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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

Rhinebeck Redux

This was my third year at Rhinebeck, and I went in with my third different strategy.

The first year I went in almost completely planless, and let the veterans who brought me guide me around. I knew I needed a white laceweight, but since I didn't know what to expect, I didn't want to limit myself going in. I was completely overwhelmed, and I actually had to check the blog to figure out what I bought that year. As it turns out, I have knit all of it, so not bad.

Last year I went in with plans. I had a shawl and a stole I knew I wanted to make. I had to get something for a scarf for BBMM. I did quite well actually; I got those three items, and only one extra skein of sock yarn. Somehow, though, it wasn't as FUN as the first year. Or rather, the festival was just as fun, but my focus seemed to distract me from the pretty.

This year I went back to planless, almost. The fact is, I have several sweaters worth of yarn that I have plans for, but haven't touched. Sock Summit ensured that I have reached critical mass in sock yarn. I still have last year's stole on the needles, so no needs on that front. I just had no idea what I could possibly find to buy.

BWAA HA HA HA HA! Oh silly girl, of COURSE I found something to buy.

Anyway, although planless, I did go in prepared. I brought the Ann Budd's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements, and a calculator. I wanted to make sure if I found something that grabbed me, I would have enough to make whatever it told me it wanted to be. I got a hotel reservation for Saturday night. I didn't want to feel frantic (like I usually do); I wanted to shop slowly, browse copiously, and not brave insane crowds for some of the more popular booths. I will say that I will never, ever do this in one day again. Staying over is totally the way to go, and I'm booking the hotel for next year right away.

So, what was my haul? Small, but much beloved!

First, the pay-off for my strategy. We showed up right at 9 on Saturday morning, and headed straight to the A and B barns; yarn mecca as far as I'm concerned. The Fold's booth was already packed, although not as bad as usual (I have never once been in their booth, because the crush of people generally drives me away). We kept checking back during the day, and by late afternoon the booth was almost completely empty. And, there were some Socks That Rock mill ends left. Oddly, I have never, ever knit with this yarn, so I thought it was time I see what all the fuss is about.

This is the lightweight, and I'm really excited to knit with it. I've been using mostly semi-solids lately, or handpaints with very short color bursts, so this will be a departure. I think I know what I'm making, it just needs to wait for a quiet moment to get everything ready.

Next, something that just grabbed me. Another skein of sock yarn, in my usual colors. The colors reminded me of a very specific sunrise I saw a few weeks ago from my apartment window. I figure if something gives me an intense sense memory, it's really trying hard to come home with me.

This is from Ellen's Half Pint Farm. This is her wool/nylon base, and I really like it. It's a very skinny fingering weight, nice and squishy.

And finally, the big fall. Maple Creek Farms is one of the booths that grabs me every year. i think their colors are incredible, and they have such interesting yarn bases. Somewhere during the day, I started thinking about getting a sweater's worth of yarn, in something soft enough to be next to the skin. I found it here.

This is a superwash merino/nylon/donegal blend. Hmm, that content makes it sound like sock yarn, doesn't it? Yeah. I bought a sweater worth of fingering weight. That's a whole lot of yarn. I may be insane, but this stuff is irresistible. It's unbelievably soft; I keep squishing it, then checking the label to make sure it doesn't have silk or tencel or something in it. I couldn't get the real color of it in the photos; it's a little more teal than it looks. It's a semi-solid, so it's also got some grey and denim blue in it. I said that I wouldn't cast anything on until I finish another huge project I'm working on, but you can see evidence of my failure above. I actually wound the yarn Saturday night, knit the gauge swatch on my way back to the festival Sunday morning. You know, because I needed needles. Ahem.

I found the perfect pattern earlier this week, and I accidentally cast on Friday. My other huge project is not done. Whoops.

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Campfire Socks

It would seem that I have accidentally become a sock pattern designer. I have a Ravelry pattern shop and everything!

Campfire Socks, a pattern designed especially for hand-painted yarns. It's got a slip-stitch sole and a garter stitch base, both of which make it extra warm and cozy. After a chilly, wet weekend at Rhinebeck, they seemed especially perfect.

This sock was truly a labor of love. I bought the yarn well over a year ago, and have spent the entire time searching for a pattern that would showcase it. I couldn't find one, despite starting at least a half dozen socks with it. Finally, I realized I was going to have to figure it out on my own. I swatched stitch patterns until I finally found a combination that made the colors pop instead of obscuring them.

A few rounds of thank yous, first to BBMM. He took the photos, as always. He assisted with some artful prose. And, I went to Sock Summit and Rhinebeck in the span of two months, and he didn't complain. Next, to my two test knitters, Ilona and Sandy. These women were amazing, and this pattern is ten times better because of them.

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A Joy Indeed

Guess what arrived in the mail?

My complimentary copy of this book. Although the listed publish date is October 6, I believe it is available now, at Amazon or a LYS near you.

And why was I graced with a free copy?

Yep, those are mine. The first pattern I've had published in a real live book. It also happens to be the LAST pattern in the book. That'll teach me to start a pattern name with a Z.


Sock Summit part 1: Stash

Yep, I went to Sock Summit. I hopped on a plane by myself to go to an event where I didn't know anyone, and I had an incredible time. I met some awesome people. I took some amazing classes. I went to wonderful special events. I ate quite possibly the best donut I've ever eaten. And I shopped. Oh yes, I shopped.

The marketplace opened for students only on Thursday evening after classes, for two short hours. My first stop was the Periwinkle Sheep booth. All three of the skeins I bought there are a 80% superwash merino 20% nylon blend. The owner had dyed colors for each member of the Luminary Panel, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Doctors Without Borders. I bought two; Priscilla's Blue With a Kick (for Priscilla Gibson-Roberts) and Sophisticated Nancy (for Nancy Bush).

The color of blue jeans, with shots of a golden brown that perfectly matches the stitching. Awesome.

This one's a semi-solid with shades of burgundy and rose. There was also a basket of Potluck colors for half price. I had to pick up one of those. I am sure that there is some reason that these skeins were considered a "mistake", but I can't for the life of me figure it out. This might be the most interesting colorway I've ever seen. It doesn't photograph especially well, but it's a seafoam green mixed with an orchid color that almost looks overdyed. Gorgeous.

My next purchase was from a new vendor: Van Der Rock Yarns. Their booth had a nice, clean, spare aesthetic, and it seemed like an oasis from the chaos of the marketplace. Again, I bought a superwash/nylon blend, in the Coumarin colorway.

Again my photography skills are not doing this justice; the colors are a little more variegated that it seems. It's a blend of blues and purples, with little shots of fuchsia. Frankly, it looks like a delicious bowl of berries, and I'm having a hard time not licking it.

The last purchase of the evening was from Beyond Basic Knits. Again, a superwash/nylon blend, in the most appropriate color name ever: Rapture.

It's a very light fingering weight, and it's unbelievably soft. I considered sleeping with it on my pillow.

When I got back to the hotel I laid out my new loot and realized that 3 of the 5 skeins I bought were the same colors I always buy; blue and red. I decided my goal for the rest of the weekend was to attempt purchasing other colors. Because seriously, how many more pairs of blue socks do I really need? OK, plenty, but nonetheless some new colors were in order.

I did fall back into the blue pile a couple more times. My next purchase was a mini-skein from Craft's Meow. Her store is so fun; the yarn bases are all named after ice cream. I bought the Ice Cream Sundae base, my usual SW merino/nylon blend. The colorway is Midnight Craving.

Yeah, I know, it looks pretty blue. But it's really at least half purple. Honest.

Next stop was Girl on The Rocks. Please be seated; I don't want you to hurt yourself.

Yep, that would be orange. International Orange, to be specific; named after the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. I actually wound this skein about 10 minutes after I bought it, I liked it that much. I might be swatching already. I also picked up some great stitch markers at this booth; a decrease set imprinted with SSK and K2TOG, and an increase set with M1L and M1R.

The next stop was Serendipitous Ewe. This is their Chance Sock base; superwash/nylon of course.

The color is called Pumpkin Pie, but it really reminds me of marigolds, yellow and orange and gold. Not blue, and not red.

My next booth was Yarny Goodness. She carries a wide variety of indie dyers; this skein is from Sereknity.

The colorway is Green Pastures, and it looks exactly like spring.

One of the classes I took was Chrissy Gardiner's Textured Colorwork Socks. During class, we swatched with worsted weight yarn, but I decided I needed some solid sock yarn immediately. I walked directly from class to the marketplace and skipped lunch in order to pick out colors. I am nothing if not obsessed.

This is Simply Sock Yarn, from Simply Socks Yarn Company. Colors are Silver Lining, Mocha, and Merlot. That's a tiny 24-stitch swatch attached to it.

My last purchase of the summit was something I had been stalking all weekend. I tried not to buy it (really) but in the end I couldn't help myself.

That's pretty blue. Jay Blue, from Hazel Knits, in her Artisan Sock base. It's a deep ocean color, and it's super-saturated, and there was no way I was going home without it.

So the final tally:
Blue or mostly blue: 3 skeins
Red: 1 skein
Might be considered blue but I'm saying purple: 1 mini skein.
Seriously not blue or red: 5 skeins.
Things I regret buying: 0.

Not bad for a weekend's worth.

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Something To Talk About

So it would seem that I've taken a rather long break from the blog. Whoops. Life, you know, getting in the way.

I've been doing a lot of "secret" knitting for the last several months. Since I can't talk about that, and I haven't been doing much else, knitting blog fodder has been hard to come up with. Finally, though, I can tell you a bit about what I've been doing.

Treetop Socks, now in the latest issue of Knitty. I'd be thrilled if you checked them out, and even more thrilled if you knit them. You can see current projects at Ravelry.

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Alternative Knitting

The shawl/blob is, admittedly, taking most of my knitting time. It's progressing nicely; I'm through the first two sections, and have moved on to the biggest baddest main section. The markers are multiplying, the rows are taking longer, but the rhythm is really getting addictive.

The shawl stays at home though, and there's got to be something else to do on the subway, in the car, and and knitting night.

And so, the Christmas knitting begins. These are teeny tiny little tree ornaments (that's a quarter in the middle), one for everyone who will be at the cabin for Christmas this year. Really, they're just miniature socks with little crocheted loops added.

Those are short-row heels and toes, and a little turnback hem. The girls get picot hems:

I did spent the better part of a weekend attempting to embroider names, dates, etc. onto these. It was rather disastrous, and please note they are now plain. I'm calling them finished.


And We're Off

Yep, I started Irtfa'a. In fact, I think I started within five minutes of my last post. Of course, it's nothing but a blob, and will remain so for a very, very long time. I think by next week I'll at least have enough on the needles to be able to pin out a section. In the meantime, I'm just pausing now and then to bunch it up and gaze at the colors.

It's going well; the yarn is amazingly easy to work with, considering it's lace weight. It's not prone to splitting or snagging at all. The pattern looks hard, but is actually really intuitive, so I'm not as glued to the charts as I thought I'd be. I've only felt the need for one lifeline. Markers though? Those I'm using plenty of.