Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Rockin' End to Socktober

The Arrival of the Penultimate Socks That Rock Rockin' Sock Kit
Yowza! This kit is hands down my favorite so far. I thought I loved Titania the most, but then Pink Granite was delivered and stole my heart. And the pattern? Awesome!

Occasionally I have pondered whether I really needto join the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to rejoin. I've even been doing a bit of ebay destashing to raise a some cash and free up room in the sock yarn stash. I love Socks that Rock, sock clubs, packages in the mail, the exclusivity (is that a real word?), the excitiment, the drama - Ok, you get the point:)

Are you going to have Rockin' Socks in 2007?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lovely Ivy


Pattern: Ivy (from Knitty), 40 inch size
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Silk in Autumn Purple
Needles: KnitPicks circular size US #2
Start Date: October 1, 2006
End Date: October 28, 2006
Comments: Ivy was a challenging and fun project. The pattern is incredibly well-written. The author was very careful to give the knitter a heads up whenever there was simultaneous shaping which I really appreciated. She also wrote out the pattern for both the left and right fronts rather than simply saying "work right front as you did left. Reverse shaping." I also really liked how the larger decrease sections were hidden in the cable ribbing. Very clever and it looks fantastic! The neck edging was very carefully created. Overall, Ivy is probably one of the best patterns I've ever worked from. While it was an incredible challenging project the author did such a great job in the pattern writing that I never felt lost.

As for the yarn, I really enjoyed working with the Elann Peruvian Highland Silk and boy is it warm! This sweater will keep me toasty all winter, I'm sure. While knitting it I did not notice any pilling. The rich intense color is amazing. I can't believe the price on this stuff!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Changing Colors

I cannot think of a more perfect project to be knitting during the fall season than Rosedale United. The yarn's soft shifts of autumnal hues are reflective of the changing colors of late October leaves. There has been a fabulous show of colors this fall. It is the last burst of vibrancy before a long dark winter. I'm nearly finished with the sleeves and then it's on to the body. I'll begin the finishing of Ivy tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Finishing, Beginning, Continuing, Informing, & Canceling

Ivy is finished! Well, all the knitting is done (except for a little bit of the neck band that you finish once you seam everything together). The sleeves are now blocking and I think I'll assemble it sometime this weekend. I don't ever like to be tired or rushed when sewing seams as I tend to get a little sloppy. So, pictures Monday!?!?

With Ivy off the needles, I officially began Rosedale United. I'm using some Noro Kureyon (#157) that I picked up on a fantastic deal from Web's at Stitches Midwest this fall. I'm knitting the Medium size (42 inch) on size 5 needles. For the sleeve, which you can see the beginning of to the right, I have to use double points and I totally forgot all I have in size 5 double points are some old Lion Brand plastic ones. Oh well. They aren't too horrible. And size 5 knits up much much faster than size 2 (Ivy!). I highly doubt I'll finish it in October, which was the original goal, but it is likely I can complete it within the first week of November. Good thing we get that extra hour this weekend!

And since I always have to have some socks going I've started on some Dublin Bay socks using Sunshine Yarns in Dragonfly. Stunning colors! These socks are going to fly off the needles (get it? Fly? Dragonfly?). Maybe I'll hit three pairs to celebrate Socktober!

Oh, I almost forgot! Aija at sock pr0n has posted the greatest tutorial for weaving in your ends while you knit!!! I tried it last night when I was finishing up the last Ivy sleeve and it works fantastically. Go check it out here!

***Knitting Group is cancelled for tonight (Oct. 25th) due to the planned absence of numerous members. We will resume our regular meetings at the regular place (Border's Cafe in Wilmette) on the regular day (Wednesday - Nov. 1st) at the regular time (6:30pm) next week.***

Monday, October 23, 2006

Enter Descriptive Post Title Here

Ivy is nearing completion. I've finished the back and two front pieces as well as the first sleeve. I'm halfway through the second sleeve and I am working on the miles of 1x1 ribbed tie. I decided to go ahead and block the first few pieces now in anticipation of finishing Ivy (hopefully) sometime towards the end of this week. Yea!

The Arrival of My First Pick Up Sticks Kit
It took me all of 24 hours to sign up for the sock club at Pick Up Sticks. After a couple quick emails with Connie, the friendly owner, I decided to join. Connie offers such a neat selection of hand painted sock yarns that I thought this was a great way to sample them along with getting a new sock pattern every month. (You know I like to knit socks, right?) I am not disappointed with my first kit. In fact, I'm ecstatic. The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted in Twilight. This is a color that I absolutely love, but I'm not sure I would have picked out on my own. The depth of color is amazing with a variety of blues and pinks. Gorgeous. And look at this pattern! Wow! It has a cabled cuff and heel with a lovely lace panel on either side of the leg. I have been dying to cast on for it, but since I already have a sock on the needles I'm resisting, for now.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Chocolate Cherry Stillwater Socks

Chocolate Cherry Stillwater Socks

Pattern: Stillwater from Wildhorse Farm Designs
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted in Chocolate Cherry
Needles: KnitPicks DPNS US 1
Start Date: October 9, 2006
End Date: October 19, 2006
I love love love love love these socks! First of all, the yarn is fantastic. Not a single complaint aside from my usual size 10 desire for more yardage. The spin and texture are identical (at least to me) to Koigu (and the label says Gems so I think we've got a match!). The different browns, reds, and pinks were just so lovely to knit. As for the pattern - wow! Wildhorse Farm Designs' patterns are really nice because they come with written as well as charted pattern instructions. Also, two sizing options are given (determined by gauge) which is a really nice feature for those of us with slightly larger than average footsies. There are even additional instructions if you want to knit these using sportweight. I will absolutely be using this pattern again in the future.

I am also very happy that my fabulous new sock blockers arrived in time for this photo shoot. I've been eyeing these on ebay for ages and finally ordered them because they make the perfect Socktober present (for myself). I really doubt I'll block my socks regularly, but these blockers sure help show of the stitch pattern nicely for blog photos. When I opened the box I thought they looked way too big (I had ordered the large size which is for ladies 10 and up), but my socks all fit them really well. I guess I never realized my foot would look so huge if it was flattened:)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


48 Things You Could Care Less About (found at Inky Knits)

1. FIRST NAME? Alyssa

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My mom's college friend.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? A few weeks ago when I received some sad news about my nephew. (He has been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome - a genetic defect).

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Most of the time. It's a bit sloppy, but it has character.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Sure, we would have lots in common.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Not really aside from this blog.


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably not. It's just not something I feel a strong desire to do.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Grape Nuts with raisins.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not usually. I strive to only buy shoes I can slip on and off.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I'm not weak, but I'm by no means strong. Strong-willed? Yes! (Except when around sock yarn.)

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Peanut Butter and Chocolate

14. SHOE SIZE? US 10

5. RED OR PINK? Pink.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My mom. I live too far from her.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? It would be fun to see everyone's answers.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans, dark grey shirt, black docs.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? South Beach Diet Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar and V8.



23. FAVORITE SMELL? Honeysuckle.



26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Yes.



29. EYE COLOR? Blue

30. HAT SIZE? No idea. I don't really wear fitted hats.




35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter. I strongly dislike summer (not a fan of sweat and sunburns).


37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Sticky Toffee Pudding.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? It will be a surprise.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOUR CURRENTLY READING? Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, World War Z, and the Prestige.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Dell (I'm at work).

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Lost, Biggest Loser, and Ghost Hunters.




46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Knitting and the ability to remember a lot of useless trivia.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Vancouver, Washington.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Found at Inky Knits.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A little midweek progress report

Ivy is coming along incredibly well. I've now finished the back, the left front piece, and I'm more than halfway through the right front. That just leaves the sleeves and the extremely long tie (over 100 inches!). As I complete each piece I become more anxious to finish it. The Elann Peruvian Highland Silk is knitting up so beautifully- this is going to be one gorgeous sweater! I hope to finish the knitting by the end of this coming weekend. (That will leave only a week in October so I am thinking that my second sweater of the month- Rosedale United - may spill over into November).

The Stillwater Chocolate Cherry Socks are 75% complete. I just need to finish up the foot and toe of the second sock and voila! Another finished pair in Socktober! :) Since I always like to have socks on the needles I may go ahead and cast on for the first pair I have planned for November. I'll be using Sunshine Yarns in Dragonfly to knit my favorite pattern, Dublin Bay (see sidebar for link). The yarn is rather variegated so I think the simplicity of the Dublin Bay lace panel will look fantastic.

Recently on one of the knitting boards I read there was a discussion about how in one's knitting it is usually best to only highlight one of the following: color, texture, or the pattern. In some cases you can have two of these characteristics, such as a lace pattern with a softly variegated yarn or a cable in a silky yarn, but generally you want to emphasize just one. I guess I tend to agree with this thinking for most of my knitting. What do you think?

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, October 16, 2006

In Celebration of Socktober: Why I Love to Knit Socks

Why I Love to Knit Socks

The yarn. I love love love sock yarn. It's a wonderful indulgence. So many colors and textures!

The variety of patterns. Toe-up? Cuff down? Lace? Rib? Cables?

The freedom to try any color (if it's not "your" color you can always wear boots).

Socks are portable.

They feel great on my feet.

Matt loves wearing them too.

I love knitting with tiny double point needles.

Why do you love to knit socks?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Knit, Swatch, Knit, Stash

Ivy is moving along. Not the fastest knit, but so enjoyable.
Swatching is happening for the next big project, Rosedale United. However, if Ivy keeps going at its current pace, Rosedale might be bumped to November. But isn't the Noro Kureyon pretty?The Stillwater Chocolate Cherry socks are knitting up so quickly. Great yarn (Claudia Hand Painted) plus a great pattern (Stillwater from Wildhorse Farm Designs) equals happy knitting.And here's further proof I have no willpower when it comes to sock yarn. The latest from Sunshine Yarns. On the top is Olive and on the bottom is Westwood. So pretty. (I've also joined a couple more sock clubs, so there will be more pretty yarns arriving at my house throughout the winter).
Oh, and I've said it a few times. I have a list of all my sock yarn and what pattern I will use with each yarn. Here's a screenshot of what's coming up in the next year or so. I'm a nerd.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Disco Socks!

Schoeller & Stahl Fortissima Mexiko Disco Socks

Pattern: Basic sock pattern of my own creation
Yarn: Schoeller & Stahl Mexiko Disco Socks color #9051 Durango
Needles: KnitPicks dpns - US 1
Start Date: October 2, 2006
End Date: October 9, 2006
Comments: Ah, the first pair of Socktober 2006 socks. Even though we were out of town this weekend, I found some time to knit a bit and by the time we got home this evening all I had left were the toes. While these socks had a bit of a rough start (I got all the way through the gusset decreases the first go around only to realize the sock was huge) in the end I am very happy with them. The little sparkles in the yarn are a lot of fun and they are the perfect color to wear with jeans.

As my brain was numb from traveling all day, I decided to cast on for another pair of socks rather than work on Ivy. So, here is the beginning of a sock using Claudia Hand Painted in Chocolate Cherry. The pattern is Stillwater from Wildhorse Farm Designs. I really love how it is working with the yarn. The yarn itself is wonderful. The colors are vibrant and rich. I'm almost positive this is the same base yarn as Koigu. It feels fantastic:)

Thursday, October 05, 2006


What is it about shiny things that is so appealing? I like shiny yarn. I like shiny cars. I like shiny diamonds. I like shiny pens. I like shiny nail polish. If it's shiny, I like it. So, it goes without saying, I like Schoeller & Stahl Mexiko Disco yarn. I'm just cruising through this pair of socks (color #9051 Durango). This yarn knits up a lot like Opal, so I am hoping it does soften a bit when washed like Opal does. I'm just doing my plain sock pattern that has been gleaned from different sources. Nothing fancy here, just letting the shininess do all the work.

Ivy is progressing as well. It is a slower knit than I expected, but now that I'm through the large cabled section on the back I'm picking up speed. The Elann Peruvian Highland Silk is lovely to work with and I'm so pleased with the autumn purple color. The stitch definition is very good - the cables really pop. I really like the contrast between the cabled section and the smooth stockinette. Pretty pretty pretty.

We have decided to visit family over the weekend so I don't expect a lot of knitting to get done, but you never know. Silly family getting in the way of yarn time:)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Socktober Questions

Lolly has posted some questions on her blog in celebration of Socktober. Here are my answers:

When did you start making socks?
I knit my very first pair in May 2005

Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I taught myself from Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair was knit with KnitPicks Simple Stripes in Snapdragon using the Ann Budd book. They have held up very well actually. No pilling or holes!

What would you have done differently?
Absolutely nothing.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I love love love Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, Sunshine Yarns, and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I always knit them using DPNs. I prefer the KnitPicks double points or most types of bamboo. The pointier the needle the better!

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I really prefer a heel flap. It just seems to fit better. I love the Eye of Partridge heel.

How many pairs have you made?
I've made 24 pairs so far. Socks are by far my favorite knit project!

Here's a picture of my first socks:

Monday, October 02, 2006

October Goals

Crisp air, rustling leaves, shorter days - it must be October. Last month I came very close to meeting my goals. I failed to finish up the Trinket Scarf, but I'll be sure to work on it over the next couple months (and I've abandoned the Elizabeth lace scarf). I did finish my wonderful Silk Shrug, two pairs of socks, and a cabled scarf. So what's up for October?

1) Marissa pullover from Adrienne Vittadini volume 20 (Forgot I moved Marissa to November:) ) Rosedale United
2) Ivy
3) Plain Socks in Schoeller & Stahl Mexiko Disco #9051 Durango
4) Stillwater socks in Claudia Hand Painted Chocolate Cherry
I was so excited about knitting Ivy that I already started and so far I have a couple inches of the back done. I am knitting the 40 inch size on size 2 needles. I decided not to go with the recommended yarn since none of the colors really appealed to me. Instead I picked out the Autumn Purple color in the Elann Peruvian Highland Silk. Elann indicates it is the same weight and gauge as the recommended yarn, but it creates a very firm fabric when I knit to the pattern gauge (though it did soften considerably when I washed the swatch). The density of the yarn does allow the cables to really pop though which is always a good thing. The yarn is beautiful and you can't beat the price (total cost of sweater with just-in-case-extra ball of yarn $57). I've also joined the Ivy Knitalong. It is a lot of fun to see everyone's different Ivy sweaters. The pattern is very well written and I am enjoying knitting this a lot. I love purple!

As for socks, I cast on for a pair of simple stockinette socks using Schoeller & Stahl Mexiko Disco (color #9051 Durango). Since this yarn has little sparkles it's not exactly plain so I think stockinette is the way to go. I have always loved shiny things (My mom is convinced I was a raccoon in a past life) so when I saw this yarn at Elann last year I bought a bunch. As I've come to learn, I knit self-patterning yarns more quickly than monochromatic or handpainted yarns since I like to see the next repetition of the pattern. I had a false start on them this weekend, which you can see to the right. I got past the heel and gusset decreases before I realized these socks weren't just loose, they were full out baggy. Oh well, these socks (once frogged and restarted) should still go very quickly which is good since I'm dying to cast on with the Claudia Hand Painted. October is Socktoberfest time after all!

This weekend I also knit up a cute little hat using Olympus Make Make yarn and a free pattern that came with it from KPixie. I absolutely love this hat and it matches my hard to match coat perfectly! The yarn was very nice to work with (it's wool with a little mohair) and I like the tone on tone color shifts. I finished the hat using the pattern as written and found it to be more of a beanie length than a hat so I undid the top and added a couple inches to the plain stockinette section at the top. Much better now. The yarn is a little spendy ($18 for 3 balls - you need 2 for the hat, but it comes in bags of 3), but, really, less than $20 for a cute hat that knits up in a day? That's not bad at all...now, do I need to make more of these in other colors? ;)

And a little sidenote...The opera was wonderful! We had an incredible time. I can't wait to see our next one in November:)