Sunday, October 31, 2010

2 down, 50 to go

Finished with all but weaving in ends and blocking.  I like this sweater, but have enough yarn left over that I could have made it larger.  It seems like most of the sock yarn baby patterns I find are for newborn sizes, and I need some good 12-18month patterns.  Anyone have any?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The nature of procrastination

Do you ever think about why we put things off?  I have been ready to start my new project for 2 days now, but I keep sitting and looking at the yarn and not knitting.  Why?  Because I need to wind the skein.  And that involves getting out my ball winder and swift.  And attaching them to my counter.  Which of course means cleaning off my counter.  All in all, this is only about 20 minutes of work, but inertia takes over and there I sit.  Does anyone else have this problem?

So, with my very tight schedule in mind, I made myself get up and do it, and finally, a wound skein and ready to go! 

While I had everything out, I decided to do another one in anticipation of next week's project.  The colors do not come out well in the photo no matter how I adjust the lighting, but it is a handpainted skein from Creatively Dyed Yarns that I acquired last weekend at NYS&W because the beautiful greens reminded me of the moss-covered stone walls in England.
I think it will become some gloves for my friend who took me hiking in England.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 2 project

Just finished grafting the toe of the second sock and weaving in all the ends.  One down, 51 to go!

The boy's old socks with his new ones.  Maybe I went too big!

Now on to the week 2 project.

The yarn: Tess Designer Yarns, Super Sock and Baby, aqua and gray mix
The pattern:  Garter Yoke Baby Cardi

This yarn has been sitting around since May 2010 and the MD S&W festival.  Hoping one skein is enough!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 1--Socks for The Boy

I am off on a business trip that will involve many hours of airplane travel. This is actually how I got started knitting socks.  Though I have knitted everything else since I was about 7 years old, I always resisted socks, though I am not sure why.  Then I started traveling frequently and decided to pull out my knitting again after many years of mainly sewing and crochet, and found that socks were the perfect take-along project for a business trip.  All of those snippets of time wasted waiting to board, waiting to take off, waiting to land when you cannot use your computer can be used to add several inches at a time to a sock project.

I realize to meet my rather ambitious goal I will have to do a combination of what I call "utility socks"--basic ribbed or knit socks with no special or difficult stitches--that go very quickly with more elaborate projects.  I decided to start with one of these to make sure I meet my goals in the early weeks.

About 2 years ago, I was visiting my family for the holidays and I brought along some knee socks I was finishing up.  My nephew, then five, kept watching me knit and was pretty entranced.  He asked if I would make him a pair of socks--in orange, no less--which I happily did the next month.  Well, the boy (we have called him that since he was young since he has two older sisters) loved those socks.  So much so, that he wore them day and night for a year.  Last summer when I was visiting, he brought me the socks to show me the holes that had developed.  I offered to patch them, but he very cleverly suggested that he just needed a new pair since the old ones really didn't fit over his heels without trouble any more.

So my first project will be socks for The Boy.  I am using Lang Jawoll Aktion, my fav sock yarn. I have found Lang wears like iron, and the color and yarn hold up to many washings without fading or pilling, and the reinforcement thread really does help with the wear.  In fact, The Boy's first pair wore holes just where the reinforced portion met the non-reinforced portion at the ball of the foot.

Simple top-down ribbed socks in a basic stitch.  One sock completed, the second sock a little past halfway.  Will add pics tomorrow.

How it all got started...

I have a confession to make.  I am a yarn hoarder.  Like many of my fellow crafters out there, I cannot resist the allure of a new skein, and the promise of a new project that comes with it.

Well, I was at Rhinebeck for the NYS&W festivel this past weekend (and what a beautiful weekend to spend in the Hudson River Valley).  Despite the fact that my house is brimming with yarn, most of it sock yarn, I still went telling myself I would only buy Very Special Skeins if I were to encounter them, and only things I could not find in my LYS.  Frankly, I went a little nuts last year, which is the year I "discovered" Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fibers.  I bought 10 or so skeins, only three of which I have used up thus far. But I digress.

After the STR incident last year, and it's follow up at MD this past spring which also included a bit of an excursion with Tess' Supersock and Baby (I love that stuff!), I really debated going since I had enough yarn to keep me busy for quite some time to come. Instead, I went with the intention of putting myself on a very strict spending diet.  And I was doing well.  I had only bought four skeins (albeit four very expensive skeins of a cashmere, quiviut, and silk blend), when I met with my undoing.  I discovered something very dangerous.  This year's yarn equivalent of crack cocaine.  It's name is the Sanguine Griffin.  And they make the most beautiful sock yarn that is both exquisitely soft and dyed in vivid, beautiful colors.  Oh, and did I mention, contains 20% cashmere?!

A rainbow made from Sanguine Griffin Bugga
 This was my undoing.  Before I knew what was happening, I found myself seduced by the colors, and the softness, and the...cashmere.  And before I knew it, despite all my resolve, I found myself leaving with four skeins of sock yarn and four of lace weight.  Then the worst happened.  I returned the next day, and there were more colors, and I bought even more!  It was like I had no self control.  Then I went to The Fold, and it was all over.  All told, I left NYSW with--and I am horrified to admit this--20 new skeins of sock yarn.  And that does not include the lace weight or my impulse linen purchase.

Now you may not think that is so bad, but when you add that to what I bought last spring at MD S&W, and at Rhinebeck last year, and the little impulse purchases here and there, and my house is being overrun with yarn.  Sock yarn in particular.  I have it all.  Hand paints.  Self-striping.  Superwash for utility.  Cotton and bamboo for baby projects.  Alpaca.  Merino.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Spirit Trails Fiber, Creatively Dyed Yarns, and good ole' STR
 I realize stashing is a problem common to most of us who knit, but as I looked over my spoils from the weekend, I realized this is beyond stashing.  It is beyond hoarding.  I must face the ugly truth here--I am a glutton.  A yarn glutton.  You can see the proof of my gluttony in the photos below.

I decided my case called for extreme measures.  As my pennance, and in an attemt to reduce my stash to reasonable proportions, I am challenging myself to meet a pretty ambitious goal.  So here it is:

Linen and lace, with high alpaca, silk, and cashmere content
 I am challenging myself to knit one pair of socks per week solely from my (recently expanded) stash.  Granted, some of this yarn was purchased with the intent of making baby gifts or other accessories as well, so let's actually say the goal is to consume one 100g skein of sock yarn a week for the next year.

Knowing some weeks will naturally by more busy than others, and that work has a tendency to keep me pretty occupied, I decided I needed to have some sort of reasonable landmark goals.  So the goal will be to complete four sock-yarn projects per month.  This means every quarter, I will need to work in one additional project to meet the goal of 52 skeins consumed by the end of the year.

Now no goal is worth keeping unless there is an incentive to do so, right?  So here it is:  For every month that I cannot use up at least four skeins, I will give away or sell however many skeins I have fallen short of my goal.

So there it is.  Wish me luck!