Storm’s End, The Mini Skein Set

Yesterday I shared my adventure with Three Waters Farm’s Storm’s End Self-Striping sock yarn. Today I get to share my fun with the Mini Skein Set version.

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

As you can see, this set consists of two grey-violet tonals (on the far left here), a dark due and medium hue. The other 4 mini-skeins are spaced dyed with muliple colors at play — purples, blues, greens & yellows, and a kind of coral-y orange & yellow. Each mini-skein is 92 yards making the total set a whooping 552 yards. You might be thinking, “That’s a lot of yardage!” I’m thinking, “That makes for a lot of options!”

There are no shortage of mini-skein patterns out there for which this set would be perfect. After all, mini-skein sets have been popular for long enough that loads of people have developed patterns for them. This set being made from a Merino + Nylon 75/25 base making it a great fit for just about any project your heart desires. Personally, I had a vision early on that I simply had to pursue: stripey socks.

Now it’s true that when I was deciding what to do with these minis, I had just made a sock with the Storm’s End Self-Striping skein, but I had a vision for these. I saw this oe-Up Mini-Skein Striped Socks pattern on Ravelry — another free pattern, by the way — and I had to make a pair, but with my own twist, of course. I read through it and then opted to actually follow the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Simple Toe-Up Socks pattern just because they are about the same and I knew the Churchmouse pattern was easy to follow and fit well for me.

I opted to work these socks 2-at-a-time because I wanted to really use up colors without worrying about running out for the second sock. Of course, 552 yards is a lot of yarn for a pair of socks for most people.  If I had to do it over again, I would work them one at a time and I would carry the yarn up as I went to minimize the ends I had to weave in. As it was though, I was in a rush and working 2-at-a-time magic loop, pulling yarn from both ends of my mini center-pull balls. I made it this way through exactly one color change with 4 live ends. I won’t mince words, it was really not enjoyable. I just started cutting long ends to eventually weave in as I went and — sure, there were a lot of ends when I’d finished, but I got them all woven in during a movie one night. Worth it to spare myself all the winding around of everything I’d originally tried! And most importantly, it really allowed me to enjoy the knitting.

When I started knitting, I decided to designate all the purples as one half of the stripes — this included the two tonals and the purple space dyed skein. The other half of the stripes would be the coral-yellow, green-yellow, and blues space dyed skeins. The goal was to alternate into stripes and change the colors at varying intervals. I’ll try to walk you through with images here…

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I started the toe with the dark tonal and worked with it until I finished all the toe increases. Then I added the green-yellow skein and started working in 4-row intervals. After 2 repeats with the dark tonal, I switch to the light tonal and continued on with the green-yellow skein.

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Continuing to alternate between tonal and space dyed skeins, I went until I had 5 repeats of the green-yellow and I switch that out with the coral-orange-yellow skein.

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And after 8 repeats of the medium tonal, I switched it out for the purple space dyed skein. And after 8 repeats with the coral-orange-yellow space dyed skein, I switch it with the blue space dyed skein and finished out the sock alternating that with the purple space dyed skein. It sounds complicated, but it really wasn’t. I was just kind of eyeballing it as I went and it was loads of fun.

When it was time to place the afterthought heel rip cord, I did just that. I worked an inch or so past it and then grabbed some DPNs and put in the afterthought heels right away. The plan was to use the dark tonal for the heels (so they’d match the toes) and then use whatever I had left for the ribbing, so getting those heels in was important.

img_6792They fit like a glove and while I could have made knee socks if I had really wanted to, I really kind of liked how they fit and looked when I made it to about 7.5 inches. I put a generous inch of ribbing on, half of which was that dark tonal and then finished them off withe Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

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I adore the results. Plain and simple.

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I like the matching toes and heels.

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I love the slightly irregular cadence of the color changes.

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I even think my jogless jog turned out pretty ok. This is amazing especially considering 1) that I kept forgetting to do it and 2) it can be tricky tensioning it right when you’re also changing yarns. Alas, I think they turned out lovely and I am just beyond tickled with the finished socks.

Now, as I said, these mini-skeins could be used for almost anything. They are super, super versatile. The set is available by pre-order through July 23rd via the Three Waters Farm Etsy shop. Three Waters Farm focuses on hand dyeing spinning fibers, so this is a pretty special event for them and a really awesome opportunity for fiber artists who would like to enjoy the TWF color touch, but don’t spin. The Mini-Skein set would be an excellent introduction — of that, I’m absolutely certain!

 

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!

 

Socks with Sarah, a KAL for 2017

First and foremost, I’d like to wish everyone reading a very, very

Happy New Year!

Three years ago today almost on a whim I launched a knitalong which I coined Socks with Sarah. The whole idea behind it was to take a year and focus on knitting socks. My handknit sock drawer was empty and I desperately wanted to fill it. Goals were completely open to personal interpretation, but the general idea was to knit on socks every day. Basically it was just applying the old maxim, “a little goes a long way,” to sock knitting. It ended up being an amazing year with far more knitters participating than I ever dreamed possible. I ended up making a lot of wonderful knitting friends and knitting a whole lot of socks.

Fast forward to a month or so ago when I shared here on the blog a pair of socks that I’d finished and how Socks with Sarah was kind of living on sporadically in my knitting life. And someone asked, “Could we do that knitalong again?”

And I thought, “Why not?”

So today, I’m officially launching Socks with Sarah 2017 — hooray!

This reprise will be a little more laid-back than the earlier version. We’ve had some conversations in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group about what knitters would like it to be and the consensus was far and away that there was much more desire for more of a gathering space to knit socks together than providing challenges or goals of knitting loads and loads of socks. Since many of our sock drawers are still pretty full from the last time around, the idea was more to try some new patterns, knit up some stash or fun new yarn, and just to take up the cause of knitting socks once again because, let’s be honest, it’s really fun!

One thing that hasn’t changed is that this knitalong is open to first-time and veteran sock knitters alike. All of my tutorials for the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern are still available on YouTube here making it nice & easy to knit your first socks as I guide you through all the transitions from the cast-on to kitchener stitch. And, of course, we’ll be meeting in our happy little ravelry group right here sharing, cheering each other on, troubleshooting, and just enjoying the company of other sock knitters. Instagram users can feel free to use the same tag as last time, #sockswithsarah, too!

I’ve started my first pair of socks for 2017….

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