taking stock of sox

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today, as i was was scraping myself together before work, my eye fell upon the Sock Pile. the Sock Pile is the number of socks-on-hand that i have in stock at any one time. i keep ’em on a shelf in my cedar closet, to use for gifts, or for when our own sock drawers need replenishing. this time of the year, the shelf is looking a little bare.

just four pair—between the onset of winter, and the holiday gift-giving, my store is a bit depleted.

i looked at the clock and figured i probably had time before work to do some sorting and assessing of sock yarn, in order to dermine a possible strategy for filling the shelf (who am i kidding—strategy—geesh. we all know it’s about lust in the heat of the moment . . .).
or maybe i just needed something comforting to do before heading into heavy fire for the day.

my friend debbie is absolutely convinced that i have, hidden away, a giant trove of sock yarn that i am simply not ‘fessing up to. she just cannot fathom that i don’t collect the stuff by the bushelful.

but actually, my taste in horde-worthy yarn does not lead me into the whole sock-yarn-as-a-separate-stash habit. you know what i mean. suckering yourself into believing that sock yarn somehow doesn’t count, and therefore ending up with—quite literally—enough of the stuff to fill one or two of those huge plastic bins that have wheels.
(BTW, the wheels are a dead giveaway that possibly there is at least enough sock yarn in the house; think about it—how many 2-ounce skeins does it take to be wheel-worthy?).

yeah, i’m not like that. who knew??
i tend to horde luxury yarns. and no, you can’t see them. (i will tell you the amount in my bank account before i reveal that part of the stash.)
the thing is, every time i turn around there is another enticing sock yarn, so i figure it something good will be there when i DO need it. and usually, it is (stockists and dyers are very accommodating that way. . .).

anyhow, just so it is on public record, i have just two small bins of sock yarn, and that’s it. and the only reason i even have THAT much is that i spin, and spinning generates stash.

one tub is just for handspun and is fairly full. i want to use all of these next.
and what i have on the wheel right now? i want to use THAT next too.
i also want to use all of these next

trust me, i understand the propensity for the stuff. this is my newly-acquired stash of commercial sock yarns—just one year ago, i was still knitting socks exclusively from handspun. i had awful memories from the 80s and 90s of sock yarns being stringy and awful.

then last february, because i had a blog and was reading other bloggers’ sock yarn ecstasies, i caved and started trying some commercial stuff. and some of them are nice. i tried some more. so now i have a small stash. really.

see? it all fits very nicely into this small-ish tub with room to spare on top. and i don’t have plans to buy much for a while—this will be fine for the next few months. i need to knit down that handspun.

the only problem is which to use first? i love them ALL. if i allowed it, there would be 6 different socks going at once, and none of them getting done. i learned my lesson this past year, and am trying to keep my sock WIPs to two-at-a-time (and already failing i might add . . .)

i have a feeling it might be one of the new spunky eclectic yarns next, but i dunno. i could really use something with alpaca in it right now, so it could be the alpaca/wool twist yarn i spun last summer.

or, those two skeins of the new colinette jitterbug. i am thinking i might just venture into kneesox (or at least very high sox) with those.
but then, i haven’t knit with any Briar Rose yarn in a few months and i have 6 skeins that are begging for attention.

this is the problem with stash. i spend too much time daydreaming over it instead of knitting, and the sox just end up looking like this

tonight i went to a knit group with martina at the library that i had not been to before. and she agreed to model the smokin’ sox for a photo shoot, so i took her up on it, as she does have lovely narrow feet and ankles that are much more photo-worthy than my own

so, for those who have been wondering what the smokin’ pattern looks like on the foot, here you have it. of course, this means i also have a shot that will be perfect for the pattern cover, so i will get that together and post it in the morning.

red heart yarn

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, projects, spinning and fiber, Uncategorized

what else can it be named? this isn’t all of it either—this is just the best shot (i love the way it appears to be reclining back on the sheepskin . . . (eye roll) . . . what a diva).

i have two weights; a sample of lace-y weight (on the right) and then the sock weight. when i look close, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference

but when i see it hanging, or in a hank, i can tell. surprisingly, it was easier to achieve consistency at spinning the finer yarn. i will definitely be spinning a laceweight yarn in the near future from this columbia. the fiber really surprised me; from the top i had, i thought it was going to be fairly close in temperament to the BFL, but it isn’t at all.

first off, it does make a lovely, soft yarn, but not as poofy as the BFL—the fibers are straighter but not more stiff. i have not tried spinning the undyed fiber, but that would probably be a worthy experiment.

the yarn is silkier than the BFL, and has a beautiful drape—where BFL is robust and looks like it wants to burst out of itself, the columbia is sleek and quiet. it sailed through the dyeing without felting, taking in the color deeply and evenly, while remaining soft and pliable. the BFL resists dye a little more i think, keeping white patches hidden away inside, and doesn’t seem to become as saturated in color.

once i had those red skeins up and drying i started in on this

this is actually two different fibers (no kidding??). on the left is leftovers of BFL that i dyed in a rose quartz color last summer for another project. i like pink, but i like pink and gray (or brown) together even more. i decided to make a 2-color twist sock yarn using this locally raised romney in a natural brown/gray with the leftover pink.

it’s not my favorite romney (that title would go to beckie’s wool—beckie of the gorgeous shetland fleece fame), but it’s very nice and i have a bunch of it, so i’ll use some here.

unfortunately, i’ve gone off romney a little (except for beckie’s)—it’s hard to find any that isn’t too scratchy. i like spinning it, but then knitting with it isn’t as fun. it’s better when it’s mixed with something else. usually i card it together with something and mixing the fibers makes a softer yarn.

but this time i am spinning the two separately—i haven’t tried that yet and i’m curious to see if i like it.

i had a chance to spend a few hours on the starlight evening wrap last night and the night before. i know this excites you to an unreasonable degree; you’ve been wanting a glimpse, and i’ve said mum about it for quite a while.

ok, i admit it, i was hiding behind my christmas knitting as an excuse. in actuality i just couldn’t make up my mind what to do next with it. i have this vision of a long, sweeping stole that ends in a 12-inch band of some spectacular lace panel, with a sawtoothed edging to fringe it off.

i just want it to be drop-dead stunning—is that too much to ask??

so naturally, after combing every single one of my stitch and lace books, i came up with NOTHING (ok, so my middle name is dissatisfied—that’s just not a good enough excuse . . .). finally last night i had it narrowed down to a couple of choices. i decided to pick one and see what happens. i won’t feel bad if i have to rip out and do something diffferent.

this isn’t a situation where a swatch does me a whole lotta good, unfortunately. we are talking LARGE motif here, so in effect, the stole IS the swatch, at least for the next 30 rows or so. i am giddy with anticipation, and at the same time, i am already suspicious that it won’t be just right.

this is normal—lace patterns (and many other kinds of stitches, too) look horrible in the first few rows off the needles, and i am always sure i made a wrong decision once i’ve picked one (we don’t need to talk now talk about how often i am right about that . . .).
i’ve learned to suck it up and knit at least a whole repeat, and preferable two if the pattern is smaller. lace, maybe more than other stitches, needs to be seen as a completed picture to be appreciated. and this almost always includes blocking too (though it is possible to fake blocking for the sake of getting a good look, and i have been known to take that shortcut . . .).

so now, without further rambling, i shall head off to explore the shores of my evening wrap.

just full of distraction . . .

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in projects, spinning and fiber, Uncategorized

as it approaches, i think of the weekend as a luxuriously long stretch of time in which i will get caught up and accomplish much. on friday night, i immediately begin to rationalize, wanting instead to just veg, or to cook a good meal. saturday, i take a little extra time with each task, allowing myself to be a little lazy, or to put off one thing and then another—”just til sunday” (cough . . . including this post, which is WAY long delayed . . . i swear, i kept meaning to do it . . .).

and then, of course, sunday night comes.
i find myself wishing i had used the two days a little better, or more efficiently, because indeed, so many things on my “list” are well . . . still on my list.

and here it is monday morning—the days off already seem far in the past.

it would be easy to whine about working all weekend and say i didn’t get anything at all done (which is what i almost wrote this morning). but then i took my camera on a little trip around the house and found that i had done plenty else, and that in fact, some of what i did was relaxing, fun, and personally rewarding. (and unrelated to my job).

friday night we worked a little late, and i caught up on some paperwork. because i had gone for a haircut that afternoon, and driven right by the italian market on the way home, AND stopped to pick up ingredients, we had all the stuff to make pizza.

mmmm—nothing like starting the weekend off right. i adore pizza.

by the time we did that, and cleaned up (well, david cleaned up), it was time to head upstairs to relax, knit, and watch TV. i finished up one gray mitt and started the second—these will go into the prize pool for the blogiversary drawing.

the yarn is a fuzzy, lustrous gray alpaca handspun that i knit a sweater from two years ago. this yarn has weight—so these are dense and warm. i went with the small size, and the heavier yarn is producing a slightly larger glove, which is perfect for one-size-fits-all (i still used size 2 needles).
i like the cables running all the way through. if you have this pattern and want to do the same, simply cast on 52 stitches to get started instead of 48, and establish the cable pattern on needle one as described in the section AFTER the ribbing, while working the K2, P2 rib over all the other stitches.

and speaking of mitts, stephanie has been experimenting with the delicato mitts and has made them in a beautiful alpaca yarn gifted to her by her husband. now, they did come out a little loose on her delicately proportioned hand, but this problem can easily be fixed by using smaller needles, or finer yarn. i myself like mitts to fit snugly, though that is never much of an option on my rather more amazonian appendages.
(you know that really big guy that stands along the the highways, offering up an enormous muffler in his hands? yeah. my hands are like that).

it tried to snow all weekend, first in a very pretty way on saturday, then in a weak, gray, flabby way on sunday. today, the snow seems to be finding its strength, and it is actually accumulating out there.

see? you can now only glimpse the tips of the dry grass.

saturday i had classes (yoga for me, purses and sweates for them), and i worked on smokin’ sock two while i taught. i didn’t think you’d need to see a picture of those again yet,

but then, when i put them side by side and saw how happy they look together, i knew you would want to share the moment. they are approaching the final run, and i couldn’t be happier.
and since i had to be at my desk all day on sunday, these guys saw a little airtime too.

i know. you can’t tell. (but it makes the sock happy to appear once in a while, so keep a lid on it).

i have spinning news too, and some progress on the starlight evening wrap. but i think i’ll save that for tomorrow. this is getting awfully long and i feel like i’m not making any one point. i’m allowing myself to get distracted here and, speaking of the starlight wrap, i think i need to attend to that now. . .

freakin’ friday

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in projects, spinning and fiber, Uncategorized

fridays are rough for us.
work-related communication usually takes on a frenetic keening quality just after lunch, which crescendoes into a volcanic spewing and spitting of distress while everyone at the office scrambles to get things done before the weekend.
it’s hard to feel like i get any of my own work done on friday—there are necessary interruptions, and people who need to talk, you know, because they are stressed or because there is a crisis. and then there is a meeting or two in which a few people decide that many tedious parts of our work will change globally—across all six volumes of the project we are involved in right now. oy!
around 5pm, everyone else’s “done” work starts coming to us. it often feels like a landslide.
what can i say? yay.
i feel like a wrung-out dishrag.

unfortunately, i do not get to drop stuff off with others and leave til monday. i work on the weekend because i am “offsite” and because i have monday “off”—i teach all day monday at the LYS. i don’t mind so much though; it’s always quiet on my weekend work days, and i get tons accomplished. it’s refreshing and satisfying. i don’t have to be at my desk at any certain time—i can stop at 5 pm instead of 6 if i want. i can cook, and leave things simmering while i work. it’s rather nice.

i’m lucky to have a job with flexibility; the flip side of that is a little chaos at times. it has to balance out somewhere. (this is me, giving myself a pep talk)

by this hour, i am SO craving the comforts of wool. let’s see what we can do about that.

first off, we LOVE the new socks. math whiz socks rock. i’m having trouble getting the color to represent well in pictures, but not worried enough about it to deny you a peek

just look at all those sexy right-triangles (who says creative types can’t be good at math). and, i like the way the yarn is working up. because well, i am by no stretch of the imagination a Dyer. i am totally not disciplined for that at this time, nor do i have an area to set up and control the process properly. i get a lot of blotchy yarn when i dye, and this skein was no exception. but it is working up very nicely and, (knock wood) there is so far no evidence of pooling. so i’m pretty chuffed about that part.

these are my late-night comfort project right now. i am budgeting my time of working on them, because if i didn’t i would abandon all else. but i’m being good—i only work on them for about an hour, just before bed. the rest of the time i am finishing up mitts and the smokin’ sox.

which are looking might-ay, might-ay good too

go on—give ’em a squeeze. i know you want to . . .
seriously though, i am trucking along on this second one. i dunno what i was whining about. this one is not going too slowly, the way i’d imagined it would. ask debbie—i was whining about sock two of this pair. as in i don’ WAnna make another one . . .

of course, socks just fall off the needles when i actually WORK on them. and it turns out, it’s just the perception i have in the middle of sock one, that there is still a whole lotta sock knittin’ still to go. sock two always goes so much faster for me.

my name is anne, and i have FIRST SOCK syndrome.

i’ve been keeping up the spinning too—it’s a natural. i dug into that red fiber the other night and spun up a whole bobbin and a half of thin singles for sock yarn (for the non-spinners, that’s a lot if you spin fine, like for sox or lace . . .).

i had entertained the idea of making some lace-y weight yarn with it, because the color is so stunning. i did some sampling

but i wasn’t exactly in the mood, even though this fiber does make a delicious fine yarn. it’s very soft and lustrous, and doesn’t want to be too cushy—it has potential for a nice drapey yarn.

BTW, this is columbia fiber that was a gift from steve (hi steve!!). he bought debbie and i a little fiber last year . . . i dyed some recently and knew right away this was slated to be sock yarn.
i mean, i can just picture this knit up into a torrid little lace stocking, can’t you?

i can always dye some more for the lace yarn—i mean, it’s not like i don’t have enough.

so that’s all i have today for a post i’m really idgety to get away from the computer.

if you came looking for the blogoversary information, go here to look at the prize pool, and click the button in the sidebar to send an entry. much thanks to all who have emailed me with good wishes, comments, and entries. i am flabbergasted at the response.