I was going to blog the other day when I had an earworm. I left the grocery store, and there was a smoker right out front and a smoker across the drive, so I was stuck in between smokers. So then "...smokers to the left of me, smokers to the right ... here I am, stuck in the middle with you" got stuck in my head.
So I told the Lad about it when I got home and he knew the song but didn't know who sang it. So we googled it, and it was Steeler's Wheel (Stealer's Wheel? Can't remember)*. Anyway, it was a band with Gerry Rafferty. So then I was thinking about Baker Street and had to play that for the Lad. He was familiar only with the saxophone riff, and only because Lisa Simpson played it on the Simpsons. (I cringe that an iconic 70's song has become known because of a Simpsons episode). Anyway, I played him the you tube video and couldn't get the song out of my head for several days.
And by the way, the guy who did the actual sax on Baker's Street? He earned 37 pounds for it. All of about $60. And Gerry Rafferty continued to earn royalties of about 80,000 per year until his death.
Go listen to it and see if you agree that it's more than $60 worth of sax.
Perhaps now I've earwormed one of you.
Jay Ferguson's Thunder Island, anyone?
*Stealers Wheel with no apostrophe, although one YouTube title has it Steeler's Wheel. Sigh.
So this is August, which means it's the Finish Yer Sips challenge. I have now finished 6 socks.
You've all seen the first of each, so I'll just post a photo of each pair.
Pair #1: Rushing Tide (this had about 20 rows done on sock #2 when I picked it up for August).
The pattern is by Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns, and the yarn is Tough Love by Sweet Georgia Yarns in Oceanside.
The pattern is very simple and very intuitive. It goes quite quickly. It's one of those simple lace and knit/purl ones which I really prefer. I did the single sole gusset heel (TurtleGirl76).
The colour of the yarn is very solid and very consistent. It's a bit more teal-y than this shows, but the iPhone doesn't like certain colours, and I don't really care enough to worry about it. The Tough Love sock softens up nicely when it's washed and it has pretty good stitch definition. It's an 80/20 MN and is I think 3 ply. But I did find that it was splitty, so I ended up switching to my Nova Platina DPNs which are less sharp than the Signatures, and that seemed to fix the problem.
I have lots of the Tough Love and it's a great workhorse sock yarn. But it needs something slightly less pointy than Signatures.
Two thumbs up for the pattern and the yarn.
Pair #2: Midnight Traffic Lights
This one is a plain vanilla sock, so there's not much to say pattern-wise. But I did do 100 rows on the leg after the ribbing, and it's a 72-stitch sock, so it's fairly long and uses lots of stitches. It's not like I'm knitting 56-stitch socks with 3" cuffs or anything....
The yarn is the second installment of the String Theory Colorworks sock club (yarn club?) from 2015. My base is Entanglement which is a 75/25 MN blend and is 463 yards for 100 g. I believe it's a 4-ply. My preferred sock yarn is thin yarn with a tight twist, and that's what Entanglement is.
I love this yarn and the colour.
This one also gets a thumb up, but I am not in a rush to knit black yarn for a while. My poor aged eyes can't take it so much.
Pair #3: Angie
The pattern is of course from Cookie A's Sock Innovation, and you can't go wrong with that. It's only 65 stitches, which is a little smaller than my comfort zone, but the yarn is big and bouncy and kind of makes up for it. Plus it's a lace pattern which has a little forgiveness. (It's the sock equivalent of eating pants).
The yarn is a knotty/naughty (?knaughty?) skein of Hazel Knits Artisan in Violetta. I have a whack of HK Artisan in my stash. I love it. It's a great sock yarn with a 90/10 MN content and is a 3-ply. It gives great cable definition and other stitch definition. It's a bit of a heavier fingering weight than some.
But this is also a two theumbs up project.
Pair #4: Vesuvius
This is just a vanilla sock with an eye of partridge heel. Nothing special. It has 72 stitches and 80 rows after the 20 rows of ribbing, so again, not a short sock.
The yarn is the Arial Striping base by Twisted Fiber Art. It is a loosely-plied 2-ply 100% superwash merino.
I really struggled on sock # 1 because of the loose ply. For sock number 2, I used my Rushing Tide trick and switched to the Nova Platina needles, and there was somewhat less splitting of the yarn. But I don't feel that this is great sock yarn. I have nothing against 100% merino yarn for socks. I am a huge fan of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, and I am also loving the new String Theory Colorworks Wave base. So I don't automatically discount a yarn for socks if there is no nylon.
But this stuff is so loosely plied that you have to knit at a monstrously tight gauge. I did the foot on 2.0 mm needles and I refuse on principle to go to 1.50 or 1.75 mm needles for socks. That takes it into the territory of not remotely enjoyable knitting, and life is too short for that.
So in terms of socks, the yarn gets a thumb down. I have another three skeins of it in various self-striping patterns. I love the colours. But it's probably the most expensive of the sock yarns I knit with, and to me, it's not worth the price for socks. (It's great for cowls and whatnot, but not for socks, and definitely not at this price).
Pair #5: Xeriscape
The pattern is Xeriscape by Cookie A, which is a knit and purl sock from her sock club this year. I can't remember specifically which month it was. The pattern gets a couple of thumbs up, but I ended up having to decrease from 72 stitches on the leg to 64 on the foot, so I think I would do a smaller size next time.
The yarn is Silk Crush from Sweet Georgia Yarns. It's a 50/50 MS blend, and there are bits of slubs in the silk content. It's not as tightly plied or as smooth as some of the other 50/50 MS yarns I've used. It's a 2-ply yarn and is a little more loosely plied than I prefer. It would be perfect for drapey shawls. And I love a merino/silk blend for socks. I find that the fabric wears much better than merino alone or merino nylon.
This might have been an off skein, because there were lots of spots in it where the yarn was unravelling and there were some cut and rejoined areas.
I have another 7 or 8 skeins of Silk Crush in my stash. I think the next time I will use the Nova Platina needles and may try a smaller stitch count. The verdict is still out for this one. I want to love it, but I'm not sure I do.
Pair #6: Wrack
The pattern is Wrack by Hunter Hammersen. I did the first sock as a test knit for her in December. I don't care for whatever charting software she uses. The knit stitches are represented by a little vertical mark, and the purls are a horizontal mark, and I always find her charts a little cluttered and irritating to read. That's probably the only reason I haven't knit more of her socks from the various books. I will have to either copy the stitch patterns out by hand onto graph paper or I'll have to use my Intwined pattern software, and that's a pain in the neck. (I also don't care for the fact that it uses a little horizontal mark for purl stitches. What I really like is the software used by Cookie A and Anne Hanson where the purl is a dot. No clue what that charting software is. If anyone knows, please tell me).
The pattern itself is fine. The toe decreases are shorter than I would normally do (after the first 6 rows of toe decreases, they are all decrease rows, so the toe is about 10 rows shorter than normal).
The yarn is a "gradient" from Fibernymph in the Bounce base. It's an 80/20 MN with a pebbled 2-ply twist. It's not my favourite, and it's a fairly common sock yarn base. I just find it too loosely plied. It would be fine if it were a 3-ply. The colour changes on the gradient (Earthenware Red) are quite abrupt, and I find that detracts from the finished product. I had envisioned socks which transitioned smoothly from the pink to the red, but what I ended up with are socks with distinct striations. There are 5 colour changes here, and the last three are much more subtle than the first two. To me it looks like there should be another colour between the second pink and the first of the darker red colours.
I decided to knit sock #2 in the reverse order (starting with the light part of the yarn) to make them fraternal.
The pattern is okay, and the yarn is okay. At best this is a horizontal thumb. Neither up nor down.
There seem to have been loads of yarn club offerings this month / the end of July, so there's quite a bit of stash enhancement here. Mount Stashmore is growing at an alarming rate -- certainly faster than I can erode it with my knitting.
I got my Canon Hand Dyes minis club kit. I get the 5g skeins of the minis and the contrast yarn.
The latest is Autumn Rainbow on Robert BFL Tweed sock. I seem to have landed on the Canadian Border Agency's hit list of people to watch out for. I had to pay customs and HST on this shipment. It's the first time I've ever been hit up for a regular yarn shipment. I am not pleased because they base it on the Canadian equivalent, which of course is skewed by the poor dollar.
I think I ended up paying another $30 in customs/HST charges for this. Grrr. Angry face.
It will undoubtedly be knit into a stripey cowl of some variety.
I'm not a huge fan of tweedy yarn, and I'm not a huge fan of BFL, but it will be a nice enough cowl.
My kids went to Calgary for about 5 days during Princess' last furlough. My sister-in-law has an artisan wood craft business (www.wildrosewoodart.com) and she sent back some beautiful gifts.
She sent two necklaces. She wood burns designs into the wood. These are absolutely lovely. Here are the fronts and then the backs. Look how delicate that feather is. That's amazing.
She also makes beautiful buttons and sent along two sets. I think I am going to make cowls out of chunky yarn and use them for that.
She also sent along a beautiful tree on a piece of wood which is hanging in the knitting / art room.
The sun was shining on my desk the other day at an odd angle, and it completely illuminated the inside of the yarn bowl. It was positively glowing. Normally it's quite a dark red.
The next String Theory Colorworks sock club offering arrived. This month's colourway is Capacitor. And look at the wee stitch marker - it's a resistor or a capacitor or whatnot.* My father's hobby used to be fiddling with electronics, so he had all kinds of circuit boards with these various doodads all over them. He also had a terrible habit of leaving his soldering iron on the edge of the ashtray (pewter) and occasionally melting holes in it, but that's a story for a different day.
*Yes, I know I work in the electricity industry and I should know the difference between a capacitor and a resistor, but I don't. So shoot me.
The Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club offering arrived as well. The colourway is Berrylicious. The floops this time are orange.
Speaking of which, I went into my vase which holds minis and retrieved all of my Rockin' Sock Club mini skeins and put each year's skeins on one of those round clippy things.
They start on the top left going anti-clockwise: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. 2015 is in the middle (and before Berrylicious arrived).
It's interesting, because there are some definite colour trends there. 2011 was a pretty dark year (other than Electric Kook Aid Acid Test and Comfort and Joy). Three of the colours in 2013 were pretty similar in terms of being dark and using the same colours. Unfortunately there's only ever been one of the spirits (Sweet Pea from 2010), and I think people complained about it so much that Tina hasn't had the nerve to do it again. Personally I like the light ones. I guess the Silkie one (Flash?) from 2014 was also light, but my kit came with the blue mini.
I joined the Vesper Sock Yarn club for July - September, and the first offering arrived the other day. I went for the Dyer's Choice in terms of the base (either the new 75/25 MN or the old 100% M). The skein that arrived is the new base and the colour is Beach Glass.
The kids also brought back alcohol from Calgary which we don't get out here. The Lad texted me a picture of cider from the liquor store and asked which I recommended he buy.
Look at the price of these. These are single bottles. You'd think the stuff was brewed with liquid gold or something. The price of a single bottle of cider out here is about $4.
I told him that we get pear and blackcurrant ciders out here. I was definitely not interested in Habanero cider. Habanero chiles don't have a lot of flavour - they're mostly heat. I cannot imagine how gross that would be. Way to ruin a perfectly good cider. So I told him to try the Hopped Cider.
So he brought home one bottle of the Dry Hopped Cider and we split it.
Blech. It's like pouring a really hoppy beer into a cider. It was sour and overly hoppy. I don't mind a hoppy IPA, but this was pretty revolting.
Erica -- any comment on the Finn River cider? I see it's a product of Washington State.
I think we'll stick with our Bulwark and Shipbuilders and Stutz ciders. And I do like the Somersby Citrus cider. But that's as far out on a limb as I care to go in terms of cider.
The last of the stash enhancement is from String Theory.
These are two separate orders. I got a mix of Wave and Entanglement.
But this is the last non-sock club stash enhancement for a while.
I want to cast on all the things. I really want to do another Yowza Weigh It Shawl, but I can't until September.
I hope there are people who will catch up to me in the August Sockdown challenge.
Maybe I should cast on something new and take a breather from the August wips for a bit. That will give someone else a chance to catch up.
Where did I put my Aconite, I wonder? Perhaps I'll wind that and knit a new non-qualifying sock.
Cheers, dudes. Can you believe we're half way through August? Soon the roads will be crowded with kids and university students again. Sigh.