Posts Tagged ‘sundarasock’


May 31, 2012

The blasted humidity has broken, leaving us with the kind of bright clear day that yields a sky the color of the Connecticut flag.

This portends a few things:

  • I can finally get up into the attic-that-is-my-closet to put away the woolies and get out the summer clothes.  Really, it’s time.  (Because I can do it without threat of suffocation.)
  • It is dry enough for blocking!

“Blocking what?” you ask.
Shawls.  There are three that have been waiting an embarrassingly long time.  It brings to mind a story Ann Budd tells of a co-worker who hates blocking so much she has a trunk full of shawls ~ that are all unblocked!  She takes them off the needles and chucks them in the trunk.  Imagine!

Cobweb Lace from Long Ridge Farm

I am closing in on the finish line on the current bit of lace, a confection of 100% silk and beads you’ll see soon.

Which brings me to a burning case of startitis.  You know, that time when you’re just dying to put Something New on the needles.   New yarn.  New pattern.   One look at the stash and the possibilities are rather endless.  I want to play with them ALL.

Fact is, I was a very industrious and focused Test-Knitting Owl the first five months of the year.  Monogamous to my projects in the most disciplined way.

Time to let down my hair and allow myself to get some shiny new things going.  That means all kinds of time in the black hole of “advanced-pattern-search,” browsing yardage against stash, looking at other knitters’ projects ’round and ’round in circles.  How does it get to be past midnight?  Something like this:

Do I want to use madtosh merino light in a shawl?  Or some silk lace in the new Ysolda Teague Barley Sugar, which is a wonderful year-round accessory and stash-burner?  Do I really want to knit (learn) all that brioche stitch right now?  How about getting some of that BrooklynTweed yarn on the needles ~ finally ~ so I can write a decent review?  That Kirsten Kapur Ziggity would be perfect for the really fine BFL sock yarn I have.  Wait, with like, 2914 patterns I need to BUY one?  How is that possible?  What about a pattern in my library that uses the same yarn?  How about beads this time?  It’s been a long time since I knitted with the original Sundara Sock I love so much; it would be fun to get that going again. (Then goes off to buy some of said yarn from a fellow knitter for no reason other than that it’s there and I’m thinking about how much I like it.) … and on and on.

Good thing startitis is only allowed to happen a couple of times a year.

But all this browsing has also allowed me to pick out some fun prizes for you!  Your names were selected the utterly old-fashioned way:  written on slips of paper, placed in a bowl, drawn by a co-worker with a quizzical look.

AngieSue, Nanci, Mary, Frieda, Teekay, Bullwinkle and Noallatin – you’re all winners!  Look for emails from me so I know where to send the loot.

And thank you to each and every one of you who wrote something.  It truly warmed my heart.


A glance

January 6, 2011

When the calendar page turns, we are all conditioned to take stock.  A glance back, a look ahead.

A year ago, I promised to “make progress on the following”:

Tackle some of the baker’s dozen of unfinished objects ~ Hm.  Ten still undone.  Oops.  Too many shiny distractions and not enough brain space to wrestle with some of these.

Knit like crazy for the darlingest knitwear model ~ Still the cutest model, but woeful progress here, too.   One done, one missing a collar.  Still.  Idjit.

The secret test-knit

Knit one sweater for myself ~ I did knit one sweater, albeit for a soon-to-be-published book.  In 36 days.  On size 2 needles, with intarsia and fair-isle.  I think that qualifies.

Attend an extra day of the Knitter’s Review Retreat ~ Done.  Best decision ever.

Ready my own design for publication ~ Oh, that.  I forgot all about it.


Deep breath which can also be read as a sigh.

Peachy - the pattern and the model

Time to look at the year’s knitting from a different angle:

  • Projects completed:  21 plus 3 test-knits
  • Yarn used:  3.2 miles plus 1.2 miles = 4.3 miles of yarn
  • 8 shawls, 7 cowls, 2 hats, 3 fingerless mitts, 2 scarves, 1 adult and 1 child’s sweater, 1 pair of socks  No, the math doesn’t work, but I’m not going back to figure it out.
  • Number of “one-skein” projects completed:  16
  • WIP/UFOs today:  15
  • Fibers first used in 2010:  Bluefaced Leicester (BFL), California Variegated Mutant (CVM), Cormo, Targhee
  • Favorite yarns used in 2010:  Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna and Lyra, Sundara Sock, Foxfire Fiber Cormo/Silk/Alpaca, Quince and Co. Chickadee, AslanTrends Invernal
  • Designers I knitted from most:  Ysolda Teague, Gudrun Johnston

SHELTER - Button Jar for Woodruff mittens

On tap for 2011 (besides attacking those UFOs that are still UFOs – I mean, really):

E-nough with the navel-gazing already!

The past week has brought seismic shifts in several critical parts of my life, and these shifts are mostly good extraordinary.  They mean I am no longer carrying a Steinway in terms of the responsibilities and pressures of everyday life.  Will it mean more knitting time?  I sure hope so.

Baby, it’s cowl’d outside

December 8, 2010

I went nearly six days without knitting.


Certainly not by choice.

I am trying to get some life-mojo back, and to recover the illusion that I am in any way organized.  Working 70 hours in a week does not help this effort.

So it’s time to clear the decks with a couple of recent projects.  They have something in common, other than the obvious … both are examples of ways to incorporate shaping into accessories to achieve a better fit.

We’re talking about cowls.

Knitspot - Spiraluscious

I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing remotely swan-like about my neck.  Stubby as it is, it does get cold.  Cowls are the single best way to feel toasty warm without putting on the bulk.

You may remember this project from the first post about project marriage, Spiraluscious by Knitspot.

The yarn is Sundara Sock in my favorite colorway, Hot Chilies.

This cowl differs in construction from many others, in that it is knitted from the top down.  I used that for some shaping flexibility.

In flat view, shaping is apparent

Mods: I started at the top on US 4, at the appropriate gauge.  I wanted this not to crush down on itself into a smoosh on my squat neck.  After 2 repeats of the spiral pattern, I bumped up to a US 5.  I added no pattern repeats, but when it came time to knit on the edging, I went up again to a US 6.

Edging detail

The pattern instructs the knitter to not pin it out while blocking.  I went a different route — as evidenced in the first photo, using a vase to give it a little structure, which allowed me to open up the edging a little bit.  Ultimately, this means no breezeway where the cowl ends, which would defeat the purpose of the cowl entirely.

It being a gifting time of year, I also did a test-drive of AslanTrends Guanaco in colorway Blue Jeans on the Ridged Lace Cowl for a dear co-worker who likes to walk at lunchtime.

Ridged lace cowl

Again, I incorporated some shaping, though it’s a little hard to see in this shot. This one is knitted in the more traditional bottom-up construction.

Mods: Cast-on using US 9, through first repeat of pattern.  Changed to US 8 to purl ridge of 3rd repeat; changed to US 7 for 1.5 repeats and top edge.  I had less yarn than the pattern called for, so I knitted a total of 4.5 pattern repeats before the top edge.

I found this bulky merino-alpaca blend to be a little bit hairy ~ more than I would have liked.  It did soften up with a soak, and I know that subsequent wearing will make the finished piece softer.   (I knitted at slightly tighter gauge than I would have on a different project, knowing that the alpaca would relax with a bath.)

Rinse, repeat

November 10, 2010

… and repeat … and repeat … and repeat … and repeat.

You get the idea.

I realized the other night that I needed to get my Spring is in the Air shawl blocked if I was to take it with me to the Knitter’s Review Retreat.  No biggie – the blocking bed was clear, so it was just a matter of a Eucalan soak and pinning out.

The Yarn Goddess laughed out loud.  So did the writers of my cosmic sitcom.

See, I chose this Sundara Sock in Caribbean for its intense blue-green.  After a two-hour soak in what started as very warm water, the bath in the blocking bowl was a lovely shade of aquamarine.  Okay, we’ll need to rinse this a bit.

… Only problem was, every bowl of rinse water was a shade of swimming pool, starting with YMCA blue.  With each rinse, I thought about a pool I’d been in at some point in my life.

I gave that up around the 20th rinse.  And I stopped counting rinses.

I abandoned the rinse bowl and went straight to running water through it from the spigot, except for periodic checks in my snow-white bowl.  Checks that revealed more swimming-pool blue.

How ’bout another Eucalan bath?

Look: the same YMCA pool blue I started with.  Again. Every time I used woolwash, I went back to the beginning with intensely blue water.

This went on for an hour.

Because what would be the point of wearing a bright blue-green shawl over a white shirt that would presumably pick up transferred dye?

It was, of course, the owl hours when I gave up and tiptoed up two flights to pin it out. 

(Yes, I know there was some kind of an alternative involving vinegar, but my own dyeing experiments have shown that if the vinegar doesn’t strike right, your dye job is a mess.  And I could not contemplate going back online at that hour with my now-pruny fingers.  Feel free to enlighten me for future events …)

The Yarn Goddess or my dear St. Jude took pity then, because this was the. easiest. pinning. job. ever.

Spring is in the Air (and on pins)

My working theory is that the double decreases that make up the majority of the pattern were a great place for dye to hide, and it took a l-o-n-g time for the woolwash and water to penetrate.  Makes as much sense as anything else.

Pattern: Spring is in the Air by Kristi Holaas, large size, not beaded.

Needles: US 5 Addi Lace

Modifications: Alternated skeins along the garter-stitch border.  Worked the minimum bottom edge repeat for less pronounced points.  Dagger tips are more fussy-looking than I like.

Crescent shape achieved through lifeline

Blocking: To achieve a true crescent shape, I ran a strand of crochet cotton lifeline through the border prior to soaking.  I first pinned the corners; then located the center point on the bottom edge and pinned that.  Pinning then radiated from the bottom center with minimal readjustment and no additional pinning of neck edge.

Places for excess dye to hide

Finished size: Used 153 grams, blocked to 20.5 inches deep at deepest part of curve.

Observation: My wrists definitely did not like the very repetitive mesh pattern.  This is good to remember for future pattern selection.

You’ll get prettier pix another time.  Perhaps someone will volunteer to help me this weekend.


August 17, 2010

To say that my FO was “test-knitting” hardly begins to describe it.

When I set some knitting goals for myself in 2010, knitting a sweater for myself (after brain-drain sent me into permanent accessory-making mode) was on the list.

However: Knitting a sweater involving a 67-row chart of stranded colorwork spelling out words and symbols, and multi-bobbin intarsia — all on US 2 needles was – ahem – not exactly what I had in mind.  Oh, and doing it on a deadline of, “We really needed it yesterday.”  (Which was put very nicely, but an implicit deadline nonetheless.  I am Pavlov’s drooling dog when it comes to deadlines.)

The Yarn Goddess laughs mockingly.

It is 36 days later: I have now been tested as much as the pattern for the FO, which will be appearing in a soon-to-be-published book.  It is serendipitous that my cult-leader friend Clara has a sidebar that is supposed to run alongside it.

I wish I could show it to you here, but perhaps it’s better to let you paint your own mental picture.

I did it.

My instant-gratification reward is now on the needles:

Spring is in the Air by Kristi Holaas

This is Spring is in the Air by Kristi Holaas.  I’m making the full-sized shawl sans beads using the Sundara Sock in Caribbean that (along with too many other lovely yarns) made its way to my house while I was so monogamously test-knitting.  This is the perfectly mindless lace knitting my long piano-playing fingers have been craving for weeks.  I wish your monitor and my camera could capture the real depth and intensity of the color.  Or just how good it feels to knit.

Keeping in mind the rule of Owl yarn purchasing ~ the less knitting time I have, the more yarn I covet ~ it is a darn good thing the test is finished.

I don’t know if my bank account could stand to be tested much more.


July 20, 2010

In the wake of my last (hopefully) thought-provoking, but not really cheery post, time to take a happier track.  Make that, joyous.

Generally speaking, knitters are some of the nicest people in the world.  In my experience, we operate on a “pay it forward” sort of system, reaching out to assist one another or treat one another at any random turn.  Early deposits in the karma bank, so to speak.

Even so, I have had two recent occasions to be flat-out bowled over and virtually speechless at the generosity of my fellow knitters.

As mentioned last week, Minh-of-the-legendary-stash somehow pulled my name to win her blog contest.  This is what showed up chez Owl:

Christmas in July

Two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery New Mexico Organic.  The label of  this DK-weight wool says it is soft enough for baby or next-to-skin wear.  They are not kidding.  This is quite likely the softest wool I have ever touched.  And Minh well knows my fondness for GMS yarn (since I’ve relieved her stash of some before).  Speaking of that – and of generosity, this is also the place to mention that the last time I bought yarn from Minh for a Knitter’s Review contribution, I purchased five skeins and she sent six.  But I digress …

In the center, that is indeed Wollmeise.  The stuff that has knitters and yarn collectors in quite a tizzy.  And it’s in my favorite colors. 

(I. Am. Dumbfounded.)

And, finally, SweetGeorgiaYarns Silk Lamb Lace in Honey Fig.  A double skein, no less.

“Thank you!” seems oddly inadequate.

So, too, with my swap partner TulipLynn in the Sundara Yarn Love Spring Swap on ravelry.  This is the part where I am rather embarrassed at my own performance.  I had never participated in a swap like this before, and I really didn’t know whether (or how far) people went over-the-top.  So my well-intentioned but straight-along-the lines package seems terribly miserly by comparison to this:

TulipLynn's Sundara Swap

A pretty brown Julip bag, a tin of clever knitting notions from SlippedStitchStudios, the most cunning little mini crochet hook, and a skein of Sundara Sock in Hyacinth.

In retrospect, I think I have it figured out now: it’s like The Law of Sock Yarn.  Sock yarn doesn’t count in stash.  Or at least that’s what I’ve always been told.  That must also be the case with various little gifties one squirrels away for another knitter’s rainy day.  Thus, it doesn’t “count” per se.

Now I know better.

I’m still rather speechless, though.


July 2, 2010

I have developed a theorem related to my yarn purchasing.  The amount of yarn I purchase is inversely proportional to the amount of knitting time I have. To wit: when I’m knitting a lot, I’m not buying yarn.  I’m happily cranking away at my too-many WIPs in odd, and not-so-odd available moments.  When there is no knitting time, some kind of wire short-circuits and my bank account shudders.

Sundara Sock - Shadow Studies #6

So we have … a sweater quantity of Sundara Sock in Shadow Studies #6, an utterly rich deep burgundy semi-solid.  This yarn just slays me.  Period. (For non-Sundaraphiles, she has recently stopped using poetic and colorific descriptions of yarn, and shifted to a series of “studies” and numbers to denote the different shades.  I can’t decide if this is a good thing.)

Sundara FMC - Earth Studes #20

Oh, you thought I was done?  Perish the thought.  Or as Darling Bebe would chide, “No, no, Mommy.”  The usually sold-out Fingering Merino Cashmere became available at a time when I was actually online to find out about it.  So we have Earth Studies #20.  It’s a soft green without a lot of variation.  Lesson:  Stay offline.

Since it’s just us ducks here, we won’t so much as whisper about the new Spirit Trail Fiberworks Holiday Knitting Club, which now has been paid upfront but won’t be delivered until August, September and October. Or the “extra” batch of the incredible Sunna that had to be added to the order.  Luann will have to shoulder some of the responsibility for that.

Which is a long and winding way to say confess that I’ve had barely a minute’s knitting peace ~ except for hours when only owls and infants are awake.  See, we used to throw a big backyard party for the 4th of July.  It went on hiatus with the arrival of Darling Bebe.  Circumstances this year required us to host a big gathering sooner rather than later, so we have merged that with the old party list.

In other words: we will have somewhere between 100 and 300 people in my yard on Sunday.  The good news: a caterer and a babysitter.  The bad news: we will have somewhere between 100 and 300 people in my yard on Sunday.

So no, there has been no knitting time.  And there won’t be for many hours.  But it better happen soon for the sake of my disposable income and yarn storage.

When it works

June 23, 2010

Salvia and phlox paniculata "David"

The garden is running two weeks early this season, and in desperate need of upkeep.  Sadly,  there’s been precious little knitting in my world of late.  And the runway is full of a seemingly endless backlog of fully knitted objects that just need a little finishing or blocking or photography.  Problem is, that finishing or blocking or photography takes thought, brain-space or planning.  Sigh. Lest thinking about it make me start getting annoyed with, let’s turn our attention to Serious Project Happiness …


May I present Ishbel by Ysolda Teague?  Completed and blocked in time to wear to a recent evening event, I am absolutely thrilled with it.  When I talk about a successful marriage of pattern and yarn, this is what I mean.  Loved the yarn ~ Sundara

Ishbel up close

Sock in Black over Violet.  Loved the pattern ~ perfect charting for brain-addled Owl.  In spite of the fact that I had gauge and still ran out of yarn before its actual finish, I’m delighted with it.

Bliss to knit.  Bliss to wear.

I can’t ask for more than that.


May 28, 2010

I did have it all planned out last weekend … I would dutifully cast my votes as a delegate at a state party political convention with the bonus — or perhaps draw — of eight hours or more of knitting time.


Alas, the writers of my cosmic sitcom saw fit to have Saturday’s babysitter completely bag me at 5:30 the night before.  With no other suitable options, Darling Bebe attended her first political convention at age 2.  Might as well start her early 😉  She was in her “charming doll” element (rather than being vecro’d around my neck) and all went well until our naptime departure.

That said, NutmegOwl was most miffed about the Knitting Time Lost.  If I were a better blogger or had had less to pack and carry around, I’d show you a few other knitters nearby, of whom I was most intensely jealous.


Some mommy reward was definitely in order.  Though I in no way need another WIP, it was time — in my usual far-behind-the-crowd fashion — to put an Ishbel on the needles.  Oh what fun!  Instant lace gratification!

Sundara "Black over Violet"

Yarn: Sundara Sock in “Black over Violet”   Needles: Addi lace, US 7  Size: small stockinette, large lace  Speed: Mach 2

Progress: Instantaneous!

Now, shhhhh: Don’t jinx me!  The Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair starts tomorrow.  If the stars line up juuuuuuuuust right, I might be able to sneak away with KnittingKittens.  Light the St. Jude candle and let’s hope the cosmic sitcom writers cut me a break!

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