Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's all about the gauge

When I showed my daughter what I bought at the Sheep and Wool festival, and it was all about yarn for socks, for me. It was crazy at Tony Neil's booth in NY, her shop is called "The Fold", because she had the "Socks that Rock" yarn and everyone was mad for it. I have used it and liked it as well, so I nosed over there late Sunday and they had a few colorways in the medium yarn left, so I bought one. I am lucky in that Tony's shop is in Merango, IL only about 40 minutes from me. So I can go there any time. Her booth was absolutely mobbed during the whole show, so I imagine she did very well. I also got some cashmere and some cashmere/silk blend from her to play with - beautiful stuff. It was a good price too for cashmere. I want to knit my daughter a wedding veil and am looking for the best fiber to spin yarn for it.

So anyway, I bought a lot of sock yarn because I'd love to have a drawer full of home made socks. The only problem is that the perfect knitted sock evades me. I have made 4 pair and the Socks that Rock pair is the only one I'd consider wearing. But it's still a bit too big. And the issue, I found out, is my gauge. I had the opportunity to have a knitting diva on the trip with us and she dictated a sock for me to knit. I eagerly worked on it on the long drive from Canada to New York and discovered that it was too big. I was using a size 1 needle, on a pattern that she uses a size 2 on. So I switched to a size 0 and she still pronounced it too big. I guess I get really relaxed when I knit or something. My hands are anyway. So I started knitting as tightly as I could and I think I have the gauge now. So I frogged the thing and started over, maybe twice. But I am 2/3 the way done now and I think it will fit me snugly and not feel like steel mesh on the bottom. I am very happy and grateful to my friend for helping me with this. I am looking forward to having some socks that rock of my own. Pictures to follow soon.

I also want to say thanks to the people who leave me comments. I enjoy reading them. Yes, I will most likely sell the hat pattern and maybe the yarn that it is made with on my site. I use an 85/15 Angora/Merino blend from Samson Angora's that is amazing and beautiful. It takes about 3 oz or 1 1/2 skeins of the sportweight yarn. It is warm, and light and beautiful. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

So I'm back from Rhinebeck. It was very crazy with lots of vendors and lots of people. I bought a bit of yarn for socks and a couple pounds of raw black shetland wool. It's very pretty. I also got my huge bags of combed fiber from Zeilingers and I barely fit them into the trunk to bring them home. It was a lot of driving and a lot of work. But we did pretty well because the hat that I designed was wildly popular and it sold all of her yarn the first day. So then we were out the second day. So my design was a big success. I have a picture of it so I can post it.

The weather was beautiful and there were hordes of people at the fair. I ate too much and stood on my feet too much. But all in all, it was good to get away.

Friday, October 5, 2007


I think I might be getting tired of hats. A couple friends want me to make them scarves and I will have to buy yarn for that, but that's OK. So many people think that wool is itchy, but really only commercially processed wool is itchy. They all say they are allergic to it when often it is just that the wool has a lot of pokey fibers and was not treated nicely. My handspun is soft and beautiful. I can't wear commercially processed wool, even over another shirt, yet I can wear Merino and Angora blends next to my skin. Also Alpace and yes, even Mohair. Even I was surprised about that.

I had someone who told me he was allergic to wool and yet he put on an 100% merino wool sock that I knitted and said "Oooh, this feels good". LOL But it's an uphill battle.

I love my fiber, all the different colors, and textures and lengths. There is something so sensual about natural fibers, something seductive. I love just touching them, and wearing them is so enjoyable. My first love is spinning and I need to do more of that and less hat knitting. :-P After I finish this one and write down the pattern for Leslie, anyway. I have a week to get it printed out so she can use it with her yarn at NY Sheep and Wool. I can't wait. Oh, and she picked up my two huge bags of fiber from the mill. I can't wait to see them! She says they are perfect, as I had them combed. So I am looking forward to spinning them up.

Keep on spinning!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Long time

I have not posted for a while. I finished the Celtic hat for Leslie. She decided it was too small. I was making a headband like it, so that is now the new hat. I've almost got the band done and will start the top of it soon.

She also came up for her father's 80th birthday and we had a nice visit. She showed me some spinning stuff and is trying to talk me into keeping track of my TPI. I am an intuitive spinner and she is more technical. :-P I just do it. But it would be better if my spinning was more consistent. I actually do very well, but maybe could do better with some consistency for selling stuff.

She showed me some novelty yarn spinning which was fun. I may have to try it.

I have orders from many people for things to make them. So I will be busy this fall. In two weeks, I go to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival with my friend who will have a booth there. Maybe I can sell some stuff even though she was not encouraging about the yarn. She thinks my finished items are worth more. Probably right. She is in the biz and has been for a long time.

Also, my wool that I took to WI Sheep and Wool is done at the mill and she will be picking it up for me. I can't wait to see how it turned out. I'm very excited about it. I hope she calls me when she gets it to let me know if it looks good. I had it combed so it should be beautiful.

I need a new camera for more pictures to post. That is next. So much to do!