My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for August 2008

Tales From the Stash

Hey, y’all. So happy to oblige you by being the poster child for sock yarn stash gone wild. 😉

There were a few questions in the comments about my stash containment system.

A few weeks back I was hit by the urge to downsize and de-clutter (try to contain your laughter here) and get rid of stuff. I’ve been working on that — at least two-thirds of my clothes and shoes have been carted off the premises, never to return. And I’ve been working really hard on the de-cluttering.

I am seriously lazy. When I come home from work, I do not feel like going through the mail, sorting it, and shredding the shreddables. So I stack it on a desk. When new sock yarn enters my domain (cough, cough) I pile it on the desk rather than bag it and file it in the stash room.

Up until a few weeks ago, my stash room was full of shopping bags of yarn, willy-nilly, hither and yon. The older stuff was bagged in zip-lock bags, but I hadn’t been keeping up with that.

So I sucked it up and armed with some boxes of gallon-sized zip-lock bags, went in and bagged up the recent acquisitons according to brand.

I already have two rows of shelves built around two walls of the stash room, and a lot of my non-sock-yarn stash is neatly stacked there.

But the sock yarn was hanging out in shopping bags.

So I ordered the cool wire storage cubes that you saw in the last blog entry.

I got mine at, but you get get them elsewhere. Google. I ordered two sets of 6 cubes and set about putting the sock yarn within. I sorted by brand — I’ve got Fleece Artist in one cube, Socks that Rock in another, Cherry Tree Hill in another. And so on. And some doubled up in one cube — Sanguine Gryphon and Neighborhood Fiber Company share a cube, for example.

I did that organization last weekend and was quite delighted with the results. I ordered and received more wire cubes, because all my laceweight yarn was still lying around unorganized. Three guesses what I just finished doing.

There was a comment about the wide range of colors in my sock yarn stash. When it comes to sock yarn, I never met a color I didn’t like. I’ll knit socks in pretty much any color. Because many of my socks are for other people, or are knit to be photographed for the pattern, I knit in a wide range of hues.

Which came first, the yarn of the pattern? Almost always the pattern. I work up a sock design and pick the yarn I think will suit it. Every now and then I get a yarn that inspires a pattern. The Seaweed Socks (free pattern available from my “free patterns” page — see the tab at the top of this page) design is a good example of this — I got the gorgeous Bellamoden tincture-dyed yarn (from The Loopy Ewe but she has an Etsy shop as well) and it reminded me of seaweed.

But usually the pattern comes first. 🙂

It’s Sunday afternoon. Here’s what Lucy is doing:

Hunkering down for a nap!

Random Thursday

Because I have achieved precious little knitting for much of the past 24 hours, you are now “treated” to a series of random images.

First, the sky at 6:10am today.

Then, a scary hallway at my office. I can just picture two pasty moon-faced little girls, holding hands, materializing there.

Next up, a cute little Welsh dragon who lives in my office.

And Shaun the Sheep, ready for inclement weather.

Miss Lucy von Ragdoll, being adorable. I love when she lies like this!

And I close with a shocking photo: evidence that I do not need to buy any more sock yarn for a long time. This is approximately half of my sock yarn stash.

Think that’ll stop me? No, I didn’t think so either.

Slowly She Knits, Inch by Inch

I am making some progress on my Cleite Shawl, just not much.

I’ve realized that these days I do much more knitting on my commute than I do at home. Weekends being the exception of course.

I’m making some nice progress on my second Fern Fronds sock.

This gets knit during the day — on my way to work, during my lunch break, on my way home. The Cleite Shawl gets knit at home only. Which I realize is amounting to about 4 rows a night, after I do any odious but necessary household chores (feeding myself, for example), blogging, and answering emails. But I’m not concerned — I’ll hopefully catch up on the weekend.

To distract you from my lack of progress on the shawl, have a look at these:

These stitchmarkers will mean much more to anyone on Plurk. My Plurk-bud RedEliz (her Plurk name) sent them to me, and they are from the Paper and Yarn Etsy shop. Aren’t they adorable? Thanks, RedEliz!

Pattern Talk

By the way, my 4 newest sock patterns (Einkorn, Ida’s Delusions of Grandeur, Ribbon Candy, and Smoke and Mirrors) are now available at The Loopy Ewe here.

Needle Talk

Thanks for all your comments on Knitpicks and Hiya Hiya needles. I may well be extra hard on my needles by using 2 16-inchers rather than 2 24-inchers, but that’s the length I’m most comfortable with. I tried the 2 circs route with 24″ needles but was annoyed by the extra time it took to shove my work to one end of the needle to knit. Did I ever tell you how incredibly impatient I am?

Lucy is practicing her “long kitty.”

Oh. Hiya.

The observant among you will know that I knit my socks on 2 circular needles (16-inchers) and that I use Knitpicks needles. I love the tips on the Knitpicks needles — very pointy. I also love the flexible cables and smooth joins. But I’ve found one problem — they don’t last very long.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find the joins become less-than-perfect pretty quickly. Perhaps I’m too rough on my needles, yanking on them too hard and straining the join. I wonder if I used longer circulars for my socks (like 24-inchers) I’d put less strain on the joins. But I like my 16-inchers. I am often knitting on my sock in cramped quarters (jammed in a seat on the train) so I like the short needles that limit the motion needed.

Because the Knitpicks needles are so cheap, my solution has been to buy a stack of them and throw them away as the join becomes loose.

It was suggested to me that I try the Hiya Hiya circular needles, so I have done just that. I ordered the steel circular needles in size 0, in the 16″ length. I’ve been using them on my current sock project. I know they come in really short lengths (9″!) as well — has anyone tried those for knitting one sock on one circ? I am dubious — I think my hands would cramp up.

Anyway, so far, so good. I think the points are comparable to the Knitpicks circulars — Hiya Hiya is on top in this photo:

I do like the joins better. Again, Hiya Hiya is on top:

How well they hold up? Time will tell.

I note that the cables are not quite as “limp” as the Knitpicks cables — I like ’em a bit on the limp side (mind out of the gutter, please), but in every other way, I like the Hiya Hiya needles better.

Besides, I like saying Hiya Hiya.

Anyone have any experience with Hiya Hiya circulars they would care to share?

On a totally un-related note, check out this big-*ss blueberry!

A work friend gave me a bag of blueberries picked at her father’s home in West Virginia. That was the biggest of the bunch!

And who knew Hershey Kisses came with macadamia nuts in ’em?

Maybe only in Hawaii, which is where these kisses came from?

Lucy is resting.

Clearly she is overworked.

Cuz I Felt Like It

Although we are in the throes of the Summer of Socks, I have started a non-sock project.

(waits for collective gasp of horror and/or surprise to die down)

Here’s the yarn:

Laceweight merino from Tempted, in the “Rose Red” colorway.

Here’s the project thus far:

This is Miriam Feltons’ Cleite shawl, available for sale from the Twist Collective.

The original was knit from Sundara silk laceweight and the pattern calls for 1000 yards. My skein of yarn is 880 yards, but I am making this for someone who is not very tall, so I wouldn’t be making the full size anyway. In the pattern Miriam notes that it is bound off without knitting a separate edging so you can pretty much stop when you run out of yarn (making it a good choice for a handspun yarn). I’ll likely not use the entirety of my 880 yards anyhow.

The pattern calls for a 3.25mm needle, which is what I’m using. There is a gauge posted on the pattern which I have not even looked at. I tend to ignore gauge when knitting a lace shawl. As long as it looks right to me, I’m happy.

I’m really enjoying the pattern so far. It’s easy — no tricky stitches and no decreases on the wrong side rows — but the pattern is entertaining enough to keep me interested.

Ask me again when I’m near the end. I am always ready for a lace shawl be to be done long before it is!

I’ve not abandoned sock knitting — it has just been relegated to commuter knitting for now.

And Lucy is, as always, hard at work.