The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Last Minute Gifts for Knitters December 8, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 5:19 pm
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I feel slightly dirty.  I was on Facebook and I clicked on an ad.  And the ad was right, I did find lots of things to buy!  It was an ad for CafePress and it had a picture of a cartoony orange cat knitting.  Well, I was hooked and I clicked (making both CafePress and Facebook very happy).   There’s a lot of great knitting stuff on CafePress- not yarn or needles or notions, obviously, but totes and shirts and the all-important coffee mugs.  Here’s a few designs that I think should go on any knitter’s wishlist!  (Yes, they’re already on mine.)


“The Answers” to all those common questions in totes, shirts, etc


Similar theme, different questions.


Kitchener stitch instructions


Cute cat in tote and shirt form.  This is the one that did me in.



Instant Knitter buttons and shirts!  Also in Spinner!  (This shop’s got a button or shirt for just about everybody who loves coffee.)


Spinning button.  So true.


From Crazy Aunt Purl.


Not a fan of knitting cats?  How about a knitting penguin?  (also, penguin ninja)


What, why are you looking at me like that?



Shirts, etc, with the important math in life.  Or, the life cycle of yarn.


Just one more row… really!


Sock Summit Sunday August 3, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:59 pm
Tags: , ,

Pencily woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Sunday morning, which is more than I can say for me after three days of Sock Summit.  Of course, I’ve seen him early in the morning before and he never seems to get bags under his eyes- he’s always “bright-eyed.”  Might be genetic.  He isn’t always bushy-tailed though!


He sat in with me on Socktastic Stitch Patterns, which was a great class.  I learned quite a bit about compensating for a lack of stretch in a stitch pattern (whether that lack is from tight cables or drapey lace).  Much of what we talked about in class I’d already figured out for myself, but it was nice to have my suspicions confirmed.  JC Briar was a lovely teacher.


After that, Pencily and I headed over to the Marketplace for one last circuit.  I wanted to be sure there wasn’t anything else I wanted to buy.  He wanted to meet Heel Flap, Gusset and Instep, the live sheep who had just been sheared for the Fleece to Foot Challenge.  I left him to talk to the sheep while I bought a new high-speed whorl and drive band for my wheel because apparently I am addicted to spinning laceweight.


IMAG0543   IMAG0544


Pencily said they started out talking about the tastiest goodies to eat (Pencily recommended coffee), but quickly moved on to which team they thought would win the competition.  We found out in the afternoon that none of the teams had finished spinning and knitting the entire pair of socks in the five and a half hours.  The team that got closest was World Wide Mashup.   There’s a fun article on the Challenge on


After I dragged Pencily away from the sheep, Lowell picked us up and we went to Alder Creek for some kayak supplies.  I bought a new life jacket!  Then it was back to the Summit for our class with Judith MacKenzie.


IMAG0546  IMAG0547


Sorry for the cell phone pictures; I forgot to bring the real camera charger (life would be so much easier if it charged off USB like everything else I own) and I was in a rush to get back to taking notes!  Judith is just a geyser of knowledge and tips, which is why I didn’t care which class of hers I took- I just had to take one of her classes.  As an added bonus, I was interested in learning more about blending colors in spinning.  We practiced blending colors at the wheel by holding two pieces of top together and we got to play with hackles to make our own blended pencil roving.


After that… it was all over.  The market was closed when we exited class.  Everyone was heading home.  It was kind of sad, like the last day of summer camp.  However, Sock Summit may end, but the fiber you buy there is forever!  Or at least should last you until the next one (hopefully there will be a next one!)


Further Adventures July 30, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 10:06 pm
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Pencily has been having a grand old time at the Sock Summit.  Everybody loves Pencily!


He went through the Sockgate:



Then he came back and told me how cool the Egyptian-like society on the other side was and how they were just inventing knitting there with thin cotton thread and skinny needles.  He also mentioned something about being worshipped as a god there, but I didn’t believe that part.  He dragged me through the Sockgate to show me.




This was when I discovered that on the other side of the Sockgate… is more of the Convention Center.  Pencily got confused with all the bright colors on the carpet.  And people wanted to take his picture in the gate; I think the fame is going to his head.




We took a class with Laurel Coombs and I learned that Pencily is an even bigger caffeine addict than I am.  I tried to make up for drinking most of the coffee by knitting him a little sock.  He said it was nice, but he needs three more and can one of them be a cable sock and one of them could be a lace sock and one of them could be a traditional Fair Isle sock, and by the way, can I make an argyle fourth sock for him because he doesn’t like this plain one?  And what about a hat?




We spent a lot of time in the marketplace yesterday.  We bought more than a little pretty fiber and yarn.  Pencily convinced me to buy a Turkish spindle.  It’s a very small laceweight spindle and he says it’s just the right size for him to spin on.  We also bought some pencil roving in honor of his mother.


Here he is just before he put the spindle away for Franklin Habit’s Photograph Your Fiber class.




And here he’s just misbehaving to get attention.  He crawled into my Glass Slipper sock and got more people to take his picture, like Stacey Winklepleck from Knit Picks who recognized him from the blog!  (Shown in the second picture trying to ignore Pencily’s blatant attempt to be the star of the show.)  That went straight to his head.





Pencily even got Franklin to hold him, but in a tragic turn of events, the camera ran out of batteries just as I tried to take his picture.  Franklin seemed a little weirded out by the whole pencil-case aspect of Pencily.


Tomorrow Pencily is hoping to visit the sheep in the Fleece to Foot Challenge and is very much looking forward to a class with Judith MacKenzie.


Pencily! July 28, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 10:23 pm
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A few days ago, I got a package in the mail from Millie.  Inside was a black sheep finger puppet, and a sheep-shaped pencil case.  I knew I had to bring the pencil case to the Sock Summit, because when you squeeze its face, it’s eyes pop out:

IMG_5172   IMG_5173


He’s been a big hit here.  He’s holding my needles and scissors and things, but mainly he’s been jumping into my pictures.  So, here’s introducing Pencily!


His mother named him Pencily, he says, because she loved to make pencil roving.  But I think it’s because he’s got a zipper in his back to hold pencils.  He’s easily surprised and stressed out, but he loves to relax with long rides in a dark bag.


He took the train down to Portland with me yesterday and we met our new friend Kristina at the station.  Then we all went to the convention center to register under the dragon boat.  He appreciated that no one looked at him like he was out of place and some even offered to hold him for a better picture!  But he’s very self-conscious about his zipper in photos.




Here’s Pencily with the stitch markers (for swapping) that I decided suddenly to make the night before I left.  They’re made from leftovers from my chainmaille jewelry.




Pencily even helped me knit during the Opening Ceremony.





Although he sat out during the flash mob practice.




The marketplace overwhelmed him a little…




So he took a little rest at the Paradise Fibers booth.



What will happen to Pencily tomorrow?


Birthday Goodies July 8, 2011

Filed under: Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 12:53 pm
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It was my birthday last week.  Yup, I’ve crossed the 30 barrier.  Funny, it doesn’t feel that different from 29 except for this irrational desire to yell at kids to get off my lawn.  And the cane.


Birthdays come with presents, of course, and I got some nice fiber-y, knit-y things.


Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting.  I can’t stop collecting Fair Isle charts- I’m addicted to those snowflakes!


My sister sent me some soft, squishy mystery fiber from Three Waters Farm in North Carolina:

The burn test revealed that it’s wool, not alpaca.  I think it’s Blue Faced Leicester.


I also got some fiber from a local Washington dyer, Rain City Fiber Arts:



85% BFL, 15% silk, yummy!  I’m not normally a pink person, but I love the combo of pink, purple, and natural undyed wool in this colorway.  I think it will spin up into a nice muted mauve-like shade.



100% Falkland wool in foresty greens and browns.  I’ve never spun this breed before.  It’s got about a 5 inch staple length (medium-long) and it’s pretty soft.  Actually, this could spin up into a great sock yarn!  Hmmm…


And in the “I had to buy this for you so that I could find out what it does” camp, I got a McMorran balance!




It’s really, really hard to take a good picture of a piece of clear acrylic!  I’m going to write a post with more details about using this thing, but the general idea is that a McMorran balance will tell you how much yarn you have.  Once you’ve got your strand of yarn there balanced on the scale (the one in my photo is too light,) then you multiply the length by 100 and that gives you the yards per pound of your yarn.  This is obviously great for handspun, especially if you’re too lazy to count how many times your yarn goes around your niddy-noddy (another crazy named handspinner tool).


Also, only 18.5 days until I leave for the Sock Summit!


Crazy Things June 21, 2011

Filed under: Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 11:53 am
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A commenter pointed out a  problem with the page for the Wintergreen Gloves over the weekend.  All the links to it had stopped working.  I looked into it and it had disappeared from the server!  I couldn’t find the actual post anywhere.  Luckily, I happened to have a local copy of the post and I fiddled with the “posted date” to make it seem like I had posted it in ‘09 like the original.  So the URL is the same as it was, but it’s a new post.  Trippy, man.


In other news, a bear has been trying to use our trash can as a buffet.


IMG_5114 crop


And last night he poked a hole in our gate, presumably because there wasn’t any food in our trash.  I’ve been keeping the trash can in the shed, but I forgot to put it back last time.  It’s in there now!




And I finished my first 3-ply yarn.  I started with this fiber from Chameleon Colorworks.  I bought it two years ago in Portland.  I’ve been trying to move through some of my older stash, either spinning it or giving it away, to make room for what I’m sure will be a massive haul from the Sock Summit.


102_4924  102_4922

I spun the singles on my Mt. Rainier spindle, with what I call my “Mostly Worsted Short Draw.”  It’s a mangled, customized draw that is mostly a worstedy short draw, but with less smoothing of the fibers and a slight backwards pull.  That didn’t make any sense.  Anyway, it’s my personal style draw when I’m not going for a specific goal.  I divided the fiber into three sections, with no thought for the color changes.  Then I wound them onto plastic bobbins and plied them on my wheel (I hate plying with a spindle).




Despite careful fiber division, one single ended up much, much shorter than the others.  Not just by a few yards or even a bunch of yards.  I mean it was 30 or 40 yards shorter!  You can see above how much is left on the other two bobbins.  I don’t know how that happened.  I don’t like the yarn very much, though, so I didn’t stress over it.


IMG_5135  IMG_5133


I think it ended up being worsted weight.  I’m not sure I like plying with three singles.  I had a really hard time keeping an even tension on all three at once and keeping the twist under control.  Two singles kept twisting before the third, making a 2-ply yarn with a third single swirling around it.  I eventually got the hang of it, but I still couldn’t find a comfortable way to hold things.  I might try again at some point, but right now I’m sticking with 2-plys.


Oh and my schedule for the Sock Summit has changed!  One of the classes I was wait-listed for got an opening, so instead of “The Perfect Rib” on Saturday afternoon I’ll be taking “Photographing Your Fiber.”  I’m very excited.  Just about a month left until the Summit!


Registering May 4, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 1:14 pm

Well, Sock Summit registration started today.  I must say, it was an exciting 15 minutes.


Unlike online ticketing systems (Ticketmaster, etc), which reserve your chosen tickets for a certain amount of time while you finish your transaction, the new Sock Summit system doesn’t reserve your choices until you’ve completed payment.  I quickly (but not quickly enough) figured out that it was better to grab the most important classes, pay, then go back for the rest.  I learned this after I finished inputting all my choices, paying, and getting an error message from the system.  Then when I had to go back, some of my really desired classes were already full.  Luckily, there are so many classes this year that I wanted to take that I’m not heartbroken over the loss of some, but I was so close…


After that error, I started to rearrange my schedule before paying, but as I did so, classes kept getting poached out from underneath me.  So, I quickly paid for what was left and went back to fill in the gaps.  Luckily, I had obsessively planned out multiple schedules and plan b’s.


Honestly, I was surprised that I didn’t get a call from my credit card.  I mean, I’ve got 4 transactions within 5 minutes to the same place.  If I had been thinking straighter, it would have only been two transactions, but things kept slipping through the cracks of my brain.  My brain is very cracked right now.


I didn’t get into Advanced Top-Down Sock Design, The Knitting Sleuth, or Photographing Your Fiber– I was pretty excited about those.  They filled up unbelievably fast!  I’m on the waiting list, but I don’t hold out much hope.


So, what did I end up with?  A pretty good schedule, I think.


Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Thursday Morphing Cables   Opening Night Reception
Friday Writing Up an Awesome Sock Pattern Choosing Among Choices  
Saturday The Deeper Meaning of Sock Knitting The Perfect Rib @ 2:30 This is Your Brain on Knitting
Sunday Socktastic Stitch Patterns Color on Your Feet