Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sock Summit!

Okay, this is the post where you see exactly how big of a knitting geek I am! This past Thursday was the official kickoff to Sock Summit. Sock Summit is basically what it sounds like, a yarn conference of sorts focusing on sock knitting. It has taken place one other time, 2 years ago, in 2009. As crazy as it sounds, people from all over the world (mostly North America…but from as far away as Australia!) flew into Portland, Oregon to take classes, shop at the wonderful marketplace, and participate in a flash mob (I didn’t, but I’ll post one of the videos so you can see!). There were approximately 1,800 knitters taking classes and hundreds more who just showed up to hang out and shop.

Initially I had planned to get a hotel room and stay up in Portland from Thursday through Sunday, but due to a variety of factors I decided to sleep at home and drive up to Portland on both Thursday and Friday. I was a little sad to miss the weekend events, but seeing how tired I was after 2 days I’m not sure I would have survived!

Bright and early Thursday morning, I loaded my spinning wheel into the car and headed up to Portland. I left extra early because I wasn’t sure  how bad Portland traffic would be close to rush hour. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with much traffic and parking at the Convention Center was really easy (they have an underground garage that most people weren’t using because they could walk from their hotels). After registering and picking up my Sock Summit badge, I found my classroom and set up my spinning wheel so that I could take The Gentle Art of Spinning Socks with Judith MacKenzie. The class. Was. Awesome. She is soooo knowledgeable. And not just about spinning. She is a wealth of knowledge about the textile industry and it’s history as well as weaving, knitting, and other random unrelated tidbits! The class format was fairly laid back….she would show us things and then we’d all sit and practice on our spinning wheels. Then she would walk around checking in with everyone and answer questions and demo as things came up. We were able to spin with a variety of fibers that are good for spinning a strong sock yarn and even learn some raw fiber prep techniques. The full day classes have an hour and a half for lunch, so I was lucky enough to meet up with Anne (I still can’t believe I’m related to knitting royalty!) for lunch! We had lunch at a nearby cafe that was far enough from the convention center to not be completely mobbed with crazy, hungry knitters! The afternoon had more spinning and learning and then it was time for the marketplace to open!!

There was NO way I was going to lug my spinning wheel around the marketplace (it’s just too heavy and bulky), so I walked back to the car to drop the wheel off.  Then it was off to the marketplace. Almost immediately, I ran into Alysha, a friend from Ravelry who I’d never met in real life. We recognized each other right away despite having never met! Alysha and I wandered the marketplace for a few hours, first to check it all out and then to go back to certain places and make some purchases. One of the places I knew I wanted to hit up on Thursday was the Three Irish Girls booth so that I could check out their new non-wool bases for some summer knits. I ended up picking up a sweater quantity for a short-sleeved cardigan of some sort in the Cotton/Bamboo Worsted base:

Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo (50/50) in Bramble

The Three Irish Girls booth was gorgeous and Sharon was just as lovely, funny, and tall in person as she is online! There was a wonderful selection of new bases, one-of-a-kind colors, mini-skein sets, and just plain gorgeous yarn!

I also picked up some luxurious yarn from Little Red Bicycle on Thursday, a merino/cashmere/silk blend and a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, as well as a skein of merino/nylon sock yarn from Hazel Knits.

On Friday, I didn’t have any classes lined up so I took my time heading up to Portland and arrived around 2pm. My first goal was to hit up the Plucky Knitter booth because I knew I wanted a sweater’s worth of yarn from there. As soon as I wandered into the booth I ran into some more lovely Raveler’s that I had planned on meeting up with for dinner, Jeannine and Erin. I think it would be a gross understatement to say that we went a little crazy at the Plucky booth! I could have spent a FORTUNE on Plucky. The Plucky Knitter booth was probably the most well stocked booth at Sock Summit. Sarah (of Plucky) had a second booth across the aisle that was filled with boxes of yarn that she used to restock as things got low. She had several “Sock Summit Specialties” that were released on Saturday and Sunday, as well. Honestly, my bank account is thanking me for not going back up this weekend!

Plucky Primo in Bohemian Blue

Plucky Primo in Can Can

Another booth that had a fabulous selection was Hazel Knits. I went back there on Friday so that I could pick up two skeins to use in a shawl together, and ended up with these two beauties:

Hazel Knits Entice MCN in Blacklight and Spanish Wine

After purchasing quite a bit of yarn (and a couple of other things!), I met up with some folks from Ravelry and we went to Mother’s Bistro for dinner. Out of the 7 of us that went, 6 of us ordered the Macaroni and Cheese! Delicious, I tell you. Two of the people at dinner work at Happy Knits (one of them was the owner, Sarah), a Local Yarn Shop in Portland, and they were kind enough to let us do a little after hours shopping! It’s such a lovely store, and I really need a make a point to get over to that side of town more often when we go to Portland.

So….how ’bout a photo of the whole haul?

Don’t judge. I knit a lot. 😉 

SO….from Left to Right:

Bottom Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Blacklight, sweater qty of Plucky Primo in Bohemian Blue, 4 skeins (short-sleeved sweater qty) of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Worsted in Bramble, and Hazel Knits Piquant Lite in Violeta

Middle Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Spanish Wine, more of the Primo Bohemian Blue, 3 skeins of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering in Shale Be Coming Around the Mountain, 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Garnet martini

Top Row: Little Red Bicycle Penny Farthing (jumbo skein) in Fathom, LRB Dapper (new base) in Lullaby, Sanguine Gryphon Mithril in Blue Green Music, more of TIG, and 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Can Can

The yarn bowl is from Hazel Knits (but made by someone else…there was a sign saying who made them, but I can’t remember)…fiber is TIG SW Merino in Sunday Berry Pie, notions pouches from Splityarn, stitch markers from Beads ‘N Poodles, Pint Glass swag, and some Soak because I’m almost out.

I’m a little bummed I didn’t take pictures at sock summit and during dinner. Many of the booths were really impressive, and the Beads ‘N Poodles booth had a couple of standard poodles and a black lab hanging out with them! Ah well, I’ll try and remember to be better about taking pictures at Sock Summit 2013!

On Saturday there was a planned flash mob in front of the Convention Center…I’m sure the folks driving down MLK Blvd. were a little surprised to see people dancing with yarn! Here’s a video that another Raveler took:

I’ve spent most of the weekend recovering from all the festivities, but I did break into the Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering weight yarn to knit a swatch! Knitting and other craftiness to come later in the week!



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Tour de Fleece Wrap Up

I managed to squeeze in a little bit of spinning during the last day of the Tour. A few months ago (probably more months ago than I’d like to admit!), I ordered some colorwork kits from Two if by Hand. The kits came with 2 ounces of 2 different colors, meant to be spun up separately and then knit together. I’ve been putting off spinning these because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to knit with them. I spun up half of one of the kits on Sunday:

Two if by Hand MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) in Comfort

I ended up with a bit over 100 yards of worsted weight yarn. I still have to spin up the coordinating color, but I suspect they’ll become something Christmasy.

I finally snapped a photo of the llama fiber I spun up a couple weeks back…it softened up a TON after washing (it had to be washed three times because the wool was so dirty!):

My knitting needles saw quite a bit of action today, mostly prompted by the release of Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People. A few knitting designers that I follow on twitter had tweeted links this morning, and of course I clicked. And then swooned over all the wooly goodness. Wool People is a collection of patterns all designed by different knitting designers and knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn. I’m going to go ahead and assume that Jared Flood (the designer behind Brooklyn Tweed and Shelter Yarn) took all the photographs for the patterns (he’s a photographer as well as a knitting designer). The photographs are gorgeous and the patterns (with maybe one or two exceptions) are all things I can picture on my knitting needles. In particular, there are a couple of sweaters in the collection that I want to knit RIGHT. NOW. However, I promised myself I’d finish the sweater I have on the needles before purchasing yarn for another sweater. Well, that prompted a day filled with knitting and an entire sleeve’s worth of progress! I  think that my first Wool People sweater will be this one.

Anyways…here’s a not so great picture of the sweater-in-progress:

All that’s left is the feather-and-fan collar/front band and blocking! I don’t know why I waited so long to finish this sweater!

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Tour de Fleece: Days 19-22

Let’s see….On Day 19 of the Tour de Fleece, I finished spinning up some Rambouillet that went up into the shop:

Two if by Hand Rambouillet in colorway “Albus”

On Days 20 & 21 I started spinning some fiber that has a little story behind it. When I was at Rhinebeck last fall, we had checked into the Holiday Inn and I was catching up with my very good friend Aimee. My mom sent me a text from another part of the hotel informing me that someone was giving away merino pencil roving. Now, I’m not one to pass up free fiber, so Aimee and I hightailed it out of our room to go check it out. As I was grabbing up shades of blue, Aimee grabbed up all the electric yellow roving she could find and asked me to spin it for her! I’m finally getting around to spinning it, but my retinas can only take it in small batches!

This yarn is MUCH brighter in real life, if you can believe that!

Today was Day 22 of the Tour, and I managed to spin an entire 4 ounces. I think this might be my favorite skein from the tour, and I can’t WAIT to knit it up!

Two if by Hand MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) in colorway “Roller Rink”

This stuff spins up like a dream…and the resulting yarn is super soft, squishy, and strong. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

I’m almost positive that I’ll knit up a pair of Toasts with this…and soon!

There’s also been a little knitting happening around these parts. I finished the first mitten for my Camp Loopy Project #2.

I’ll post more details when they’re completely finished, but I’m really pleased with how the first mitten turned out. I wasn’t sure how the top would look, since I’m using a fingerless mitt pattern as a base. But, the top ended up being perfect…and I love the fit. I hate mittens that are baggy, so I knit these a little smaller than most people probably would.

Tomorrow is the last day of the tour, but I’m not sure how much spinning I’ll be able to get done since Seth’s office is having a pool party! Hmm, maybe I’ll start another braid right now 😉

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Shop Update Previews!

I apologize in advance for the super crappy pictures of the project bags! It got dark before I was able to snap some photos…there will be better ones tomorrow in the etsy shop! The bags and yarn will go up into the shop sometime in the middle of the day (pacific time)…between 11am-1pm, most likely.

There will be 2 bags and 3 skeins of yarn:

Sleeping Beauty

Rapunzel (she’s not quite so neon in real life!)

Obliviate on Superfine Merino – ~365 yards heavy fingering/light sport weight yarn

Purples and Posies on Merino – ~135 yards aran weight yarn

Albus on Rambouillet – yardage and weight to be determined (will probably end up being ~300 yards dk weight yarn)


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Tour de Fleece: Days 16, 17 & 18

Sick of my Tour de Fleece updates yet?! I do at least have some knitting to show you today, too!

But first, the spinning:

On Sunday and Monday, I worked on some Merino dyed by Melissa of Wool Therapy. Melissa has a great eye for color and does amazing gradient dyed braids. For you non-spinners out there, this basically means that the braid is dyed in just a few colors with large blocks of color. There’s a good example here. These braids are great for navajo-plying to make a yarn that will stripe when knit. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the braid before I started spinning it…but here’s the finished yarn:

This skein will be making it’s way into the etsy shop sometime later this week along with some other handspun and a couple of project bags.

Today I worked on some Rambouillet dyed by Two if by Hand, and spun about half the braid:

I had almost forgotten how much I love spinning Rambouillet. It has such a nice bounce to it and is incredibly soft.

Last night I started my Camp Loopy project number 2, which is a pair of cabled mittens. I’m actually using a fingerless mitt pattern from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but I’m going to modify the pattern to turn them into mittens.

The lovely yarn is Wool Candy Biscotti Merino, which is a sport weight yarn with fantastic stitch definition. The color is a tad more blue than in the picture, and I’ve actually separated the thumb and knit a couple more inches since the photo was taken.

I’ll do a post about the upcoming shop update tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for thursday) with details about what will be going up in the shop!

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Tour de Fleece: Day 15

Just a quick post to show my TDF progress:

From this braid:

Two if by Hand Merino in colorway “Obliviate”

To these singles, which I posted yesterday:

To this finished yarn:

Just under 400 yards of fingering weight yarn. However, since merino likes to really fluff up after washing, I’m sure I’ll lose a bit of yardage after giving it a bath.

I have a total soft spot for all of the Harry Potter colorways that are dyed by Two if by Hand. Surely, I’m not dorky enough to have watched “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” while plying this yarn. Right?! uh-wrong. I most certainly watched Harry Potter while spinning the second bobbin of singles AND while plying the yarn. Purely coincidence, though. I swear.

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Tour de Fleece: Days 12, 13 and 14

Huh. Well, I guess it’s been a while since I showed my Tour de Fleece spinning. I spun up 8 ounces of undyed llama that I don’t have pictures of, but I do have pictures of my last 3 days worth of spinning.

First up is some Falkland that I spun over the last 3 days:

Falkland dyed by Two if by Hand in colorway “Weak Vegan”

Spun up into singles on days 12 and 13 of the Tour

Navajo-plied on day 14

I ended up with approximately 265 yards of sport-weight yarn.

This skein is headed for my personal stash because I can’t bear to part with it. I knew from the minute the braid of fiber arrived in the mail that I’d be keeping it for myself. I really enjoyed spinning the Falkland. It’s not as soft as merino, but it spins up into a very soft, smooth yarn. And it drafts like a dream…it was very easy to spin a thin, even single.

Then, this afternoon I started spinning a braid of Merino:

Merino dyed by Two if by Hand in colorway “Obliviate”

Although I think this braid of fiber would also look gorgeous navajo-plied, I think I’ll stick to a traditional 2-ply.

I also finished another weaving project! Another simple scarf, but this time in lighter weight yarn:

Woven in Happiest Girl Dyeworks Matte in colorway “Marianas Trench”

I love the way this yarn looks woven, especially how it has a plaid sort of look to it.

The yarn isn’t quite as soft as I’d like, but I’m hoping it will soften up a little bit once it’s washed.

In knitting news, I’ve picked my Estelle Cardigan back up and just finished the first sleeve. I’m also itching to make another shawl, but I haven’t decided on yarn or a pattern yet! Camp Loopy’s project number 2 starts today, but I’m still undecided about what to make. The guidelines say that the project needs to be socks, mittens, or gloves with cables. Initially, I thought I’d try and do some crazy cabled socks, but I have 2 pairs of unfinished socks already. So, I’ll probably end up going with mittens. But as far as pattern and yarn choice, who knows!

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