In Review: String Theory Colorworks’ *NEW* Infinity

There’s been a whole lot of String Theory Colorworks love on the blog lately and rightfully so — so many good things are happening in this awesome little shop! Aside from the always fab colors & bases like the pair I shared last week and the wonderful sock club that I also wrote about last week, they’ve been adding some new bases to their regular line-up. I don’t know about you, but I love to try out new bases so when Caitlin asked if I’d like to audition one of her newbies for a review my response was pretty much, “OMG YES!!!” followed by a whole lot of jumping and dancing around. In the email reply, I tried to keep my cool, but agreed with lots of enthusiasm.

Since I told her just surprise me with whatever she’d like me to try out, when I got my skein of Infinity in Stellar Nursery I was totally jazzed.

IMG_0548The lovely new Infinity base is 80% SW merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon and I’m ecstatic to share that it’s a total dream. It’s everything you’d expect an merino/cashmere/nylon — or MCN — yarn to be — the very best combination of soft and strong. It’s a heavy fingering weight that is put-up in skeins of 383yards which is more than enough for a pair of socks for my size 9 foot. In the end, I had about 20% of the skein leftover even with a generous 8″ leg & cuff.

foot bodyThe colors are the same gorgeous vibrant beauties that I’ve come to know and love from String Theory Colorworks. While this colorway, Stellar Nursery, isn’t something I’d have chosen on my own I absolutely adore it. That’s why I so enjoy surprise yarn — I always discover a new love!

I had thought of trying a couple different stripe-friendly patterns, but I decided I really just wanted to enjoy this yarn without having to worry about a new pattern, so I just went with the basic AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman that I’ve used often and pretty much know by heart.

After my hilarious failure at mismatched stripes on my last pair, I decided to make this pair opposites. One start and ends with a grey stripe and one starts and ends with an orange stripe.

toes

And for the heels…heelsI made those opposites, too. Just because.

wholeAll in all, I have nothing but fantastic things to say about these socks. From the luxurious base to the super fun colorway, you can’t go wrong with String Theory Colorworks’ new Infinity base. I know my toes are thanking me for these socks — yours will, too!

The Thing I Pretty Much Never Do

At this time of year, thousands of knitters the world over have that crazed ‘I’ll-never-finish-in-time’ look in their eyes. I know it. I’ve lived it. If you are in this boat, rest assured that you will indeed most likely survive the next 7days and live to tell the tale of the 11th hour toe shaping for years to come and please know that I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors. I am not knitting Christmas gifts this year. The fact that I don’t knit many gifts is something I’ve written about pretty freely here and this holiday season is no different. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that the few people I tend to knit for didn’t really require anything new or it wasn’t really appropriate this time around. I spun the one skein for of handspun yarn for my friend and that was pretty much going to be it.

While at my in-laws at the beginning of December though I was knitting away on a pair of socks and on one of the last days of our trip while visiting with my mother-in-law she very sweetly asked if I’d knit her a pair. She is a very good knitter in her own right and she’s done some wonderful work on socks, but mostly she prefers to knit for the babies she watches which I can totally understand and appreciate. Of course, I agreed to the project without hesitation. As is my usual MO, I gave her a completion date quite far out in the future — I think I said end of January or February — because 1) I try very hard to be someone who delivers things on-time and 2) I did not want to over-commit with the holidays and spend this important family time nervously trying to finish a pair of socks.

It just so happened that I thought she might make this very request, so I had packed a wound skein of String Theory Colorworks Orbit in the Solanum colorway. My mother-in-law loves greens, so I thought this colorway would be fun to use for her. The photos show the green a little more yellow-y than they are in reality — I would describe this colorway as olive + deep grape + fog. I actually bought the yarn for another purpose, but as soon as I got it I thought of my mother-in-law, so I’m glad I was able to use it for a gift for her. I actually had my mother-in-law’s foot measurements on-file and had them with me on vacation, so I did a little math in the car the morning we headed home and got knitting.

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I have to be very honest — String Theory Colorworks’ Orbit base is one of my favorites for sock knitting. It is 80/20 SW Merino/Nylon and it is just the bounciest, most fun to knit sport-weight sock yarn I’ve found. In fact, I’m kind of dying to be a part of the String Theory Colorworks 2015 Sock Club for the Orbit base, but that’s another story. One in which I try to have yarn-buying restraint because I have an insanely nice stash that I need to knit and I really need to prioritize a new swift and that Very Fast Flyer for my spinning wheel over more yarn. And I find it really, really, really hard to have said restraint. But I digress. Suffice to say just trust me, this base is amazing.

In any case, I knit and I knit and I knit some more, as one does in life. And six days later the socks were done.

solanum4 I did my old standard for stripes, the afterthought heel.

solanum3And the basic toe I do for almost all my socks.

solanum2I knit the cuffs & legs just a bit shorter than I normally do for myself. Personally I prefer a 7-8″ cuff & leg, but my in-laws live in a slightly warmer climate and I think that would just be overkill, so I went with 6.5″ or thereabouts for these socks. I think that’ll do nicely for her.

solanumI didn’t have the appropriate sock blocker size for these and I probably could have blocked these a little more aggressively to redistribute those noticeable spots where my needle joins were, but I wanted to mess with the stitches as little as possible so I wouldn’t deliver of sock that was over-stretched and baggy. I am always a little nervous about fit when the foot I’m knitting for is not in my house, but I had measurements and did my math and double-checked it and blocked very gently so these should fit just right. Besides, all these little aesthetic bits will sort themselves out the first time they’re worn.

Overall, I think they turned out great. All I have to do is wrap them up and pop them in the mail and they might even maybe still make it in time for the holiday. I have to say, for someone who pretty much never knits gifts, this thing I pretty much never do was pretty fun. I’m very excited that these socks will be going to a good home, that they’ll be very much appreciated, and hopefully they’ll be worn a lot, too.

For more information on this project, you can visit my Ravelry project page here.

Fastest. Socks. Ever.

In my last post I raved just a little bit about String Theory Colorworks‘ Orbit base. I received my latest order — thanks to the Knitting Sarah/Socks with Sarah coupon code — on Monday afternoon and by Monday evening I’d cast-on a new pair of socks with this yarn…

IMG_6437The 80/20 SW merino/nylon sport weight base named Orbit in the Ares colorway.

By Tuesday morning I was almost halfway through the first sock…

IMG_6442Interested in how much I could get from this skein, I knit a full 8″ cuff & leg before installing my afterthought heel rip cord.

By Wednesday morning I had cast-on sock #2…

IMG_6444I even ripped back the cuff after a couple inches when I knew it wasn’t matching up exactly with sock #1. It’s probably worth mentioning that my husband happened to have Tuesday & Wednesday off of work this week, so he was in charge of the kids for the school portion of those days. While I tagged along on their field trips, I did luxuriate in a little ‘me’ time which was greatly appreciated and allowed for a little extra progress on these socks. I also squeezed an extra 45minutes of knitting in while the kids were in art class yesterday afternoon. So by the time the kids were home from art, I had passed the afterthought rip-cord on sock #2.

IMG_6462 The weather was beautiful and the kids were happy to have some free time to play outside and, really, once you get past that heel spot on a sport weight sock, you just have to make a mad dash for the finish line. I knit on and off before and after dinner and by bedtime…

IMG_6466It was time to Kitchener the last toe. Then the question was did I have enough in me to do the heels right away or should I wait for the morning? I had some enablers on Instagram…

IMG_6468And voila! Finito at about 10:30 last night.

SW Ares heelI wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that lone row of blue at the back of the heel at first, but I’ll admit it’s grown on me. Born of poor foresight on my part, it certainly makes these socks unique and endearing to me.

SW Ares toePlus, it sort of goes with the lone red spot at the tip of the toe. I might care more about these little tidbits, but these socks fit great and I’m completely in love with both the yarn on my skin & the gorgeous colors, so at the end of the day I just can’t argue with that!

SW Ares whole sockI used a combination of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Socks & Laura Linneman’s AfterThought Heel Socks to make these socks. Stitch counts for sport weight socks from the former and basic construction from the latter. As I said, it worked magic as the fit is fantastic. And for those wondering, even with the nice longer 8″ cuff & leg and my size 9 feet, I had about 50yards of yarn leftover from my skein.

I’ll admit I was inspired and motivated to get these socks done by today so that I could share them on the last day of the special String Theory Colorworks discount code for Knitting Sarah/Socks with Sarah knitters. Remember to use the code  backtoschool  when you checkout to get 15% off your order. The last update of the year for String Theory Colorworks just went live about an hour ago, so if you haven’t taken advantage of this special offer, there is no time like the present! In-stock yarn will be shipped through the end of the year, but there will be no new additions to that inventory so your best selection until 2015 is available right now!

In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the String Theory Colorworks Newsletter (just scroll down to the blue ‘Subscribe’ button after the welcome note on the homepage). You can find the latest newsletter, which contains teasers, pattern ideas, and new yarn colors here. You can also follow this awesome dyer on Twitter, Facebook, and Ravelry to stay up on all the latest news.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little journey of self-striping sock knitting & that you will have fun on your own adventures with these wonderful yarns!

If you’d like to read more detail on my Ares socks, please see my Ravelry project page here.

Many thanks to the folks at String Theory Colorworks for offering this special discount, for sponsoring the Socks with Sarah KAL, and for being completely awesome in general!

Stripes, Stripes, and More Stripes!

Having been on a finishing tear lately, I thought why not throw my String Theory Colorworks AfterThought Heel Socks onto the FO pile? I will admit I was a little motivated by the knowledge that some stash enhancement thanks to the String Theory Coloroworks coupon code was due to arrive Monday. I hastily wrapped up these beauties Sunday night…

whole sockThese use the String Theory Colorworks Inertia base (80/20 merino/nylon) in the Meissner Effect colorway. As an aside, Wikipedia tells us that the Meissner Effect is “the expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state”.  Yes, I look up the names for each of my String Theory Colorworks skeins. For real. If you didn’t know, I am kind of a super nerd and ever since my high school physics class I’ve been really interested in the subject — from building electric circuits in class (that was a fave of mine) to watching the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson to the geeked out references on The Big Bang Theory to Hawking’s The Brief History of Time. I certainly am no physicist and I forget half of what I read as soon as I read it, but I just love the very big and very small of the physics world.

But I digress.

So not only is String Theory Coloroworks yarn beautifully dyed on a high-quality bases, it teaches me random physics lessons. Does it get better?

heelThis was my very first afterthought heel and I thought Laura Linneman did a great job in the pattern of keeping it very simple. I found the afterthought heel really fun and easy and although I’ve heard a lot of arguments for and against the fit, it feels fine to me. Of course, we’ll see how comfortable they are to be worn, but at this point I don’t foresee any problems.

toOne thing I do need to perfect is the sizing of this pattern. These ended up a teensy bit small in the foot — I’m talking like 2-4 rounds small. Pretty insignificant, but just enough to notice. Thankfully such a small discrepancy I was able to block out the difference (thank you sock blockers!).

With these socks on the blockers drying, I was happy when I received the skeins I ordered with the special Knitting Sarah/Socks with Sarah coupon code from this fab shop.

IMG_6435You see more Inertia, but I also was excited to try out Force, a 70/20/10 blend of Superwash BFL/Silk/Cashmere, as well as Orbit. Orbit is an 80/20 Superwash Merino/Nylon blend that is a sport weight. What could be better than fab physics-themed self-striping yarn for socks? Fab physics-themed self-striping yarn for socks in sport weight!

IMG_6442This is a WIP photo from the morning of the 16th with my beautiful MisoCraftyKnits project bag which is completely awesome, too (and psst — there are still a couple left in the shop!). I started with a skein of Orbit in the Ares colorway…

IMG_6444By this morning, the first sock was done save the heel & I was already cruising on sock #2. Seriously, this Orbit base may be in my top 5 sock yarns list. I am in love with how it takes the color, how springy and soft it is, and how quickly it knits. If you wanted to knit a pair of really nice socks for everyone you know, this would be the yarn to use!

Just a reminder that Friday, September 19th is the last day for the awesome 15% off discount code for Knitting Sarah readers & Socks with Sarah Knitters from String Theory Colorworks.  Just use the code   backtoschool   when you check-out.  Friday will also be the last update of 2014 for this shop, so stock-up on some of this fantastic yarn while you can!

Many thanks to the folks at String Theory Colorworks for this fantastic discount & for being a sponsor of the Socks with Sarah KAL!

For more information on my Meissner Effect Socks, please see my Ravelry project page here.

For more information on my Ares Socks, please see my Ravelry project page here.

The Forest

As I mentioned in my last post, the first couple weeks of our homeschooling experience has had its ups and downs. Part of the challenge is like any other beginning to the school year — to know what the expectations are, to learn and understand how a normal day unfolds, and just in general settling into a routine takes time. At our home school we learned quickly that the schedule we meticulously set this summer for our average day needed a major overhaul and by day 2 we were re-writing it. It’s ok, though, we half-expected that – even the best, most carefully laid plans rarely survive contact with reality without requiring major changes. This is especially true when your reality includes 2 very bright children: one a slow, methodical, perfectionist  9year-old learner and one a very speedy, impatient nearly 7year-old learner who has very little attention to or interest in details unless she is specifically interested in said details.

Oy.

Suffice to say by the middle of week two, I was starting to come undone a bit. It wasn’t concern about my kids’ education. Really that part is pretty clear — we’ve researched and worked hard to make sure that is all laid out to set our children up for success. No, my concerns were based more in questions like ‘will my children would still like me at all when they are grown after this or just see me as a crazy schoolmarm’ and ‘will I survive this exercise?’ The best way I can describe how those first two weeks felt are if you imagine not working out of the house for 10years and then not only starting a full-time career again, but make it a running new company with headquarters in your home and you spend 24hours a day and 7 days a week with your coworkers. The return to work alone is a shock to the system and — especially for an introvert like myself — the 24/7 of it is just draining and exhausting. There were evenings when I mostly just wanted to cry or at the very least not speak or think for a couple hours once our school day ended. Those were the ‘down’ moments — although difficult in the moment, I knew they were things I’d get used to in time.

The ‘up’ moments included how my son sat down very maturely with me to discuss changes to his schedule, asking for very reasonable alterations like math in the afternoon instead of the morning and time for creative writing. It was pretty nice to be able to fast-forward my daughter through the first couple units of math because she really didn’t need to spend multiple days practicing counting to 10 since she counts to 110+ with ease and accuracy. It has been awesome to see my son relax and really thrive without the anxiety he had in his public school. I loved finding inspiration for my daughter to improve her handwriting with the promise of being able to be pen-pals with my mom. It was really amazing to have a lesson in plants that allowed us to spend time in the garden and to have the freedom to take field trips for hands-on learning. And it was pretty cool how it just worked out that the local art center is offering art classes for home schoolers once a week that works with our schedule. The ‘ups’ were pretty significant.

I’m thankful for my husband who despite working long hours at his job does his best to provide me with those important quiet moments. When I was at my wits end because when my daughter gets bored or tired a lot of the negative stuff she witnessed last year in school comes out in a torrent, it’s my husband who could easily see the forest for the trees and helped me set up some accountability and incentive for her to leave that behavior behind her.  I’m thankful that his field days with the kids are optional for me — so that I can write or clean or do all the things that are no longer happening during the daytime.

I’m also thankful for our sweet dog, Moose.

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Not only providing extra snuggles in the evenings, whenever my daughter is having a moment he comes over to try to calm everyone down. As ridiculous as it is, it works! It’s hard not to laugh when this big crazy dog is thwacking into everything with his wild tail or when he inadvertently picks the kitchen table up with his back and moves it 2″ this way and 4″ that way. It’s hard for my daughter to remember whatever random thing she doesn’t feel like doing when the 85lb dog is burrowing his head into her lap, too. He is such a huge help.

And I’m thankful for knitting which gives me a form of meditation, something to quiet my mind, and a sense of accomplishment no matter what the day brings. This weekend, I took advantage of some time in the car and some real weekend time and got some real knitting done. I’m very happy to share that I not only finished my Pussywillow Mitts

FO hand-inBut I also wrapped up my String Theory Colorworks AfterThought Heel Socks

IMG_6421They are drying now, so a better photo will be coming in a couple days. Don’t forget — this is the String Theory Colorworks yarn for which we have a 15% off coupon code through Sept 19th!

And I also finally got those pockets on my Little Wave sweater with what I’m dubbing the ‘Green Mountain Spinnery Miracle Skeins’…

IMG_6430You might remember I came up short on yarn for this sweater.  So one year later I went to the same annual fiber festival where I purchased the original skeins and picked up the last two skeins in the yarn & color of the sweater. And they just happened to be the same dye lot.

After the ups and downs of beginning the school year, it felt really good to wrap-up some projects. While it always feels good to click away on something, that satisfying tick from WIP to FO was even more monumental this weekend after a somewhat emotional week. I know our weeks and months and years as homeschooling parents — and as parents in general — will always be full of ups and downs. I think it is simply the nature of the beast. While in the moment it can be really hard to see the forest for the trees, I know that overall we are getting closer every day to having all the daily routine wrinkles ironed-out. I know that the kids are working hard and are very happy. I know that I will most likely survive this exercise and my kids will probably still like me when they’re grown. I know that the kids will have a great education and we will have bonds that are — according to my son — indestructible. These sentiments are the forest that is sometimes obscured in the moment, the thoughts I need to keep in mind when the dog is knocking the table all over the kitchen.

This week is another week and while it probably won’t be perfect, we’ll all do our best, we’ll all keep working those wrinkles out, we’ll remain thankful that we have this awesome opportunity to be a homeschooling family, and hopefully we’ll manage to keep the kitchen table upright. I’ll keep my knitting close and the forest in my sights.