a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: yarn

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?


Ode to Amy

Amy got me running about 2 years ago when she moved back to Maine from Texas. It was serendipitous that she ended up moving two blocks away in the town where I got my first teaching job. We hadn’t seen each other since a random encounter in the parking lot of Borders in our college town when she was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband stopped in for a quick book pick up before going on a camping trip. Her son was a walking-talking toddler with budding mechanical engineering skills when we were reunited.

After a few quick emails back and forth, we met up in my sparsely furnished apartment and sat on the living room floor with some chunky yarn and chunky needles to teach her how to knit while we caught up on each others lives. Somehow, someway during this conversation, she convinced me, the girl who hated running in high school for sports, to go out on a run. It didn’t kill me. I was very surprised.

Soon after, AT and his brother hauled their mother’s treadmill that was used to hang laundry at the homestead up the stairs to my second floor apartment. It took about a week for me to turn it on and run on it that first time. Staring at the blank white wall in the spare room wasn’t exactly motivational. So, after a while, I began putting motivational pictures and words on the wall to focus on instead. I kept running all through winter 07-08.

When spring arrived, and Amy was in town full-time  (it took all winter to close on the house, pack up and move back to Maine from the Lone-star State), I began running outside with her. I was shocked, shocked to realize that I actually liked running at this point and looked forward to pulling on and tying my running shoes each evening.

I felt free. I felt powerful. I felt in control. It was great.

And all Amy had to do was grab my elbow and drag me through those beginning runs, and up  hills, and into races to get me to that point.

Thank you, Amy.

And now, here I am, two years later, still running. Still loving it. And looking forward to running a 10k at the end of February with her.

Today is Amy’s birthday. I not only have my love of running to thank her for, but her unflagging friendship and support since we first met in 2001. You not only drag me through the rough spots of runs, but of life. Amy, you are the best friend a person could ever hope for. You are a blessing in my life.

Happy birthday, Amy!

Fiber Field Trip and a Life Update

Saturday was the first of the fiber field trips organized by Greenchop on Ravelry. In the fewest words, it was a blast! In more words, it was an amazing experience that was worth every bit of the effort that went into it. Gari over at Maranacook Yarns was a gracious hostess and opened her doors wide with pastries and coffee in waiting. I was blown away by her selection in such a small space! She had every yarn I’d ever dreamed of fondling in that little shop. Luckily she’s 10 minutes down the road from where I am so I didn’t end up in financial trouble. 🙂 Her selection of sock yarn, for example, took up an entire wall! She also has spinning wheels, roving and other notions for the spinner, too. I can’t wait to go back for the weekly knitting groups, monthly potluck, and the occasional wine tasting.

We moved from Maranacook Yarns to Sully’s Tavern in Winthrop. If you’ve never been and you’re in the area, shame on you! Their meals are very well prepared and satisfies the epicurean in me. Everything from their burgers (cooked to order), to french fries (hand cut), to their soups and salads is delicious and very tastefully presented (pun intended).

The group then went to Friends’ Folly Farm in Monmouth, Maine where we saw the weeks to hours old Angora goats. On this note, Angora goats produce mohair and Angora rabbits produce angora. Confusing, I know. It’s because both fiber animals are from the same area and thus named after their region. Pogo was very generous in opening up her fiber processing mill to us and allowing us to visit her animals. It was such an educational experience for this novice spinner and experienced knitter.

At this time, I’d like to give a shout-out to all the people who attended this trip: it was a rockin’ time and I can’t wait until the next get-together! Those who couldn’t make it, I hope you can make it next time! Darquilter wrote up a blog post about the trip, too, including pictures AuntieMame took.

In other news, I picked up some wonderful items while out and about that day. I purchased 3 skeins of Noro Fiji at Maranacook Yarns that I’m knitting up into a simple garter stitch scarf (25 stitches on sz. 10.5 needles, colorway 88 lot C):

And a skein of local spun 50% wool and 50% mohair from Friends’ Folly Farm:

I’ve been knitting on the Noro scarf all day at school during the down time and the hour-and-a-half meeting after school. I’m nearly done skein one. At this rate, this scarf will be done by the end of next week!

In more personal news, Clarence the Hamster has settled into my home very well.

He’s curious, active, and very affectionate. I heard that dwarf hamsters can be stand-offish but I haven’t noticed that with Clarence. He’s taken to Allan and I very well. Oft times, when I come home from school and say, “hi Clarence, I’m home,” he’ll come out from his hiding place and waddle over to his door to say hello. He loves his hamster ball and cruises all over the apartment in it. He’s not a fan of carrot, loves blueberries, not sure about strawberries and has yet to try celery. He loves seeds, though.

Fiber Field Trip

Knitters all over New England are getting together on Saturday, April 12, 2008 from 10 am to 3 pm for a fiber field trip to Maranacook Yarns in Readfield, Maine and Friend’s Folly Farm in Monmouth, Maine for a day of fiber fun. We’re meeting between 10 and 10:30 am at Maranacook Yarns where we will check out this LYS and be provided with coffee and goodies. Then we’ll do lunch in the greater Augusta/Winthrop area, then we’ll be off to Friend’s Folly Farm to pet the angora goats and fondle the roving. Sounds like a great day, right? If you’d like to join us, RSVP through me or at Ravelry under the Fiber Field Trips group.

Reflections and Decisions

The last two days have swallowed me whole emotionally speaking. All the stress that has been building up from being separated from Allan, from my first year of teaching, from being sick for a month, and dealing with huge snow storm after huge snow storm broke yesterday when I was out to lunch with some colleagues from the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UMaine. We were checking in over sandwiches at Harvest Moon in Orono, and when it came to me, I spilled all the troubles I’ve bottled up for months and nearly started sobbing on the spot. It was not fun. And then, of course, I was very confused about everything in life: my career, my relationship, my current trajectory in life, all of it. I was ready to cash in my chips and quit. But I didn’t.

After lunch, I went to Fiberphilia and got in some fiber therapy. I caressed the Noro and dreamed of the Rowan. And I swooned over the alpaca silk. Then I sat down in the sun room, with The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, flipped through, and spilled my troubles all over again. This is the first time I’ve talked out all my current stresses and it happened twice in one day. And both times, my listener(s) were wonderful, caring, and supportive.

I have to say that knitting is what has kept me sane and alive all these years, and especially in my current situation. I had a very troubled childhood and I knit my way through it. And now, with my current challenges, I’m finding the same strength through knitting. It allows me an opportunity to achieve a zen-like state, meditate on my troubles, and find a solution. The one I’ve come to is this: be patient, be firm, stay where I am.

My relationship is wonderful. I was shaken simply because my past has not given me experience with solidity. Whenever things have been shaken up everything, literally everything, changes. My friends, my living situation, my occupations (outside of knitting and reading), and at times, my personality. And now, I have this firm foundation in Allan, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was very confused. But through journaling and meditation, I’ve come to realize that I have everything I need and want. I just need to learn to trust the stability.

I will stick with my school and with teaching; the school through the end of the year, and teaching for at least five years. After that? Who knows.

I’ve done so much thinking and journaling while trying to figure out how I feel and what I want. I keep breaking it down to the following:

  • I want to be loved.
  • I want to love.
  • I want to be in a stable relationship.
  • I want to be in a stable living situation.
  • I want to be able to express my creativity freely.
  • I want to be able to explore the capabilities of my body through exercise.
  • Some day I want to either own or participate in a tea house/fiber store/book nook.
  • I will make changes if I ever find myself truly unhappy in my living situation.

All of these things are possible and/or present within my current relationship and life trajectory. I’ve found more peace than I’ve had in several months after realizing this. I am content despite the daily challenges of a temporary long-distance relationship and a difficult career.

New Projects, Oh My.

I went out to the Yard Goods Center in Waterville, Maine to get some ribbon and embroidery-quality thread to make labels for my projects and came home with a few extras. I couldn’t help it, really, they were having a big sale! I kept my purchase price down under $30, which is good. Not great, but good. It won’t kill the budget.

Saturday will be spent visiting the future in-laws and borrowing her new and very fancy sewing machine that also does embroidery. I’m hoping to make up some labels to sew onto the finished projects I give to others. I got a nice berry and green color to go with the antique white ribbon. I think that’ll look nice. Now, it’s just a matter of designing the label. The hardest part is deciding what to put on the tag. Should I do “little bee knits” or “jen knits” or “jen loves you” or ” little bee knits by jen” or …. you see what I mean? I don’t know what to choose! And then how to set it up. What am I getting myself into?

While there, I was poking around at the sock yarn wall looking at all the options. I’m just getting into sock knitting and I think it’ll quickly become an addiction. I suffer from cold-feet and I love the portability and versatility of sock projects. And the boy loves hand-knit socks, too. I picked out three skeins of a yarn I had purchased before. It is Austermann sock yarn. I looked at the price listing and my jaw dropped. I could not believe what I saw: $17.95 for a single skein of sock yarn!! I nearly fainted. I had no idea how much I spent on it the first time around because it was my first time in the store, it was cramped from how close all the shelving units and display cases are placed, crowded, hard to move around in, and I was buying yarn for other projects as well. No wonder the bill was so high that day. I quickly put the three skeins away and started looking at other skeins at under $10 for 100g or around $6 for 50g. After looking around, I decided on a skein of Sockotta in #06 from Plymouth Yarn. It was on sale for $5.50 for the 100g. That’s closer to my cup of tea.

I also walked out the door with the new Interweave Knits magazine after flipping through and finding more than four patterns that I would love to make.

This is so teachery I can’t stand it! I need to make this over the summer for next fall!

And this goes with everything. I’d love one in this color, too.

And I’ve become a sock addict. I love the design of this sock.

And oh so elegant and feminine!

Simply lovely.