sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Friday, May 30, 2008

etsy friday

two days out and already, is it time yet?

Handwoven basket by
(with naturally dyed Polwarth in "blackberry" by A Verb for Keeping Warm)

The wonderful woman who sold me my Matchless gave me a basket that held the Matchless' bobbins and whorls, and I got used to it sitting next to me full of little spinning oddments. It wasn't quite large enough for everything I wanted in it (fiber), so of course off to etsy where I found cherylnchains' shop and this large "fanny" basket that (as my son likes to remind me) "looks like a butt." No matter, the divides are actually really handy, one side holds my whorls and oil...


...and the other extra bobbins.


Still on top there's room for fiber, this time aVfKW Polwarth I purchased from Article Pract. The woven nature of the basket means there is some catching of loose fibers, but the actual fiber loss is negligible and way outweighed by the handiness of having everything I'll need close at hand.


Cherylnchains has a really unique shop-- in addition to lots of different styles of handwoven baskets, she also is a lapidary and lists handcut and polished stones and pendants. Still after all this time I love etsy, showing me the breadth of art and artists.

Do I feel a segue coming on?

Barack Obama "Change" purse by

Another excellent handmade Obama - etsy find. I haven't carried a wallet in my back pocket since losing the very first purchase I ever made on etsy-- a "Rising Sun" wallet by Quiet Doing. (I think karrie turned me on to this shop?), but this! This hasn't left me since arriving lightening fast.

FancyThatBoutique is another store that donates profits from the sale of Obama gear to the campaign (and makes no other candidate swag)-- putting it at the top of my list above and beyond the coolness of what they make. The change purse is larger than true wallets I usually carry, but still fits in the back pocket of my jeans. It even holds my ipod with room to spare at the top, but I already have a sleeve for that :)


After about a week of use in my pocket, the wallet has some creases-- but nothing that seems to say that it won't hold up past November :)

Here's hoping I do :) Miss you!

ps, Amelia pointed me to the neatest pendant shop, Something Whimsical, the other day-- I haven't worn a necklace out since 'forgetting' mine somewhere, otherwise I'd own one of these BOBs already :) I remembered since my latest Rhyme Times Subscription just arrived, pics next week :)

ps ii, Thanks to a super kind local I'm catching a ride to Spinning at the Retzlaff Winery tomorrow (May 31). I'll be the one face deep in fleeces, see you there!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Lots of times I have received little extras from businesses I've purchased from, and most of the time I'm quietly appreciative. The past week has had some really sweet swag grace my doorstep and I figured it was alright to share for once (I always worry that it's not.)

A month or so back, I entered the Black Bunny Fibers' contest for their fiber/sock club members and won (!!) with pics of my supercoil merino-mohair handspun yarn. Inside the package with this fantf*ingtastic last fiber club installment (spoiler alert!)...

50/50 baby alpaca-merino by Black Bunny Fibers, "eleanor of aqua-taine" 6 oz

...was my prize:

black bunny fibers tshirt

Totally unexpected but really cool :) Just like my Verb for Keeping Warm / Tactile Fiber Arts tote that I take *everywhere* with me now...


I need to wash it. And convince Kristine to print a tote with the RAD spinning wheel motif... ;)

The real reason I'm posting today is cos my kid insisted in that four year old way. I mentioned a few weeks ago I had "adopted" a sheep from Little Meadows Farm in his name, and ever since receiving his adoption certificate and picture of Rosie addressed to him it has been yakyakyak about the sheep and HIS picture. He even cleared the space of honor on the fridge, smack in the middle and at his eyelevel, which is saying a lot :)


He got the better of me too, and while Rosie will be "his," I adopted Frank for me. Or, you know... his fleece :)

Til then, not soon enough!

Friday, May 23, 2008

etsy friday

The themes just keep on coming :)

"Cute Asses for Obama" knitting pattern PDF by
(photo by caffaknitted)
also available as a Ravelry download

I search etsy's handmade listings every few days for "Obama" -- and except for one thing (later!) this is the only thing that has caught me up enough to click the buy now button. (This though... WANT. If only I had eight different people to write to ;))

I prefer Obama items that have a portion of their profits donated to the Obama campaign... I've been spoiled by UpstateKnitter from the Knitters for Barack Obama group on Ravelry who has set up a zazzle shop full of Knitters - Crocheters for Obama swag with the logos she designed and is donating the profits from the use of her images to the campaign.

Knitters - Crocheters for Obama shirts, stickers, bags and gear
(image by UpstateKnitter)

Meanwhile, back on the farm...


Caffaknitted has done the same in offering this sehr adorable PDF-- all of the profits from the sale price of the PDF are being donated to Barack Obama's campaign. Like Caffaknitted says though, any name can be embroidered on the saddle and goodness knows mine will probably stand unadorned for a while since my stitching leaves SO much to be desired :)

One more-- not etsy but ;) Anna Zilboorg (yes, Anna Zilboorg) has written a "yes we can - si se puede" sock pattern that she is giving away for free for *any* donation to the campaign. I can't remember if I posted about it here or just on my tumblelog, but now I'm covered :)

Etsy has me covered for more than handmade goods though-- I've picked up some good commercial items like this...

Knitting Around the World book by Threads Magazine, purchased from

The book is a collection of several Threads articles, including topics on Bohus Stickning, Shetland lace, tams, tvåändsstickning (two-end knitting), and...


...articles by Alice Starmore on Aran and Fair Isle knitting. I know I won't be getting my hands on those books of hers for a while ever, but this was a nice taste.

Thank Ewe has an etsy store full of handpainted yarns and stitch markers as well, if you're curious :)

I think I've also solved my "problem" on the growing stash of dk/worsted handspun that I don't have projects for thanks to etsy...

Rambling Rows Afghan pattern, purchased from

I always kinda thought I'd use it in an afghan, and the Rambling Rows pattern is atthe top of that list now. I have a long way to spinning up a blanket's worth of yarn, but at least I kinda-sorta have a goal for it now :)

Speaking of goals, have a good one! Miss you :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Two being better than none and all...

Handspun toe up PGR socks
Fiber from -- 70/30 sw wool-alpaca
US 1 (2.25mm), 64 sts
Started: ?
Finished: May 2008

Not much to say about the socks, I like them a lot but have been knitting them a stolen moment at a time for so long I forget most of it :) Just my favorite/go-to knitting pattern from Simple Socks and some handspun that started life as an awesome 70/30 superwash merino-alpaca fiber from I was really happy to see how both heels (unintentionally) got that sock monkey look...


and how my splitting of the fiber pretty much resulted in the stripes I was hoping for...


I like them a lot, but they kinda pale next to these.

Ribs and Seeds socks by Alyson Johnson
yarn by
(and my awesome knitting bag by in the background)
US 1.5, 2.5mm dpns, 5
Started: April 2008
Finished: May 2008

Super fun. Rilly, see?

Business in the front...

IMG_0080 in the back.


My dusty upbringing is just aching to be introduced :)

Looking at these I can see a glaring error I didn't before :) But eh, they're socks. Rad socks, but still!

I haven't knit a pattern in a "commercial" (non-handspun) sock yarn in a long time, and haven't knit from a pattern in longer, but this pair has me wanting to do more of both. I really like Alyson's liberal use of reverse stockinette-- I think it's so interesting, and that this pattern would look great with a non-jarring handpaint to show off that pretty wrong side we don't celebrate enough. The yarn Alyson's dyed is excellent as well-- I bought the yarn for the color, and knit up it doesn't disappoint.

Neither does that little happy seam when picking up heel sts thru their front loops...


...or the possibility such dressy ankles bear.


I actually have been playing around with some new sock knitting, patterns and not, and am really liking it :) Perfect season, too to get back into it ;)

Til then!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a tale of two forty

I've been kind of eeking by spinning lately with more of my eye and heart in fiber prep and disassembling fleeces, but it's because it leads me to the time in front of the wheel and wondering about fibers and finished objects. I've had it in my head that I want to spin a quantity of yarn sufficient for a sweater (A FINE FLEECE! A FINE FLEECE! :)), but know that I've got a while to go to get consistent and just need more practice practice practice... inching thru the fiber stash is helping a bit :)

Handspun 2-ply merino/tussah silk, fiber from Ashland Bay "pewter"
approx 4.5 oz, 240 yd

I bought this fiber (from Susan's Spinning Bunny, great service) to try and spin a companion length to match some yarn I spun last year... I wanted enough to end up with a good sized scarf, and though I do now-- the color's a tiny bit off :)

older skeins flanking new skein

No matter, even alternating a few rows won't kill me and the silk gives the finished yarn a lovely drape and sheen. The color too-- it's right on the money as far as unisex goes, even though I tend to feel shiny yarns are more in the realm of the feminine.

I also thought this yarn would be feminine, on the bobbins at least...

Handspun 2-ply wool/viscose/silk noil, fiber from Crosspatch Creations, Triple Play "Edgar Allen"
approx 240 yd, 4 oz

I love this. It is wooly and squishy, and I never thought noil could look unisex but really now, this looks like a ultramodern tweed more than anything. I also thought it would look more purple, as much as the purple stood out in the singles, but I'm thrilled with the outcome.


It is also the first yarn that I have truly shocked in finishing... I'll often be a little rough when setting the twist in superwash yarns, since I won't felt them, but I went all out and dunked it from hothot to coldcold and back again and then thwacked it around, and while it lost some length and drew up when drying, the resulting wooliness and softness is fanf*ingtastic. Reminds me of a heavyweight felted tweed... deserves to be made into something awesome, but I think I'll need more yardage. (Maybe?)

I planned on socks for this skein...

Handspun 2-ply Wensleydale, naturally dyed by Black Bunny Fibers

Maia, in the Rare Breeds fiber tasting at Color, mentioned that she likes Wensleydale for socks as it's super durable. I immediately thought of this last month's fiber club offering from Carol, eight ounces of naturally-dyed (cutch and madder) W, I started spinning a dk-weight straight away. Finished though, I'm not sure. it's really hairy...


...not necessarily a bad thing ;) but felt to me more like euroflax linen than a sock yarn when in the hand. I think it'll end up made into a super durable string bag for summer... still have another 4 oz to decide about :)

The funny thing is though, all of these skeins? All weigh about the same, and all have the same yardage, but look so different, feel so different.

long light at the end of the day

The merino/silk and the wool/noil one don't look that different til you look closely... you can see how much the wool/noil skein drew up and shrank after shocking and whacking (both skeins started as the same circumference). And the Wensleydale...? I have no idea how such a small skein and thin yarn can be so dense (again, started at the same circumference), but there you go.

Til then :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Jacob fleece, raw to yarn

Lots of pics today :)

I was fortunate enough to "meet" Liese of Little Meadows Farm thru Ravelry-- she raises Jacob sheep (as well as Corriedales and Dorsets, and crosses), and from her farm I bought a freshly shorn Jacob fleece straight off the back of a wether named Jester.

Jacob sheep have black/brown and white coloring, a neat thing for me since I immediately thought I would separate the color from the white fleece straight away for a naturally-colored stranded knitting project... mittens from Selbuvotter, or something in that vein-- a fleece to finished object from one sheep.

raw dark brown black Jacob fiber

raw white Jacob fiber

The Jacob was so much less greasy than other raw wool I've had my hands on, and this fleece in particular was really clean and well skirted (the entirety was only 2 lbs raw)... so I tried scouring in a sink instead of the washing machine, using mesh bags. I tried a few different ways-- inspired by Spinning Spider Jenny's post on scouring to maintain lock formation I set out a basket and cut tuille and started layering locks between the tuille...



...tying the packaged wool together and placing them inside the mesh bags for scouring. I did a few variations of this, layering locks between tuille and not, and eventually moving away from using the basket and ties and just layering them inside the mesh bags. I found I didn't really need the tuille but it did help in giving the mesh bags some "shape"...

without tuille layers

with tuille layers

The shape helped the fleece from shifting around in the bags when I was scouring, as well as when removing the locks from the bags for laying out to dry.

variegated Jacob locks drying

I could just pull out the tuille and turn it over, leaving a layer of locks already spread out that just needed a little more time to dry. The tuille also didn't take much longer when loading the fleece straight into the bags... and I bought 5 yards of it, way too much but may as well use it, eh? :)

Even though I was able to separate much of the white from the colored fleece prior to scouring, I had lots of sections that were variegated and would blend into a pretty grey...

scoured variegated Jacob locks

I took a few ounces of white and black/brown/grey Jacob and set them to dye-- the best part?

variegated Jacob locks dyed w. acid dyes

...some of the brown tips on the black portions turned green in the dyebath :) This lot I carded the morning before the Color Fiber Festival and I spun in the downtime between my classes, plied up at home into this pretty skein.

2-ply handspun heavy worsted Jacob yarn

I probably should have chosen some more loud colors, this is really quite close to the natural brown/black of the Jacob :)

scoured black brown Jacob fiber

No worries, plenty left to play with dyeing later.

The resulting yarn is sturdy but soft, totally useable for a scarf against the back of my neck... though it feels like it would be a really great sweater yarn, squishy and full of life. (Yes Virginia, I am head over heels haunted by A Fine Fleece.) I spun the singles for this skein woolen-- but the final yarn isn't really fuzzy like yarns usually are for me when I spin merino or more short stapled wools. I don't have enough fiber for a sweater, and am already planning one out of *another* fleece I'm prepping at home, but I'd definitely think about this fiber for one if I ever grew up and into big projects like sweaters :)

Liese offers an "adopt a sheep" program thru her farm where you can "adopt" a sheep for a year and by the next shearing the fleece is reserved for you. I can say that the fleeces are really well skirted and fun to work with... so much that I adopted one of Little Meadow Farms' new lambs in my son's name for next year.

jacob/dorset lamb
(pic by Little Meadows Farm)

She was unnamed when we adopted her, and Liese asked if he'd like to give her a name... "Rosie!"

(I am such a sucker and immediately welled up.)

In addition to Jester's fleece, I also bought several bars of handmade soap from Liese-- the pine tar? REALLY WORKS for me. I get a heat rash on the top of my hand (nerves, since childhood) but washing my hands with the soap kills the itch and is so much more appealing than the steroid cream I usually resort to. I'm using it in the shower-- it has a definite smell, not bad but not flowers :) Clean, but way different than anything else. I really dig it, along with eveything (from wool to service) I received from Little Meadows Farm.

...back to carding! :) Til then!

Friday, May 02, 2008

etsy friday

My favorite etsy soapmaker was on maternity leave when I ran out of soap (gasp!) so naturally I sucked it up and went on an etsy search for "cold process soap"... instead, I found art.

Cold process soap art by

For reals, it's soap. And not that I don't think glycerin melt and pour soaps are great, but I prefer cold process and this IS, even though it looks so awesome. One glance over Alkali Soaps' etsy profile and I was sold.

Mitsumata (my favorite scent) and Jabberwocky

They all smell great... but Mitsumata's my favorite as far as the nose goes. The way they look though, my favorite is the one that drew me into shopping AlkaliSoaps' store in the first place--

Espionage (x2) and Jazz Cat

You can see they are layered where the designs are worked on top, but its all very solid and has cured for several weeks being cold process. I snuck a peek at the designs in progress on their soap blog-- so cool seeing the soap in "log" form and then cut into different looking designs once it has been cured. They're very heavy and dense as well, a good value for the weight, notwithstanding how good they look.

My pics aren't as bright as they should be because Alkali Soaps shrink wraps each bar in heavy duty plastic and includes a card inside with the fragrance name... I was struck how perfect they were for gift giving, or something awesome for the guest bathroom. Mine are going in the shower though ;)

So are these...

Handmade liquid body wash soaps, custom colors and scents by

My kid, once in the bocha, can stay there forever. Good for clean boys, not so good for bars of soap that melt down to nothing in standing/splashing water. His grandma heard me complaining and bought him some crayola scribblers-- tiny 1/2 oz containers shaped like "crayons" full of brightly colored soap. Awesome, except they're *too* cool... kiddo can empty these like crazy. Clean, but no soap left after bathtime.

I turned to Halflyng for some liquid soaps I could refill the containers with... I wanted bright colors that would stand out against skin (blue, pink, green and orange), and Halflyng sent me a HUGE list of fragrances to choose from for each. Since I can refill them, I can fill each little "crayon" with only a bit of soap, and they last much longer than before. I also like Halflyng's scents (the crayolas had none)... who wouldn't want their kid smelling like a cinnamon bun? :)

Halflyng's having a pre-maternity leave sale in her shop-- I think it includes custom orders so check out her sold items for inspiration.

Til then!

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

I Took The Handmade Pledge!