The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Sock Loot! August 5, 2011

Filed under: fiber,spinning,Yarn — Cailyn @ 11:09 am
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Now the part that you’ve all been waiting for.  Or dreading, depending on how much you like or hate when bloggers post things they’ve bought at events you didn’t go to.  You might want to skip this post if you’re the jealous type.

 

First up, the random stuff.  Preordered swag (glass, pen, button [not shown {but cool}]).  I just wanted to see how many types of brackets I could use in one sentence.  And a high speed whorl for my wheel, which means I can put more twist in per treadle when I spin laceweight.  And there’s a teal aluminum needle gauge.  It was a complete impulse buy near the register while I was buying the whorl, but I’ve always kind of wanted one.  They had three shades of blue!  It was hard to choose.  The gauge goes down to size 000 size 000000 which looks terrifyingly small!  Oh, and the pen lights up.  Because why not?

 

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I got a new mug from Jennie the Potter, although I didn’t get to the booth fast enough to get her special Sock Summit mug.  She said they sold out in the first 20 minutes the market was open!  Yipes.  Anyway, I got this knitting mug to go with the spinning mug I use every morning for coffee.  This one has yarn in turquoise with white and black sheep; the one I have already is dark blue yarn with brown and black sheep.  They look great together, even though I’m only showing you the new one. 

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Then there’s the fibers!  Let’s see, shall we go in chronological order or pretty order?  Let’s go chronological.

 

We stopped by Crown Mountain Farms, who had all kinds of fun blends and undyed fibers.  I got some incredibly soft undyed yak/merino (50/50).  This stuff is what I imagine clouds feel like.  It’s that light and fluffy.  Living in Seattle, it’s kind of the color of clouds too.  I think this will be spun up to keep it’s fluffiness and made into a warm, soft scarf for Lowell.

 

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After that, my eye was caught by a stunning 100% tussah silk by Teresa Ruch Designs, but then I fell in love with this alpaca/silk blend (80/20).  It’s black alpaca laced through with bright shining silk in teal and violet.  It looks like an opal.  I haven’t had much luck spinning alpaca before, but I couldn’t, literally couldn’t, put this fiber down.  I have no idea what I’ll spin it into yet… It’s almost too pretty as a hank of fiber to spin up!

 

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I went down to Portland with my Tiger Mt spindle but nothing to spin on it.  Even though I can spin just as well on my spindle as my wheel, I prefer to spin 2 oz or less on my spindle.  For some reason to me, spinning a 4oz hunk of fiber seems too “big” for a spindle project.  And for some reason (this is where I think I might have a problem) I don’t like splitting a 4 oz braid into two 2 oz segments.  I want to only have 2 total oz of fiber for my spindle.  And that’s hard to find, since more fiber is sold in 4 oz chunks.  But I did find one vendor selling fiber in bulk and in a great color, so I bought 2 oz  of merino/silk from her.  I think it’s 50/50, but I can’t remember and didn’t write it down.  Destined to be laceweight.

 

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Hm, silk seems to be a recurring theme here.  There’s silk in this next purchase from RainCity Fiber Arts too.  In fact, it’s merino/yak/silk (60/20/20).  Second yak purchase in two days, hmm… 2 oz and super pretty.  Also soft enough to make a cotton ball weep.

 

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One of my favorites: a gorgeous merino/silk (80/20) blend from Fiber Optic Yarns.  Again with the silk!  What’s up with that?  The roving is dyed from a light aqua to a dark, dark indigo color.  I walked by this booth a few times, my eye always drawn to the “gradient dyed” fiber.  They had a number of other colorways, including a lovely golden-orange to purple.  I tried to resist buying this.  I really did!  They probably thought I was stalking them the way I kept walking by, looking at this, then walking away slowly.  I was doing yet another walk-by when I thought of the perfect project for this fiber- a shawl that fades slowly from one color to the other, like this one from the Yarn Harlot.  I imagined myself carefully dividing the fiber in half, spinning each color section as a laceweight single,  plying so that everything lines up right (or mostly right), knitting up a beautiful shawl that fades from aqua to indigo and then it was all over.  I had to have it.  I can’t wait to spin it.

 

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After I decided to spend money on that, I made a decision on another item I’d been waffling over.  A Jenkins Woodworking “Kuchulu” Turkish spindle.  They had one that was so small and cute that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It weighs about .3 oz (9g) and is just about as long as my index finger.  It’s designed to be a pocket-sized spindle and it is!  I can’t get over how adorable it is.  So small and cute and it spins like a dream.  I’ll write more about what makes a Turkish spindle interesting later.  The shaft is walnut and the wings are made from amboyna, which is a wood from southeast Asia.  I have a special spot in my heart for red woods.  Ed said that he doesn’t use amboyna anymore, so mine is special!  I love going to festivals and talking to the people who actually make the things I’m buying.

 

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I was going to use the teal merino/silk I’d gotten the day before to try out the Kuchulu, but I wandered by Crown Mountain Farms again and saw this lovely pencil roving that I hadn’t noticed before.  It was a great price, 2 oz, merino/tencel (50/50) and a color I love.

 

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I also picked up some Lorna’s Laces Solemate (colorway Navy Pier), their newest yarn line.  It’s made from 55% superwash wool, 15% nylon, and 30% Outlast.  Outlast is a viscose fiber which is a man-made plant (cellulose) fiber, like rayon or bamboo.  It’s supposed to “regulate microclimate” to keep you from getting too hot or too cold.  Outlast was originally designed for space suits using “phase change materials” coated with polyester.  I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this when I knit up this yarn- I’m pretty excited to try it, because my feet are always too cold or too hot!

 

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Yes, I only bought one skein of yarn.  That’s it.  I have a lot of yarn already and I was drawn to the fibers more than the yarns.  The yarn selection was stunning, though!  Lastly (well, really first) I bought three Japanese stitch dictionaries.  This might seem like an embarrassment of riches, but it’s also a bit of a curse.  Now I want to put every single pattern on a pair of socks or mittens or a hat.  There are so many great designs.  Hmm, I’d better get started knitting!

 

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Oh, and I also bought a set of Signature Needles Size 1 (2.25mm) DPNs.  But I didn’t take their picture.

 

Sock Summit Sunday August 3, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:59 pm
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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.

 

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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 OregonLive.com.

 

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.

 

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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:

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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
Tags: ,

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:

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Pencily even helped me knit during the Opening Ceremony.

 

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Although he sat out during the flash mob practice.

 

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The marketplace overwhelmed him a little…

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

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What will happen to Pencily tomorrow?

 

Crazy Things June 21, 2011

Filed under: Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 11:53 am
Tags: ,

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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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
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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  
 

Classes are up! April 21, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:56 pm
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They posted the class schedule for the Sock Summit recently.  There are a lot more classes this time!  I read through them and pulled out my “first cut” of classes, which will slowly get whittled down to an achievable number.  Sadly, the two classes that I was really hoping would be offered aren’t (the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting for Speed and Cat Bordhi’s one about making up new stitches).  I’m dying to take that Speed Knitting class- I missed it at the last Summit and Madrona.  Oh well.  There are a lot more spinning classes this year to make up for it!

 

Now, to understand this next part, you have to realize that I am a total dork.

 

I took the schedule page from the website and made an Excel worksheet of it.  It has all the classes on it, divided by day and time, and each class is hyperlinked to it’s webpage.  This way, I can easily copy/paste or drag and drop the classes I want into as many schedule possibilities as I want.  I can rearrange the layout of the days and times for easier visualization.  I can easily find which classes repeat on which days.  And I can always look back on all the classes, to see if there’s a class or lecture that fits in nicely but I hadn’t been interested in previously (I change my mind a lot).  I even tried to match the original colors as best I could.

 

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Yes, I’m thinking about this too much.

 

But, in case anyone else is a total dork, I’ve uploaded the Excel files (one for Office 2010 and one pre-2010) here if you’d like to use them too.  Share the dorkiness!!

 

For Excel 2010: Sock Summit 2011 Schedule

For Excel pre-2010 Sock Summit 2011 Schedule