Posts Tagged ‘socks’


Knit Your Stash 2015

Posted under Knitting, Life No Comments

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This year I’m trying to use more yarn from stash rather than purchasing yarn as needed or worse, just because it’s on sale and I’m walking past. I generally have pretty good self-control driven by my shoestring budget, but I do have a tendency to think I still have the stamina of a healthy person and can complete all the projects my head can think of. Thus I tend to purchase yarn for specific projects that don’t get completed.

There is also this trap you can fall into when shopping for yarn. Let’s say you really want a pair of hand-knit socks for yourself. You buy yarn. Time passes and you never got to knit them because you’ve been too busy with everything else in life, chores, knitting gifts, dog walking, writhing in pain, whatever. Then you’re at the store and you see some stunning sock yarn and you really want a pair of hand-knit socks for yourself. So you buy the yarn somehow of the belief that purchasing said yarn will magically give you the time and energy to knit yourself that pair of socks.

Alas, you cannot purchase more hours in the day. But clearly I really want some socks and/or shawls in these colors!

3 Sock Yarns

The furthest back yarn is the oldest and the cheapest. I bought it at a little yarn shop way up in the mountains of Colorado during the 2013 Yarn Along the Rockies yarn crawl which I did with my mom. Of 23 yarn shops in 2 days, this was one of the two balls of yarn I purchased. Both were sock yarn incidentally. The middle yarn was purchased on vacation in 2014 in Southern California while visiting with another Chronic Bitch I met on Ravelry. She took me to a cute little yarn shop in the Claremont Village, Colors 91711, and I just loved these colors. None of my local stores carry the brand and I was as intrigued by the blend of fibers as the color. The closest to the front was purchased fall 2014 during a anniversary sale at Table Rock Llamas in Black Forest, Colorado. I knew I had the middle one when I purchased the third, but I’d completely forgotten about the first ball from 2013 until I took it down tonight!

Clearly I really need to take some time to knit myself something with at least one of these gorgeous balls of yarn this year! They’re all in my top 10, and probably top 5, favorite sock yarns from my stash. I keep my sock yarn up high along the ceiling on a long shelf above a sliding glass door. Until I took it all down today to photograph it, I honestly had no idea just how much yarn was crammed up there! I shouldn’t NEED to buy much sock yarn this year!

Here’s the entire sock yarn stash on my bed. This doesn’t include 100% wool or 100% alpaca fingering weight yarns as those are stored elsewhere. This is just yarn that is intended for socks but may well become a shawl instead.

Sock Yarn Stash

And this is after I used up a few balls of yarn from the shelf of fingering weight sock yarn to make Christmas gifts! I used up two balls of orange on dad’s crazy cat. That orange was purchased for only $1 a ball back in 2010. The blue on the upper right was $3 a ball and is much nicer stuff than the orange. It’s destined for shawls. I may be broke, but at least I know how to shop right!

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El Paso County State Fair

Posted under Crochet, Knitting, Life, Scroll Saw, Toys, Woodworking No Comments

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At a local friend’s urging, I decided to enter some of my fiber arts work into the county fair. I figured that since I’ve only been knitting since February 2010, surely I would rank mediocre at best. I like to try some unusual and challenging pieces, but I still feel like such a beginner! I figured I didn’t have much to lose since the entry fee is only $5 though, so I got to work on some special projects.

My first project for the fair was a pair of socks I’ve been wanting to knit for myself for quite some time. I’d seen someone else win a second place ribbon in one of my Ravelry groups with some knee-high socks, so I figured that knee-high socks were an impressive enough sort of project to enter into a fair.  I ordered the yarn and made a few modifications to the pattern. The pattern was beautiful as written, but featured many floats over 5 stitches which is not structurally sound or traditional knitting. These socks also had a heel type I’d never tried before that is unique to traditional Norwegian stockings. It was great fun to learn the new heel and to do so much stranded colorwork. That’s my favorite kind of knitting to do. It takes just the right amount of attention to detail and works up into a nice, thick fabric. I like my knits to be cozy.

The hardest part of these socks was actually blocking them. I’d never blocked socks before, but I figured they needed to be done up nicely. I couldn’t find large enough sock blockers anywhere, so I ended up having to make them myself. Unfortunately, I’m not doing well enough physically since the most recent accident to be using my power tools. I broke a half dozen blades and failed at cutting on the lines I’d drawn on the plywood. The sock blockers aren’t great, but they’re enough to get the job done. Any puckering from the stranding blocked right out of the socks.

Then, because I was trying to work on the project anyhow to publish the pattern, I decided the bird I was knitting could be entered in the knit toy category of the fiber arts department. I’m currently working on getting the pattern typed up and materials to a test knitter. The pattern will be available for purchase and download by the end of the year. The entire bird is knit from Knit Picks Palette yarn on size 0 needles. It’s stuffed with wool as well, and has wool wrapped wire for the feet and crown feather. The eyes are 1/4″ rounded-top, shank-style buttons. I made the stand out of craft wood from Michaels Arts and Crafts and painted it out matte black so it wouldn’t fight with the cockatiel for the eye.

Finally, right after the most recent accident, a Ravelry friend of mine gifted me a pattern for a crocheted schnauzer as a feel better and know you’re loved sort of thing. I figured I’d better crochet a little dog and post pictures to show my appreciation. I didn’t really want a great big toy dog cluttering up the place though, so I unraveled some wool yarn and crocheted with only one ply of yarn on a size 7 steel crochet hook. This made an itty bitty toy dog and almost everything is better in miniature! I also rewrote the legs in the pattern, did the face embroidery differently, and needle felted in the beard. I made him a collar out of the finest red ribbon I had and stitched on a sequin to be his dog tag. His eyes are two black beads that were in with the rest of my seed beads but mysteriously a size larger than the rest. Working on such a small scale with such fragile single ply wool was a pain, but the end result was totally worth it. He came out so well I decided I may as well enter him too. After all, you can enter up to 10 items for the $5 entry fee. You only have to pay extra if you enter more than 10 different items in 10 different classes. You also only get $4 back if you win a first place ribbon though, and I wanted to up my chances of making back my $5. When you’re really broke, that $5 matters a lot!

When I finally got to go to the fair after judging on Saturday, I was greeted pretty quickly with my knit socks. They won first place in the knitted accessory category (socks, hats, gloves and such) and won the Adult Fiber Arts Department Reserve Champion ribbon. I had to ask what that meant exactly, and it’s second place out of all adult fiber arts entries: knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, tatting, felting, and rug hooking. How exciting!

Then I found my knit bird and crocheted dog in the glass display case. They each also had a first place ribbon for their category on them, knit toys and crochet toys respectively! I was thrilled!

We looked around at all the other entries for a while, and we couldn’t find the Adult Fiber Arts Department Champion. I really wanted to see what was nicer than my socks. We asked and were told that not all the ribbons were on the items yet. The woman helping us went to check the record book and when she came back, she was carrying the champion ribbon to hang on my crocheted dog! I couldn’t believe it! I won every single award my items were eligible for, three first places, the department champion, and the reserve champion!

I’m so excited. I can’t wait to pick my items up, show off the ribbons and projects at show-and-tell at the Front Range Fiber Artisans annual picnic, and get my winners (the socks and dog only) to the state fair. I’d send the bird too, but the state fair combines knit and crochet toys into one class, so I can only enter one of them. Fingers crossed for more success at the state level. It’s much more competitive and you don’t even get your items displayed unless you win.

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Knitting in an Igloo

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I’ve always wanted to build an igloo. This is particularly funny because I do not like the cold, can’t lift much, and do not like getting wet out in the snow. I’ve also never had enough snow, but I got lucky this past Thursday!

I went to a knit group that meets in Black Forest, about 40 minutes from where I live now and only about 5 minutes from where I’ll be living eventually. I had a fine time with the ladies at knit group but just wasn’t done when group was over. I decided to drive by my property to just give it a hug since I was in such a good mood. Plus, I wanted to see how much snow there was. My friend in Black Forest said they’d had 20 inches earlier in the week when we’d only gotten a light dusting in the Springs.

When I got to my property, this is what I saw:

I figured I’d shovel the driveway since I needed experience shoveling a gravel driveway. I got about two feet of the driveway shoveled before I decided to play in the snow instead because shoveling gravel is hard to do and not as fun as shoveling normally is. I walked over toward my little tree in the front yard and fell past my knees into a ditch that I forgot was there. I was in awe of how much snow I had to play with…and a little frustrated that I was wearing thin sneakers instead of snow boots!

The snow was pretty powdery, but with my mini snow shovel, emergency trunk gloves, and a little bit of melting the snow with my breath and patting it down as it iced back up, I made this:

It was pretty small because I only have so much energy and strength per day. It’s still bigger and better than the last igloo I made  back in March 2010. I couldn’t fit in the old igloo which was sad, but I just didn’t have enough snow to make it bigger. It was much better construction snow though, partially iced up from the wind blowing over it and days in the sun. I’d actually cut it into blocks with the sides of my hands. Scribbles, my Miniature Schnauzer/Pyrenean Shepherd mix, fit inside though. This is one of my favorite photos of her as she actually looks more like a wild dog than a timid toy size dog.

Anyhow, I really wanted to get inside this newer igloo. I went back to the car to get a woven blanket to keep my bum dry and my knitting because really, how many people can say they’ve knit inside an igloo?

Somehow in my head, I’d envisioned crawling inside the igloo, turning around, and sitting down with my feet sticking out the door. When I actually bent down to do this, there was just no way. I couldn’t even kneel down and twist into it. I’d made the door too small on my little pod of an igloo. Ultimately, I snugged up the hood on my hoodie (I didn’t even have a jacket with me that day), squatted down in front of the igloo, and fell backward into it landing on my butt. Of course the force of coming down and back like that kept me rocking backward. My head and shoulders hit the back of the igloo with a thunk. I closed my eyes and mouth expecting to be flat on my back buried in the snow of a failed igloo. Amazingly enough, the igloo held! When I opened my eyes, I was leaning against the back wall of the igloo with my feet sticking out the door and a slight wet spot on the side of my leg where my hips were too wide to fit through the narrow doorway of the igloo without rubbing. I was thrilled. Bucket list kinds of thrilled.

The last time I felt the bucket list kind of thrilled was when guy pal took my brother and I to the Arizona Science Center and we all took turns on the bed of nails. There is nothing better for an itchy back than wiggling on a bed of nails.

With a little wiggling in the igloo, I ended up feeling quite comfortable there too. It was so much warmer than I’d expected it to be! Even though my feet stuck out, I’d constructed the igloo against the wind, so my feet, even with wet socks stayed warm enough for me to be comfortable. Originally, I’d planned to only knit one round, 81 stitches, on my Mini Mochi socks before heading back to the car and getting on with my errands. It was so comfy and quiet inside my well insulated and sound proofed igloo that I knit in there for about an hour. It was so warm inside that my bare hands didn’t even get cold!

Eventually, I had to pack up and get on with my errands, but I kept smiling like that for the rest of the day. Igloos are cool. Spending a couple hours outside building an igloo and knitting on a warm pair of wool socks makes me feel quite sure of my survival skills for when I’m in the frozen north hiding from zombies. I should probably put my igloo and wool sock making skills on my dating site profile. Surely men want a woman who can hold her own in the zombie apocalypse.

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