Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn

Since the Rhinebeck Sweater is still in the same state it was on Monday, I’ll chat a bit about the other crafty thing occupying my attention right now: handspun sock yarn.

Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn | Woolen Diversions

My view at Slater Mill.

Over the weekend, I took a sock yarn spinning class at Slater Mill with the Rhode Island Spinners Guild. The focus of the class was to experiment with different amounts of twist and plying structures to discover your personal ideal sock yarn. Amy King (of Spunky Eclectic) gave us lots of fibers to play with in class (green = Polwarth wool, gold = Falkland wool, handpainted autumn tones = Corriedale wool) as well as some samples to experiment with on our own (red = Wensleydale wool, white = generic wool roving, purple = Panda blend (superwash Merino, bamboo, nylon)).

Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn | Woolen Diversions

Spunky Eclectic fiber samples

We discussed three key things to think about when spinning your own sock yarn:

  1. what kinds of fibers make a good sock yarn, considering aspects like elasticity (different high-crimp wools), warmth (silk, camelids, luxury fibers), and strength (silk, nylon, bamboo, longwools),
  2. what types of prep are best for sock yarns (combed prep, worsted spinning), and
  3. most importantly, the amount of twist needed in the the singles and in the ply to make a yarn that is springy and strong while still feeling soft and comfortable.
Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn | Woolen Diversions

Plyback samples.

We did a whole lot of spinning. I am not accustomed to spinning for 6 hours straight, so that was definitely an endurance run for me! We practiced making low twist singles that barely held together and very energized singles, and measured the twist per inch for each. For the first ‘typical’ 2-ply sock yarn, we spun our singles with an amount of twist somewhere between the low and energized samples we made. Then, during the plying step, we plied the singles as if we had spun them with the energized amount of twists per inch. So if our energized sample was 20 tpi, then our plied yarn measured 10 tpi (tpi in singles / # of plies). We also navajo-plied those same singles, and since that yarn had 3 plies, the plying tpi was proportionally lower (20 tpi / 3 plies = approx. 7 tpi).

Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn | Woolen Diversions

Polwarth sock yarn samples, 2-ply and n-ply.

If you’re confused about all of this, don’t feel bad, I think many people in class were lost. It was advertised as an intermediate class but you could be spinning for years and never get so technical about your yarns as to actually the measure the twists per inch. I think some of these concepts could have been explained a little more thoroughly, the only reason I understood the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ behind a lot of the instructions is because I’ve read up on all of this stuff before. That said, it was really beneficial to go through the steps of the exercise with some guidance.

The second half of the class focused on making opposing ply yarns, which are basically yarns where one or more of the singles is spun in the same direction as the plying twist, instead of the opposite direction as usual. Opposing ply yarns have a lot of extra energy that contributes to strength and elasticity, which can be really beneficial in sock yarns. I admit, however, that I am not a fan of these samples. It could perhaps be the fiber (I don’t love Corriedale) but even while swatching, I didn’t enjoy these yarns. They are crazy strong, though, I tried breaking the thread with my hands and nearly cut myself! For opposing ply yarns we plied everything in the S direction and made a 2-ply (gold = low twist S single, multi = high twist Z single) and a couple of 3-plies (2 gold + 1 multi, and 1 gold + 2 multi). I liked the 3-ply with two high twist Z singles and one low twist S single the best, likely because the amount of opposing ply in this yarn is quite low since the S single was low twist to begin with, so it feels the most ‘normal’.

Exploring Handspun Sock Yarn | Woolen Diversions

Opposing ply 2-ply, 3-ply, and ‘normal’ 2-ply.

I’ve swatched the n-ply Polwarth (not pictured, I forgot it!), 2-ply opposing ply yarn, and the 3-ply opposing ply yarn that I liked best (I didn’t bother with the other one) and then began to actually knit a little baby sock out of the 2-ply Polwarth that we first made. I really like the way this yarn came out. Polwarth is such a  springy, fluffy fiber to begin with, and with the extra ply twist the final yarn plumps up in such a satisfying way while still remaining soft. My 2-ply is a thicker sport-weight yarn, but it’s making a nice little sock and I’ve already got the rest of the sample fiber on the bobbin to spin more.

In conclusion, I’m really glad that my spinner’s guild arranged for Amy to teach us. The guidance for experimentation was really valuable and I am looking forward to spinning some more sock yarn! Now I just need to get my singles a bit thinner so I can spin a 3-ply yarn that comes out near fingering weight, as all my 3-ply samples were closer to worsted weight. Have you tried spinning your own sock yarn before? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks?

Orange Rosemary lotion bar

In preparation for Squam this weekend (squeeeeee!) I’ve been busily re-stocking the shop with some sold out lotion bar scents, including: Orange Rosemary, Lavender, Smoky Patchouli and have brought back a seasonal favorite, Pumpkin Spice. Check them out!

As for reading this week, my kindle is still dead (the horror!) but I picked up the largest John Irving book I could find and am slowly working my way through it: Last Night in Twisted River. Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

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WIPWed #104: It’s Wednesday Again, Isn’t It

These weeks, man, I just can’t keep up! I’m doing my best to just embrace the lack of time I feel I have for creative things and just do the best I can. For a while there I was dreading the end of the summer but I’m now starting to look at my stash more closely and imagine all the warm, woolly things I’d like to knit and wear in the near future. Plus, the Season of Fall Festivals is nearly upon us, and who can be bummed about that? Speaking of festivals…

Rhinebeck Sweater – Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #104: It's Wednesday Again, Isn't It | Woolen Diversions

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

My Rhinebeck sweater is progressing at a steady clip. The fabric is lovely and squishy and I’m almost at the point where I need to think about waist decreases. I took the sweater camping with me over the long weekend (no photographic evidence as I was boycotting electronics) and it was the only thing I worked on while I was away! Of course I brought a sock project just in case, but I talked myself out of bringing a spindle as well, finally accepting that I would not need quite so much craft variety over such a short trip. I’m learning, slowly but surely.

Berrylicious Socks:

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

My “back up knitting” socks are progressing at a solid pace, as well. I’m not sure yet whether I will keep these for myself or reserve them as a possible Christmas gift for someone else (that time will be upon us before we know it). They’re simple socks, and I like them, but I don’t love them and somebody else might. Frankly, I’m just kind of impressed that I’ve become a nearly-monogamous knitter working on only two projects at once. We’ll see how long that lasts.

WIPWed #104

Rockin’ Sock Club 10th Anniversary Kit

As an added treat in the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Sock Club, we received special 10th anniversary kits that consisted of great goodies, including a notions case, a tape measure, and a really beautiful project bag. The bag is made of high quality fabric with a nice thick liner and I adore the colors. It’s custom made by Queen Bee Creations and oh boy do they have some pretty, handmade things on their site. They don’t appear to do knitting bags in particular, but they have purses and messenger bags and travel bags in gorgeous patterns that I would love to own. Like this little polka-dot number or this leafy teal case. This large loop pouch looks to be the same size and shape as the bag we received in the club and it is plenty big for any knitting accessory project. I’m a little in love and am happy to have a whole new-to-me creative company to admire!

As for reading, I just finished up The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Man, can that guy write. That is probably not news to anybody, but this was only the second of his books I’ve ever read, and I’m now officially hooked. The book followed the lifeof a doctor who performs illegal abortions and runs an orphanage in 1940s Maine, and the life of one of the orphans (basically). It’s so much more than that, but it’s hard to sum up. Irving has skyrocketed his way straight up into my top 10 favorite authors list. I love the way he tells his stories over long time periods and builds an entire life for his characters. I love how creative his storytelling is, and how each book is entirely different in feel, locale, and topic from the rest. Normally I’m all about long series or authors who write in a particular style or setting so I know what I’m getting into with their books. It’s kind of exiting not to have any idea what the next book will be like, but to know that I’ll probably love it, whatever it is about or however he chooses to write it. Do you have a favorite Irving book?

That about covers what I’ve been up to this week! Linking up with Yarnalong.

Late for Tea

Is it just me, or is time really speeding along lately? Either way, I completely failed to post my finished hat last Friday as promised, so I’ll chat about it now, instead.

Late for Tea

Behold the glorious cashmere halo!

This hat was a delightful knit after a slightly rough beginning. The pattern is Black Tea, designed by Thea Coleman, and when I handled her sample at a class she taught at Slater Mill, I knew I wanted the exact same hat in the exact same yarn. The yarn is Bello by The Plucky Knitter, a 55% cashmere / 45% Merino wool yarn that I got from a destash on Ravelry because my goodness, I have no idea how to actually catch a Plucky update on the site and I’m not motivated enough to try. If you are, though, the yarn is totally yummy. I didn’t record what colorway I bought but it’s an interesting shade of grey that reads with blue/green/purple undertones.

Knitting the hat with the yarn held double was a little bit frustrating, but I really love the final product. I finally got tired of detangling every five seconds and just unwound the whole cake of yarn and re-wound it into a new ball with the yarn held double, rather than knitting from the center and outside of the cake simultaneously. The sizing of this hat was a little tricky, too. The pattern called for 120 stitches cast on with a 5 sts/inch gauge, which would’ve resulted in a 24″ circumference hat. Since I know that cashmere is an inelastic fiber and I don’t like my hats to be super loose in the brim, I decided to knit the hat at a tighter gauge (7 sts/inch) and adjusted the cast on / brim to 100 sts instead (on size 4 needles) by removing some of the knit stitches, which I then increased to 120 sts when I reached the body (on size 6 needles).

Late for Tea | Woolen Diversions

Hat, relaxed.

I was only able to knit 2.5 repeats of the pattern before beginning the crown decreases and had just 8 grams of yarn left at the end. After blocking, this size worked out perfectly for me. The hat has about a 20″ circumference unstretched and is 9″ deep. I wouldn’t have minded being able to finish another repeat before decreasing, but I think the hat has a nice enough level of slouch as it is. Other than my sizing indecision, the cabling was simple and the whole project felt like it went pretty quickly (despite having to tink back multiple times for miscrossed cables).

I think what really makes the hat, though, is the yarn. In a different yarn with less cashmere content, my sizing changes wouldn’t have worked out so well. The fabric would’ve had too much bounce and not enough drape. But cashmere is so lovely, and held double, it is doubly lovely and extra drapey and dense. So good. I will be living in this hat come fall.

Photo copyright Expression Fiber Arts, click for webpage.

In other news, Sweet Sheep lotion bars (in Lavender) are now available as part of a Self Love crochet cowl pattern kit sold by Expression Fiber Arts. The yarn in the kit (2 skeins of yak/silk laceweight) sounds absolutely divine and I love the idea of giving yourself a luxurious treat.

And finally, I’ve done a little bit of blog housekeeping. I’ve changed the home page to go directly to the blog, updated the About Me page, and added an Around the Web page where I am keeping a list of all of the product reviews I’ve done here, guest posts I’ve written elsewhere, and Sweet Sheep product reviews that other bloggers have done. I figured it would be a good way to keep some really great content in one easy-to-find place!

That’s all from me this week! Even though this is more of an FO post than a WIP post, I’m still linking up with Yarnalong (I’m reading Cider House Rules by John Irving) and Stitch Along Wednesday. I hope you’re all having a good week!

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:

soaps

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.

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 #99: Spinning Through

Tour de Fleece is in full swing and I’m doing what I can to participate. I was away celebrating our first wedding anniversary when it began, but I did take my spindle and some fiber to at least make a start. We got back stupidly late Monday night (more like early Tuesday AM) so yesterday was all about catching up with life, but I did manage to get a couple of ounces spun up on my wheel, as well. Needless to say, my knitting progress has slowed with all this spinning going on, but I’m not complaining. Spinning is quite soothing, despite the old wrist injury that I aggravated by using the grip of death on a crazy carnival ride the Fiasco made me do. (Yeah, I blame him for my wrist pain. That’s what marriage is for!)

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

This spin is going to take a good long while, but I’m loving it. That Subterranean Woodworks Turkish spindle is one of my absolute favorites. The weight is perfect, the color makes me happy, and it’s a zippy little spinner.

TdF BFL/Silk Singles:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf BFL/Silk, colorway Eggplant in Ashes. Click for handspun page.

I spun one braid of these singles before TdF began (left bobbin), but got a decent 2 oz spun last night while I watched more Vampire Diaries (still obsessed!) and made a few batches of lotion bars (Lavender EO has been restocked and a new scent, Smoky Patchouli, has been added to the shop). Fingers crossed that I can speed through the final 2 oz tonight.

Rotted Days:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Actually using my handspun! Click for project page.

Spending 9 hours in the car over the long weekend lead me to resurrect my handspun Dotted Rays shawl. I’m at the point where the short rows take much longer to get through, so there isn’t as much flipping back and forth and I’ve settled into a nice rhythm with it. I’ve nearly finished my first skein of handspun and desperately need to switch to a larger cable so the shawl won’t look like a pile of mush in photos.

That’s all I’ve really worked on this week. I’m currently in between books right now, although I’m listening to a really good one (Birthmarked by C.M. O’Brien). It’s about a young girl who is a midwife in a post-climate-change society and there is some kind of drama starting between the ‘advanced’ people who live within the walls of the city, and everyone else on the outside. Not deep into it yet but it’s intriguing so far.

And just for fun, here are some pics from our trip to Maine:

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

(And congrats to Alexis of CobCottageCraft, the winner of the Myra cowl pattern from my review post and giveaway. Keep an eye out for my e-mail!)

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.