My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Holy Guacamole

Yeah, when I announced the Stash Clearance yesterday I figured it would be easy to choose recipients from among the emails I got. Yow! That is so not true. I’ve gotten several hundred great entries so far.

So I’ll be paring them down to a “reasonable” number and sending out sock yarn til I run out. In order to spread the wealth around, I think I’ll probably be sending one pair’s worth to each recipient.

All will be revealed in the fullness of time. But thank you for the hugely entertaining, sweet, funny, touching emails I’ve gotten so far!

Back to the Sock at Hand

I fnished the first Lorna’s Laces Feather and Fan sock last night.

sock032306 Holy Guacamole

And I started the second one this morning.

sock032306a Holy Guacamole

desiknitter asked:
Wendy, this colourway is easily the most beautiful one I have seen so far in LL. While I ooh and aah over it, I also had a specific question: how does the Feather and Fan stitch hold up in the sock? Do the socks slide down to the ankles a lot without any ribbing at the top?

I did a test-drive of my one sock last night and it seemed to stay up nicely.

Of course, it helps if you have fat shapely legs like mine.

Mia asked if I would share the pattern.

Be happy to.

I just did my toe up sock pattern on 68 stitches and after turning the heel (Heh! I typed “turning the hell”!), increased to 72 stitches. The Feather and Fan pattern is worked thusly:

Row 1: (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times — repeat around.
Rows 2-4: knit.

And at the top, I did four rows of garter stitch and then did the stretchy sewn cast-off. Ta-da!

And Now for Something Completely Different

Look at this cute l’il swatch.

swatch032206 Holy Guacamole

This is Elann’s Den-M-Nit yarn, which is similar to the Rowan denim yarn in that it shrinks in length when you dry it in a clothes dryer (after washing it — duh). This is the pre-washed and dried swatch.

And Now for Something Completely, Completely Different

Here is Lucy with her new favorite toy: a piece of styrofoam.

lucy032306 Holy Guacamole

Lucy and her styrofoam have been inseparable for three days.

Yeah, It Is Still About Socks

My knitting time seems to have evaporated into thin air this week. Highly annoying, I must say. (I just had an Ed Grimley moment there.)

So, my work in progress consists of this sock.

sock032206 Yeah, It Is Still About Socks

Sad, really. But the sock is not sad. No no no. I am very, very pleased with Feather and Fan done in Lorna’s Laces Gold Hill. Yes, indeedy, I am.

sock032206a Yeah, It Is Still About Socks

Shelda had a question:
One question about Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Do you think it wears as well as other sock yarns (say Opal or Regia)? I love my LL socks, but I think they pill a bit more than the average sock, and perhaps shrink a bit more too. I have several pair that are two to three years old and seem to be showing their age. I’m thinking perhaps I’m going to stop drying them in the dryer.

Before this sock, I’ve knitted two pairs of socks from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, and gave both of them away, so I don’t have an answer for you.

Any other sock knitters care to weigh in?

Maggie asked:
I just started my first toe up from your pattern and actually I mostly wanted to tell you that I am totally in awe of this type of construction. So simple, so fascinating, so… cool. The only thing I had problems with was getting the provisional cast on unzipped. Is there a trick to it that I am missing or is it just practice? (This is only the second time I have done a provisional cast on, so there is that…)

Maggie, check out my Knitty article on toes for toe-up socks from way back when. It describes the provisional cast-on (with pictures!) in a bit more detail.

And don’t feel bad — I’ve had problems unzipping my provisional cast-on from time to time. A couple of things that help me — use a smooth, not fuzzy, yarn that’s about the same weight of your sock yarn to make the chain, and use a crochet hook a bit larger than you would normally use for the yarn. I find that it is much easier to knit into larger looser loops. And if your yarn is non-fuzzy (cotton would be good), you have less chance of splitting it or committing other atrocities that make it hard to unzip.

But if you have a chain that does not want to unzip, take the scissors to it — carefully, of course!

Oh, and P.S. to Jon — the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I pictured yesterday is the Winterberry colorway.

Which brings me to another question:

Karen B. asked:
OK, so is that a picture of your current sock yarn stash or the additional fiber babies who’ve come to roost?

Um . . . that would be a photo of some of the new fiber babies . . .

And what a perfect segue to . . .

The Sock Yarn Stash of Epic Proportion!

I might have mentioned once or twice that I have a sock yarn stash of epic proportion. In order to clear out space for my new sock yarn stash, I want to send my old stash out to good homes. So . . . I’m sorry, but some of you guys are going to have to take it off my hands.

Rather than take photos of it and list it on eBay (or some other equally rational method of sock yarn disposal), here’s what’s gonna happen. Please read the following carefully!

Send an email (one email per person, please) to The Official WendyKnits Contest Email Address with the following information:

1. The most entertaining/creative/compelling reason you can think of why I should send you some of my sock yarn stash. (I reserve the right to share these missives along with whatever name you authorize me to use in said email — and blog link if you’ve got one — in future blog entries.)

2. Your snail mail address (this information will be shared with no one but the postal service, in the event of my mailing sock yarn to you). Please feel free to send me an email if you live outside of the U.S., by the way.

Please have these emails to me by Sunday March 26, 2006, 3:00pm EST. If you can’t click on the link for the email address, please leave a comment and I’ll respond and email the address to you.

I will pick the emails that entertain me the most, and send the authors care packages of sock yarn until I run out of the old sock yarn stash.

What you get will be a surprise — I’m going to make up grab bags of different yarns so you’ll probably get yarn for several pairs (how many will depend on how many creative and entertaining entries I get). Each separate yarn will be enough for a pair of socks though.

Ah, down-sizing. It’s so uplifting!

lucy032206 Yeah, It Is Still About Socks

Lucy agrees. She thinks there will be more room for her catnip mice.

Now What?

Wow! Thank you for all your extremely kind comments about Dungarvan! I am very happy with it, as I said yesterday. It actually turned out like I expected it to. Always good when that happens, you know.

Anne C asked:
Couple questions: how did you seam it, did you use mattress st on the seed stitch? And did you actually sew the leather buttons on? If so, what will you do when it comes time to wash it? (realizing it won’t require a lot of trips through the laundry, since it’s a jacket, but…)

Good questions!

I seamed using backstitch, because I think that’s stronger than mattress stitch and I want this to be a tough jacket. (“Lookit me — I am so tough and cool in my cabled cardi!”) While on the whole I think mattress stitch makes a prettier seam, if you backstitch carefully, you’ll have nice results.

I did sew the buttons on with the same yarn the cardi is knitted from. When the time comes to launder it, I’ll suck it up and remove them, then re-attach them after washing. Yeah, it’s a pain. I briefly considered attaching the buttons with safety pins from the wrong side, but went ahead and sewed.

So . . . what’s next in the knitting line-up?

I seem to be teetering on the edge of another Cable Era. I’ve got a bunch of cabley ideas swimming around in my head and you know — they gotta come out sometime.

In the past I’ve not really made a point of knitting for the season, so I may be working in wool for a while yet. But you never know . . . a cotton sweater might sneak in somewhere. And it may be soon . . . (insert ominous music here).

swatch032106 Now What?

But Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

I fear that I am besotted with socks. Here are my Feather and Fan Socks That Rock:

str032106 Now What?

I confess that I adore them.

They are knitted from Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Socks That Rock” sock yarn in the Azure Malachite colorway on size 0 (2mm needles). The foot is 64 stitches around, and after I turned the heel, I increased to 72 stitches around and did the feather and fan pattern.

I’m very happy with this. I have one ankle larger than the other (thanks to a horrific accident years ago) and increasing the size of the sock right above the ankle makes them much more comfy to wear. The texture of the feather and fan pattern does make my ankles look particularly chunky, but hey! I never said this is haut couture.

These are what I wear when I want my feet lookin’ fancy:

shoes032106 Now What?

Anyone want to hazard a guess about how quickly I fall on my face when I put those shoes on and attempt to walk?

But I digress.

I started a new sock. Surprise, surprise! Alert the media!

goldhillsocks032106 Now What?

These will also be for me and they are being made from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, which is one of the loveliest, yummiest sock yarns around, as far as I’m concerned. The colorway is one of my favorites: Gold Hill. You may recall that I made a lace shawl in Helen’s Laces in the Gold Hill colorway last year.

This yarn is finer than the Socks That Rocks, so I made the foot 68 inches stitches around (still knitting on my size 0 needle). I once again increased to 72 stitches after turning the heel, and started a feather and fan pattern, that is just barely discernible in the photo.

But I’m not doing a purl row in this feather and fan like I did for the Socks That Rock. I thought I’d do it all stockinette and see how I liked it. Variety. It is the spice of life. Ya know?

So, kiddos, I may be working on simply socks for the rest of the week, as I’ve got a number of things to deal with that will cut into my knitting time this week. But maybe I’ll make a swatch or two for an aran design. You just never know . . .

One More Thing

Having a sock yarn stash of epic proportion does not preclude one from buying new sock yarn.

sockyarn032106 Now What?

Just sayin’.

Lucy Sez

lucy032106 Now What?

Whatever makes my mommy happy is fine with me!

Dungarvan

Friday night, while Lucy played with the two-toned green catnip mouse her Auntie L-B sent her:

lucy031706 Dungarvan

I seamed Dungarvan, picked up stitches, and knitting the neckband. On Saturday I knitted the front bands and sewed the buttons on. Ta-da!

aran031806 Dungarvan

(The Official Bathroom Mirror Portrait.)

I am very pleased with how this turned out — it’s just what I envisioned when I started noodling around with the design. It’s quite heavy, so I can definitely wear it as a jacket. With some minor alterations, it could be turned into a pullover.

Here’s a tour of Dungarvan.

Twisted rib for bottom band and front bands, with black leather buttons.

aran032006 Dungarvan

Collar band.

aran032006a Dungarvan

The big cable goes up the center of the sleeve and extends into the saddle shoulder.

aran032006b Dungarvan

So there you have it.

aran032006c Dungarvan

L’après-midi d’une chaussette

Here she is, the first feather and fan Socks That Rock sock:

sock031906 Laprès midi dune chaussette

I love how the feather and fan pattern looks in this yarn. I am also very happy that I did not start the pattern on the instep, as it is very textured and would not do well inside a shoe.

Okay, this sock was made using a few yards less than half of my 325 yard skein of Socks That Rock. And it’s plenty long enough to please me. I wear a US size 8.5 woman’s shoe, so you be the judge of whether it would work for you.

I of course started the second one:

sock031906b Laprès midi dune chaussette

I finished something yesterday.

aran031906 Laprès midi dune chaussette

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who offered ideas for leftover sock yarn in the comments last Thursday. There are a lot of great ideas there, so if you haven’t, and you have little bits of sock yarn left over, do check them out!

Jes made a great suggestion:
I don’t know if anyone said this already, but major knitter is collecting sock yarn ends for charity. Her site is http://majorknitter.typepad.com/ and she’s collecting through the end of March. Each ball enters you into a contest for more yarn. Always a good thing.

Green Chibi

I bought the green Chibi pictured in Thursday’s blog from joann.com. I wanted an extra one to keep in my purse, so when I ordered the fiberfill to stuff my teddy bears, I ordered a Chibi too. I ordered the one with the straight needles, not the bent ones, by the way. The picture on the Joann website showed the solid pink Chibi, which we know is not currently being made (and therefore highly desirable), so I didn’t know what I’d get. So if you order one from them, who knows what color you’ll get?

“Life is like a box of Chibis. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

More Q&A

Stacy asked:
What sock yarn would you recommend for someone who is allergic to animal fibers? Wool, mohair, and therefore most of the lovely sock yarn is out.

Anyone have a favorite? I’d recommend a cotton blend yarn — doesn’t Regia still come in cotton? I’ve got very little personal experience with this, though.

Joan asked:
Have you ever done a Kaffe Fassett sweater with your love for color?

I’ve made a Kaffe Fasset coat, and his Tumbling Blocks sweater — both ages ago. Don’t think I still have either one of them.

Martha in Mobile asked:
I have a Lucy question which I hope is not too odd. I notice she is a bit cross-eyed. I am a little cross-eyed, too, but with minimal effort I can see “single” instead of “double.” Do you think Lucy makes an effort to see single, or sees double and works with that (since it would be the norm for her)?

Yep, Lucy is a little cross-eyed. I’ve no idea, though, whether she sees single or double and couldn’t hazard a guess! icon smile Laprès midi dune chaussette

lucy031906 Laprès midi dune chaussette

Okay, I’ll show my age here. Anyone remember the 1960s tv show Daktari? Remember Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion? When they showed stuff from his perspective, they always showed a double image? Cracked me up every time.

But I was young and easily amused back then.

The show was actually a spin-off from the movie “Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion.” And in the last season or so, a very young Erin Moran (who later played Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days”) was a member of the cast.

Trivia. How I love thee.