Monday, March 31, 2014

Opening Day 2014!

In honor of Opening Day, I cast on for appropriate, baseball-themed socks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Three and Counting

These are the third pair of Hederas I've knit.

Hedera (mine ravelled here),
knit in Kertzer On Your Toes, color 3820 (discontinued)

I knit a pair for me in 2010, just a few years after I learned to knit. They're fine with the exception of the feet being a bit too short. I still wear them, but they're not a great fit and are showing wear accordingly. A few months later, I knit another pair and gave them away. I'm happy to have another (better fitting) pair for me!

The Hedera pattern is pretty. It's also easy. It's a 10 stitch and 4 round repeat (and 2 of those rounds are the same), and it's simple enough I can tell what round I'm on by looking at the sock, not the pattern. This says a lot since I'm not particularly visual and it takes me awhile to see patterns on anything I knit. Intelligent? Yes. Visual? No.

I bought the yarn very cheaply* at Tuesday Morning. I'm pleasantly surprised by how pretty it turned out. I assumed it would be a variegated yarn rather than a striping one. I like the stripes.

I did the heel flap over 29 stitches and continued the pattern. On right sides, I did sl1, p1, sl1, k1, sl1, k1, sl1, p2, k1tbl, p2, sl1, k1, sl1, k1, sl1, p2, k1tbl, p2, sl1, k1, sl1, k1, sl1, p2. On wrong sides, I did sl1, k1, p5, k2, p1tbl, k2, p5, k2, p1tbl, k2, p5, k2. I like that this is still heel-like (not too lacy or bumpy), but yet flows from the leg pattern. I'm geeky like that.

I love this pattern. I'm not promising that there won't be Hedera socks in my future.

*See? I'm not a total yarn snob, despite my initial reservations about Lion Brand. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rachael Herron!

Friday night, I went to IndyReads, a bookstore on Mass. Ave. for a book reading by Rachael Herron. There weren't a ton of us there (although a couple had left before we took this picture), so Rachael did a short reading and then we hung around and chatted and knitted.

(One of the women was a little tripped out by the proliferation of knitting. I suppose it is odd unless you know Rachael from the Cypress Hollow books.)

Her newest book is Pack Up the Moon. I purchased it Friday night (yay for signed copies!) but haven't read it. No matter. It will be fabulous. Every single thing she writes is fabulous. I love her books, her short stories, her blog. I'm guessing her grocery list has an excellent plot as well. She's that good. Go ahead and buy a copy now. I'll wait.


Excellent. You'll thank me later.

Now, a few of you will understand that it is a big deal that I went to this event. I rate so highly on the introversion scale that it's easy for me to decide that hanging out on my couch is better than hanging out with people. Most of the time this is fine, but for events like this in which I'd meet someone I admire, it's important for me to go regardless of my love for solitude and couch-ness. To thwart myself bailing at the last moment, I e-mailed Rachael and told her I was bringing her a yarn present. Once you tell someone you're bringing them yarn, you cannot not bring them yarn. So, I took my skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Maia colorway, met Rachael, and had a delightful time. Yay!

Thanks, Rachael, for being awesome. I'm looking forward to reading Pack Up the Moon!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yarn Shopping in Manhattan

Some people collect Swarovski animals. Some people collect stamps. Some people collect spoons.

I collect yarn.

Naturally, once we'd booked our vacation, I started scoping out yarn stores. Fortuitously, there was an article on lesser-known Manhattan yarn shops in the Interweave Knits Spring 2014 issue. I knew I wanted to visit Lion Brand, and I also decided to check out School Products Yarn and Habu Textiles. (The last two are located in the same building, which figured heavily into my decision.)

First up: Lion Brand.

I have mixed feelings about Lion Brand in general. You can buy Lion Brand at places like JoAnns, Michaels, and even possibly at Wal-Mart. It's economical. It's mass produced. When I'm feeling snobby, I turn up my nose at yarn like this and pretend I only knit with yarn blessed by Buddhist monks, handspun by novice Catholic nuns, and dyed with organic dyes in filtered water by a women's cooperative.

Mom and I outside Lion Brand

On the other hand, there are some pretty great yarns in their line (I've knit a lot of projects out of Lion Brand yarns) and knitting can be a prohibitively expensive hobby. There are lots of times when an economical yarn is not only necessary from a budget standpoint, but also is appropriate for the recipient. Some people need knitwear that can be thrown in the washer. Not everyone can handle hand washing in Soak.  

The storefront for Lion Brand is a cute spot in Chelsea. It's appropriately yarn bombed and has a great window display. Inside, even the light fixtures are knitting-related.

There's a Sampling wall so you can see how a yarn behaves on the needles (or hooks).

There's a gnome hidden somewhere in the store, and the first person to find it each day gets $5 off their purchase. Andrew found it. He's extremely useful.

I was most interested in the yarn lines that are only available in this store and online, yarn I couldn't buy locally. I ended up with a skein of Fettuccini, made from remnants of garment manufacturing. If you buy it online, you get random colorways. That makes me twitchy, so I'm glad I got to pick my skein of gray and white.

I also bought two skeins of  Baby Alpaca in a beautiful dark gray.

My last purchase was a bag--the sort that can be wadded up into a pouch and kept in my purse. It came in handy the rest of the day, holding small purchases and maps. The store was really lovely, and so were the people working there. I'm really glad we went.

Next up was 135 W. 29th St., the Haymarket Building.

School Products Yarns is on the 4th floor. It has a big center section and then yarn on shelves around the edges of the room. 

It seems to have a lot of sale yarn--like this:

Despite that, I couldn't find anything I wanted to buy. This is startling, and I can't really explain it. I loved the bright blue in the picture above, but there was only one skein of it and I couldn't think what I'd do with it. Disappointed, I headed up to Habu Textiles on the 8th floor.

It was a little bit difficult to shop. The floor was crowded with baskets, and there was very little walking room around them. The shop also carried a bit of fabric, sold in 1/4 yd.

The Interweave Knits article warned that you'd need to ring a bell to summon an employee, and they were correct.

I bought a beautiful inky-blue bamboo laceweight. It has 574 yd./skein. I'm thinking about making this with it.

My experiences will be different from anyone else's, of course, but I was pleasantly surprised by Lion Brand and felt I wouldn't go to either of the other stores unless I was just in the mood to shop with no definite purchase in mind. I'm not really a shopper, so I can't imagine wanting to poke around on the off chance of finding a great skein.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I've been on vacation! We had a great trip, and I'm slowly figuring out how to do normal things like working, paying bills, and finding food for myself.

Knitting went with me.

This is the Starshower cowl by Hilary Smith Callis. I started it before we left and worked on it diligently for about 10 seconds while on vacation. Then I abandoned it in favor of sunshine, reading, and the ocean. I cast off last night and plan to block it this evening. I'll have pictures soon!

And we'll discuss a few NYC yarn shops I visited. Opinions? I have them.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Froot Loops for Mom

I have a friend who lives in Germany. 

Germany, of course, is also known as "Land of Opal Yarn."* She gave me a couple skeins for my birthday, and one of them became socks for my mom!

Froot Loop Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Zwerger Garn Opal Handgefarbt, Lasst blumen sprechen colorway
(Apparently this yarn has been discontinued, so don't get attached.)

I've knit this pattern before (here), and I love it. I'll make complicated socks, but they have to be extremely awesome (like these). If a sock is going to be difficult, there'd better be a darn good reason for it. Otherwise, I'd prefer to have an easily memorizable pattern. Froot loop fits the bill, a 4-row repeat that is only seven stitches long and can be "read" easily so you don't have to keep your place on a paper pattern.

Plus, it has a nice bit of stretch. That's always helpful in a sock.

My camera continues to decide to rotate photos at will, and I continue to lack the energy to care about it. Do what you will, camera. I care not.

I think this is one of those rare patterns that would be fine with solid, semisolid, variegated, or striping yarn. Thanks, Kristi Geraci and Knitty!

*I wonder if Germany's tourism board has capitalized on that? My guess is no. Missed opportunity, Germany.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ravellenics Medals!

Ravellenic Medals have been awarded! I entered two projects.

Ravelled here

The mittens were entered in the Mitten Moguls event with the colorwork technique.

The mittens were also part of the "rainbowllenics" event. Ravelry recognized projects that were made with rainbow colors, whether they were made in support of the LGBT community or not. You can see those projects here.

Ravelled here

The socks were entered in the Sock Hockey event with the added entries into lace, using no more than a single skein on the project, and using yarn that had been in my stash for over six months.


I think the Ravellenic games are a lot of fun. I like looking through the events to see what other people have made (entire sweaters? I'm impressed.), and it's nice to get some Bob medals!