Monday, January 29, 2007

Socks for a Monday

For today's Monday customer project, Kirsten's wonderful socks made with FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn are in the spotlight. She used reinforcement thread on the heels and toes, which not only provides a sturdy sock that should hold up well over time but also adds a nice little design touch. I love this photo too! The feet look so comfy and happy in these cheerful socks. Great job, Kirsten!

I also want to remind all of you about the Knitspot contest drawing on February 3rd. If you haven't entered yet, be sure to get your entries in soon! There are several yarn and knitting prizes to be won, including some FF yarn in the mix. One of the prizes is a skein of FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn paired together with a copy of the just-released pattern by the brilliant Anne of Knitspot for these amazing "Smokin' Socks."

Everyone have a great week!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yarn Photos + Nonsense

It’s been a while since I’ve posted pictures of new colorways for you, so I thought I’d do a bit of that today. I also have a bit of nonsense to share with you that might give you a giggle. First the yarn …

You may recall that I recently added a Worsted Weight Classic Merino Wool Yarn to my FF line. I began with three colorways but have since added a couple of new ones. Here’s one that I particularly like, called Clear Sailing. The first batch was snapped up right away, but there’s more listed in my Etsy shop now.

I’ve also recently added more Sportweight Cashmere to the shop. For a while, I was dyeing the sportweight cashmere mostly by special request, but I managed to find some time to build a bit of stock and so there are now a number of colorways in stock. Most of them are the same colorways you’ll find on my Laceweight Cashmere. Here’s Exotic Wood in the Sportweight:

One more yarn photo for you: Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Kildare. This is one of my earliest colorways on Superwash Sock Yarn that I put on the backburner for a while since I sold so much of it that I thought everyone had probably had enough of it already. I whipped up a small batch of it recently, thinking that it might be fun for St. Patrick’s Day socks and it’s been snapped up pretty quickly, but I still have a skein or two available at the time of this posting.

Alright. Enough yarn for today. Now on to the nonsense! This has absolutely nothing to do with yarn or knitting, but since I think of all of you as my own little knit club, I’ll just chit chat for a moment. During my visit with my family last week, my mother told a story that made me giggle so I thought I’d share it with you to give you a smile on this Saturday evening.

The story my mother told was from when she was around six years old. In Sunday school, they were learning about sins and reviewing what they were. When they got to adultery, the Sunday school teacher looked uncomfortable and said something about how that was very bad and we don't talk about it in public. My mother thought about it and decided that it must mean farting in public (pardon my blunt language, but that’s the word my usually rather genteel 84-year-old mother used). Needless to say, her priest must have been very surprised indeed when little six-year-old Ruthie confessed the next week to committing adultery. I know that what one confesses to her priest should not be shared, but I would venture a guess that the priest had a good laugh with his fellow members of the cloth about that one!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back To Work!

I've been back from vacation a few days now and am working to get myself back up to speed. It's amazing with a small business how just a few days away can create such a backlog of things to do. My apologies to all of you for my rather scant blog postings of late, but as I'm sure you can imagine, dyeing comes first on my list of catch-up activities!

My vacation involved a trip to Pennsylvania to visit my family. My sister, her husband, their five children, and my mother live together in Pennsylvania. For me, the trip was rather exhausting despite the fact that all we really did was hang around their house, play cards and games, eat too much good food, and laugh riotously at just about anything and everything. Just being around the five children always enervates me. At this moment in time, they are all teenagers. Yep. That's right. Five of them, ranging in age from 13 to 19. Just being in proximity to all that youthful energy is enough to exhaust me!

I did manage to knit a bit during the trip, on the plane and during a few rare, quiet moments at the house. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera with me and so I can't even manage a bit of knitting content for you by providing a picture. I followed Katy's lead in knitting the Reversible Scarf from the Yarn Harlot (posted in my Monday customer projects a couple of weeks ago) and I made one for my mother. A straightforward project that required little attention was just the ticket for knitting on the plane. The scarf turned out very nicely, but you'll have to trust me on that since it is now in my mother's possession and I have no picture to share.

I also finally gave my sister the cashmere scarf/wrap that I made ages and ages ago. Some of you who have been visiting here for many months may remember it:

I'm pleased to say that it was a big hit! My sister ooooh'ed and aaaaaah'ed appropriately, but I knew for certain that she truly liked it when she brought it to work with her the next day to show to her work friends. My sister's a fair-skinned redhead and so the green color is lovely on her.

The highlight of my trip was when my oldest niece suddenly - with no prompting from me or her mom, I swear! - expressed an interest in learning to knit. The two younger nieces then chimed in to say that it sounded like fun and they'd like to learn too. I had actually thought of bringing extra needles and yarn with me on the trip in case I could rope them into learning to knit, but I decided against it since it seemed unlikely that they would suddenly take an interest in knitting and I thought I would regret carrying the extra baggage for no reason. Now I know better and will be sure to plan that for the next trip.

That's all the news that's fit to print today. Again, my apologies for my negligence in blogging these last couple of weeks. I promise to do better going forward and thank you all so much for not forgetting all about me while I was gone!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday Customer Projects

For today's customer project feature I have two fantastic new machine-knit scarves by the prolific Sandy.

Here is Sandy's "Elephant Sampler Scarf" knit primarily with Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in a wide variety of colorways, along with a bit of other yarns from other sellers. How's this for over-the-top fabulous?!

And here are a couple of closeups showing some of the pattern details. WOW!

Next is another Fair Isle patterned scarf by Sandy in FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Nearly Black, Stormy Gray, Vapor, Golden Mustard and Brick House.

And a closeup of the gorgeous detail:

I am just amazed at how beautiful these scarves are. They just get better and better!

Keep the photos coming everyone. And don't forget the Orphan Skein Sale in
my shop today. Many of the orphans have already found good homes this morning but there are still quite a few available.

Great day to all!

I'm back from vacation now and wanted to remind everyone that I'm having an Orphan Skein Sale in my Etsy shop today and tomorrow. All of the orphan skeins are now listed. The first few have sold already, so be sure to pop over and check them out before they're all gone!

I'll also be posting my usual Monday customer projects here on my blog later this morning, but wanted to take a quick minute to give you a quick reminder about the sale.

Happy Bargain Hunting!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two Great Projects Plus More on the Sale!

For today's Monday customer projects, I have two terrific ones to share with you. First, here's Micki's Pomatomus socks in Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Brick House colorway.

I've seen so many pairs of Pomatomus socks and have to admit that I was never blown away by the pattern. The socks I've seen from this pattern in the past were all made with handpainted/variegated yarns. They were certainly very nice socks, but it wasn't until I saw Micki's rendition that I really picked up on the lovely, swirling details of the pattern. You can find more details and pictures on Micki's blog, but I can't resist sharing one more of her photos that really captures the lovely detail. Great job, Micki! You may have swayed me to finally knit my own Pomatomus.

Next up is Katy's scarf in FF Alpaca/Wool DK Yarn in the Bountiful colorway. This scarf is the Yarn Harlot's Reversible Scarf Pattern. When I knit with handpainted yarn, I often change the pattern by a few stitches as needed to avoid pooling and patterning, but in this case, the patterning really works well. Isn't it lovely?!

I like this scarf so much that I think perhaps I'll start one myself this week, while I'm on a long plane ride. That brings me to the next topic of today's post ...

I'm taking a brief vacation from Wednesday through Sunday this week. During that time, all items in my Etsy shop will disappear. The items will reappear on Monday morning. As a reward to all of you for your patience while I'm gone, there will also be quite a number of Orphan Skeins on sale on Monday morning. There will even be some orphan triplets and perhaps even quadruplets! The sale will be two days only. Items will be listed Monday morning January 22nd (sometime around 8:00 a.m. Pacific) and any unsold orphans will be removed Tuesday evening.

I'm off to gather up the orphans now in preparation for next week Monday's sale!

Great week to all!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Good Things Coming!

I have two good pieces of news to share with you today. First, there's the blogiversary contest over at Knitspot. Anne, the design and knitting genius behind Knitspot, is approaching the first anniversary of her wonderful blog. To make the anniversary even more momentous, her blogiversary is also her birthday!

To celebrate, Anne is having a drawing with several yarn and goodie prizes. You can enter through February 2nd. Among the prizes are a couple of Fearless Fibers goodies paired with Anne's wonderful patterns. Pop on over to Knitspot and check it out!

The second good thing to share is that I'm planning my second ever Orphan Skein Sale. It's my chance to clear out odds and ends and make room on my shelves, and it's your chance to pick up some great bargains. My tentative date for the orphan skein sale is Monday January 22nd. Once I have plans firmed up, I'll share more information.

That's all the news that's fit to print for today. More soon!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Bit of Progress

As usual, I haven't spent nearly as much time as I would like knitting, but I do have some progress to share with you at last!

Here is a photo of the shawl I'm working on. This is the Faux Russian Stole from Meg Swansen's book, A Gathering of Lace. I'm using my Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn. You won't find this colorway in my shop, since it's a one-of-a-kind that I dyed for myself.

Although I don't feel as though I've spent much time on the shawl lately, I've somehow managed to come pretty close to the halfway point. The yarn is a heavier weight than called for in the pattern and I also used smaller needles, so I'll be curious to see how it looks when blocked. That is, if I ever get there!

In other news, I've got a new pair of socks on the sticks. I'm using a leftover skein of superwash merino sportweight yarn that I suppose is from another project that I've long since forgotten. I kept the cuff short, as I'm not at all certain that I have enough yarn to finish the pair.

You can't really see the pattern in this photo, but it's the best picture I could get on this gloomy day. The pattern is a little odd anyway. It's a speckled/broken rib of sorts, that up close looks like a rib peppered with mistakes, sprinkled with a knit where a purl should be, a purl where a knit should be. From a distance the pattern becomes visible though and looks a little like a mock cable. It's definitely not something I'm in love with by any stretch of the imagination, but I like the way it looks enough to proceed. These are just socks for me, so they don't need to be a work of art.

I also managed to finish the knitting of the "Thingamajig" that I mentioned in a prior post. It needs some serious blocking and a bit of finish work to be complete. I'm still not sure whether it's going to work out or not, but I'll know as soon as I get around to blocking it. I'll report back on that soon.

It feels good to have made at least some progress on my current projects. I'd love to start another sweater soon, but with so little time for knitting I want to be sure it's a project that I really, really want to do before I begin. We shall see.

Everyone have a wonderful week! And please keep those finished project photos coming to me!

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Bit of Lace

For this Monday's customer projects, I have a bit of lace to share with you. First, here is Kathleen's lovely shawl, made with Fearless Fibers Sportweight Cashmere in the Endless Night colorway. The pattern is Susan Lawrence's Forest Canopy. Kathleen says that the shawl "flew off the needles and the colorway was extraordinary." Well, I can certainly say that the results are extraordinary! How lovely!

Here's a closeup of the stitch detail.

Next up is Sandy's shawl, from the same pattern as the shawl above. How's that for coincidence? I misposted the source pattern earlier, as you'll see in Sandy's comments submitted. (THANK YOU for the correction!). And yes, this is the same Sandy who's been making all of those gorgeous projects on her knitting machine that you've seen in past Monday postings. As you can see from this hand knit shawl, Sandy's knitting talents extend beyond machine knitting. She knit this shawl with Fearless Fibers Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Sunday Brunch colorway. Isn't it delicious?

And a closeup for the lovely detail:

These project photos are just what I needed to get me motivated to move on the lace shawl I've been working on. I must admit that I haven't worked on it nearly as much as I would like, but I have made some progress and will share a photo with you later this week.

Please keep your photos coming! Just e-mail them to me and I'll put them in the spotlight in a future Monday blog post. Thanks!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Vogue Shmogue

I can remember how excited I used to get when my copy of Vogue Knitting arrived in the mail each season. It would remain in its protective plastic wrapping until I had a clear space of time to sit and give it the attention it deserved. I'd make a fresh pot of coffee and sit curled up in a favorite chair, with no television or other distractions. The patterns at the back of the magazine were usually the first place I'd look, although occassionally I would start from the beginning and slowly make my way through every page of the magazine, savoring the anticipation of the patterns - the real "meat" of the magazine - to come.

For several years, I stopped my subscription to Vogue Knitting. I'm not sure why. Perhaps just laziness with the renewal process. Perhaps I let my subscription go at some point when I was moving from state to state every few years. My subscription began again two years ago when my sweet hubby got me a two-year subscription as one of a shower of a knitting-related gifts for Christmas. Oh joy! Oh happy day!

But alas, the excitement of Vogue quickly waned. Maybe I've just become hopelessly unhip? Or perhaps my standards for knitting patterns were not quite so high several years ago? Whatever the case, I know that now I will likely not renew my subscription.

If you have a copy of the latest VK Winter 2006/07 edition, follow along with me and tell me if I'm just nuts. If you don't have a copy, sit back, close your eyes and imagine this. (Wait. No. Don't close your eyes. You can't read this and close your eyes, now can you?)

The patterns begin with three that might be classified as "romantic." I classify them as pointless. There's a lacey sweater that's gossamer all over, but looks pulled and strained at the bodice, even on a model's figure. Topping off this light, lacey look is a bulky turtleneck. Huh? Then there's a shrug with a cable pattern that's mildly interesting, but the shrug itself looks bulky and uncomfortable.

Skipping a few pages to page 72, we come to a sweater with big sloppy cable and bobbles everywhere. The neckline is shapeless and unfinished looking with bobbles spotted along the edges. The bobble madness continues with a chain of them down each sleeve. The cables are interspersed with bobbles as well. I think perhaps it would look more appropriate if the model herself had a giant bobblehead!

The skirt on page 74 is so bizarre and so incredibly ridiculous that I can't even find the words. Forget the pattern. Just make a bunch of irregularly shaped sample squares with various stitches and then do your best to patch them together into something that you can loosely call a skirt. That will do just as well as this pattern, in my opinion.

Then there's page 75 with a short cardigan in Fair Isle. The Fair Isle pattern is pretty, although I personally don't care much for the colors chosen. But the sweater itself is a bit of a mess. It looks pulled and ill-fitting. It's held closed at one point only, low in the sweater, and if you look for more than a second or two you will quickly see that the closure is placed about an inch off from one side to the other. You know the look. The way a sweater skews if you miss a button. How could they not correct this before going to press?

Then there's a hat on page 76 that looks as if one would have to hold one's head perfectly still to avoid having the thing just pop right off. Is it that ill-fitting or is this some new style that I'm unaware of? The pinhead nature of the hat is only accentuated by the big pompom on top. The hat on the following page is no better. Yes, we all like a quick-knit from time to time. But a hat knit with #15 needles at a gauge of 2 stitches per inch? Not only that, but the hideous thing folds into a cuff around the bottom, meaning it's double-thick. It's so chunky and bulky that I'll bet if I wore one, it would double the circumference of my head!

Oh my. I don't think I can go on. It's just too painful. Was VK always this way and I never noticed? I can't remember ever actually knitting any of the patterns from VK, but I do recall finding several in each issue that I planned to knit at some point. Now I'm lucky if I can find one that I might be willing to knit if someone held a gun to my head.

I suppose I should have seen it coming. Does anyone recall an issue a couple of years ago with a long coat of some sort made with chunky novelty yarns? It was so ugly I can't imagine many would have read the pattern but if you did you would have found that the instructions for attaching the furry trim along the edges directed that one glue it on. Yes, you read right. GLUE the edging on.

Oh my. Sad times indeed. I fear my VK days are truly over now. I can bear no more.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sockin’ in the New Year!

For today’s customer project photos, I have a lovely spread of socks to share with all of you. All of these socks were made using Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn.

Jersey Shore Deb made these darling socks for her daughter. The colorway is Sky and Clouds. Deb’s daughter wanted a simple sock and Deb obliged with a toe-up stockinet sock with a picot edge. This was her first pair of toe-up socks and what a lovely job she did! You can read more about Jersey Shore Deb’s knitting adventures on her blog.

Next we have Cherie’s “Eagle Flight” socks in in the Brick House colorway. She knit these fantastic socks as part of a Yahoo Sock Group (“Justsocks”) Knitalong. The pattern can be found here. Fabulous work, Cherie! The socks are smashing!

Next we have Molly’s socks in the Thoroughbred colorway. Molly reports that these are now her favorite socks, the first ones she wears after a wash every single time. Now that’s music to my ears! And no wonder they’re her faves. They look perfect in every way: great fit, perfect knit, and in one of Molly’s favorite colors. Who could ask for more?

Finally, we have a pair of socks knit by Bettina in the Smoke colorway. Unfortunately, the picture is a little dark and doesn’t do justice to the knitting by Bettina, but there’s also a closeup below with more exposure that gives you a better view of the details. The pattern is the Gentleman’s Socks with lozenge pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. Great job, Bettina!

Thank you all for continuing to share your pictures! Keep ‘em coming!!

Finally, I want to wish all of you and yours the very best of all things in the coming year. Happy New Year!