WIPWed #109: On the Move (sort of)

SO MANY THINGS are happening at Chez Woolen Diversions and one of those things is moving. UGH. We’re only moving a few towns over (to a nicer place with lower rent… whoa!) but it’s still a gigantic, major pain. So I’ve been keeping the knitting super simple lately. I’ve even sorted through all the yarn and WIPs and separated out anything I think I might need over the next month in case the rest of the stash gets buried under moving boxes. Like these:

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Can you spot Darwin?

Onto less disheartening things, like knitting!

Berrylicious Socks:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks are chugging along. I’m near the toe on one, mid-foot on the other. Not much else to see here…

Rotted Days:

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Handspun and a singles yarn I bought at a festival. Click for project page.

A combination of a long car ride and seeing everybody working on their Stephen West MKAL projects all over instagram (#thedoodler), is what inspired me to pick up my Dotted Rays shawl again. Now that I’ve got the hang of the short rows and don’t have to refer to the written-out-line-by-line pattern much anymore, I’m enjoying this garter stitch knit. I think it’ll be lovely once it’s done, and I’m still enamored of my yarn combination. Great use for handspun! I’m really liking the look of all those Doodler shawls, too, so I’ll probably cast one on someday. I’m staunchly anti-mystery-knit-along, though, so I’ll be waiting until I see everybody else’s finished products before I commit. Also, can we take a second to boggle over the fact that there are already 2,955 projects for that pattern?! At $6 a pop, and assuming that each shawl was a separate sale, Mr. West made over $17,700 in about a week or so. I think I’d faint with joy if I ever saw that much money flooding in instantaneously. Good for him.

Sweet Sheep news:

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Sweet Sheep goat milk soap in Chamomile Bergamot

I’ve been hard at work filling some wholesale orders and re-stocking the shop. I’ve added Chamomile Bergamot sheep-shaped goat milk soap, as well as a few sold-out lotion bar scents, such as Cinnamon Chai, Winter Gardenia, Orange Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon Cake (to name a few). I was supposed to vend this weekend at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market, but unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my back that is currently spasming like crazy and has had me flat-on-my-back and out of work for a couple of days, so I’m taking the weekend to recover. (Back spasms hurt like whoa guys.) But, Rhode Islanders take solace: you can now check out Sweet Sheep lotion bars and soaps in person at The Mermaid’s Purl, a great little yarn shop in Wickford! Woohoo!

As for reading, I’m working on The Long War, the second book in a series co-written by Terry Pratchett (one of my epic literary loves) and Stephen Baxter. It’s about humans developing the ability to sort of ‘step’ sideways into millions upon millions of similar-but-different Earths. It’s a super cool concept and I love the (completely fantastical, obviously) idea that there are Earths out there that haven’t been ravaged by us, or that experienced different climactic events, or were not hit by asteroids and still have dinosaurs, or for some reason are populated entirely by butterflies. As an ecologist, it’s a fascinating thought experiment.

Anyways, linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday, and now  I’m off to rest this back. Oy.

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WIPWed 105: Monster of a Week

Today, I bought three different cards at the same time: one ‘sorry for your loss’, one ‘get well’, and one ‘happy wedding’ — all for immediate members of our family. To say this week has been a bit of a monster would be an understatement. The Fiasco’s mom is getting re-married this weekend, which will be a nice celebration of hope and happiness. My own mom is currently in the hospital, she underwent major reconstruction surgery to repair damage that was done to her implants from radiation treatment for breast cancer. It was a 10 hour surgery and she’s due to be in the hospital for another few days. She’s recovering quite well but it will be a few months before she’s all healed.

And the saddest event of the week is that the Fiasco’s dear Nana, who is probably his favorite person in the world, passed away.

She was truly one of the kindest, sweetest souls I knew. I’m sad that I only got to know her for the last 6 years, but I’m grateful that she treated me as if I were her own granddaughter nearly from the start, and that she had such a big impact on her warm, loving grandson. She lived a full life and had many wonderful stories to tell about it. She will be sorely missed. It’s hard to believe she’s gone.

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Stray Cat Socks yarn, colorway Are We There Yet?

Thankfully, she was sick for only a short time. When we found out her kidneys were failing and there was nothing that could be done, I impulse-bought some cheerful sock yarn because I knew I’d want something beautiful to work on while I thought of her life and mourned her death. That’s probably a strange concept to muggles, but as fellow knitters, I’m sure you can understand. (The pattern is a modified Geek Socks by Wei Leong of Kiwiyarns Knits and it’s perfect for self-striping yarn.)

Monday began this year’s Spinzilla: a Monster of a Spinning Week. I was hesitant to participate as this week is going to be insane and emotional and I knew I would have very limited free time, but then I realized that taking time out to spin might be just the thing to do. Spinning is calming, meditative, and something that can restore my energy in the midst of what will be a crazy time. So I spun the last of the Polwarth sock yarn I had begun during Amy King’s sock yarn spinning class, and I started in on a big bag of Louet’s commercially-dyed Merino/silk blend that I had received as a prize last year. I wanted to keep the spinning simple and easy, not worry about color management or technique, and the black felt fitting while the silk adds some tactile and visual interest. I’m planning to make a fingering-weight 2-ply for a shawl.

I signed up too late for the Louet team but joined the MadWool team instead, which is a great little shop in Connecticut that I’ve visited a few times, most recently when I was hunting for a spinning wheel. I feel a little bad that I won’t be contributing significant amounts of yardage to the team total, but there’s a lot happening right now and I’m choosing to use Spinzilla as a coping mechanism rather than an added stress, so I’ll just have to do my best.

As for reading, Last Night on Twisted River by John Irving has utterly bored me. It seemed to combine bits and pieces from some of his other books while not making the characters very sympathetic or interesting. Plus, he killed off three important people in the first 100 pages, which seemed a bit excessive. Perhaps I’ll finish it later, but in the meantime I got distracted by another book: Fat Girl by Judith Moore. This one fascinated me, but was horrifically depressing. It’s a memoire about growing up as an obese child in a dysfunctional family. I think it paints an accurate picture of the kinds of negative self-talk and extreme stress and childhood trauma that results from the way people treat overweight kids, but it really just made me want to reach into the past and give that little girl a hug, tell her she is loved, and she is enough just as she is. It has taken me 30 years to get to that point with myself, though, and it’s a difficult thing for a child to learn when they are taught the opposite by family members and society in general. It was not a happy book but it was well-written and I loved the tone.

Unabashedly sassy excerpt from the intro.

I hope you all are doing well and I apologize in advance if my posting will be irregular in the coming weeks. Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun

This August might go down in my personal history as the Busiest of All Time. Between trips, conferences, work deadlines, Sweet Sheep orders, and now my old car breaking down (again), schedule coordination has become a delicate and barely-balanced art form around here. I might manage to get through it all intact, but things will be a little touch-and-go, especially since I feel like summer is speeding by before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy it! But enough whining, onto some knitting.

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

Since these socks are so darn simple, they’ve been progressing at a rapid clip. That strange stripe of pooling in the middle of the leg is because my dear kitty Darwin took it upon himself to chomp through my yarn, so the color progression got out of whack when I spliced it back together. It gives the sock some extra personality, I guess?

Black Tea Hat:

This hat is finished (yay!) but you won’t see it until Friday as it is currently blocking and awaiting photos. 🙂

Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm’s Green. Click for project page.

Ooooooooh yes, folks, IT HAS BEGUN! You’re looking at two pocket liners and and 249 stitches of 1×1 ribbing for the bottom hem of my Rhinebeck sweater. The ribbing is progressing at a glacial pace, but I’m hoping the whole thing picks up a bit when the main stitch pattern starts or else I’m never going to make it. (Courage!)

Spinning:

A few weeks ago, I stress-impulse-purchased a gorgeous Galaxy batt from Yarnshine, on Etsy. The batt contains “celestial Bombyx Silk and Silk Noil blended into malachite and agean Bamboo, teal Soffsilk (mulberry silk), Black BFL, and Black Merino all accented by gorgeous, silvery Yak/Silk top” which was just plain irresistible to me, and it’s so lovely in person. Denise uses the same eco-conscious packaging that I do (yay!) and she included a little rolag that I happily spun up into a chain-plied sample. I haven’t washed the sample yet so it will probably plump up a bit more, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll do a 2-ply or 3-ply for the final yarn. I’d love to use the yarn for something like a Hitchhiker or Libby’s new Industry shawl. How would you spin it?

Sweet Sheep:

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Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe handmade soap

If you’ve been looking for some handmade soap, I’ve recently added a bunch to the shop! There are sheep-shaped goat milk soaps available in Chipotle Caramel, Lavender, and Lemon Cake, as well as layered whipped goat milk and honey soap in Coconut Lime and Orange Cream, and a fun Tropical Surprise soap scented with French Mango that contains embedded pieces of the Coconut Lime soap.

As for reading, I’ve been steadily working my way through the Tiffany Aching YA Discworld sub-series written by Terry Pratchett. I’m now on the last one, I Shall Wear Midnight, and I have to say, his YA books are just as genius as his ‘adult’ ones, perhaps even moreso because he translates really complex ‘grownup’ world concerns with a certain simple elegance that I really appreciate. I’m so sorry he’s gone, but I’m so happy his words will always be around. They’re a wonderful legacy to his incredible brain.

Hope your weeks are going well! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

WIPWed #102: Still Settling Back In

The rest of the conference I was attending last week was great, I even got to briefly visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore (highly recommend!). However, I did arrive home slightly worse for the wear. I’ve had some low-level cold symptoms since deplaning (love that word) and I also injured my foot pretty badly with all the walking around I did at the conference. The top of the arch of my foot has been painful and swollen for well over a week, but the swelling has been going down thanks to lots of icing and resting. I’ve had a  slower settling-back-into-things than I would have liked, but sometimes, you just have to take a break! Taking it easy has lead to a bit more knitting, so that’s good.

Black Tea:

WIPWed #102: Settling In | Woolen Diversions

Plucky Knitter Bello fingering held double. Click for project page.

My Black Tea hat looks nearly the same as last week because I had missed a cable crossing several rows back and spent too much time attempting to fix it by laddering down until I just gave in and frogged back a repeat. One does not always have the patience for tricky fixes!

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #102: Settling Back In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks also tried my patience this week. I attempted Smokestack Socks and Hermione’s Everyday Socks to no avail – the yarn was just too variegated to look good in either pattern. I finally settled on a simple repeat of alternating knit rounds with rounds of *k3, p1*. Slightly more fun than plain ribbing, but not distracted at all by the colorway pooling and striping. They make for good meeting socks, at any rate.

Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #102: Still Settling In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm Green. No project page just yet.

Now that I’m back home, I’ve finally had a chance to swatch for what I’m hoping will be my Rhinebeck sweater (but I wouldn’t put money on it or anything, time is flying by). This is a swatch for Chocolate Stout by Thea Coleman. It’s going to be a really fabulous, texture grandpa cardi if I can get the sizing just right. The pattern is simple but fun and I’m completely in love with the colorway!

Sweet Sheep Soaps:

I managed to make a couple of new soaps to add to the shop: Coconut Lime whipped goat milk & aloe layered soap, as well as Chipotle Caramel sheep-shaped goat milk soap. Options in the shop are running kind of low as I’m waiting on some supplies to arrive, but once they do I’ll be busy re-stocking lots of different lotion bar scents and soaps, so hang tight!

And as for reading…

I finished the John Irving book I was reading last week and have since downloaded two more to my kindle: Son of an Elephant and Cider House Rules. First, though, I took a quick detour into the young adult version of Discworld with A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. I love this little sub-series about Tiffany Aching, a pint-sized witch with lots of little blue friends in the form of the Nac Mac Feegle. I’m currently reading Wintersmith, the third book in the series, and will probably finish off the series with I Shall Wear Midnight before returning to the John Irving books.

How have you all been? I’m looking forward to catching up on all the blogging I missed! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

FOFri #41 : Socks & Swatches

After a couple of busy weeks, I’ve finally had time to sit down and wrap up the toes of not one but TWO pairs of socks!

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

We sort of match, and it’s adorable.

I think it’s safe to say that my sock mojo is officially back. I’ve finished 6 pairs of socks thus far this year! That’s almost a pair a month, which is way faster than my sock finishing rate of the last few years. Plus, I knit the exact same pattern, twice, simultaneously. If that’s not fortitude, I don’t know what is. It probably helps that I adore both of the colorways and the slipped stitch patterning feels like it flies by.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

These are, indeed, my favorite socks ever. The pattern is Dalekanium by Dena Stelly. In truth, I didn’t actually follow the pattern (which is toe-up). I just borrowed the stitch pattern and stuck it on my typical 64-stitch cuff-down sock and tapered away the slipped stitch patterning just before I began the toe decreases. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (my faaaaaaaavorite) in the club colorway Gran’s Kitchen.

Stealth Socks:

And while I got brand new socks, the Fiasco did, too (so he can’t complain of neglect). His birthday socks were just about a week late, which isn’t too bad by my standards. The nice thing about his is that they went just as quickly as mine, despite his larger feet. That’s because I used BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight on size 2.75 mm needles to size up the socks instead of casting on more stitches. (Good thing he likes his socks cushy!) This is the Grimm colorway, and it’s fabulous.

Now that those socks are off the needles and I have a few trips in the near future, I’m itching to cast on some small, quick-but-interesting, portable projects. Which to me, means HATS.

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

Swatches, all wet and wonky.

I’ve had two skeins of yarn begging to become hats that I want in my wardrobe like right now since mid-winter, but I just didn’t get a chance to knit them last season. Knitting them in August should give me a solid jump-start on accessories for fall, though!

Black Tea:

Photo copyright BabyCocktails. Click for pattern page.

I’ve been completely in love with this slouchy Black Tea hat pattern since I handled the sample during a class with the designer, Thea Colman, at a knitting event in January. I loved the sample so much that I even hunted down the exact yarn used in the pattern through a destash because I want to replicate the look and feel of the luxurious fabric. The yarn is Bello fingering by the Plucky Knitter (55% Merino wool, 45% cashmere), held double while knitting. Once dry, the swatch will help me determine if I want to use 6’s or 7’s for the main body of the hat. While I could’ve just followed the pattern, my head is a little smaller than most and I’ve never worked with this yarn before so I wanted to get a feel for it and my gauge before I jumped right in.

Paravel Hat:

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre. Click for pattern page.

The other hat will be made with a skein of BMFA BFL Superwash in their fun Sadie Sue Tipsy colorway. The blue in that colorway is the exact same shade of blue as my jacket (and my glasses, and my lampshade, and my wristwarmers…) which makes the color-coordination-lover in me very happy. I knew it wanted to become a hat, but I was debating between the Norby and Sockhead patterns until last night, when I found Paravel (designed by Megan Goodacre) and thought that the simple texture with the interesting lace panel would work well with the specks of color and keep my interest while knitting. Plus, I love the tidy decreases at the top of the hat and appreciate that kind of attention to detail in the patterns I buy.

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre.

So that’s my trip knitting all sorted out! Two hats (and let’s be honest, probably a new pair of socks) should hold me over for a 3-day Cape Cod trip and a week-long conference, right?

(And in case you missed it, check out my Indie Business Interview on the Knitted Bliss blog! There you’ll find a coupon code for free shipping on all domestic AND international Sweet Sheep orders over $10 through August 7th.)

WIPWed #100: That’s a Nice Round Number

I’ve reached 100 WIP Wednesday posts, woohoo! Now, that’s not 100 weeks in a row or even 100 weeks of knitting, as there has been plenty more knitting than that, but 100 weeks of cataloging my knits in a systematic way, at least! (You can see all WIPWed posts here, if you’d like.) This week, I have spinning and socks.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

My favorite socks are currently in the toe stage of development, which means they’re almost done! I’m going to wear the bejeezus out of these things come fall. Also, I thought I should illustrate how difficult it is for me to get good blog photos sometimes; I have to fight off kitties for space and light (especially the yarn-hungry Darwin) through the entire photo-taking process.

Stealth Socks:

WIPWed #100

BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

The secret stealth socks are progressing, but not nearly fast enough. I’m on the heel flap of both but need to put some serious time into them this week.

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #100

BeeMiceElf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

Even though they are a pain in the butt to wind neatly, my favorite part of Turkish spinning is the fat little turtles of yarn you get when you take the cop off the spindle. That’s only about 0.5 oz of fiber, so I have a bit more to go *eye roll*.

TdF Dusky Greens:

WIPWed #100

Three Waters Farm Falkland, colorway Greens at Dusk. Click for handspun page.

As I am on the Three Waters Farm Tour de Fleece team, I figured it was about time I started in on some Three Waters Farm fiber. In one evening (!) I spun up 1/3 of a braid of Falkland wool in lovely green shades. I’m planning to make a 3-ply yarn to coordinate with the pound of Falkland I spun up when I first got my wheel. Now if I just had more time to spin… Work is going to be insane through the end of the month and the first couple of weeks of August will be busy with a vacation and a conference, so chances are my posts will be a bit spotty until later in August. I will do my best but if I disappear for a while, that’s why!

As for reading, I started a new book:

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Definitely worth the read.

Some of you may have already heard of the Whole30 program, and even if you have, this book is worth reading to better understand the reasons behind it. The idea of the program is to stop eating certain unhealthy foods for 30 days and see how your body feels. Then you reintroduce them and observe any changes, so that you can make well-informed decisions about your diet in the future. I love this idea. The book does a good job of summing up the very complicated and unclear science of how food interacts with your body. Admittedly, the authors overuse analogies waaaaaaaaaaay too much, but the science they describe is pretty sound and clearly explained. They define unhealthy foods as those that do one (or more) of four things: 1- have an addictive or unhealthy psychological effect, 2- unbalance your hormones, 3- disrupt your gut health, and 4- induce an immune system response. For the most part, these foods include all grains, dairy, legumes, and seed oils. It essentially encourages a Paleo-style diet of protein, veggies, and fruit. For people struggling with their health or their weight while eating what seem like healthy foods, giving this program a try might be worth it. I haven’t done it quite yet, but the diet I did last year was very much like it and since I’ve been slowly-but-surely regaining some of the weight I had lost (despite calorie-counting, yoga, weight-lifting, and walking regularly) it’s worth a try to see if it can get my metabolism-related hormones back in balance.

Also, if you’ll allow me a moment on my soapbox, I think people should read this book so that they realize that obesity is a real biological problem. It’s not just mental (put down the fork!) or about willpower (get up off the couch!), it involves overcoming real biochemical challenges (genetics, metabolism, stress, hormones, brain chemicals) as well as societal pressures (restaurants, ads, easy junk food, peers) at every turn. And for some people, it’s a lifelong freaking struggle, despite doing everything right. It’s a legitimate disease and as far as I can tell, it’s one of the few left that people feel justified in openly mocking and belittling. Next time you have unkind thoughts about a fat person, take a beat and remember that there’s a pretty good chance they’re working on it and it’s not all their fault.

Soapbox done, back to your regularly scheduled knitting! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

WIPWed #98: Stealth Socks and Sheep-Shaped Soap

There are three things I’ve confirmed recently:

  1. I really love slipped stitch sock patterns,
  2. Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts is the queen of teal colorways, and
  3. sheep-shaped soap is just about the cutest thing ever.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

WIPWed #98: Stealth Socks and Sheep-Shaped Soap

BMFA Socks that Rock LW, colorway Gran’s Kitchen. Click for project page.

Still rockin’ this pair of socks, and still absolutely loving them. Loving them so much, in fact, that I’ve cast on ANOTHER PAIR.

Stealth Socks:

WIPWed #98: Stealth Socks and Sheep-Shaped Soap | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock HW, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

The pic is blurry but the colorway, Grimm, is absolutely glorious. Tina really knows her way around teals, man, and the pooling is pretty fun on this pair. These are stealth socks because I’m trying to knit them quickly (by the end of the month) and on the sneak, for a certain someone-whom-I-live-with’s birthday. (Here’s hoping his eyes just glaze over when I go on and on about socks and won’t realize these are for him.)

Sheep-Shaped Soap:

In exciting news, I’ve added some new soap to the shop that I’m absolutely in love with. Blackberry Crumble is a goat milk soap scented with blackberry, sage, and a touch of gingersnap fragrance oils that is juicy and bright. I got a little more creative with the Peaches & Cream soap, which consists of white and peach-colored layers of goat milk soap and is scented with southern peach and cream cheese frosting fragrance oils. It smells just like a sweet, decadent, summertime dessert and is finished off with a sprinkling of red and white jojoba beads on the bottom. These soaps are so cute, I honestly can’t stand it.

That’s all from me this week! As for reading, I sped through the Outlander novella “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” which gives a little insight into Roger’s parents’ past and am looking for my next read. Any suggestions? Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

WIPWed #97: Monogamy Makes For Boring Blogging

I have been motoring along on the same two knitting projects, which means my WIPWed post looks nearly the same as last week’s, just with a few more inches of knitting on each thing. This is great for progress, but pretty boring for blogging. Here’s an update anyway!

My Favorite Socks Ever:

WIPWed #97: Monogamy Makes For Boring Blogging | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock LW, colorway Gran’s Kitchen. Click for project page.

Still in love with this colorway and enjoying this pattern, still my favorite socks! I’m crossing my fingers that I can finish them this week and — get this — I even have plans to knit ANOTHER PAIR of this SAME PATTERN (that never happens). That’s how much I love it, guys.

Colinton Cowl:

WIPWed #97: Monogamy Makes For Boring Blogging | Woolen Diversions

Colinton Australia laceweight mohair, colorway Dove. Click for project page.

My laceweight mohair cowl is growing, growing, growing but as you can see, we had a little mishap. Mohair fibers are more slippery and less elastic than wool, so it’s pretty easy to drop stitches (especially if you’re all wrapped up in a particularly thrilling episode of The Vampire Diaries while you’re trying to knit). When I knit with this yarn again (and that’s definitely when, not if, because it’s lovely) I’ll likely use bamboo or carbon fiber needles, which are both a little more grabby than my wooden ones to help prevent the dropping from happening in the first place. The cowl and I need to have a careful tinking back date soon.

Eggplant in Ashes Singles:

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BeeMiceElf BFL/silk, colorway Eggplant in Ashes. Click for handspun page.

Remember the 2-ply vs. singles sampling I did a few weeks ago? I’ve decided to give the singles yarn a try. I’ve nearly finished the first of two braids of this gorgeous BFL/silk fiber from BeeMiceElf, when it’s done I’ll finish the yarn and knit a mini version of the bias stripe wrap to see how I like it. If it works, great! I’ll finish spinning the rest of the yarn and plan to knit that scarf. If I don’t like it, I can always spin the rest of the yarn up and then ply the two singles together for a 2-ply instead (I think/hope).

That’s all for me this week! I am sort of in between books at the moment (I know, gasp!) and have been working my way through the latest issue of Ply magazine instead. Not sure what I’ll dive into next. Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic

Dear socks, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Your slipped stitches gracefully pop out of a field of blues and greys. Your simple pattern brings me joy and you’ve grown so much in only days. What more could I ask for? When you’re finished, you will amaze.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock LW, colorway Gran’s Kitchen. Click for project page.

I call that Ode to My Favorite Socks Ever because hot damn, I love these socks. The yarn is from the March kit of the Rockin’ Sock Club and I’m so glad I traded my May skein for another of this colorway because I could knit with this and only this for the rest of my life and not be sad. That aqua is just the right aqua and that grey is just the right grey and I love how it all looks mixed together with white. It took a little trial and error to find a pattern that looked good with the pooling inherent in hand-dyed yarn of short color repeats, but the stitch pattern in Dalekanium did the trick. I am really just using the stitch pattern, knitting my sock top-down with whatever heel and toe I choose. (That free pattern is very similar to the paid Atlantic Current pattern, as well.) The slipped stitches are simple yet effective and I am really loving this knit.

Colinton Cowl:

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic | Woolen Diversions

Colinton Australia Lace, colorway Dove. Click for project page.

I’m also madly in love with my mohair laceweight Myra cowl. The mistake I wrote about last week wasn’t too difficult to fix, it actually wasn’t a dropped stitch but a completely wrong row so a little careful tinking got me back on track with minimal fuss. The fabric this yarn is making doesn’t look like much (yet) but it feels absolutely incredible. I think sometimes mohair gets a bad rap and this yarn in particular feels very much like silk. I’m loving it.

I’m also loving the project bag I keep my cowl in. A friend of mine from the spinner’s guild made it for me and I absolutely adore it. She said it was very simple to make, just a couple of squares sewn together cleverly, but I love how it opens up  nice and wide and fits my straight needles easily. Thanks again, Christine!

Finally, I’m totally loving the show I’m watching while I knit my cowl: The Vampire Diaries. The Fiasco can make fun of me all he wants for watching a show about teenage supernaturals (When do shows about high school kids get old, really? Shouldn’t they be old already? High school wasn’t that exciting!) but that man is one sexy vampire and I can watch him all night long. Ahem. Sorry. I just… sigh.

Reading:

I finished Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety and think that it was a really insightful, important read. Yes, a little depressing, but not in the “this can never be fixed!” way, more in the “why do people allow themselves to get bogged down like this?” way. Have hope! Keep trying! Sign petitions! Write your lawmaker! Don’t lose sight of what’s right! I think it was overall a hopeful book, although it’s full of depressing facts and history. Books that open one’s eyes to ‘why’ and ‘how’ of certain realities of society are really important, even if they aren’t an answer in and of themselves.

I came across a blog post with an excerpt from Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute Of It by Andrea Buchanan. (There’s also a whole Literary Mama blog I just discovered, too. Good break time reading!) The book is a collection of heartfelt/humorous/smart essays written throughout the first 3 years of the author’s daughter’s life. It sets out to chronicle her reaction to motherhood and compares it to culture shock. I thought it was really well done and read the thing in 3 days. Worth it!

Have you read any good books lately? I think it might be time for me to take a break from the motherhood-related books and read something a bit more light-hearted and fictional.

Linking with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

 

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Since I missed blogging on Wednesday and we’re halfway to Friday, I’ll post both my finished socks and my works-in-progress today!

Camelot Socks:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Finished, huzzah!

I have finished another pair of socks, huzzah! (I hesitate to claim to be on a roll, but with 4 pairs of socks finished since January, I think I can officially say that my sock slump is broken.) I used a new-to-me yarn for these (from Barking Dog Yarns) that is dyed in colorways that are basically the inverse of each other. I love their coordinating mis-matchedness.

The pattern is Monkey by Cookie A., which I modified to add a purl stitch between repeats for a 68 stitch cast on. These socks are actually quite roomy, I could’ve either left the purl stitch out (although I like the extra bit of sculpting it gives the stitch pattern) or used 2.0 mm needles for a tighter gauge. However, I was unsure how sizing would work out using a 2-ply yarn that’s a bit thinner than my typical 3-ply Socks That Rock and I wanted to make sure they weren’t too tight. Overall, I’m quite pleased with these and glad to have them off the needles, since I began them 6 months ago (!) in December.

Aqua Sock Experiment:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

A sock that is no more.

I was itching to finish my Camelot Socks so I could cast on with the gorgeous yarn I received in my Rockin’ Sock Club March shipment. The colorway, Gran’s Kitchen, is basically the color of my soul. However, it pooled something awful in the first pattern I tried with it, the Turritella Socks from the May shipment. I was seriously not a fan, so I’ve frogged what you see above and am going try the Jaywalker pattern. I’m hoping for some nice stripey action with a different cast on and stitch pattern.

Colinton Mohair Cowl:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Colinton Cowl. Click for project page.

I got into a nice rhythm on my Myra cowl and was really enjoying the mohair lace yarn, until I dropped a couple of stitches. Normally I’m pretty good at fixing lace mistakes but this is a garter-based lace and garter stitch is always a bit trickier to fix. So this project will have to wait until I have time to focus on it when there’s good light (hopefully this weekend).

Other fun things:

I had a fun mail day recently so I thought I’d share. I’m one of the moderators of the Etsy Shops Ravelry group (come join!) and noticed that there was a sweet sale running in JulieSpins shop, so I treated myself to a skein of Glimmer Lace: 75% SW Merino wool, 20% silk, and 5% stellina (sparkle!). It’s a lovely, deep green/grey mix of shades that should make a dramatic lace wrap. I also received a perfect project bag that I custom ordered from Christine of Third Floor Studios when I vended at the RI Fiber Festival this year. It’s the large size bag in cheerful blue prints that I adore. She was super sweet in person, too, and I highly recommend her bags.

Finally, I’m about halfway through reading Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner. This, friends, is a super interesting book. At first, I thought I was going to hate it. The intro talked a lot about upper middle-class mothers with wealthy husbands and lovely homes who were able to stay home from work to raise their children and were anxious, miserable, and unhealthily obsessive over incredibly small details of their children’s lives. There is almost nothing that irritates me more than a lack of reasonable perspective and I feared this book was going to try to validate the plight of these mothers. In a way, it does, but it creates its case by describing the history of behavioral science and society’s views of motherhood in America and how it’s changed over the decades. From the 1920s when mothers were told they’d damage their children by cuddling them too much to the 1970s when mothers celebrated the ability to go back to work to the millennial mothers who are devoted to attachment parenting and a vision of perfect domesticity. It’s truly fascinating to read how the research has changed over the years and often horrifying to read how the media interpreted its messages. And of course, through all of it, feminism and its issues are deeply entwined. (Not once in any of the mother judgement is a father deemed the cause of a child’s problems.) It’s a fascinating read that I can’t put down. If you’re interested in issues of social justice, feminism, or understanding the real societal drivers behind the so-called ‘mommy wars’ (hint, it’s not the moms) you should check it out. Fair warning: it’s pretty depressing, and a bit pessimistic. However, I’m taking it as an example of what not to do, how not to be, what negative thinking traps to avoid, and what societal influences to look out for whenever I become a mom. So, there’s that going for it… a little bit of perspective after all.

Linking up a bit late with Yarnlong and Stitch Along Wednesday.