Archive | August 2020

Sock It To Me Monday: Special Edition

Today’s sock post is special because I’m sharing my feedback on the Saucon Sock yarn from Kraemer Yarns. I was given the chance to review it a couple of months ago, and given my love for sock knitting, I was eager to test a new kind of sock yarn.

Saucon Sock is a cotton/acrylic/nylon blend that is washable and lightweight. There are so many possibilities with this: socks for spring and early summer, easy-care socks for kids or non-knitters (or even knitters, honestly), and socks for people with wool sensitivities. I got to select two colors, so I chose Loganberry for me and Forrest for the boy. He’s a teenager with no time to be fussy or careful with socks, so I knew he’d let me see how the yarn holds up to … rougher handling, shall we say?

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He requested a mid-calf length sock, and I did a simple pattern with some ribbing. For myself, I did a basic Rose City Roller to see how they’d fare in a midwestern summer. When the skeins came, the yarn felt a little stiff at first, and I was unsure if I’d like it, but as I knit with it, it softened up and made the nicest fabric. It’s not soft like wool but it’s smooth, and even feels cool to the touch. There’s no squeakiness that you can sometimes feel with acrylic yarns; the cotton was definitely the dominant feel. It reminded me of knitting with linen, even down to a slight splittiness at times, but I really enjoyed knitting with it. I could knit outside in 80-degree heat and it didn’t bother me a bit.

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How did they wear? Great! The boy reported no sagging or sliding down the leg, even after wearing them all day, so it held its elasticity all day long. I wore mine all day (inside) on an 80-degree day and the socks didn’t stifle my feet at all. They felt very breathable. Again, not soft like wool, but crisp against the skin.

The final test was washing. I had the boy throw his in his laundry, like he washes everything else, so they went through a cotton/normal cycle with warm water along with jeans and t-shirts, then through a cotton/normal warm dryer cycle. Mine were soaked in Eucalan and laid flat to dry. His socks came out softer and cleaner (we have three dogs, and hand-washing doesn’t remove all that dog hair) but they did have some minor pilling. Overall, though, they looked good!

Mine were crisper and had a nice shape, due to being patted into shape and drying flat. I had no pilling, but I still had plenty of dog hair, which is one of my ongoing annoyances with handknit socks. I did use a lint roller on my socks before taking photos.

As you can see, mine look almost fresh off the needles, but I think there’s a happy medium with this yarn. I think I could easily do with machine washing them on a gentler cycle with soft items, and then laying them flat to dry. I could maybe pop them in the dryer for a few minutes at the end to soften them up and pull out a bit more dog hair. Honestly, I’m delighted to have a good easy-care/summer-weight sock yarn available, and hope to add more to my stash.

It’s very affordable at $14.50 per 100 gram/430 yard skein, and it comes in 20 solid colors. It would be easy to mix and match, and in fact, I have enough left over to do a pink pair with green cuffs/heels/toes. And something else really cool: it’s made in the USA! If you’re in the Pennsylvania area, you can even visit their mill.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Kraemer Yarns who sent me two skeins of Saucon Sock (retail $29). I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Finishing some things

Yesterday was apparently a productive day for me, now that I’m thinking about it. I finished my Hundred Acre Shawl (stupid thing. It’s blocking & will get its own post later) and I finished my Wonder Woman puzzle (super fun!) and I finished a sock! After I finished the shawl, I pulled out the sock, thinking I was maybe halfway through the leg. Instead, I was delighted to find that I was on the foot and even past the gusset decreases! I’m not sure why I continued the lace down the foot instead of doing plain stockinette, but I stuck with it and I think it was the right choice.

Now I better cast on the second sock right away or it might never happen. Even though this yarn demanded to be lace, I am reminded why I knit vanilla socks over and over: they are my comfort knitting and lace does not fulfill the same needs. Doing this puzzle also reminded me of how calming I find puzzles, and LEGOs, probably for the same reasons: they demand focus and concentration so my brain doesn’t wander too much into my worries, and they do what they’re supposed to and create something pleasing. They’re rather therapeutic, really, which is why I’m going to find another fun puzzle to do very soon. We need as many therapeutic things as we can find these days!

Birthday Birdie

Yesterday was the mother’s birthday. I probably shouldn’t tell you what age it is, but I’m 43 and she had me in her 30s so that’s close enough. Old enough that when I dropped off her birthday donuts, my heart ached that I couldn’t go inside for a long visit, that we had to stay on the porch in the heat and the sun, that I felt like I needed to wear a mask to keep her safe, that I couldn’t give her a hug. But I remind myself that I’m doing this so that maybe she’ll be around for another birthday next year, and by then hopefully we’ll be able to do all the things I missed this year. And we’re having a small socially-distanced family gathering tomorrow, which will be nice. I have a real gift for her but today I also made her this.

7220843E-97C0-429C-8C53-D015A48FC89A_1_201_aCardinals are her favorite bird. I’ll cut a little bit of string so she can hang him somewhere and he can always be flying. And now that he’s done I’m off to finish my shawl! Happy weekend, friends!

No FO Friday

It’s close, but not finished yet. I made it to the final color of my Hundred Acre Wood shawl, and the pink just pulls it all together and makes it perfect!

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The “whatever” theme continues with this color: I over-estimated how much blue I had left, so I wasn’t able to do a baby fade with the blue and pink. And since I used more of the previous colors, I have more pink left over than I do rows in the pattern. I’ve added two rows already and plan to add at least two more. I’ve got my scale handy and will keep weighing to make sure I save enough for a picot bind-off, but I definitely want to use as much of the pink as possible.

Also, I need to show off my new pins! Katrinkles is doing a gift with purchase, where you get a free Vote pin with every purchase until November 3rd. I wanted a Vote pin for my Empower People cowl anyway, so this worked out perfectly.

ea54ad64-2644-4dc8-8e91-a4a9b212ac12I love them both! And the sheep pin has a magnet on the back, rather than a pin, which I think is a brilliant idea. I think it’s because they were more or less intended as name tags, but I just wanted a wee bonny sheep for myself.

Happy Friday!

WIP Wednesday: Mini Shawl

Despite my best efforts to the contrary, apparently I am still a monogamous knitter. I know, I cast on about seventy-five new projects last week, and yet the only one I’ve spent much time with is my Hundred Acre Shawl. I really think it’s because I’m using the mini skeins and just keep wanting to get to the next color. This yarn is from Molly Girl Yarn, and I think the color set is called Jazz.

1E038BF1-18DA-4905-BDF8-DACBD2D36BB1_1_201_aI just started color four of five and it still seems a bit … mini? I’m really hoping it blocks out to a wearable length. If it does, this is a pretty good pattern for minis, because the small size is marked by percentages. Since I have five skeins, I just marked the rows at 20% increments. But when I got to that first 20%, I still had some color A left, so I did a baby fade with alternating two rows of A and B. That meant I had even more of Color B left at 40%, and so on. Basically, it means that if I want to use as much of the last color (the pink) as possible, I’ll probably be adding in a few extra rows, which will mean guesstimating how many rows I can add without running out of yarn. We’ll see what happens. This shawl is very much a “what the heck” shawl. It’s full of mistakes and shrugs and “eh, it’ll be fine” moments. And I’ll never notice once it’s blocked and around my neck!

Today is National Dog Day. I have a few of those, as you know. Grace was up and barking at 5:10 am, wanting to celebrate early. But despite that, and all the worries and annoyances and messiness they bring, I’m pretty happy to have them in my life.

 

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Thrifty Tuesday

Do you go to thrift stores? By which I mostly mean, back when the world was sane, did you go to thrift stores? I did and love them, and every once in a while I find yarn or knitting supplies there. I have found a few pairs of Addi circular needles, which I thought was a huge score. But over the weekend, the Knitting SIL beat me big-time. She and her daughter went to a local thrift store where she found yarn. Not just yarn, but GOOD yarn, like indie dyer yarn. And the prices? OMG, like one or two dollars per skein. It was craziness. I’m pretty sure she bought all the good stuff, and the best part is that I got what she didn’t want!

img_8522This is probably close to $130 worth of yarn, and I paid a whopping $5. Can you believe that?? I just love getting a bargain. My SIL did even better, with something like seven or eight skeins of high-end yarn for $15. Part of me wants to cast on some socks with the pink Emma yarn right away, but I know I’ve got a ton of WIPs already, so this will all just go in the stash for now. The cream Malabrigo is sock yarn but I’m pretty sure it will be part of a multi-color shawl at some point.

Also Jack is very spoiled and won’t eat dry kibble by itself anymore, so I bought some canned food and mix a spoonful into the kibble. He’s very happy with mealtimes now!

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Happy Tuesday, friends.

Mad Monday

What drives your project choices in your knitting, the pattern or the yarn? For me, it’s very much the yarn. More often than not, a yarn from my stash calls my name, and then I have to hunt down the right pattern for it. I think that’s partly why I’m struggling with finding patterns away from Ravelry: they built such a robust search and there’s no equal just yet. I’m working on that though, and building a list of designers I like so I can browse their sites when I have yarn in need of a pattern.

But every once in a while, a pattern jumps out at me first and demands to be made. That happened to me recently when I was digging through Ravelry trying to find a good pattern for mini skeins. (Those are the hardest patterns to find, I think!) I was so excited when I found this, but then I saw it was designed for sport weight, not fingering, and the few people who had modified for fingering weight had some challenges. I tried to forget this pattern but it kept haunting me.

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Then I gave in, decided I needed to make it after all, and dug through my stash for sport weight yarn. I don’t have much, and certainly not in similar colors. Knitters, you know what happened, don’t you?

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This arrived Friday. I believe this is the first time I’ve fallen in love with a pattern and bought the exact yarn it was designed for. Here’s the Ravelry pattern link, because I can’t find this pattern available anywhere else.

What about you, are you pattern first or yarn first?

Sewing, not knitting

So far my weekend has been made up mostly of sewing masks. I have a friend who teaches kindergarten and she asked me if I’d trying making masks with a clear window. Since my family has plenty of masks right now, and I like making them, I thought it could be a fun challenge.

img_8511Twenty-two masks later, my friend is happy, and my back is not. I really need to find a better set-up for my sewing machine. As it is now, I’m not sitting straight on but at an angle, and clearly that is not a good thing for long sewing sessions. So now the rest of my Sunday can be knitting time, because I have a good excuse to sit on the couch with a heating pad and a dog or two. Or maybe outside. That’s good too.

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Happy Sunday. Hope you have a peaceful day too!

TGIF!

We made it! It’s Friday and the end of another work week. My weekend will include more mask-making. I have a friend who teaches kindergarten and asked if I’d try making masks with a clear vinyl window. I made no promises except to try. I think I’m going to use this pattern, but if you’ve made any and can recommend one, let me know!

No Finished Object for this Friday, but I did make some progress on my Sailing shawl. The yarn is a OOAK fingering I got on sale from Orange Jellyfish Dream earlier in quarantine. I’m loving it! The colors don’t show up great in this photo but it’s all lovely deep purple, white and gray. Plus it’s all soft and squishy, so I’m really glad I chose a pattern with mostly garter stitch.

3E35D881-8818-4BF5-8614-849903AE3031_1_201_aToday I’m going to switch off to one of my other gazillion WIPs and pick something a little more interesting than garter stitch.

Oh, and get this: a few weeks ago (time means nothing anymore; I don’t know when it was) we switched Jack to a more expensive food “for sensitive stomachs” while he was having gastro issues. Since he started his thyroid supplement, he’d been eating better and wasn’t refusing his food like before. I was encouraged, and since we were getting low on the small bag of food I’d bought to try, three days ago I ordered a big bag. Can you guess what happened next?? Yesterday morning Jack turned up his nose at the new food. Ate just a bit for breakfast and refused at dinner. So I tried hand-feeding him the old, cheaper food (which the other two dogs snarf down happily) and Jack said, oh sure, that food is okay. So now I have a 30-lb bag of expensive fancy food that he won’t eat. The only silver lining is that Duncan and Grace will eat just about anything I put in front of them, so it won’t go to waste. SIGH. Dogs.

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Happy Friday, friends. Hope you have some pleasant weekend plans to look forward to, even if they are plans to just relax and do nothing!

No Alliteration Thursday

I’ve got nothing clever for a title today, friends. Work is kicking my ass emotionally this week and I’m staying afloat by casting on all the things. Here are my four pretty new projects:

Left to right: Sailing, Thoughful Cowl, Manos del Uruguay Alegria sweater swatch, Hundred Acre Wood (Rav link).

I like knitting. Knitting is good. And it is almost Friday, and Fridays are also good, because they are right next to Saturday! Also, we finished season three of The Crown last night and now I need another delightful British show to watch. Any suggestions?

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