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  • knitting1105 4:54 pm on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    A tale of 2 sock yarns 

    When I first started spinning I had dreams of making fine yarn for lace knitting, fair isle and socks.  My abilities were not as quick to develop as my ambitions.  After a few months of spinning, I was confident enough to take some fiber from Socks That Rock, and spin for sock yarn.  Then I tried to knit socks with it.  So, it has languished in my spinning punishment pile for quite some time.  I have recently started going back to those early yarns to use them up in quick to knit winter outerwear.  And these came to mind for some fingerless mitts for the cooler dog-walking days.

    I have developed a new appreciation for some of the earlier, less than perfect spins.  The pattern is my own improvisation.

    And I recently completed knitting these socks for Dan.  The fiber was spun by me, from Fiber Optic. It is a pencil roving, and a dream to spin with. It was spun with the intention of making socks for Dan, and then when I saw this pattern in the CookieA sock club, I knew that it was a perfect marriage.  My spinning is much finer a year later, and while not perfect, I am very proud of it.  They are incredibly soft socks, superwash merino and silk, so I added some reinforcing thread to the toes for wearability.

    Pattern: Reykjavik
    Pattern Source: Cookie A’s Sock Club 2012, June pattern
    Yarn: handspun from Fiber Optic pencil roving, color: Black Coffee
    Needles: US 1
    Date Started: 9/?/12
    Date Finished: 10/19/12
    Finished Dimensions: Men’s size large

    • Mrspeterson 8:53 pm on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Tell Dan to watch out on the El– I hear there is a band of sock thieves stealing beautiful handspun handknit works of art off the feet of unsuspecting commuters.

      And by band of thieves I mean myself of course. Seriously, those are just gorgeous. I like the mitts too!


      • knitting1105 3:24 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I have alerted him to protect his feet if he sees you on the train!


      • Mimi 4:34 pm on November 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        So far I’ve just sock-stalked him with my eyes but I can definitely see making the leap to actual sock theft for these. Nice work!


  • knitting1105 4:11 pm on July 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Socks that Rock,   

    Good Sock, Bad Sock 

    I will start with the bad sock first.

    This should not happen.  I made these for my mother and gave them to her about 2 years ago (with the big sock giveaway).  The yarn is Socks that Rock (STR) lightweight, it was part of their sock club that I was a member of.  It makes me sick to think of all the time that I put into knitting with their yarn, and it does not hold up.  My mom is in her 80’s and only uses these as house socks.  In contrast, she also gave me a different pair that I think I made her about 10 years ago with Lang Jawoll sock yarn, and those have only minor wear holes in them.

    And now the good sock.  My current sock knitting is the Orange Pekoe from the CookieA sock club.  The yarn is Hazel Knits, and it is knitting up very nicely.

    • Carol 12:51 am on August 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more about STR. I have a basket full of socks waiting for holes to be repaired and every pair is STR yarn. There must be about 6 pairs with holes. I have decided that since I like a lot of the colorways and I already have them in my stash that they will only be used for scarfs, shawls and maybe mittens. The STR is not sock worthy, sorry BMFA. I am now only knitting socks that have 20 to 25% nylon. Sometimes less if it is Bugga or Skinny Bugga.
      I’m sorry your mom’s sock fell apart. I wish you luck in darning them. But your right.


    • knitting1105 11:27 am on August 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I actually just trashed both pairs of socks. The other ones didn’t bother me as much, since they were much older. No more STR in my stash, and none will enter.


    • Carol 8:12 pm on August 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I went through a phase that I was in the Rockin’ Sock Club and I was buying a lot of STR. After the holes in my socks I sold 27 skeins. I still have 18 skeins and I plan to use it for weaving where not much stress will be on it as a scarf. But to sell 27 skeins of some colors I really liked tells you how mad I was of the wearability of this yarn. I was also upset that the vibrant colors faded after the first or second wash.
      I have other yarn that doesn’t fade and is better wearing. I rather spend money on that kind of sock yarn. There are a lot of very beautiful yarns with nylon. Also I am spinning a lot so maybe I will just spin my own yarn.
      I don’t blame you for trashing your socks and not using STR anymore.


  • knitting1105 12:01 pm on July 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Breed study, Fiber Optics, , ,   

    Tour de Fleece, Shetland style 

    The Tour de Fleece is a spinner’s challenge.  On Ravelry, the spinners all set goals, and try to spin each day during the Tour de France.   They spin, we spin.  Both start today.  I know, I know, it sounds corny, but the goals and inspiration are great.

    Guidelines (NOT RULES):

    1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2nd through Sunday July 24th. Days of rest: Monday July 11th, Monday July 18st. (Just like the actual tour)
    2. Spin something challenging Friday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage over the Col du Galibier for the second time, and finishing up on Alpe d’Huez.)
    3. Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity. Take it from here or grab a clean one from the flickr pool. Come join the flickr pool!
    4. Wear yellow on Sunday July 24th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour – but here we are all ‘race leaders’)
    5. Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter – think FAST), Polka-dot (climber – as in uphill), and white (rookie)

    I am planning on spinning just Shetland rovings.  It will also be a part of a breed study that I am involved in, where we learn about a spin a different sheep breed (and maybe other animals as well) each month.  This month is Shetland.

    Here is what I know so far about Shetland sheep:

    • There are 11 recognized colors of Shetland Sheep (Dan and I would like a hobby farm with one of each color in the pasture)
    • There are 30 recognized markings
    • Shetland sheep are very affectionate, and will even wag their tails.  They have been domesticated since the Bronze age.
    • Shepherd dogs have a difficult time herding them
    • It is one of the “primitive” breeds, dating back more than 1,000 years
    • They are part of the Northern European short-tailed group of sheep, cousins include Finns and Icelandics
    • Shetland’s remained a pure breed for generations because of their geographical isolation
    • The breed fell out of favor when the quest for bright white fleece became popular, and many breeders eliminated the colored variants
    • The soft wool under the neck was favored for lace weight yarn, and used in wedding shawls that were so fine they could be pulled through a wedding ring
    • The Shetland fiber is also popular for Fair Isle projects, as the fiber has a tendency to bloom, thereby concealing colors that have been carried behind
    • If you drop a stitch, it will most likely stay put
    • The staple length is 2-4 1/2″ long
    • The undercoat is fine, the outercoat is smoother often with a curl at the tip
    • Low luster
    • Shetland is usually spun woolen
    • Moderate felting
    • The fiber is good for next to skin, and outerwear depending on the grade of the fiber
    • Shetland’s are smaller than commercial breeds and slow-growing, but long-lived and hardy, able to adapt to difficult conditions
    Here is the 2 colors of natural Shetland that I will be spinning.  I have already started on the dark wool (4 oz), and will do the light wool (2 oz) next.  Both from the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill, a brand new mill outside of  Chicago.
    Afterwards, I will work on this deep purple/black Shetland dyed roving by Fiber Optics.  It is actually a darker color than the photograph shows, it was very difficult to capture it’s exact hue.
    And, this is my first spinning of Shetland fiber.  It has a lot more loft to it, not as smooth and silky as some others.  I am finding it very easy to draft out, and get a thinner yarn.  I hope that I will be able to maintain consistency with this fiber.  That has been an issue for me with some other fibers.
  • knitting1105 2:57 pm on January 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Goodbye STR 

    I finally finished the last pair of socks from the 2008 Socks That Rock sock club.  You read that right, 2008.  I was in the club for two years, and had hoped that the second year would be more interesting to me.  But, I have decided that their sock yarn is not for me, and the club was really geared at beginning sock knitters.  I am keeping this pair and the previous pair as the only ones for myself, all others have been gifted away.  They are a bit bulky, even though it is their light weight yarn, so they will not work with shoes but rather be “house socks”.  I do love the color of this yarn.

    There are a couple of other sock clubs out there that I might try…  CookieA and Janel Laidman both now have clubs.  Perhaps I should give it one more go.

    I have been spinning with this Blue Moon roving, and loving it!  I will show you the finished yarn tomorrow.

    • Carol 4:22 pm on January 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I was in the 2009 RSC but didn’t sign up for last year. I agree with you about how the STR fits in very few of my shoes, really just my boots. My problem with STR is that if I don’t reinforce the heels I will get holes in a few wearings.
      I bought a cedar chest full of STR because I love the colors but now I am sick about it. This is because not one of my STR pairs of socks have kept their color. I hand wash with SOAK and sometimes add a vinegar. But they still fade.
      I’m glad your happy with the spinning. i love spinning too. The only club I am in is the one from Crown Mountain Farms and it is a fiber club. You can buy only the months you want or for the whole year. It is beautiful fiber. I’m also learning a lot about the different fibers without a lot of investment.
      Your socks are beautiful.


  • knitting1105 9:49 am on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    STR one last time 

    I have started my last pair of STR socks, “Holidazed“.   These date back to my last shipment from the club 2 years ago.  I cast on with size 1 needles, the  pattern called for size 1 1/2 which I do not have.  After completing half of the heel flap, I realized that these were just going to be too tight, so I ripped back to the 1×1 ribbed cuff, and knit the main body with a size 2 needle.  So, my progress photos are not as far along as I had hoped.  I like the way that the yarn is knitting up on a size 2 needle much better.  The first version was very striped.  The larger needles also give more stitch definition to the pattern, the fabric does not feel so dense, and the yarn is actually easy to work with.  I think that in many of their patterns, they are trying to make this yarn something that it is not by using very small needles.  STR should just accept that these will be bulkier socks, and use a size 2 needle.

    Par for the course, not my favorite pattern, but I am determined to knit what was given to me.  I have learned a few things along the way.  Most importantly it has taught me that I need to not be wowed by colors, but go for the weight and texture of yarns that I really love.  As in things that I put in my house: quality, beauty and useful or something I love.

    Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”  –  William Morris

    Tonight is the Stitch N Pitch outing of knitters to see the Chicago White Sox game vs. Minnesota Twins.  I must have something mindless to work on during that time, and these current socks require good lighting.  I am thinking a pair of simple white socks.

    • Karen 9:58 am on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What is the colorway? I know what you mean about STR but I’m afraid I am still in the “wowed by color” phase and I LOVE that one.


      • knitting1105 10:13 am on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Colorway is Muddy autumn Rainbow. Beautiful in the skein also.


  • knitting1105 10:32 am on August 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    One finished 

    I finished the first of a pair of socks from the STR sock club that have been waiting patiently for me for 2 years.  I have stated in the past how their sock yarn is not my favorite, and you could never do fair isle with it—that is if you wnated to actually wear them.  The yarn is thick.  I was less than enamoured with this pattern, and still don’t like the cuff as it flairs out.  But…in trying them on, I love the way that they feel.  The pattern and the garter stitch heel and toe are so soft and squishly.  Mind you, these would never fit comfortably in a pair of shoes, they will be indoor only socks.  I wish that I had done one more repeat.  I was nervous, as I have had barely enough yarn for the socks from this club in the past, and didn’t want to go beyond the reccomended length.

    Now, somewhere I have one last pattern to knit up from that club.  I am keeping these, and I think the last pair that I will make.  Just wish they used a different base yarn, as the colors are really beautiful.

  • knitting1105 3:10 pm on August 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Gumdrop socks 

    This is the second to the last pair of socks from the 2008 (yes, 2 years ago) Socks That Rock sock Club.  If you haven’t read my earlier posts on this club, you would not understand why it took me 2 years to get to these socks.  I originally joined, pre Ravelry, to have some camaraderie, and to expand my sock knitting repertoire.  However, the camaraderie was minimal, and for the most part, the patterns were less than engaging.  The club was really geared at beginning sock knitters.  I also am not a fan of this yarn.  It feels like knitting with thick cotton string instead of wool.  I don’t know what the treatment that they used to get the superwash component, but it has to be a chemical one.  The yarn does have nice stitch definition, and I generally like the colors that it is dyed.  However, when knitting with it you constantly get a twist in the yarn, even when using a center pull ball.  And the yarn is way too thick for my tastes in sock yarn.  I have given away every pair that I have made thus far, so I think that I will keep these and see how they wear.  The reports for wear are not stellar on Ravelry.  My last comment is that the skeins are very skimpy, and with every pair there is a fear of running out before completing the second sock.  Another 20-30 yards would be good, especially at the prices.

    The colors are really beautiful, especially in the unwound skein.  It is knitting up nicely.

    Pattern is easy to follow, and will have a lot of stretch:

  • knitting1105 9:04 am on August 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Finished another pair 

    I finished my 3rd to the last pair of STR (Socks that Rock) 2008 club socks.  Only 2 more left to go.  The pattern was okay, I like the twisted rib cuff, but as always, found the yarn to be too thick for my taste (even in the light weight version).  I changed the heel from the standard reinforced rib, to an alternating slip stitch.  I think that it goes better with the sock.  The pattern is less than inspiring.  I might have been interested in it in my first year of sock knitting.  I think that these sock clubs that have sprung up all over strive to find something interesting to make, and succeed only occasionally.   The only pair that comes to mind from the past 2 years that I would remake is the ones by the Yarn Harlot  -Lenore (and when the package came I was NOT interested in them at all).

    So, here are my recently finished socks, which will go in a drawer as a future gift to someone:



    • Mel 9:04 am on August 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I am in love with these socks! Love the colors, love the pattern! I admire your talent and assume you and your family have the warmest feet in OP during those long winter months!


  • knitting1105 12:57 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Back to STR 

    Finished up my Ilga’s Socks by Nancy Bush last night with the last of the end weaving.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, just watched TV and took a Zen-like approach.  Perhaps I can use this technique to finishing the ends on a couple of sweaters that have been sitting for literally years.  I love the color of these socks, and they match perfectly with a flower in my rain garden (don’t ask me what it is, native to Illinois, and the butterflies love it, beautiful vibrant color).



    Now, I am moving back to the Socks That Rock 2008 socks that I never knit up last year.  I got bored with the club, and the lack of challenge.  While the colors that they dye are beautiful, even their light weight is heavier than I want for most of my socks, and it definitely would not work with stranded sock knitting (at least if you ever wanted to put on a shoe or boot).   So,  I had 3 skeins, and 4 patterns left (one month came with 2 patterns for the same lot).


    I chose the top skein, which was called Tide Pooling, and am working on the sock pattern that came with it, Cloning Anemone Rib.  A very simple pattern, the colors are pretty and it has a springy, squishy feel to the ribbing.  Not a sock pattern that I would have gravitated towards, but okay.


    • MrsPete 9:56 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your socks are lovely.

      Jim says the flower is butterfly weed – http://www.mortonarb.org/tree-plant-advice/article/839/summer-prairie-plants.html

      I am trying to decide on something else besides socks to make with my STR too (mediumweight). I am thinking lightweight scarves or a cowl. I like the baktus, and especially the lacy baktus.


      • knitting1105 11:41 am on August 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks MrsPete, I wish that I knew the names of all of the lovely flowers in my yard. I will have to have Jim come over.


    • theLady 11:05 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful socks! I like to look at the insides of stranded knitting too. Too bad the STR club was boring for you. Are you going to do a sock give-away again?


      • knitting1105 11:41 am on August 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I think that I might, I am just knitting away and stashing any socks that I do not want to keep for myself. They always make a great birthday present.


        • theLady 12:05 pm on August 11, 2009 Permalink

          Re: my sock summit post:

          Dang, you must be fast if B. Walker thought so! I had suspected it:-)
          I’m glad you got to do some armchair traveling via my post! Yes, disorganized is precisely the word for the L. panel, I just couldn’t put my finger on it at the moment. And yeah, I just was so appalled at the un-called for snark of that dyer… well, I share! That’s what I do! It sure is nice to use stash yarn, sort of more than buying new stuff. It’s something I need to keep remembering!


  • knitting1105 5:08 pm on January 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    The great sock giveaway 


    In January of 2007, coincidentally enough the same time that Barack Obama was planning a run for the White House, I made the decision to make socks for the entire year and give all of them away.  I was just starting the Socks that Rock sock club (which I did for 2 years).  I wanted to see how many socks I could make, have them all be different patterns, and then give them away all at the same time.  So, I started knitting.  And as I finished each new pair of socks, I put them in a drawer.  I knew most of the socks that were there, but forgot exactly how many I had made.  The one exception was when a friend asked me to make socks for someone who was very ill, and we were not sure how he would do (he is great now by the way, and wears my socks whenever he knows that he will see me).  January 2008 came, and I seemed to be too busy with life to get it together to pull all of the socks out and mail them off. So, I kept knitting through 2008.  Sock knitting was interrupted by sweaters and shawls, mittens and life.  But still the drawer kept getting fuller.  

    At the beginning of this month, I pulled all of the socks out and laid them out on a table


    I made little pieces of paper with names of those that I wanted to send socks to, and started matching the sock up with the recipient.  Much to my surprise, I initially did not have enough people for all of the socks.  I told my husband that I did not have as many friends as I thought.  So, I kept them out on the table, rearranged the tags, and kept adding. Then, I suddenly found that I had more names than socks, and I had the difficult task of pulling names out.  Never fear though, those people are on the list of the next recipients.  I pinned the name tags to the socks and took them out a couple of times to look at the matches.  My family was quite impressed with all of my sock knitting.

    So today, I put together the letter and placed it with a pair of socks, addressed all of the packages, and took them to the post office.  The lady at the post office commented that many of the packages were to people in the neighborhood.  I said that sometimes it was nicer to get a package in the mail.  I also did not want to deliver these personally.  Now I have given the US Post Office a huge leap of faith that all of the packages will be delivered.  On my route, that would be a dubious task indeed, but I do not think that anyone is on my delivery route.









    Here is the note that I sent along, with the fan photo of the socks shown above:

    To my wonderful friends and family:

    I started making socks in the early winter of 2007 and I promised myself to give all of the socks that I made during that year away.  I had planned on mailing them out last January, but the winter got away from me.  That allowed me to add to my giveaway pile during 2008.  I started this project when Obama was a little known senator seeking the presidency, and I cannot think of a more fitting time to send these off than when we now can say “President Obama”!

    You all have been in my thoughts, and consequently in my knitting, over the past 2 years.  My well wishes and prayers are in every stitch of these socks.  

    •     To those whom I have cheered alongside during the good times
    •     To those whom I worried with during the difficult times
    •     To my sisters (including marilyn and anita with spirit socks)
    •     To friends new and old
    •     To everyone who is there with an email, note, visit, coffee or wine (especially wine)

    May these socks keep you warm and bring you comfort.   

    • the Lady 11:09 pm on January 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, what a great post! Funnily enough, today I just did a post on all of my socks that I’ve knit over the past two years.

      The socks look lovely and fabulous, and what a wonderful sentiment behind them. I’m not sure I could give away so many! 🙂


    • Jill 6:39 pm on January 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      WOW! I love my socks! I love the circular photo of all the socks — it reminds me of the Wheel of Life. (No mom, not Wheel of Fortune). And I love the letter. Most of all, I love the spirit socks.

      Thank you for all of your kindness and generosity. I will cherish each stitch that was made with your good wishes.

      Jill (sister)


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