Book Yarn, Part VIII

Next up is Silk Crush Sock by Sweet Georgia in Cypress.  I’m going to take a dramatic and unexpected position here and recommend you not click on those links.  Not, that is, unless you want to fritter away the next 45 minutes and who knows how many dollars in a sweaty, sticky, yarn-drenched daze.

Sweet Georgia is new to me.  I’d not seen their yarn or even heard of them before I started the book project.  Then someone involved with the book sent me the link.  I don’t really remember the hour or so after that.  A bit later yarn showed up in my mailbox, so things must have gone well.

The only downside is that I had to turn around and immediately send it off to my genius sample knitter.  Heartbreaking I tell you.  I kept back a few yards to fondle swatch.  When this project is over and I get to go back to recreational knitting (as opposed to book knitting), I will be heading right back for another dose.

Book Yarn, Part VI

Today I’m showing off Three Irish Girls’ lovely Kells Sport in the color Brennan.  I’ve not worked with this specific base before, but I have used (and very much enjoyed) their Adorn Sock in my Calcareous socks.

I first found Three Irish Girls’ yarns at Sock Summit.  Their combination of beautiful colors and a wide choice of base yarns was irresistible.  I knew I wanted to include a variety of yarn thicknesses in my book, and Three Irish Girls makes one of the most sock-suitable sport weight yarns I’ve ever found.  It can be hard to find sport weight yarn that comes with enough yardage, but theirs does.  It’s also (like all of their bases) available in any of their glorious colors.  What more could you ask for?

Funambulist

Funambulist \fyu-ˈnam-byə-list\ noun

– One who performs on a tightrope

(No really, it’s a real word…not even some 1970s made up word…an actual, real live, been around for a long time word.)

Just a tiny sneak peek today.  These socks are for the From Robin’s Nest Four Seasons Sock and Fingerless Mitt Club (quite a mouthful that is).  They will be exclusive to club members until next summer.  However, I’m more or less shameless and will use just about anything as an excuse reason for a post.

What can I say?  Most of my knitting at the moment is super duper secret swatches for the book.  It’s fun, eventually it will lead to lots and lots and lots of chatter, but for now — very boring for you guys.  Sorry about that.  The good news is that this part of the process should be done in the next week or so and I should be back to more public knitting shortly after that.  And of course I’m off to the Yarn Harlot’s Silk Retreat in early July and I’ll be posting from there too.

Book Yarn, Part V

Today we’ve got an appearance by another old favorite, Hand Maiden.  The light gray yarn on top is Bess, a merino / cashmere blend that I’ve not worked with before.  The darker gray yarn on the bottom is Casbah, a merino / cashmere /nylon blend I’ve loved for a long time.  One of my first patterns, Slant, was made from Casbah, as was Graupel, one of my more recent offerings.

I have a soft spot for Hand Maiden and their sister company Fleece Artist.  When I first started knitting, I used the standard yarns available at Joann or Walmart and other big box stores.  Eventually, I began to suspect that there was better stuff out there.  Shortly after that I happened to stop into Romni Wools in Toronto and had my suspicion confirmed.  Fleece Artist’s Nova Wool was the first ‘fancy’ sock yarn I ever bought myself.  It was a rather marked improvement.

When it came time to pick yarns for the book, I knew I wanted to include one of theirs.  Now the only difficulty is picking which one!

Welcome Craft Sanity Listeners!

If you found your way here through the marvelous Craft Sanity podcast, Welcome!  If you’re a regular reader and haven’t yet checked out Craft Sanity, you’re in for a treat.  Head on over and take a look around.

I’m thrilled to be sponsoring the January fifth episode of Craft Sanity.  To welcome listeners, I’m having a little giveaway.  All you have to do is click on the Patterns link, pick your favorite, and leave a comment with its name.  Easy as can be!  Please do be sure to use a working email address (no one but me will see it, and I won’t use it for anything except to contact the winners).  One week from today, I’ll randomly pick three winners and email them the pattern they named.

CraftLit Collaboration

colophon2I’m thrilled to announce that my Colophon pattern is going to be available for free for the next two months as part of a collaboration with CraftLit.  CraftLit, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of finding it yet, is a marvelous podcast produced by Heather Ordover.  It combines knitting and books, two of my very favorite obsessions.  When Heather announced that she was looking for patterns to accompany the new CraftLit iphone app, I knew I had to see if I could help.  The pattern for Colophon seemed perfect – with a name like that it was destined to be!

Details of exactly how to access the pattern will be up on the CraftLit page later today. Edited to add the direct link to the page where the pattern can be found!

Colophon mitts are quick and easy and just perfect for using up leftover sock yarn.  If you are still looking for a last minute Christmas present, you could whip a pair of these up in just a few hours.  Go get the last few episodes of CraftLit and start listening.  By the time you’re all caught up on the latest book, you’ll probably be done with the mitts.

I also promised news of the newest knitting, lest you think I’ve abandoned all my yarn.  I’m half way through with a second pair of mitts.  They’re a soft turquoise that just coincidentally happens to match both my favorite new pajamas and my spring coat.  The yarn is Sheep Number Three by the company Sheep Shop Yarn.  I got this yarn on my trip to Maine this September and am finding it lovely to work with.  Alas, the company has shut it’s doors.  I’m sorry to see it go, but if anyone out there wants to get some Sheep Shop of their own, Webs has very good prices on their remaining quantities.

I’ve also just turned the first heel on my next pair of socks.  I love how these are coming out, and will take pictures soon.  Right now however, it’s too cold to go outside and too dark inside to get a decent picture.  I like these too much to doom them with a lousy picture.  I’m working them in Happy Feet DK (another yarn bought on the trip to Maine) and may well have found a new favorite yarn.  I prefer thick yarns, but it’s often hard to find them with the shot of nylon that I like for socks.  I’ll have to reserve final judgment until I finish the socks, but this seems just about perfect.


Not Empty

Now for some actual knitting.  That empty box over there, the one under “On the Needles?”  It’s a lie.  The needles are not empty.  They are, in fact, quite full.  Alas, almost all the current knitting is secret, so I can’t show you pictures.  I’m realizing now that this was poor planning.  I can’t show you pretty pictures, but I can let you know a bit about the schedule and what you can expect to see over the next little while.

The next pattern you will see is part of Penny Rose’s Wicked Women yarn club.  While only club members will be able to get the particular yarn I used, everyone will be able to buy the pattern.  This one comes with its own fairy tale and a bonus history lesson.  It will be out in early to mid January.  I’ve finished my knitting, my marvelous testers have worked their magic, and The Boy spent a very amusing hour taking pictures of my feet yesterday, so this one is officially finished.  Now I just have to wait to show them off.  In the meantime, I’ll console myself by wearing them.

In February, you’ll see another sock club pattern, this time with Gaia’s Colours.  These will be exclusive to the club for a while, but I’ll torment you with photos and try and try to talk you into putting the public release on your calendars.  One sock is done, and the second is waiting for a few more yards of yarn.  Testers have the pattern, and I’m lovingly fondling the existing sock (it’s a super thick and wonderfully warm) while I wait to finish its mate.

There are two more secret projects on the needles, one for publication (yay) and one for another sock club, but they’re for a bit later in the year and must remain unmentionable for a while longer.  Some time very soon now (this week with any luck) the combined pattern for Crenellation will be available.  It was up in pieces for the KAL, but I wanted to redo it as a single download with pictures.

Nope, no empty needles around here.

Yarn Part the Second

As I mentioned earlier, when I was at Sock Summit, I had the marvelous experience of picking out yarn from several dyers who had asked me to design socks for them.  It was great fun, even if it still feels a little bit like crime.

One of the talented dyers who asked me to work with her yarn is Lisa, the force behind Dicentra Designs Fiber Arts.  After much indecision, I picked out a lovely smooshy skein of purple yarn in a lovely 50-50 alpaca merino mix.  The yarn has somehow turned into socks, which then magically turned into a pattern.  I’ll be putting a call for testers out on Ravelry early next week.  I’ll also be posting pictures early next week.  I’d have them now, but the fall has been marked by torrential downpours around here, and I need a nice sunny day to get a photo that does this yarn justice.  It will be worth the wait!

Xanthophyll

xanthophyllaltXanthophyll socks are live, and the pattern is here!

To celebrate their release, the folks at Shalimar Yarns have kindly offered to donate a skein of the lovely Zoe Sock yarn I used to make them to one lucky reader.

To have a chance to win, just go over to their website, find your favorite color of the Zoe Sock yarn, and leave the name of it in the comments.  You can leave other stuff too of course (I find reading comments strangely entertaining) but you have to leave a color name to win.  I’ll leave the comments open until Monday evening.  Then on Tuesday I’ll randomly pick a winner from among them.  Just be sure to use a working email address to leave your comment so I can contact you if you win.  I promise I won’t do anything with your email address other than contact you if you’ve won!

xanthophyllmain2One small reminder, until the end of the month I’m giving away a free copy of the pattern for the Colophon mitts if you buy any of my sock patterns.  The details of that offer are here if you’re interested.


Yarn, Part the First

Sock Summit was pretty much made of awesome on all levels. I can’t possibly do it justice and so won’t try to describe it. I would blather. It would be unseemly. Instead, I’m going to talk about one tiny aspect of the awesome.

As I was getting ready to go to Sock Summit, a few of the vendors working there contacted me to ask about creating patterns for them with their yarn. I was flattered. There may have been a bit of undignified squeeing and perhaps a few goofy grins. I’ll never tell. I’m still awfully new at this, and it feels fantastic when people like my work.

We talked.  Plans were made and agreements reached.  I got to Sock Summit, found their booths, and wandered around molesting admiring their pretty yarns.  Then, and this is the part that still feels like crime, I got to pick some out and bring it home.  It was all the good parts of yarn shopping with none of those pesky bills at the end.

All of the yarns will be getting made into socks over the next few months (I might have tripped and cast one on already).  You’ll be seeing and hearing more about them as they go along.  In the meantime, I can say with certainty that free yarn is by far the niftiest part of this designing thing.  I could get used to this!