I get the best mail

I’ve been busily working along on Curls 3.  I’ve got a giant bucket full of finished pieces just waiting to be blocked and photographed (once the snow is melted and the leg gets a tiny bit better…taking photos is surprisingly physical, and doing it on a slightly wobbly leg is harder than I would have expected).  And once they’re done, it’s off for edits and then to the printer.

But before that happens, I can totally show them off a bit, even in their unblocked state.

That’s made with Miss Babs Sojurn in their German Waterways color.  And it is very possibly the softest thing in my house (I say this knowing full well that I have two kitten bellies in this house).  It’s cashmere and silk and pretty much guaranteed to make a bad day better and a good day great.

And this is made with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silk Victoria in their Sugar Plum Fairy Dust color.  Now you know me.  You know the colors I’m drawn to (gray…or grayish green…or a lovely greeny grayish brown).  But there’s something about Tina’s colors that make me move out of my comfort zone and reach for something bright.  And every time I do, I’m thrilled.


Curls 3 should be out this fall.  And if you want to see the other stuff I’ve posted about it so far, you can follow along right here.


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They get to decide

When I was in college I took a history of religions class.  On the very first day, the professor declared (repeatedly and emphatically) that we would absolutely positively not under any circumstances be offering our own opinions on whether one group or another were ‘really’ any particular religion.  The official class position was “if they said they were, then as far as the class is concerned, they were.  They get to decide.”

It seemed reasonable to me then.  It has proven to be a pretty good way to handle a whole host of other identity issues in the intervening years.  And it’s coming in handy now as I put together yarns for Curls 3 (who said those history classes wouldn’t be useful…).

As I’ve been showing off the Curls 3 yarns, I’ve had quite a few people get in touch to say some variant of oh, that yarn is lovely, but it isn’t really speckles/a gradient/what you should be using for this book.  And I’m afraid I must hereby officially declare that my position is “if the dyer says it’s speckles or a gradient, it is.”  And, as a corollary, “if I say it’s what I plan to use for this book, it is.”

Now, I completely and totally understand if one yarn or another isn’t right for you.  That’s one of the other nifty things about this approach.  If you say a yarn isn’t right for you, it isn’t.  And that’s absolutely ok.  We all get to decide for ourselves.  It’s one of the most marvelous things about knitting…there’s room for us all to create whatever makes our weird little hearts sing.  But if you start trying to decide for me, I’m going to very gently point you back to this post.

And for the record, those bits of lovely in the picture are are Blue Moon’s Sugar Plum Fairy Dust colorway (from their BeSpeckled line of colors) and Hedgehog Fibres Construct colorway (and they do lots of speckle-y delights).  They’re both lovely yarns that I’m enjoying very much!  I hope you like them too.  And if not, I hope you find something you like every bit as much as I like them.

Suitably Matched

Way back when I was a brand new knitter (think ‘had to look up how to purl because it seemed sort of tricky’ level of new), I read a pattern that said something like ‘cast on 24 stitches with appropriate yarn and suitably matched needles.’  And somehow I got it into my head that ‘suitably matched’ meant ‘needles that look pretty with your yarn.’  I’ll just let you imagine how well that worked out.  It’s a wonder I ever got the hang of this.

But that incident has left me with a tendency to grin every time my needles happen to match my knitting!

And someone will ask, so these are the needles (as always, amazon links are affiliate links).  No they’re nothing fancy.  But I’ve had them for at least a decade, and they’ve held up perfectly (as have all the other needles of that brand I’ve used over the years…).  And the yarn is Silky Victoria from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the color Sugar Plum Fairy Dust.  And the knitting is a swatch for Curls 3 (which should be next year’s book)!

Good Mail (once again!)

So when I told you the yarn for Curls 3 was going to be awesome, I really did mean it!  I don’t think I’ve ever assembled quite such a colorful bunch, but I’m totally loving it!

Here we’ve got Tibetan Dream by Bijou Spun in Lilac Ombre (this is the yarn I showed you when we talked about how to get the kinks out of caked yarn…take a look at this and compare it to the pictures in that post to see what a difference it makes).

And this is Silky Victoraia by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Sugar Plum Fairy Dust.  You can always trust Tina to nudge me ever further out of my color comfort zone (and to make me very happy about it along the way)!

If you want to check back in on all the Curls 3 yarns to date, you can find them over here, and we can take turns seeing who is more surprised to see me working with all these bright shiny colors!

I get all the best mail

So there’s this thing where I have an idea, then I talk to some of my very favorite yarn makers, then they send me yarn, then I play with it.  I believe technically it’s called ‘my job,’ but really it feels like way too much fun to be a job.

Two of the latest yarns to arrive (they’re for next year’s book) are from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

DSC_6250 copyThe first is Yaksi Fingering in Poupon (tell me I’m not the only one to be amused by yak…that’s just nifty).

DSC_6252 copyAnd the next is Socks that Rock Mediumweight in A Hazy Shade of Blue (love STR because it’s twisted tightly enough to make for really really sturdy socks).

DSC_6382 copyBoth are delightful, and both might already have found themselves coerced into swatches.

DSC_6373 copy

Lithic (plus giveaway)

While normally I like to be all curmudgeonly and pretty much only work by myself, every once in a while someone comes along who can talk me into playing nicely with others.  Lithic is the result of one of those collaborations.

lithic 1 smallYou see, a few years ago, the good folks at Blue Moon Fiber Arts asked if I’d like to do a sock for their Rockin’ Sock Club.  I allowed as how that could be fun, yarn went winging its way across the land, and a sock was born.  It came out as their July 2013 installment (under the name Arkadiko, just in case you’re sitting there going ‘I know that looks familiar but I don’t recognize the name’).

lithic 2 smallIt was, in the way of club patterns, exclusive to club members for a time.  But that time is totally up, and now it’s available to everyone.

lithic 6 smallThese socks use a nifty little trick.  They incorporate double wraps and cables on some rows, and that means that some rows take more yarn than others.  And that’s exactly the sort of trick you want to have up your sleeve if you have a skein of exuberant, multi-colored yarn hanging around your stash.  It totally whips those sorts of yarns into shape.

lithic 5 smallAnd I’ve got a lovely skein of exuberant yarn to send home with one of you so you can give it a try yourself.  It’s Socks that Rock Silkie in the color Grawk (it’s a darker gray than what I used here, but absolutely lovely and a perfect fit for these socks).  If you think it might want to be yours, just leave a comment telling me how you feel about multi-colored yarn.  Pretty in the skein but too fiddly in person? Worth it because when it works it really works? Too scary for you?  There’s no right answer, I just want to know how you feel about it.

And while I can’t send yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  Just use the code MULTI to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Lithic in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code MULTI.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, March 4, 2016 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.


Every now and then I find a yarn that knows a special magic trick.  It somehow manages to be more than one color at once.  I don’t mean more than one color over the length of the yarn (that’s easy enough).  I mean more than one color at any given spot in the yarn.  Sort of like this.

DSC_4894 (This is surprisingly hard to show, so you can click to see a bigger version of the picture if you want to peer at it a bit more closely.)  See how it all seems to have a base color (whether that’s purple or blue or teal), but then there’s also a sort of secondary color (I read it as a very reddish purple, but accounts differ) that carries across all of it?  You can see it most on the sort of haze of fibers that stick up off the surface of the yarn.

DSC_4898You can see it even more clearly if you untwist the plies and look at them individually.  See how the primary color is sort of a lovely teal, but just at the edge of kinks (the spots that were on the outside of the strand when it was all twisted up) you can see just a tiny hint of that purple business?

It’s kind of magic.  I swear every time a yarn does this I end up loving it.  So two questions.  First, dyers, how the heck do you guys do that?  Do you dye the regular stuff first and then toss it back in to the haze color for a quick second go?  I’m terribly curious.

Second, do you guys know of any yarns that do this?  Skeinny Dipping does it sometimes, as does Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  But by far the most consistent one I’ve found is String Theory (and I think it’s part of why I love them, that’s their Caper Aran up there).  But there must be others.  And you guys have got to know way more yarn than I do so…point me towards it!

Playing Favorites

I’m in the middle of the best part of book making.  The part where I’ve chatted with some of my very favorite people in the yarn industry, they’ve graciously agreed to let me experiment with their beautiful yarns, they’ve mailed them to me, and I get to play with them.  This tray of yarn is sitting on my desk right now.

sock yarnsThese will be the socks for the book after next, and I love each and every one of them.  Starting at the top left, there’s Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Buckingham Fountain, and right under it is Mrs. Crosby Train Case in Boston Fern.  At the top right is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Mermaid Tears (the winner of today’s round of best yarn name of the day).   On the bottom, working left to right, there’s Bare Naked Wools Ghillie Sport DK in Cream, The Uncommon Thread Lush Twist in Tea Smoked, Quince & Co Finch in Iceland, and Shibui Staccato in Caffeine.

You can see I’ve already broken in to many of them to get started swatching (um, I may possibly have three of the sock patterns for these written already), and I’m having a delightful time.  This book is going to be ridiculously fun.

Book Yarn, Part IV

KCC3 is debuting soon (next month!) and I want to take a bit of time during the lead up to show off all the delightful yarns I’ve used in the book.  So without further ado, yarn.

4These lovely bits of goodness are from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  Have I mentioned how one of the coolest things about doing these books is getting to use yarns I love?  So it should come as no surprise that Blue Moon has found its way onto my needles before.  There were the socks and shawl in the first KCC book, some socks in my very first book, and some even earlier socks.  I’ve apparently been smitten for a long time!

On the left, you’ve got Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Saffron Surprise.  STR mediumweight has been one of my favorite fat sock yarns for pretty much forever.  It’s 100% superwash merino, super round (the tightly twisted 3-ply structure helps with that) and bouncy, and has the density you want in something subjected to the abuse a sock yarn sees.  Plus, it comes in 6oz/400 yard skeins (so many of the yarns I like for thicker socks need two skeins to do a pair of socks) and all of Blue Moon’s amazing colors.  You really can’t go wrong.

On the right, you’ve got Marine Silk Sport in Spores.  This is a very interesting yarn.  It’s 51% silk, 29% merino, and 20% sea cell (which seems to be seaweed turned into rayon).  It’s drapey and slinky and shimmery and really quite fun to work with.  I’ve not seen anything quite like it, and it was great fun to play with!

If you’re looking for the other yarns used in this book they’ll show up here as they are posted.

Retreat, Mind the Loot

The goal of this retreat is for people who are working on self publishing knitting books to get together and help each other.  Well no, it’s a bit broader than that.  We’ve got a few things that aren’t exactly books, and a few things that aren’t exactly knitting.  But the gist of it is ‘fiber’ and ‘stuff that until recently was done only by big publishers (or maybe not even done at all) but is now being done by individuals.’  The technology is changing so fast that trying to pin it down more precisely than that gets tricky.  If you want to see the list of projects we’ve got out now, you can always look over here.

With a focus like that, you can likely guess that we’re a pro yarn bunch.  Very pro yarn.  Part of the fun every morning was looking over to your neighbor’s knitting bag and seeing what was on the needles that day.  So you can imagine the amount of gleeful squeaking when it turned out that several yarn companies had graciously sent us some of their yarn for us to get to know.  I’m going to ask that you lean in the ‘refined delight’ direction rather than in the ‘shameless scramble’ direction as you imagine, ok?  I promise it was all very decorous.  There was sharing and playing nicely and being generous.  There were also squeals of delight, but there’s no shame in that.  I walked away with several treasures.

The first is Vice’s Carnal in the color Waterlily.  Now you guys know just how much I love Vice.  It’s in the next book, it’s on my needles right this minute, and it may well have taken the coveted favorite fat sock yarn spot in my personal yarn hierarchy.  This color is that weird 80s periwinkle shade re-imagined and made 1000 times more awesome.  It somehow both reminds me of the colors of my childhood and feels completely modern at the same time.  I adore it.

Next up is ClaudiaHand Painted Yarns Fingering Weight in Prussian Soldiers (that’s the solid) and Giraffe (the multi…no idea about the name, there’s no brown or orange to be seen).  Now if you’ve been here for a while, you know I can be, um, color challenged.  I tend to lean towards the semi solids more than the multis.  But, and this is a big but, when I can find a multi that plays well with a semi solid, I feel so much more confident.  It leads to playing.  And I think something fun will happen here, look how well those two work together!  I’ll update you when it gets on the needles.

And last but never least, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mopsy in Deep Unrelenting Gray and Socks that Rock Lightweight in Downpour.  You know gray is near and dear to my heart.  These are both absolutely my colors.  They leapt right out of the pile and twined themselves around my neck and whispered in my ear that they were mine and they would be coming home with me.  I don’t disagree with talking yarn (it leads to unsightly arguments), so here they are home with me.  I’m making plans already.