Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Holes in my Soles

My obsession with sock knitting over the years means I has turned my free and commuting time magically into dozens of pairs of socks. A great deal of them end up being gifted, so I can't really keep track of the wear and tear they get.

I'm usually pretty gentle with my socks. I wash them by hand, or, if I have confidence in what I made them with, I wash the hard-core superwash/nylon blends in the wash machine. Never, ever, ever do I put them in the drier. I do think they just keep better being hand-washed and I don't really mind the extra work. The socks that I give are always superwash. I know the great majority of the world isn't as psychotic as I am when it comes to washing delicate things. I just leave care instructions with the gifts to not put them in the dryer and then let them go.

So as I was sorting through the woolies as the air was getting a chill to it, I noticed that my original pair of socks (the socks that started it all) were looking a little thin in the heels. These were made from a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces. I've worn them pretty hard for many years, so it wasn't exactly surprising.


Note the two skeins of yarn I used- they were from different dyelots apparently. One is much darker than the other. Regardless, they are socks, and I don't care about something that is going to be concealed beneath shoes enough to care that much. I deemed them a candidate for heel reinforcement. One day. When I get to it. When the mood strikes me.

I put those brown stripey socks in my mending pile, waiting for the sock heel-reinforcement tedium mood to strike me, when, lo, my feet start feeling a little breezy.

Picture 968

A much more recent pair. The pattern is Vog On from I made them with 2 Skeins of Koigu KPPPM, which is just 100% Merino, no nylon. The other heel looks like it's about to have a blow out as well. I'm pretty good about keeping scraps of sock yarn lying about for years, so with a little time to dive into the scrap yarn pile, I'm sure I'll come up with tangled bits of the original yarn. This darning process is a bit more labor intensive than heel reinforcement. Crap.

As much as I love working with wool, I've really come to the conclusion that one who makes serious socks should probably stay away from sock yarns that don't contain at least a little bit of nylon in it. It might not mean the socks are super soft (although some nylon blends are softer than others), but it really strengthens the wear points and adds years of life to the socks. Which is important if you have just spent 2+ weeks of your life making them. Here is a great guide to sock-darning and reinforcement tips from around the web. So, no more straight-up merino for me and my socks.

Says she who is currently making another pair of socks with Koigu KPPM (which were started a bit before the blowout). D'oh! It the last pair, I swear. The yarn is lovely, and I will be pre-reinforcing the heels just to give them a chance.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Yarn and Fiber Sale...

I'm having a bit of a sale over at my Etsy store- everything is 30% off when you use the code "TRENTE" at check out. Yarn, jewelry, roving, batts...all of it, on sale. I've also listed the roving from Muriel the Moorit Merino in manageable 3 and 4 oz bumps. I've been spinning and spinning and can't seem to make a dent in it. It's lovely stuff, but I don't think I'll be sitting down to spin and knit multiple sweaters from it anytime soon.

Here's the before processing shot:

Merino fleece

The roving:


A bit of a sample that I spindle-spun before I got the wheel out for a big project:

projects 016

It's super soft and crimpy. It still has a faint sheepy smell as it's not over-processed, and I found the smell goes away after you give it a soak and set the twist on your yarn.



I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Any holiday that involves overeating with your loved ones can't be all that bad, right?

Thanksgiving 2011

As long as I have enough booze to see me through...

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Sometimes I make a mini thanksgiving dinner at home when the mood strikes me, usually in mid-April. Since my family lives in the far reaches of northern Maine and they aren't exactly easily accessible, visits are few and far between and they are usually a pretty big effort on my part to get there. No matter though. So we got nearly a foot of snow this was pretty stunning to wake up surrounded by deep winter.

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

No matter that I didn't have my winter boots on me since it's still a balmy 60 in New York as of late so I wouldn't even know where to start looking for them. I did get yelled at for punching holes in the lawn with my spike heels before changing into a pair of enormous Wellies that were handy.

Family thinks I might be a tad special. I just go along with it.

Because he just had major surgery, my Grandfather isn't supposed to be using the chainsaw or lifting more than 25 pounds, but apparently he's ok to get the snowblower going.

Thanksgiving 2011

It left the younger generation to deal with the downed trees.

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We also have a nice tradition to grill the turkey slow and low out on the Webber.

Thanksgiving 2011

I normally count turkey as one of my least favorite animals to eat, but do it up on the grill over coals and I'm in heaven. It's perfectly juicy with that lovely smokey taste that leads me to believe that I might be a closeted Southerner.

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011


It makes me contemplate thankfulness, of course. I have my health and I live better than the majority of the world does.


I am thankful that the kitchen is small enough so that you couldn't possibly fit one more person around the sink to do dishes.


I got to clean the turkey carcass instead. For some sick reason, I love doing that job and I get about as Zen'ed out as one possibly can while dealing with a giant mutant bird carcass.

Thanksgiving is right at the tail end of deer hunting season in Maine. Growing up, we always had venison for or with dinner since someone ought to have gotten a deer tagged by then. For whatever reason, no one in the family hunts any more. Bambi gets to frolic around the back yard while we're eating notdeer.

It was fabulous to see everyone and interesting to see the landscape change as I'm usually only willing to make that journey in the middle of summer, when the lake has no ice on it and the brave might even dip a toe in.


I couldn't leave Maine without finding a descent Lobster roll either. It just doesn't feel right.