sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Totally Autumn Throw and Mystery Blanket

Totally Autumn Throw by Anne Hanson of Knitspot
Fall Knitty 2007
Interlacements Merino Worsted, 2 sk (560 yd, 4 oz @)-- large size
US 9 (5.5mm), Knit Picks Harmony Options 48"
Started: 17 November 2007
Finished: 2x December 2007

If you remember from last year, I decided to try and make my grandma an afghan for Christmas every year (last year was Lizard Ridge)... perhaps I'll get lucky and find another knitty afghan pattern catching my eye this year :) Anne has such an eye for beautiful stitch patterns and I was lucky she thought to put this one into a blanket. I was also lucky to have a simple, easycare yarn in the stash.

The yarn is Interlacements' Merino Worsted (superwash), I can't find it on their website and it may be a one-off for shows only (I bought these at Stitches West 2006, a steal @ $15 each-- their dyers' choice sale bin is always worth checking out if you have a show they're attending in your neck of the woods). To be honest I don't know how much use Lizard Ridge is getting (I know gma loves it), but wanted to make a throw this time that her Boston Terrier could curl up on without fear of not being able to wash it every time.


The 2 skeins of Merino Worsted were not dyelotted, so I alternated the skeins every pattern repeat for a slightly striped effect. You can't really tell when it's in use, but prone on a table is another thing ;) It's large enough for a person to cuddle under and have their feet covered; my gma may not even break 5' so it may cover her even more :) It's the larger size-- 8 pattern repeats (just shy of a full 8th), and slightly shorter garter st borders @ the bottom and top.

I was lucky enough to see my family during this month, but didn't have gma's throw done yet-- I did knit on it in front of her and she loved watching without knowing it was for her. She told me she "had to give me credit for knitting something so patterned," that she preferred simple things because she lost track of patterns too easily. Then I showed her my simple universal row counter and she was blown away; I could see how useful she would have found it, knitting all those years ago.


She said they looked like pineapples, and one of the best gifts of the season was her telling me how much she loved it.

Yay :)

Malabrigo afghan next year for gma... need to find a pattern sooner rather than later! Why Malabrigo?

Cos I've been enjoying snuggling with my son's Malabrigo Mystery Blanket myself.

Mystery Blanket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Knitter's Almanac, April
Malabrigo/ merino worsted-- "pollen" (3 skeins)
US 10 (6.0mm), various circular lengths
Started: September 2007
Finished: November 2007

Secret time: I sleep with a baby blanket. Not just any, but the one the hospital sent me home with after I was born. A yellow thermal waffle pattern that was edged with satin-- loved off sometime around year seven, that I slept with throughout my childhood and was one of the non-essentials I stuffed into garbage bags and dragged behind me once I left my childhood home and went on to college, that has been in every bed I spent any goodly amount of time in for my entire life.

That I swaddled my son in when I brought him home for the first time, whispering that it was his now-- one of the few things that was truly mine to give away.

And it means the world to me, and kinda eh for him :) Which is fine! But I kinda wanted him to have something special, the chance to fall in love with something tangible... he isn't really attached to anything like a favorite toy and thought maybe a blanket of his own would be the ticket.

So far? Eh. :) Soft, cuddly, but not... It. Perhaps it's just me, perhaps I didn't get attached to mine til I was old enough to understand attachment and look at it from a distance, appreciate something I could hold away and bring back.


Zimmermann's Msytery Blanket is meant to be knit into several squares and grafted together using Kitchener stitch... mine is just one perfect mindless knitting square :) Being stst, it curls at the edges, but I don't care. I'm also in the minority about all kids' knits being machine washable-- I handwash infrequently, but the fine things I make for my kid I just don't mind handwashing. I don't dress him up to roughhouse at the playground-- handknits or not. He wears and uses my knitting far and between, mostly as occasion knits, and even though this blanket's getting much more wear and tear than a special mom's-showing-me-off sweater, I haven't needed to wash it (yet). It was a pleasure for me to make, and a pleasure to curl up with, so mmmalabrigo it'll be for grandma's next year.

...Which is almost here! Happy new year yall!

Friday, December 28, 2007

etsy friday

I missed sharing etsy fridays! :)

Merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn from
Harvest colorway

I've had this Pigeonroof Studios yarn for a while (relatively!) now... I loved it before both in skein and knit up, and Krista's new batches have more cashmere than before! Her etsy updates can still be hard to jump on but she does maintain a mailing list-- you may want to contact her thru etsy to get on it and get a jump on being ready in front of your computer when she updates. (Or, subscribe to her shop's rss feed!)

Normally I don't ball my wool til I'm ready to knit with it, and have tipped my hand here. I've been knitting with this new formulation, the dread secret knitting, and it's wonderful stuff and really does look great worked up-- no pooling. I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to make my next pattern for sale (one of the samples is knit in this yarn) thru Ravelry's pdf pattern delivery service when it goes live. A good friend, Jen from piddleloop, has a secret identity as a pdf pattern designer extraordinaire and I'm trying to convince her to make her services widely available to other designers like me who are all thumbs when it comes to things like that... I'm sure you'll hear more in the coming weeks on all points :)

Speaking of designing, a lot of my holiday gifts were handmade (purchased)-- including this beauty from a famous designer:

Designs By Romi sterling silver shawl pin

You guys know the giant brain behind Muir and Ice Queen (and an upcoming BOOK about beads and fiber and yarn oh my!) also has a shop selling handmade shawl pins, yeah? (Just checking!) Rosemary's not an etsy vendor but I can't keep this one hidden for any longer :) It was a gift for mom along with the Hanami stole and the red glass shawl pin from TexturedTurtle-- and I had a *hard* time giving it away!

It is supercool though-- the spiral is slightly raised so you can actually draw your knitted fabric in without having to dig down with the stickpin to secure the knitting; a really spectacular detail only a knitter could think of. It's also heavier/sturdier than I thought it would be, but in a good way-- not heavy enough to drag down your knitting, but enough so you don't feel like you're going to bend it out of shape using it.

It really is breathtaking.

(And I really did give it away!)


Another holiday gift...

Handdipped incense from

My mom has been on a huge incense kick lately, which is funny since she always accused me of ulterior motives when I burned it as a teenager :) Water under the bridge, I'm all about the watching the gap-- which is the reason I chose to buy a grip of incense from Fooberry Incense for mom this year.

This is the freshest incense I've ever experienced, leaning more to the blue boxed dry as a bone Nag Champa for my fix. Since Julie makes your order when you place it, the sticks are just heavy with scent. Not only heavy but varied-- Fooberry has over 200 items/scents for sale including unusual ones like BACON and TOMATO as well as standards like dragon's blood and patchouli. Being made to order, it does take a bit to receive but FooberryIncense was sure to let me know each step from creation to shipping so I didn't worry about it arriving in time.

One other custom holiday gift from an etsy vendor was for my son...

Child's vinyl and fabric apron from

My blurry child :) Seriously though, he WANTED this-- he's been on a "helping" kick in the kitchen lately, washing dishes and "cooking" alongside me, and we have had a throwdown or two over who got to wear (MY) red apron... so I searched etsy for his own. I knew exactly what I wanted (vinyl coated, for wipedowns-- we're messy round here!; not feminine looking; something size and age appropriate) and DesignsByNanaHome had this perfect one! :) Actually, she custom makes these aprons from several different fabrics, all sandwiched with vinyl-- I picked the perfect surfer one for my crazy haired kid :)

I have to say how impressed I was not only with the apron (it has a toggle at the neck so it'll fit as he gets older and taller, the pockets are a really nice touch), but with the packaging. I don't really go for a lot of fancy packing stuff since it just hits the recycle bin, but DesignsByNanaHome *flatpacked* this so the vinyl wouldn't get creased during transit-- and I was just thrilled with that minor detail. The fact I don't have to share my apron anymore is a plus, too :)

Good to be back :) I'll be back next week with new FOs and some pics of dyed rovings I'll list in my etsy shop (I have a new blend of superwash merino/cashmere/nylon, along with sw merino/seacell and my standard superwash merino to dye... wish me luck!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

holiday knitting

Handspun Blue Faced Leicester (superwash) socks
roving from -- blackthorn
more woolen than not-spun, 2 ply dk weight
Started: 23 October 2007, walkaround
Finished: in time for Xmas 2007
US 3 dpns, 4

I did a lot of holiday knitting (for me) this time around, everything having a special place in my heart. These socks I carried around with me for months, sneaking in rounds standing in long lines at the grocery store, waiting at the broadway curb, fighting sleep on the red couch in the living room... wherever I could sneak in the reified prayers of love and longing onto my needles I would. At this point, knitting's a reaction of my hands; the thoughts while knitting these instead were love, wishes of warm feet and a good year ahead and behind.


They're so simple though... but just between you and me? After conquering lots of technique, yarns and FOs it feels the best to just knit... round around round, left alone in the circularity of silence and reaction, reflex. I love learning and trying new things but it's the home of stockinette, the simplicity of things, the calm after the storm in one's arms that I find true solace and joy in. It is the simple pieces that shine in my heart because I'm not thinking of patterns when I knit, but the loved ones they're intended for.


I feel spoiled being able to not only knit gifts, but to use yarn I've spun myself for it. Relatively, this is one of the older yarns from my handspun sock yarn stash and lately I'm spinning a long draw that has more tension in the singles, less soft and poufy, much less fuzzy/woolen looking than this one was. As much as I like the look of smoother/worsted spun yarns, both in pictures and in that nagging sense in the back of my mind that my yarns like these are less "professional" than the slick examples across blogland... lord they are warm. And fuzzy soft. And a joy to squish your toes around in. Perfect for colder weather than the one I'm enjoying (pray no rain today for me-- my son's getting a shiny new red bike that I didn't handmake ;)), for those times one needs to feel held and warm and loved.


I only worry they're too similar to a better photographed pair, despite being dk to the fine fingering of the previous. Too much purple, too easily influenced, too eager to please. Doesn't matter, doesn't matter since both come from the same place in me, that same reaction that has become reflex with time, deeper seated in my heart and hands.

Merry Christmas. Miss you.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Noro Kureyon sock yarn

...or, how Article Pract rocks all yall's socks.

New Noro Kureyon Sock yarn

I went to the monthly Article Pract yarn tasting yesterday against my better mindset... it was sock yarn, can you blame me? In addition to being laden down with lots of sample sized skeins and a 25% off coupon (!!), Christina gave the attendees who were there in person each a mini-sample of the new Noro Kureyon Sock yarn that she had hooked up from her Noro rep. Knowing so many were interested in it and thinking about placing a pre-order, I thought I'd share a few pics and quick observations.

The yarn is a very tightly spun single with no bounce-- it's finer than any sock yarn I had on hand when not under tension. It still had a lot of twist energy in it as a single like this likely will; I'm usually not concerned about knitting (particularly socks) biasing but if you were working a pattern that needed to lay absolutely straight, it may be important to you to swatch and make sure it will. It is not soft like so many mass marketed sock yarns-- the combination of no bounce/squish in the yarn, being tightly spun, and being spun from a coarser wool than most (merino) sock yarns is likely a factor. I didn't get thru much of knitting it, but didn't see any "hay" or VM in what I did knit :) It was very, very slightly thick and thin (more like occasional slubs/thicker parts in the yarn)... very much in line with my worsted Noro experiences, but nothing that would throw your gauge off wildly or would even be noticeable when viewed as a whole knitted piece.

I'd guess that it'd do best (plain stst) on US 0's... I prefer knitting finer sock yarns like Lorna's and Schaefer Anne on US 0's, so it does depend on personal preference. I probably wouldn't go over a US 1 with it though for stockinette socks-- I think the fabric would be too open. I haven't knit it up in plain stst and washed the swatch though; it may plump up and be appropriate for larger needles, but unwashed like this I would reach for my finer sock knitting needles.


Left to right:
Noro Kureyon sock yarn, Lisa Souza Sock! yarn, Schaefer Anne, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Louet Gems Pearl (fingering), Trekking XXL, Koigu PPM, Socks that Rock lightweight

One gauge to its fineness is the yardage to weight-- the Noro Kureyon sock yarn is 462 yd/100 gm. To compare, Lisa Souza Sock! would be 398 yd/100gm, Schaefer Anne would be 495 yd/100gm, Lorna's Laces would be 430 yd/100gm, Louet Gems fingering would be 370yd/100gm, Trekking XXL is 462yd/100gm, Koigu PPM would be 370yd/100gm, and Socks that Rock lightweight would be 283yd/100gm. Keep in mind that the Noro Kureyon sock yarn is more dense than the other yarns it's pictured with-- it may look thinner than the Trekking where they are the same weight/yardage, but it's much more solid.

When I first heard about the Noro Kureyon Sock-- both seeing the pics of knit up socks and samples and knowing it was a 70/30 wool/nylon blend, I was convinced that it must be a dyed yarn and not one that was semi-handspun in blocks of color. Now, seeing it and knitting with it I don't think it's a yarn dyed into stripes but one prepared/spun like Noro Kureyon (separate colors of wool spun together into a striping yarn)... but I can't be sure. The pics of the knitted up socks show the yarn has definite repeats (like a dyed or printed yarn), where Noro yarns with their semi-handspun qualities are not so consistent with their colors matching up... but from what I knit, it doesn't look dyed and has definite color gradation/transition between color blocks more in line with traditional Noro yarns. Then again, I thought I read someone on Ravelry saying that her Noro rep had only *undyed* Noro Kureyon sock yarn to show off (of course I can't find that now)... so, I guess time will tell! :)

Speaking of knitting, where I don't know if I'll jump at the first chance to knit up socks with the yarn (I'm just really averse to US 0's lately, but I'm sure I will sometime), Christina and I both had the same thought about other potential Noro Kureyon Sock projects...

Toddler mitten* in Noro Kureyon sock and Louet Fingering yarn, inspired by Kauni Cardigan
US 1.5/2.5mm 4" glove needles

We both thought it'd probably be a good stand-in for the super popular Ruth Sorenson Kauni cardigan (pdf!) and other colorwork applications. I think the Noro Kureyon Sock yarn has a shorter color striping than the Kauni, but for someone like me who wants to knit the Sorenson cardi in a toddler size, it'd definitely work. These mittens were knit over 54 sts, and you can see that the purple, while changing slightly from grey to deep purple, is a very long repeat. (I had no idea how much mitten I'd be able to get from this little ball of yarn! I expect to see lots of toddler mitts with it in my future...) The above mitts were knit on US 1.5's since that's the smallest 4" needle I have, and the Louet is heavier than the Noro but it was the only scrap I had enough of to make a set of mittens with... worked okay :)

The Noro Sock would also be easier care than the original Kauni yarn for colorwork cardis, I don't think it'll felt as readily as the 100% wool of Kauni and should be easier to find stateside once it's shipped to retailers... I washed/abused/rubbed/smacked/shocked the above toddler mitten by trying to felt it (the white/green yarn was leftover Louet Gems Pearl) and it didn't felt or bleed. That was all done by hand in very hot tap water and Kookaburra, the real test will be machine washing... but the yarn withstood my immediate felting test well imo. Sue from littleknits has a scan of the label and it says handwash only, so the real test will come with a real sock in a washing machine :)

I know Article Pract has ordered every color (!!) of the Noro Kureyon sock, so you can always call and ask them to hold onto a colorway (or five!) you need to have when it makes its way into the store :) As you can see, Article Pract *rocks* and it's where I'll be shopping for my Noro sock yarn :) (It'll be pretty much the same price everywhere, so support your local LYS!!) I'm definitely going to use some for colorwork knitting in my near (post-holiday knitting) future, either for myself or my son. Can you wrap your mind around how striking Pomatomus would be in this yarn?! :)

Okay, NOW I'm off into the vacation sunset. See yall, miss you already!

* No real pattern for the toddler mitten. Fits my almost 4 year old, mods easy as far as length (continuing/reducing patt repeats) and width (either remove patt repeats or use smaller needles.) Assumes knitting on 5 needles, 4 holding sts & 1 working-- with an even # of sts over n1&n2 and n3&n4.

RH mitten: CO 52 sts, k2p2 for 2". Using chart from Kauni cardigan above, start chart and inc 2 sts evenly across rnd for 54 sts. Follow chart, knitting til 2" of colorwork is completed (or, where thumb separates from toddler's hand). K1, k8 onto waste yarn, replace waste yarn back onto lh needle and continue knitting in pattern. Knit in patt til desired length (tip will add approx 1" in length), break colorwork yarns and k1 rnd in cuff color. K1, ssk, k to last 3 sts on n2, k2tog, k1 across 1st 2 needles (repeat for n3 & n4-- 4 sts dec each rnd.) Work dec rnd until desired length reached (mine was 6-7 sts?) cut yarn, draw thru remaining sts & weave in. Pick out waste yarn for thumb and divide onto needles, picking up 1 st at each "turn" for a total of 18 sts. Knit in stst until 1/4" shy of length desired, k2tog around for 2 rnds. Cut yarn and draw thru rem sts & weave in.

For lh mitten, you can place the waste yarn thumb by knitting to last 9 sts of thumb placement rnd, k8 onto waste yarn and replace sts onto lh needle, k9 in patt and create thumb as above. (This'll keep the rnd change/stripe jog on the inside palm of the hand.)

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