An Alpaca Road Trip

A couple weeks ago, Alex sent me an article from one of the local papers about an alpaca farm in the area having an open house this weekend. Upon further research, we discovered it was Alpaca Days in our area (it only takes about a ten minute drive from our house to be in Illinois farm country. That is why I love living in here. But, I digress.)
Anyway, we drove out to Wishing U Well Alpacas first to check out their herd.
They had quite a few alpacas. This is Cochita (I am pretty sure that is her name). Alex and I liked her the best:
The chickens were also roaming around in the yard, much to our amusement:
After we left Wishing U Well Alpacas, we decided to find one more alpaca farm to check out. So, we headed to J4 Alpacas. We really loved this place. Everyone was super friendly, and we even got to pet one of the alpacas (a male named Mickey Finn. Which is awesome because Mickey Finn's brewery is one of my fav places to eat and drink beer!) We also saw 'the maternity ward' where three babies had just been born in the last few weeks:
While at J4 Alpacas, we were told all about their herd and how they protect them from the coyotes (they have a guard dog AND a guard llama!) and about how they send their fiber to a mill to be processed and stuff. It was super cool. I may have walked away with 8oz of undyed alpaca roving as well as a pair of alpaca/merino socks for my coworker who loves alpaca and dreams of having an alpaca farm. It was a very cool day. I was so happy that Alex had fun too. He was a very good sport. Had lots of questions and stuff. We both had so much fun!

We also were reminded that there is an alpaca show coming up at the end of October. I am thinking we may need to go check it out!

Happy knitting and have a good week!


The Yarn Dyeing Factory

Well, I thought it was about time I showed off a glimpse into my yarn dyeing world. Since moving to this house last month, I have already dyed yarn twice. I am hoping to increase the frequency of yarn dyeing soon, especially when I have such a great place to dye yarn!

Anyway, as you may recall from a previous post, we were left a slightly dated spice rack on the kitchen wall when we moved in. I hate it in the kitchen, but I LOVE it in the dye studio:
Here is a pic from the first yarn dyeing day in the basement:I have changed my dyeing methods a bit since moving to the basement. Before I mostly kettle dyed things in the stove. I had huge pots cooking away for hours at a time. Now, I have been steaming the yarn in the two food steamers that I have acquired from Kohl's. I have two this one (find yourself some online Kohl's coupon codes, and you can get yourself a real cheap yarn steamer!). I also have our old microwave (we now have a built in one) in the basement too. I have not really experimented with dyeing yarn in the microwave (other than the very first time I tried dyeing yarn in the microwave with Kool-Aid). Anyway, the new dyeing methods are going very well and I am loving all the results.

Here is some sock yarn from the afternoon in the basement on Monday:
All three of those skeins are currently up in my Etsy shop. Then there was a custom order for some worsted weight in the Brick House colorway:Finally, I have fallen in love with dyeing superwash Corriedale roving. I have a couple in my Etsy shop. This one I will be listing tomorrow probably:I may have dyed two 4oz rovings in this lovely Chicago Bears colorway. One may be in my yarn/fiber closet for myself. :)

Anyway, just a little picture into the dyeing world of me. Enjoy and happy dyeing!


Amazing Prize

So, I mentioned at the end of my last post about winning a contest over at Carrie's blog.

Lo and behold, the best package ever was waiting for me when I arrived home from work today:
You are not dreaming or seeing things. That is three (ACK! THREE!) skeins of sock yarn. Let's take a closer look at those Socks That Rock, shall we?
Both are Mill Ends. One is a lightweight and one is a mediumweight. Both are just lovely and will make something delicious one day. There was also a skein of Spunky Eclectic Super DK. I have not knit with this yarn before, but have heard many many wonderful things about it.

In addition to all that yarn, there were other various goodies, including Carrie's three sock patterns she has for sale. You can check them out on Ravelry here. I knit the Cotty socks in the Q3 KAL in the STR group on Ravelry. That pattern is fantastic. I know these other ones are going to be great too!

Thanks so much Carrie. I heart your blog! :)

Happy knitting.


Fun with Socks That Rock

It's no secret that I have a love affair with Socks That Rock. I hoard it (nay, collect it), I knit with it all the time, and would marry it if it were socially acceptable to do such a thing.

No wonder I bought so much of it at Sock Summit. And, no wonder I have been doing little else but knitting with it since I've been home.

First up. It's Ishbel:
I knit it out of 1 skein of STR lighweight. It's a Mill End. I knit the small version of Ishbel and had just a teeny bit left over.

As I said on Ravelry, I would highly recommend Ishbel for first time lace knitters. It's super easy. Easy to find your mistakes and easy to keep track of where you need to go. And, the end result is pretty good too!

Next up. It's Devon:
The socks I started at the tail end of Sock Summit. You can find this pattern in Cookie A.'s Sock Innovation. I knit a plain foot (opposed to the pattern all the way through the sock, as Cookie A. would suggest). I love these socks.

They were knit out of one skein of STR lightweight in the Sunkissed Sand colorway. Lovely lovely.

Lovely socks and I had quite the lovely day. I won a blog contest on Carrie's blog and have quite the package coming my way. Then on the way home from work, I may have been improperly using a lane while driving, but managed to get a very nice cop who said (and I swear this is a direct quote): "I'll let you go if you show me something you knit."

I knew all those knitting bumper stickers were awesome. I showed him my Bears iPod cozy and was on my way.

Let's hope the rest of my week keeps up like this. Happy knitting!


My Classes of Sock Summit

Ok, one last post on Sock Summit. Sure, it was a month ago, but I say it's never too late to blog about something so awesome, right?

The first class I took was Arch-Shaped Stockings with Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen. It was amazing!I thought the arch-shaped contruction was very interesting. It's meant to make your sock mold to your foot better. Might not be the best choice for sock knitting for my flat feet, but it was fun anyway! I could see myself trying to make some elaborate Fair Isle Arch-Shaped stocking for kicks.

The other class I took was a one-hour wonder class with Cookie A. called the Perfect Rib: There was a lot covered in the hour, and I left wanting to make the ribbing awesome in every pair of socks I knit. My only regret was that I didn't try to get into the 6-hour Cookie A. design class. I think I would have really liked it (well, there is always the next time, right?)

So, that's it. My classes were very good and I am so glad that I made it out to Portland for Sock Summit. Also, I have already been busting into the SS stash pretty hard. There were the two pairs of socks (see last post) and I also used an STR Mill End to knit an Ishbel (more on that later).

Upcoming? Stitches Midwest!! Happy knitting (and shopping to all my knitting buds hanging out in Schaumburg next weekend)!


My Socks of Sock Summit

Ah, I will now be trying to be back with blogging a little more. The apartment keys have been turned in, I am slowly adjusting to the commute 4X longer than it was before, and am starting to get into some kind of routine.

So, anyway, I know I never really blogged again about Sock Summit, so I thought I would throw a post or two out into blogland for everyone.

Here are all the socks I knit/completed during Sock Summit.

The first pair I finished were some Monkeys I had started a few days before heading to Portland:When I got on the plane on the way to SS on Thursday, I had just a bit of cuff on sock number 2 going. By Friday I had the pair completed!

The Specs:
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
The Yarn: Creatively Dyed (purchased at Stitches Midwest last year)
The Needles: US Size 2 (2.75mm)
The Mods: I did a picot edge cuff just for kicks.

So, once I had those done, I busted out my Mock Cable Rib Socks I had started for a coworker back in February. I had had one sock done since about March, but had yet to start on the second one. So, I busted that out and by Saturday morning I had those done:

The Specs:
The Pattern: Mock Cable Rib Socks by me
The Yarn: STR Mediumweight in the Harlotty colorway (purchased at The Fold)
The Needles: US Size 2 (2.75mm)
The Mods: I don't know, I just kind of knit the socks. And, I am a little embarassed to admit this, the first one is knit cuff down and the second one is knit toe up. I kind of forgot which direction I was knitting them since there was so much time in between knitting the socks! Oh well. You can barely tell. My coworker, Tim, loves them and that's all that matters.

Ok, so then I got all cocky knitting all these socks so fast and I cast on a brand spankin' new pair with some of the yarn I bought in the SS Marketplace:They are some plain ol' socks and I may have knit them in two days. I swear I normally do not knit that fast, but I had sock fever with all those knitters there and I just kept knitting until literally my pinky finger on my left hand hurt. Every. single. day.

The yarn for the apove socks is from Serendipitious Ewe. I had not heard of them before SS, but I had seen this striped colorway in the Dye for Glory contest on Ravelry, and had to have it. I definitely will need to score some more of that yarn in the future. Very nice stuff.

And, then, finally, I cast on for a another pair of socks on Sunday: These are Devon from Cookie A.'s Sock Innovation Book. The yarn is STR Lightweight in the Sunkissed Sand colorway (also purchased at Sock Summit. This is one of the colors I had been dying to have in the great yarn diet of 2009 leading up to SS). I have not yet finished these socks. Since returning back home and to the land where knitting time does not run at quadruple time (like it did for me while we were in Portland), these socks are about 75% of the way done. I think they will be done in 1-2 days.

Anyway, those are my socks of Sock Summit. It was a good trip. Definitely got my sock mojo back.

Happy knitting!

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