letter and ladybug markers
letter and ladybug markers

Well, it turns out there’s no need to wait for the official markers to use with Cat Bordhi’s new book. (Of course, if you want to wait you can.)

Look at these lovely little markers! They are brought to you by J L Yarnworks’ Etsy shop. Cat’s patterns require the letters A through F. This stitch marker set comes with A through H. I really like the “knit to A then do blah then knit to B and do yadda” directions in Cat’s book, and I see using the same sort of marker philosophy (if you will) for other projects like lace. A couple of extra letters could come in handy. J L Yarnworks’ Etsy shop mentions that the entire alphabet is available. Cool! Maybe next secret pal whatever I’ll spell my pal’s name in stitch markers as a little extra goody. 😉

There are a bunch of different beads available, so no matter what your preference I bet you could get a set that’s your favorite colors. My markers are black and a really pretty silver-blue. These are nicely made markers with no rough edges or pokey bits to snag the finest yarn. And at a very reasonable price! Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em.

socks with markers
socks with markers

Love the little ladybugs, too. OK. Who doesn’t love a lady bug? Sometimes my larger projects need a little bling, too. I’m using one of the ladybug markers on a top secret project (shhhh… ), and every time that little lady bug comes around, I just have to smile at it looking up at me with its beady little eyes. I fancy it’s saying, OK. But I’d really rather prefer eating aphids in the garden.

When you were a child and a ladybug landed on you, did you used to say the little rhyme Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire, your children will burn. When I was little, my mother taught that to me and to this day I still faithfully recite it to the ladybugs in the garden. But it is rather morbid, isn’t it? A rather strange sentiment.

But I digress.

I would love to show you how fun the little ladybug looks flying around my needle, but it’s a secret project. So, it’s… secret. All will be revealed in time.

By the way, there are other really cute little beads where these came from: penguins and fish. You must go look at the little penguins! You will die from the cuteness.

My socks feel so nicely balanced, now that I have the right stitch markers on both socks. Ahhhhh….

sock progress
sock progress

This is the instep side. I have one more pattern repeat to go, and then I turn the heels. These socks are almost knitting themselves. Maybe it’s because the pattern repeat is only 6 rounds, or because the cables turn every three rounds, but I always feel like I’m making progress. And before you know it, I’m almost done with this section. Except they’re on hold right now. Because I have to work on the secret project.

No, I can’t tell you what it is. It’s secret. (shhhhhhh…)

On another topic, you parents out there with newly-adult-ish teenagers… How are you coping? This was the conversation I had with my son on Tuesday:

#1 Son: Hi, Mom. Just wanted to let you know I’m on my way to California.

Mom (attempting to shift mental gears quickly): You are? Why? Don’t you have to go to work?

#1 Son: I don’t have any hours scheduled until Saturday. A friend has a family member who is very sick. She needed someone to go with her and there isn’t anybody else that’s available. We’re taking her car. I’ll be back Saturday morning.

Mom: Where are you going? Bay area?

#1 Son: San Luis Obispo. But we’ll probably spend tonight in the Bay Area then drive the rest of the way tomorrow. Her car is a little car with standard transmission. Driving a stick is really fun.

Mom: I love you. Please drive carefully.

Gentle reader, if you are the parent of an almost-adult-ish teenager, how are you coping?

One of the things I do to cope is to concentrate on other things. Like the software under the covers of this blog. I use a lot of plugins to do various cool things like the little gadgets in the sidebars, and the spell checker, and the doohickey that closes commenting on a post after a particular length of time. Sometimes one or the other of the plugins has issues. And sometimes it’s darned hard to figure out which one it is.

Lately, every time I publish a post, the sidebars would only load a little way down the left hand side, and then nothing more would load. The only way I could get the site to load all the way again was to turn off some of the plugins. So, one after another, you may have noticed things disappearing. And coming back. And disappearing again. And going wonky.

Yesterday I finally figured out what it was. It was the little word cloud in the left-hand sidebar. The plugin that builds the cloud takes all of the words from every post I’ve ever written, sorts them out, eliminates words like the, and, but, takes the top words, and makes the little cloud. Well… it turns out that I’ve been kinda wordy. Go figure! The poor thing was just choking on the number of words that my fingers have typed over the years. I’ve taken pity on it, and limited its cloud-making effort to the most recent 500 posts.

Can you believe I’ve written more than 500 posts? Me either.

At any rate, when I hit the Publish button, all should be well. Or, at least that’s the theory. Keep your fingers crossed. Here we go…

[ed.] And everything is OK. Yea! And #1 Son just called to report he is just north of Redding, they will be driving all night, and he’ll be home early in the morning. My request that he be careful and drive safely was met with: Why do you worry? I’ve done this millions of times. To which I can only reply, I worry because I’m your mother. It’s my job.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:54 AM

MOO cards and holder
MOO cards and MOOPocket

I have a couple of quick things to tell you about today.

First, I’ve been an admirer of those bloggers organized enough to actually have cards with their blog address, etc., to hand out at functions. It’s been a big help to me more than once because I’m truly name-challenged. I know that’s my issue, and not that of the lovely people who I meet, but try as I might I can’t seem to find the technique that will help me remember their names. 😥 So cards are such a great idea!

I finally have my own.

Here are the PI MOO cards. If you haven’t seen MOO cards before, this is such a cool idea. They are smaller than a standard business card, so you can carry a bunch of them. And you can put your own pictures on the backs. The pictures can be anything you want. I went with mostly fibery goodness. But I do have one of the beach at Lincoln City, because it’s so pretty, and one of Moo Cow, because she should be on a MOO card.

Although the cards are printed in London, they arrived safe and sound all the way here in the Pacific Northwest in only about 10 days after I ordered them. So now when I go to functions, I can hand them out. And because I have 100 of them, I can hand them out willy-nilly without having to conserve.

So I needed something to keep them in, I think you will agree?

The Clip-on MOOPocket is from Splatgirl’s etsy shop. She has tons of cool fabrics (or leather), and several different styles. Mine is not only clip-on, but has a little window in the front so I can display one of my MOO Cards, as the mood strikes me (currently it’s one of all my little sock bookmarks). Splatgirl had my special-ordered MOOPocket to me in just a few days. I wanted to show it to you last week, because it’s so cute. But I had to wait for the cards to get here, too.


Now, the second thing I wanted to talk to you about, gentle reader, is retirement. If you are in your 20’s or 30’s, please start saving for retirement now, because it will come a lot faster than you think. And remember that many people have to live on quite fixed incomes during their retired years.

Yarn doesn’t spoil. So go ahead and stash. It’s saving for retirement. 😆 In honor of this thought, Knitnana and I have created a new button: 401(k)nit. It’s over on the left-hand side-bar, right above the Yarn Collectors button. If you, too, are saving for your retirement, feel free to proudly display this button on your blog or website. But please don’t link to my image. Download the button and upload it to your own server, thankyouverymuch.

Same goes for the Yarn Collectors button, also. If you are a yarn collector, don’t be afraid to shout that out! We collectors and savers must stick together.

Knitting by Judy @ 7:51 PM

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

The yarn crawl last Saturday was such a blast! If you have never done this in your city, you should organize something similar. We went to five LYS, a cafe (OK, that was in one of the LYS) and a patisserie — all in 7 hours. Whew. Sara did an awesome job of both organizing and herding us around from place to place to make sure we got everywhere we were supposed to be going. Maia was here from out of town, and it was so cool to get to meet her!

We all gathered at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. Because almost everyone was a blogger, there was a lot of picture taking going on. Here Cindy and Rodger are engaged in a shoot-out.

There was a bit of yarn shopping that happened at AY&D. And, since they also have a cafe, some lunch happened as well.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Our next stop was PIX Patisserie for a little dessert. Because it was, like my birthday, and while I don’t really celebrate that any more, still some dessert is called for, dontcha know.

I know that this is a rather glum looking crowd, for some reason. Except for Chrispy.

Chrispy and Cindy braved my taxi-driving skills and drove around with me. Have I mentioned that I’m sometimes easily distracted? I don’t think we had to go around the block more than twice because I got interested in the conversation and forgot to turn.

But I’m really a safe driver. Mostly. Really.

So I don’t think it’s my driving that has caused the glumness. I think it’s because we’re waiting for our dessert to be served. It was well worth the wait.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Here are a few of the dessert choices. I couldn’t decide between two different goodies, so Maia and I split them.

I can’t begin to tell you how good this stuff was. OMG

And, to make it just a perfect place, I looked up in the rafters and there was a sock monkey, swinging from a fake vine. 🙂

From there we headed up to Yarn Garden. They were a bit low on sock yarn, so I didn’t aquire any new things there. But I did have a great time petting the cashmere and silk.

I don’t seem to have taken any pictures there, either. I think I was overcome by yarn fumes.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

The next stop was Twisted. They have a whole wall of sock yarn there, and much of it is from indie dyers.

I managed to do a bit of stash enhancing at Twisted. Or non-stash-enhancing, since sock yarn doesn’t count. All of us petted the yarn and admired the lace scarf (a pattern for their lace class) and fondled the yarn some more, and then waited patiently to make our purchases, while fondling the yarn.

From Twisted we drove across the river to Knit Purl. Usually finding parking is a challenge there — although well worth the challenge! But I found a place right in front of the door. I like to think of it as a little b-day prezzy from the gods of parking. I don’t expect it to ever happen again.

The nice ladies at Knit Purl were waiting for us with cookies and iced tea. They have a wall of Koigu at Knit Purl. Just in case you didn’t catch that, it’s a wall of Koigu. I madly snapped pictures at Knit Purl, but none of them turned out.

I really, really want a new camera. But because I have other discretionary expenses that I’ve already committed to, I have resolved to learn to take better pictures with the camera I have. Sometimes that works better than other times. Ah well.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Our last stop was Farmhouse Knit Shop. Despite driving by there on a fairly regular basis, I had never actually stopped in. It’s a really cute little shop.

Sara is fondling the Blue Moon. That entire display case is all Blue Moon of all different kinds. Just in case you didn’t catch that, the entire display case is Blue Moon.

And that’s not all of the Blue Moon, because the sock yarn is back in another room.

I showed what I consider to be a great deal of restraint. I did not get anything at Farmhouse. But they should expect I will be back.

birthday swag
birthday swag

The day ended with dinner at a Thai place with Maia and Roger. And fine company they were!

Chrispy and Cindy, bless them, both brought me a little b-day rememberance. Although I really felt I should be giving them something instead, for having put up with my driving the entire day.

I had a very, very wonderful day!

Top row L-to-R: From Twisted: Ashabee’s Fiber Oasis, Cheeta and Eclipse, Knitted Wit in Eat Your Veggies; from Knit Purl: Koikgu KPPPM in P117 and 116
Bottom row, L-to-R: From Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks: Araucania Ranco in 310 and 306 (love these descriptive colorways); a prezzy from Cindy: a cool little notepad from her blog and Shibui Sock in 3601
Right side: gift from Chrispy: Silk scarf, indigo dyed by herself! She also gave me a little hand-made soap that is not in the picture.

Knitting by Judy @ 10:37 PM

pontoon toe start
pontoon toe start

With the Bo Diddley Socks off my needles, it’s time for a new beginning.

Thanks to all of you who asked for the pattern. I’ll see what I can do. Being the wonderfully organized designer that I am, ahem, I have absolutely no notes. I did chart the stitch pattern the way I knit it, so at least I have that. But the rest… I’ll have to reverse-engineer it. So don’t hold your breath, ‘K?

But I digress.

Here you see the very beginnings of a pair of Cable And Corrugations socks — that’s the light colored, cabled socks on the right side of the cover of Cat’s new book. Cat calls this the pontoon toe. It starts with the Magic Cast-On, but then you knit back and forth for a few rows on just one needle, so you end up with a little square. Then you pick up stitches on each side of the square. The increases are worked at the edges of the picked-up stitches, so the original square becomes a band that wraps sideways around the toe, and the picked up stitches fan out to become the top and bottom of the foot. It’s rather cool, and I like it a lot. But… it’s not the easiest toe to work in my preferred mode of two-at-a-time on two circs.

So the picture shows how I’ve used a set of DPNs to pick up the stitches along the sides of the little square. Since the toes end up sort of sideways on the needles, I also used the DPNs to help me shift the toes so that all of the instep stitches were on one needle and all of the sole stitches were on the other needles. I really like the way this toe works, but it’s definitely not one to work away from home when I just want to cast on and go, go, go.

Cables And Corrugations instep
Cables And Corrugations instep

But it does make a pretty, pretty toe! And here is the results.

These socks are really a fast knit. They would have been even faster if I’d actually trusted the pattern and knit it as it was written. But nooooooo. I knew better. I was sure that the socks would not be wide enough, even though my feet are skinny and the measurements looked right. Because I was sure that the cables would pull the fabric in too tightly to fit. If I’d bothered to actually read the pattern, I would have seen that Cat thought of that, because Cat thinks of everything. So, after knitting 4″ of toe, I ripped back to the correct place in the toe increases so I had the actual designed number of stitches, and reknit the toe.

Yes, gentle reader, I’m a slow learner. But I can be taught.

I’ve knit up through the first repeat of the cable pattern. I’m really liking these! And… yeah… they fit. 🙄

The yarn is from Pagewood Farm, a small wholesale dyer and spinner. The yarn is a yummy mix of wool, bamboo and nylon, and the colorway is called Really Red. It’s a nice, smooshy yarn to knit with, and the bamboo gives it a pretty sheen. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to knit it into this pattern.

Cables And Corrugations sole
Cables And Corrugations sole

And this is the sole side. The gusset (if you want to call it that) is increased between the markers. I got the cute little lettered markers at Cat’s Magical Moebius Festival in Newport last spring. I believe that a major fiber arts company will be offering some really cool ones for sale soon. I hope. Because I’d really like to get another set. You can see that the first sock increases are between A and B, as instructed by the pattern. But the second sock increases are between… cute-little-sock-marker-with-heart and E. Yeah. It will be nice to have two sets.

Tomorrow a group of local and not-so-local knitters are meeting for a Sock Yarn Crawl — sort of like a pub crawl, except with yarn. The crawl starts at Abundant Yarn And Dyeworks, and Rodger has the itinerary listed on his blog. If you are going to be anywhere in the area. Come and join us! Saturday is also my birthday, and there might be some pastry, or even adult beverages (I hope) involved. But not too much of the last, because driving will also be involved.

Today I got a nice surprise in my mailbox. Or, actually, two surprises. But one I’m holding out on. You will see it later.

The other you might not want to look at, unless you want a spoiler. It’s the Rockin Sock Club August offering, down there below the little clicky link. Me likey!

Knitting by Judy @ 6:08 PM

Bo Diddley socks
Bo Diddley socks

Who do you love?

I’m lovin’ my socks, oh yeah! I think I could walk 47 miles in them. But I will skip the barbed wire, the cobra snake necktie, and snakeskin houses with skull chimneys. (That should guarantee that Bo Diddley fans will get here and wonder how the heck they ended up on a knitting blog. They have good company in all of the Bob Dylan fans that get here searching for Tangled Up In Blue.)

But I digress.

I’m lovin’ my new socks. And because Who Do You Love kept going through my head every time I knit on them, I am hereby dubbing these the Bo Diddley Socks.

I really wanted to get a pic of them slithering through the grass or posed along a tree limb, but yesterday when I took these pictures it was raining cats and dogs. So instead they are tip-toe on a chair next to the window – the only light that was available. The color is pretty true on my monitor.

Notice how the first scale starts on the toe near the end and follows the line of the toe increases. Sort of. That was the plan, anyway. Go ahead and click on the picture to biggy-size it. I’ll wait.

dragon scale pattern
dragon scale pattern

This picture shows the Dragon Scale pattern up the leg. Pretty, isn’t it? I love the way the pattern plays with the little short blings of color in this yarn.

I think the pattern sort of resembles the up-and-down action that occurs in other chevron-style stitch patterns, like what is found on the Jaywalker socks. But this pattern is much stretchier than Jaywalkers are.

I used a picot bind-off because I thought the little points would look cool and snake-ish with the scales. I didn’t bind off in the traditional sense. I just tacked the live stitches down inside using a sort of duplicate stitch, so the cuffs are really stretchy. Note that the cuff is vaguely wavy on top, still following the scale pattern.

The other choice for a cuff would have been to replace the last row of scales with ribbing. The bottom of the ribbing would have followed the line of the scales, allowing the previous row of scales to complete. I think that would have looked cool also. Maybe next time (if there is a next time). I’ll see how well these stay up with no ribbing.

Bo Diddley heel
Bo Diddley heel

That was what I did here on the heel: The heel stitch ends when the scale starts, so it follows the line of the scales up into the leg. You will recall, gentle reader, that this is the second attempt at a heel. The first attempt was not so happy.

I really do like this heel, though. I’ve been known to stop perfectly nice people in their tracks and demand they look at it because it’s just so pretty.

I love the way that the scale curves down into the heel.

The heel, apart from the scale, is worked in standard heel stitch, with one exception: There is a double-slip-stitch in the middle to match the center two stitches of the scale.

Oh, yeah… and they fit really, really well, too. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear them!

There is a new pair of socks on my needles (like you couldn’t have guessed that). They are one of Cat’s new sockitectures. I will have more info and pics tomorrow or the next day.

Bo Diddley heel
Bo Diddley heel

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Koigu KPPPM (100% Superwash merino/ 50gr, 160m per skein) in colorway P342 (multi-grays with little blings of rainbow colors) — most of two skeins.
  • Needles: two 24″ Addi Lace circulars, US#1 (2.5mm).
  • Pattern: modified Dragon Scales from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury Of Knitting Patterns, used with my own standard sock pattern, more or less.
  • Techniques used:
    • Knit toe-up, two at a time, on double circulars.
    • I used the Magic Cast On.
    • The heel flap is worked in heel stitch, with two slipped stitches in the center to flow into the scale on the back of the leg.
    • Picot cuff, live stitches sewn down inside (stretchier than first binding off).

Knitting by Judy @ 1:13 AM

New Pathways for Sock Knitter: Book One

Friday night Blue Moon Fiber Arts held a reception at the World Forestry Center to launch Cat Bordhi’s new book New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One I took off from work a wee bit early, it being Friday and all, and drove to a west-side park-n-ride lot to catch Max back to the Zoo. I was afraid that traffic and parking would both be frightful, because there was also a concert at the Zoo, and it was Friday so everybody would be trying to get out of town. Or into town. Depending on their inclination. But at any rate everyone would be trying to get somewhere and a goodly portion of them would be trying to get to the Zoo. So I rode MAX, which at that time, going towards town, was almost empty.

The MAX stop at the Zoo is the deepest transit station in North America, and the second deepest in the world (no, I don’t know which is deepest). There are high-speed elevators that whisk you up to the surface in nothing flat. Every now and then people get stuck in them, and local news has a heyday. But that didn’t happen tonight. I would have been OK because I had knitting with me. But I’m glad I had the usual 20-second ride to the top.

patient knitters
patient knitters

When I exited the elevator, the first person I saw was Bobbie. Apparently she had the same get there early and knit idea that I did. So we sat, and knit, and chatted, and were soon joined by Duffy and Chrispy and several other knitters. And we all sat and knitted and looked at each others WIPs and FOs, and everybody petted my swatches. (The verdict: Malabrigo is really soft and nobody could believe it was 100% Merino. Most people preferred swatch #1, except Duffy. She liked swatch #3 the best. I’m still undecided.)

After knitting and chatting for awhile, we decided to wander over to the World Forestry Center and find the building (Miller Hall) where the reception was. It was not terribly well marked. We ended up briefly crashing a wedding reception, but eventually found Miller Hall. Blue Moon wasn’t quite ready for us, but it wasn’t too long before the doors opened and we were allowed in.

Tables were set up in the foyer with stacks of Cat’s books for sale. There was no yarn. Blue Moon wanted the night to be about Cat’s books, and yarn would have been a distraction. A yummy distraction. But distraction nonetheless.

So we trooped into the hall, where the PDX Knit Bloggers, being the shy types that we are, pretty much took over the left-side front of the seating. Kathy was there, and Cindy and a ton of other people that I’m forgetting. All of the socks that are pictured in the book were spread out on the table where Cat signed her books. We got to look at all of them, and touch them, and admire them. And Cat very graciously answered all of our questions.

my winnings
my winnings

The plan was that Cat would speak, then sign books, and there would be dessert and coffee served. But traffic tie-ups meant a lot of people could not get there by 7:00 pm. People sort of raided the dessert tables, and Cat began signing books. So Tina Newton of Blue Moon, ever the resourceful hostess, played a little game with the audience. Did I say there was no yarn? I may have slightly misstated that…

Yarn was won for having “unusual” items in knitting bags. Almost everyone there had a knitting bag, so we all began digging. Kathy won the first skein for having a plastic fork used as a lucet to make cording (link borrowed from Cindy) — deemed the most unusual tool made from an ordinary object. I have never used a lucet, but it looks cool and I need to learn. I must have a plastic fork around here somewhere…

I won two skeins, one for having dental floss (what, you don’t carry dental floss in your knitting bag?), and another for having, well… certain feminine articles, let’s say, this being a family-friendly blog and all. You can see them here in my bag, along with the dragon-scale, snake-whatever socks: One skein of light STR in Blue Brick Wall, a gorgeous mix of ecru, periwinkle, cerulean and turquoise that will be on my needles soon I think; and a skein of medium STR in Metamorphic, a steel-blue, rust, gold, lime blend. Duffy won a skein of Oregon Red Clover Honey STR. I had been dying to see this colorway, as a possible contender for the Bee Fields shawl. On the Blue Moon site, the color looks reddish. But the skein I saw was a beautiful golden honey color. And it’s available in a silk lace-weight. That might be the one!

Cat knitting a treehouse
Cat knitting a treehouse

Cat, as always, was witty and charming and told wonderful stories — I think mostly off the cuff. In the picture, she is showing how to knit a treehouse. If nothing else does, that should give you a clue what a strange and wondrous place the mind of Cat Bordhi is. Who else would have thought of knitting a treehouse? Who else would have thought of eight completely new sock architectures? The new sockitectures in her book arose after she realized that the gusset triangles that we sock knitters have, for hundreds of year, been carefully placing to either side of our foot, could in fact be placed anywhere around the foot without changing the fit of the sock. It’s completely brilliant. So there is a sockitecture with the arch shaping underneath, and one with it on the top, and one that has a big gusset only on one side, and one with the increases running in a spiral around the foot and up the leg — eight sockitectures in all with little baby socks to practice on. Book two will reveal sockitectures that don’t start at either the toe or the heel. That should be very interesting! I can’t wait for book two.

Through her whole talk, Cat wove the theme of three things that knitting is made of: Knits, purls, and that unnameable something that makes knitting a magical thing that captivates us and nourishes us and keeps us buying yarn.

Cat announced that her book has sold out (Blue Moon still has a few available via their web site), and the second printing will not be available until October! And then she completely and totally embarrassed me by thanking me again for getting the flu one day and making up the Magic Cast-On.

If you have a chance, check out Cat’s new You Tube videos showing many of the techniques she uses in the book.

And I, who was feeling a little bit slightly famous and cool was reminded that the universe does like to keep me humble. I was asked, for the very first time by a stranger, to autograph a book. She said to me, I have no idea who you are but you’re somebody famous, so sign my book. I truly think it was one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to me. And the other PDX Knit Bloggers got a pretty good laugh about it, too.

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