a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: nancy bush

Knit the Stash 2011: the Sock Yarn

Like any self-respecting knitter, I have a stash to be proud of. It’s full and constantly demanding more storage space and knitting time. I’ve added to it since beginning my most recent phase of knitting in 2005 and it’s currently contained in a plastic tote, two wicker baskets, and a few travel bags. It contains sock yarn, sweater yarn, “I have no idea” yarn, and hand-me-down yarn. Some of it is lovely wool or bamboo, some of it is blended, and some of it is acrylic that I’ve grown out of using. I’m attached to all of it and that’s why the stash is massive.

However, it’s time to make something of the collection, thus the Knit the Stash 2011 challenge. Over the next several Saturdays, I’ll be posting photos of the stash and thoughts on how the yarn will be used. Some of it will be knit up according to the original plan, some of it will be re-purposed and matched to a new and wonderful pattern, and some of it will likely be given away (I love blog giveaways!). I may also give away many of the knitted items.


all the sock yarn in my collection, less one that's in a knitting bag in my car


I wrangled up all the sock yarn. All told, there is wool for 13 pairs of socks, maybe more with leftovers.


Jawoll Magic Superwash


Sock Stash #1 – Jawoll Magic Superwash

I purchased this gorgeous superwash blend at A Yarn Over Marblehead December 2010 when I was shopping with my friend Alison B to get stuff for a cowl and mitts. This is a cute little store that has a good selection of yarn in a range from wool/acrylic blends for the timid beginner to high end designer wool for those heirloom projects. There was a single cubby for the Jawoll Magic Superwash and I was immediately drawn to the skein I adopted. I picked it up off the shelf immediately and carried it around the store for forty minutes before I made a final decision. The colors are perfect for spring and I can’t wait to have it knitted up and on my feet! I need to find the perfect pattern to showcase the colors. I’m thinking a simple rib would work.


worth a second look - Jawoll Magic Superwash



Knit Picks Stroll in Grass


Sock Stash #2 – Knit Picks Stroll in Grass

I’ve had good luck with the Knit Picks sock yarns. I know some knitters don’t like it, and that’s fine, but I have no problems with it so far. It’s priced well and my socks knit up their wool from a few years ago are just fine still. I loved this green color and it will work well for showing off a pattern with texture. I’m thinking a lacy pattern.


Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi


Sock Stash #3 – Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi

There was a sale and I got this for a good price. Orange has been my color this year. After years of avoiding orange, I’ve been craving it!


Knit Picks Essential in Lumber Jack Tweed


Sock Stash #4 – Knit Picks Essential in Lumberjack Tweed

A basic sock yarn that will show off a nice textured pattern.


Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed


Sock Stash #5 – Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed

Another basic sock yarn for a textured pattern.


Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox


Sock Stash #6 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (blue)

I love this yarn. It has wool and bamboo! How can it get any better? The colors are soft and calming. I’m thinking a simple rib stitch pattern for this.


Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox


Sock Stash #7 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (brown)

This is the same as the other Plymouth yarn. Brown is such a nice color for socks, especially in the fall with a wheat colored sweater and a bright scarf.


Austermann Step


Sock Stash #8 – Austermann Step

I love this yarn! I’ve bought a few skeins and knitted it up into socks, all for gifts, and loved every moment of knitting with this stuff. The wool is infused with aloe and it softened my fingers while knitting. I can just imagine how it would be for the feet!


a hand-spun hand-dyed gift


Sock Stash #9 – hand spun and dyed wool, green

I was given this wool as a departure gift when I left my teaching position in Maine. My mentor teacher was also a knitter and she spun and dyed this for me. Aww!


a hand-spun hand-dyed gift


Sock Stash #10 – hand spun and dyed wool, purple

My mentor teacher from Maine spun and dyed this one for me, too!


Cascade 220


Sock Stash #11 – Cascade 220

I bought this stuff out of the “orphans” basket at Fiberphilia in 2007. I intended to make socks out of it, and still do, but I’ve started and frogged a few other projects with it in between.


self-striping sock kit dyed for me as a gift


Sock Stash #12 – hand dyed wool, multi

Another hand-dyed gift from my mentor teacher in Maine. She used one of the self-striping kits from Knit Picks and went to town with the dye! It’s a crazy hodge-podge of color and I love it!



Sock Stash #13 – Opal

I bought this yarn at the Yard Goods Center in Waterville, ME back in 2007. I just cast on a pair of socks with it out of the Nancy Bush book, Knitting Vintage Socks.

* * *

So that’s the sock yarn stash! I’ll be knitting exclusively from the stash this year to whittle down the collection.

I also have a book goal but I’ll be writing about that on Sunday.

What are you working on this year? What ideas do you have to use what you have and save money? What are  your productivity goals?


Knitting News

At my reception, I found out that my cousin Tracy’s baby is being baptized on Sunday. You know what that means, baby knitting!

I scoured Ravelry for patterns, and found a bajillion I love. The winners for this project are:

From Woolly Butts: The Chiara Cardigan (rav link)

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

This cardigan will be knit in Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in colorway 149 Stone and, for accents, colorway 112 Berry. The edgings and the stripe in the middle will be in the berry color.

I’m also going to knit up some Better-than-Booties Baby Socks by Ann Budd.

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Beyond knitting for baby, I’ve been making progress on the Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern for my father-in-law. I had to rip them out and start over because I goofed on the lozenge pattern during graduation – I thought I had the pattern memorized. Oh well. It’s coming along well.

Gentlemans Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Gentleman's Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I’m also making progress on my cowl-neck vest. In a few more centimeters I’ll be ready to graft the shoulders together and start on the cowl. After I get knitting for baby done, I’ll finish up the socks and vest. Maybe another 2-3 weeks on these?

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I also have a bunch of projects I can’t wait to start. And I also have a ton that have been on the back burner for a while. Such is the way of knitting, though. Too many interesting projects and not enough time to get them all done.

For one, I can’t wait to get going on some Cap’n Crunches. I’m going to use my Mission Falls wool to make some of these (the striped socks just were not working – this is a much better use of the wool!).

photo from Ravelrys Cap Crunch pattern information page

photo from Ravelry's Cap' Crunch pattern information page

I better get knitting…

Houston, we have a problem.

So, I lost fancy sock one, and then found it two days later. I thought that would be the extent of my worries with this pair of socks once I got the hang of the pattern. But now, I have quite the problem. I’m nearly out of yarn and I have 14 rows of the foot pattern left, 6 rows of St st, and then 30 rows of the slowly decreased toe. I think I can make it to about the tenth row of the toe before I’m completely out. I’m already working with the extra bit I pulled out of the skein to make the stripes match up. And this is where I am getting my numbers from. In a panic, I even calculated how many stitches I would be knitting per row and counted them up and then compared that to how many stitches I knit with this patch of color previously in the sock. I think I have about 28 rows at 70 stitches to work with before I’m completely out. As it is, I’ll have two color sections back to back which will be quite noticeable.

I poured out my knitting basket and culled through for some fiber that might be used to finish this sock. I found one that is slightly thicker, but spun looser so when twisted tighter it matches, but it’s a cool ash grey versus the warm greys in the sock. Argh. Good thing all these issues are occurring at the part of the sock that will be covered by the shoe. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do if this pattern was toe-up. I shudder to think of it.

Poor Allan will have one very well done sock and one sock that is completely visually unpalatable. Some pair of fancy socks. I’ll have to give it another go with a larger quantity of fiber when I can get nerved up for it. I want Allan to have a nice pair of really fancy socks, not a mutilated, ho-bo version.

It's a post! Can you believe it?

I nearly fell of the face of the planet as far as my blog is concerned. I’ve thought up posts but have simply not had a chance to compose them. Allan had spring break these past two weeks and this past week has been insane. I’ve been slowly making progress on the fancy socks, started my project spectrum 3 socks, and have been reading, all while trying to polish of quarter 3 and plan quarter 4. I also went to a talk by a nobel prize winner yesterday, among many other adventures.

So, knitting first!

I found the first fancy sock! It was hiding in one my all-purpose canvas bags. Sometimes it’s used for shopping, sometimes it’s used to cart around small projects. Well, the last time it was used, the sock stayed in the bottom somehow. Here is photographic evidence that it has been recovered! And you can also see the progress on fancy sock #2:  I’ve completed the heel and am now on the home stretch, ala the foot. With any luck, it’ll be done this weekend. I’m going to count this pair as February’s socks still, as I did the majority of the work in that month.

In the  background, you can see my project spectrum 3 socks. I love these colors more and more as I use them. These socks are being knit in a 3×1 rib, with 44 stitches cast on using size 4 needles. I haven’t decided how to approach the heel. I’m thinking about making the heel the rusty color and the toe the reddish color. Or both heel and toe one or the other. Haven’t decided. Either way, I’m not going to try striping those areas.

I’ve also swapped completely over to hankies over the last two weeks. I’ve been planning on making this move for a while with the intention of cutting up and sewing some old sheets and shirts. My MIL heard about my plan and found a lot of hankies on eBay for me. They’re very pretty, but still a little rough. They’ll soften with washings, I assume.

I’ve also been doing some pleasure reading. I picked up Things Fall Apart Friday night and burned through the first half in the evening hours after dinner. I hope to finish this, too, over the weekend.

I’ll post about the nobel prize winner, thoughts on Emerson, and other such shenanigans later. I pretty much wanted to let people know I’m still alive and blogging. 🙂

Good Morning!

I love mornings. I love breakfast. And, I love knitting. This post is dedicated to my love of the growing daylight coming in the windows with condensation and falling on my tea cup, knitting, and further in the room, my green friends. I love how all things seem possible in the morning. Grogginess obscures the worries of the previous day and grants us a reprieve from stress.

The Gentleman’s Fancy Sock numero dos is about halfway done. I began the heel flap last night and should progress to the foot today. It’s unlikely that it’ll be done today, but definitely within the next few. Last night while working on it, my stash called out to me. The Knit Picks Simple Stripes in Dragonfly was calling out to me to be knit into a basic 3×1 ribbed sock. The Mission Falls wants to be a basic sock with chunky stripes. And the Knit Picks Palette wants to be boot socks for Allan. The fiber called to me, very politely, reminding me to not forget them when I’m done with the Fancy Sock. I assured each and every skein and bit of left over wool that they would soon find themselves happily knit up and put to service.

FO: Fancy Sock #1

Okay, so I know that it’s not technically complete. I have a whole sock left to knit. But I cast this sock on this summer and just now finished it! I feel that this is cause for celebration!! It’s a dark foggy day here so don’t know that I’ll get any good pictures to post of the sock today. I’ll attempt some in a few minutes and up date this post if I get some good ones.

I also want to note that this sock also represents my first successful and beautiful attempt at the Kitchener stitch. I’ve tried this grafting stitch several times before but just couldn’t get it to work. I owe my success today to Theresa (you know, Techniques with Theresa on Knitty) and her lovely spot on the ‘net. She has some very clear photos on her How-To Kitchener page and the directions are set up in such a way that you complete the two stitches on the first needle following one row, then the two stitches on the second needle following the second row. It is set up in such a way that I was finally able to get the Kitchener stitch!

WIP: Allan's Fancy Socks

Look at all that progress! It went from this:

…to the first picture in just a day’s worth of off and on knitting! It has given me the hope that I can, indeed, finish it this weekend! Imagine that. 🙂

I made all this progress because today was Winter Carnival at school. We had a snow day Wednesday, and Thursday we were home due to power outages, and then Friday, grand wonderful Friday before February vacation, was Winter Carnival. The kids were off the wall all day, but then, it is a day of fun and games designed for them for this purpose. I signed up to conduct one event, ping pong, and I was free all day long to knit! I sat on the stage while the kiddos played four corner volleyball, ran relays, ate cream pies, and did all sorts of shenanigans. Personally, I think that Winter Carnival is a waste of time and energy because the only students that participate are the student council members and the athletes. Everyone else just wanders the halls and causes trouble. I’d rather have … a regular day of school. To top it off, Winter Carnival lasts for a whole week at my school. A whole week of after school activities and distractions. Nearly all the teachers at my school feel t his way but dear ol’ WC is likely to stay for a while to come.