Adventures in Sock Knitting
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Posts Tagged ‘Sock Camp’

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Sock Camp Part II… and more!

The third day of sock camp, I had a class in with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (that would be the Yarn Harlot) on lever knitting. It is much more charming when said with a Canadian accent. 😉 I was very excited to learn this because, as a more-or-less “continental” knitter, purling is a pain. I am actually quite happy with my speed when knitting stockinette in the round, or even garter stitch, though I rarely knit flat. But ribbing is practically the bane of my existence.

Well here is my very first lever knitting swatch, I started out with garter stitch and moved to a 3×3 rib.


We were told that we were basically going back to our knitting infancy, and would probably (temporarily) have the same problems as we did when we were new knitters. Though I picked up the technique pretty quickly, I was indeed a very very tight knitter all over again. But I picked up a set of long straights to practice with.

That afternoon we had a group scavenger hunt which proved to be a lot of fun and a lot of work! Here are a few of the photos we needed to obtain…

Our group, doing a yoga pose:


A glass with the bottom covered in rainwater (we brought our actual rainwater) and a photo of a team member collecting it:


A very brave team member mouth-siphoned it out of a puddle with a straw. And look at her gorgeous sweater! Of course, later on it started pouring.

And our entire team in a (my!) bathtub:


This is what sock camp is like. We are all nuts. It’s great fun, but you have to be prepared.

Friday morning we had our last class, with Cat Bordhi. She taught us a new and top secret sock architecture which I can’t share, but here’s a picture of my skeined up dyed yarn from the first day. I used it to start the sock in her class.


Friday we had our last dinner and shared our homework. The assignment was to knit a crab or other sea creature, and I knit a nudibranch. Oh, and apparently a lot of them (including the ones pictured at the link) are toxic. I’m not sure if that’s true of the ones native to Puget Sound, but since some have bright orange ruffles it probably is. Here’s my little guy:


My goal this year was not to get attached to my homework, since in past years we’ve given them away, but this year we got to keep our own. Although mine was small and didn’t take too long to knit, it turned out really cute but it was a pain to make the ruffle! I was going to write up the pattern, but I don’t know if anyone else would really want to go through the hassle.

This morning we had breakfast and then headed home. I was sad to leave, but I really needed a nap! Sock camp is so amazing and educational, but also exhausting. This is most of the knitting I got done there:


I started the heel flap on my Snarfy-twin socks on the ferry home. And when I got home I found Wendy’s new sock book, Socks from the Toe Up, which I won in her blog contest. I looked through it and it’s awesome! Plus, it came signed.


I’ll definitely be sockin’ on.

Listening to: Muzzle ~ Smashing Pumpkins, End of the Beginning ~ 30 Seconds To Mars

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Sock Camp – Part I!

The first two (well, 2 1/2) days of sock camp have been fabulous!

I left home Monday morning, and caught the ferry to Bainbridge Island with a bunch of other sock campers to descend on Churchmouse Yarns. I didn’t make it there on the yarn crawl last year, so I’m glad I got the chance this time. Of course, I left my camera in the car and didn’t take any pictures. I’m sure some other ones will turn up, though. We had a lovely lunch at Nola and got ice cream at Mora, then we headed to camp.

Port Ludlow is gorgeous and I’m really enjoying it here. Monday night was just opening ceremonies, but yesterday we started the *real* sock camp.

My group’s first class was dyeing with Tina! First we talked about our color homework, and then we were instructed to dye two skeins – one with our “comfort zone” colors, and one that was a little more scary.


That’s my less comfortable skein before being smooshed. The smooshing was actually very different for me. I’ve dyed quite a few times before, but I’ve usually tried to keep the different colors separate. Tina’s dyeing philosophy involves blending colors together.

Then we learned we actually got a third skein, after we went on a little walk. Since both of my first two skeins were pretty saturated, I decided to do something a little lighter for my third. I used some gunmetal grey and poured it in zigzags over my skein, smooshed it around, and then put green in the middle and blue on the ends and smooshed some more. Sadly it seemed to be missing something, so I asked Tina and got opinions from the class. With a little prodding I added some magenta and it turned out lovely!


And some smooshing action…


Then we had lunch and crafts, where we made this lovely no-sew crab project bag.


Then it was afternoon free time and our yarn was drying.


The bottom left is my “comfortable” skein.

In the evening we had antics and my team won Jeopardy. This is us posing with our “trophy” – chocolate covered peanuts called Crab Poop.


Today I had a very informative class with JC Briar about bind-offs, but I didn’t take any pictures. I also started an iPhone sock and made some stitch markers at crafts, and we watched a crazy movie – The Lady From Sockholm. I love camp!

Listening to: My Gift of Silence ~ Blackfield, Criminals, Katatonia


Sock Camp: Colors Part II

So, for the second part of the homework I had to think about colors I’m less comfortable with. For me, that’s pretty much everything except grey, black, blue, and purple.

At the yarn store yesterday I saw a couple of shelves of Cascade Magnum that illustrated those colors pretty well.


I can’t ever recall liking orange and yellow, although a creamy light orange (like orange-vanilla Italian sodas) is ok. I probably wouldn’t pick it, though. Red is tough… occasionally I’ll find a red that I like – usually a darker, more blue red. But since 95% of the time I really dislike red, I say that I don’t like it. I do like some pinks, often in combination with grey or black, but in general pink isn’t my favorite (and bright pink is less so).

And yes, Eloise, I will be talking about my hatred of brown. 😉 One time someone told me they thought I would look good in brown. I looked at them sort of puzzled and said “I hope so, my hair is brown!” My eyes, in fact, are also brown. But I don’t really like brown as a color for clothing or anything I would purchase*. Some of the natural fleece colors, especially the lighter more tan ones, are fine. My Rhinebeck fleece could be called brown, I suppose.

And green is sort of in the middle. I don’t mind some greens – darker emerald greens are nice, and when mixed with blue I like green usually. In fact, my York sweater is primarily green, and my new Noro sweater also has a lot of green. Brighter greens or more yellow greens are not really my cup of tea. And I don’t think I’d knit anything solid green. I have two green t-shirts – one I bought because it has an adorable cartoon broccoli on it and says “Fresh Veggie”, and the other is a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt.

* OK, maybe horses – I do like brown horses.

Listening to: The Outsider ~ A Perfect Circle, Black No. 1 ~ Type O Negative


Sock Camp: Colors Part I

On Monday I’m heading to Sock Camp, and one of our homework assignments this year is to think about color: “To prepare for this I want you for the week or so before Camp to pay very close attention to the colors in your world. Look closely at what you have surrounded yourself with; wall color, furniture, clothing even your car color-wise. Pay attention to how being in places where a certain color is predominant makes you feel.”

Well, as we learned last week with my stash pictures, I have a very obvious favorite color or two – blue and purple (usually blue-purple). This isn’t confined to my yarn either.

This skein of Miss Babs yarn is a pretty good example of my favorite colors.


And, with a little peek into my closet you’ll notice that black plays a big role in my wardrobe, but the other predominant colors are blue and purple.


Another one of my favorite bits of color (and evidence that I’ve actually hung my pictures in my new apartment!) is a painting a friend made for me.


And, as you can see by the date, these colors have been constant for a while. My wall color is sort of beige, but I didn’t pick that.

I used to have a host of blue electronics – iPod, Palm Pilot, phone, the list goes on… Now I just have an iPhone, which is black. However my couch is blue, my backpack, laptop bag, and Timbuk2 bag are all blue, my new dishes are blue, my bedding is blue, and today I’m wearing head to ankle blue (black shoes). Basically, if it comes in blue when I buy it, I buy blue. If someone else is buying stuff for me, they know to buy blue.

I always find it a little confusing when people *cough MJ cough* don’t have a favorite color. I mean, how would you know what color yarn to buy them?

So stay tuned soon for the colors I’m not comfortable with (pretty much any other color!) In fact, if I’m lucky some of these colors will be illustrated by my most recent finished pair of socks.

P.S. Then MJ reminded me that I have a lot of blue shoes…


Listening to: Don’t Worry ~ Wakeland, A Story At Three ~ AFI


I can’t leave it alone

The Nutkin sock pattern was mentioned as being a quick one on the Yarn Harlot’s blog, so I decided to have a look. It’s a lovely pattern, and the color pictured reminded me of a skein of Tiny Toes I had hanging around, so voila! a gift was born.


Pattern: Nutkin
Yarn: Interlacements Tiny Toes
Needles: 2.5mm
Started: 1/20/09
Finished: 1/27/09


The yarn is very nice stuff – knotted in the center of the 100g skein so it winds into two balls, which I’m beginning to enjoy. It’s a soft any springy 2-ply with a fairly tight twist – kind of similar to Socks That Rock but less… shiny if that makes any sense. I think it’s the looser twist and fluffiness that does that. I really have no complaints about this yarn other than the fact that there were occasional fuzzballs (little bits of fluff that make a spot in the yarn thicker and more fuzzy) attached to the yarn, but they were pretty easy to remove so it wasn’t really an issue.

As for the pattern… well I just can’t leave these things alone. It is a very nice pattern, and the fact that I have certain personal obsessive tendencies is not a criticism of the original pattern at all – just to be clear. I knit these socks more or less as written – I started with ribbing to avoid the picot edge since they’re a gift and I don’t have accurate leg measurements, and I knit my usual heel and toe so I’m not sure that they’re the same as the pattern. However, while I was knitting I kept thinking of things I could change…

The socks bias slightly due to the decreases that form the pattern all going in the same direction – it’s not a problem and was mostly gone after blocking. Perhaps they’ll swirl a bit when worn, but that’s ok. But combine this fact with my love of mirrored symmetry? I’m going to have to make another pair of Nutkin-inspired socks for myself with a mirrored mod on the swirls and a couple other changes… I had a thought about the toe shaping as well but I haven’t crunched the numbers in my head yet.

What’s next? Well, lots of things. But MJ and I have started a new pair of twin socks – Diamondy in Socks That Rock colorway Space Dust. The first year at BMFA sock camp my nickname was Space Dust, so of course I had to buy a skien although it’s not my usual colors. Even though I designed Diamondy over a year ago, the original socks were a gift so I still don’t have my very own pair. But if MJ’s progress is any indication, I will soon!

And one last thought:

Last week I read on the knittyBlog about “slow stashing”. It’s certainly not a new idea, in fact I’ve been following a slightly more structured version since sometime in 2007. In summary, what is described there is not a dead stop to yarn buying, but an approach to carefully consider each skein purchased. In my case it’s a plan to decrease the stash by using more yarn than I acquire. Similar to an actual food diet – I use or destash more grams of yarn than I bring in and my stash, slowly but surely, loses weight. I think it’s more reasonable than declaring that I’ll stop buying yarn entirely – that’s unlikely. 😉

Listening to: Almond Beauty ~ Sculptured, Fireye ~ Viada

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Oh, hey, a sock!

I decided to finally break out the Kauni yarn – I got it waaaaay back in April on the pre-Sock Camp yarn crawl – and make my extended rainbow socks:

In fact the plan was to split this skein, but when we wound it we realized that it only contained one complete rainbow. :(


As you can see the second rainbow switches abruptly from yellow-orange to purple and then starts all over again. So I was forced to keep the whole skein even though a pair of socks for me will take almost exactly one rainbow worth of yarn.

Of course I took the picture of this first sock last week intending to blog it right away, and then I didn’t. So now the second sock is well on it’s way and you may be seeing the pair very soon.


Some things I knit

Sock camp will be coming in little bursts, I have a feeling, and I don’t even really hope that I can get it all in. After *doing* all of it the writing is just exhausting! On Sunday night my monkey Mercury hopped on top of my re-packed suitcase in preparation for our trip back to Boston.


Pattern: Funky Sock Monkey
Yarn: STR heavyweight in Rook-y
Started: 4/16/08
Finished: 4/18/08

Earlier that day I had a fab trip to the Fremont Market with MJ and her husband – I found some awesome silver Converse sneakers. But we also saw this sign:


Those facial expressions? Imagine a whole week of that. It was awesome.

MJ even bought some of the wares – recycled yarn that she’s going to use to make some hats.

And earlier in the week I even completed some socks! I know, a novel idea being at sock camp and all…


These “California” socks have been a long time coming – the yarn was a gift from Rachel and she bought it in California. I’m not sure what exactly it was – a 100% merino handdyed very thin yarn, probably between a laceweight and fingering.

Started: 9/?/07
Finished: 4/16/08

They turned out amazing, and I even had quite a bit of yarn left. I should have done them toe up so I could have made the cuffs longer, but I wasn’t feeling the toe-up love at that point I guess. Not that I really am now, but I hate toe-up socks a bit less.

Listening to: Weakness ~ Opeth, One Last Goodbye ~ Anathema

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Sock Camp Highlights

Here are the highlights (aka what I actually took pictures of) from sock camp. I always bring my camera and somehow never remember to take any pictures, so there are only a few and none of me as I obviously can’t take pictures of myself. I’ll have to get those from other people later.

On Monday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then loaded up our gear and headed to the airport to pick up the rest of the campers riding on the bus. The lovely MJ was our bus driver:


After an uneventful trip and meeting some fellow campers on the ferry we arrived, checked into our rooms, and started meeting everyone. We even knit!

ladies knitting

After the first night festivities, MJ and I returned to our room to finish up our homework assignments – to knit a toilet paper cozy. I knit a TP teepee – get it?


After the first night I apparently forgot that my camera existed for a good long while. More about that after I get back to Boston.

On the last night we had some of the Sock Camp rock stars sign the bus:

The Yarn Harlot, of course:

Tina from Blue Moon:


Friday afternoon there was also snow. Can I mention that in Boston it was 70 degrees? Saturday morning was even worse and as the bunch of shocked campers left Orcas the roads looked like this:


Crazy! We made it back to Seattle with a bit of stressing over our friends with flights at 2pm. Then MJ and I had a rather relaxing day of hanging out and almost falling asleep in various places such as the bathtub (separate bathtubs!) and while watching LOST – camp was amazing and exhausting.

Listening to: Morning Star ~ Amorphis, A Moment of Uncertainty ~ Sculptured


Happy Birthday To Me!

My birthday isn’t until Friday, but I got myself some presents already.


A Lexie Barnes bag that I’d been coveting for a while – and the fabric is no longer available so I figured I should snatch it up while I had the chance. The Trekking Hand Art is also a birthday present to me from me. And last, but certainly not least, the reason why they are being photographed on an open suitcase…

Tomorrow I’m heading off to Seattle for some birthday celebration with family and friends, and then sock camp!

I attended last year and had a great time, so I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to make it this year as well.

Also, skully flowers make me happy:


Listening to: Rosetta Stoned ~ Tool


A bit of self control

Tonight I caught myself just before I pulled a set of size 0 needles out of the Mystic Sea socks to cast on a new pair of socks. What would inspire this craziness? Well, Noro… Kureyon Sock, to be exact. Although now that I see what color the ball starts on I might just cut off that first ugly orangey-brown…

See, I have these knitting goals for 2008. Goals like reducing the stash (no, for REAL this time!), getting all of my 2007 and earlier WIPs done or frogged by the end of the year, knitting a sweater…

Well lately I’ve been in one of my antsy moods. The way that I end up with tons of WIPs that I never work on is that I get into one of these moods and decide to cast on a bunch of random stuff. This week I’ve been wanting to make stockinette socks, hence the Noro. (We’ll ignore for this moment that I already have two three pairs of plain-ol’ stockinette socks on the needles.) But really, pulling needles out of an old WIP that I have pledged to finish and starting a new pair of socks?

Well, looking at the Mystic Sea pattern I noticed that it calls for size 1 needles, not size 0. Did I cannibalize the needles earlier? Did I make a conscious decision to knit it on 0s? The world may never know. (And yes, the progress is pitiful. I started those last April and haven’t touched them since getting back from sock camp.)

Also I’ve been doing a bit of spinning for a currently secret project. I’ve been spinning my fleece!

The singles are roughly a fingering weight, which is actually a little bit thicker than I usually spin. That’s good because I was going for a worsted weight two-ply, which is about what I got!

More on that later. :)

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