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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

Decisions, Decisions.

Shall we do a progress report first?

Hey, look at Bob Dobbs! The interminable stockinette stitch is over, the ends are woven in, and it's ready for the duplicate stitching. It hasn't been blocked yet, so there's some buckling and folding, but you get the idea.

It fits beautifully, which is nice. I dread the duplicate stitch, which means it will probably be easier and faster than I ever imagined.

The Ugliest Jaywalkers ever:

One done. Seriously though, that is some eye-searing knitting going on right there. I love love love the pattern, and can't wait to knit it again in something I don't hate. maybe that leftover Regia Silk I've got laying around...

But I've got a new love. Her name is Scheherazade. I have the pattern, I have the yarn, I have the gauge swatch, I've got the needles. I've got itchy fingers. I'm worried that if I start now, I'll never go back to the Bob Dobbs. I'm trying, in fact, to wait to cast on until Thanksgiving week, which I have off. Most likely I will start this weekend. Or maybe today. Place your bets now...


Knitters, Knitters Everywhere...

...but not a one on camera! In other words, I went to Rhinebeck, and the only pictures I brought back were of animals. Er, non-human animals, I guess. Also, I brought back effusive praise for the joy that is Rhinebeck. Get cozy, this is a long one.

First things first, I guess. My friend Cathy drove me there, then squired me around all day. She has the Rhinebeck experience, see, and knew just the right order in which to do things. As she is wise and good, she said shopping first.

First, yarn for the wedding stole. No, I don't know which stole I'm making yet, but that's no reason to turn down bargain prices on alpaca/silk prettiness.

I was originally looking for something finer and slipperier, but I was convinced otherwise. The Q & A went like this.

Cathy: When's the wedding?
Me: Next September.
Cathy: And where is it?
Me: Minnesota.
Cathy: So it's going to be cold then.
Me: Oh. Yeah. I guess it is. Oh.

See how dumb? See how I just NEED other knitters around to keep me from doing stupid stuff all the time? So yes, I went for a little heavier weight than I thought originally, and a little warmer fiber than I thought originally. It will be a little more substantial, and may actually keep the bride from shivering like a scared bunny all day.

Other than that, it was all sock yarn. Don't worry though; I am not feeling deprived. First, some boring solids.

These are "Aussie Sock", 90% Aussie superwash merino, 10% nylon. 400 yards. $13 each. I KNOW! Although the color in the picture is awful, these are an olive and a dark brown. They're destined to be socks for BBMM; he is direly in need of socks made from soft, squishy yarn. I'm thinking of a houndstooth or herringbone pattern; I'm ready for a little colorwork. In all honesty, it was difficult to spend money on basic solid sock yarn when there was so much hand dyed beauty about me. I probably should have gotten more. But then there was this:

Can't you just see all that Autumny goodness wrapped around your feet? It's Spirit Trail Fiberworks, 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon. It's loosely spun, but I think the nylon content will keep it durable. There's no color name listed, but it's mostly pumpkin and olive, with a little bit of cocoa brown thrown in. This is actually for BBMM too; they're the perfect colors for him. If this knits up the way I think it will, I'll just do some plain stockinette socks, or a simple garter rib. I don't want anything that will distract from that gorgeous color.

Last but not least, something for me! Maybe more than one thing.

This is all from my very favorite booth; Brooks Farm Yarn. We blazed through when we first arrived, and for some reason I didn't see the WALL full of sock yarn. When we went back the second time, I did. Wowsa. It's called Acero, the sock yarn. It's superwash wool and silk and viscose, and the shimmer will just kill you. And the dyeing... We spent a solid hour in there, and the whole time we kept saying "OK, I want this one. No wait, look at that one! Oh, and how about that!" I swear, I don't know how I made it out of there with only three skeins. While we were in the checkout line, Cathy asked who did the dying. The guy we were talking to pointed to someone and said "Sherry does". Seriously, one person. First, she's AMAZING, and second, how does one person dye all that yarn?! There must have been at least 50 colorways. Crazy talented, she is. I think maybe you need some close-ups. you know, so I can prove it to you.

First the solid:

It's not really a solid though. It's LIKE a solid, but upon closer inspection it's heathery and marled and the fibers all took the dye differently and I want to use it for a pillow. I have been looking for a red semi-solid for a long time, and I thought I knew exactly what I wanted,but I was totally wrong. This is what I wanted; exactly this.

And here's the variegated.

We have a phrase in the garment industry; denim-friendly. It basically means something that will look good with jeans. This here is the friendliest of the denim-friendly. It's also very me-friendly. I love it so much.

After the shopping, we took a little lunch break. I wanted to go see the animals, but Cathy said we had to look at fleece first. And wouldn't you know it, fleece is pretty cool! I didn't take pictures of it, which is probably for the best, because who wants lanolin all over their camera lens? Quite a learning experience, the fleece gazing. Cathy taught me about crimp and staple length and all that jazz. She's trying to turn me into a spinner. Her favorite is Cormo, because she loves spinning with it. My favorite is Ramboulet, because mmmm, silky... I thought it was cool that I walked in knowing nothing and walked out going "oh that one feels dry" and "what's with all the vegetable matter?". Anyway, I will, from this day forward, snort in disgust at the phrase "wool".

After the fleece, I got to see the animals. My favorites, of course, were the llamas and alpacas, although I can't really tell them apart. BBMM and I decided afterward that the long snouted ones are probably llamas and the shorter snouted ones were the alpacas. The fact that we both agreed probably means that we're wrong, but hey! Look over there! Cute things!

And then came the sheep. This one loved the camera, and the people, and was trying to say hi to everyone.

This was my favorite sheep; his butt wiggled a lot when he walked, and seemed very excited to be there. He was quite talkative. Plus, chocolate wool!

So yes, My First Rhinebeck may be over, but the memories (and the yarn) will live on for a while. Certainly long enough to ensure that I go back next year.


Almost Here...

In about an hour, I'll be hopping into my friend blogless Cathy's car and heading to Rhinebeck. I had a little bit of a brain fart and didn't realize until Tuesday night that it was this weekend. Don't worry though, I've gotten over the happy shock, and I'm ready!

I've never been to Rhinebeck. In fact, I never really knew things like this existed before this year. Of course, until I started going to my Wednesday night knitting group, I didn't really know any knitters in person. What a sad, sorry existence. ;)

Anyway, I'm so excited I could bust, and I keep telling myself to remember my budget and not go all crazy. I've set up a few rules for myself; we'll tally up how I do after I get back.

1. No commercial yarns. Duh. I don't want to buy here what I can find elsewhere. I want local, I want unique, I want special. This will be the easiest rule to follow.

2. Only sock yarn. I have shocking amounts of sweater yarn in my stash, and I just would rather knit socks right now. I can't even really build up a stash of the sock yarn, because I'm using it almost as quickly as I'm buying it. I think I only have 2 pair left in the stash. Totally unacceptable.

3. The only exception to the sock yarn rule is if I find yarn for the wedding stole. Yeah, I decided to hold off and see what I can find at Rhinebeck. I'm hoping I'll come up with something extra special.

4. I have a budget. It's not a tight budget; this is my first fiber festival, and I don't want to be tortured by not being able to buy something I love. Which leads to the real rule; I won't buy anything I don't love. If I don't get teary-eyed or let out an "ooooh" when I see it, it's not coming home with me. Either that or I'll be so overwhelmed with choice that I'll double my budget and forget about that whole pesky rent thing.

Off I go to pack camera, knitting for the road, and very, very comfortable shoes!


Slipstitch Rib Socks

Another pair of socks off the needles.

There's a little bit of the contrast going on. I knew two skeins of yarn wasn't quite going to do it. I had about half a skein of the dark grey left from the last socks, so I took a chance.

Pattern: All from "Sensational Knitted Socks", but in pieces. The stitch pattern is Slipstitch Rib, but I used my favorite toe-up short row recipe. I love the stitch pattern. It's really, really simple, but not quite mind-numbing. It's quick; when 1/3 of the stitches are slipped it moves right along. And of course, Charlene Schurch should be named Queen of Sockland.

Yarn & Needles: Paton's Kroy Socks (again) in Glencheck, two 50 gm skeins. Toes, heels and cuffs in the Charcoal Grey color Kroy I used for BBMM's last pair of socks. It seemed like about a half a skein leftover, but I didn't actually check at all, just eyeballed it. In the main color, I probably had about 5 yards per skein leftover. In the Charcoal, I unraveled my gauge swatch from the last pair, spliced the yarn twice, and had about 5 inches left. It was really not pretty. My new mantra: I will always buy three skeins. Seriously, that was totally not worth it.

I knit the foot, through the heel, on size 0 needles, and the leg on size 1. As usual, I actually knit 3 socks. The first time through I forgot to switch up to the size 1's. I'm fairly certain I actually finished the sock; I may have even woven in the ends. (I do this every time. Really; it never gets better. I am currently working on two different pairs of socks. They have both been ripped out all the way back to nothing. One was literally halfway up the leg; probably about 3/4 of the way done. You know the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Yeah, I am clearly nuts. I think I'm going to tattoo "Try it on" across my knuckles.)

Mods: Nope, not really.

If I Could Do It Over: I'm not sure about the contrast bits. The heel is a little small and triangly. The cuff is a little funny; it would look better if it were two inches long instead of one. The toe is nice, so maybe next time just toe and long cuff.

If I were making these for anyone else I would have made the whole leg longer. But BBMM likes his socks pretty short, and since the whole point of handmade socks is perfect fit and customization, they are exactly the right length.

I haven't decided on the next pair of socks for BBMM yet. I know they will be brown or beige. I also know I will buy a better yarn. The main benefit of Paton's Kroy is that it is cheap. When I wasn't sure how I'd feel about knitting socks, that was a big benefit. But I am now hooked, and I'm working my way through some better yarns. I used some Fleece Artist; loved it. I'm currently working with Louet Gems; absolutely heavenly. I've swatched with some Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and drooled on it. I thought I had a rule about making sure my sock yarn had nylon in it for durability. I am totally over that; the difference in handfeel (footfeel?) between the Kroy and the better yarns is astonishing. I think he would appreciate it. I know it would make the knitting more enjoyable.


Take Two

We have movement! Uh, no, not so much in the knitting... I got distracted on my trip by a secret unbloggable project, so no FO's to show off.

I do have something though; the SIL to be has taken fabulous photos of her just-purchased wedding dress!

Pretty, isn't it? I know, I know, you want DETAILS. Here's the back:

And a close-up of the front; just lovely.

Of course, I'm not just showing you pictures for fun. There's work to be done here. The pattern I had chosen for the stole just isn't going to work for this dress. It's a little too busy, and I think it will compete with the beading too much.

So, I've picked out three more options (thank you Ravelry!) All will be in white, to match the dress. Thankfully, the samples are in color so you can see details more clearly.

First up, Plum Lotus, by Badcat Designs. I love the rounded motifs in this. Obviously I would make it bigger so it's a true stole size.

Second, Cocoon Lace by Evelyn A. Clark. I have heard nothing but good things about her patterns. Again, this has the rounded shapes, although the motifs are quite a bit smaller than in the first one.
Last but not least, Scheherazade by Melanie Gibbons. This was Mystery Stole 2, so I know it's been test knit, a lot. This is the most different of the three. I like the plain ground on this one, and the motif mimic the motif in the beading. Plus, heart shapes at the ends!

I would VERY much appreciate votes in the comments. I'm having an incredibly difficult time with this decision, and any input would help. And if somebody makes a comment that seals the deal for me, there might be a teeny tiny prize in it for you! Oh heck, I might as well make it a medium sized prize. ;)

PS: The beading on the dress, the lace weight yarn, should I be concerned about a tragedy, or should I just knit blindly on? You know I'm all for blind knitting...