More Socks!

Somehow I got it into my brain that I wanted to knit all the sock patterns in Sock Innovation by Cookie A, in order. Since Christmas 2010, I’ve been making steady progress. Here’s an image dump of the first four completed pairs.

Knitted in Mountain Colors Crazyfoot (Sagebrush colorway)

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Shepherd’s Harvest 2011

Well, it’s been almost a year since I last posted. I have a ton of stuff to update, but I’ll have to split it up over several posts.

In the past year, my life has undergone a huge change — I got a full-time job! I now work at Adobe on the Photoshop team, which is pretty much the coolest thing to happen to me in a long time. Of course, that means that I went through a major adjustment period starting in August, and I don’t have as much free time anymore. But I can actually afford my hobbies now, so there’s that.

This weekend was Shepherd’s Harvest. In my last post, I wrote about my newfound interest in spindle spinning. Despite my love of the spindle, I ended up buying a spinning wheel as part of my “yay I got a job” present. It’s a Schacht Ladybug, and I love it! Here’s a photo.

I’ll write a spinning update soon, but for now, I’ll post pictures of my awesome Shepherd’s Harvest haul. Let’s just say my budget was greatly improved over last year. Even so, I only spent just over half of my allotted budget.

It will probably take me years to spin and knit/crochet all of this.

I’ll start with the various fibers. As you can see, I really like the braided stuff.

Gone Batty Fibers
4 oz.
Color: Heather
100% Wool

Gone Batty Fibers
4 oz.
Color: Tapestry

River’s Edge Fiber Arts
P.M.S. (Prime Merino and Silks)
4 oz.
Color: Chocolate Dipped Raspberries
65% Merino/35% Silks x 3

Happy Hands Hand Dyed Fibers
4 oz.
Color: Pansy
Falkland Top

4 oz.
Color: Juke Joint
60% Superwash Merino/30% Bamboo Rayon/10% Nylon

HoneyGold Acres
4 oz.
Falkland top

Fiber by Malla
1.7 oz.
Color: Signs of Spring
Wool, silk, mohair

Frabjous Fibers
Hand-dyed Merino
4 oz.
Color: #10 Moulin Rouge
100% Merino

Goldfish Love Fibers
4 oz.
Color: Not Like Me
100% Corriedale

And then we have the yarns…

Corny Goodness
100% Ingeo PLA (Corn Fiber)
100 grams
460 yards
Color: Spruce – Medium

Corny Goodness
100% Ingeo PLA (Corn Fiber)
100 grams
460 yards
Color: Mulberry – Medium

IlLOOMinated Yarns
Colors from Nature
Minnesota Hollyhock
55% superwash BFL/45% silk

Little Gidding Yarn
1 oz.
215 yards
Color: Teal
100% Suri Alpaca

I got some other stuff, too:

Needle Felting Kit
Martin’s Magical Menagerie
Small Bunny

Drop Spindle Earrings
Made by Becka Rahn

I also got a starter kit for dyeing (not pictured) and Amigurumi Toy Box by Ana Paula Rimoli. I figured that learning dyeing is the next logical step, even though I probably have no time to learn another skill. Oh well!

There were so many awesome vendors — it was very overwhelming to wander through the buildings and decide what to buy. I can’t wait till next year!



Well, it finally happened. I’ve been tempted over to the dark side. That’s right, I’ve started spinning. Because I don’t have enough hobbies and unfinished projects.

I don’t have money in the budget for a wheel, so I’m sticking to the drop spindle for now. On May 9th, I went to Shepherd’s Harvest and took a drop spindle class. Signing up for the class was sort of a whim, but I’m so glad I did it. The 2-hour class was taught by Elizabeth Harrington, who provided us with excellent instruction and some sample fiber. We all know I tend to be a perfectionist, so I had to tell myself it was okay to suck. And I sure did suck at my first spinning attempt.

The first fiber I tried was a 1/2 oz. sample of Colonial. I didn’t take any in-progress pictures of the process, but here is my finished and washed 2-ply yarn. It’s a trainwreck, but it’s not falling apart (yet) and that’s the important thing.

After practicing for a couple of days on the Colonial, I took a break for another couple of days. Strangely enough, when I picked up the spindle again, I was spinning much more evenly. It’s like I just needed that break for my brain and fingers to catch up to one another. Here is my second attempt at spinning the rest of the Colonial sample. This is a 1.1 oz. Schacht spindle that I bought for $17 at Shepherd’s Harvest. Actually, my kitchen scale says it’s 1.2 oz. Either way, it’s probably on the lighter side of medium.

I also had a tiny bit of Merino wool from class that I spun up. Even though I’ve heard that Merino is not easy for a beginner, I had a much easier time with it than the other fibers I tried. I don’t have a photo of my Merino single to share, but I think it turned out better than the Colonial.

With the 1/2 oz. of the Colonial gone (I still have the remaining single wrapped around a toilet paper tube somewhere), I moved onto the gray Corriedale. This fiber was a lot rougher, with some dark pokey strands in it. I haven’t been using a sample card, so I’m sure that every time I spun, I was spinning a different weight. But it’s still practice, so I’m not going to be too anal retentive about it.

Here are the progress photos of the Corriedale, from fiber to washed and wound yarn. In the first photo, the Corriedale is the gray fiber on the lower right. The two big balls (hee) are 4 oz. each of Merino that I bought at Shepherd’s Harvest. The other three fibers are dyed samples we received in class (donated by Etsy seller Knitsinclass).

I used both ends of the center pull ball from the Nostepinne to wind a double-stranded ball for plying:

Before washing:

After washing:

Not bad for my second real attempt!

I used the guidelines from this site on creating a balanced yarn during plying, but I tried to allow for the possibility of untwisting during washing/winding, so I overtwisted it just a little. There are some spots that look like they could be twisted further — the plies are coming apart slightly — so I may need to overtwist even more during my next plying attempt. The final yarn is about 18-19 wpi, which is anywhere from fingering to sport weight, depending on which chart you use. I got 60 yards out of the 1/2 oz. of fiber.

I’ve also been reading Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont, which I checked out from the library. This book is awesome, and has helped me expand on what I learned in class. I definitely plan on buying my own copy for my library. I originally planned on getting a spinning wheel if it turns out I actually stick with spinning, but this book has convinced me that the drop spindle is more than just a starter tool for people who haven’t “moved up” to a wheel yet. So maybe the spindle will remain my spinning tool of choice. We’ll see.


Lion Brand Motif Afghan CAL (Fall 2009)

I am not even going to try to play catch-up with this blog, because that’s what got me in trouble this last year. So let’s fast-forward to the present where…well, actually I’m playing catch-up with my crochet projects. Go figure. I’m in that familiar place that so many yarncrafters (and other types of crafters) find themselves — in the middle of a big pile of unused yarn and unfinished projects. It started to stress me out, so I’m now going through and trying to finish all my unfinished projects. I’m doing well so far, and hope I can stay on track. Stop laughing.

Last fall, in spite of the many projects I already had going at that time, I joined the Lion Brand Motif Afghan Crochet-a-long. I couldn’t resist — it was a motif project from Edie Eckman! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned her Beyond the Square book on this blog before, but I have linked to quite a few of the Motifs I’ve made from the book. It is awesome, and I highly recommend it. The book itself is very beautiful as well.

This particular CAL was an afghan made from Motif 48. Using the CAL blog posts for guidance, I decided on a smaller afghan made of seven columns, with nine hexagons per column. The afghan is for our downstairs recliner couch, which is a merlot color with little flecks of various other colors. I got a ton of Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn at JoAnn’s on discount, so I should have more than enough to finish the project. I found a red color that perfectly matches our couch, along with olive green, dark blue, and off-white, all of which match the aforementioned flecks of color in the couch.

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Yet another site update!

You might notice a few minor changes to the layout of the site. That’s because I went ahead and converted the blog from Blogger to WordPress. This took quite a while, which is one reason I haven’t updated in months. But it’s finally done!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to transfer the comments properly, so as of now, all the existing comments have been removed. I encourage you to leave new comments. The way I have it set up, anyone can register, but you need to be logged in to post.

Now I can finally get on with things and add some new content. Stay tuned (again)!



One of those things happened where I ended up with a million different things to write about and a million different pictures to process and post, and I got so overwhelmed I ended up working on nothing at all. That’s my excuse for taking so long between posts. What I’m doing now is working up a backlog of posts, so I can parcel them out as needed and not have to worry about typing up ten major posts in a row. We’ll see how this goes.

So the first topic in my massive list is…knitting socks! I’m a crocheter at heart, but I thought it would be a good idea to expand my horizons and learn knitting. As of the end of January, I had exactly two knitting projects completed. One, my Rikku scarf (which still isn’t completed by the way…*sigh*), I did circa 2005. The other, the garter stitch scarf, I did in January after completely relearning how to knit. Both of them involved doing the knit stitch over and over and over, except one was on circular needles and one was on straight needles. Neither of them was the most complicated knitting project in the universe. In fact, I’m not sure it would have been possible to knit a simpler project, except maybe one with no color changes whatsoever.

Then, around March or so, I was given a couple of knitting pattern books, including the aptly-named “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks” by Cindy Guggemos. Not only does this book include several sock patterns, but it gives very detailed instructions on the sock knitting process. There’s even a section on using circular needles, a section on alternate heels, and so on. The basic pattern uses fairly large yarn (DK weight) and needles (Size 4) for socks — none of the fingering weight yarn on tiny needles. So I picked up some cheap acrylic yarn and some bamboo double-pointed needles. It’s tough to find DK/sport weight acrylic except in the baby section, but amidst all the pastels, I found an interesting striping yarn I liked.

Going from garter stitch rectangles to double-pointed needles, K1P1 ribbing, increases/decreases, short rows, and picking up stitches was a big jump, but less than three weeks after I started, I had my first pair of socks! There are two visible mistakes on them — one of them is a big loop of yarn on the inside that I never quite figured out. I will count these mistakes under “things only Jeanne would notice.”

Here are some photos:

And a link to the Ravelry project page.

After that, I was ready to move on to the next project. I picked up some nicer yarn (Berroco Comfort Sox Metallics) and used one of the more complicated patterns in the book. The cuff had a chevron pattern that involved all sorts of increases, decreases, yarnovers, slipping stitches, and passing stitches over. I finished these socks with no visible mistakes (note that there were still mistakes…just not noticeable ones) and gave them to my mom for Mother’s Day.


Ravelry link.

Since then, I’ve spent way too much money on sock yarn. Yes, I can admit that I’m a sock knitting addict. My most recent project, one that’s taken me much longer than the other two because I haven’t been putting the time in, is the Spring Forward pattern from Knitty magazine. I have one sock complete and the other in progress. Here are the photos so far:

Ravelry link.

I haven’t worked on these in a few months, because I felt guilty about all my neglected crochet projects, so I’ve been concentrating more on crochet again lately. I’m feeling good about getting some of my backlogged projects finished, so I’m sure I’ll pick up the socks again soon.

I really want to buy the Sock Innovations book by Cookie A., but I seem to always spend my monthly budget on other stuff like, say, yarn. In the meantime, there are enough free sock patterns online to keep me busy.


NatCroMo Freeform Crochet-a-long 2009 (3/23-3/31)

Clearly, I am behind on updating my progress. Specifically, I am a month behind on my final NatCroMo Freeform CAL 2009 report. Here are the final parts of the design:

W is for Worm. I made little pink spirally worms along one edge.

W is for Worm

W is for Worm

X is for Xanadu. I went with the theme of “opulence” here, and crocheted with some beads. This marks my first time doing beaded crochet. I used a design from Crochet on the Edge.

X is for Xanadu

Y is for Yellow. I did a surface crochet chain around the central area using yellow.

Y is for Yellow

Z is for Zest. This loopy stitch made me think of lemon zest.

Z is for Zest

Your name. I added up the number values of the letters in my first name (A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, etc.). I then turned to that page in my new crochet stitch dictionary and used that stitch (Single Crochet Cluster Stitch I) in the cranberry color I used for J.

Your name

Your name

Neighbors. Our neighbor in back has a dog that’s white with light reddish-brown spots. I used the closest colors I have to that, and crocheted another stitch pattern out of my stitch dictionary.



Partners. I “partnered” up two colors of yarn that had been used earlier in the project (but not together) to make an improvised edging.



Fantasy. This made me think of something lacy and open, so I chose an appropriate stitch from Crochet on the Edge.


Craft. I wanted something that took a fair bit of craftsmanship to create. I ended up trying the lily of the valley sculptural stitch (which includes surface chains for the stems) from Crochet on the Edge. This was a lot more challenging and time consuming than I expected — I ended up with about a million yarn ends to weave in.



So it’s done, and it’s pretty wacky, definitely in a good way. I still need to learn how to do the more “traditional” (if such a word can be used) scrumbles that are used for freeform crochet, but I think this is a fun result for my first attempt. Next time: knitting! That’s right, knitting!

Lion Brand Crochet-A-Long: Moderne Jacket

As promised, here is my post on the Lion Brand CAL. The pattern was the Moderne Jacket — details and purchase information can be found here.

Before March, I’d never done a crochet-a-long, and it was great to read about everyone else’s experiences with the pattern and see all the different variations on the same garment. Originally I wasn’t going to participate because the yarn specified by the pattern would have cost about $130. That’s a bit out of my budget at the moment. Then, when I read the post on the Lion Brand blog about yarn substitution, I decided to go ahead with the project. Instead of the cashmere blend and the wool yarn, I used acrylic — Vanna’s Choice in Dusty Purple and Silver Grey, to be exact.

The pattern uses two yarns held together, which was a new technique to me. The combination of these two yarns was probably a bit bulkier than intended — the example jacket looks more “meshy” — but I think my version looks great.

As for the pattern, a lot of people had trouble with it because there were a number of inconsistencies. For example, working the pattern as written ended up with a staggered column effect, whereas the example jacket clearly showed the stitch columns aligned vertically. There was advice on both the Ravelry group and the Lion Brand blog on how to change this. Although I worked the pattern as written for the back, I aligned the pattern on the front (for the most part).

Another issue with the pattern was that the stitch pattern was meant for an odd number of stitches, but most of the front had rows with even numbers of stitches. No instructions were given on how to adapt for this. Also, at one point in the pattern, there was a missing row. I worked an extra row at this spot, with no issues. Others ran into the same problems, so it wasn’t just me misreading the pattern. I always try to rule out “user error” first.

Apart from those issues, the project went very smoothly. The larger hook (N) combined with the thicker yarn made it work up quickly as well. When I made the gauge swatch, my row gauge was right on, but my stitch gauge was just a tiny bit too big. This was perfect, because the small size was just a wee bit too small (bust size 34″, I’m a 34″ or 35″) and the medium size was way too big (bust size 40″). For the small size, I didn’t need to make the jacket longer but I did need it to be wider. I know the issues that can be caused by using the wrong gauge, but in this case, it worked very well. The jacket fits!

Although the fabric is thick, I still used backstitch for the raglan seams for strength. It didn’t seem to add too much bulk to the seams.

That’s enough writing. Here are the pictures of the finished piece. It fits a bit tighter on the dress form than on me, due to the pot belly on the form. Still, it looks good on me and on the form. Success!

Next time: the rest of my freeform project.


NatCroMo Freeform Crochet-a-long 2009 (3/10-3/22)

Whew! I got behind on the Freeform CAL from the last post, but I’m finally caught up through yesterday (V). Time for another picture-fest!

J is for Jam. I went with a berry-colored shape. Since the yarn color was called “Cranberry” I even put little ridges into it, like the canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

J is for Jam

K is for Knowledge. I wanted to include a technique that I didn’t previously know, so I did a little rectangle of Tunisian crochet. I don’t have the proper kind hook, so I used one of my standard hooks to make it.

K is for Knowledge

L is for Leaves. I added little leaves to the chains between some of the “pebbles.”

L is for Leaves

L is for Leaves

M is for Mold. This made me think of the mold found in blue cheese, my favorite kind of cheese, so I added a mottled blue-green ruffle on the front.

M is for Mold

N is for Night/O is for Orange. Night is represented by the midnight blue shape, created using a star stitch, which I looked up online. Next to that is a little patch of puff stitch oranges.

N is for Night/O is for Orange

P is for Peel. I created three yellow banana peel shapes. I haven’t yet mastered the art of shaping my crochet to lie flat or curl the way I want it to — therefore these like to curl oddly. I got them to stand out correctly in the photo.

P is for Peel

Q is for Queen. Using a fan type stitch, I made a purple queenly robe, with fuzzy cream-colored yarn as trim.

Q is for Queen

R is for Russet. I only have one yarn of a russet color, and it’s the same variegated yarn I used for some other parts of this piece (the bullions, the antennae, part of the crab body). I used an edging stitch I found in one of my crochet books for this shape.

R is for Russet

S is for Stone. Since I already created some grayish/brownish pebbles for Ground, I decided to interpret Stone as gemstones and added a ruby-colored picot border.

S is for Stone

T is for Taste/Touch. I’ve been crocheting for less than a year, so I don’t have an impressive yarn stash yet. So it was lucky that I happened to have the perfect yarn for this one. My favorite taste is chocolate and one of my favorite things to touch is velvet. I had a velvety, chocolate-colored yarn (Lion Suede), and I used it to create another interesting stitch from my edging book. The stitch (twisted rib) took me quite a few tries, and I’m proud that I finally got it to work.

T is for Taste/Touch

T is for Taste/Touch

U is for Underground. I made the Night section into the top of a little cave/tunnel and added an entrance.

U is for Underground

U is for Underground

V is for Variety. I went through my stash and cut off lengths of yarns that had different colors, weights, and textures. Then, I tied them together and stitched an edging that uses a variety of stitch heights. I’m not sure how to deal with the knots on the back — I didn’t leave enough yarn to weave in the ends. I may just snip them off at the knots. Still, I like how this one came out.

V is for Variety

V is for Variety

One thing I’ve noticed about this piece is that by making the lettuce-y ruffle early on, I ended up with a very ruffly item where it really isn’t possible to see all the different parts at the same time. At first this annoyed me, since it’s kind of difficult to take a picture of something when parts of it are hidden, but then I realized that it’s kind of cool to be able to get different looks from the same exact object. I’m proud of myself for sticking with this project, even though I’ve had some not-so-fun time-sucks in my life this month (like both my bunnies getting sick at the same time). Now we’re on the home stretch, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I end up with, as well as everyone else’s finished projects!

Next time: my progress on the Lion Brand Moderne Jacket crochet-a-long.


NatCroMo Freeform Crochet-a-long 2009 (3/1-3/9)

Last week was crazier than I expected, but I’m finally back with another post. This might be some kind of record.

March is National Crochet Month (or NatCroMo), and there’s a group dedicated to it on Ravelry. In addition, there’s a Freeform CAL (Crochet-a-long) project where there’s a different inspiration for each day. Despite having no experience in freeform crochet, I’ve been giving it a try. It’s been a great exercise for me. Although I have much to learn (how to make pieces lay flat, how to create the shapes I want without too much ruffling and/or curling, etc.) I’m also discovering that I know more than I realize. The final result (well, the final result so far) is rather crack-induced, but I’m discovering all sorts of ideas for future projects.

Here are the photos of my project in progress:

A is for Apple and B is for Blossom/Bullions. I started out with a reddish color (combined with another yarn containing muted versions of apple-y colors) and a shape that looked like the bottom half of an apple. To that, I added bullion stitches and ended up with a vaguely flowery shape.

A is for Apple, B is for Blossom/Bullions

A is for Apple, B is for Blossom/Bullions

C is for Crab. I added crab claws bordered with crab stitch. I also added a crab stitch border above the bullions.

C is for Crab

D is for Drop. I interpreted this as drops of water, and added a wave stitch in two shades of blue/aqua.

D is for Drop

E is for Eating. Crocheting food is fun, so I added a hyperbolic lettuce edge around the piece.

E is for Eating

E is for Eating

F is for Fragrance. One of my favorite fragrances is lavender, and the pieces ended up with a lavender spiral.

F is for Fragrance

G is for Ground. I chose a yarn with various grays and browns and crocheted pebbles (bobble stitches) around the lavender spiral.

G is for Ground

H is for Honey. That’s a honeycomb on the back side of the piece, crocheted in the closest color I had to honey.

H is for Honey

H is for Honey

I is for Insect. The little crab guy, buried under the lavender and pebbles, gained two moth antennae. They like to droop a bit, but I got them to stand up for the photo.

I is for Insect

I is for Insect

Today is J for Jam, but I haven’t decided what I want to do with that yet.