a year worth of socks

sock mosaic

i started knitting again on january 24th of last year, and since then have knit 15 pairs of adult sized socks, and a ton of baby sized socks as well. two pairs were completed this past week. one was a pair i started to have some airplane friendly knitting on bamboo double pointed needles, here shown below still on the needles. full info on this pair here.

socks on needles

the other pair were a pair that gave me a bit of a headache in more ways than one. they were first started october 13th, and thusly are the slowest pair of socks i have knit as i finished them today. i don’t think i love this pattern, mostly because it kicked my butt not in a friendly way, but in more of an annoying older sibling way. i don’t think i will ever knit this pattern again, but dang they sure look good when they are finished! here are my Thelonius socks in all their glory (ravelry page here):


ten of the fifteen pairs (and all of the baby pairs) have gone to homes other than mine. i like to think people have some happy feet. also it pains me to say that all the pairs i knit for other people went 10 times faster than the pairs for myself! it just goes to show that i am definitely a knitter, not just a scarf knitter, but a full-fledged knitting obsessed wool addict. that, and i will never have cold feet.

a little exhibit


last weekend on saturday we had an open day at the k:ita and i displayed some wool and circuitry. thanks to all who passed by, even in the freezing un-heated conditions and despite the window-rattling audio from the installations on either side of my studio. thanks also for those who brought me heat, those who brought me drinks, and those who came to chat and pet some wool and circuitry.


we have – we have – we have net-splosion


we finally have net again. i hate our “premium-alternative” isp. i spent hours (much to my coworkers’ chagrin) literally yelling on the phone to try to get our case escalated. we pay for business class service and we got the worst customer service i have ever experienced (and that is saying a lot since i used to be an att customer in new york city). anyway, now the bandwidth is back and i can upload to my heart’s content. so pictured here is a scarf i made from my own handspun, from merino dyed by the lovely andrea. i’ve been quite ill (not from lack of internet but it may have been stress-induced from spending an hour a day on hold with incompetent nincompoops) and the only thing i could do was stay in bed and knit plain ol’ stockinette.

yesterday i managed to step out of bed long enough to sort some stash and make a decorative window display. yeah my brain goes on vacation when i am ill, but it can still sort out colors.

bowls of fiber

squishable pretty yarn

pretty yarn

that’s all i’ve got today. and it’s quite enough because it is so soft and squishy! i can’t wait until my singles are more even, but the plying went well and the yarn is quite balanced even without a wash yet. the other half of the roving is waiting patiently for me to spin it up! it various from a fingering to sport weight and is superwash merino from vesper rovings in the “scales and tails” colorway. yum.

day three: sock weight singles


yep this wheel wins a prize. i was hoping to have some semi-even sock weight singles in a month or two, but day three? holy mackerel i want to give hugs to the entire kromski family. thank you for making a gorgeous spinning wheel even a beginner can have fun on! in case you were wondering, there was another 50 grams or so of that purple alpaca/corriedale i spun up this morning before i attempted to break into the good stuff. my advice to beginning spinners (as i thoroughly AM a beginner, these last singles are in no way perfectly spun), do learn on a drop spindle first because it will make the first weekend with a new wheel so much fun. thank you thank you thank you Elemm for teaching me, and no don’t worry, i won’t send you the bill for the piles of roving i just bought off of etsy, but man, THANK YOU for a lovely obsession. (there is even an etsy indie dyer who at the moment is living in germany for those of you in deutschland, and she has GORGEOUS stuff).

spinning geek details:

– pictured above is a total of 72 grams (half of what i have) of superwash merino in the “scales and tails” colorway from vesper rovings

-spun on the slowest whorl on a kromski minstrel, spun worsted

-in some places i separated out the colors to make longer color runs and didn’t spin straight from the roving as it was dyed

-plied together it will make a fingering weight sock yarn

wheel and singles

spin span spun


some prettily turned wood arrived yesterday in pieces and became this:

kromski minstrel

which led to these:


which last night finished up as this:


yes i love my new kromski minstrel, and i can highly recommend wollinchen as she included all sorts of extras and color cards as well as turned around an order to my doorstep in less than a week. the two skeins in the middle pictured above are navajo plied, the two on the outside are two ply. they aren’t even, but the skein in the right is over 100 grams and today i think i spun another 50 grams of that alpaca/corriedale purple as navajo, and 80 grams as a thin 2-ply. i started with 500 grams of the alpaca/corriedale and i have 200 grams left. that combined with the 100 grams of bfl (red/black/white) means i spun up 400 grams yesterday and today. yes i guess that means my minstrel and i are getting along wonderfully. *smile*

black toe-up knee-high hederas

black knee highs

these socks were finished ages ago, back in june. they were never properly documented because of my unplug and various other stuff. many many many requests have come back for the pattern i used, but frankly it’s a kludge of many patterns which i will document for you here. i really liked the lace pattern of hedera, (which is a top-down sock) but i wanted to do toe-up knee highs. when you knit them top-down the lace pattern “arrows” point toward the toe and i wanted that same look. so i redesigned the lace pattern for the sock and with cookie‘s permission i am posting the “almost exact opposite of hedera” stitch pattern here below:

hedera toe up chart

i was inspired by the sodera sock mod of hedera, but i wanted a more traditional looking toe-up gusset. i also am a huge fan of the simplicity and look of the magic cast on for toe-up socks. so the “instructions” go a little like this:

1. cast on with magic cast on 16 x 16 (16 on each side of the magic cast on, total 32 stitches) or fewer on each side if you want a longer, pointier toe. increase every other row as described in the magic cast on technique until you have 60 stitches. i knit using magic loop on a 2.5mm addi turbo circular, but you can use dpn’s or two circulars if you prefer.

2. knit foot as for sodera socks, but substitute the chart above.

3. when you are about 3.5 [<– edited to correct this] inches away from the length of your foot, start the gusset increases as described in baudelaire, following the 60 stitch size (smallest). continue and then follow the heel pattern from baudelaire.

4. for the leg of the pattern and cuff follow sodera but stay with the chart pictured here above.

5. choose a nice colored ribbon (i usually wear one that is bright blue, shocking i know, blue and black, who could have guessed that from me?) and use some flat elastic (sold as underwear elastic) in the cuff as described in sodera.

heel gusset

these are a long project but work wonderfully in dark solid colored yarn. i used an inexpensive black superwash sock yarn that came in 100 gram skeins (mondial ciao), but i really wanted to use regia silk. none of the local yarn stores had more than two 50 gram skeins of black regia silk from the same dye lot. one sock used 62 grams and the other 63, for a total of 125 grams. i wear them quite often as i tend to wear black knee-length skirts almost as often as jeans. the ravelry link for this project is here and all the project photos are here. Viel Spass!

swatches that became hats

blue shedir

in the last few weeks of socktober, i didn’t manage to finish the socks i was working on, but i did crank out two shedir hats, one blue, one khaki out of the single balls of rowan calmer elisa brought me back from her trip to seattle. i love a pattern that uses single balls of yarn but it’s a bit like candy — an addiction that incites one to knit it up in all the colors you have on hand. i think this is the first time that i have knit the same pattern twice in two weeks (unless of course if you count socks or sleeves which require that you knit the same pattern twice). i also did some swatching from the japanese let’s knit 12 i received, i swatched for pattern 7 (details here and pictured below). it is quite pretty but all those twisted stitches would likely cause my hands to fall off before i completed an entire sweater of the pattern. i will swatch a few more from that book before i move onto what i really wanted to do this month: design a sweater. so we shall see how the heck that shapes up, i really have no idea what to expect.

blue shedir

oh and for all of you out there that think i’m already knutty for knitting, wait until you see what will be arriving from poland (via deutschland) in a week or so. i can give you a few clues, it starts with a “k” and ends with a “romski”. yep i really hankered for something other than a drop spindle. by the way, we made fun of elemm at benediktbeuern because he was spinning dental floss, but dang that is hard to do. major props to him for spinning gorgeous stuff on a spindle, and many thanks to him for the new addiction, i mean hobby. *smile* i can’t wait until i can make my own sock weight yarn. until then i have some gorgeous handspun sock yarn from the fabulous allspunup to tide me over.



what is luxurious to me may be frivolity to others, but i know what i like. when i was in nyc for the win get-together in 2005 i shared a bottle of Strub wine at a korean restaurant with my co-bloggers. little did i know that i would eventually end up living in the country where the wine was from and be able to order a half case of it for the same price as the whole bottle in new york. this is the second time i’ve ordered Strub and have to say that despite the fact that they use screw tops, the wine is excellent. the box of bottles is sitting in the hallway along with the bajillion other bags and boxes of stuff that will need to eventually be unpacked in our new place. yes we are officially moved in!

japanese books and cashmere

the other luxurious items to arrive during the move were these two japanese knitting books and some posh yarn 4ply 100 percent cashmere for socks for myself. i have joined a kal for the “let’s knit” japanese series. i am firstly going to swatch for sweater number 7 in let’s knit 12. the other book is a beginner book for knitting gloves and mittens. i particularly like the step-by-step pictorial instructions (helpful since my japanese is non-existent). the cashmere with its lovely muted blue, violet and green is aptly named “stormy sea” and is, as expected for cashmere, incredibly soft.

scotch filled chocolate

lastly on this list of luxury, i present to you, the scotch-filled chocolate. this is yet another reason i need to visit switzerland again soon, to be able to marvel at the incredible chocolate choices. for now i will rejoice in the fact that my local grocery store is temporarily carrying this scotch-filled confection. i hope your weekend is filled with your own luxuries, small or expansive, and that at least you are accorded the biggest luxury of all: some free time.

a'dam: handwriting recognition and knitters

add white wine

when i was in amsterdam a few weeks ago (for work, consulting and to deliver some birthday socks), i received some gifts including the mint condition newton pictured above. it’s gorgeous, and i want to thank j-m for it profusely. i also received two classic macs with a ton of accessories to finally hook up my quicktake 100. j-m also brought a working ibm 5100 “portable computer” as show and tell. i sincerely appreciate this astounding vintage gadget generosity!

while in amsterdam i managed to stop by a knitting get together (pictured below and here). i met some lovely knitters including the adorably snarky andy and klozknitz (she was knitting pomatomii).

add white wine

the first afternoon i arrived (i traveled by train and i wasn’t alone on the return trip to berlin, otherwise i would not have been able to lug back two complete mac classics with accessories), it was sunny and i got to shoot a bit with my dslr. sunny a’dam rocks.

rows of orange rectangles