Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Does Sock Yarn Count?

Of course, we all know the answer to that-but I was referring to when you measure your stash, because if it does, I am in deep trouble! While I am still on a Sock Summit high (and we all know I did not attend but was there in spirit), I decided to sort my sock yarns into hand-dyed and the 'other kind'. Only a year ago, the 'other kind' was just fine with me but that was before I ventured into the world of hand-dyed sock yarn and even did some hand-dying myself. Now the only yarns I deem acceptable for me to use in my sock projects is 'hand-dyed' and Sock Summit just fed that notion. So today I sorted, and not counting the dyed roving sitting there waiting to be spun into sock yarn-but that is another story, I have 22 different dyed-by-hand, absolutely gorgeous (OK, one is not so gorgeous) sitting in my stash. Each one ready to be knit into socks. And that doesn't count the 2 pairs that are on my needles as I type-so that makes 24. Which if I am counting correctly and if I knit 1 pair of socks every month is enough to last me 2 years! Actually, that is better than I thought-I probably missed some here or there. Of course, I do not knit a pair of socks a month because (a) I am not a fast knitter, (b) I have other projects - like lace scarfs and bulky-knit sweaters and teapot cosies and... - on the needles at all times and (c) I do other things in my life besides knit. The other question is, what am I going to do with the 11 balls (each one can make 1 pair of socks) of perfectly good 'other kind' of sock yarn I also have sitting in my stash.

You may also notice a trend in the colors of the yarn - you might notice that shades of brown and other earth tones tend to predominate. There are 2 lonely skeins of shades of blue - they are for socks for my DH. There is also 1 skein of rich Christmas colors which will some day be my very own special socks for that holiday season and there is a strange looking white/bright green/orange/brown - this colorway was named 'Fallen Leaves' and is not what I expected it to be - but it may knit up better than it looks in the skein. And here is the kicker - I spend hours searching the web for MORE hand-dyed sock yarn to buy - and SS09 didn't help there because it provided me with the names of lots more websites to visit to find more hand-dyed sock yarn - I sense a vicious cycle here - one I don't sense a solution to. But, it is a good problem to have because just looking at all of this beautiful yarn makes me smile and feel happy inside.

An update to the saga of the Penllyn socks : I have cast-on sock # 4! This is the 2nd sock in the pair I am knitting for my cousin. And I discovered something with sock # 3 (2nd sock in the pair for me) - if I knit 2 rows of ribbing (I am using top-down Magic Loop on this sock - toe-up is a different story) before I join in the round it is much easier for me to join without twisting and when I finish and weave in the ends all I have to do is quickly seam up 2 rows and it looks just fine. I have always found the first row I knit after casting-on and joining in the round is problematic for me - I just make a regular mess of it and usually frog 2 or 3 times before I am on my way. So, if you have that same sock bugaboo - try it, you may like it.
PS. I am knitting on the legs of my SS09 2-at-a-time-toe-up socks and I only have about 5 more inches to go until they are complete! I love knitting socks!
PPS. I am at 31" before blocking on my Cat's Paw scarf and already deciding on a pattern and yarn (Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift) for my next lace scarf - I love knitting lace!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

'Sock Summit 2009' Socks Redux

Forgot to mention that the yarn I am using in the SS09 socks I am knitting -so I stop whining about NOT being there- was hand-dyed by me in honor of the 'Dye For Glory' competition...I call it Autumn Sunset and it really glows in the sunset light.

Unbelievably, just as I was expecting 'tons' of Tweets from SS09 participants---Twitter crashed! At first I though it was because ALL of the SS09 Tweeters were Tweeting simultaneously on Twitter (do not even ask what that really means!) but that was NOT the case. Twitter was under a 'Denial of Service Attack', (Yes, it is as bad as it sounds) as my DH so helpfully explained! During the day, Twitter slowly recovered (and I realized how much I 'missed' my Tweet buddies...Oh, no, it has begun!)...it still doesn't seem to be at 100%.

After a VERY long 20 hour day-I believe I will crash-as soon as the final out is made in the Yanks-Red Sox game (Go Yanks!) being played as I type. After a glass (or two) of my favorite Pino Grigio I may finally be ready to try to sleep until 4:30 AM today (i.e. Friday, 07 August 2009).
'Sock On' SS09!!!!

'Sock Summit 2009' Socks

If you are a sock knitter then you know what is starting today - SS09!! The end-all and be-all of a sock knitter's convention -the greatest sock show on earth- organized by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the infamous & famous Yarn Harlot) and Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The list of teachers & panel members reads like a Who's Who of the sock knitters, or just plain knitters, of the world...EVERYONE who is anyone in knitting will be attending. There are classes on any sock-knitting topic you can think of, receptions, parties, a closing panel discussion and there will be a Marketplace of over 150 vendors selling everything you can think of related to socks and more. In other words this convention will be a sock knitter's dream. You may ask why, then, this professed Sock-Knitting-Addict is NOT at SS09 and the answer would be: Portland, Oregon; because that is where SS09 is being held and that is on the other side of the country from where I am and so I stay here on the East Coast knitting 2-at-a-time-toe-up-socks on 2-circs in honor of Sock Summit 2009. While this really does not make up for the fact that I am not participating in this extraordinary happening, at least whenever I wear these socks I can think of SS09. I plan to knit on these socks every chance get during SS09 and may even have them close to finished by the time the exhausted but 'sock-satiated' attendees pack-up their newly purchased stash & head home. FYI: the stitch pattern is a ridged-rib & the socks will have a standard square heel. I used Judy's Magic Cast-on.

On another knitting front, I have switched to wood needles (the Harmony Wood circulars by KnitPicks) from the Addi Turbo and found that the knitting on the Cat's Paw lace scarf is moving along much more smoothly...it is over 2-feet long (unblocked) already and I have only been knitting on it for 2 months! OK, all you fast lace knitters out there - stop snickering, I can hear you. So now I can knit 30 rows at a time without hand fatigue instead of the 12 rows I could only knit at a time with the shorter, slipperier metal needles. You may be asking why is this so? And even if you are not asking, I am telling. The reasons for me are two-fold: the yarn doesn't slip & slide off these needles and the needle length (not the cable length) is longer & easier for me to hold in my hands. I just may be able to finish knitting this scarf before the first snow.

And to all of the participants in Sock Summit 2009 - 'Sock-On'! And a Happy Birthday to the incomparable Elizabeth Zimmerman. On August 9th, Elizabeth, perhaps the person most responsible for moving knitting forward into the modern age, would have been 99. Her daughter, Meg Swansen will be at SS09.

Now it is time for a cup of Davenport Pines morning tea as I sit knitting my Sock Summit 2009 socks hoping that SS10 will be held closer to my home.