Storm’s End, Self-Striping Version

As promised, today I am going to tell you a little more about this…

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

The Self-Striping Storm’s End from Three Waters Farm and what I did with it.

First, the base. This is a fingering weight 4-ply Merino + Nylon 75/25 base. Those who pay attention to bases will know this is a true workhorse. It’s soft enough to wear against your skin and the nylon, of course, adds strength and durability meaning you can pretty much do whatever you please with it. Socks, scarves, shawls, sweaters — you name it, it can be used for it. It comes in a 465-yard skein which is more than generous.

One tidbit to be aware of when you order is that it does arrive as a very long skein. Exactly how long, Sarah? Well, it’s too long to fit an average swift, so you will need to devise a way to wind it. I’ll admit, I played with it for a few minutes trying to figure out the best course of action, but then I realized how simple it really was…

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You could, of course, simply put two chairs roughly 3 meters apart and wind, but this set-up meant I didn’t have to move any furniture. So I did a few laps around the kitchen table and wound it into a ball. It really didn’t take long at all.

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Perfect! You could also, of course, wind it onto a niddy-noddy which is a good option if you are planning to pop it on your swift. I didn’t really have a need for a center-pull ball, so I just wound this ball and knit straight from it.

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I had a lot of ideas for how I might use this yarn, but in the end once I got going with the Zigzagular Socks pattern, I was pretty much instantly hooked. This is a free pattern and Ravelry and it’s much easier than it looks. As someone who really values sock patterns that are easy to memorize, this one is surprisingly fun and simple.

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You really wouldn’t expect that from glancing at the pattern, but it’s really super easy and addictive and fun. It does come with both written and charted instructions, too, making it accessible to pretty much everyone.

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They really flew! Before I knew it…

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Done!

Normally I don’t like to mix stitch patterning with striping yarn, but I like how these play together…

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And I really love how the yarn alternates between tonal stripes and multi-colored space dyed stripes. I think it makes for much more depth of color and has really leveled up the average rainbow to be much more spectacular.

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Plus, of course, that little added bit of interest paired with the stripes makes it knit up much faster, too. At least that propels me along!

As I mentioned yesterday, this yarn is a special event for Three Waters Farm and they have generously agreed to giveaway one skein of this yarn to a lucky reader here on the blog — you can read all about that and enter in yesterday’s post here. That giveaway will close tomorrow morning, Wednseday, July 19th at 9am CDT.

For those who can’t wait or miss the giveaway, this yarn is currently only available as a pre-order. You can find the pre-order listing for this yarn right here. Pre-orders for the yarn, will be open through Sunday, July 23rd.

I’ll admit, I had to do what I pretty much never do and put a pin in sock #2 while I whipped up the Mini Skein project I will be sharing with you tomorrow. Now that I’ve finished though, I’m excited to get rolling on sock #2 and slip this project into the “finished” columns. Mostly though, I’m just excited to knit with this fabulous yarn again!

 

Talk Nerdy to Me

I hinted earlier this week that I had some more to share about my love affair with String Theory Colorworks and today is the day! Or at least one of them. In any case, let’s travel back in time to last December. String Theory Colorworks announced their 2015 Sock Club and I was sorely tempted. It’s the kind of club where you get to select your base and in winter I absolutely adore knitting up socks in their Orbit base. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, it’s one of my all-time favorite bases. An 80/20 SW merino/nylon sport weight and always in fun, vibrant self-striping colors. These socks are the ultimate in instant sock gratification and they are wonderfully warm to wear in our cool house. Alas, with other expenses around the holidays and attempting to curb my yarn intake, I passed on membership to the club.

 Fast forward to this spring. With only one skein of Orbit left in my stash, when the opportunity to join the second half of the sock club presented itself in June, I went for it. I knew I’d love it, but I could never have anticipated exactly how much I’d love what arrived in my mailbox.

capacitorMy first installment included a super cute project bag and the Capacitor colorway in my selected yarn weight with a coordinated mini-skein for the heels and toes. That wasn’t all though. It also came with this super cool page-long story behind the colorway. You see, the brains behind String Theory Colorworks are Caitlin, who studied biology, and her husband, who is an electrical engineer. Being scientists by training, they thought it was only right that their yarns reflect their own science backgrounds. For this month’s installment, not only does the info sheet talk about what a capacitor is and how it’s made, it talks about how they arrived at the colorway by combining two scientifically related items for which they already have colorways. It totally speaks to the science nerd in me; the girl who loved building circuits in physics class, who loves to understand how things both great and small work, and who routinely watches science documentaries over the latest rom-com.

The absolute best part of this set, however, is the coordinating stitch marker. Did I mention each skein of String Theory Colorworks yarn comes with a coordinated stitch meatier? Well, Capacitor came with this one…

capacitor 2It’s a teeny-tiny capacitor!

Nerd. Mind. Blown.

The only thought I had when I opened this up was that I was a fool for not subscribing earlier. I emailed Caitlin just to convey the “WOW” factor I experienced and mentioned that I should have joined right away. She just happened to have extras of each colorway in my base from the first half of the club and asked if I’d be interested.

IMG_0566Suffice to say, I added them to my to-knit pile along with a skein of Mercury, a colorway that includes red stripes, for my son loves red and adores the Mars Orbit socks I knit for him this spring. And Caitlin included a copy of the print-out for each installment. I can knit and learn new tidbits about science? Now you’re speaking my language.

Thankfully, we can all rest easy now. I am assured that this winter our toes will be warm, the science-nerd in me will be inspired, and we will have some amazingly bright and fun socks to wear. Just talk nerdy to me & let me knit socks and I am one super happy lady.

Matching Stripes + Strontium-90 Socks

I have to say that as the Socks with Sarah official KAL timeline winds down (official end date is January 14th at which point it will go from ‘KAL’ to ‘open knitting group’), I have received so many wonderful notes from fellow knitters who took this little journey with me. I will admit that I never quite know what to say when I hear ‘thank yous’ for this — after all, each of your needles are those that have created these wonderful drawers full of socks. My organization, inspiration, and motivation is so intertwined with the other knitters in the group that it really never crosses my mind that I deserve any credit whatsoever. For this reason, all your kind words really touch my heart in a special way and all I can say in return in ‘thank you.’

My pinched nerve issue yesterday has set me a bit behind in my end-of-the-year giveaway announcement, but rest assured that is coming. In the mean time, I thought I’d share a quick finished pair of socks. I have made a point of not mentioning ‘my number’ throughout the year because for me this KAL was not about cranking out as many socks as I could. It was just about getting back in that routine of including a little sock knitting every day in my life. Some pairs definitely flew, some dragged, and some were somewhere in between. This pair — #24 for those who are counting — was actually leap-frogged by #25, but thanks to their sport weighted-ness they were finished up within a couple days of wrapping up that sneaky #25.

Today I’m sharing with you another pair knit in String Theory ColorworksOrbit base. I will admit that I love telling you how much I adore the Orbit base. It is fun, wears very nicely, and knits-up quickly. If I hadn’t been in desperate need of a new swift, I would have absolutely signed up for the String Theory Colorworks Sock Club in Orbit. Unfortunately, the yarn constantly tumbling off my $1 swift could not outweigh the dreamy idea of receiving Orbit on a regular basis. Sad, but true. If I had to rate them, Orbit is one of those sock yarn bases that would probably make my top 5. I’ve tried a lot of yarns for socks over the years, so that is really saying something!

In any case, I had stocked up on Orbit using the discount code String Theory Colorworks so very generously offered Knitting Sarah readers back in September. I thought I’d be stocked for a good long time, but I’m horrified to report that I have but one skein left. I’m trying really hard not to panic.

This yarn, the Strontium-90 colorway, was originally purchased with my daughter in mind. After a cold snap in November, however, I am only mildly ashamed to say that I decided to knit them up for myself instead. I couldn’t resist.

strontium toesThe colors are absolutely electric — neon & fan-freaking-tabulous.

strontium heelsI also tried something a bit different with these heels — joining the afterthought heel with the color in which the rip-cord for the heel was placed. I think they turned out so much better than my past attempts. I will definitely be going this route from now on.

strontium whole sockNow I’ve been asked a few times lately how I get the stripes to match up on both socks. I am the first to admit I’m not always perfect and there is probably a much easier and/or more efficient way to do this, but here’s how I’ve been doing it.

1. Starting at the beginning of your skein, find the first color change — cut the yarn here. This guarantees I am starting with the full length of the stripe. Set aside scrap for whatever purpose you desire.

2. I cast-on using the Old Norwegian cast-on which is a cast-on that leaves a tail (like long-tail cast-on). DO NOT cut the tail.

3. Knit sock #1 per instructions.

4. When it comes time to cast-on sock #2, find the next full color change that matches where you started sock #1. Basically you will repeat step 1 here, but you are mid-skein instead of at the beginning of the skein.

5. Cast-on making sure the long-tails left for sock #1 & sock #2 are close (within an inch or two). This may take a couple attempts, but it is well worth the time.

6. Knit sock #2 per instructions.

Voila! Your socks should be identical! Obviously this will not take into account if you gauge varies between socks or if you measure the socks differently, but as long as you keep an eye on those basics and compare the two socks as you go it should work just fine.

Needless to say, these socks are an insanely fun addition to my sock drawer. I’m thinking if anything can fight off the February Blahs, it’ll be these neon stripes. Just don’t tell my daughter they were originally intended for her… I think she’d be pretty jealous & I might be in a heap of trouble!

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!

Stock Up on Stripes!

It’s that back-to-school time of year again and what better way to celebrate than stocking up with a little yarn?! A little less than a year ago I placed my first order with String Theory Colorworks and as soon as it arrived I knew it was special. This first order was actually placed in order to work on a test knit for Jane Richmond’s Linden Mittens, but knowing I was going to launch the Socks with Sarah KAL shortly I threw a couple sock yarns in my basket, too.

The Linden Mittens — knit with the sport weight Momentum base — turned out great.

Of course, that’s an understatement — this yarn & pattern are a perfect match for a lightweight mitten. Quick, easy, and fun, you just can’t beat this combination for a fall/early winter/spring mitten.

As for socks, I knit up a pair of tube socks for my daughter in the super girly Gamma Ray colorway.

Red + hot pink?  Never was there a more perfect colorway for my girl!

And recently I started my own pair of AfterThought Heel socks in the Meissner Effect colorway…

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This is the 80% SW merino/20% nylon Inertia base and it is so much softer than I expected! The colors — well, I’ve learned to be spoiled by the richness & depth of color in String Theory Colorworks yarn and this colorway is no exception.

Just in case these don’t make you want to start knitting with this fab yarn, the winner of the String Theory Colorworks skein from the Socks with Sarah May Challenge  hasn’t wasted any time knitting her new yarn up. In fact, Chloe (who writes the super fun sparklyshoesarefaster blog), treated herself to a couple extra skeins in addition to her prize and she was kind enough to let me share her photos with you.

linesThese are her vanilla socks in Spectral Lines colorway on the sport weight Momentum base.

resistorAnd another pair of vanilla toe-ups in the Resistor colorway on the luxurious 80/10/10 merino/cashemere/nylon Continuum base.

And last but not least,

pink greenChloe’s latest socks-in-progress, another vanilla number in the Event Horizon colorway on the 100% BFL  Tachyon base. Aren’t these beautiful socks?!  Nicely done, Chloe!

I have a few skeins in my stash, but that doesn’t stop me from eyeballing the beautiful cool hues of Pluto…

Pluto--Continuum

As well as the electric Strontium-90…

Strontium-90--Entanglement

And I have to admit, the kid in me whose dad worked in a nuclear plant for 30 years is oddly drawn to Uranium…

Uranium--Orbit

And, really, who couldn’t use the Christmas-y stylings of Kinetic Energy?

Kinetic Energy--Entanglement

Whatever stripes draw you in, now’s your chance to add some stripe-y goodness to your sock drawer (and your stash, too)! String Theory Colorworks has graciously offered Knitting Sarah readers & Socks with Sarah knitters 15% off their total cart today, September 1st through September 19th! Simply use the code   backtoschool   when you checkout to receive your discount.  September 19th with be the last update of 2014 for this fab shop, so now really is the time to stock up!

Have fun, treat yourself, and I can’t wait to see all your super fun stripes!