Thursday, March 09, 2006

Are socks the crack cocaine of knitting?

This has been a fun week for this here knitter!

Sunday night I went to my brother Pat's house for some Oscar knitting with SIL Jenny. Here she is knitting a lovely scarf whilst little Sophie Crashed in the crook of her leg:

It's hard out here for a pup ... (but not for this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!)

While I was there I finally finished knitting my Sinsation chenille scarf which I'll be felting soon, once I'm done weaving in the ends. It's a good thing it's getting felted -- the darn cats must have found it one night on the couch while I slept -- I found all kinds of weird loops and things that were not part of the original knitting! It's incredibly soft, so must feel dandy on their little footpads. But make no mistake -- the kitties would be down to 8 lives if I couldn't fix their pawings in the washer/dryer. I hope to get that done this weekend, and will be taking before & after measurements and photos to see how much it shrinks in the wash. Stay tuned!

Tuesday evening I raced over to B&N and was late (again) for "TNK" (Tuesday Night Knitters) but happy to attend at all. (Darn work -- interfering with my life!) Within 20 minutes of my arrival, I was ridiculously thrilled to have the opportunity to watch and then practice Magic Loop sock knitting. Sock Knitting! Magic Loop! Me! The sweet and lovely Sherry was our impromptu instructor, and she was incredibly gracious about showing everyone how to do it.

Jane, pictured below with Deb (L to R):

has photographic documentation of the lesson on her blog -- I was too busy peppering poor Sherry with questions and enjoying the lesson at the time to get out my camera. And an even bigger thrill for me -- Sherry says if I come next week with sock yarn and some US size 1, 40" Addi Turbo's, she'll give me my very own Magic Loop Sock lessons! Actually, next week I'll knit a gauge swatch, and Sherry will go home and plug the numbers and my foot measurements into her sock-wizard software and crank me out a pattern. Then, the following week I'll get to start my very first sock, via that magic method I've really been wanting to learn. (Anything to avoid the scary double-pointed needles!)

I cannot express how excited this makes me! (Does this also make me pathetic? I don't care!) I read a lot of knitting blogs and am always both impressed and envious of the mad sock skillz out there. I'm jumping for joy to get to learn myself. And might I add that I was absolutely loving knitting the round that Sherry allowed me to knit on her sock -- I'm not sure if it was the yarn, the needles, the method, or a combination of all three, but, one row later and I'm hooked. It's crack, I tell you!

But people, people, PEOPLE -- I need some sock yarn recommendations! Tell me your favorite sock yarn, please! And if you're local -- tell me which LYS carries the best sock yarn!

Meanwhile, the very funny Tammy regaled the group at the other end of the table with hilarious stories of her recent travels. And I found out that Patsy, pictured below knitting the beautiful blue-green shawl, is a spinner, and brought some of her beautiful hand-spun yarn. I was surrounded by greatness, I tell you!

Last but not least, this week's Trollopes were Lisa and Joanna:

I think I'll make "Trollope of the Week" a regular designation on my blog!

Oh, and I almost forgot! Knowing that I was in the market for a ball winder and swift, Jane brought her own fantastic Strauch ball winder that her sister Lawre sells from her online shop and demonstrated it for me:

I was sold, and purchased one today online. Lawre's even throwing in a free bonnet, and as Jane astutely pointed out, it looks like the state of Virginia, (okay, a backwards Virginia):

[I'm hoping my bonnet will be in one of my favorite colors (teal, aqua, turquoise, blue-green, blue)]. Hint, hint....

And you can't have a ball winder without a swift, now can you? As tempting as the lovely floor model Strauch swifts were on Lawre's website, they're a bit pricey and I really don't have the space, so therefore decided on the more economical but highly recommended Mama Bear swift from the Oregon Woodworker. Here's hoping it arrives around the same time as the ball winder, so I can put them both immediately to test!

But back to the subject of socks. (I'm not obsessing, am I?) I did a little surfing yesterday, seeing if there was an online retailer's yarn that grabbed me. I did peruse the selection at Lorna's Laces (are all of her yarns sock yarn?), and found a color I really liked, ("Georgetown"), but couldn't decide on the type of yarn to get.

Meanwhile, Melanie mentioned some lovely KnitPicks yarn in yesterday's post, and I immediately fell in love with Shimmer's "Turquoise Splendor" colorway (of course) and bought two hanks of it. But then I realized that this wasn't sock yarn -- it's shawl yarn. All is not lost, however -- I'll maybe use it to knit my first Clapotis sometime this year.

And so, I'm back to looking for sock yarn. I liked the idea of the luxury fibers of Shimmer. But I'm guessing that sock yarn needs a little elastic fiber in it? I've not been too impressed with any of Knitpicks official sock yarn colorways, so probably won't be buying theirs. I suppose I may have to go on a yarn crawl this weekend.

Oh, shucks -- do I have to...? ... ;-)


jane said...

I used some KnitPicks Shimmer to make a Bellini Shawl in January. It's so beautiful and only took one ball, I'll bring the pattern Tues. Jane

Lynne said...

Sock knitting is a disease for which there is no cure. I started out with just one ball (bought in Charlottesville) and now have several hundred all over my house (they breed at night as well).

Courtney said...

I haven't had the best luck finding sock yarn in Richmond. I was just at the Knitting Basket yesterday, and they have very little. I'd reccomend starting with something inexpensive like KnitPicks or Lion Brand Magic Stripes (available at Ben Franklin) because socks are tricky at first. There's usually a small selection of cheap sock yarns at Michael's too. As far as I can tell, there is no sock yarn at Lettuce Knit, and just Koigu and a few others at Got Yarn, but I haven't been in there since January. Unravelled also has a very small selection sock yarns. Let me know if you find someplace in town that carries sock yarn. Good luck!

emmy said...

I like Holly Spring Homespun's merino for socks. She has maybe I should say had some great colors( it unfortunately has been awhile since I got out there). I would call Kathy and see what she has before making the drive. I made my first pair on size 2 needles using thin sock yarn from Elann. I hated it....only made one. I then bought some thicker yarn and used size 5 dpns ( really not all that scary..I promise) I loved it. I used the Holly Spring pattern for "Simply Socks" and loved working it. She also has a tutorial on her blog.I am now making Jaywalkers using koigu on size ones but it is much better going now since I got more experience. Having said all that...I want to learn the "magic loop" too. That is great that you have someone willing to help you like that. Whatever you decide I wish you well. and yes. it is crack.

I think I am off to Williamsburg and hopefully to Knitting Sisters!!