August 13, 2007

Massive Stash Enhancement

...And if you want to enhance your stash, be sure to check out my contest.

Before I get into this (and "this" is a lot to get into), I forgot something yesterday. I meant to mention my (very minor) modifications to the Loksins! pattern. I did a 2 x 2 ribbed cuff and I grafted the last 12 stitches on the toe, instead of gathering up and cinching the last 8 stitches.

I feel better now. Moving on.

Recently, Suss had a giant moving sale. They are moving just next door but the new location is probably one third to one quarter the size of the previous location. They needed to sell, sell, sell!

I ran amok in that sale. I was grabbing all sorts of things and not even keeping a tally of how much it was all going to cost. I got all this yarn...

And all these buttons...

...And headed to the cash register. I was eyeballing all this stuff and thinking, "If this weren't on sale, this would probably be in the $200+ range. Since it is on sale, maybe I'm looking at about $100."

Well, the girl rings me up and says, "That'll be $38." The first thought I had - and don't judge me for this, you probably would have thought the same thing, which is why I like you - was, "Only 38 bucks?!? For all this?!? I didn't buy enough!"

To be clear, here's what all that yarn is:
2 balls Noro Aurora
7 skeins Suss Bomull (100% cotton) in three colors. (One entire skein is not pictured because I've already knit it.)
8 balls of an ivory colored yarn with most of the ball band in a language I can't read (Japanese, maybe?). It calls itself "Extra Fine." More on "extra fine what?" later.
8 balls of that same "extra fine" yarn in chocolate brown.
4 skeins of a yellow yarn also with a foreign ball band called "Exceed Wool."
2 balls of Suss Cotton Perle, a fingering weight cotton string which I like for sewing seams.
1 skein of Suss Bamboo in chocolate brown
1 skein Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in a soft, yellow-gold color.

Having not spent enough, I went back to the sale the very next day. You know you would have done the same. Right?

Here's my haul from the second run:

6 skeins Suss Bomull in Raisin, enough for a sweater for Chris.
6 skeins of brown Cascade Pastaza, enough for a sweater for me.
5 balls of Karabella Aurora 8 in two spacedyed colors.
4 skeins of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in that gorgeous green color.

(If you want to know the specific names/numbers of any of these colors, let me know and I'll find out. I just don't have it in front of me right now.)

The Cascade and Karabella yarns were a little more high-end, so this trip ran me $46. Still $84 for all this yarn (and buttons) from both trips is fan-freakin-tastic!

But the mystery of the non-English ball bands was weighing on me. I got the yarn for cheap, which is great, but it would be a downer if it's cheap yarn anyway. A bunch of yarn I don't want to knit is wasted money - and space in the stash - no matter how inexpensive it was.

The only thing in English on the ivory and chocolate brown yarn is "Knitting Yarn by Extra Fine Merino. Extra Fine."

I sure was hoping the yarn actually is extra fine merino, but I couldn't be entirely sure. Just because the manufacturer's name seems to be Extra Fine Merino, doesn't mean the yarn really is merino.

On the back of the ball band, I could see that whatever fiber this yarn is, it's 100% that fiber.

I was encouraged to know it's not a blend. It looks and feels like wool to me, but I was a touch concerned that maybe, with the excitement of the sale, I was being taken in by a good acrylic.

The yellow yarn was a similar deal. The ball band says, "Knitting Yarn by Extra Fine Merino. Exceed Wool." Same manufacturer, different yarn.

This fiber is als0 100% of whatever it is. But it's a different 100%. Again, it sure feels like wool, but maybe "exceed wool" is a euphemism for acrylic and I was too hyped up to tell.

Back home, I pulled out my trusty Knitting Rules and turned to the section on identifying mystery yarn.

The first test is the burn test. Oooh, fire, this is going to be fun!

The yellow yarn behaved exactly like wool for the burn test. The ivory yarn was a leeettle more flammable, but still more like wool than anything else. I'm feeling good they're both wool.

But I'm also having fun, so why not do the bleach test, too?

The bleach test says that wool will dissolve completely in bleach. And both yarns did! Because they dissolved completely, there's no point in an "after" picture. It was a picture of a bowl, empty save for some bleach.

The bleach test and burn test together have me confident that they're both wool. Obviously different kinds of wool than each other, but certainly not acrylic. Yay!

So I did the felt-ability test, just to see if maybe I had some superwash on my hands.

Nope. Not superwash. They felted so easily and quickly, though, it was the final proof that I did indeed score 20 balls of wool yarn for, I think, $1 per ball.


I'm out of town for the next week. I'm hoping to get some good "socks on vacation" pictures. Take care of yourselves. I'll "see" you when I'm back.

August 12, 2007

Finally! Some Finished Socks

...And if you like socks, remember I'm giving away lots of sock yarn in my contest. If sock yarn ain't your thang, there's some cashmere to be won, too.

Finished Zarina n0-pattern socks. The last time these socks were seen here was what? Like a month ago? And all that needed to be done was for me to graft the second toe. Well, if you can believe it, I only grafted those stitches yesterday. Let us not speak of what became of my mom's socks, the reason for the delayed grafting. I will say that these socks are crazy comfortable. I put them on for the picture and didn't take them off until bedtime. I hope they'll wear well, because I anticipate wearing them often.

Just yesterday, I also finished the Loksins!

What a fun, pretty pattern. Mine are in Fearless Fibers Superwash Sock Yarn, Chocolate Pink Cherry colorway.

The Fearless Fibers sock yarn is a little thinner than sock yarns to which I'm accustomed. But I didn't quite realize that until the socks were underway. I knit these socks on US 1 (2.25mm) needles (the first sock on bamboo dpn's, which I resent for being too long, bendy and dull pointed, but used for travel purposes; the second on Knit Picks dpn's...ahhh...much better, if just a hair short for me but that got better as I went on.) I think next time I use this yarn, I'll use US 0 (2.00mm) needles. There definitely will be a second time for the Fearless Fibers sock yarn. It's quite lovely and comes in scrumptious colors. But I think it would be well served by thinner needles. In this case though, it turned out to be a good thing I used 2.25mm's because my Loksins! came out a tad snug. They actually feel fantastic once they're on, but it's a bit of a fight getting them on. If I'd used 2.00mm's, I might not have been able to get them on at all.

Sadie likes them, too.

I'm going to try to be back tomorrow with a post about the massive yarn haul I scored at at the Suss moving sale. Then I'm going out of town for about a week. If I don't post tomorrow, you can just figure I fell into the time suck of trying to figure out which yarn and needles to pack.

August 10, 2007

All Wound Up

I'm loving the contest entries. There are some really beautiful stories in there. Keep 'em coming. The contest is open all month.

The other day, my Bee Fields Shawl kit arrived from Wooly Wonka Fibers. I ordered the Tupelo Gold colorway. I gotta say, the gorgeousness of this colorway is very high on the list of reasons I'm attracted to this shawl.

I was so enthralled with the beauty and softness of the yarn, I dove right in and started winding all 1200 yds of the skein. By hand.

It took a long time to wind that all up. I even had to take a few breaks. By the end, I was wondering why I've always told myself I can live without a ball winder. For the first time ever, I was gripped with longing for a ball winder.

I have the best husband ever. You know what he got me for our anniversary? A ball winder! I hadn't even told him how much I was wanting one. And he didn't even know how very long it took me to wind up that laceweight because he wasn't here while I wound. He completely read my mind.

I'm so looking forward to playing with my new toy.

Though, I think I am now in the market for a swift.

I'm going to need a swift to go with the winder, aren't I? Does anyone have any swift recommendations?

August 4, 2007


Forgive me friends, for I have been slacking off. It's been three weeks since my last post. But I'm about to make it up to you with a contest. Prizes and all.

Today is my six month blogiversary. Later this month, Chris and I celebrate our four year wedding anniversary. These two dates are the inspiration for my contest.

I want to hear what dates are important to YOU.

But before I get into the details, let's look at the prizes.

First Place: Two skeins of Claudia Handpainted (enough for a pair of socks) in Jungle colorway. One set of Knit Picks DPN's US 1 (2.25mm). One zippered pouch, the perfect size to hold DPN's.

Second Place: One skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (enough for a pair of socks) in Peacock colorway. One zippered pouch, the perfect size to hold DPN's.

Third Place: One skein of Wisdom Yarns (enough for a pair of socks) in Los Angeles colorway.

There is also a Grand Prize, which can only be won under a special set of circumstances. Keep reading for details.

Here's the rundown:

1. Leave me a comment telling me a date which is important to you. I'd love to hear the significance of the date but you don't have to share, if you don't want to. It can be any date you want but you must include month and day (August 4th, for example). It's not necessary to include a year, though you're certainly welcome to do so, especially if it enhances the story. By leaving me a comment with a date, you get entered into the random prize drawing. Please tell me just ONE date. Don't worry though, there are ways to get your name entered multiple times in the drawing.

2. When you're leaving your comment and there's that box that asks for your e mail address, please be sure to include your correct e mail address. Only I can see it and if you don't include it, I won't have any way of contacting you should you win. I will post the winners to this here blog, but I'd like to be able to contact you directly, too.

3. If you link to my contest on your blog, send me an e mail (jeanroosevelt AT yahoo DOT com) with a link to your post and I'll enter you a second time into the drawing.

4. Each time someone tells me you sent them, I'll enter you again into the drawing.

5. This contest is open for the rest of August. I'll do the drawing in early September.

6. For the Grand Prize, I have in mind a specific month and day combination. (It's not my wedding anniversary, by the way. Just in case you thought you were ahead of the game and already knew the month.) If your significant date is this month day combo, you win the Grand Prize. If more than one person uses this date, I will do a random drawing from those few people. The Grand Prize is one skein of Jade Sapphire 6-ply Mongolian Cashmere (100% Cashmere) in Autumn Sonata colorway. If no one mentions the special date, I suppose I'll just have to suck it up and keep the cashmere for myself.

Grand Prize: Mmmm...Cashmere.

Game on!

ETA: Contest is now closed