My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

More on the Alpaca Sock Yarn

Andi left a comment to yesterday’s post mentioning that there is a page devoted to the new Classic Elite alpaca sock yarn on their website. That page is here. You can view a bunch of the colorways there — they look really yummy! The yardage is 450 yards per 100 gram skein which, as Andi pointed out, makes it a good yarn for shawls as well as socks.

I did start the second sock.

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Lacy Rib Sock 071707

I think I’m going to be sorry when this pair of socks is done because the yarn is so lovely to knit.

Mail Call

I got a couple of very cool gifts in the mail yesterday! First, this:

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New Sock Yarn 071707

This is a skein of gorgeous yarn from Judy. She was kind enough to offer to send me some sock yarn to help me feel better. (It is a well-known fact that sock yarn possesses magical healing powers.) Look at this color!

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Sock Yarn Closeup 071707

It’s called “Rainy Day Blues” but to me looks like a favorite pair of jeans. I love the heathering and subtle shading. Thanks, Judy!

My second gift was this book, sent to me by L-B.

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Book 071707

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story. Does that not look like an extremely fun read? I’m really looking forward to diving into this, so I will be moving it up close to the beginning of the rotation of books to be read. Thanks, L-B!

And a week ago, I got something amazing in the mail.

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Wild Apple Bohus Kit 071707

This is the kit for the Wild Apple Bohus. Or in other words, my knitting Holy Grail. This was sent to be out of the blue by an extraordinarily kind and generous person who, I think, had some inkling about how much I was looking forward to this kit being made available at SolSilke. (It’s not listed on the website there, but it is indeed available — I have noticed at least one other person in blogland has ordered one.)

The Wild Apple is the Bohus design that I love above all the others. When I found out that Solveig was working on it, I was beyond delighted. So you can imagine how I felt when I opened the mysterious package and saw it. There may have been hyperventilating and tears and hugging of the kit . . .

What came in the mail today?

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Donor Card 071707

My ID for the National Marrow Donor Program! icon smile More on the Alpaca Sock Yarn

Lucy Sez

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Lucy 071707

“That’s fine, as long as no one expects me to donate my catnip . . . “

One Lacy Rib Sock

I haven’t got much for you today. But here is one Lacy Rib sock, hot off the needles.

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Lacy Rib Sock 071607

I really really like this alpaca sock yarn. Several of you had questions about it.

I don’t think it will felt in the wash, because it’s 20% nylon. Last year I knitted a pair of socks from an alpaca/nylon blend that I’ve machine washed and dried several times, and they survived those ordeals beautifully.

Despite being mostly alpaca, this yarn seems to have a nice elasticity. Well, it is 20% merino wool, so that gives it some springiness.

Also, the pattern I noodled up for it is a particularly stretchy lace rib, so that adds a lot of bounce.

I think this patterns look particularly well in a variegated yarn, too.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my Asparagus Ribs Socks. This pattern will be available for sale in the near future. I plan on offering up all my Summer of Socks socks eventually.

Okay, that’s it for today — I am beyond tired. I think I’ll try to go nap with Lucy.

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Lucy 071607

Asparagus Rib Socks

Here are the Asparagus Rib Socks in all their glory.

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Asparagus Cable Socks 071507

I finished them on my morning commute on Friday. To recap, they are my own design and are knit from Sockpixie sock yarn in the Asparagus colorway on 2mm needles.

The heels:

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Asparagus Cable Sock Heels 071507

The cuffs:

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Asparagus Cable Sock Cuffs 071507

(Note the dainty chocolate paw at the top of that picture.)
Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to bring a new sock project to work with me on Friday, so I would not be sockless on the commute home. Here it is on Friday night:

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Alpaca Sock Toe 071507

This is a very exciting sock. Why? Because of the sock yarn — it’s brand new! In fact, it’s not yet available.

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Alpaca Sock Yarn 071507

This is an alpaca blend sock yarn (60% alpaca, 20% merino wool, 20% nylon) from Classic Elite. It’ll be available for sale in late August, and will come in 18 vareigated colors and 12 solids. It’s a true fingering weight — I’m getting my usual 8 stitches to the inch on 2mm needles. I can’t tell you the yardage because the skein I’m working from had no ball band with information.

And I’ve made some nice progress on the first sock:

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Alpaca Sock 071507

Heel Question

Catie asked an excellent question in the comments the other day:

I tend to do short row heels mostly because I know where to start them (on my foot at least) but I have avoided doing gusset heels on toe-ups because I can’t figure out how to measure where to start them. Do you have any good ways to tell others how to determine where the starting point is for the gusset?

What I do:

For a short row heel, I knit until the foot is 7.25 inches long. For my plain gusset heel sock, I knit until 7 inches long. For my slip-stitch gusset heel sock, until 6.75 inches long. So it’s one-quarter of an inch difference in each of them for me. While your mileage may vary, this will hopefully give you some idea!

Lucy would like to direct your attention to this post on Alice’s blog.

She would also like you to know that her daddy, Cecil B. De KOARC has been at it again!

As you can see, she is understandably tuckered out.

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Lucy 071507

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Lucy and I had a lovely visit with a friend last night.

Nope, it wasn’t L-B, as some of you guessed in the comments. But you were close — geographically, at least. It was Alice, who lives not terribly far from L-B. icon wink I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

I first met Alice when I was 18 years old and we both worked in the same place as our summer job for that summer between high school and college. We lost touch a few years after that and didn’t make contact again until Alice found me a couple of years ago while searching online for sock patterns. I hadn’t seen her for a bit over a year before last night’s visit, so it was great to have a chance to sit and knit and catch up.

Lucy really enjoyed meeting Alice, and not only because Alice brought her a gift of organic catnip.

That’s not to say that Lucy didn’t enjoy the ‘nip! She had a high old time last night.

Here’s a picture of Alice photographing Miss Lucy, who is wired for sound.

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Alice and Lucy 071207

Alice brought me a gift too:

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Handspun 071207

Some of her own gorgeous handspun — 460 yards of a lovely dk weight merino. Yum!

I worked on my second Asparagus Cable sock.

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Asparagus Cables 071207

Which reminds me, thanks for all your nice comments on the Asparagus Cable socks. I’m quite pleased with them myself. The pattern will be available for sale soon. I’ll be sure to let you know when and where when the time comes.

Thanks also, for all your kind concern for the state of my health. I did have my MRI on Tuesday, and the technician (who was extremely kind and considerate) let me take a peek at it on screen. I’d never seen one on screen before and I think she enjoyed demonstrating it. She showed me the cross-section of my back.

Me: Cool — that looks like two rib eye steaks in there.

Her: Well, yeah, those are your back muscles.

Good thing I’m not in the medical profession, eh?

So at this point I’m waiting for the results to be sent back to my doctor and for him to decide the next step.

Next up on the knitting front — a new sock that is very exciting! Why is it exciting? Tune in on Sunday and I’ll tell you!

Lucy Sez

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Lucy 071207

“I wonder where Momma hid the ‘nip that Auntie Alice brought me?” I could do with a pinch right about now . . . “

For the Love of Yarn

One morning last week, as I was reading through blogs, I came across this post by Sachi. Scroll down to the last photo in the post. Um . . . yeah.

Upon seeing that photo, the yarnies among you will start to drool and shake uncontrollably. I know I did. I clicked over to Sachi’s new shop, Sachi’s Purls, as fast as my mouse would take me. Luck was with me that day — that handspun yarn was still available!

And now it is mine.

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Sachis Purls 071007

It is handspun superwash merino sock yarn, in the Rhodochrosite colorway. The skein is 4.3 ounces, 17 wpi, and 396 yards, plenty for a pair of socks. Except I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do anything with this yarn except pet it and admire it. I’ve spun my own sock yarn, but my handspun doesn’t begin to compare with this. This is the most beautifully spun handspun I’ve ever seen. Sachi, you can outspin me with one hand tied behind your back!

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Sachis Purls Closeup 071007

I’m sure I’ll break down and knit a lovely pair of socks from it, but for now, I just can’t stop looking at it.

Speaking of socks, the first Asparagus Cables is done.

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Asparagus Cable 071007

A close-up of the ribbing at the top:

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Asparagus Cable Rib Detail 071007

I started to do a plain k2 p2 ribbing all around, but changed my mind and decided to leave the baby side cables intact all the way up.

Penny T. commented:

I recently asked whether you’ve gone over to gusset heels for good, and you said maybe. One reason I asked involves the look of each kind of heel. IMHO (as they say), the short-row heel is more attractive, and I especially think that your otherwise beautiful asparagus socks would be even more gorgeous with a short-row heel. Have you any thoughts on this issue?

Of course it’s a matter of opinion which heel you think is the prettiest. But in the case of the Asparagus Cables you need a gusseted heel. The gusset adds more room around the heel and instep, and you need that to counteract the lack of stretch of the pattern stitch. I think with a short row heel you would not be able to get these socks on over your heel. Of course you could do a combined short-row and gusset heel.

Tonia asked:

Do you pick patterns that you like out of a stitch dictionary then apply them to your socks or are you making it up on the fly?

Both. icon smile For the Love of Yarn I flip through stitch dictionaries for inspiration and sometimes will use a pattern from one. Sometimes I’ll revise one slightly to use. Sometimes I “make up” a pattern stitch from memory.

In the case of Asparagus Cables, I am using a cable/texture stitch I used on a sweater I made about a year ago.

I am writing these patterns up as I go along, but they are being carefully proofread and test-knit before I do anything with them.

Okay, I’m posting early today as I’ll be away from my computer during my usual blog-post time today, And I’ll likely not be posting a blog entry tomorrow. I’ve got something fun planned for tomorrow during blog-post time — a special guest! No time for blogging! But I’ll be back on Thursday.

Lucy sez . . .

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Lucy 071007

“I wonder who our special guest will be tomorrow evening?”