My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Making Tracks Socks

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Making Tracks Socks 083007

Yeah, I know the popular choice for the name of this sock pattern was “Chutes and Ladders,” but several of you alerted me to the fact that there’s another sock pattern out there with that name.

I do realize that in the universe there is more than one instance of patterns with the same name. icon wink Making Tracks Socks But if I am made aware of a pattern by the same name, I’ll avoid using that name.

So the new sock pattern shall henceforth be known as “Making Tracks.” And here are the socks, making their blog debut.

These are knit from sportweight yarn using 2.75mm needles. I am quite pleased with them.

I made the legs pretty tall on these — taller than I usually do. But I was on a roll, you know? This sock yarn had 280 yards per skein, and this is what I had left over after completing the socks.

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Leftovers 083007

My Patterns at The Loopy Ewe

I was so excited by the great response when Sheri put my sock patterns up for sale last night. Yeah, they are sold out at this point, but don’t worry — she placed another (big!) order with me immediately so I’ll be shipping a new stock of patterns to her very soon. Thank you so much to all of you who jumped in and bought ‘em! I hope you enjoy knitting them as much as I did.

By the way, for every copy of the Healthy Spine Sock pattern that is sold, Sheri and I are donating a portion of our profits to the Arthritis Foundation. It seems appropriate, no?

I’ll continue to make my sock patterns available through The Loopy Ewe so if you see it here in progress, you will in all probability see it for sale over there soon thereafter. Unless we decide the pattern is not worthy for whatever reason.

In the U.S. we are coming up on Labor Day Weekend, the traditional end of summer. I took Friday and Tuesday off from work (and Monday is a holiday) so I’ve got a very nice long weekend. Time off work without medical appointments.

Instead I’ll be getting sock patterns ready to ship.

Lucy, on the other hand, is just primping so she’ll look pretty all weekend.

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Lucy 083007

The Following Post Is Brought To You In Living Color

ETA: My sock patterns are now up on The Loopy Ewe website for sale. Go! Shop!

(If the title of my blog post reminds you of the NBC peacock blossoming into full color splendor, you are Officially Old. Like me.)

Thanks for all the awesome sock names! It was terribly hard to narrow the field down to just a few.

Okay, for reference, here is the first sock completed, in color.

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New Sock 082907

The colorway is “coffee bean.”

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New Sock Closeup 082907

And here is the poll.

What Should I Name This New Sock Design?

View Results

loading The Following Post Is Brought To You In Living Color Loading ...

Let the voting begin!

Sepia Photos

There was a question in the comments about how I shot the sepia photos. I shot the photos normally and altered them in my photo editing software (PaintShop Pro) — it has an option to apply a sepia tone to an image. It actually has a lot of fun artistic options, but I almost never use any of them.

I’m pretty darn sure that my camera has a setting to do at least grayscale if not sepia as well, but I didn’t feel like messing with it. My camera is a Canon Digital Rebel SLR and I love it, by the way.

More Poo-Free Questions

A lot of you are wondering if going poo-free would work for your hair. I have extremely fine hair (but a heck of a lot of it) with some natural curl. If I blow-dry, it blows the curl right out of it. My hair is dry with oily scalp so needs to be washed every day or it just hangs there limply. And sometimes with shampoo, it did just hang there limply, even right after washing.

Here I am, 12 hours after washing my hair with my WEN Cleansing Conditioner.

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Wendy 082907

Note the dark circles under my eyes. Yup, I just got home from work. icon wink The Following Post Is Brought To You In Living Color Oh, and yes, I do need a haircut!

(Incidentally, my hair is not that red. Indoors it photographs redder than it really is.)

There are several different WEN conditioners available, for different types of hair. I chose the Cucumber Aloe as the one I thought would be best for my hair. If you are curious, check out Chaz Dean’s website and read about the different conditioners.

No, I’m not on his payroll. Honest. icon wink The Following Post Is Brought To You In Living Color

Speaking of money, yeah, this stuff ain’t cheap. However, I’m using way less than is recommended and my hair is fabulous. I use maybe 3 pumps per shower. L-B said she used a bit more than that, but her hair is considerably longer than mine. I started my first 16 ounce bottle of WEN on July 9, and I’ve used about half that bottle at this point. And I use it every day. It may work out to be cheaper for me than my last shampoo & conditioner I was using (Aveda products).

I do think it’s important to use it as directed in the accompanying literature — massaging it on your scalp, combing through your hair, and leaving it on for a few minutes — to reap the full benefits.

Oh, another claim of WEN is that you may be able to skip washing your hair some days. Not me. But I never could when I was using shampoo either. A lot of this is due to the severe case of bed-head I wake up with each morning.

Lucy doesn’t worry about bed-head.

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Lucy 082907

Do Not Adjust Your Sets

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New Sock 082807

Why is the photo of my new sock in sepia tones rather than in color?

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New Sock on Foot 082807

Because I’m soliciting names for this sock design and I don’t want you to be influenced by the colorway of the yarn.

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New Sock Closeup 082807

The yarn, by the way, is Sweet Georgia “Speed Demon” — sportweight merino sock yarn. I guess it’s a collector’s item, unless Felicia starts dyeing yarn again.

The skein is 280 yards, which I find is plenty for a pair of decent-sized socks. I’m using a 2.75mm needle and am getting 6.5 stitches to the inch, my usual gauge for sportweight socks.

So . . . what would you name this sock? Leave your suggestions in the comments and I’ll pick a number of my favorite suggestions and we can vote tomorrow.

It’s the end of August, and the Summer of Socks is winding down. By my reckoning, we’ve got just over three more weeks before the Autumnal Equinox. I’ve made 14 pairs of socks. Hmmmmm . . . I wonder how many more I’ll achieve before the end of summer?

Only the Shadow knows.

Sock Sizing

Natalie had a comment yesterday:

I love all your patterns; however, they are too wide for my small, very narrow foot (6 AAA). How can I convert the patterns to make the socks more narrow? Maybe you can also include a smaller size in your instructions.

Ah, the non-average-sized foot — always a challenge.

The problem with converting patterned socks to a narrower foot is in the patterning. The pattern has x number of stitches per repeat, so there’s only so much you can do to re-size the socks. All the patterns I’ve prepared for sale are done in at least two sizes (except the Healthy Spine Socks, which are very stretchy, so will accommodate a wider range of foot sizes in the one pattern). The Pagoda Lace socks are done in three sizes.

One possibility is to knit the foot at a tighter gauge. I have wide feet, so I will often knit the foot of my socks at a slightly looser gauge if it is not feasible to change the stitch count of the pattern.

Anyone with narrow feet out there have any other ideas?

Poo-Free Update

I’m still shampoo-free — using Chaz Dean‘s WEN conditioning cleanser (I use the Cucumber Aloe version) and am still delighted with my hair. (PS to Chaz — I swear I always use a nozzle or diffuser on my blowdryer . . . honest!)

So, L-B has been listening to me yap on and on about how great the WEN products are and has been resisting trying them. She finally broke down and ordered some from QVC, which she got yesterday. She said if she didn’t like it, she’d give it to me. Well . . . let’s just say I’m not getting a free bottle of WEN conditioning cleanser. L-B emailed me this morning, enthusing about how fabulous her hair felt after using it. I of course emailed her back:

TOLD YA SO! TOLD YA SO! TOLD YA SO!

And I forced her to put in writing: “Wendy was right.”

Huh? Me, childish?

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Wendy 082807

I may be childish, but my hair is in great shape! Even when in sepia tones!

Only Lucy gets to remain full color in today’s blog entry:

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Lucy 082807

Cuz she’s my little princess.

P.S. to Judith S. in the U.K. — I can’t find an email address for you so . . . THANK YOU! icon smile Do Not Adjust Your Sets

Loopy Laces Done

Stop the presses! The Loopy Laces socks are complete!

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Loopy Laces 082707

Since Sheri told me she loves this pattern, I think it is safe to say that it will be available for sale from The Loopy Ewe as soon as I get the pattern finalized. icon wink Loopy Laces Done

And thank you for all your positive comments about the pattern. I do really love how it looks knitted up in this yarn.

To recap, it’s Misty Mountain Farm Jubilee sock yarn in the Apple Rose colorway. My socks are knitted on 2mm needles.

Marianne Y. asked:

I will be interested to know how much yarn you will have leftover when you have finished both socks? I’m wondering if someone with a larger foot, say size 10, would need to buy two skeins to knit your beautiful pattern?

Here’s a pic of the leftovers from my pair:

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Loopy Leftovers 082707

I made my socks for a size 8.5 foot, and I had 22 grams of yarn leftover from my one skein, so you should have enough. I made the tops pretty tall on these, too. Remember, these socks are knit toe up — you can knit ’til you run out of yarn.

Bronwyn asked:

How do you decide what sock yarns to try? I mean, there are so many different kinds. Do you ask people what they recommend or do you go on the assumption that you’ll probably like any kind of sock yarn and just buy whatever has pretty colors?

I do try lots of different sock yarns. icon smile Loopy Laces Done

Some of them I read about on other blogs, and then go order a skein to try out myself. Some I stumble upon on Etsy. But the majority I buy from The Loopy Ewe because Sheri always has an impressive collection of sock yarns from a lot of different indie dyers.

By the way, the other day Jen left the following comment:

I have a pdf document in the sidebar of my blog that shows how to convert a dpns pattern to magic loop, and it’s not a stretch to use that info to make it work on two circs. There’s also one that shows how to work a gusset for a heel flap on magic loop, which again can be converted to two-circs.

So if you’re a dpn user who needs some help converting to a different method, check out Jen’s blog. Thanks, Jen!

Thanks for all your good wishes about my health. The cortisone shots last week were my second go-round with cortisone and sadly they have had no effect yet. I’m still moving sorta like Quasimodo, dragging one foot along as I walk. Every time I go to the doctor he sort of mutters something about “surgery may be the only solution” but we live in hope that eventually the non-surgical alternatives will do the trick.
Here’s Lucy being nonchalant.

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Lucy 082707

Do not be fooled — here she is moments earlier, doing her “I’m-so-happy-Momma’s-home” wiggle-dance.

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Lucy in motion 082707

She’s a blur, baby!

Mmmmmm . . . Loopy Laces

Thank you for all the lovely comments about this sock. I am liking it very much myself.

I think that the pattern and the yarn do very well together. Here’s the first sock completed:

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Loopy Laces 082607

And of course, the close-up:

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Loopy Laces Closeup 082607

The pattern will indeed be available at The Loopy Ewe when I’ve got it finished.

I’m on the second sock now. Teddy, of course, insisted on modeling the toe:

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Toe 082607

I am loving the Misty Mountain yarn, too. I think it was just dumb luck on my part when I selected it to try this new pattern. The subtle variegations of the yarn colorway really really work with this pattern and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Marianne Y. commented:

I have a question about the yarn. For some reason, it looks to me like it is not nearly as soft as something like Dream in Color or Fiesta Boomerang. Is that a fair statement?

Nope, it’s really not a fair statement. It is definitely a different base yarn from either Dream in Color or Boomerang, but it is very soft and lovely to knit. And it feels wonderful on the foot too.

Lucy and I have been having a quiet weekend with the KOARC. On Thursday I had two, count ‘em two, epidural cortisone injections that really pushed the limits of the ol’ pain threshold for me. The one I had a couple of weeks ago was a comparative piece of cake, so this experience came as a complete surprise. Here’s hoping they do some good.

So we’ve been laying low chez Wendyknits. Just watching movies, working on sock patterns, and the odd trip out for lunch or shopping. I shall venture forth to the office tomorrow. Whee.

Lucy Sez

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Lucy 082607

“I like quiet weekends!”