Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sock yarn stash

Here's my latest progress picture of the monkey sock. I just finished the gusset decreases and now just have to continue down the foot section. As you can see, I also wound (by hand!) the 2nd hank into a ball so I'll be ready to start the 2nd sock:I received my order from The Loopy Ewe today!! Here's what I got:
I didn't included my surprise gift item in the picture because I like to be surprised when I get my package and I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone else. The Loopy Ewe includes "fun little gifts" in your first five orders and then with your sixth order you become a "Loopy Groupie". This is my 3rd order from The Loopy Ewe. I did include my Loopy postcard and yarn samples in the picture - these were other freebies. Sheri is having a summer photo contest where you can take pictures of your Loopy postcard (or stuffed Loopy) while on vacation.

As you can see, I ordered a T-shirt, 3 colors of Panda Cotton for Summer of Socks and a notebook to organize all my sock knitting information in one place.

Here are some better pictures of the Panda Cotton:

Lacquer Red:Fall Herbs:and Roses (I think this colorway will make a fun pair of Christmas socks!):
So, here is my official sock yarn stash for Summer of Socks 2008:
That's enough to make 10 pairs!!! My goal is 8 pairs, and I'll probably be lucky if I make that, but at least this gives me some options.

And, just because I took so many pictures there, I'll leave you with another photo from Indian Echo Caverns:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monkey sock update

I started the heel flap of the monkey sock last night! It seems to be the right size this time, so hopefully I will soon have a complete sock. I hope to finish the heel flap tonight and maybe even turn the heel.

Since I have no other exciting knitting news right now, I'll leave you with some more Indian Echo Cavern pictures:
The picture below is towards the beginning of the cavern (they actually walk you past it towards the end of the tour). You walk up a staircase and when you get to the top, there is this little lake to the right. I believe it had a name, but I can't remember:
The final picture for today is also near the entrance to the cave, and we visit this area at the end of the tour. This is where "The Pennsylvania Hermit" lived the last 19 years of his life. He kept a journal and stayed in this area of the caverns during the winter, lighting a fire to keep warm. Thus, you will notice all the black soot in this area of the cavern.

Perhaps my next post will include a picture of a completed red wool monkey sock!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quick yarn post

Just a quick update to share pics of the yarn I bought over the weekend for my Summer of Socks stash!

This is a limited edition colorway (# 742) of Tofutsies that I bought at Oh Susanna in Lancaster:

And this is the Maizy sock yarn I bought at yarn-love. The color is called "bittersweet", but appears black to me.
I visited Indian Echo Caverns with a friend of mine yesterday and took a bunch of pictures which I will share on future blog posts. It is a really cool place to visit!

Here's a picture from deep inside the cavern:
And here is a formation in the main cavern room that looks like a bunny rabbit. Do you see it???
OK, one final picture for today of one of the lakes inside the cavern:
I think it may be too hot to knit tonight! It is 85 and humid and we haven't turned the A/C on yet. I am almost ready to start the heel on my monkey socks too! Maybe if I cool my hands down with an ice cold beverage...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Magic Loop

I signed up for a Magic Loop Socks class at yarn-love yesterday! It's in July and I'm really looking forward to it. This will be my first knitting class. Until now I have taught myself from books and the internet.

Magic Loop is a method of knitting socks on one long (40 inch) circular needle. It should be interesting to learn. From what I have read on blogs and Ravelry, a lot of people really love this method once they try it.

I also bought some black Maizy yarn at yarn-love. Sorry, no picture yet, but it's black so I think you can picture it. ;-)

I am planning on going to the infamous Oh Susanna yarn shop in Lancaster today. I have not been there since I was just starting to knit, so I have a better idea of what I'm looking for this time. She has a LOT of yarn in that store!!

And since I just can't have a blog post with no pictures, I will show you my first "Sensational Knitted Socks" sock that I knit from the acrylic yarn (discussed in this post). I found it in a box when I was gathering my sock yarn stash.
I think I'm going to buy some sock blockers from The Loopy Ewe so I can stop taking pictures of my feet all the time! They would be a bit of a splurge, but I love the cute sheep at the top!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Knitting with wool!

So, after finishing my blog post the other day about how I really didn't like knitting with wool, I looked around to see what project I should knit next (since I had finished the Sable socks). I realized I had one pair of socks on the needles that I had started back in March, but had set aside to knit the Sockina Cotton socks. I thought I should probably finish these before Summer of Socks begins!

The yarn for this project is Happy Feet by Plymouth Yarn. It is 9o% superwash merino wool and 10%nylon.

I found this yarn at Kitnit Fine Yarns when I was shopping for Maizy sock yarn earlier in the year. I really liked the red colorway and the wool didn't seem TOO scratchy since it was merino wool, so I thought I'd give it a try.

In March, I had cast on these socks using US 2 needles and the no-purl version of Cookie A's Monkey socks pattern. I probably did one of my quick gauge checks and then ignored my results because I knit all the way to the heel flap before I realized they were going to be way too big. This is my first attempt at the monkey socks:
You can't tell from the picture, but when I finished the leg and started the heel flap, I could tell it was just way too wide. So, I frogged it, re-calculated my gauge on size 0 needles, figured that would work better and cast on again. The twisted rib part at the top is very tedious for me, but I got through it and started the leg and knit about 10-15 rows. Then my Sockina yarn arrived in the mail from The Loopy Ewe and I couldn't wait to cast on! So I set aside the monkey socks and didn't pick them up again until this week!

This is my current progress on the size 0 needles:
and another view from a different angle (the colors look more hot pink in this picture, but the red pictures are more accurate):
The size 0 needles seem to be making this a stiffer fabric, but I think they will be the right size and should be pretty durable. I am looking forward to having a complete sock and trying it on. I'm not sure if I will like wearing wool socks but I will give it a try!

Will these socks convert me to buying wool yarn??? The jury is still out on that one! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Pictured above is one of my examples of doing the bare minimum of swatching. (It is being held down by two knitting calendars because of it's tendency to curl up!) I knit this little swatch last night from Tofutsies yarn on US 0 (zero) needles. I received this sample of yarn from my awesome wee tiny sock swap partner (back in March - I didn't have a blog then to post about it) from the blog Knitting Adventures. Be sure to check out her blog, because she just took a trip to Paris and posted great pictures! My favorite post was of the Parisian dogs - so cute! She sent me a beautiful mini sock knit from this yarn and also included chocolates and some extra Tofutsies yarn for me to try (swatched above)! She displayed the wee sock on the front of the card she sent, and it looked so pretty that way, I just had to put it in a frame:
It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but there are pretty little cables on the leg of the sock. This picture may show it better:

I love the colors in this yarn and really think I want to buy a skein. It is making me less than excited to knit the tan Tofutsies yarn I currently have (which will probably make more practical socks - but not as fun!) I got 9 stitches to an inch so I will look for a pattern that meets this criteria. Either that or try something from Sensational Knitted Socks.

So, I may try to knit at least two pairs of Tofutsies socks during the Summer of Socks. They will probably be slow-going on the size zero needles though! The yarn seems "stringy" when you hold it in your hand, but it seems to knit up into a nice, soft fabric. I am looking forward to wearing a completed pair of socks! Also, there is some wool in these socks, so maybe that will help me break my aversion to wool sock yarns! (The aversion does help me save money though, it is much tougher to find non-wool sock yarns; thus my relatively small sock yarn stash!) I am not allergic to wool, but I just seem to find most wools scratchy. I know the Yarn Harlot would be so upset with me... ;-)

Tofutsies is an interesting yarn. It is made of:
50% superwash wool
25% SOYSILK brand fiber
22.5% cotton
2.5% Chitin (from shrimp & crab shells)

I love finding sock yarns with unique "ingredients". I am looking forward to trying Panda Soy when it comes out this fall. It is 49% bamboo, 33% soy and 18% elastic nylon. I really like the "evening blues" colorway.

I never know how to end my blog posts...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sable stocks and stash

The Sable socks are finished! They were actually a very quick knit. I just had about a two-week knitting hiatus while I was miserable with the tonsillitis so they seemed to take a month to knit.

I took a picture of my sock yarn stash in preparation for the Summer of Socks:
Not too much really... I think I need to do some more shopping! :-) Especially considering much of that yarn isn't enough to make a full pair of socks. I just put it in the picture because it is technically sock yarn. And the monkey socks hibernating on the wool yarn won't count for summer of socks because they are already cast on. Hmmmm.... maybe I should actually try to finish those before summer of socks begins?? I'll have to see if I get motivated in that direction.

The Tofutsies is just being swatched on size 1 bamboo needles and will be frogged before summer of socks begins. I tend to cheat at swatching... knit about 10 rows, measure my gauge, and then frog and start knitting the socks! So bad... I know that you're supposed to knit a nice 4-inch square and wash and dry it to see what the fabric will really end up like when you wear it, but I am:
a. Too lazy (I get so bored knitting a stockinette square for 4 inches!)

b. Too cheap (I should really buy an extra skein for swatching, but I don't, and I'm always afraid I'll run out of yarn for a pair of socks.)

So... I do my lazy, cheating swatching and so far it has worked for me! I am trying to do a better job at swatching in preparation for Summer of Socks because I want to try different size needles to see what fabric I like best at different gauges. (This is a nice theory, but I am not always very motivated to keep swatching, so again, we'll see how that goes!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Saturday!

Well, I have not made any further progress on the Sable sock since the last post, so I have nothing to update there. I am hoping to work on it this weekend and maybe even finish it.

I am still preparing for Summer of Socks 2008 and have found a couple more patterns that I want to try. I was looking at the free sock patterns on the Crystal Palace yarns website since I am planning to knit socks using Maizy and Panda Cotton.

I really like this Cables and Lace pattern especially since I usually make shorter socks. Also, it is a top-down pattern which I prefer. (mainly because I still have not tried toe-up!) If I could just figure out how to do one of the cast-ons for toe-up socks, I'm sure I'd be fine but I have tried without success. Maybe I will attempt it again after I finish the Sable socks. This pattern also calls for using two circular needles and I have always used dpns (double-pointed needles). I'm not a huge fan of circular needles, but I would like to try it for socks just to see if I like it.

The only major project I have done on circular needles was this market bag that I made for a friend of mine last year:
Working that on a circular needle wasn't too bad. I just like knitting socks on dpns because it is a nice small, compact project. With circulars it just seems that they're always sproinging (is that a word??) around!

Anyway, if I knit the Cables and Lace pattern I may try to just use dpns and see how it goes.

I also like this Forget-Me-Not pattern, but I think I would add an inch or so of ribbing at the top instead of the edging used on the sock pictured. I believe this is a suggested option in the pattern and I saw some pictures of socks on Ravelry done this way, and I liked the look of it.

I also want to try the Walking in the Maize pattern for the Maizy yarn I bought.

I'm hoping to go to some local yarn stores next weekend and stock up on some more sock yarn. Should be fun!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I bought some Maizy yarn yesterday in preparation for the Summer of Socks! I don't have a HUGE sock yarn stash, so I figured I'd better stock up a little. I got this yarn at Kitnit Fine Yarns in Lancaster, PA. Maizy is 82% corn fiber and 18% elastic nylon. I think it's so cool that they can make yarn from corn!

The first colorway is Ballad Blues:
And the other colorway I got is Meadow Mist:
I am moving along on the 2nd Sable sock. I started the heel flap tonight:
I also printed out some more sock patterns that I want to try this summer. At last count, there were over 1,000 people signed up for the Summer of Socks 2008. This should be a fun knitalong!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Summer of Socks!

First off, I have not been knitting for the past week or two because of a nasty bout of tonsillitis. Not fun! I didn't feel like doing anything. But, I am on the mend now and actually resumed knitting the 2nd Sable sock tonight and am making fast progress. Yay!

Today, I decided to sign up for the Summer of Socks 2008! I am very excited about this. You can read all about it if you click on the link. This will be my first knitalong (KAL). I participated in a crochetalong back in March and that was a lot of fun. There have been a lot of sock patterns that I want to try and this will be good motivation for me.

As part of the Summer of Socks, there is a contest for knitting the most pairs of socks. Last year's winner knit 42 pairs! I am setting myself the "lofty" goal of 8 pairs and I think that is being pretty ambitious. I was going to round it up to 10, but that would mean I'd have to knit a pair EVERY week and I don't see how I could do that. But, you never know! So, I decided to stick with 8 and the plan is to knit at least a few pairs with some worsted weight yarn (Wick!) because those go much quicker for me. I certainly don't expect to compete in the most socks knit, but I would like to see a lot of sock accomplishments by the end of summer!

I made a list of some socks that I have in mind to knit:

  • I'd like to use the Tofutsies yarn I bought in Erie last year
  • I'd like to try a Mosaic pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks using this Panda Cotton yarn:

  • I want to knit the Periwinkle Panda Cotton yarn using a textured pattern
  • I would like to learn how to knit socks toe-up but I don't know if I'll try this or not!
  • I would like to get some more Maizy, Wick and Panda Cotton yarn in colors that I can wear to work
I think I wrote some other ideas on my list, but I don't have it in front of me right now!

My plan from now until Summer of Socks begins is to finish the Sable socks, buy some more sock yarn, and swatch so that I know my gauge. That way, I can get right to knitting on June 21st!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Sorry about the glare, but above is a picture of the finished scarf after blocking!

I'm really happy with how it turned out. Now, I just need to decide if I would actually wear it or if I should give it to someone. I have enough yarn to make a second one. This was a fun project.

Here's a slightly better picture of the ends of the scarf:
You can see that the blocking didn't hold too well on the end; it's pulling up again instead of staying square. But, at least the lace is staying open.

Finally, here is a nice close-up picture of the lace pattern:
I love the colors in this yarn! And it is sooooo soft!! Panda Cotton rules!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

a short update

I finished the first Sable sock and started the 2nd one. Below is a photo of the side of the sock. The pictures are making the yarn look more "purple-y" than it really is. The yarn has four short color changes: black, brown, maroon and a rust/orange color. It seems to change color every 3-4 stitches.
I also wanted to share a picture of the lilacs in bloom in our yard right now. They smell so good!
I am now undecided on what sock pattern to knit next so that's why I decided to just finish the Sable socks while I ponder what pattern I should try with the periwinkle yarn:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Blocking and Socking

I finally blocked my lace Panda Cotton scarf today! This was the "Branching Out" pattern from

I decided to put a white towel down on the floor and just pin the scarf to the floor to block it. It seemed to work well. First, I folded the scarf up (just in half, and again in half, several times until it was a small bundle) and then ran it under running water in the sink for a little bit, squeezing it gently until it was completely wet. Then I gently squeezed the excess water out and brought it over to where I had put the towel on the floor. I used some brass sewing pins that I had on hand and just pinned every inch or so. I started by pinning one of the short ends so that it was straight and then just worked my way down the sides, putting a couple pins on each side working back and forth. The last thing I did was pin the other short side.

This was my first real blocking of a project and it seemed to go pretty smoothly! I hope it looks good once it is dry.

The three pictures below are of the scarf pre-blocking. It was hard to focus on the lace so they're not really sharp pictures. Sorry!Here is a picture of the scarf during the blocking process:
As you can see, the left side has been pinned and you can see the lace pattern start to open up. The right side is wet and has not been pinned yet.

Here is the scarf completely pinned and blocking. Now I just need to wait for it to dry.
I will be sure to post pictures of the scarf once it is dry!

In other knitting news, I am moving along nicely on the Sable Panda Cotton socks. All I have to finish on the first sock is the toe!
This is the Twisted Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. It was a very easy pattern to remember and I did choose to work the pattern on top of the foot down to the toes (sometimes I decide to just knit the foot in plain stockinette). I have been wearing my blue Panda Cotton socks a lot and I knit the ribbing down the foot on those and I like the way it looks.

Here is a close-up picture of the sock:
That's all for now! My big decision now is if I should start the 2nd Sable sock as soon as I'm done with this one or start the periwinkle socks because I already know what pattern I want to try for those and I'm anxious to see how it knits up! I will probably be good and finish the pair of Sable socks just so I can wear them soon! They are knitting up pretty fast so hopefully I can start the periwinkle socks in a couple weeks anyway!