The Great Sock Yarn Stashbust

Some knitters like hats. Others scarves. Still others churn out beautiful sweater after beautiful sweater.

While I mix it up, my true love is so obvious. I love knitting socks.

I love everything about knitting socks. The repeats down the leg. The sense of accomplishment at turning that heel. The anticipation of completion as those toe decreases begin to go faster and faster. Hell, I even love grafting the toe with kitchener stitch and weaving in the ends. Putting on a pair of completed socks that I’ve hand knit is such a rewarding thing for me.

And sock yarns are just so much fun. I could never pull off a sweater with crazy striping and pooling, and some of the colors that I wear on my feet would never go near my face. Also, what is unbearably itchy on my body is tolerable on my feet (like merino). So me and socks, we’s like peas and carrots.

Which means I have a lot of sock yarn.

My pretty sock yarn stash
My pretty sock yarn stash

There’s more than 13 pairs of socks right there. Just waiting for my hands to catch up with my spending habits. Not to mention all the fun I plan to have with those little remnant balls in the upper left corner there. A whole world of possibilities.

So, being always just a tad behind the 8 ball here, as Socktoberfest draws toward it’s close, I’m initiating the Great Sock Yarn Stashbust of 2008. Look out! I lost a lot of ground working on the Surf Hoodie (yes, I know…I’ll get to blogging about it eventually), so I plan to come back with a vengence.

And I’ve started already. What isn’t in the stash photo is some beautiful Shibui sock in the “Midnight” colorway that I bought from Webs a few months ago.

The Shibui is slowly becoming this:

Look! A little ribbi, lacy sock!
Look! A little ribbi, lacy sock!

It’s the Merino Lace Socks from Interweave’s Favorite Socks. I’m knitting them on my trusty US 1 Susan Bates dpns–which, while they’ve definately got some noticable curve to them, are still my absolute favorite needles–even though the pattern calls to be worked on two circular needles.

The photograph of these socks in the book does them no justice whatsoever. Even my photo doesn’t do this pattern justice. The real beauty shines through when you slip this one on your foot.

Madori weasels her way into the picture of the pretty sock.
Madori weasels her way into the picture of the pretty sock.

Look at all those little lacy swirls.

The Shibui works nicely with this pattern, and the color is lovely. My only complaint about the yarn is that it’s notably uneven. It has a thick-and-thin quality to it that I’m not crazy about. In that regard, it’s similar to Noro’s sock, but nowhere near as stiff. It does make a nice sturdy fabric, though, which gives me hope that these babies will wear very well.

One really beautiful element to this sock is the back lace panel, which continues into the heel.

Waving lacy leaves
Such pretty swirls!

Such a nice pattern element. Really compliments the rest of the sock.

I’m pleased to say that these are really moving right along. The pattern’s easy enough that I’m cruising right along, but requires enough of my attention that I’m not feeling bored at all. Which is a great way to start using up my sock stash.

And, with Knitting Vintage Socks, Knitting on the Road, Folk Socks and Folk Knitting in Estonia now nestled in my library (thanks to Interweave’s “hurt book” sale a few months ago) along with my growing collection of Interweave Knits (best magazine subscription EVER!) and the awesome that are Ravelry pattern downloads, I am just filthy with sock patterns.

And it’s a damn good kind of filthy, let me tell you.

The *Official* Rhinebeck Loot

I have to begin by saying that I’m exceedingly proud of myself. I set a budget for the day at Rhinebeck, and not only did I keep to the budget, I actually came in $20 under.

Score!

And I didn’t do too badly either, though I realized afterwards that I only got one actual skein of yarn, all the rest of the day was devoted to fiber. Some of which will be spun (or attempted to be spun…may be more accurate), and some of which will be thrummed.

So, if I’m only gonna buy one skein, it’d better be sock and it’d better be worth it.

Sock Yarn Love
Sock Yarn Love

Success! It’s a neopolitan-esque superwash merino and bamboo rayon blend sock yarn, and it’s fabulous and I can’t wait to knit it up!

So, now you’re probably wondering about the fiber.

Yeah, I may have gone a *little* overboard on the fiber.

But can you really blame me? I got a little excited, and well, I wanted to try out as many different types of fiber as possible, so where better to get such a great and diverse selection, like pretty merino/tencel…

So shiny and soft.
So shiny and soft.

…or this beautiful merino/tussah silk blend that looks like strands of pewter and feels like silk….

Wow. Just wow.
Wow. Just wow.

…or this pretty, crimpy merino and tencel blend…

I love the soft purples.
I love the soft purples.

 ….or hand painted cashmere down…

So light and fluffy!
So light and fluffy!

…or hand-dyed soy silk roving…

I will learn to spin you, my pretty.
I will learn to spin you, my pretty.

…or tussah silk in the most beautiful blues imaginable…

I cannot believe this shade of blue!
I cannot believe this shade of blue!

…or tussah silk in fire colors that you buy (with the help of an awesome enabler, like Kate) because you just can’t choose between fire or water…

Such an unbelievably beautiful color
Such an unbelievably beautiful color

or merino and bamboo batts that my camera simply does not do justice?

This photo does *nothing* for the amazing deep purple of these batts.
This photo does *nothing* for the amazing deep purple of these batts.

Really, I’m out of control.

I also brought home a copy of Franklin‘s little book, and even got it signed by the artist himself!

Yarn is inherently funny
“Yarn is inherently funny”

Finally, there’s this, which I hinted at in my previous post:

Pretty little spindle
Pretty little spindle

It’s a Bosworth, and I’m kinda getting the hang of it, I think. Maybe. Maybe not. Hard to say. I have to pre-draft the hell out of the roving to reduce my spinning frustration to an acceptable level. But I’m kinda getting it. Sort of.

Check the wicked-uneven, probably overspun, first of my spinning adventure.
Check the wicked-uneven, probably overspun, first of my spinning adventure.

As you’ll notice, that’s not what I bought at Rhinebeck. Actually, this fiber is to blame for my foray into spinning, so I thought it only prudent that I spin it as my first attempt. This is from the Mocha Latte Merino batts I bought from Fiber Monster to thrum with.

Except it didn’t want to be thrums.

It wanted to be spun.

So I bought a spindle to spin it.

And bought a lot more fiber to keep it company.

So beautiful. So evil.
So beautiful. Yet so evil.

I know.

I have the sickness now. And I need to clean out one of my under-the-bed storage bins (I don’t really need all those sweaters under there, do I? It’s not like it gets cold here or anything…) because I have *nowhere* to put all this fiber.

So sick.

The *Official* Weaselmomma Rhinebeck Post

Wow. I’m still recovering from Rhinebeck, but what a fantastic day it was!

The caravan (we had to officially downgrade, as we were no longer a convoy) left Jenny‘s place a little after 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. We took the scenic route to New York, which was absolutely beautiful.

Some spontaneous leaf peeping did occur
Some spontaneous leaf peeping did occur

We got to the fairgrounds a little after 9:00, and it was…a bit chilly. Not gonna lie. I was decked out in handknits to beat the cold. It was a bit over the top, but at least I was warm. And, while we were standing in the sun outside the main gate, a very nice lady gave us THREE FREE admissions!! Nice ticket lady, I don’t know who you were, but THANK YOU SO MUCH!

The *Official* Rhinebeck Roo
The *Official* Rhinebeck Roo

Now, I’m not sure why there was a kangaroo…

One of the *Official* Rhinebeck Ringtail Lemurs
One of the *Official* Rhinebeck Ringtail Lemurs

 …or a whole mess of lemurs. But there were. Maybe there’s some new lemur-fiber trend going on that I’m not aware of, but it definately set the stage for a crazy day to see lemurs and a kangaroo right inside the main gate.

At first, I was completely overwhelmed. I had no idea where to begin, and the sheer volume (of vendors and people) was intense. So, being a noob, I trusted the wisdom of experienced Rhinebeckers and went with the flow.

There were wheels to try…

Somebody pry Jenny off that Golding!
Somebody pry Jenny off that Golding!

…and pretty spindles to oggle…

Ohhhh, the pretty....
Ohhhh, the pretty….

…and fine fashions to model.

the chicken hat
Maura, with the season’s hottest trend: the chicken hat

There were also goats…

Goat butts!
Goat butts!

 …and llamas…

Dude, theyre llamas!
Dude, they’re llamas!

 …and bunnies…

Soooo soft and fluffy!
Soooo soft and fluffy!

…and freaking adorable alpacas… 

I *love* the bangs!
I *love* the bangs!

…and lots and lots of sheep. There were black sheep…

A very sweet sheep came to say hi.
A very sweet sheep came to say hi.

 …and white sheep…

Snoozing in the sun
Snoozing in the sun

 …and spotted sheep…

A Jacob scratches an itch.
A Jacob scratches an itch.

 …and sheep with dreadlocks…

I like the curly Cotswold.
I like the curly Cotswold.

…and even shameless nekkid sheep!

Nudies!!!
Nudies!!!

 There was also tasty lamb stew…

Ummm...the taste of innocence...
Ummm…the taste of innocence…

 …and burgers with some crunch.

Ill take my burger hockey-puck style.
I’ll take my burger hockey-puck style.

 And there was fiber. And there was yarn. And there will be photos of that in the very near future. There was also a spindle in my future…one of these, a mini one…that is currently frustrating the hell out of me…but I am determined to figure it out and make it happen. Just don’t as me how my spinning’s going yet, ok?

But most of all, best of all, there was a day full of laughter, happiness, admiration, sing-a-longs and fun with friends and fellow fiber afficinados.

The Connecticut River Stitch n Bitch
The Connecticut River Stitch ‘n’ Bitch

Can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday in October.

More on fiber, spinning and the official debut of the Apres Surf Hoodie to come, as well as my first experience with the beautiful Shibui and the forthcoming Great Sock Yarn Stashbust.

Min

In the beginning, there was Pip.

Pip was a sick, sad little creature. My first attempt at adopting a little friend for Pip went terribly wrong. So, I did what I have only done once: I bought him a friend. Withing moments of meeting each other, they were fast asleep, curled up around each other in Pip’s hammock. Love at first sight.

Little Miss Min
Little Miss Min

Where Pip was sick, Min was strong. Where Pip was laid back, Min was feisty. She was tiny, never weighing more than half a pound, but she didn’t let her small stature slow her down. And she was beautiful, this diminutive thing with dark sable fur and bright little eyes.

Min could drive me crazy. I’ve yet to meet another ferret as smart as her. She would get into anything, into and on top of things that there was no conceivable way that such a small creature should be able to. But she did. She would watch. She would learn. The little gears in her brain were always turning, figuring things out. You could even see her looking at something, examining a situation, thinking about her next move.

The night I came home from work and found her near death was one of the scarriest nights of my life. But, she came through surgery like a champ and bounced back with a vengence. Nothing could slow her down.

Teeny Tiny Min-Weasel in the Tub
Teeny Tiny Min-Weasel in the Tub

Without Pip, I’d hoped that Min would still find her way. But it wasn’t meant to be. For the first time in her life, Min lost her strength. After almost seven years, her little body just gave out.

She left me this past weekend, and I put her to rest next to Pip, a second little grave next to the first. Even though she took so little space, the cage seems empty without her there.

The babies are handling another loss very well, but I’m worried about the older kids, Lea especially. She took it very hard when Pip left us. She joined the business only two months after Min, and they were very close to one another. She’s…quiet, something that wasn’t the norm for Lea before Pip’s death. It worries me.

I know that this is the way of things. I’ve had to acknowledge for some time that they’re all getting older. Even the babies are over four years old now, and while their spirits run on high octane, their bodies simply cannot keep up with them forever. These goodbyes don’t get any easier, but I like to remember each one for who they were.

Min was smart and sweet. She gave kisses and bit toes. The weasel boys picked on her because of her size, and loved when she would freak out on them like a maniac. She was a handful, literally and figuratively.

And I was very, very lucky to have this sweet little girl in my life for the past seven years.

Pip, you have your girl with you now. I’ll see you both again someday, my loves.