sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Friday, February 29, 2008

etsy friday

This is one of the most exciting fibers I've come across in a LONG time (short of the Polwarth, but those thoughts are too daring to share...) and I can't. get. a. good. photo. I mean, like this one...

"Raven" batts by

...I hang stuff outside the window all the time, but the sunlight's working against me. See, the batt is made of a true black superwash merino that's carded with glitz and purple/magenta sari silk fibers-- but you don't really get the depth of the black even though you can see the sari silk okay.

And this one...

"Raven" batts by

...with a flash, the black is true but some of the sari silk and definitely a good chunk of the glitz is washed out and lost.

So this is as close as I've come...

"Raven" batts by

but, *it's not it.* It's somewhere between all three and even still not.

Backing up, why am I so excited? One of the nicest vendors on etsy, Enchanted Knoll, is selling this amazing blend based on the colors of "blackbirds"-- araucuna, phoenix and raven. Each is made off of a base of black-black superwash merino and carded with the corresponding birds' colors and depth... my raven batts are made with purple and magenta sari silks and glitz, while phoenix' emphasis is on gold/red and araucuna's is green. As soon as I read the dx I was sold... and am SO glad I was :)

I could go on, but I've just finished plying the yarn I made from these batts, so next week I'll go on and on and on then, instead :) Josette is great to work with for special requests-- if she doesn't have these listed in her shop, I'm sure she'll help you out if you contact her.

Keep coming back to this vendor, too...

Sugar body scrubs by

For the holiday season, you may remember that I picked up sample sized scrubs and bath salts from Sweet Spice (and some body scrubs for myself). I don't know about the bath salts, but the scrubs are just awesome so I stocked up after using mine for the past months... Mike said they look good enough to eat, and for reals they do! The sangria scent I've been using recently is so cool... made with cranberry seeds :) I am pretty sure almost all of Sweet Spice's ingredients are organic, a plus on an already nice shop.

I just visited SweetSpice and saw that she (five times fast!) is having a leap year sale on all cocktail scented items, 29% off for the 29th... you can check her shop's announcement for more details. If I didn't have four new jars in my cabinet I'd be jumping on that :)

Shannon was also kind enough to send me a sugar cookie scented "shea stick" sample with my order-- and FOR REALS it smells *just* like sugar cookies! See, my local market has been carrying these incredibly soft sugar cookies piled with pink frosting and sprinkles and I try not to get suckered in but always am so really, I *know* my sugar cookie smell :) The shea stick goes on slightly grainy but melts immediately on contact with skin; the stick form is really clever-- you push up from the bottom and the stick rises, less mess.

A little thicker shea butter concoction...

Whipped shea butter by

Okay, I think this is the last thing I have purchased from Frost Fish Cove Soaps to share, I promise :) (Except for tubes of lipbalm, but those are lost in the recesses of winter coats so I don't think they'll show up here...) I purchased this tub of scented shea butter from Frost Fish with my last big order just b/c I hadn't tried it before and it's really well priced... I like it, but getting into warmer weather (wishful thinking), I haven't been needing it or using it much. Still, super scent and heavy-thick... if my groundhog wishes don't come true, I'll be pulling it out sooner than later :)


My etsy pick of the week (from an etsy seller who has purchased from my shop) is actually two items from String Theory Fiber Art... alpaca roving and silk laceweight dyed in the same colorway-- "love." It's all about the love and subsets these past days :)

Alpaca roving from
(photo by STFA)

Silk laceweight by
(photo by STFA)

I can't help but look at this combination and think (undoubtedly inspired by the lovefest I've been substituting with Intertwined on my off-days) of spinning the alpaca into a single and plying the laceweight with the alpaca for a wrapped single, throwing some coils in there for good measure... the alpaca's tendency to grow would probably be reined in with these treatments, and... it IS called LOVE yall. There'd even probably be enough laceweight left over for a smaller shawl, too.

If I weren't choked with new fiber from Stitches West, it's what I'd be doing right now :) As far as fiber goes anyways ;)

String Theory Fiber Art also has a sweet shipping deal-- free shipping on orders of $40 or more.

Nice way to jump into the weekend, even if it won't be near as good as the last. Miss you!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stitches West 2008

I had the best Stitches West weekend to date :) Sore, drained and hair left in knots... but what a great time! I took the Stitch and Ride train down, had a wonderful seatmate (whose Megaboots Stretch socks-in-progress were gorgeous!) and finished up a chemo cap the on the ride. The best part? I finished and the ladies around me cheered :)

Rushing around the market, I saw Jenny and Nicole from Stash and Burn and Christina all at the same time (eee!) and the COOOLEST THING EVAR by a knitter who had taken the bmp chart (or something close?) and translated it into a hat... I told her I thought it was rad and meant to remember her ravelry name to fav it, but I forgot what I read off of her button in the rush of the day :) Malia stopped and showed me a hat she knit from roving I dyed for my shop and spun by her and I just thought that was just so f*ing neat, and Kristine had me all !! when she told me people had stopped by A Verb for Keeping Warm/Tactile Fiber Arts wearing socks knit from patterns I'd written...


Seriously, those exclamation points hovered over my head ALL WEEKEND LONG. I am such a shy dork in person but seriously had the best time among so many people.

Oh, and fiber! :) I *only* stopped at booths that were selling spinning fiber... it was the only way I could pare the experience of the market down, as easily overwhelmed as I get.

Mulberry silk/merino, 3.75 oz by Blue Moon Fiber Arts-- "thraven"

Blue Moon Fiber Arts did have several Sheep2Shoe kits for sale, and try as I might to convince myself I could see the colors peeking thru the black in their raven series of the same I couldn't justify the 8 oz purchase of superwash merino for socks (not enough to want to spin a 96% black yarn, anyway...) I did find this really pretty silk/merino in one of the ravens colorway that wasn't too black, but black and green. Really nice colorway, and a testament to how hard these colorways are to photograph.

60/40 merino-bamboo TOP by Creek Wools, 4 oz

I saw lots and lots of fiber but it was the blends that jumped at me this time, like this one from Sweet Grass Wool. It's sort of a rusty-grey color and the bamboo hasn't taken the dye on, so it should spin into a yarn with a lot of sheen and a lighter color when drafted with the white bamboo. Exciting stuff, someone said it was the second-most exciting thing I bought :)

Silk/merino by -- "mombassa", 4 oz

It's funny, I'm a little surprised looking over my purchases how many have silk or shiny-lending blends... I need to come to terms with the fact I like spinning types these a lot but don't ever have a good project to use them in. Nevertheless, this gold and black mix by Lisa Souza Dyeworks is just beautiful and will make a really awesome yarn... her spinning fiber display was just decimated Saturday morning, I'm glad I didn't get there earlier :)

I think that, especially for the fibers I don't have an idea what to do with, that it may be fun to just aim for a particular weight in yarn when spinning and hold onto them... one day I may be ambitious enough to knit a handspun blanket :)

IMG_8838 Superwash BFL-- sold by

This is much more my typical alley purchase!! I had a REALLY hard time deciding which Pigeonroof Studios fibers to bring home from Article Pract... many I picked up to put down later, I had already spun so many of those gorgeous colorways and figured I should leave some for someone who hadn't! :) I opted only for this one since Article Pract is going to be carrying PigeonroofStudios regularly now (yarn and rovings, as well as fibers/yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm), so I can get an easy fix at the best yarn store in the bay area soon and not have to brave Stitches crowds for it :)

Naturally dyed (?) merino, 2 oz each of "northern lights" and "plum" by A Verb for Keeping Warm

I swear I stood in the Verb for Keeping Warm/Tactile Fiber Arts booth forever trying to decide on what *needed* to come home with me. If I blocked you when you were browsing, I apologize... I was seriously mesmerized by the display! I said I'd be back and should have been, but was just wasted after finishing the entire market floor. Still, these two together will be spun in alternating colors for a simple singles yarn-- perfect mindless scarf spinning and knitting, I'm thinking.

I found my favorite-favorite purchase of the day in that booth, too...

Polwarth, dark grey 4 oz by A Verb for Keeping Warm

It looks totally unassuming, right? To touch it though is just a dream... and looking at the color, from grey to darker to almost a red in individual spots is just wow. I want pounds of it to spin into a sweater for someone who loves it just as much as I do. Seriously. I'm glad my pictures aren't doing it justice cos yall would be bugging Kristine for it and there'd be none left, as awesome as this fiber feels.

I'm not sure if it is naturally dyed, if not this was the swankiest colored sheep (short of a California Red lamb) ever.

...and that's it! :) Not bad for eleventymillion sq feet of fiber and yarn and the BEST WEEKEND EVER, if I do say so myself :) I did finish my Imogen Jacket and wore it Saturday-- but I haven't been able to take pics yet so that'll have to be later :)

Til then, miss you (tho it's only been this long)!

(PS! I skipped Etsy Friday last week in the rush to finish Imogen-- but picked Elinor for the white alpaca. Elinor, can you drop me a line so I can get the fiber out to you? My contact info's at the waaay bottom of the page, or you can leave me a comment with your email address. Thanks!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ready for Stitches West 2008? (...or, how many knitting stitch markers does it take to choke a horse?)

I am! :) Well... as far as obligations go, I finally got to stop holding my breath when Kristine and Adrienne from A Verb for Keeping Warm picked up the zeromarkers stitch markers for their Stitches West booth (booth 840!) yesterday along with the plexiglas stand I bought for the Bay Area Knit Co-Op booth at Stitches last year...

(i made way more than these :))

Taking some lessons from last year, I know that the way I packaged them last time caused them to fall forward from their pretty plexi stand and make a general mess. This time, I mounted a single marker to the front of the card like I do for thank you gifts, and packaged the remaining six on the back of the card.

(still, there are more than pictured... :))

Last year I handwrote the type and ring size of each marker set... not a great idea for my terrible handwriting and the ensuing cramping. This year I picked up a few reusable stamps and only had to write in the ring size and extra stone info after stamping the backs of the cards the markers were mounted on. I really like the way the labeling works-- markers sold in my store haven't been marked with what kind of stone they are, and for gifts the recipient may not know what they were. I hadn't come up with a good, cost effective way of labeling before and it kind of bugged me, though I hadn't heard anything directly about it. I think I'll keep this up for my knitting stitch marker shop as far as stamping goes.

I picked up a box of moo cards to pack in with the marker sets... printed with an individual discount code on the back for my shop as well :) They turned out great...

moo cards for zeromarkers, knitting stitch markers

I think they are too expensive for use as business cards with the volume I hand out, but as pretty extras in the Stitches West packaging they're awesome. The back side of the Stitches packaging is just as good looking as the front because of them... I just grabbed images of sold items from my etsy stitch marker shop and moo did the rest.

They also included a discount code to share-- 10% your first (or next) moo minicard order with code "8BSUTZ". It expires 29 February 2008 at midnite gmt... soon, but yay for leap year anyway! :)

Kristine and I were undecided on what ring marker size to offer-- I made lots of US 2 and even more of the US 9 sizes this time. When I made the US 2's, I specifically made them smaller/shorter than I usually do when fitting US 9 sized markers. Thinking they're on sock or lace needles and wanting to keep them just as dainty, I really like the way the shorter stature markers worked out. I don't like long stitch markers anyway so most of mine normally hover at 2/3-3/4" long, but the shorter US 2's I made for A Verb for Keeping Warm were mainly about 1/2" with a few "normal" lengths in there. I think I may start making specifically "shorter" markers for my US 2 ring sizes and offer them in my shop-- in a week when I can look at stitch markers again, anyway ;)

...I know! Lots of stuff that's probably only interesting to me, but I'm so happy to have these done and out of here :)

Aside from that, I've been visiting all of the home pages of the Stitches West vendors this year, planning my must sees. My bent will be on fiber like last year, and this year has some amazing vendors I can't wait to see. A few (and of COURSE I'd love to hear yours)...

* A Verb for Keeping Warm, booth 840. I know you're thinking nepotism, but seriously hear me out. A huge range of fibers (and yarns) dyed with natural dyes, many of which are grown organically in their own garden. They're also a local shop-- VERY local to me, right here in Oakland, and I really like being able to support local indie businesses as much as I like supporting indie businesses in general. They're also sharing the booth with Tactile Fiber Arts-- another awesome stop for naturally dyed fiber and yarn. There is a huge hole in my (enormous!) fiber and yarn stash for naturally dyed items, justification central for me :)

* Article Pract, booths 1040 & 1042. This is my LYS, and seriously even if it wasn't would be my favorite bay area knitting store... actually favorite knitting store anywhere, I've never been in a knitting store outside of the Bay Area :) Christina is going to be debuting her new pattern line in the booth, hosting Alchemy Yarns' new book signing for "Destination Alchemy," and carrying Pigeonroof Studios yarns and rovings (!!)... I shouldn't have said anything, it'll all be gone by the time I get there Saturday!! :) Article Pract will also have the Knitter's Block which had my jaw dropping at the Knit and Crochet Show last year (Clara from Knitter's Review has a review HERE)...

* Blue Moon Fiber Arts, booth 731 & 830. Their Sheep 2 Shoe kits are always picked over by the time I make it on Saturdays... but I'll keep trying! Curious to see what the raven series looks like in roving-- though I hate buying 8 oz of roving destined for socks.

* Carolina Homespun, booths 717, 719, 816 & 818. I have no idea what I am looking for here, but I know I'll find it :) (Seriously awesome spinner stop.)

* Fiber Fiend, booth 738. I picked up some of Margit's fiber last year from the Bay Area Knit Co-Op booth (just finished spinning the last of it!) and I'm excited to see her colorways on her new bamboo and hemp fibers...

* Full Thread Ahead, booths 621, 623, 720 & 722. Four words. New Cookie A patterns. (Hopefully! Someone's scoped some new socks in her flickr stream, and Kristi has pics of a beautiful one here-- "Stricken"...) Cookie can snap me out of stockinette socks, I know it!! :)

* Interlacements, booths 611, 613, 710 & 712. Their "dyer's choice" sale bins are always worth checking out-- the last time at the Knit and Crochet Show was just okay, but times before I could pick up 8 oz bumps of handdyed merino for $15-- worth it in my book. (I knit the Totally Autumn throw from merino I picked up from Interlacements one year.)

* The Mannings, booth 301 & 303. I'm curious to see the spinning fiber they bring, having heard good things about this shop online.

* Village Spinning and Weaving, booths 305, 307, 309, 404, 406 & 408. Another one I'm curious to see... with so many booths, they are probably bringing a grip of wheels like Carolina Homespun! :)

...and of COURSE-- the RAVELRY BOOTH!! They'll be selling Bob pins (::swoon::) and other rav swag, yay! Don't forget about the passport game; I've given A Verb for Keeping warm four sets (in each of my ring sizes) of markers as prizes for the game.

See yall there! I'm hoping-hoping to have finished my Imogen jacket, just the front to complete but I'd like to sneak in a wet block (and DRY!), and in this rainy weather... wish me luck! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

etsy friday

Border Leicester/Mohair by
"nimbus" colorway

Lately I've really wanted to branch out in a fiber way, so when I caught sight of this beauty in Black Bunny Fibers' last update, I totally pounced and am glad I did! It is soft but slick, and has a *shine*, a natural shine that I just love. See?


I don't know quite what to do with it yet, perhaps practice the spinning with softness and speed method I've been wanting to try. I do know I can't be kept away from Carol's shop... she has created a new colorway (Audacity)-- all profits from the sale of the Audacity colorway are going to the Barack Obama campaign. She did it in Corriedale roving and it's listed for sale on her new off-etsy site RIGHT NOW (I got mine!) (edit: sold out, but i'm sure you can contact Carol and ask her to put you on a waiting list if you're interested in the colorway in yarn or roving) ...and will be updating with yarns in the new colorway later. Yarn pics and more details in the Knitters for Obama forum on Ravelry...

And for something that speaks for itself?

Glass "jolly cupid" pendant by

Look again! It's still awesome and more interesting than the local waffles.

Seriously though, LORiOLA has been on a rampage making hearts with bones thru them lately ("if a skull and crossbones is a jolly roger-- then a heart and bones..."), but this was her prototype and I think it is just awesome. I bought it ages ago and hadn't taken it off for pics... wouldn't you know that once I did, my son "borrowed" it and dropped the pendant... broken heart on valentine's ;) Just the literal glass kind anyways.

But, beautiful still!

One more beauty...

Alpaca pencil roving by

So me, right? :) Above and beyond how soft and bright this is, how fun it was that North Star Alpacas includes a blank card and envelope with the picture of the alpaca whose roving this is, and how nice the seller was (she had 2 oz listed and listed more she was saving for herself when I asked)... Maple is a jawdroppingly nice seller after the fact. I mentioned to her I was excited about my new wheel-- she took it to mean I didn't have experience spinning alpaca fiber, so she sent me some undyed roving after she had mailed the fiber I ordered.


Seriously. Look...

2 oz of white alpaca roving from

It's even from the same alpaca that provided the fiber I purchased! Needless to say I was really surprised-- I emailed her and let her know she didn't need to send extra fiber, but she already had and told me to have fun with it!


It'd be better to pass this gift on, I think :) Leave me a comment if you'd like 2 oz of white alpaca fiber from Magnolia the alpaca... I'll randomly draw a name Friday morning.

I've chosen another great etsy seller, knittyhead and friend, too for this etsy pick of the week (where I highlight an item from an etsy seller who has made a purchase in my shop)... zknitter :) Zonda's shop is hard to find if you're browsing the knitting category on etsy... she mainly does custom work, making needle cases for interchangeable needle sets like Knit Picks Options and Denises.

Interchangeable needle case by
photo by zknitter, used w permission

As famous as her cases are (seen on wendyknits and all over!)... Zonda is happy to take custom orders and even has a flickr page full of her fabrics and a long "sold item" list to get inspiration from. Much better than the clunky binders the options come with! :)

Have a good weekend! For those interested, I just listed some handspun superwash sock yarns in my shop along with some wire wrapped paper bead stitch markers... brighter pics on those when the sun peeks thru :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

catching up

So I've been welcoming my new-to-me Schacht Matchless over the past week (one but not the only reason for radio silence)... and I realized I had some skeins of handspun spun on my lovely little Ashford Joy that I hadn't photographed yet!

Handspun 2-ply sock yarn, 70/30 superwash wool/alpaca
roving from -- "jam" colorway

Oh, it is so red! Purple too, but I can't get enough red lately. It is one of those yarns whose colors shift in the light; bright when under sun like this, more muted and heathery looking in ambient. I'm actually knitting this yarn into socks, my walkaround stst socks so they may a long time in the hopper, but they'll be so nice when done.

I worried that the alpaca would lend the yarn to have no stretch, that I had to knit this into a rib or pattern to help a sock keep its shape-- but the wool is helping with the bounce and I'm knitting the socks in a slightly less wide foot to help with any loosening. Lori did such a great job in dyeing this-- you may remember the roving from a past etsy friday. She took a base fiber that was grey, so the red and purples were more muted than if she had used a white. Such a good idea, and it ended up spinning into such a nice yarn.

So did the last half of the Crosspatch Creations batt from a while back...

laceweight singles spun from Crosspatch Creations batt-- "eggplant"
purchased from

I worried before that I wouldn't have enough for a laceweight project... turned out to be 1300 yards (!!). I originally planned on Juno Regina, but instead am planning, sometime, to gank amy's idea of knitting laceweight circularly on a US 0 16" needle and making myself a lovely in the round stst scarf. I need to find a US 0 in 16", not a big deal but has kept me from starting (plus, the project'll prolly replace my walkaround socks, and I do like surprising those more than I'd like a scarf for myself right now...) but anyways, that's the plan :)

One more thing, plan...

Imogen Jacket, back
Noro Silver Thaw, color 11, US 8
Started: 8 feb 08

I have no idea what possessed me. Well... maybe :) I heard the Stash and Burn ladies talking about what they were working on to wear to Stitches West, and I had also just reminded myself that my first adult sweater attempt is making me mad taking up space in my stash and I'll never finish it even though nothing's wrong with it (anyone want some yarn and half a sweater for postage?) pending... Anyway-- I started and like 5" in I decided it was way too Dolly's coat... but didn't rip cos, well I was knitting in the dark and nothing else was close at hand :) I've managed to knit almost the entire back (the stripes'll run vertically like this) and I still don't know if it's too... much.

Then again, my noro kerchief is too much and I wear it ALL THE TIME. So... who knows :) Maybe I'll have a handknit sweater to wear for Stitches West. I will have a grip of zero stitch markers for Stitches though (courtesy of A Verb for Keeping Warm's booth-- booth 840 & playing in the Ravelry passport game)... more pics of my gargantuan task later.

For now, a reminder! Kate is holding a fundraiser in her brother's name for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. For every $10 donated in his name by Feb. 24th, you are entered to win one of *many* awesome prizes Kate and the fiber community have lined up (including 4 sets of stitch markers!)

Have a good one, til then :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

etsy friday

I love finding new artists and sellers on etsy, but I have to admit that once I find a shop I like, I often go back (mainly cos I add them to my rss reader, and am compelled to look at all of the new lovelies every time they update.) A few sellers I've had the pleasure of repurchasing from recently:

IMG_8653 pound of handmade cold process soap
(beautiful molds, eh?)

I cannot get enough of Frost Fish Cove Soaps' soap. I bought pounds of it pre-holiday and this is all that I have left of what I kept for myself-- I almost had a little panic attack just now realizing that these are the only ones in the cabinet! Like Tory is going to run out of soap, really now. I inflict this soap on my most loved ones, hoping they get that I use it daily too and omg maybe we're connected cosmically somehow cos of it (cue An American Tail themesong)...

...uh, nevermind. Toning back the val, I also picked up my most favorite lotion ever from FrostFishCoveSoaps at the same time...

Supernatural lotion in "wholesome blend" scent, by

This is the cream I reach for after washing dishes, after I tear apart my fingers for dirty habits, before going to bed and before leaving the house on those days I want to smell noticeable. It's thick but doesn't leave a grease feel behind, and Tory makes the lotion in the scent of your choice (mine's Wholesome Blend-- tangerine, vanilla and gingergrass). I'm biased-- someone grabbed my wrist and drank in the smell from the soft skin of my inner arm, declared I smelled like food, edible... it'll ALWAYS be my favorite now :)

Another favorite, just in time for Valentine's Day if you swing that way...

algae/fungus and octopus cards by

I love love love square cards. I don't know why (nonmachinable surcharge postage makes me hot!), but Smack of Jellyfish does them so well. Sarah's branching out from her way awesome "collective noun" cards and these are two in that vein-- "you are the algae to my fungus" (I am SUCH a sucker for mycology references), and "if you were an octopus... I'd grow eight arms to hold you."


Moving on, hard as it is...

Black magic baby batts from

Some of you are thinking, wth are those? And others of you know and are thinking, wth is SHE doing with those? :) (They're super textured, way glitzy glammy over the top fiber batts from Loop.) I am the straightest laced spinner but lately (since purchasing and reading Intertwined) I've been thinking a LOT about branching out spinning-wise from my very serviceable, very utilitarian spinning into something else-- and these will probably be a step in that direction sooner rather than later.

I was haunted by these batts when I saw them, even though I thought they were a bit light weight wise for any project I could think of. Then I remembered my fibercrush on this...

confetti batt by

...confetti batts, black alpaca and sari silk, and realized that the "baby" batts were made from bits of confetti batts (and others) and would coordinate well-- and I couldn't help myself.

Confetti batt and black magic baby batts by

I'm thinking I'll alternate spinning strips of each, enjoying the texture of the batts as I go, and knit the result into a longways crazy scarf. A really crazy scarf :)

Now, for something completely different... This week, instead of sharing my etsy pick of the week from a seller who's purchased from my shop-- I'm sharing a post. Kate's little brother Robbie is "currently engaged in an epic battle with acute myelogenous leukemia" and she's holding a fundraiser in his honor... for every $10 donated in his name, you will be entered in her raffle for yarny goodness. I'll be donating a full set (4 sets of 7 markers each, one for each ring size I carry) of zero stitch markers to the prize pool-- so early and often, yall! :)

Have a good one, I did :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yuki, part one-- cables

Designing comes from a weird place in me, a different place every time. Sometimes I'm faced with a yarn that needs something special, sometimes a motif strikes me as impossible to ignore. I don't really think of myself as a designer but more as a knitter who's struck with a need to get a pattern to paper when it strikes, for fear of the idea slipping away. Notebooks help, but goodness I can barely decipher the pattern I scribbled out for my felted mitered square bag two years later :)

As a knitter, I really appreciate anne's series on the progression of her patterns-- watching her patterns grow up from an idea, a stitch pattern into a fully formed thing gets me a little closer inside her head (in a non-weird knitter appreciation way!) and makes me admire the finished design a little more than had it jumped fully formed from the sea (or thigh, or forehead...) Cookie's installment for Socktoberfest is that same thing-- it sticks with you, makes you feel like you can do it too :)

So in (all that) vein, I've been meaning to share a project in progress and since I've been not knitting at all lately (making zero stitch markers for A Verb for Keeping Warm's booth at Stitches West, playing with my new-to-me Schacht Matchless (!!), hosting a houseguest...) it seems like a good time!

Yuki, part one

Now, I say part one because for this pattern I've been absolutely obsessed over how to manipulate one idea for a stitch pattern and my goal is threefold... cables, cables + colorwork, and colorwork. It may sound crazy but really, it's not-- the same groundwork is enough for all three, and it's just the realization and getting it onto paper that's the hard part :)

So let me back up... Yuki started with me wanting to design a continuous, circularly knit cable pattern that echoed a fishscale, a simple 1x1 cable that would translate well to small spaces and liberally use reverse stockinette so I could show the beautiful backside of handpainted yarns. It took lots of sketching and swatching to get a design that would work on the scale I was looking at and would be easy to work, but I did.


I chose Pigeonroof Studios yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon blend) for the 'part one-- cables' sock not only because I just love this color, but because Krista's colorways aren't too jarring or full of varying saturation or values. You can still see the cable pattern over the handpainted yarn, and it just makes me happy when they can both hang out and not overpower one another. It'd work well in a solid as well, but the almost-large reverse stst spaces on this sock scream to show the way handpainted yarns excel on the purl side.


Keeping true to the lovely look of rev stockinette, the sole of the foot is in the same...


I wanted this cable to work as a base for jumping off into colorwork with, and the dirty secret of it is that cables + colorwork is super awesome and if you can do both, you can do them together :) I'm getting ahead of myself though, that's part two.

But a sneak peek...


Til then!

Friday, February 01, 2008

etsy friday

Sometimes the rainy day lighting is a good thing, mirrors this new beauty...

Earthly Elegance handwrapped copper wire ring with lampwork glass bead by

You have no idea how hard it was to capture the beauty of this ring. I totally didn't come close. I think it was just hard to get the shift of grey to purple in the glass and how well it all works with the copper wire, how each wrap of the ring band is perfect and tight, how something that's "just" wire can be sculpted by hand into something so pretty and unexpected. It's stunning... Cozysister has taken a handmade lampwork glass bead in greys and purples, sandwiched it between sterling silver accents, and wrapped the entire thing in copper wire as a ring, custom made for my (surprisingly HUGE) ring size. And it's awesome.

I always feel like I get the better end of swaps, and this is no different. Cozysister's work is like nothing I've seen, and way up my alley with it's obvious handmade elements and work. I'm so excited with this! :)

Oh, you want more excitement? I waited *anxiously* for this to arrive (like, 2 whole days!! :)) and wow, just wow...

90% delaine merino, 10% kid mohair from
8 oz-- marigolds colorway

You may remember that I joined the Black Bunny Fibers fiber club towards the end of last year... this was my first installment :) Now, really and truly I'm not a club kinda girl-- I have a definite sense of what I do and don't like (though I may not be able to put it on paper... kinda like obscenity I suppose), and there hasn't been one club I've seen that I've liked *every* installment of. I also am not down for paying extra for exclusivity, not that I think it's bad but-- just not for me. But Carol's club sounded perfect for my spinning side-- 8 oz of fiber standard, a very very reasonable price (I'm a bargainhunter at heart), and she took the time to craft a questionnaire about my color likes and dislikes. I don't expect the club to be spot on with what I like every time, but this is a very good start!!

BlackBunnyFibers, for this first installment, dyed a separate colorway for each of its participants. That's right... we all got different colors and I'm guessing that it was all based on our "favorite" color answer in the questionnaire, cos you KNOW I said orange and look! what! i! got!! :)

The fiber is "from a small family-run ranch in the West and was processed by a small family-run mill" and is so soft. I've always avoided buying mohair fiber blends, thinking they'd be itchy-- but this is way not. My kid went so far to beg me to let him cuddle with it (seriously), the batch is so big and lofty it just makes you want to squeeze it :) I'm a little nervous to spin it-- I'm more used to the slippy superwash merinos and the like and this definitely isn't like those, but I'm excited to try. So yay! I totally don't regret participating in the club, and hope Carol lets me in next time ;)

Now for something a little different, being the beginning of February and all...

A Year in the Kitchen calendar by
(photo by SoJ)

One of my favorite etsy card vendors, Smack of Jellyfish (you know-- with the alphabetical collective noun cards?) has started to branch out in other design and print destinations and I dig those just as much as her animal cards. I bought this calendar as a gift and had it shipped right to the recipient from SmackofJellyfish for a belated birthday gift... right now it's hanging in an amateur chef's kitchen, being enjoyed as much as I enjoyed giving it :) I haven't seen it yet, but have no doubt it's as awesome and as well put together as everything I've bought from SoJ before.

Since the day is all about awesome... my pick of the week from zero shop patrons:

Lightweight Alpaca/Silk dyed with natural dyes by
(photo by AVfKW)

I have a confession, an announcement. I am terribly biased and bias-able, and this pick is in that vein. First of all, Kristine wrote the *sweetest* blurb about zeromarkers on her blog... I love reading where people enjoy my markers, and this one just had me grinning all day. Second and my roundabout announcement, A Verb for Keeping Warm is co-hosting a booth at Stitches West 2008 and gave me the opportunity to sell my knitting stitch markers alongside them and Tactile Fiber Arts-- and I'm so excited about that as well that I can't be objective :)

But really now-- forgetting all of that for a moment, take a look at A Verb for Keeping Warm's etsy shop (or retail storefront)... full of gorgeous yarns and fibers, many of them dyed using natural dyes. I have a serious admiration for those working with natural dyes and especially those who can coax such beautiful and varied colors from them-- notwithstanding all of the above, A Verb for Keeping Warm would have been on my must-visit list for Stitches just for the dye and fiber talents.

You want another reason?! :) Ravelry is hosting a passport game (an idea seeded by Kristine's brain) and one of the stops will be A Verb's booth... lots of prizes will be given away by vendors thru Ravelry's game, including A Verb for Keeping Warm's prize of fiber and yarn and oh yeah... four 7-marker sets from (a set of markers in all of my ring sizes-- US 2, US 6, US 9 and US 13).

Speaking of my etsy store (I know!! lots this week eh?)... my free shipping sale is still going strong thru the end of Sunday, and because of yall's sale purchases I am taking possession of my new-to-me wheel today. Fingers crossed against bolts of lightning and all that, but yay yay yay! :)

Happy weekend, miss you!

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