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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cassidy Sleeves and Some Button Choices

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They're blocking! Not really much to say here, except I'M ALMOST DONE WITH CASSIDY! This poor sweater has been ignored for way too long.

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I looked in my button stash and looked at other Cassidys on Ravelry and I think the sweater looks good with buttons that blend and hide OR with buttons that contrast with the yarn used to knit it. (So basically, the choices are wide open here.) My first instinct was to go with a shell button like the one at the bottom (this one is too small, I would get bigger buttons of this type for Cassidy). But then I found the top three buttons and I think they would work too. The top button is a simple brushed metal with "stitching" around the edges. The second button has a dragon on it, and the third button down has three Celtic horses and looks kind of worn or aged. I'm leaning towards the horses because they're not as dark as the dragons. I like shell buttons, but I don't think they're right for this, also, depending on how the light hits them, they can look blue green (great) or yellow brown (not really for this sweater). The top button looks fine, but I don't think it's interesting enough with the cables on this sweater. To me, it would look better on a simpler sweater.

Just a note, I think I got all of these buttons (except the shells) from The Button Drawer and the yarn is not actually sparkley - those are water droplets. I sprayed the sleeves down with water after pinning them before I took the photos. Just in case anyone was wondering.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost a Finished Sock

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I've got about 14 rounds before I start the toe decreases on this sock, and since you've already seen the way this sock looks when it's all finished, I won't bore you with another blog post on it. (This is the second The Void sock from my Aether: Elements Sock Collection V pattern.) Last time I showed this sock on the blog there was a comment asking about the density of the stitch pattern and questioning how much it stretches. The sock shown in the pattern is blocked, but this one is not, and while the top part of the sock is very textural, you can see that it doesn't draw in more than the stockinette area just below the needles (there are the same number of stitches on the needles in this photo as were used in the leg of the sock). The textured stitch pattern is just as stretchy as the stockinette area - it's just more textured. I guess the best way to describe it is that it's a seed stitch variation, and while seed stitch is highly textured, it's not really any denser than stockinette (like, say, linen stitch). And while seed stitch is usually a little more stretchy than stockinette, because this isn't true seed stitch, but a variation, it's only about as stretchy as stockinette. Does this answer your questions?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cassidy Sleeve Caps!

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That's right, I've started the sleeve cap shaping on Cassidy! They are moving right along and I should be able to finish them today if I have a little while to sit down and knit. Once they're done, they'll get blocked and I'll pick up stitches for the hood, then it's front bands (must check to see if I have buttons) and sew it all together and I'm done!

What am I going to do next? Don't worry, I've got it all figured out. I'll tell you after Cassidy is finished.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Spinning

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Yes, Finn and I did some spinning over the weekend. Finn had so much fun trying to roll sneakily in the fiber when I was trying to decide what to spin. Some fiber barely gets a snozzel (the more widely available "mass produced" types of fibers, they're probably cleaned a little better) and some fiber is amazing, sheepy, smelling goodness that makes him want to throw himself on it and wallow for a couple of hours. I think most of us know how he feels even though we're less likely than Finn to actually do it.

I have a total of 8 ounces of this, which is 50/50 mohair and border leicester lamb's wool (and smells of sheep). I got it from Kid Hollow Farm at MDS&W and the colorway is called Kiwi. I've spun their rovings before and just loved both the spinning and the yarn. I will be spinning this as a 3 ply yarn and I'm shooting for a heavy fingering weight for the finished yarn. I know from my previous experience that this fiber makes lovely socks. I have another 8 ounces of a different colorway of this for more socks, and I also have 2 pounds of it for a sweater. I know this won't make a next to the skin pullover, but I think it will make a great, drapey cardigan to toss over a T. Someday...

In the meantime, Finn and I will spin away on this.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Finn's Day

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Oooooooh, we're going to spin today! Happy, happy, sheepy flurf today!

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The wheel will go round and round and if I hold my head just right it will tickle my whiskers today!

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Oh happy, happy, yummy, sheepy, roly, poly, spinny day!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Babette

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Still cranking out squares around here! This is the second to the smallest size in the blanket, but there are a lot of these left to make. I need a total of 60 for the layout I'm using (not the original pattern layout, I'm using a bigger one someone on Ravelry came up with). With these 5 new ones that I made yesterday and the ones I had made before, I need 36 more of this size. Fortunately, they only take about 30 minutes each so they're pretty quick. The one at the bottom (you know, the one that makes your retinas burn when you look at it) might or might not be used in the finished Babette - it's a little bright. I'll wait until I start laying everything out before I decide for sure, but if it tries to take over the blanket, I'll replace it, or redo the outer row with a less intense color.

I was looking at the pile of yarn I have left to finish up the blanket and I'm afraid I may have a decent amount of yarn left when I finish. One of the purposes of making The Babette was to use up some fingering weight leftovers. Now I did perhaps "supplement" the pile of leftovers with a few full skeins, and I will use some of the remaining bigger skeins for border(s) of some kind (I think the pattern calls for something, which I may or may not use when I get there), but I'm still worried. I may have another Babette in my future.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Second Sock

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My current sock in progress is a second sock from the Aether: Elements Sock Collection V pattern. It's The Void sock to be precise. I still find myself staring at this stitch pattern trying to figure out exactly what's going on and while I know exactly how to knit it (it's a very easy pattern), I couldn't begin to tell you what's going on with it. I'm about 16 rounds from starting the heel flap, which I hope to get to today. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting some of these WIP's under control, which is a nice feeling to have.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cassidy Sleeves!

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I thought these would go pretty quickly and they are! (Isn't it nice when something works out the way you think it will?) I'm probably about halfway to the sleeve cap shaping, although I haven't measured them yet. I always have to add about an inch to sleeve length, which means I'm shooting for about 19 inches before I start the sleeve cap and eyeballing what I have so far, I'm pretty close to the halfway point.

Of course now that I am finally getting somewhere with this cardi, I've been trying to decide what to do next. I deeply love the Traveling Sweater, but I want to do a thing or two from my stash first before I go buy more yarn. I've got yarn for Chic Knit's newest pattern: Cerisara and I've got yarn for Pipibird's Snowbird. I'm leaning towards Cerisara since it's more "season appropriate" and the color I've got will also go into Fall (Fall here is not as cold as it is in other parts of the country, but it does cool down enough to need something like the Cerisara). Or, I could completely shift gears and do something in lace. Any opinions?

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Something New

If you're a woman who's reading this, chances are that you are periodically on the lookout for "The Bag." Somewhere out there is a perfect bag for everyone, the right amount of pockets, in the right places, big/small enough to hold everything you need, the perfect color, not too heavy, and at a price point that doesn't make you feel like you need to take out a mortgage to buy it. Each of these things are different for every one of us (hence the dizzying array of handbags available), and they are all subject to change depending on the season or what's going on in our lives.

I've been carrying Vera Bradley bags for several years now because they're lightweight, come in a huge range of colors and they're cheap enough that I don't feel guilty switching bags when my mood changes. I love the totes (the Vera, Villager, and Pleated Tote are all favorites) for big knitting projects and I was carrying a Lisa B all Winter. I loved the outside zipper pockets - one for iPhone, one for car keys, and the inside of the purse was roomy enough for all my purse stuff, but if I needed a knitting project, I would have to carry a second bag. I've been keeping a sock-in-progress in a Go Knits pouch (small) in the center console of my car for a while now, but even though I can clip it to my purse strap, it doesn't look as neat as it would if everything was all in one bag. I tend to be anti Big Bag, but with what I'm doing these days, waiting to pick Caleb up from school and then waiting for him while he does extra curricular things (which are 2-3 days a week during the school year and pick up to 4 days a week during the Summer), I keep finding myself dragging the little knitting bag around.

What I needed was something that I could put purse stuff and knitting stuff into and I didn't want them fraternizing in the same pocket. I need a secure but easy to get to pocket for my phone and I want a bag that I can put on my shoulder and tuck under my arm, so it couldn't be too wide.

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I started looking at the Namaste bags - they're made for knitting and purse duty and quickly decided I liked the look and size of the Monroe bag (this link is for the Monroe in red, I got the Hollywood Pink, but it also comes in black, peacock, lime and eggplant). It has three inside pockets, two with zippers at the top and one with three magnets (the magnetic pocket is the one towards the back of the back, so it's more secure being right next to your body. There's also a slip pocket on the back of the bag, big enough to tuck a magazine or knitting pattern into. The front and back inside pockets of the bag both have a small zipper pocket inside them and they also have slip pockets of their own (perfect for the iPhone). The middle inside pocket has no additional pockets inside of it - it's the one for your knitting (or at least it's the one for my knitting). What I couldn't understand before I got the bag (hooray for The Loopy Ewe and their super fast shipping), was how I'd get a knitting project and purse stuff into a bag that's only 5 inches wide. Want to know how they did it? The two purse pockets (front and back inside pocket) "float" above the bottom of the bag. They don't go down the full depth of the bag - making it easier to find things inside of them and making the center inside pocket the full width and length of the base, giving you room for several skeins of yarn! I don't think you'd want to tote a full sweater's worth of yarn in your handbag, but you could easily keep 2 or 3 skeins, plus needles, notions and whatever piece of a sweater you're working on in this bag. The bag also has feet on it and (I didn't see this mentioned anywhere on the Internets when I was looking at the bag), it comes with a dust cover so you can store it nicely when you're not carrying it. It's made of a non PVC fake leather stuff (I'm sure they call it something nicer, but you know what I mean) but it looks really good for a fake. I'm not above carrying fake leather, but it better look like it could be real - this has enough texture and color variation that it looks real and it has a nice feel to it too. It's not as lightweight as the Vera Bradley bags, but for now, it suits my purse needs better. Did I mention it is pink?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cassidy Sleeves

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Two Cassidy posts in one week? What's this world coming to? I've gotten a good start on the sleeves and as you can see, I'm past the cuff and have started the cabling pattern that runs up the sleeve center. I've also started the increases, but I've only worked one so far. There is only the one cable pattern on the sleeve (the back used 3 different cables, the front used 2), so that should theoretically work in my favor as far as the possibility of finishing this sweater before Caleb goes to college. I've also made a list of all the row numbers that will have increases, so as long as I'm paying attention to the list and the row count for my cable crossings, it should be pretty easy to work these sleeves. The next time I sit down with them I'm going to weave in some ends (I had a couple of partial balls of yarn that I started with on the sleeves and I hate stringing yarn ends all over the place) and then I hope to really get these done. Of course I've said that on every other part of this sweater and then kind of ignored it, hoping it would knit itself - that never really happens, even in fairy tales there are some helpful rodents or something actually doing the work. But this time I really mean it! Until I'm distracted by the next project.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Babette (and B.O.B.)

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Here are (almost) all of the next smallest size of Babette squares! I've got one more to make, but I decided to go ahead and show you the 19 I had, and you'll see the last one somewhere in the finished blanket. I used B.O.B. to show you where the last block should be, but of course it won't be blue like B.O.B. is, it will be pink/red/plum/yellow/orange/brown - or something like that. Anyway, once I do the last block in this size, I have to two smallest size blocks left to finish up and there are a whole lot of them to do. Fortunately, the smaller size blocks don't take very long to make, so I hope to get those going pretty quickly.

Since I started out using sock leftovers (and then added a few actual skeins), I don't really know what my total yardage would be for this blanket. The pattern of course calls for a specific number of skeins of Koigu, but the Ravelry group for The Babette says you don't use the entire skein of each color called for in the pattern. I'm using a different layout which will be bigger than the official pattern layout, so it will use more yarn than if I had followed the pattern exactly. When I'm done with the whole thing, I will weigh the blanket and try to figure out an approximate yardage based on an average yardage/weight for sock yarn. I think this should work to give me a ballpark idea of what was used. Can anyone come up with a reason this won't work?

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cassidy

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I've had Caleb home from school Monday and Tuesday (which is why there was no blog yesterday), but he's feeling better and back with his buddies today. He was having severe allergies (allergies here in Texas are CRAZY this year) and got a virus on top of it which just knocked him flat. Wednesday is my afternoon to volunteer in his classroom so I can see how he's doing when I go in at lunchtime. Since we got to spend some time snuggled up watching movies while he was home, I was able to finish up the fronts of Cassidy! I did a 3 needle bind off on the shoulders to join them to the back and since I already had my blocking towels out, I went ahead and blocked the fronts and back. While those are drying, I will knit the sleeves and then while the sleeves are blocking I'll do the hood and front band, so everything will be ready to sew together at once. I'll probably do a steam blocking on the hood and front band just to save some time once it's all together.

It feels so good to see so much of this sweater blocking! I started this poor thing before Thanksgiving and of course the only motivation I have now to finish it (since it's far to warm to wear it now), is that I'll want it in the Fall. If I had any sense at all I'd knit warm, snuggly cardis in the Spring and Summer and work on lace and lightweight things in the Fall and Winter. At least then, I'd have things done in the season I could wear them. Oh well, I never claimed to have any sort of logic around here.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Know When To Quit

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I came to that place late last week on Mickael's Franket. I was working on the last block section, which is actually two colors done using intarsia colorwork. I've never done the intarsia technique before and my inexperience combined with the weight of the blanket were not looking good. After taking a good look at what I had, I made the decision to frog the partial last block and just add a crochet border to the whole thing. I had decided on crochet since it's less elastic than knitting and of course I used the double crochet stitch (US), since that's the only stitch in crochet I know!

I used at least 2600 yards on this project and the (gently) blocked measurements are 70 inches by 74 inches - it's not a skimpy blanket! It's still drying after I washed it and gently blocked it and I'll let it sit until it's completely dry. I'm glad to have it finished and I know Mickael will be thrilled to have it before Summer comes to Texas!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

As I Continue To Compete For The Title of Slowest Knitter Ever...

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...I present - a finished sock! This is the second sock (unblocked) of the Celestial Socks design (found in Aether - Elements Sock Collection V). I started the first sock of the pair back in January, finished it up quickly and blocked and photographed it for the pattern. Then I knit this second sock in slow motion apparently because I just finished Kitchenering the toe and weaving in the ends this morning while Caleb got ready for school. I love the color of these socks - it's such a pretty, Spring-y color and I was happy to have a decent size little leftover ball of yarn when I finished this sock. It's going straight into my bag of Superwash Fingering Weight Wool Leftovers, Cool Colors. I don't have any definite plans for this bag of yarn leftovers, but the bag of Superwash Fingering Weight Wool Leftovers, Warm Colors is now becoming The Babette. Who knows what the future holds for the little ball of leftover yarn.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

More Babette Squares and Some Pretties!

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I've made four more Babette squares in the size I'm currently working on. I've got 6 more to go in this size. It's so much fun to make these squares. This size is big enough to use several colors, but they're small enough that they don't take too long either. On some of them, I plan out the colors for a specific look and on other blocks I just reach into the bag of yarn and grab what comes out.

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Yesterday I potted up some geraniums for the back patio. My Mother in Law got me started on geraniums several years ago because she knows how talented I am at killing things. Something else I discovered last year was the Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Soil. It has the plant food in it, but it also helps to prevent over and under watering (both of which I'm capable of). Potting soil that's smarter than I am is always a good idea.

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The back yard faces North, which is perfect for geraniums in our climate, and I can just grab the hose and water them while Finn does his thing in the yard. Yesterday I had the sprinklers on in the back and Finn told me he absolutely had to go RIGHT NOW, so I let him out and he did his business, but as soon as he was done, he ran straight for the sprinklers and started playing in them. He checked out each individual sprinkler head (as if one of them would be spraying bacon juice). Needless to say, he was dripping when he finally came back to the door - with a big, goofy, doggy grin on his face of course.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Stripy Bag and Pink Helicopters

I feel like lately I'm the slowest knitter on the planet. I know that I put everything else on hold during the Olympics and this past week my eyes have been itching a lot in the evenings (this is the season for my eye allergies to act up) which makes it tough to do anything, but I was looking at all my WIP's and I feel like they're getting no where. I've decided to get them under control until the only things I have going are 1 pair of socks, 1 other knitting thing, 1 crochet thing, and 1 pattern being tested. I think that will be less stressful for me and I should be able to actually get some things done. I have fallen head over heels in love with The Traveling Sweater (which comes out next week), but I'm going to get my poor Cassidy cardigan finished before I even buy the pattern or yarn. I started that before Thanksgiving! I'm a total knitting slacker!

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OK, so here's something I have gotten somewhere with: The Stripy Bag. I'm in the third stripe repeat now and I think four repeats total will be just about perfect. Since The Babette will definitely take longer to crochet, The Stripy Bag will be the crochet project I really work on to get it out of my WIP's pile. It's pretty portable, so if I remember to grab it, I can work on it while I'm waiting on Caleb.

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So many of you asked to see the pink helicopter seeds off of Apple yesterday, that I went outside and got a pair for you. The big helicopter came off one of the Maples in the front yard. They aren't Red Maples. They have no names. They are also farther along in the budding/leafing out Spring process. You can see the pair of pink helicopters are smaller and while they aren't ready to fall off the tree yet, I don't think they'll get as big as the regular helicopters do. There were Red Maples in Virginia and Caleb and I would walk to school while the pink helicopters swirled around us in the wind, picking them up along the way and watching while they twirled back to the ground (it took a while to get to school some days). The pink helicopters in Virginia were definitely smaller than the big helicopter in the picture is, so I'm assuming these will also be smaller when they start twirling off the tree. I think if I was one of those people who actually owned my own real helicopter, it would also be pink, so I totally understand why Apple makes his own pink helicopters.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Don't Panic, But I Think We Have A Problem!

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The last two weeks I have posted about the strange behavior of the pair of Lump Birds over the weekend. I think they've been watching the blog. I think they know we've noticed and have started documenting the unusual activity around here. I'm not sure if Lumps can read though, so as far as they know (assuming they can't read), today's post is about a tree. (If they can read, we are in SO much trouble because that means they can assemble things from instructions. Things that Lump Birds don't need to be assembling.) So this weekend I caught them acting suspicious while sitting under our new tree* and when I went to get the camera I distinctly heard one of them say, "Act casual" and the other muttered something about baseball, but I didn't catch the whole sentence. At this point, I don't know if they were using baseball as their cover conversation or if they plan to bludgeon us to death with a baseball bat while we sleep. I can tell you that I am sleeping with one eye open though. Finn is sleeping with all four legs in the air which tells me he either isn't concerned about the Lump Birds, or he thinks they'll be easier to trip with his legs up. It's hard to tell what's going on in his head. My other main concern right now is what kind of sick sporting goods store would sell a couple of Lump Birds a baseball bat?

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*We got a new Red Maple tree in our backyard at the end of last week. Caleb wanted to name it, so told him what it was and what colors it would turn. He thought about it and decided to name it "Apple." We may have the only Maple tree in the world named Apple. The photos are Apple's buds, which are just starting to turn to leaves. The most awesome thing about this tree is that since it's a Maple, it makes those helicopter seeds. Since it's a Red Maple, it makes pink helicopters!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Aether - Elements Sock Collection V

Pink Lemon Twist introduces the fifth and final pattern for the Elements Sock Collection Series. While the four elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air are the most traditional, a fifth element was added later- Aether, The Firmament, the Pure Essence where the gods lived. Like the other patterns in the series, this pattern includes two designs. Both designs in this particular set are easy to memorize and work, although the Celestial Socks appear to be more complex. Top down construction with stitch patterns in both charted and written out format and clear, step by step instructions make these sock designs easy to knit by all levels of knitter.

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Celestial Socks are complex looking yet simple and fast to knit once you get a feel for the pattern. Large and small cable twists go up each side of the sock representing the Sun and Moon respectively as they rotate around the Earth (in early astronomy, the Earth was assumed to be the center of the Universe). An open, lacy stitch between the cabled sections represents the Stars. I purposely avoided any traditional symbols for the celestial bodies as many of these have multiple meanings in different philosophies and cultures. By using my own symbolism, I hoped to create a sock design that could be enjoyed by all (and potentially gifted to someone whose beliefs the knitter may or may not be familiar with). These socks work up quickly on US 1's (2.25mm) using standard fingering weight sock yarn. Shown in The Fiber Denn's Handdyed Sock Yarn, SW, N Quasi-Solido in Celestite colorway (8 stitches per inch in stockinette).

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The Void Socks have a simpler look to them and the stitch pattern also fast to memorize, making both sock designs highly portable. Because the Aether element not only housed the heavenly bodies, but also was home to the gods and goddesses of ancient times, it was considered to be unfathomable by humans, hence the name The Void. As I looked at the stitch pattern used on these socks, it was hard to see exactly what was going on, even though the stitch pattern itself is very easy to work. It seemed to perfectly represent The Void and all it's mysteries. The stitch pattern tapers down to a point on the top of the foot and the foot continues in stockinette as the pattern is written, however the knitter could easily continue the stitch pattern all the way down the instep to the toe. These socks were also knit on US 1's (2.25mm) in fingering weight sock yarn. Shown in Madelinetosh Hand Dyed Sock in Logwood colorway (8 stitches per inch in stockinette).

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Yarn

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I've gotten the BFL all plied up and washed and right now it's 90% dry! Ramius is overseeing the drying process and he's doing a great job of it. This was BFL fiber from Fleece Artist (Ruby colorway) that I purchased from Colorsong Yarns. I got two 50 gram braids of the fiber and spun each on a separate bobbin. Now that they're plied together, I have 426 yards of two ply, fingering weight yarn. I don't have any definite plans for this yet, so for now (once it's all dry) it can ride around on my shoulder like a parrot. That should confuse Finn.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I've got to go feed the birds before they attack the house (birds can be real pigs sometimes) but tomorrow, I have a little surprise for you!

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