sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

pre ravelympics stretch

When the first talk about the summer Olympics started around the knitting watercooler, I immediately decided I would participate in the Knitting Olympics, for Team Knitters for Obama. (Didn't finish my last KO project on time, though it was finished...) This time, I'd make a sweater for me out of yarn I'd handspun myself.

Fast forward a month or so and the Yarn Harlot's post about not hosting the "official" Knitting Olympics had me thinking maybe not (particularly the taking part in an Olympics hosted by China). Then Tikabelle's post about forgoing the knitting along to the Olympics was the nail in the coffin for my original plan... even today I wake to the rss newsfeed and read this. So I decided not to knit along to the Olympics this year.

Admittedly though, I was a little bummed-- I really wanted to participate on the Knitters for Obama team, and even though I don't usually do knitalongs well, watching Tour de Fleece posts all over blogland had me really chomping at the idea of a fixed time to complete a difficult fiber related goal. So, as a sort of compromise, I've decided to "compete"-- I'll be participating in the Ravelympics with the Knitters for Obama charity knitting drive during the timespan, knitting washable wool hats for homeless veterans.

verb rolling hat, 64-1 CO (same formula as before)

Knitters for Obama has a continuing goal of donating a hundred washable handknit (and crocheted, and quilted, etc.) items to homeless shelters servicing veterans across the US *per state*. 5000 (!!) items will be needed for them to reach their goal-- they've almost reached 500 (!!!) handknit FOs.

So, I've stocked up on some bulky machine washable (and dryable!) wool...

swish bulky by knitpicks

...should be enough for at least ten (?) hats. Ten hats in 16 days is definitely do-able (famous last words!), so I'll also be spinning the dk-weight yarn I need for the Knitters for Obama prize drawing...


I have pledged the two handspun yarns (super bulky and dk-ish weight) as a prize in the drawing-- since that's being held on August 29, another good fire under my pants to complete this :)

So, come August 8 this'll turn into a hat blog, feel free to knit along (or tune back in after the 24th ;))

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

verb batt roll hats

Not only was I glad to see the line at A Verb for Keeping Warm at Lambtown for what it means to its proprietress, but also because it have me time to think about what to do with that gorgeous, odd "silk batt roll" I was going to buy.

Batt roll by A Verb for Keeping Warm, 50/50 wool (merino?)-natural silk, 2 oz

They're pretty much like nothing I've seen before :) Outside the packaging...


I almost want to say they're like silk hankies, but like 10 trillion times better :)


They're thin, but not as thin as hankies. They also don't make me feel as tomboyish-- they don't catch on every rough patch on my fingers and nails when working with them. Since there is only half the silk, you don't get that resistance in breaking them apart-- I always feel the tearing in my hands when pulling apart hankies and it's totally a personal, textural thing but it creeps me out :) Also on a personal note, I'm just not as into 100% silk since I don't know what I'd do with the finished yarn since I've shied away from knitting lace.

Waiting in line I decided I would tear the batt rolls into strips and knit from them directly, without spinning. I'm guessing you could easily open them up and draft them out like a silk hankie too-- the size would be a bit unwieldy but I don't see why not... but instead I started from one corner and tore them in pieces, resulting in a long spiral strip.


You can get a good idea of what these are like in the pictures-- lots and lots of silk noil that's going to make a super textured finished object. I kept wondering what this would look like felted up, probably pretty neat.


I found it easiest to not pinch the strip I was tearing but to hold it with the side of my thumb. I could grasp more of it that way... it still has a tendency to tear apart super easy and I was really trying to end up with 3 whole, unbroken strips. It worked, even though it took so long I needed a flash to show the giant pile (complete w/ coke can for scale yall ;))


During the strip making, I just tore them off into widths large enough to not fall apart. Then when knitting, I drafted them down to a knittable size and went to town.

US 15 needles

Knitting them wasn't bad at all-- tearing the batt into strips and knitting this hat took a day. I started with a backward loop caston since I didn't want to really tug on the fiber (not super stable caston, worked fine in this app)... cast on 32 sts, joined and k4, p4 around to last 8 sts, k4, p3, slip last st onto LH needle and p2tog. You end up with 31 sts and then can [k4, p4] around-- the multiple of 8 -1 means the pattern shifts left, same idea as rpm but way cooler since you don't have to watch for the new round to shift over, it does it on its own. (Eyes free knitting!)

I chose 31 sts since it was the number of sts that would pretty much stretch uncomfortably around my 24" needle (didn't have a 16"), so it is larger than a hat should be (the problem with ALL the hats I knit!)


verb batt roll hat

I used all of the fiber up-- and where I wanted to knit in one long strip? I didn't... sometimes the strips broke when drafting down, and sometimes I wanted to switch up the colors since one batt was darker. I just joined and knit those ends in together when knitting...

inside out/wrong side with ends knit in together
i like this pic, you can see the streaks of silk

...the hat is so fat and bumpy even knitting 2 strands together to secure the ends can't really be seen from the RS.

All in all it was really a fun, fast odd project. The hat is super bulky and very warm, but isn't heavy feeling-- the texture is weirdly like a chenille! I can't explain why, but it has that resistant feel when squishing it.

It is too large (wide) for a hat, sits rather than fits-- next time I'd go for fewer CO sts. I really didn't want to frog it (I don't know how this would hold up to frogging, probably not well)... Actually a good thing since I know one batt roll ($15) should be enough for any sized head-- mine is 2x" so if this oversized version fits me now a hat with fewer sts CO it'll probably work across 99% of the population.

Kristine's sold out of these batt rolls now, but I know she'll have more soon. Next time I'll buy one and spin it and see what comes of it-- the texture and lightness of the fiber would make for a super light scarf or cowl.

I decided to try and make a hat that fits with the same shifting idea and to see if the backward loop CO was okay in a traditional yarn (yup). A week ago I took some black superwash merino (or, sw merino/seacell... long story) and some plucked tort angora from (gorgeous stuff!)...


...blended it together on my drumcarder. I went for a 75/25 blend, but was more successful in later batts in getting more angora in when I started with angora that I passed once over my handcards-- it helped the fiber not clump as much on the drum and meant I was getting much more on. The resultant yarns were not the same color...

IMG_1229 lighter, one darker. No matter. I fulled the yarn to bring out the angora halo (so nice) and just switched balls every 4 rows (US 10.5 needles, CO 40 - 1 st, knit same shifting pattern as above).


And it FITS! Like a HAT!

Cause for celebration. :)

Til then, miss you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lambtown 2008

...was so different than my experience last year. It really calls to mind the difference in what I'm interested in from just a year ago. Last year I wouldn't look at anything that wasn't superwash, wasn't dyed in rainbows, and couldn't be made into something resembling a sock :)

Where I am this year, purchase-wise anyways?

50-50 silk merino by A Verb for Keeping Warm, ("kerala"-- probably my fav colorway)

Okay, this stuff is timeless and I probably would have been interested last year-- but I wouldn't have appreciated it like I do right now. Natural dyeing wasn't even a blip on my radar a year ago, and now it's just one of those (few) things that have caught my attention and won't let go.


Batt roll, 50-50 merino - natural silk, naturally dyed fiber by A Verb for Keeping Warm
(on super awesome canvas bag printed with Tactile Fiber Arts and Verb's logo on each side!)

This stuff is just insane. I saw these "batt rolls" at aVfKW's open studio a few weeks back but my son distracted me from any purchases... and when I saw this gorgeous green at Lambtown I couldn't resist. I'm glad-- I've already finished a project in it! (Next time, haven't decided about blocking yet.) Kristine sold out of them at Lambtown but will have more in a few weeks-- really cool stuff, seriously.

Even more serious? Eight ounces of yak fiber.

yak fiber,

I KNOW!! It's a lot of yak :) Even more when I remind you I already have 2 - 8oz bags of this stuff (so, 24 oz total in my house right now)... but it's so soft!! :) I'm thinking about sending some fiber out to be processed and blended though, and this was one of the possible blends I was kicking around.

Fiber out? Oy no, fiber in.

Merino fleece from Nebo Rock Textiles, 7.5#
(no website. AMAZING merino fleeces.)

Seven and a half enormous pounds of greasy, lovely, chocodile goodness. The best part though?


Even though its a merino, its staple length is on the long side of what In Sheep's Clothing says it should be-- 4". Judged in the 1/2 blood class, perhaps my favorite since I'm just in love with length for combing but am still a sucker for soft, there's a lot of room for potential in this fleece. It is so large that I may properly roll it out and separate by lock length, keeping the longest bits for combing here at home and either sending the rest for processing at Morro Fleece Works or even destashing some.

I had a blast at Lambtown though, above and beyond purchases. I really wanted to listen to the fleece judging and did for hours...

Lambtown 2008 fleece judging by Paul Briggs

Listening to the judge was mindf*ing bliss. I was literally in awe of watching him work, all the while engaging the audience and teaching not only what he was looking for in each wool class but dropping random things that my eager ears swallowed whole (the length of your thumb from joint to tip is 2.5"; fleeces progressively break from the belly up to the shoulder, so a small good show fleece may have been a larger, broken one; wool smolders while mohair lights up incredibly fast; the better fed a sheep the coarser the wool; the productivity of a fleece can be guessed just by picking it up and seeing how it weighs down in your arms; etc. and be sure that I could go on and on...) This is really the experience I wanted and got, ten times around the world over.

The most unexpected part of the day?

angora rabbit judging at lambtown 2008

...almost passing out from the cuteness of the rabbits. I swear with each passing cage I could hear the pitch in my voice edge up higher and higher until I hit a full fledged squeal of delight that animals so adorable exist on the same planet as I do (had to be led away before going into a bunny buying frenzy). All for the best, I think they require more care than my kid does :)

Aside from watching a little sheepdog action thru a fence, watching shearing not happen, a stranger wanting to knit my hair, smiling so much I felt it in my face later, and finishing a pair of socks...

toe up PGR socks, Blue Moon Fiber Arts-- "velvet moon" (discontinued?)

...that's about all of my day suitable to share :)

Til then, not soon enough!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


In between the drop spindling (fail) and colorwork knitting of this weekend, I dyed and dyed.

IMG_1012 IMG_1017 IMG_1023
IMG_1035 IMG_1043 IMG_1053
IMG_1057 IMG_1069 IMG_1077
IMG_1085 IMG_1095 IMG_1109
IMG_1122 IMG_1133 IMG_1144
(click each for big with details)

It is a shock how much I can get done with my son asleep in his new big boy bedding (courtesy of his auntie who spoils him) dreaming of Fairyland (hi insaknitty!) :) There's also a lot more than usual since I always pinch a braid or four for myself, but with Lambtown this weekend and me visiting (read: falling off the wagon at) A Verb for Keeping Warm, Tactile Fiber Arts, Fiber Fiend, Cormo Sheep and Wool (more info on everything in the Lambtown Ravelry forum)-- I only held onto one this time ;)

All superwash merino, all approx 128g/4.5oz. Most twice dyed, a few kettle dyed. I'll have them listed in my etsy shop tomorrow at 1p pacstandard; if you see a braid you'd like let me know and I'll reserve it for you ($14/each + s/h; US + North America shipping = $3/$1 each add'l, everywhere else = $6/$3 each add'l... USPS rates have really shot up since the last time :( )

All fiber up in my shop, now :)

I'm still also running my free shipping sale thru tomorrow on stitch markers-- including international! (I sent a package to Iceland today! d00d.)

Til then!

Friday, July 11, 2008

etsy friday

Today I have two lovely gifts to show for Etsy Friday, and I couldn’t dig them more :)

A few weeks ago, I found out that the Pigeonroof Studios yarn I’d chosen for a pattern I was writing had been discontinued… the yarn base Krista was using had changed in gauge, and I didn’t want to publish the pattern with a discontinued yarn. As with everything I whined about trying to find a similar sts/inch yarn on twitter :) and Rachel of DyeabolicalYarns suggested that her Sporty! would be a good fit…


Sporty! yarn by “hidden tiger”

The yarn is SO soft with a nice tight twist, and I love this colorway!! I really don’t like lighterweight yarns for sock these days, my attention span is just too short. Sporty! is perfect, knit on US 2’s or 3’s it should just fly by. (Did I mention the colors?! Her semisolid series has my toes curling, too.)

It actually will be perfect for subbing into the cabled sock for my Yuki set too-- and just looking at it makes me excited to get going on that project again. I even started finishing up the second and third patterns in anticipation…

Yuki-- left: cables + colorwork, right: colorwork

More on those later though! I’m actually more interested in this...

spindle1 spindle

A spindle!! Save me, cos as much as I love knitting I love spinning more lately.

This too was an unexpected gift; Mike gave it to me when he dropped off my Ashford Joy I’d lent him. I totally didn’t expect or want anything in return, but look!! A SPINDLE! :)

If you’ve haunted etsy for spinning supplies, I’m sure ButterflyGirlDesigns isn’t new to you-- she makes really beautiful spindles with glass and semiprecious stone whorls (and has heavenly spinning fibers too!). I knew how pretty BGD whorls were, but the shaft is too!

ButterflyGirlDesigns spindle, shaft

See how it is carved close to the top? I know nothing about spindle spinning (yet!) but am pretty sure this’ll help the yarn catch and not slide down as it builds up. I love little details :)

So now you know what I’m doing this weekend, spinning and knitting :) I hope you have a good one too!


**ps! I’ll also be hosting a free shipping sale in my etsy store, thru Wednesday July 16… all stitch marker sets will ship free, even international ones. Shipping has already been adjusted, no need to wait for an invoice from me. I’ll be adding new freshwater pearl, semiprecious stone, and bent wire sets throughout the weekend and beyond. I’ll also be listing spinning fibers on Wednesday, weather permitting…**

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


It feels like a mishmash day today! :)

I finally got around to taking pics of my Rhyme Times fiber samplers-- I know I've said I don't do clubs (except Black Bunny Fibers' fiber club since I'm picky and weird and hers fits my quirks) but I realized this is a club, too :) The Bellwether offers a 4-installment subscription sampler pack of Crosspatch Creations and Three Bags Full fibers, each with four, 1/2 oz samples of new colorways that haven't been offered on site yet. Amelia also offers a double sampler (so, 4 - 1 oz samples of fiber), mine is the 1/2 oz size.


This is 3 installments worth-- every time they arrive I find a new favorite :) Like these...




I had been saving all of these samples to spin into one big artyarn... but now that WonderMike and his spindlepr0n-heavy flickr photostream has got me thinking I want to learn to spin on a spindle (a Golding is calling my name! oy...), I've been saving them up with an eye to spindle spin :)

One reason I don't like clubs is the premium you pay for them; it's a personal thing, but I don't like paying extra for exclusivity. The Rhyme Times is a good deal-- not only is the shipping cost included in the price and the fiber price on par with retail per ounce, every sampler letter comes with a fiber special for subscribers only. You can also order "back issues" of the Rhyme Times samplers if you want, an interesting idea if you want to just try one and see if you like it before committing to an entire cycle. I know once mine runs thru though, I'll resubscribe-- it's like little colorful surprises in the mailbox every two month or so :)

Another surprise...

Handspun 3-ply polwarth, naturally dyed fiber by A Verb for Keeping Warm "blackberry"
Approx 6 oz, 830 yd

It looks just like the roving!

This was my practice run for the aVfKW baby camel-silk I love with in a seaside annabel way... I knew that the camel/silk fiber would spin thinly, but didn't want a lace. So I wanted to try and spin a 3ply, spinning the entire 2 ounce package of roving onto one bobbin x 3 (I love the 2 oz putups Kristine uses). I knew that the matchless bobbins would hold a sloppily packed 4 oz of sock yarn, but 6?


I actually like this yarn a lot more than I thought I would-- I'm not a pink girl, but the plying made all the difference.


Secret for the week: I don't ply well. Like, I don't think I do it right at all, and when I'm not absolutely diligent in plying the wrong way I do, singles wrap around one another and just look bumpy and wrong. So much more so when I'm plying 3 singles-- I don't have the control I need over three plies. Now, I'm not condoning bad form (I'll learn proper plying one day!), but using my new diz as a plying guide made the yarn look even better than it would have, given my poor technique. It's over/under-plied (and spun!) in areas, but that's more of a takeup thing. I went ahead and asked GVPencheff to make me another "diz" that I can use for plying (and color blending with larger holes)... more 3-ply in my future :)

Except, spinning and fiber has been put on hold... I got this idea to knit Henry in the new 3-ply, and I am *obsessed.*

Henry from Knitty Fall 2007, short freshwater pearl stitch markers from

Good thing too, it takes forf*ing ever and I had this nutty idea I want to enter it in Lambtown's Skeins and Textiles Competition. I don't think I'll make it, but things like reality and time haven't stopped me before :)

One more thing!! I usually don't do memes but since I'll be away for at least a week (my baby sister is back from Europe and coming for a visit!!!)... via Under Dutch Skies, whose blog I dig right back :)
  1. What was I doing 10 years ago? 1998? I was 20-- I had just moved from socal to Berkeley to enroll as a junior (tranferred from my local community college, go public school!) eta: Actually it would have been summertime and I'd be starting my senior year-- so I was living in my Very.First.Apartment™ and watching lots of Red Dwarf during my days off from working on campus (public tv was the only thing i'd get on the rabbiteared set.)
  2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? Get all the little things ready for my sister's visit-- clean the shower, finish putting away all the undyed fiber I have amassed but haven't dyed (and left in huge bags all over the bed she'll be sleeping in), scour the cooktop, mop the floor (I have an unnatural love for PineSol), dust.
  3. Snacks I enjoy? More ingredients than snacks... chocolate. Garlic. Salt. Hot sauce (Crystal from Louisiana.) Frying oil. Mayonnaise.
  4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire? Take my kid to Puerto Rico. Grow a set. Make my mom happy. Take the bar til I passed it, just to do it. A few things I can't share :)
  5. Places I have lived? Las Vegas, socal, norcal.
  6. Jobs I have had? Pharmacy technician, photo printer, hotel clerk, law office intern, pseudonymous information jockey, mom.
  7. People I want to know more about? If you're reading, you! (Really, I'm filling out my rss reader with knitting (and not!) blogs-- you don't have to do the meme, just leave your blog address or Rav name so I can find some new blogs to read in the lulls of my sister's vacation :))
Have a good one, miss you!

PS! Cos this isn't long enough already :) the Knitters for BarackObama group on Ravelry is holding a general election fundraiser and is looking for prize donations. I'm donating some superbulky handspun in the Audacity colorway (Black Bunny Fibers' Obama fundraising colorway) as well as a dk-ish weight in the same fiber.


They're only taking prize donation pledges til July 3 (tomorrow!)-- but you don't have to have the prize in hand til August 7... I still need to spin up the lighter weight yarn for my prize pack :)

Between July 4 and August 7, you can buy tickets for specific prizes in the drawing-- better chance of winning what you really want that way. More details (including prizes, though the list isn't up to date yet) can be found here or in the KFO forum.


Early and often!

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