Presenting another new pattern from Suzi’s Knits!  I’d been waiting all winter for a sunny day, and got several socks that were completed this fall and winter, while I was in a finishing mood.  These socks were not one of the long neglected UFO’s, but a new project that crept in despite a vow to finish before starting!  I had a lot of fun with them, and got to use a great representational design with the right color yarn this time.  Suzi’s knits fans will note that the side panel is actually the same stitch as Muscari.  That pattern was originally named Falling Leaves, because the stitch just looks like a leaf to me.  But in purple yarn…  well, Knitty renamed it to a more floral theme.  This time, in nice gray-green yarn, it shines out in the leafy glory it was meant for😛

The lace on these is a bit tricky.  The vine sways from side to side with increases and decreases in the purl background.  The leaves also increase and decrease the stitch count, which helps them to really POP out of the knitting.  This makes knitting a bit more complicated for some, but should be manageable for an intermediate knitter, mostly because the pattern is visually simple and easy to read.  The stitch count in the whole sock stays relatively consistent as the two motifs are lined up so that when one is narrow, the other is wide and so forth.  The socks were worked toe up because I wanted the fine growing upwards, but would work cuff down too.  I gave instructions for pretty much all the needle types.  However, since I move stitches around at the heel, its probably not a great pattern for 2 at a time on circs.

After a long absence, largely catching up with projects that have long been unfinished, I have finally FINISHED several, and should have a series of new patterns to present over the next few weeks.  The first pattern I have to share with you is one of my favorites, and was sadly a Knitty reject.  They get so many awesome socks, I don’t envy them choosing between them.

These socks have briefly shown up on one of my lace lists as evidence that you CAN mix lace and colorful yarns, provided you pick the right lace!  Madeira Cascade consists of 3 very distinct sections – solid, biasing triangles, separated by a background of mesh lace pyramids, all of which is set apart by purl welts.  Each texture handles the colors of yarn very differently, so each stands out from the rest clearly and distinctly.  This lace pattern can handle almost any yarn (although I’ve yet to try it with stripes, the strong bias should make it lovely!), from light to dark, from wild to subtle, and still show off to good effect.  Anyhow, without further ado, I present to you my Maderia cascade Socks!

ClocktowerAfter way too many weeks sitting photographed and unwritten through my ren faire sewing binge, I have finally put together the pattern for my latest socks, Clocktower.  You can read lots of details of the construction in previous blogs.  These were made with the newest Skacel yarn, Zauberball. I must say its my favorite of all the 1 plies I’ve tried for socks.  it is tightly enough spun to never feel loose and fragile, even when kitchenering (which is where I tend to untwist 1-ply yarns)  it also has one of my favorite color flows – long long gradual color fades!  I highly recommend this yarn.  however, know that I used a separate strand of yarn for those heels and it is due to sheer dumb luck that the colors lined up right on both.  if you want socks with a smooth flow of color down the heel AND over the instep, I highly recommend getting 2 balls to make sure.  This design of course would be perfect in any solid colored yarn of similar yardage.  For more photos and details click on the image!

After a long break from blogging and a bit of a break from knitting (I got caught up in ren faire costuming efforts, got a new sewing machine, and have spent a few months playing with fabric someone else made for a change) I am happy to share with you another new pattern, Fiesta socks:

These socks were made with some rather fun classic trekking (i.e. mouldering in stash and bought from a store that didn’t rotate sock stash much) which has patches of wide stripes, and patches where it acts more variegated.  I like the colors – gray and pink really do well together, and i can STAND bright pinks in this context.  however, the colors are so wild, so random, so sometimes-stripes-sometimes-chaotic that the yarn wouldn’t do with most patterns.  And you *KNOW* how I abhor plain stockinette or ribs…  So I got out Barbara Walker and hunted out a fun chevron pattern that could handle anything.  I like this one (German herringbone rib) more than most for socks – its ribbed, which means unlike most chevron patterns it actually has some stretch.  The ribbed aspect also made it easy to add stitches to the leg, so that when the sock goes from half stockinette to all chevroned, it doesn’t get so narrow in the leg that it won’t fit over your heel.  I also love the combo of knits and purls to really set off the different parts of the yarn.  This is really one of the best stitch patterns out there for wild yarns!  For more details click on the image.  Enjoy!

Announcing another new pattern, Awareness sport socks. Inspired by a Suzi’s Knits customer who tempted my pride by suggesting building a better knit ribbon motif would be easier than charting out a lace golden gate, I put together these sport socks:

awarenessbothYou can check out more images and ordering details on my website by clicking on the socks.

Also, just a quick update on my Clocktower socks…  I award 5 points to Ravenclaw…  for SHEER DUMB LUCK!  :-P  By utter random chance, I had *JUST* enough yarn left in my ball I’d set aside for both heels to make a second heel, and I had knit exactly 1 heel’s worth further along in the color sequence beyond where I started my first sock by the end of my toe.  So basically, the exact spot where I randomly left off in this tiny ball of yarn I’d set aside for heels was the exact color I was at in my main yarn when it got to be heel time.  Yes, both socks will have a flawless flow of color over both heel and instep, and its all just complete and total good luck.  I really could not have planned this, and I literally could not have made the heels match up without this dumb luck – the color sequence is just too long to match up on 2 socks without getting lucky twice. You can bet these socks will be done soon…

Up next for patterns, Clocktower is racing to a conlcusion, and I also have a lace sock lounging around wating to be blocked and photoed.  And cross your fingers for me, as I have a self striping sock sitting in the cue as a Knitty hopeful…

So far I am really loving the zauberballl yarn.  I finally got to the point when the color magic started really showing….  right around time for the heel of course.  So I got to wind up my whole ball to get at the center so I could make the heel with another strand.  Turns out the color I needed was very close to the end of the ball so I decided to line up all the colors nicely.  I’m very happy with how the pattern is turning out.  Because of the strong lines I went with a flap heel and simply could not resist making the pattern flow over the heel:


This sock is making me happy so it is flying off the needles.  Hopefully I’ll be able to work out the colors this nicely for the second sock!  I’ll know better when I get to the end of the first and see how much spare yarn I have…

Well, true to my predicted lack of self-control I have cast on Zauberball socks.  I actually almost cast on 2 pairs, but the pattern I was trying for my sister in the crazy yarn got drowned out solidly by the colors. The ragg yarn plus that much color made it just too busy – you could see the pattern AND the color and it just was too much! Val, your butterfly socks are awaiting me finishing something and then will likely be done in some fun and less loud yellow-orange yarn.  It seems to fit the whole butterfly thing.  The psycho rainbow Zauberball Crazy is currently on the to-do list for aquarium socks.  :-)  Ultra- simple lace fish shapes with lots of plain stockinette to swim thru!

I am very much enjoying the regular zauberball I have.  although it didn’t feel super-soft in the ball (similar to trekking and opal and the like) it feels MUCH softer in my hands.  I’m starting to see why people put up with 1 ply yarns – they feel nice!  The growing socks also feel very soft on My feet when I’ve tried them on.  Like all 1 ply yarns, you have to be a bit careful not to split this yarn, but its tighter spun than the CP Mini Mochi, and a LOT stronger feeling.  its also thinner and more consistent than any 1-ply yarn I’ve played with so far.  I want more.  As soon as it hits the stores there will be some green and red Zauberball in my stash…  ;-)  As the colors are smooth and subtle, I decided to play with cables, and have worked out the following socks:

Zauberball Socks

The pattern on the left is largely a mock cable design, so as not to put too much tension on the yarn (and make it fit easier!) and the one on the right is more traditional 2X1 cables.  I’m using size 0’s (2mm) and getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 SPI with all the stitchwork, which seems right to me for a 1 ply yarn.  I really think you want to go tighter than usual gauge with this if you want it to last, but we’ll see how it wears when its further along.  At least its a pleasure to knit with!

They invented a new sock yarn, darn them, Zauberball. I was hanging out at my LYS, Green Planet Yarn, and remembered I have a customer loyalty reward. That and my practice is doing good so I have yarn budget. So I browsed the sock yarns to see what was new, and came across the crazy variety of zauberball. Now, trekking, another skacel yarn, has always been a favorite, and this looked just like a weird cool new twist on that, so I had to try some. When I browsed online, I discovered that it comes in a solid variety, with my favorite yarn quality – long slow gentle gradual color changes! big fat lazy wide stripes! I HAD TO HAVE SOME

Did you know that sometimes EVERY yarn store in the WORLD can be out of the yarn you want at the same time? Seems I’m not the only knitter that NEEDS this yarn. Yarn designers take note… long slow gradual color changes fly off the sock yarn shelves…

To make a long story short, I was reduced to begging, and pinged an e-mail off to the distributor asking if they let designers sample. And got a lovely yarn package in the mail. You guys have GOT to see this yarn:

On the lower right is the regular zauberball – a lovely 1 ply yarn that is amazingly even and well spun.  No thick or thin spots visible or feelable at all.  Its about as soft as the regular trekking and the colors are PERFECT.  I think I really will need to collect the whole set. The only way this yarn could get better would be if it wasn’t 1-ply.  socks take a lot of wear and I worry about using ANY 1 ply yarn for socks.  1 ply is just weaker.  Plying means you have opposite twists combined, and no matter which way the yarn moves, a twist will be holding it together.  My advice: Knit this stuff tight, at least 10 SPI.  The colors are WELL WORTH putting up with the 1 plyness, especially since the thickness is so wonderfully consistent, which will help it wear well.

The next yarn of note was a surprise gift: A new line of trekking! Located top left.  Clearly skacel browsed my patterns and knows I love this yarn.  From all I can tell online this trekking is different than the old XXL in 2 ways.  The colors change slower for what I hope will be wider stripes, and it looks as if it may not have that completely random color order – that’s right, it may have predictable stripes and allow MATCHING TREKKING SOCKS.  Now, I have yet to test this!  I am only going off manufacturer pictures.  I will update as soon as I have the change and I really can’t knit 3 socks at once!  I have mixed feelings about it too.  Part of me loved the randomness of the trekking, but matching socks…  just too good to pass up.  I have gotten used to fraternal but the option to match is very welcome.

The other 2 yarns are the crazy Zauberball I picked up at my LYS and the one sent by Skacel.  The rainbow brite yarn is being offered to my sister, so is likely to hit the needles soon as a much belated b-day gift (yes I know, its not a birthday gift if you cast on AFTER the day… but the socks’ll still be socks!) The yarn is a 2 ply version of the regular zauberball, with somewhat wilder colorways.  It looks to me like it may also be predictable color orders, in that the plys are offset just a bit and going in the same order – similar colors seem to land next to each other.  This is all just impressions from poking at the ball though, I could be way off.  The color stripes are definitely going to be MUCH wider than trekking XXL stripes, so I’m looking forward to actually playing with loud colors and fun patterns at the same time.

All in all, I’m doomed to not finish old projects for quite some time, I really want to cast on all 4 balls NOW!

It has sadly been a long time since I blogged…  See I gave this year’s blog another exercise theme, after taking the winter off…..  yeah.  So I have been avoiding blogging because I’ve also been avoiding working out.  I’m back up and going, mostly DDR these days.  I think I managed to burn out on running.  My other summer plan is a season pass to raging waters, complete with lazy river and wave pool to swim in, all cheaper for the whole summer than a month’s gym membership around here.  Why have I gotten abck on the horse? well…  see I took on this young adult client who is workign on all sorts of self control issues, one of which is healthy lifestyle.  Nothing like preaching to guilt you into practicing… 😉

On other news, the kitten, while turning into a cat next month (11 months old) is still a kitten.  She still likes to wrestle bunnies and trip humans going down the stairs (let me show you the bruises…)  The bunnies have still not killed her, but Clipsy is starting to figure the kitten out, and I’m sure we’ll see her in charge any week now.  She’s currently teaching the kitten that bunnies love to be groomed by sticking her little bunny fact under the cat’s chin.  Poor cat doesn’t know in bunny language, that this is a dominance thing.  The bunny with the head on the bottom wins.  The cat, not knowing this, loses every time.  I suspect we will see Clipsy in full charge of the furry household before the summer is over.

And on the knitting front, this is finishing-up-old-projects year.  I’m basically trying to finish an old project for every new one I start, AND actually finish the new ones too.  I have about5 pairs of socks finished and, due to an increase at work and just wanting to veg and knit on weekends, have not yet written them up.  So expect some new socks coming up soon!  2 are old UFO’s, 3 are new.  And I’ve got 3 more UFO’s past the heel on the second sock and almost there!

So this and last week have been spring break.  And with me teaching 3 classes I was swamped and in much need of breakage.  So we set off for Tahoe and some good old fashioned spring skiing…  only…  it snowed 2 feet the day before we drove up.  :)  weekday skiing, no lines, new fresh powder, spring sunshine and gorgeous views, what more can a girl ask for?  Here are a select few photos:

(Yes, that’s me going on a black-diamond access only lift…)

SF AIDS Marathon 2008

On August 3, myself and about 500 other runners will complete the San Francisco marathon in an effort to raise $1,000,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of lifestyle changes and weight loss for me, and a chance for me to use my new-found energy and fitness to give back to my community. I hope you will join me in this effort by reading and offering your support through my blog. If you are able, I also welcome your contribution to the cause! Thanks and keep on running!

Progress Bar:

Marathon time: 5:40:22
Total Raised: $2,815.70

My Sponsors

I'd like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the SF AIDS Foundation!

Dianne Whitfield of the Bunny Hay Loft

Ulf Anvin
Rob Millner
Scott Lamb
Jeff Barlow
Erika Duplantis
Nick and Carol Esser
Kathryn Mercer
Nicole Pauls
Kathryn Coll
Timothy Berger
Susan Druding
Jenny Forman
Kathryn Mulgrew
Jamie Piperberg
Lucia Sanchez
Fran Taillon
Douglas Leeder
Barbara Kirsch
Ellen Atkinson
Valerie Esser
Peter McCourt
Carla Schroder
Sandra Spicher
Matthew Wilson
Valorie Zimmerman
Kathryn Kramer
Roxanne Seabright
Gayathri Swaminathan
Jason Spiro
Dianne Schoenberg

Thank you so very much for your support!

October 2016
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