sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lambtown in Dixon, CA 2007

We made it out to Lambtown in Dixon on Saturday, despite 2 hours in traffic and 95F degree heat. Arriving late in the day, there were only a few sheep victims of the shearing demonstrations to see (though I promised my son we were braving the weather to go to "the sheep show") :)


Supposedly, this year's Lambtown was much smaller than normal and had some cookoff issues. It was held in a park behind Dixon City Hall (as opposed to the larger fairgrounds), and didn't include the sheep dog trials or shearing competition (only scheduled demonstrations). The vendor list was also small, maybe 40 booths-- several of which had nothing to do with fiber or spinning (sunglasses, hawaiian vacations, cheap plastic toys and poppers, etc.) Doesn't mean I didn't pick up a few things, though.

Recycled silk yarn, approx 200gm

This will eventually be another sunburst sling bag. I think it's awfully amusing that as much as I disliked the recycled silk yarn I used the first time, I went back to the same retailer and bought more. Admittedly, this isn't quite the same, but I may be whining about the yarn later. I still really like my hairy red recycled silk bag though, and mom has always admired it/glancingly asked for it. The new gold one (for me!) will have a wider, shorter strap to help offset the amount of stuff I can carry in the bag (like the last dye session's 2.5lbs of roving I took outside for photos) and the consequent stretch.

Superwash merino roving, 4 oz "penngrove purples" (color off, much more royal, no blue)

Lovely roving, but I can't capture purples with my camera. Superwash = socks :)

Susanne's 4" glove length double pointed needles, ebony

My favorite needles for toddler socks. I mistakenly said these were 5" on the Stash & Burn podcast, they're actually 4". I also liked this length when knitting the fingers for my knucks.

Also picked up...

my "semele" handspun 3-ply with a 3rd place ribbon
category: 100% wool, plied
remarks: "terrific color. spinning is great except for a few spots that are too thin."

I'm pleased as punch. I pulled this skein from my stash and entered it on a whim, and am happy that the judge's remarks hit on exactly what I think is my weakness in spinning (that I tend to spin too thinly). The 1st place winner in my category also took the best in show overall (beautiful handdyed BFL spun on a spindle), and it was just neat seeing lots of different types of handspun up close with the judge's notes on each. Mine was definitely the largest skein (yardage and weight wise), I wonder if people spun just for the competition?

I also really enjoyed watching bits and pieces of the national spinning competition-- I wasn't always sure what they were attempting, but I was surprised to see many using my embarrassed-to-admit short draw method (PDF!) for spinning. I only saw two spinners using long draw(PDF!), but to watch they didn't seem to actually be that much faster yardage-wise and seemed to have less technically perfect yarn than the inchers. Who knows, but as a self-taught spinner it was good to see I didn't have to be too embarrassed about how I achieve the results I'm happiest with, even though I always want to learn more. I even broke out and started spinning the naturally colored llama/merino from, inspired by the daytrip.

Good times :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

etsy friday

Usually my posts on etsy friday consist of a picture (maybe two) and a little bit of my impression of an item I've bought on etsy. Today'll be a little more picture intense, but you'll see why I couldn't just stop at one.

Small project pouch set from

Next time you see me, just tell me I'm not a tomboy anymore :) I just absolutely love using handmade bags to house my current knitting projects, and the bags from piddleloop are just awesome and feed that need in me. Bags keep everything together (yarn, needles, patterns, notions), help keep center pull balls from falling apart, and just look better stacked on my desk than 4 wips with needles and patterns everywhere.

I've known of Jen and Wendy's store for a long time-- piddleloop attaches stitchmarkers from "local" (etsy) stores on their bags' zippers, including stitch markers from my store, zeromarkers. It isn't to say I give them to the piddleloop team, or that I even sell them at a discount-- Jen quietly buys markers from my shop like everyone else, and sends them along with her bag orders without really advertising (before you buy a bag) that she does-- one of the little surprises from the piddleloop sewing team. You can check out the post about stitch marker and etsy love on the piddleloop blog (yes, I'm biased... you can see some of mine there :))

Their blog was the thing that had me all crazy about this particular bag-- Jen had posted a cryptic shot of a finished bag and I near on lost my mind with want (story of my recent life). Jen had no more of the loteria fabric, but went on some crazy manhunt and found fellow etsyhead azaleaSTUDIO with a single yard for sale, snapped it up and made this bag set custom for crazy me.

The end.*

Well, aside from the set! :) Let's just sift on thru the pics I've taken of the bag, eh?


You can order your bag with a grommet at no extra charge. I have to admit I bothered Jen via email no less than five times "reminding" her I'd really, really like a grommet... the idea with it is you can knit without unzipping the bag if you like by threading the start of your work thru the hole. You can't remove it (and say, put another project inside) by "tying" it to the bag, but it's just a really interesting idea. For as much as I begged for it, I haven't used the grommet yet :)


Piddleloop hooked me up with this sweet ribbon handle, knitting hands silkscreened on the light blue satin. I haven't seen this ribbon on their bags for sale (yes Virginia, I subscribe to their rss feed)... but in any case its a little hint as to what's inside.

Speaking of inside, let's go!


It's hard to capture, but the amount the bag can hold is surprisingly large. (That's my unfinished Everlasting Bagstopper inside-- a 100gm skein's worth of Euroflax Linen knit into a loose fabric and not even taking up half the space inside). The bag is lined with a coordinating fabric and has interfacing between the layers, same with the 4x6 pouch.

Deeper down the rabbit hole...


Pocket on one side, and...


...elastic needle/hook holder on the other. The little extra details inside make me think this would work well not just as a project bag, but say a notions or a knitting accessory bag as well. I have more than one set of needles for the elastic holder, but the few crochet hooks I have would slip in nicely there while my needle box and roll could hang out in the main body of the bag... my notions box in the pocket. Just thinking out loud, no bad ideas here ;)

edit, 7/27: Sherry W let me know in the comments that her double pointed holders work well in conjunction with the elastic needle holder-- slip needles in and pop the holders over. Really good idea, since I have several of her dpn protectors and just the other day was wishing I'd carried a spare set of needles with me, losing one needle forever on transit and not having enough to keep knitting. (The horror!) Thanks Sherry :)

Since we're already inside and you know you like the up the skirt shots...

IMG_4787 of finishing and grommet from the inside. I don't sew but with anything handmade (like, 99% of what I buy on etsy!) I always am super critical looking at the finishing touches on an item. I don't know what's right, but I can see if it's wrong. The attention to detail and finishing is awesome to my eye.

For those of you curious about the size, a size comparison shot of the piddleloop bag next to the JapaneseHandmadeEtc bag (my son really wanted me to take a pic of *his*)...


They're both great. I can't wait to sew the (bad choice of) ribbon onto my everlasting bagstopper so Hanami can sit in my new loteria bag instead of being shoved unceremoniously on the side of my desk. :)

Besides the super great stitch markers attached to the bags, piddleloop also includes really sweet little surprises with each bag they sell. Also, notice the adorable sheep and horse (?) buttons above from my inside pics? Jen sent me a bunch of these as promos for her store on top of the ones that adorn the inside, so I'll be sending them along with new orders from my store til they run out. (They're all handmade as well, buttons and handstamped promos).

I really love connecting with people who appreciate and "practice" handmade-- piddleloop sources many things from other etsy sellers, writes about etsy and handmade on their blog, and practice it in their products and even their promos. I dig it a lot, and it makes me love my bag even more.

They will do custom work, so you can contact them thru etsy for more info on their sold items or if you have an idea in mind. Very easy to work with-- I appreciate how up front they were about the custom process and how it all came together, just as I'd hoped. Yay :)

You know, I didn't mean for this to be a one-item etsy friday, but it feels this is a good place to wind down. So there you go, have a good weekend! :)

* edit, 7/30: jen let me know that she's scored 4 more yards of the loteria fabric from etsy and can take custom orders for bags in it, and will have some for sale in their shop eventually. woo!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

blame it on the weather

For the past two days in my neck of the Bay Area, the overcast sky and misty weather has everyone and everything a little off.

I'm wearing socks with my shoes...


...and my son needs a jacket outside.


I'm playing my milli vanilli card and admitting that I have cast on for a new project...


...and that I have a more than a sweater quantity's worth of yarn heading my way, thanks to the Debbie Bliss sale** at Little Knits.

Hope it holds :)

* pressed amber stitch marker from my etsy shop, will be adding round shapes and more of these nugget shapes later on. you can convo me for a reserved set-- very light even though they're relatively large.

** free shipping to US for orders of +$125, 50% off int'l shipping for orders +$150 with "debbie7" code.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Colors and voices

Totally in love with the colors in my recent handspun purple stockinette socks, I broke out the dyepot this weekend and dyed some more "glass" roving (twice-dyed superwash merino). I was still feeling the Ovid and Bulfinch inspiration, so went with that again.

All (except noted) are currently for sale in my etsy shop, zeromarkers.

"glass amphitrite"

"glass daphne"

"glass atalanta"

"glass phaeton"

"glass nyctimene"

"glass ariadne"
(may keep this one, can't capture the color well enough for pictures to sell)

"glass eurydice"

"glass baucis"

"glass philemon"

(baucis and philemon were dyed separately but have similar coloring. baucis has more plum red, while philemon has more royal and overall purples.)

...on a billy the kid note, check out the most recent Stash and Burn podcast if you ever wanted to hear what it sounds like when I say, "uh..." :) Krista did a much better job under the gun, and Jenny and Nicole were really good at keeping it going. (They sound *just* like their podcast, so I must sound like that... as much as I don't think I do. Didn't know rolling on and off the tongue could be so fun :))

Monday, July 23, 2007

simple stockinettes

I felt like I hadn't completed anything in ages (despite the time invested in Hanami), so I banged out the stockinette on the go socks I always seem to have around.

Handspun stockinette socks, toe up
76 st CO, 14 st between toe/heel (Priscilla Gibson-Roberts short row method)
2-ply handspun from superwash merino roving, hand dyed by me for my etsy store
US 0/2.0mm dpns, 4
Started: late May? 2007
Finished: July 20, 2007

Nothing like a surprise deadline to squeeze it out of you. I wasn't really feeling the yarn, I feel like I spun it way too thinly (and it was a reminder that I still am not able to control the weight of the yarn I am spinning, and that it varies across the superwash merino I spin the most of). I am however really pleased with how the colors turned out... I dyed the roving with 3 shades of purples, and love the ultimate effect of the colors on themselves and against the white background of the roving.

I am still a huge fan of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and her short row method...



Both the toe and heel are hers, as well as the cuff bindoff. I haven't mentioned before, but my way of knitting the short rows, at least the order, is different than PGR's. On the first row of turning the heel/toe (when working the YOs together), I knit to the 1st attached pair of sts, knit into the 1st st (a live st, not a YO), turn, YO and purl to the next pair. I then purl into the attached st, slip the next 2 sts separately as if to knit, replace & p2togtbl. Turn, YO and work as written. I also omit the YOs at the ends of the needles, opting to either pick up the bar and m1 or by picking up lower sts as directed by Charlene Schurch in Sensational Knitted Socks.

has a wonderful pictorial you can follow as you read PGR, as Simple Socks can be a little confusing at times.

My favorite picture of these socks:

(for what's seen and not.)

I'll be back tomorrow with a picture and color heavy post, but for now a quickie...


See you then! :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

etsy friday

I predict this will be a gooood day. Woken out of an odd dream at 430am by an *earthquake,* it can't be anything but good, right? :)
[edit, 7/21: i was right, BEST day in a month :) thanks.]

Necklace/pendant made from dyed stingray leather by

Yes, its really made from dead stingray. I was a little, huh? about UNEARTHED's shop when I found it, they make beautiful jewelry pieces from quite exotic leathers, but...? I was a no-kill vegetarian for years, years ago and though I love me some meat now... stingray? I can still feel that viscous underwater slide of stingray skin on my fingertips, the "touch me" displays at the aquarium zoo always being my favorite. I felt okay about this purchase after reading their profile about their leather sourcing, enough to pick up this bumpy beauty. It is so cool, but almost comically large.


Awesome for some dropdead outfits with a lower neckline, but maybe a little too large for me to wear on the outside of a tshirt (my threadless super mario/magritte one today! yay :)) The necklace was included with the pendant, beautiful and a great deal for the set imo.

Transformers Notecards from
(My pics of her cards never turn out well! They look super awesome and crisp.)

Okay... going from way cool thing to holy m-f*er I can't believe how rad these are things. I may have mentioned before that I was quite the tomboy growing up, and I have given a bit of a hint as to my hoarding collector nature, above and beyond the yarn thing. Thinking back, the first thing I ever ever collected were Transformers. My sister and I always received the *same* outfits in different sizes from our family, but the toys were where you could tell us apart. She'd squeal with every My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch doll and accessory... me? It was ALL Transformers, all the time. I wish I still had them, and more than that I wish I could tell you how much (alone) time I spent playing with them. Usually I buy cards at least thinking of the recipient as well as my own aesthetic, but these are all about me :)

They may look familiar, because I never ever can get enough of April's cards... like I said last time, I buy more from April than anyone else on etsy. This is also a case of where you need to look at her flickr stream-- she's listed the Optimus Prime card/prints in her shop, but has a BUNCH of Transformers images she can make into cards just waiting for you in her flickr portfolio.

I love all sorts of cards though, if Transformers aren't your bag (blasphemy!)...

left to right:
bubbles lithograph by
quoth the raven by
fabric "sock" monkey postcard by

The "sock" monkey card by twoquiltingbs is actually a fabric postcard-- the base fabric is a print of the traditional stockinette tweed, with button eyes and a slightly puffy mouth. Not quite like the og sock monkey postcard, but this one can hold more love as its handmade and in the now, as opposed to way back and not :) The bubbles card by baileybowls is a litho print, so nice and textured-- the print is attached to the card. (The bailybowls shop is full of beautiful ceramic pieces). Finally, the raven card is from another of my favorite etsy sellers-- time2cre8. If you've ever purchased from my shop (and, why not? Kelli calls them crack stitch markers :)), you've received a tiny envelope, made from a recycled atlas map with my business card and a gift inside. MaryLou of time2cre8 makes each of those envelopes by hand, and does lots and lots of other great things with paper medium in her shop like the "quoth" card. She's got quote/captioned cards in octopi, platypi... meese... :)

Speaking of plurals...

"Supernatural" whipped shea butter lotion from
(with octopus tag from time2cre8)

Frost Fish Cove Soaps sent me a sample of their "supernatural" lotion with my last (but not final!) soap order and I fell in love. Like I said when I tried out Kristi's *amazing* body butters, I don't really get into buying lotions from etsy because I worry about their textures and scent. With the Frost Fish, their sample was thick and light, felt good and absorbed even better. FF was also able to make the full size into the scent I really liked from their soap-- "wholesome blend" (a sharp, maybe minty, orange). I liked the sample and like the full product... I've never tried anything like handwhipped shea butter as a moisturizer in my life (or even heard of it) and here I've found two awesome shops on etsy making it. :)

The winner of the JapaneseHandmadeEtc box purse? would like to congratulate Alison :) Don't forget Satomi can do custom/reserved box bag listings for you if you see bags in her sold items from her shop that you like more than the ones she has listed. Love all of mine still, packing one for my playdate later today.

If you haven't already, take the time to browse the etsy shop recommendations/links in the contest's comments. I was amazed at some shops I haven't seen, purchased a few things, and my etsy world got a little smaller with all of your headsups. Thanks for playing along with Satomi and me!

...and the Interweave Book Hurt Sale has restocked. They keep adding items and they sell out; Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning has been available-not-available-not for the past 2 days. It may be worth it to check back on those that aren't easily purchased thru amazon (since you're paying shipping, it may be less expensive just to buy thru amazon if you're making only one purchase, shipping starts at 4.95 + 1 add'l). Sherry received her IK order (already?! where's my mailman!)... and is also having a shipping sale on her double pointed knitting needle protectors in her etsy shop this upcoming Saturday. Love mine, those are going on the playdate too :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

summer and knitters at Article Pract

I don't think I've ever enjoyed summers as much as I do right now. So much potential, so much and so little to do. This past weekend I spent some time with Krista, Jenny and Nicole at Article Pract and then went to check out Krista's really neat studio space (dude, smells like art class!) while recording a podcast for Stash and Burn. The best part? Gossiping with knitters... dishing about who's knitting what, the knitting hive mind, exclusivity pairing with consumerism-- just talking *knitting*! Aside from my keyboard I don't really share about knitting, just no place to really. So this was such a treat, even without pics or even knitting :)

We met up at Article Pract, my favorite LYS in the East Bay. It must have been a long time since I've been there, because there were lots of new-to-me sock yarns: Nature's Palette, Artyarns Ultramerino 4 (not really a sock yarn, but I'll use mine for socks one day), Article Pract exclusive colorways by an indie dyer (I didn't catch the name)... they may have stopped carrying Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (I didn't see any), but they did have the sport. The koigu wall was there as always (changed colors though!), and even though Koigu Kersti is on their super secret 20% sale I didn't pick any up (every month, the staff picks an item and its on 20% sale... you can get on the AP mailing list via yahoo groups to let you know what's up-- its always good stuff they choose.)

I did pick up a few things, despite the fact I need no more fiber in my life...


Silk Hankies, dyed by Curious Creek Fibers
(I braved transit with the toddler on Tuesday to pick up the 2nd pic's worth, loving it so)

I've been slooooowly spinning these into some Ariadne thin thread, and I love it.


(Not always this even but pretty much this thin throughout)

Really though, this thin? I know if has to be lace, but this even 2-plied will be thinner than any laceweight yarn I've seen. I originally want to knit it as a single, but its so thin... I'm having a blast spinning though-- very different than anything else I've tried. (I started with help from twosheep's silk hankie tutorial, knitty has one as well.) If I were learning to spin on a spindle, I think this would be the fiber I'd want to learn on-- you do all the predrafting so when you start spinning, its just the twist you're worrying about. Like skipping ahead to good stuff of spinning, or something.

Nature's Palette, "zinfandel"

Nicole asked me what this was dyed with-- the label only says "zinfandel" and if this yarn was dyed with WINE... dude! Even so, awesome color. I think Krista said Louet Gems Pearl is the base, so this'll be a set of Cookie socks as all of her patterns take advantage of that awesome base yarn.

I'm under a bit of a purple influence lately (obviously)...

Louet Euroflax Fine/Sportweight, "eggplant"
(20% off :))

This'll be a Saturday Market Bag with disdressed's mods, or something similar. Anyone have rec's? I spotted a new free string bag pattern, knit in green and I think in a pdf file, somewhere in blogland last week and can't find it again... I love my sari bag (though it still is shedding and needs a new shave, along with other loves...), but I've been toying with the idea of knitting a new Sunburst Sling Bag from fabric strips. This idea's been ramped up since stumbling into the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse and finding bookshelves heavily laden with silk fabric sample bags for $4 (what a fun place, also found lots of camera guts whose lenses and insides would likely make beautiful jewelry, at least 100 lbs of slides that would be great mounted on greeting cards, discovered that my grandma's a ROKKOR, and this beauty that I don't even want to know if it is what I think it is...)


I held off, need to finish Hanami first, then a new purple linen sling bag, THEN pounds of sliced silk-- that's what I kept telling myself, anyway :) Speaking of, my Hanami's crawling along:


The transition between basketweave and falling flowers is elegant, will look great across the back when worn. I don't know if I'll ever wear it though... when I started, I thought I'd dye the entire stole once knit, but I love the white and can't bear that thought now. Finished though, I think it looks too formal, too bridal (though, all lace will look that way on me). Who knows, it's enjoyable and has me even aquiver over anne's bee fields shawl, or really, *all* of anne's shawl patterns... :)

Back Friday with a winner for the etsy contest!

Friday, July 13, 2007

etsy friday abbreviated one, anyway :) Summer just makes everything slow down, I haven't even updated my shop for over a week. Spent too much time dragging my feet at the farmer's market this morning and its back outside again for me and the boy, with a pocketful of these and some lace. Maybe meeting some local grrls this weekend will help jumpstart me out of my languid state... pics if I don't forget the camera (and they're down!)

"good for amusement only" pendant/necklace from

Self-deprecating and been thru a lot of hands-- just like me ;) Really though, Old Soul Jewel has a bunch of great necklaces she makes from vintage coins and watch parts. I've skimmed her shop several times (really like the aztec coins)... but this one is as me as it comes.

Cards and postcards from

Trevor Luckman Photography just started offering cards and postcards from his prints-- they're quality gloss printed on cardstock, not photographs mounted on cards, more of a "traditional" card (I like all kinds). They're also ridiculously reasonably priced, good thing since I couldn't decide between the yellow and red ladybug and the balance girl.

You'll want to scroll if you don't want to ruin the surprise...

Cards made from cutouts of a Japanese toy collectible book and Godzilla memorabilia catalog, by

Obsidian Kitten makes some rad one of a kind cutout cards... her store is *filled* with rockstars like these. Some are themed, while others are blank (like mine). Best yet, she packaged the cards in a catalog page, and she's a knitter (check out her banner!) :) [edit: some images in shop mature content only]

...and I mentioned a contest in my last post :)

Yall know I'm a small box purse fan, they're perfect for taking sock projects with me and also just keeping them all organized so I don't lose needles or patterns in the maw of my desk. Satomi of JapaneseHandmadeEtc is back in full swing making her small pouches again after her relocation to the US, and would like to give one away to a winner next Friday. It really is beautiful, some pictures of the prize:



Vintage brocade with peonies print bag by JapaneseHandmadeEtc
photos courtesy of JHE

I love pictures that show the insides and details of things-- you can see that the purse is reversible (as all of her pouches are), and the construction is superb. (All of my photos are uploaded full size to flickr, click to enlarge). She's also taking custom orders/reservations if you see items in her sold items list that you like and aren't currently listed-- she's really great to work with.

What to do to win? Simple! Leave me a comment in this post with a link to something you like on etsy-- a shop, an item, a blog post mentioning etsy. It can be a shop you really like, it can be your shop, it can be an item you found today or one that's lingered in your favorites list, a post you wrote about etsy... anything! It'll be a random draw (so you don't need to link my shop ;)), and I'll announce the winner next (etsy) Friday. Satomi will ship directly to you, so please be sure there's a blog address or good email addy with your comment to contact you at if you win.

I'll start, even though I'm not entering... I'm in love with, just found the shop a few days ago. The photography is at once haunting, revolting, fascinating-- all in a good way. I get this pit of my stomach feeling and it feels like love, feels like sickness. I'm confused and I love it. Wish they had cards (I think I will end up purchasing 4x6's and using them as postcards).

You can also always check up on other shops I've loved/featured in my past etsy friday posts, too :)

Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

freeing up bobbins

Superwash merino handspun, 3 ply
300 yd/4 oz

These singles had hung out on the bobbins long enough... I keep looking over at my ever growing fiber stash and thinking I wanted to spin something new, but first had to finish plying this one.


It is looking less yellow in pictures than it is in real life, though that just may be my monitor (I haven't hooked up my lcd yet to the new rig). It reminds me of waterlilies, less like the original roving... more subdued.

It is nice, but with 2 handspun projects on the needles and another rattling around my brain, I know I won't knit it up anytime soon... so I listed it for sale in my etsy shop. Not a big deal if it doesn't sell, harder to put a price on it than it was to list! :) I'll be back friday with know... as well as a contest. A few more pics til then...




(if you're interested in the yarn, i'll pay for shipping-- just put "blog" in the order comments & i'll send you a revised invoice. stitch markers purchased at the same time will also have free shipping.)

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