Sunday, 10 February 2008

Shrinking, growing, renewing and celebrating

Now, I have become very protective of my sock babies. I think it may be due to them being created as a symptom of my attack of acute startitis last week and my determination that they shouldn't be disadvantaged by this inauspicious start. No culling of the weaker sock for me, we believe in the ethical treatment of works in progress here at Yarn Archive HQ.

Luckily, because all three have patterns with varying levels of complexity they have proved to be very obliging companions for my journey to work. When I am feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed I can get on with my yellow Sock for Veronik. When it's all I can do to stay awake, I turn to the simple Pretty in Pink sock but as you can see from this picture, it would appear that I have spent most of my time in a state of moderate lethargy, hence getting as far as the heel turn on the Chewits sock whose pattern requires a modest level of wits about one. Perhaps I should always have a little trio of socks going, as a barometer of my energy levels...

To be fair, it may also have something to do with really enjoying working the Undulating Rib pattern on the Chewit sock. It's one of those patterns which looks like nothing at all until you stretch it out . The little lozenge shapes make the pattern even more reminiscent of sweets, I think.

I am also enjoying the texture of the horseshoe lace on the Veronik sock. The sun was very low in the sky when I took this photo which really makes the texture stand out. I never cease to be delighted at the variety of effects a few combinations of stitches and yarn can make.

As I mentioned before, I really do have too much wool for my own good. It has been taking up valuable space in my small house and, having had a long, critical look at it over the last couple of weeks I have realised that I am much more aware than I ever was of the sorts of things that I enjoy making and the things I want to make in the future. My stash has been home to some lovely yarn but I have to accept that either by weight ot colour or texture, some of it would give someone else a great deal more pleasure.

As luck would have it, the Golders Green Knitters held our first Grand Stash Swap last week with the very purpose of rehoming some of our unloved yarn. You cannot believe how much yarn we brought. Have a look at Lixie's blog for pictures of its true awesome majesty... Thanks must go to the staff of Starbucks for not batting an eyelid while the feeding frenzy was at its height and to Lixie for her remarkable skills in keeping a dozen over excited knitters calm and finding new homes for most of the yarn with great saleswomanship and cunning persuasion. Only two carrier bags of yarn were taken to the local charity shop for further rehoming.

My biggest thanks go to the members of the group who pledged nearly £200 to Breast Cancer Care for my rehomed stash.

I didn't come home entirely empty handed of course. I was delighted with my haul and can't believe anyone could part with these treasures.

First some Claudia Handpaint which is one of my very favourite sock yarns; 100% merino, tightly spun so that it wears beautifully and dyed by someone who thinks about what it is going to look like on the sock. I also snaffled some Malabrigo in a wonderful earthy, olive shade -how could anyone part with Malabrigo??

Next, some beautiful beige cashmere which I am sure will make a beautiful lacy scarf.

These are probably my favourite objects from the whole swap; tiny skeins of naturally dyed silk. There is only 14 yards in each skein but the colours just glow. They are dyed with logwood, madder, indigo and loads of other evocatively named plants and are way more beautiful than my photograph can communicate. Having said that, I can understand how they came to be in the swap. Exquisite they might be, but what can I do with them? I'd be grateful for any suggestions. Would they work added in with the cashmere, at the ends of a feather and fan stole for example? Tell me what you think.

I also acquired some really useful books. I have been after the Twisted Sisters book for a while and the crochet book came with a very kind offer from Julie to teach me the basics - perhaps I'll be able to add crocheter to my profile by the end of the year after all.

Last but by no means least I have been extraordinarily lucky and honoured to have been given this blog award by Malin, Natalie, Missmalice and Terri.

The rules are as follows:

'Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.'

So, the first four are easy - right back at you ladies! Awards mean so much more when they come from people whose work you admire yourself and these are blogs I check out on a regular basis.

As for the others....

Not a Shy Violet. Vi's warmth and humour shine through her blog even when the going is a bit tough - the blogosphere is a brighter place because of her.

Littleberry. As a new spinner I am often in awe of the beautiful yarn that Littleberry spins.

Real Life, Live and Unscripted. Adrienne's bouyant and positive personality makes this blog a joy to read - as is the dazzling array of crafts she is involved in.

My Fuzzy Life It's been great fun to share Nikki's knitting and spinning adventures.

Tarty Crafty I enjoy Della's intelligent and thoughtful posts.

Picperfic Marianne's photography is quite gorgeous.

There are many other blogs that I could mention as it never ceases to amaze me how often I meet knitters who are also incredibly articulate and excel at all kinds of other things as well.

Here's to us!


Nikki said...

aw... I'm so touched!!

and your stash enhancement is wonderful!! I've traded yarn with friends before and it's so much fun...

love your socks too!!

vi said...

thank you so much dear.

as to that silk...
how about a tiny colorknit treasure bag...just enough for a couple of dollars and such?
on a braided cord?


Adrienne said...

Awwwww, thanks so much!!! Your sock are looking lovely!

picperfic said...

thank you Jane!! I feel honoured, truly, I have you up there on a pedestal in socks!

What about a beautiful front for a cushion cover, knitted in the same stripe pattern as one of those pretty tulip cardigans? It would look stunning in that silk :^)

Queen of the froggers said...

well deserved award for you! I really like the naturally dyed yarn, I have been drooling over the Oxford kitchen yarns site since you mentioned it!

Mandella said...

Thank you so much Jane!

Love the sock progress, and the colours are just what we need in the depths of grey winter.

KnittingJenny said...

Wow, Jane. I had heard about your stash swap through the grapevine. Good news travels fast. Sounds like everyone had a great time. That's great! Meanwhile, I just got back in town but am leaving soon for a new job in Singapore. Hopefully, I'll be back (via a job transfer) within a year. See you!!!!

Anni said...

Gorgeous socks.