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!

 

Welcome to Minnesota!

One thing I had not yet considered in our new location is the closer proximity to the La Crosse area and all the beauty surrounding Mississippi River Valley, an area which I’ve visited but not spent a lot of time. It turns out that in his new position there are occasions when Mr Knitting Sarah has meetings just outside of La Crosse and one such occasion was earlier this week. Since the kids are finished with school and we didn’t have anything on our schedule that day, we decided to tag along for the ride, drop him at his meetings, and do a little exploring before picking him back up.

There so much to do in the area, but I finally settled on starting with the Trempeleau National Wildlife Refuge (keep reading for the ulterior motive…). My thought was that we’d go and enjoy a nice little hike. We arrived and it was just incredible landscape…

The big ‘ol Mississippi with abundant lily pads and surrounded by river bluffs. We watched Black Terns and Red-Winged Blackbirds and Pelicans across this vast expanse. We saw a couple bald eagles grasp talons and fall toward the river only to release their grip and catch themselves just before impact. And we saw a muskrat with duckweed comically plastered to his face as he chomped away on something in the water.

We attempted that hike. We chose a relatively short jaunt out onto a dike…

Which would have been amazing save for the deer flies that drove my son to insanity. We turned around after just a few minutes with a resolve to come back next time armed with long sleeves and bug spray. Or we’ll just come back after a good hard frost. One or the other.

The wildflowers, of course, we beautiful.

And I braved a few stops to snap a few photos.

I cannot resist pretty flower photos, plain and simple.

I swear I will never get bored of these types of pictures because they are all so unique to my eyes. I love capturing one delicate moment in a precious life cycle. No matter how many pictures of flowers I take, they just seem to sing to my eyes.

The kids also spotted this photo on an information board…

Taken by none other than The Batman, Bruce Wayne.

With the kids anxious to escape the bugs, we piled into the car and headed out…

winding along between the river bluffs and the river on our way to our next destination. When the GPS chirped, “Welcome to Minnesota,” I knew we were close.

And shortly after 10am, we made it to our destination, a new-to-me LYS, Yarnology in Winona, Minnesota. I told you there was an ulterior motive for heading a bit north of La Crosse! This little shop is a true gem and I was so happy to have a little time to spend there. Within its walls lie a really nice combination of yarn standards as well as indie & local dyers. I also got to meet Jennifer, also known as Driftless Knitter, an employee in the shop and from whom I’d learned of it via her Instagram feed. It was such a great shop that although I went in looking for bent-tip tapestry needles and rosewood cable needles, I didn’t leave with either. It wasn’t because the don’t stock those items — they do — it’s because I got totally and completely distracted by everything else.

When it came time to check out, I had some Heidi & Lana stitch markers.

I have loved these markers for years and some of mine are getting pretty worn. I’d just been looking at these rose gold wire ones online so when I saw them in the shop I grabbed them.

I also picked up this skein of Vesper Sock Yarn from Knitterly Things in the colorway ‘Happy Accident’. I love the colors and once I saw the name I couldn’t pass it up.

I also picked up this skein of Authentic Sock from Three Sister Fiber Co, dyed right there in Winona. I’d been ogling their recent ‘Sea Glass’ in their Summer Series since it came out and while I didn’t indulge in that colorway, I just had to see how this yarn knit up. The colorway I got is from the “A Day In A Life” series (you can read about it here) — it is March 11, 2017 and I love that it feels like a complex mix of the end of winter and beginning of spring.

And last but not least…

I brought home a Hinza bag. Made in Sweden, I’ve been looking at these for a good long while now. I had a feeling it would be a great way to hold prepped fiber. The bins I used to use for this purpose are mostly occupied now and the idea of having one that I could easily move from the living room out to the porch or tuck away into a little nook seemed perfect. I’m ecstatic to have finally found one I could look at and see before I buy and even happier that I could bring home this pretty blue. It’s probably time to prep some Tour de Fleece fiber, after all.

I only took two wrong turns on the way to pick up Mr Knitting Sarah, but eventually the GPS chirped, “Welcome to Wisconsin” again and we made it in plenty of time. My being late meant we all got to grab our to-go lunch together which by request was from my favorite chain of sandwich shops that we no longer have locally. Mr Knitting Sarah even bought me two sandwiches so that I could have one for dinner as well. ❤

Sure, it was a lot of driving. Sure, there were some bug-related setbacks. And sure, I splurged a bit at a new LYS &, you know, sandwiches, but instead of a day apart from our beloved Mr Knitting Sarah we got to spend most of the day all together and the kids and I enjoyed a beautiful day of adventure in a brand new place. There are loads more places I can’t wait to check out in the area — bike trails and parks and landmarks. And you can bet I’m definitely looking forward to the next chance we get to hear “Welcome to Minnesota” again, too.