July 23, 2014

A perfect pair!

It was a rough start after the whole Mr. Pitt sock drama of the Spring months, and I ripped out about 3 sock patterns before I found the one that this Lorna's Laces in Edgewater wanted to be.  It turned out, the pattern for Sarah Wilson's Jekyll & Hyde Socks was the one this yarn was waiting to become. Coincidentally, these socks have been on my Ravelry queue for AGES.


It went smoothly.  So smoothly that this may be the very first pair EVER to be knit without either sock having a single mistake.  EVER.  I don't know if that makes them lucky socks or cursed socks.  I guess we will find out about November when the temperatures dip low enough to actually wear socks around the farm. It feels fantastic to have knit up a pattern that has been roosting in the back of my mind for so long, too.


There was one con to this pattern--and granted, I stopped following said pattern instructions when I reached the heel because I like my heels like I like my heels, and the same goes for the toes--and it was simply that I had done sooooooo many right twist stitches over the course of two socks that when it came time to decrease for the toes (and my heart did a little skip of excitement like it always does when I start the toe decreases!), I stopped at every K2tog and had the impulse to pick out the stitch and do a right twist, thinking "no, that's not right".


There was also the weird result in the patterning of these socks.  I was super careful to start the cast on in the same place in the colorway, and although it looks like I may have had one that was actually about 3 stitches different in the cast on stitch color pattern from the other, look how dramatically different the socks turned out!  Definitely one is Jekyll and one is Hyde.

You know what else is pretty cool about today?  I dyed yarn and it is a myriad of breathtaking colors! Tomorrow there will be new colorways of Eco, Gypsy, and Rocket Sock in the Etsy shop. And for those of you who have been pining for more of the Gypsy Grapevine, well there will be a bit more to love in the shop tomorrow.  See?


P.S. Blogger is at it again with changing the purples in my photos so the purple is really more of a "purple grape" than a "pink" in real life.  You'll see in the Etsy shop listing.

July 01, 2014

And so it begins ...

I can't possibly let the opportunity pass to show you the new arrivals to the farm that officially mark the beginning of my fiber farm dream.  Here they are, 3 fat little lambs who have been carefully bred to produce fleeces that are among the most amazing you will ever see!

This is Stanley.  He is not quite 3 months old and tips the scale at well over 60 lbs. He's still holding a grudge over being moved to the farm but he'll come around. Stanley is the ram (a twin) that will be the foundation of the flock. He is a Teeswater / Cormo cross, which means that he is sporting a thick fleece of silk ringlets.  Even dirty from his former pen in North Carolina, up close his fleece will make a spinner drool!

                                     

These lovely ladies are Stella and Blanche. They are twin, almost 4 month-old, ewes who I have high hopes for next year. They are Corriedale / Finn crosses that have been bred to produce a very fine, luxuriously soft and thick fleece. They also tip the scales at over 60 lbs., though (piggy) Blanche is a bit taller and wider than Stella.

                                

Chester is our newest addition ( I say that, but all 4 of these animals arrived within a 5-day span of time). A beautiful Ethiopian donkey, Chester is going to be on coyote and neighborhood dog patrol.  He's like a body builder among donkeys, and though he likes to snuggle, to be petted continuously, and to be pampered with apples and molasses, if I were the size of a dog, I would not want to make him look at me twice. He was abandoned and left to fend for himself in a pasture and the pasture owner needed him to go to a good home. Ours. (Free is good!)


                             

He spent most of the day on Saturday in donkey time out because he repeatedly tried to stomp the sheep. We ended up working from 7 am until 4 pm on Saturday, mainly just the husband and I until about the last hour, setting fence posts and running wire so Mr. Bad Attitude could have his own paddock. The people are exhausted. He hung out in the shade all day and was rarin' to go. We moved him into his new digs and he still has attitude. Isn't that just like a man for you?


                             

And Rocket got herself a horse. This is Rusty. He kicked me in the knee right out of the trailer on the first day. My hoof-shaped bruise is very ugly and my knee still hurts to bend it. He is a primadonna. We are not friends.


                               

June 13, 2014

A rather anti-climactic ending

Mr. Pitt's socks are finished.


Don't let the small stature of the picture fool you.  The feet of these socks are 11.5 inches long with a foot circumference of approximately 10 inches.  The legs begin at 10 inches in circumference at the ankle and build to 11.5 inches.  I used 438 yards of yarn for this pair.

I hunkered down and knit the legs in two days.  They were finished on Tuesday and spent an entire day drying. I was irritated with how the cuffs turned out--just another reason why I will never knit another pair of socks toe, up. My husband was rather unenthusiastic about the completion of the sock project (from Hell).  I used Jeny's stretchy bind off method, which made the bind off edge floppy and ruffle-y, not manly or tightly elastic like a top-down cuff would be. This method finished these socks off EXACTLY the way I DID NOT WANT them to be finished.  C'est la vie.  That's how stupid toe-up socks are finished, apparently:  stupidly.


In the end, he said they were such a trial for everyone that he's just going to frame them.  He said they are too good to wear.  For a moment there I thought I could hear the gears grinding to a screeching halt in my brain and felt a mental shift in the direction of ... say ... violent crime.  Fortunately for all involved, I pulled it together and there they sit, on his desk, gathering dust (and I narrow my eyes at them every time I pass by).

Never again. Don't even ask me.

I am very glad to be finished with the misery of this project.  It allowed me to finish today the cardigan I designed and have been knitting up for submission. I wish I could show it off, but, alas, no. That will have to wait until another day.

That leaves me with the test-knit for the Knit Picks scarf pattern for next Spring's accessories pattern book and the Show-Off Stranded Socks that I cast on for this afternoon for myself (you had to know that it wouldn't be but a minute after I finished the man socks before I cast on for a long-overdue pair for myself), plus still working on that Nairi shawl.  I also have two Tunisian Entrelac blankets that need some one-on-one attention.   I had a brief thought that I would go all out and come up with a new sock pattern of my own, but I look out the knitting studio window at the garden that grows almost as much crab grass and brambles in-between rows as it does vegetables and I just know that I just need to follow someone else's directions for a while.


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