my cable and rib toddler sweater with hood, I'm knitting the 1 year old size but the 2 year old length for my 2+ year old... still a shocker that I somehow had a hand in having a tall, skinny kid.

I'm knitting both front panels at the same time, just because and because I'll know the length will be the same (I'm not so good with the details you know...) I'll do the same with the sleeves.

Not sold on the color... the Kroy jacquard has thinner stripes that other faux fair isle sock yarns, so the bands of color vary from 2-4 rows wide-- noticeable difference in such a small area. Not bad, but I'd not use this colorway again for this pattern because of it. I'm also nervous about the stockinette curling at the edges... here's hoping a good blocking will cure it.

I'm also in a quandry... I was going to use trekking 100 for the trek along with me trekking KAL, knitting pomatomus again, but poking around the stash I think that the Lisa Souza Sock! in bird of paradise is going to make a spectacular pair of pomatomii for my next project, instead. So I don't know what pattern to work the trekking in... I'm thinking of waiting til the new summer Knitty comes out and hope for a pattern there. I wanted something fun to take with me to knit at world wide knit in public day (June 10)... I am going to the San Francisco meet (I think); Berkeley is technically closer but union square by BART is easier for me.

Back to put some toes on my evening stockings... :)

*shakespeare forgives me since I still keep my complete works and class notes from uni on a high enough shelf so munchkin can't "read" (read: dance) them yet...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Batting cleanup; stockinette panels and comment dreams

Happy long weekend to all you usa'ers... off for a long walk myself, just wanted to do cleanup before I go :)

For rene and knittingspaz...


Pic of the back stockinette panel on the "evening stockings for a young lady" from "Knitting Vintage Socks." Color is a bit off b/c of my super white calf and super red couch, but you get the idea of the panel... how the panel decreases on down to nothing, after starting @ the widest part of my calf. I was thinking, if you wanted to make the socks longer, you could just follow the written directions but keep the panel undecreased until just where the calf is at its widest point (as it is here) and then continue. It would look more like a spear tip instead of a "V", though. Like I said, these aren't really knee highs but super long socks, but I do like them a lot :) And the word super, apparently!!

The pic shows my progress so far-- I am just about to start fiddling with the heel (going to do some needle balancing to do so, since these are on 2 circs instead of dpns... shouldn't be too messy though.) The long bit of yarn hanging from the cuff is from my cast on-- the pattern has you casting on with the yarn doubled. I haven't done this before, so I don't know if its correct... bu I cast on as if both ends of the working yarn were doubled, so there are effectively 4 strands of yarn in the cast on edge. In my previous pics of these socks, you can see how the edge is puffy, even more so than in the pic from the book, so perhaps it should have only been 3 strands... No matter though, it doesn't roll, its not loose, and isn't binding at all. Very happy with this! :)

I also meant to ask if anyone knows, how I can respond to questions in comments via email? Or do you think its better to do it in subsequent posts? I always mean to via email, but when I check my comment email blogger never gives me return addresses of those who use blogger (weird, eh) and by the time I think to write back I forget... (something to do with the fact babybear gives me about a barney episode's length of computer time a day!) ;) I do really appreciate all of the kind words and hints yall send me thru the comments.

Anyhow, for responding via email, do yall use another comment host, like Haloscan? What do you think? I don't want to ignore questions, cos I learn a lot from other ppl's blogs :) ... I also use an app via Firefox that stops all javascript unless I allow it (No Script link here) so I would have to allow Haloscan's javascript to run in order to use my own comments... hm. (An aside! Even though this was supposed to be a short post!... Best firefox extension EVER? Super drag and go... highlight any text on a webpage, drag it to a "blank" space and let go-- it opens a new tab with a google search or the webpage's address...)

So quick comment question answering from my previous post ahoy...

Rachel asked if I needed to rinse the dyed yarn in vinegar, or washed any easter egg dyed yarn yet? ... I didn't have much experience with the easter egg dyes other than my previous attempt, so my methods are kinda fly by the seat of my pants. I used vinegar to the dye (actually dissolved the dye in vinegar), and also soaked the yarn pre dying in some warm water with vinegar, but I didn't rinse it in vinegar to set it. I actually rinsed the dyed yarn before putting it to steam set, and didn't have any bleed that i could tell. I think the superwash yarn is just very thirsty for the dye; all of the containers of dye were exausted into the yarn-- leaving only clearish-water, and I really wasn't worried it wasn't set as there was no leeching of dye or bleeding in the quick rinse before steaming or the good wash I gave it after it came from the steamer.

I have washed & dried my basketcase socks, which I dyed using Kona Superwash dk and easter egg dyes (same method for my dyeorama pal, pretty much-- down to the self striping) and didn't have any bleed or fade in the wash yet. I haven't rinsed my dyed yarn in vinegar before (used koolaid for the wyvern and river rapids socks, too), and their color has held well thru washing & drying (in a washing machine/dryer) since, I think :)

Jennyraye wanted to know how I skeined the yarn for dying... Its mindnumbing, but I placed 2 chairs 330" apart (actually, 300" apart, as the chair backs are 15" across apiece), tied the starter end of the yarn (wound into a ball to help prevent tangling) to a chair back, and walked back and forth winding the yarn in a super long hank that you can see in here. It took forever! :) And forever and a day to wind it into a smaller skein when it was dyed!

There *is* a better way-- scout has a spec for a "warping board" you can use to section off long bits of yarn, and I saw a *fab* update on scout's board on Almost Random where amy! uses a peg board and removable dowels/pieces so you can easily change stripe sizes (she has a great series on dying stripes going on as well, from about May 4, 2006 to current). I think the peg board is the way I'll go if I ever go for a board for stripes, I like its adaptability and the fact I don't have to break out power tools (not that I can't, but the kid gets way too excited at the noise, like lord of the flies "kill the piggy" excited, and its just too much for me to not laugh when sporting a power drill.)

After the undyed yarn was wound into the long hank, I measured off 220" sections and marked them with easily removable waste yarn... (I also tied the yarn in places to prevent knotting of the skein-- very easy to do with this length-- using a different color waste yarn than the one I used to make off the 220" sections). I then "gathered" the 220" sections together (in half) and tied them at the demarcation yarns, so I had 3 110" lengths (the 220" was doubled over) to dye. It kinda looked like a banana peel, 3 long sections connected by a nexus. I immersed the sections in the dye mix-- dye, vinegar & hot water (using either pyrex glass casserole or clear glass mason jars; "painting" or squirting the yarn isn't really an option in my tiny kitchen) and let the dye exaust in the long sections of yarn. I then rinsed, steam set, and rinsed/washed the yarn... wound it in as loose a formation I could across a wide plastic hanger (there's no way I could let it dry in the long hank across 2 chairs, kiddo would... well, yeah. not possible.) I let it drip dry (another plus for superwash, I could squeeze the excess water out of the long ends of the yarn where it would accumulate, to help it dry more quickly) til it was pretty dry. I then moved the yarn in front of a small fan and let the air circulation take care of the rest-- it was dry by the time I woke up in the morning.

And Elspeth is right, no one has guessed my knit picks order for the contest yet :) I think is going to be picking our winner!

Have a great weekend, long or not :)

(edit... Rachel is a super genius (see comments). in order to email commenters back via email, on blogger, they have to have the "show email address" box checked on their blogger profile. at least i know its possible and i'm not nuts... everyone should enable their email address to be shown, just for sanity's sake :)...) happy weekend x 2 !!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dye o rama swap yarn :)

I finished dying my dyeorama buddy's yarn, and finally have it skeined up and ready to go!

A few pics, and then I'll write about how... (for mine and my buddy's sake mainly, in case s/he wants to repeat it or wonders wtf I did :))

After drying. Colors are a bit darker than real life.

I dyed the yarn in long, self striping repeats-- 220" for each of the 3 colors (purple, light purple & pink.) I estimated the length by knitting up a swatch in the round (thanks to Eunny's tip)... 64 st CO on US 1's, and the stripes should be about 2/3-3/4" wide apiece. I wanted to make them wide enough so if my pal wants to go down a needle size, they'd still be discernable stripes-- and if s/he wanted to go up a size, well they're still stripes!

This is only about 1/2 of the skein :) Winding it into a manageable hank was almost murder! I also thought about buying a swift with every pass I made :)

All skeined up, communing with nature.

This yarn must like nature or something.

I used the Henry's Attic Kona Superwash fingering lightweight yarn, 4 oz/560 yd. You can see that the yarn "puffed" up after being dyed, rinsed (I washed it in kookaburra) and dried. It will knit up much more evenly now (esp. more than my initial gauge swatching of this yarn direct from the untreated hank), but I would *guess* that the gauge will stay the same, or be increased just a bit... I meant to swatch it up again, but forgot just until I was taking the pics, and there's no way I was unwinding this sucker again :)

Dying, I used easter egg dyes... after winding that 660" hank (!!!) and sectioning it (and letting it soak in warm water with a bit of vinegar), I made up the dye-- 2 tabs of purple and 1/2 tab of pink for the light purple stripe, 4 tabs of purple and 1/2 tab of pink for the purple stripe, and 2 tabs of pink for the last stripe, all dissolved in vinegar. I then added boiling water to the vinegar dye, and dyed each section. I used mason jars and a pyrex casserole dish; both worked okay. I then quick-rinsed the yarn with warm water, pressed it to remove excess water, and wrapped it in saran wrap. I tried keeping the sections together to avoid bleed, but the yarn pretty much took almost all of the dye for all sections and with my rinse, I didn't think it was anything to really worry about (it wasn't, no bleed in the steamer.) I set the saran wrapped yarn up in a steamer, and steamed it for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool down a bit, then washed it in a little kookaburra, rinsed a final time and pressed the water out as best I could. I was pleased to see no dye bleeding when I washed/rinsed the yarn, nor any discernable vinegar smell.

I let it hang to dry and then rewound it into the monster hank size... wrapped it around a large box top for a smaller skein size (that resulted more of a "bump" of yarn instead of a wound hank), and then celebrated by naming it! Half the fun of dying yarn is coming up with a colorway name, no?

Introducing the *bonanza jellybean* colorway!
...and the most accurate to color pic...


Hehe. Dorkamatic here.

I'll be sending off my pal's yarn with the bag I swapped for with trek... (I'm getting another for myself, after having one of those aha! moments when reading Bliss' blog about using Trek's bags-- they can be worn around the wrist when standing so you can stand and knit at the same time, the bag holding the yarn! Genius! Not that I go anywhere, stand to knit, much less leave the house... but hey! Stand and knit!!) ... along with a little yarn from the stash, a goody too particular to my buddy to name (on the off-off-OFF chance s/he reads here), some easter egg dye tabs, and some local (Chinatown) candies and treats...

Yay! :)

In other non-dyed-fingers news-- progress creeps along on "evening stockings for a young lady..."


I've finished the decreases and have about 20 rounds before starting the heels (I'll have to do some fidgeting to get the heels aligned on my circular needles, no worries though.) I overestimated the length of the leg on the pattern; on me it comes up about 3" shy of my knee bend, at the widest part of my calf. The decreases for this length are perfect, I can see the size shifting as my leg gets narrower towards the ankle. I also thought that the stockinette panel at the back of the leg looked inelegant but when tried on, it looks *much* better and makes sense, too. The double-stranded cast on called for in the pattern is essential, imo (even more so on the US 0's I'm using)... the cuff/cast on edge is not binding AT ALL, shocking for as high up on my leg (and how wide that leg is!).


Pic of the leg "on". I am still trying to wrap my mind around how to block the lace on the leg, still having a problem with the horizontal pull of the lace (need to block it open vertically; not as bad as when the leg was shorter though)... if a custom made (wire hanger!) leg-only blocker would be better than pinning it out. No se, but I'm pretty happy with the progress so far :)

...and I'm still taking guesses for my Kona Superwash fingering lightweight contest, still waiting for my Knit Picks order :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Canadian mail call, and a new stocking...

The neighbors are going to start talking about me and my mailman.

Check out what arrived from Canada, by way of Make 1 Yarn Studio-- the result of winning a gift certificate donated by Cynthia's brother from the Warming Grace project...

Diakeito DiamuseeFINE
40 gm, 239 yd
100% wool
colorway 120

This is some neat yarn, check out Dancing Fibers site to see the (PDF!!) striping action... I found a half sock picture in Diamusee fine from Marilyn at The Knitting Curmudgeon, and another Diamuseefine sock from Indigirl (Amy), proprietress of Make1Yarns. I've seen the Diakeito offered up as a "substitution" for Noro (in worsted weights) because of the coloring/striping but don't see it pretty much anywhere and also haven't seen much socks of it. Its the perfect weight though, and though its not superwash, I think I'll still love it equally :) I chose the lighter color cos I'm thinking some textured toe up socks, and don't want the deep colors to fight with any design.

Artyarns Ultramerino 4
191 yd/50 gm, 100% wool
colorway 112

Another yarn I don't see much of and was thrilled to be able to try. It has such an unusual feeling; it has the crisp feel of cotton but in wool (kinda like Socks that Rock), but isn't plied as far as I can tell... almost looks chained but isn't. I have no idea about its construction, even after staring at it, but it is fabulous. And their colors are beautiful! I saw my favorite at Stitches West this year (color 101) but they only had one there... but this pink is great! There's even a little orange in there!! I'm not a pink girl (hehe, I think I remember saying I'm not a purple girl too...), but this could definitely swing me. It'll also swing me to handwashing, as its not superwash either.

Schaefer Anne
Mainly blues, with grey and green
560 yd/4 oz
60% superwash merino, 25% mohair, 15% nylon

Ah, Anne. Enough said.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
Aslan colorway
100% superwash, 70 gm/200 yd

I think this is a great deal, where they give you 70 gm instead of 50. Super soft (no nylon like its sister, Shepherd Sock), this will make some great quicker-knit socks. I keep looking for fab dk weight sock patterns but don't find nearly as many as I'd like to find...

My shoe looks so little in the picture! :)


I also finished my second Dream Swatch Headwrap...


Dream Swatch headwrap (PDF!)
Started: ?
Finished: May 19, 2006
Koigu premium painters palette merino
colorway p326
US 4 dpns, 2
30 gm total

(It's too hard taking a picture of your own head!)

I like this one more than my last one (color, lighter weight), but I think I like the IK one the best because of its i-cord ties-- makes it easy for me to tie it on easily (my hair is too long and gets everywhere!) But I *love* this colorway, still trying to not order it from Patternworks... :)

I used the US 4's to try and allow for some extra "give" to the fabric, and don't think its too open. I was also stretching the 30 gm of Koigu I had, since it was one of the mini-skeins and the rest I had left. I've never used Koigu/Cherry Tree Hill at a larger gauge but it actually makes a nice fabric; US 4 would be too open for a garment, but it kinda opened my eyes about how this yarn can change by simply changing the needles.

Finally, my new muse...


Evening Stockings for a Young Lady
from Nancy Bush's "Knitting Vintage Socks"
Schaefer Anne colorway 7af
US 0 (2mm), 2 socks on 2 circular needles
Started: May 20, 2006

Yeow. Told you I was bit by the lace bug :) I realize I am insane for knitting knee-high(-ish) lace socks on US 0's, I do. But they are fabulous! :)


It's a really simple lace pattern, and I'd get bored if it weren't for the staggered decreases against the lack of the leg (you can see the "seam"/stockinette panel that is against the back of the leg and holds the decreases on the right hand sock, under my stitch marker), and because I love this yarn. Ever fall in love with something and you don't know right then why, and figure it out later and decide you were right all along? (Uh, yeah... only me again.) That's this yarn for me. I am enchanted, enraptured... in flagrante delicto with this yarn. Its soft, fine... but its strong-- when tensioning it I was worried it would snap, being so fine, but there's no chance of that. I love the evenness, the color, the weight. It *feels* strong, tough, solid, complete in iteself... but isn't hard or rough (actually the opposite). It doesn't have the "poof" factor of lofty, 100% merino yarn but I actually find that a plus in its favor-- looking at the yarn itself, I can easily guess the gauge without having to simulate pulling it taut as in knitting, and the stitches are even to begin with. It has give, but its actual shape doesn't change much when knitting with it. I worry that I love the solid too much-- the rest of my Anne stash (barring the other red hank I have) are all high-contrast colors (blue/grey/tan, orange/black/brown, blue/green/grey) and I wonder how it will look worked up into socks and how much of any pattern will be obscured by the color... I am 98.6% sure I am going to run out of yarn for this project, but we'll see... I'll embrace their wabi sabi beauty and add on another closebutnocigar red Anne I have if needed towards the foot...)

I think I could be using US 1 (2.25mm) with the yarn as well, but my US 1.5 (2.5mm) Addi circs give too large a fabric for my taste/gauge, and there was no way I was knitting these one at a time-- I know me, I'd have one long, lovely red stocking and no second in sight. I think I may need to pick up some western sized 24" circulars (2.25mm & 2.75mm)... any suggestions comparable to Addis? (I love their slide and the join, like everyone else I guess!)

I am a bit worried though. This is my 1st long stocking, and while it fits/stretches across even the widest part of my leg (gasp!), it stretches *a lot* horizontally. Like, a lot-a lot. The top cuff of just ribbing you see in the pics? 3"... when on, stretches to 2"... and the lace stretches horizontally as well. I'm hoping that as I gain length in the leg I'll be able to see more of a vertical pull in the lace (I'm more worried about the lace panel not being seen than the length of the actual stocking being shortened... though a long stocking is what I want!) This may be a case where I block the ever loving ^@&%! out of the leg to illuminate the lace, and let the foot alone... we'll see :)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hedera finished!



Hedera socks
Started: May 4, 2006
Finished: May 19, 2006
2 socks on 2 circs, Addi US 1.5 (2.5mm), 24"
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, endlot millend from ebay
98 gm of yarn total

I actually blocked these socks (gasp!) to try and make the lace pop, but I think I stretched them out too much/my blockers were too big/wide (I made my own blockers from coated wire hangers-- they do look goofy on the blockers, eh?). No worries, they'll pop back when I wash them again; they fit perfectly before I got the notion to block them :) I won't be putting them into the washer/dryer for fear of having the cherry tree hill supersock fade on me (happened before)... maybe I'll make a bunch of blockers and start handwashing all of my socks (I need to figure out how wide to make them, any suggestions? I just need the blockers to help them dry... there's no good place to dry the socks around here.)

More pics...





If you look super closely, you can see the k tbl twist at the heel flap... Actually, when picking up gusset stitches, I always pick the back loop up with a seperate needle and knit that thru tbl-- so on the next round, I knit the subsequent stitch tbl as the pattern calls for. Other than that and knitting them on 2 circular needles, I followed the pattern exactly.

I knit the smaller size, and knitting them on 2 circulars gives you a chance to fit the sizing as you go(the sizing only differs in how many decreases are made). I have a 8.25" foot circumference at the widest part of my foot.

An aside, I measured the finished socks weight and used 98 grams of yarn total (with my size 9-9.5 women's feet)-- so you could knit this pattern with 2 skeins of Koigu (same base yarn as the cherry tree hill), if you're brave enough to cut it that close :) Shortening the length of the leg is also a possibility, but lately I've been drawn to longer leg socks myself.

I like the long heel... I don't know why, but I like the length of a "long" (3") heel over a short one. I usually wear my socks in high top Cons, so its not an aesthetic big deal to have a long heel poking out the back of low slung shoes, at least for me. It also *feels* good, the double thick fabric reaching from the actual top of the heel all the way to the floor.

I also really like the purl sts on the sides of the lace (and the twisted knit stitches delineating the panels, they almost don't intrude on the purl sts)-- purl stitches on socks really seem to make any pattern stand out (have you seen Monica's Hansel and Gretal socks for her Sockapaloooza pal? More what I mean...) It seems rare to see purl sts on socks, but I do dig it... Something to keep bobbing in the back of my head I think :)

Lovely, I think! I think green is great for this pattern... I rarely use green but I think I like it a lot here. Actually I still have about 4 oz of this same color left (!!!)... the only problem with buying huge lots of supersock on ebay is that you've got to knit lots of the same color socks :) I think I prolly won't use it for a while, perhaps even swap it (I read there's going to be a leftover sock yarn exchange going on over at Knitter's Review forums...)

I think I may have been a little bitten by the lace bug, since I started some new lace socks (pics in next post, maybe!)...

Leaving you with a botched *action* shot (as action as can be, at least!)


10 seconds not being enough to put on socks, pull up pants, and stand up straight... :)

...and I'm still taking guesses for my Henry's Attic Kona Superwash lightweight/easter egg dye mini-contest :) Its helping me justify stalking my mailman for my Knit Picks order, even though I just placed the order on Thursday :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Knitting mail call, and a teeny contest...

I love my mailman!

I gave him some blue squares for Justin... (click the link! Cynthia needs more squares! :))


...and he gave me...

Schaefer Anne in orange, black, grey, brown... (yay!). Picked up from a stash reduction. I keep hoarding Schaefer Anne and haven't knit a single thing from it yet, but I'm just drawn to it. I think I should actually use it one of these days.

8 balls of Rowan Cork in Delight (orange).

I am *so* thrilled with this... I have been eyeing this yarn on ebay for forever (discontinued yarn), for this...

(Robin Hood Jacket from Adorable Knits for Tots by Zoe Mellor)

but I just couldn't bring myself to pay that much for it, and I didn't really think a sub was that great of an idea since the yarn is unique in weight/composition/gauge. I was able to swap for it though, *and* in the color I wanted!! :) Thanks Mandy for a great swap, she made my year with this stuff. I won't be able to knit it up til the next cold season, but there's more than enough yarn there for even the biggest size of the pattern if boogerbear hits a growth spurt. And, did you notice? Orange!!! :)

My poor kid.

And the coup de grâce? Also known as, I am the luckiest blogger around lately?

I won a $20 gift certificate to Knit Picks from Heide! Crazy is as crazy does, she won one of the Lisa Souza sock yarns I gave away in my last contest :)

I love the blog contests... so here's a little, tiny one for yall. The prize?


4 oz, about 560 yards, of Henry's Attic Kona Superwash lightweight fingering yarn that I reviewed in my last post; the half left from what I'll use for my dyeorama buddy. Also, 4 paas easter egg dye packets, and one of those wire eggy bobber things. (I used a wire thing to pull solid skeins from the dye last time I used the easter egg dye on yarn, surprisingly helpful!) This is a new one of course :) You'll just need some white vinegar to dye up a storm! Or, sock yarn!

Told you it was little! :)

So, to win you ask?

Guess what I ordered from Knit Picks with my GC from Heide, of course :) Contest ends when I receive the item(s), most specifically correct guess wins. You can guess quantities, colors, etc. One entry/guess per person-- leave all guesses in the comments of this post please, and no broad/non-descriptive $1 price is right hedge bets ("yarn," "needle," "book," "bag...") please :)

1) I paid for shipping.
2) I bought one item-- one or multiples of the same item. (So, 7 Butterfly Kisses *or* 1 row counter, but not 1 Sparkles *and* 1 Port a Pocket).

Winner is the one who gets the closest, color/quantity etc first... If no one surmises the nose, everyone who hazards a guess will be entered into a random number generator for the prize. Sound fun? (Kinda?)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Henry's Attic Kona Superwash lightweight fingering specs

Henry's Attic Kona Superwash fingering lightweight
(new weight!)
2,240 yd/lb -- 100% merino superwash

Pics of yarn are of 8 oz hanks, *unscoured*



I recieved my kona superwash lightweight order from wool2dye4 and am pleasantly surprised :) First, wool2dye4 is really a good seller-- couldn't be happier with communication, product, shipping, service. Even sent me a free magnet! I'm such a sucker, really.

The kona lightweight does have a somewhat looser twist at first glance, but I remembered how much the original henry's attic kona superwash (dk weight) changed once it was washed-- it bloomed quite a bit in the wash. (It doesn't have that super twist of koigu/cherry tree hill). The cone is usually much "thinner" feeling than the hanks, but even the dk yarn on the hanks have bloomed for me-- so I figured I'd swatch and block...

Please excuse weird foggy text!

Before (about 3am under floros, after watching Iron Chef Michiba retirement battle) :

unblocked all


blocked all

Blocked, US 1 on left US 0 on right:

Blocked, US 2 on left US 1 on right:

My gauge was as follows, both blocked and unblocked:

US 0 = 9 sts/inch, 12 sts/column inch
US 1 = 8.25 sts/inch, 11 sts/column inch
US 2 = 7.5 sts/inch, 10 sts/column inch

This is my back & forth gauge, not in the round. Yours may be different, esp. in the round!! Mine is generally the same (round/back & forth)... I don't consider myself a loose or a tight knitter, fwiw.

Though the gauge didn't change, you can see how the yarn filled out after a quick rinse in kookaburra and being laid flat to dry. I admit I was a little hard on the swatch when washing (just to see)-- I rubbed the fabric on itself, and also squeezed it unceremonially dry a few times. The regular kona hasn't felted on me, but does get this fuzzy halo-- same with this yarn. I think it will probably be similar in the wash (a good thing in my book, I enjoy putting my kona superwash socks in the dryer as they always come out puffy and soft and halo-y.)

I only pressed the swatch flat to dry, I didn't pin/block/stretch it. There is quite a difference after blocking though, all my stitches evened up nicely and I can't "see thru" the fabric the same way I did when it was unblocked. (I put it on the black background to try and accentuate how unblocked you can see thru it...)

IMO, I'd use a US 1 with this yarn to be middle of the road... the US 2 is too loose for my taste. The US 0 is also quite nice as well, it may be too tight for some people though (I like it and would use it). As a middle of the road though, I'd prolly reach for my US 1's when using this yarn or thinking about subbing it in a pattern. I imagine using a US 1.5 (2.5mm) would render a gauge of 8.5 8 sts/inch, just a guess though! It may also been too loose for my taste, not certain. I'll take a closeup once I've dyed the yarn, I'd expect to see a change in the look of the yarn once washed/dyed as I did when it was knitted & blocked. My gauge stated above may also change once the yarn's dyed... I'll let yall know.

I like it, definitely. It's a heck of a deal too-- $11/8 oz from wool2dye4 (they have the best price on this right now). So, $5.50 for 4 oz of superwash merino-- 560 yards. I think that kicks Knit Picks dye-your-own yarn's arse ($4 for 440 yd/100gm of merino, but not superwash).

A little comparison interlude, for my math geeks out there...
100 gm of the Kona lightweight fingering would be about 460yd, comparation-shopper wise, a bit more but not much.
100 gm of the Kona lightweight works out to be about $4.68 $4.58 (good reason I was an english major)... so you're paying an extra .68 .58/100 grams for the kona lightweight fingering versus the knit picks color your own 100% merino wool. *And* the kona price is from wool2dye4... if you were say, a business and could buy direct from Henry's Attic instead, it'd be even cheaper (for most of us, the wool2dye4 price is cheap enough and/or we don't have a tax id to buy from HA.) This doesn't figure in the shipping cost (free for +$40 from knitpicks) to the cost, to be fair.

I don't just enjoy the superwash for the machine washability, but also when dying it I don't have to fear felting or shrinkage. I'm not as detail oriented as I should be. I can see myself dying a big batch of this lighweight to make some of the Nancy Bush patterns that usually call for 3 skeins of a premium yarn (when I'm used to 2)... I've been holding off on several of her patterns since the yarn requirements are generally 1.5x what I have in my stash/can justify buying for a project :)

(edit, 5/28: You can see my dying of the kona superwash lightweight using easter egg dyes in this post.)

Speaking of dying, my swap pal said s/he would dig either variegated or self striping yarn... what do you think? I think I'd rather do stripes (I have a fun idea for colors), but I don't know, maybe s/he won't really like stripes? Would you want stripes or variegated yarn? Thick stripes? Thin stripes? (How thick? how thin? I'm in a quandry!) If variegated, I'm going to *try* and work short blips of color instead of longer stretches of yarn...

Oh! Dye pal stuff... I swapped with trek for one of her sock bags for my sock pal, s/he likes knitting socks too and I think this is kinda a cool idea...


Looks good! Exactly what I wanted... I saw the stars print trek made for stariel and thought it would suit... and red stars on the inside :) My kid thinks it makes a great hat.

As for in progress stuff...


I'm working on a few blue squares for Cynthia (from the warming grace project)... she is asking for blue squares for a sweet boy who needs a blue blankie *asap*. Heartbreaking story, and I had to set down my other projects to start on some squares when I read it.

I was working on Hedera (looks the same! so no pics) and...


Dream Swatch headwrap redux in koigu premium painters palette merino, color p326. It'll look better blocked.

I think this is my favorite color of koigu... weird since its not really anything that I typically like-- its just the mix of colors-- teal/blue, black, pink, gold. I'm so not a pink girl, but this one really gets me. I just found out patternworks carries this color and I've been trying to avoid thinking about buying 2-3 hanks there :) This was one of those mini skeins I bought from foxyknits at Stitches West, and the thing wrapped around my shrinking ball? Hoopty diy chinatown yarnbra-- the stretchy buffers they wrap around asian pears to avoid bruising.

Just a few more pics and I'll be out of your hair...

Wool2dye4 also sent their sample card to me; the henry's attic kona superwash fingering lightweight isn't represented-- too new...


A closeup...


left to right,
Wool2dye4 supersock
monty 3/9
silk & ivory (merino/silk)
kona superwash (dk, regular weight)

I am lusting over the silk & merino. Like, trying to justify a $60/lb cone lust. Check out Grumperina's Leaf Lace shawl in it... Merino and silk socks!!! That'd be, 4 oz/$15... hm. Maybe I'll go with a 1/3 lb skein and make some super long Nancy Bush socks, you know-- to try it out first :)

Ergh, enough rambling!! :)

Monday, May 15, 2006

The 'tides that bind (whiplash entry)

Whiplash entry ahead!
(I really want that One Skein book!) ;) ...


Theme: Yarn.

Starting with that theme, when I think of the epitome of yarn, I think handspun-- yarn that has passed from sheep thru human hands and mind into this unique form chosen by the artist... the weight, the color, the composition all chosen and varied as seen fit by the individual at the wheel.

But as I don't spin, and my addiction to yarn leans into shaping it into something else...

Socks. A sock. A weekend sock.

My obsession for socks springs from several places, one of which was my utter fascination that erupted in realizing that a sock was made from one single, unbroken length of yarn. A simple spiral down the leg, curving at the heel and whispering down to the toes was this one bit of yarn-- wreathing and winding and all the way down in the shape I made to fit me, that I guided into form and function...

Though the yarn and the sock are interesting on their own, I tried to put my finger on another way to express the yarn theme into the sock...

The (nucleo)'Tides that Bind :)

I've dug this cable (PDF!) for forever and think it fits in well both literally and figuratively to the yarn theme-- using literal yarn for the project, and taking the figurative idea of composition, of the elemental strands (singular bits of yarn, if you please) that make us up (as Grace's badass yarn makes up this sock), and representing it physically within the project. The color bands of the yarn are also reminiscent of the quaternary sequencing (a c t g) of DNA... not quite ordered but ordered enough within themselves. I think it fits.

I also think I'm a super cheeseball.

*and* I think it looks cool enough to sport more pics of... :)

PGR's short row heel, no wrap and turn = no holes (for me anyway!)

For my sock loving geek viewers out there--

Handspun sock weight yarn by SantaCruzHandspun (deliciously addictive, shockingly affordable)
Borealis-- 100% romney wool. 3 oz/150 yd
US 2 (2.75mm) for foot and 1st cable repeat; US 3 for 2nd cable repeat; US 4 for rest of leg and cuff -- dpns, set of 4
Started: May 11, 2006
Finished (one sock): May 14, 2006
6.5 sts/inch for foot on US 2; 6 sts/inch on US 3; 5.5 sts/inch on US 4
Foot circumference: 8.25" (there is definitely negative ease figured in!)

CO 24 sts (1/2 total sts) and work your favorite short row toe to 48 sts total for foot circumference (mine is Priscilla Gibson-Roberts', I hear the new magic cast on in Knitty is pretty cool, too). Work in stst until length reaches 8" (or the length from the ankle bone to the tips of the toes, measured with foot resting on floor.)

Commence short row heel, placing markers to denote the center 10 sts of the heel.

As the increases for the heel begin, work the center panel of the double helix cable (starting with row 3, sts 5-15) and increase cable pattern as more sts become available as short row heel is completed. The cable pattern is a 20 st pattern, the heel needle will carry 24-- so note there are 2 extra sts on each side of the cable to keep it centered.

Work one repeat of cable, modifying it to maintain a stockinette background (no purl sts on the outside of the helix when working with the cable needle, etc.). Switch to US 3 needle, work 1 repeat of pattern. Switch to US 4 needle.

Still maintaining stockinette border around cable, increase 2 sts every other row for 6 rows (6 sts total increased)-- work 1" as set, then increase 2 sts every other row for 4 rows (4 sts total increased). I used a m1r/m1l on the opposite sides of the cable for increases. Continue knitting cable repeat, ending on row 40.

Knit 2x2 knit/purl ribbing for approx. 2" and use stretchy bind off-- I used the one in Simple Socks that grafts the ribs together.


The sock is definitely a tight fit with negative ease representing the east side; keeping it all in stockinette and with no ribbing or shaping of a gusseted flap heel, I wanted to make sure it was very fit to my foot. This is the longest sock I've knit, and makes me want a pair to hit under my knees now-- true knee highs :) There is a bit of tightness in getting the sock on over the heel (jaywalkers, anyone?) simply b/c the cable (where I pull my heel against when putting it on) is not stretchy at all, and the foot portion is already designed with negative ease. The cable also acts to help keep the plain stockinette conformed to the leg, but is not as stretchy as a "normal" cable or ribbing.

I've used the stretchy bind off from Simple Socks before, but need to remember not to pull the grafts tight-- it defeats the purpose. As it is, the cuff isn't binding at all.

I am going to make its pair up soon (but not right away), I have Hedera to finish and other odds and ends-- I want to start Devan from Knitty, and knit a new dream swatch headwrap (PDF!!) in koigu. Its too warm to wear this substantial sock right now as well-- but will be pretty cool when it cools off again.

Yay! What a fun time I had making this sock :)

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