Did I tell you… (and a contest!)

…about my friend Joan’s awesome fiber company? I haven’t? Geez, I really need to blog more.

Photo totally stolen from the Etsy listing – I can’t find the one I took!

You can see by the above photo why it is called The Cupcake Fiber Company. Each box of lovely fluffy goodness contains six 1oz batts that are packaged in such a way to resemble a box of cupcakes. How awesome is that?! Awesome. I know.

Joan sent me a box of this lovely fiber (oh dear, a very long time ago) before the shop even opened and I was blown away by the packaging and the idea behind it.  (I guess this is a good spot to put in my disclaimer: I didn’t purchase this box, it was sent to me for review – I purchased four other ones, though!) If you want two skeins of three-ply sock yarn, you spin three one ounce batts onto three bobbins and then ply them together. If you want one big skein, you spin two one ounce batts onto three bobbins and ply them together (which is what I did). All the measuring is done for you – so awesome. I’d like to mention that Joan’s preparation is flawless, no lumps or bumps to ruin your spinning. Those little balls of fluff are heavenly!

I spun my three bobbins with 2oz on each (usually I’d insert a photo here with a bobbin of singles but I cannot find one for the life of me – I know I took one but it’s disappeared) and once that was finished, I commenced the plying:

Cupcake Fiber Company

I was finally able to use my fancy 3-way Will Taylor kate the way it was intended! I usually ply from a center pull ball so I use the uprights to keep the ball of singles from getting all tangled.  After plying, I had a lovely bobbin of 3-ply:

Cupcake Fiber Company

After a bath and a thwack I had beautiful yarn:

Cupcake Pics

Beautiful yarn that I am going to give to one lucky winner! If you’d like to win this 375ish yard skein of sport-ish weight handspun, go over to The Cupcake Fiber Company and favorite an item in their shop on Etsy, then come back here and tell me which item you favorited and you’ll be entered! Tell your friends and have them mention you and you’ll get another entry! If you decide that you just have to have some Cupcake Fiber of your very own, Joan has a 12% off discount code: TOUR12 for you to enter during checkout!

Contest will close tonight, Wednesday at 11pm EASTERN!  Winner will be chosen and posted Friday! Good luck!

ETA: Comments are now closed – thanks for playing! Winner will be posted on Friday, good luck!


Favorite Socks…

favorite_socks_cover.jpg…is a pretty good title for this book. Interweave is my favorite publisher so I knew I wouldn’t be too disappointed – if I was disappointed at all. There are 25 patterns in this book, 6 of which have never been seen before.

I mentioned that I like Interweave – I have been a subscriber of their magazine since I started knitting in 2004. This means that I have a few of these patterns – which is okay. As far as I’m concerned, having the patterns I like all in one book is much easier than trying to find them in the magazine. Here is a list of the patterns that are in the book which were previously published in IK (listed in order of appearance in the book):

  • Retro Rib Socks from Winter ’04
  • Ilga’s Socks from Spring ’01 (pictured at Right)
  • Uptown Boot Socks from Winter ’03
  • Priscilla’s Dream Socks from Fall ’00
  • Embossed Leaves Socks from Winter ’05Ilga’s Socks
  • Ute Socks from Fall ’99
  • Merino Lace Socks from Summer ’03
  • Two-Yarn Resoleable Socks from Summer ’00 (Spin Off)
  • Austrian Socks from Winter ’00
  • Padded Footlets from Summer ’05
  • Meida’s Socks from Spring ’97 (first pair of socks to appear in IK)
  • Cable Rib Socks from Spring ’05
  • Anniversary Socks from Sept/Oct’03 (Piecework)
  • Go with the Flow Socks from Spring ’05
  • Hidden Passion Socks from Summer ’02
  • Waving Lace Socks from Spring ’04
  • Eastern European Footlets from Winter ’03
  • Up-Down Spiral Socks from Summer ’00

A few of these patterns were also available online for free – and some for subscribers only. Like I said, having them all in one place can’t be a bad thing.

Elegant StockingsThere are six new patterns and they are all beautiful. One project that caught my eye are a pair of knee-highs from Ann Budd that taper by changing gauge with a smaller needle – not by decreasing the stitches. SO cool (see photo at Left). I’ve already gone through the book sixteen times and flagged all the projects I want to work on. Unfortunately, I can’t start anything new just yet since I’m working on a pair of socks for RR – the man requested socks, can you believe it? The man who “hates wool” ;o)

At this time Amazon has this book on pre-order – as does Barnes & Noble. If you don’t want to wait, go to KnitPicks. They have it in stock!

Oh and speaking of having things in one place – I found a site that has listed all the 2007 Knitalongs!

Sometimes the novelty of something…

…isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.

On Tuesday I mentioned that I had purchased a set of those cool stretchy circulars that some have seen (and some haven’t) around the internets. I promised a review after I had given them a run, so here goes.

It all started with optimism…I had the yarn and the pattern. I also had the new toy.

First I learned that my stretchy cast on isn’t as stretchy as I thought since I couldn’t stretch it out to the 10″ I needed to be able to have the two ends meet to commence the knitting in the round. (sorry, no picture of that part…) So I switched over to my trusty KnitPicks circs (which, as I have already discussed, are like buttah. LOVE them.) and knit about an inch of 1×1 ribbing.

At that point I decided to give the novelties a go again and switched over. These things…how can I put it delicately…um…they suck. I mean, the stitches meet, you don’t have to fiddle with the magic loop or the pointy sticks BUT you DO have to fiddle with the stitches when they need to pass over the join. Every. Single. Stitch. This did not speed up my knitting in any way shape or form.

Here is a picture of the KP circs and the stretchy ones:

See where the join is on the KP one? (the bottom needle in the picture) It’s nice and smooth, and tapered so the stitches smoothly slide onto the needle so you don’t have to yank or nudge or fiddle. It makes knitting fun – or at least funner that it is with crappy needles. Now look at the stretchy join. Barely any taper so every time a stitch meets the join, you have to fiddle it onto the needle. Definitely NOT fun.

After three rows I switched back to the KP circs, flung the damned stretchy ones (to HELL with the directions – oh and they really fly when you use the slingshot method). I made some amazing progress in 24 hours.

So, my final verdict is this: Keep your $17. If you *really* want to buy circular needles to knit socks, you can get three sets of Knitpicks circs for that price. Guess which ones I’m sticking with?