Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Knitting Club Meeting at Long Last!

Originally uploaded by emily.foden
I know you thought I had forgotten, but I never did, and here it is... the "july" knitting club meeting will be held next Wednesday (August 6th) evening around 7 pm. All are welcome, even if you are not an official member of our Summer Knitting Club. Just bring yourself and some knitting (socks preferably). Sarah and I will be there with our sock projects from July, and I know that you can't wait to see how her Red Herring Sock has turned out!

In the end I only made it through 3 pairs of socks, but I'm quite happy with each of them. Reuban's Ribby Riverbeds were a big hit!

My Ocean Toes are the most comfortable socks I've worn in a long time, and they fit so well.

And my Embossed Leaves are certainly the prettiest socks that I have ever made.

Stay tuned for information about our August projects, and the prize draw for all club members at the end of the summer. Till then keep on knitting!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm Still Here!

You may have been wondering about where on earth I've been this past week. At least I hope you were. Well, I am here to put your worries to rest and tell you that I was not abducted by aliens, nor have I joined the circus, or any other type of organization that interferes with knitting. I have been knitting away happily, but away from any computer with which I might blog. I've been cottaging with family, but am now back in the city and up to all my old tricks once again!

I brought several projects up to the cottage with me; not knowing how much knitting time I would get in I felt it was better to bring too much than not enough. The first order of business on my knitting agenda were my Embossed Leaves socks (from Interweave's Favourite Socks Book). Impressively, I knit the entire lace portion of one sock in a single day. Thats right, the cuff was waiting for me in the morning, I knit the leg, heel flap, heel turn, instep and foot all in one day! This feat was made possible by the simple lace pattern on this sock. I never memorized the 16 round lace repeat, instead I did something quite a bit better; I read the previous rounds! Sounds like a simple enough idea, and it is. Decreases only move one stitch to the right or the left from round to round, and yarn-overs are always centered on a central column of single stitches. Another thing that made this pattern knit so quick was the fact that each repeat was quite large. In a stitch pattern with a 4 or 5 round repeat, you've got to knit a lot of repeats before you get anywhere. But there were only 7 lace repeats in my entire sock! Now thats easy livin'...or something like that anyway.

I should mention also that I used Fleece Artist Somoko; a beautiful mohair/silk/merino/nylon blend sock yarn. It worked beautifully with my lacy socks, and has a lovely halo of fuzz. I also removed the last 8 rounds of lace before the toe, in order to make the sock short enough to fit my foot. All the sock photos in this post were taken at the cottage (on the beach at Georgian Bay) by my Jeremy.

I also took some great shots of my Ocean Toes socks, it wasn't the ocean, but this lake was as close as I was going to get!

To all you Summer Knitting Clubbers, I have not forgotten about our meeting (but this week has slowed me down considerably) I will hope fully post a month-end date within the next few days).

And don't forget that we still have one more month to go. Our August projects will be posted very soon, and I can't wait to start mine up!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upping the Sale Ante!

If you're going to be in the neighbourhood for the Jazz fest, make sure to stop by the sheep where we are having our Jazzy Jazz Fest sale (or, what I'm calling the HUGE AND AMAZING SALE )

As of today, ALL yarns in the store are on sale... yes you heard me right!

most yarns are 40% off, but there are exceptions.
Fleece Artist, Handmaiden, Misti, Cascade, and many others are still discounted by 10, 15, 0r 20%
All our sales bin yarns are an additional 20% off the sale price as well!
Also! All our bags are 40 % off as well! This includes our Lexi Barnes bags!

AND! books, and magazines are 30% off. Pattern Leaflets are 40% off!
Everything (except needles!) is on sale! come on in, have a look, then enjoy the jazz!

The sale will be on until August 8th!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Swallowtail is done!

My Swallowtail shawl is finally finished!   
It used up almose three full balls of Cascade 220, and I used 6.5mm circular needles. I LOVE it, and I wore it to the grocery store today, out in 30+ degree temperature to get some photos of it in action!

you can see that using the bigger yarn and needles makes it a much bigger shawl then with laceweight, or sockweight. My Swallowtail is pretty much a full sized shawl, which is great, 'cause that's what I was aiming for!

I can't wait for cooler weather, so I can wear it everywhere. Meanwhile, it's being used as a throw on my couch, which is actually how I originally envisioned it used, and, it's already earned the hardest and most sought after praise available... Cat approval!  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Socks and Jazz; an unlikely pair

Tomorrow is the start of the annual Beaches Jazz fest, and in celebration, the Naked Sheep is having a SALE! It will begin tomorrow and run for the duration of the festival, and it works like this...

for every $100 (before tax) you spend, you save %10!
for every $200(before tax) you spend you save %20! get the idea there. You will also be able to get an extra 10% off of all sale items. That means everything in our sale bins is %35 off, and all the other sale items scattered around the store will now be %40 off!
Sale does not apply to lessons, needles or gadgets, but it does apply to the lovely assortment of Lexie Barnes bags in the store!
There's lots of opportunity to save at our Jazzy Jazz Fest sale, so come over and check it out.

I am very proud to share with you a completed Swallowtail shawl from June's KAL. Mary-Anne (on the right, with fellow lace enthusiast Kathryn) knit this in Kureyon Sock, and it looks fantastic! As her first venture into lace knitting It think she did a great job!

In further news, I am on the heel of my second Ocean Toe, and they are looking awesome! I'm very happy with this pattern/yarn combo. My hand dyed casbah sock yarn provides perfect colour distribution, accenting the zig-zag affect on the leg of this sock, while maintaining a hand-made look. These are also very comfortable socks, they fit great and have a nice smoosh to them. Here's a pic...

For my next pair of socks, I am torn between knitting Pomatomus, or Embossed Leaves from Interweave's Favourite Socks book. I'll have to make up my mind soon, because my Ocean Toes are nearly finished! Any decision making help would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This morning a large box arrived in the store from Nova Scotia.  These kinds of boxes always make us giddy with excitement because of course, they contain FLEECE ARTIST yarn! 
We are now stocked in Fleece Artist and Handmaiden sock yarns!  

We got in Casbah, Handmaidens wool/cashmere/nylon sock yarn which is so soft and smooshy! I'm knitting knee socks with it right now, and I LOVE the way the cashmere feels against my legs. We also got in lots of Somoko, a 65% Merino, 20% Kid, 
10% Nylon, 5 % Silk blend, which has a beautiful shine from the silk.  One of these balls may have already found it's way into my possession, as I couldn't resist after stocking all of it!  And, as if that's not enough, we also have the Merino 2/6 in as well!  Merino 2/6 is Fleece Artist's original sock yarn, and I have many many pairs of socks from it (and skeins in my stash)! 
It's no coincidence that all this yarn came in now, as we are in the middle of sock month!  I realize I've yet to make my project public up here, and so here it is!  
Red Herring

I'm doing the Red Herring Pattern from The yarn i've chosen is the Natures Palette in blue and purple, which usually, isn't my colours but these are so beautiful I can't wait. I've done the ribbing and am just about to start the colourwork.

More on Red Herring later!

The next spot to knit in the city is our only west end destination. I couldn't resist including this park, simply because its large and versatile enough to please just about any knitter.

Trinity Bellwoods:
As most of you already know, Trinity Bellwoods is the massive park that runs from Queen St. West all the way up to Dundas. Its big, people. Such a big park is prime for outdoor knitting, because it provides a great variety of spots to knit. Options include the sunny grass, the shady hill, myriad benches and picnic tables, and some very comfy trees. Of course, you’ll have to share this popular park with just about everyone else in the city-and their dogs- but I like to think that this high volume of traffic will only add interest to you knitting experience.

  • Lighting: if it’s a sunny day, you are in luck!
  • Noise: Be weary of high energy frisbee matches and loud hippie jam fests; these tend to generate a large amount of distracting noise!
  • People: dog people, cat people, tall people, short people, cyclists, skaters, hipsters, stinkers, knitters, and just about everyone else.
  • Best for Knitting: Anything you want. This versatile knitting ground is great for any project!

In other news, I've finished up the men's Riverbeds that I was knitting. They were dead simple, and I was able to polish them off in just a few days. I have yet to take a decent picture of them, but one is coming your way soon. They look very nice, I really like the way the 3x1 ribbing hugs the foot throughout the entire sock. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off to make the cuffs loose enough to pass over an ankle, but springy enough to let the ribbing contract.

Next on the agenda (as you know) are my Ocean Toes. I've made it down to the foot on the first sock, and am extremely happy to report that they fit easily over my ankle! This time around I'm knitting them on a 3mm needle, just like the pattern calls for. Fine, fine, I'll admit that Cat Bordhi knows more about socks than I do!
Ocean Toes is a great pattern; it is a captivating knit, as just about every row is different. No getting bored with these socks. I have only run into one problem so far; I am a terrible multi-tasker! I've caught myself a few times knitting away perfectly on one part of the sock, but forgetting to purl, knit, increase, etc. I'm sure that by the time I reach the end of the 3rd * sock, I'll have the pattern down pat.

* I say 3rd sock of course, because I knit one entire sock that was the wrong size before I realized!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Annual Beaches Jazz Fest SALE!

The Beaches Jazz festival is almost upon us, and in celebration of this Torontonian tradition, the Naked Sheep will be having a sale!

You heard me a great big sale. We're hoping for compete and utter chaos, riots in the streets, throngs of people charging at shelves of yarn...well maybe not, but we do hope that you can score a good deal or two. If you've been planning a big project (sweater, blanket, etc.) this may be the time to get your materials, because all the yarn in the store will be on sale!

I'll post sale details soon, but I can tell you that this is one Jazz Fest Super Sale that you will not want to miss. So start planning those projects out, and we'll see you at the Jazz Fest!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ribby Riverbed socks

The first socks on my list for our July KAL (as I think I have already mentioned) are the Riverbed socks from New Pathways. I use this book all the time, because it accommodates any gauge and any sized foot! I have almost* never had a sizing problem with this book, and each "sockitecture" is truly unique and interesting to knit. I find the writing to be a little confusing, so if Cat Bordhi is confusing you, just bring her in and I'll set you straight!

* I say almost never because of the Ocean Toes incident. This was entirely my fault as I used the wrong needles size...I was just asking for trouble!

Anyway, the Riverbeds are looking great. I'm knitting them as a gift, so the only complication that I have run into is guessing at the recipient's foot size (I think I'll be alright). I chose to knit these socks in Fleece Artist Sea Wool for a few silly reasons: firstly, this was the only yarn in my stash that looked many enough to be given to a man, and second, the recipient lives in Los Angeles and I got it in my head that the seacell content of this yarn wouldn't make his feet quite so hot and sticky in the desert weather. I'll let you know if this pans out.

So far I've just come up to the heel on the first sock, and it's looking good. These are toe up socks, which I prefer, and I was amazed by the length I had to knit before the heel turn (men have such big feet!). I'm knitting these socks on a deadline, as the recipient in going to be arriving next week, we'll see how it goes.

As promised, here are the results of my first ventured into hand dying. I'm quite pleased with the colours, but a bit distressed by the condition of my yarn after I remove it from the dyepot. So far I have tested out a superwash merino/nylon blend, that came out beautifully. My other choice, Malabrigo Lace, did not fair so well. Though I did my best to prevent the water from boiling, it seems that both the skeins I dyed have been felted! Just a little bit, but they have lost that soft delicate quality that I loved so much.

I have only been able to dye mostly-solid colours, as I am lacking some important equipment still, but here's a look at my first attempts...

More to come! Keep on knitting in the meanwhile...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ocean Toes, take two

After a short grieving period, I am ready to tackle my Ocean Toes socks again. For a week or so I would pick up the sock try it on to see if it's size had magically changed, sigh and put the sock away again. I finally relented and frogged the entire finished sock, but I was left with kinky and unmanageable yarn! My casbah had lost the smoosh that I love so dearly, it was heartbreaking. The only solution I could come up with was to wash my sad little skein of yarn, and hope that it would be returned to its former glory.

I began by winding my messy ball back into a skein. I used a niddy noddy, but you can use just about anything (table legs, two chair backs, another person's arms, etc). Just as long as you have the yarn under a good tension to avoid tangling.

I knotted the ends of the skein and tied figure eight knots around it with some scrap yarn in four places.

I then removed the skein from my niddy noddy (table, arms...) and dunked it into a little bath that I had prepared for it. I put a drop of soap into the bath because the former sock had been on and off of my feet so many times I figured that it must have got a bit dirty!

I let this soak for about 30 minutes, just until I could no longer see any kinky bits in the skein. I gently wrung it out and hung it up to dry on my porch (luckily it was a sunny day, and the skein dried pretty quick)

I now have a freshly wound ball of yarn sitting in front of me. It's smoosh fully restored. Mission accomplished! Now all I have to do is knit the socks...again.

I am planning on knitting a few pairs of socks for our sock month KAL. Ocean Toes are the main objective, but I also plan to knit a pair of Riverbed socks (also from New Pathways for Sock Knitters). I won't commit to any more than that, because I have a bad habit of letting other projects interfere, but I wouldn't be upset if I made it through another pair of socks in the month.

I'd love to hear about the socks that everyone else is knitting, so come by the store or leave a comment with your sock scoop!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Knitscene is in!

For those of you that, like me look forward to the new Knitscene with even more excitement then a regular Interweave, because they only publish them twice a year, your wait is over! 
The new Knitscene is in, and there's tonnes of awesome projects! 

I can't wait to cast on for the Dirndl pullover, the Kimono socks, or the Nederland vest!  
come on in and get your copy, before they're gone 'till spring! 

Oh, and if you're wondering about my Swallowtail, I'm down to the border, but have been delayed by a bunch of baby knitting!  more on both the Swallowtail, and the baby knitting soon!  

Monday, July 7, 2008

Laminaria...officially finished!

I couldn't resist the urge to show off my freshly blocked looks even better now than it did before! (please excuse the stupid face I'm making in this picture). I don't know if you remember me mentioning that I didn't have space large enough to block it on. Turns out that I just had to be a little bit more creative in selecting a space to use. I am very happy to pass on to all of you that a back porch (or a front one I suppose) works excellently for lace blocking. I felt no guilt poking hundreds of tiny holes into it, and it certainly didn't matter that my shawl got it all wet. It was the prefect weather for outdoor blocking today, so I took advantage! Of course, there were times when I needed to place a pin directly in the space between two boards...once again I improvised and pinned "sideways"

I had about 1 and 1/4 skeins remaining from the project, but was a little bit bored with the colour, so I decided to take on another adventure and dye the remaining yarn a different colour. I chose navy blue (because it was dark and would cover just about anything...I also like navy blue). I have to admit that this was my first attempt at using acid dyes, and all in all I think I did OK. I had no idea how much I should allow the water to boil, or how much dye to add (and I don't think that I used enough) but the experience was fun and educational! I'll post pictures of the dried skeins soon!

and you thought I had forgotten...another spot to knit!

I've already told you about my favourite cafes for knitting, and now its time to move on to my favourite parks! First up on the list was a little bit of a let down at the time, but I think that a more well-timed visit would yield much better results (don't go in the middle of the day!)

Riverdale Farm:

Well, I thought that I’d give this one a try. I have such fond childhood memories of this place, but I quickly realized that there was a reason that these memories had remained in my childhood. One visit to the sheep’s pen (I saw a lamb!) and it was clear that I was the only person there over the age of 10, excluding parents of course. I just couldn’t settle down to knit here, it was far too chaotic! The fear of being kicked in the knee by a stray cartwheel lingered in the back of my head as an army of girls tore past me. I counted the temper tantrums that I encountered during my 15 minute visit. 9 in total, some so epic that I considered counting them as two separate tantrums! The scenery was beautiful, there were lots of comfortable looking nooks to pick up the needles in, but I still felt uneasy. I eventually abandoned the farm and took up a bench just in the park just outside of the farm. This was a much more peaceful experience, and I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done here. All in all, I think that Riverdale Farm is certainly worth the visit; just make sure you go early in the morning or later in the evening!
Here's a map for those of you who had no idea that there was a sweet little farm tucked away in our noisy city.

(There are a bunch of other animals at the farm,
but the sheep were clearly my favourites!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

This and That

I am proud to say that the Laminaria is finally done! It may have taken me longer that I expected...and promised, but its finally finished and looking good! The next obstacle on the road to actually wearing my Laminaria is blocking it. I have the patience and skill to pin and re-pin until I have it in the shape that I want, but I don't have a surface large enough to accommodate the size of my shawl. My usual sheet of foam core is far too small, as the tips of the shawl reach the edge of the board already!
I am happy, at least, to say that I finished reasonably close to the deadline.

There is no time to waste now, getting into July and our month of socks! We have made a decision to change the rules just a little bit for sock month. This is because of the shear volume of excellent sock patterns that are available. So here is the change, if you are not interested in any of the sock patterns I suggested in my last post, feel free to knit one of your choice. Sarah and I will be happy to help you choose one thats well suited to you (if you just don't know what you're looking for). Here are a few more suggestions from us to broaden your selection...

  • Back to Basics. Fall 2007. I have knit these socks a couple of times now, and enjoyed the experience. A simple stocking stitch fabric is combined with a slightly unconventional toe-up construction. This makes for a simple, but interesting knit.
  • Pedicure Socks. Spring 2006. A basic sock construction, with a fun little twist.
  • Monkey. Winter 2006. For those of you who have not knit these socks (myself included) I think that you should. Easily one of the most popular patterns going on the internet these days, Monkeys feature an easy to memorize repeat that gives beautiful results. I plan to knit these babies soon!
  • RPM. Summer 2006. A great affect achieved through a very simple technique
  • Jaywalkers. Another pattern that has taken the internet by storm. These really show off a stripey yarn! You may need to be a Raverly member to view that link. If you have trouble click here to view the designer's page. From there you can email her for a copy.
  • Pomotomus: Knitty Winter 2005. These socks are notoriously quite time consuming, but entirely worth the effort. Designed to look like the scales of a fish, the end result is quite impressive.
  • Red Herring: Fall 2006. Yet another Cookie A design (she's a whiz with socks). The leg of these socks is knit with two colours! Fair isle fans get those needles out because this sock waas made for you.
If you have any sock suggestions that you'd like to share, please leave us a comment or send an email to We'd love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. I am so happy to hear that most of you prefer center-pull balls! I am completely on your side.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July is Sock Month

I almost made it. I only have eight more rows to go in my June lace project, laminaria, but they are very long rows after all. I intend to have it finished by the end of the day, however (we'll see how that turns out) I hope that everyone participating enjoyed (or is still enjoying) their lace projects from June. Mine was a blast, and has given me the confidence I needed to tackle larger and more complex lace projects! If you are finished your lace for June we'd love to see it. Even if you're not finished, I'd really like to see your progress! So pop by the store when you get a chance; I'd love to put pictures of your projects up on the blog!

Luckily we have two more months to go in our summer knitting club, and that means two more sets of projects to go along with them. As you may already know, July is sock month, and we've got some great sock projects lined up for you...

Beginner: Basic sock Pattern by Kate Atherly. This pattern in perfect for first-time sock knitters. Its a basic top down sock construction, nothing fancy! The pattern is available at the Naked Sheep for $5.

Intermediate: Froot Loops by Kristi Geraci. From (Spring 2008). A traditional sock construction again, but this time with a fun and simple stitch pattern throughout! A great pattern for anyone looking to move away from stocking stitch socks. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize and fun to knit, also a good first sock for the more adventurous knitter. You may have seen me working on mine in the store (I knit them in Kureyon sock). These socks do fit tight, so I would recommend doing a stretch test as soon as you have completed a few repeats of the pattern. I didn't do this and had to rip out half a sock after I realized how tight they were!

Advanced: Ocean Toes by Cat Bohrdi, From the Book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. For those looking to knit something a little bit out of the ordinary, this is the sock for you. Knit from the top down, instep shaping occurs in the leg, as a "funnel" is knit down around the entire ankle to the base of the heel. From there, the heel turn is worked along the bottom of the heel and knitting of the foot is resumed with only a few inches to go before the toe. A very interesting sock to knit, and a good looking sock at that. I have already spoken about my exploits with Ocean Toes (and I did decide to frog the sock) but I'll be knitting it again, and this time it will fit like a glove! This book will be available at the Naked Sheep in just a short amount of time (we're currently out of stock).

At the end of the summer we will be having a prize draw for all Summer Knitting Club members, so don't forget to pop in and sign up!