Really love the dark rich reds in this Zen Garden Serenity 20 OOAK Susan 2-8!


It might've looked a bit more murky when I opened up the skein...


But I loved it once I wound it up!  It looks a bit purple-y in this picture, but the socks are definitely not looking so purple to me...


CO the usual 16 per needle (32 total), but only increased to 30 per needle (60 total).  And, while it's not Zen Garden with silk, it's still super soft!  I think, because I'm liking these a bit more than the green socks in Another Crafty Girl, I'm spending a bit more time knitting these than the green socks.  These also require a bit more attention since the top is ribbed, the bottom is not...so these aren't "knit while watching tv/movie" socks quite like the green ones are....unless whatever we're watching isn't keeping my attention.  ;-)


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With spring comes bird nests and eggs... We've had at least two robin nests in the yard that I now of - one in the spruce in the backyard, the other in the arbor vitae. And in both cases, the sparrows have been terrorizing the robins, sitting in the same tree, making all sorts of fuss, etc. In the last week or so I found two broken robin eggs in the back lawn, and then this afternoon I found this:


There wasn't a single crack on it, so taking a risk, I put it in the robin next in the arbor vitae just to see if she'll notice it and try to hatch it.  No, I'm not getting my hopes up.  Even though it felt warm, it might've been out in the yard too long, and it might be from a different nest, and the robins may have given up on the nest in the spruce.  We'll see...

And then outside the living room window is a holly bush, where a couple cardinals were making all sorts of noise the other night.  A closer look showed there was a nest in the holly, just a couple feet off the ground.  I have to say, compare to sparrow nests, and even dried mud robin nests, a cardinal nest is VERY tidy looking!


Looks like maybe it's made out of dried grasses from the lot next door?  Too fine for straw, and too light for pine needles I think.  I hope nothing bad happens and we have baby cardinals this spring....annnnnd then I have to hope that they don't fledge out into the yard in front of the dogs (we lost a baby robin last to Daisy that way last year - didn't even know there was a robin's nest in the particular shrub!).
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This is Another Crafty Girl Super Sock in Rock Eater:


I cast on the usual amount (16 to a needle, 32 total), but could've increased a little less.  These might be a little baggie.

Thing is, before I could finish the first sock (which I still haven't done), I had to go start another pair in Zen Yarn Garden.



Back to these socks....  I still have quite a bit of the Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Chocolate Amargo, so that's the toes and most likely the heels.  I like the greens, browns, etc in these, but the resulting sock does look a bit camouflage... I definitely like that there's really no noticeable pooling of colors going on!

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A bit of a break from all the sock talk as we patrol the garden and look at the pretty flowers....such as THE FIRST TULIP OF SPRING! And this one is all by its lonesome, under a cherry tree out of the way... Maybe it's blooming first under duress?  (And maybe it doesn't appreciate being out of focus - oops!)



I'm impressed these hyacinths are still doing so well, years after they were planted.  I kind of figured they'd fizzle out by now.  These are in the front yard under a spruce where so many other things won't grow because it must suck all the moisture and nutrients from the soil.  These, like the ones at the very back of the yard, are far from our windows.  As much as I LOOOOVE the smell of hyacinths, they give me a royal headache.



Also in that front bed, like many of the others around the house - DAFFODILS!


Bigguns and minis - those two in the foreground are about the size of my pinky nail, while the bright yellow one in the background is big!


Here's a better idea of just how small those little ones are - easier to see when in a bouquet with other daffs and even some hellebores!  I should get a better pic of this bundle of flowers...

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Daisy is up to no good.

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He's been running laps around the yard, whether or not Daisy was cooperating.  Time to rest.

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Just in case you ever wondered what the color reference was.

Unfortunately, I've already found two busted eggs in the yard, most likely trashed by sparrows.

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So these are what are being called "The Princess Socks."

This was the first time I used any of the Zen Garden yarns - I was intrigued by their OOAK (One Of A Kind) dye jobs, where you can find randomly colored skeins of yarn for sale.  If you happen to like the colors in a dye job, and need more than one skein of it, buy it all up right away because they don't duplicate these colorways!



I got the color "OOAK MY.BA-FL", which looked like this:


It really doesn't look all that pink in the picture, does it?  I was thinking it'd be more intense reds, omre prominent grays, etc.  I'm starting to learn that many of these crazily multi-colored skeins look very different as soon as they're balled up, and also different when knit.

With this pair I stuck with the afterthought heel, but worked in a piece of waste yarn, which made it a little easier to pick up the stitches.



As noted before, whenever I'm knitting, I usually have a helper.  Any guesses who this is?


Depending on the lighting, these socks look more or less pink.  Sometimes more ruby, sometimes even maroon.  But usually?  Pink.  Oh well - they're really comfortable and freakishly soft!  Wonder how they'll hold up to wear and tear...


You can already see cat and/or dog hair stuck to them...


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I was busy working on the Verdant Gryphon socks in that light weight Eidos yarn, and getting a bit impatient - I wanted them done, and I wanted to try another pair of socks.  Well - why wait!?  How about having two pairs of socks going at the same time, annnnd knit a faster pair in a much heavier, much warmer weight yarn!?

Bring on the Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in Cork and Soot!  This was some yarn I got on a steep sale last year, loving the colors, loving the softness, but not sure what I had planned for it.  This stuff comes in 50g balls (most yarn I've bought comes in 100g skeins), and is much heavier - so it called for bigger needles.  US7 on these guys, where the previous two pairs of socks were US1.5.  Between the felted nature of this yarn, and the super slippery Addi needles, this yarn practically flew on to (and off of, sometimes!) the needles!  Slick slick slick!


I stuck with Cat Bordhi's Magic Cast On, finding I didn't even need to watch her video this time around - yay!  I thought I would see what it would be like to knit a much longer ribbed calf area, especially since this slightly felted yarn didn't have as much stretch as the other yarns I'd been working with for socks.  (And remember, while I was knitting these, I was still also knitting the Verdant Gryphon pair).  While I'm not fond of the really tall ribbed area, it did give the calf area the extra stretch it needed.


As I said, these guys knit up FAST!  As in, excluding the afterthought heel, I knit the first sock in a day!  (Yes, a bunch of that was tv watching time in the first evening)

These socks are really soft, and really warm.  But not super dense - so they still let the feet breath a little.  If I wanted more dense, I would go with a US6 or maybe even US5.

But if I did the smaller needles, I'd also need more yarn to cover the same length of sock, and seeing how the Cork part of each sock took one full 50g ball of yarn (so that means two balls total here), I'd need more yarn.  It was kind of fun knitting until there was VERY little yarn left...

Not sure I needed the striping on the calves - that just made things a bit more work, with more ends to weave in - and that's never fun!

I did the afterthought heel on these guys the same as I did on the Verdant Gryphon socks - just knit a toe-to-calf tube with no waste yarn, then snip into the yarn where the heel is being added, pull out yarn, add in needles, then knit the afterthought heel.  This went MUCH easier on the heavier weight yarn in a lighter color with much fewer stitches to deal with.

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By the time I'd finished knitting a pair of socks in fingering weight yarn with Dream in Color's yarn, and wishing I'd gotten a better fit....I decided knitting socks wasn't as painful as I'd remembered, and I wanted to have another go at it.  Plus, what better way to reinforce some of the techniques I'd learned (Cat Borhi's CO, afterthought heel), than to jump right back on the horse and do it again.  Yeah, I'd have to go back and read up, watch videos, etc...but it'd be easier this time around, right?

I'd discovered independent dyer Verdant Gryphon, and had seen where people just raved over their yarns, their dyes, etc.  Ordered some up to try, including their fingering weight Eidos.  Now I was a little concerned that there was no nylon in the yarn (you'll often see recommendations to use yarn containing nylon to provide some extra strength/durability), but the yarn had a lot of twist to it compared to other fingering weight yarns, and just feels "tougher".  I was a little worried that might mean these weren't very soft, but figured it was worth a shot.

And check out those colors - Shango is the orange color, while Whales was one of their Winter 2014 limited colorways...  LOVE the Whales!


Last time I knit 1x1 ribbing the entire way up the top of the foot.  This time I played around with what I thought could look like the knuckles or bones, knitting a wider (3x2?) ribbing for just a ways over where the toes meet the foot, going back to stockinette for awhile, then back to the 3x2 ribbing for a longer stretch, but not running it all the way up the leg.  Fun and different, and made it a little less monotonous.  ALSO made it a little difficult to knit blindly while watching tv...

These turned out great!  They're a better fit (I believe I CO fewer stitches AND increased to a smaller total count?  I really need to go back and check...), and the height was much better.  I've worn these quite a bit actually.



I really enjoy knitting socks toe-up so I get a better feel of just how much yarn I have left as I'm going along.  I took a risk and didn't split the skein into two balls, but with the addition of the Shango toes and heels, wasn't at risk of running out of Whales before finishing.

Cat Bordhi's Magic Cast On was much easier this time around.  And I tried a different method of doing the afterthought heel - just knitting the sock toe-to-bind-off, not even thinking "where will the waste yarn for the heel go?", and then when the tube sock is done, CUT INTO THE YARN where the heel will go (you're freaking out, right?), pull out yarn and pick up stitches, then knit the afterthought heel!  I will advise against trying this for the first time with a fingering weight yarn in a DARK colorway, especially while it's still a bit wintery and dark out in the evenings...  NO amount of light made this fun...but it was very nice not adding in the waste yarn.

I've also learned how to avoid the ugly color dots/blips when changing yarn color during ribbing - just skip the ribbing on the row where you're changing the yarn color - do all knits the whole way around (but maybe a little more loose than usual).  No more ugly color dots!

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So I've been on a strange sock knitting kick (ha) these days... I think I decided to give it a try, remembering how frustrated I was with fingering weight yarn and the repetition of knitting socks (all those tiny stitches, a second matching sock) a little over a year ago...and decided this time I was going to give it a try. Back then I'd barely touched fingering weight yarns, but since then I've worked with them a number of times, and I was particularly thinking of bigger projects like shawls. So, yeah, I'm gonna try fingering weight socks again!

First up - Dream in Color's Everlasting Sock in Tidal (the blue with bits of green, purple, gray, etc) and Malabrigo's Sock in Chocolate Amargo (with some very subtle differences in the browns).

Notice how I always seem to have helpers when knitting?  That means there's always pet hairs in what I knit....more fiber!  ;-)


Top side of the sock, where I decided to go with ribbing for extra stretch, just in case it was needed...


Bottom side of the sock - plain old stockinette stitch....


And the finished product?  Fun in color, a bit masculine with the blues and brown...and definitely a bit baggy.  Will need to go smaller next time.  I like the stretchiness on top, but it wasn't really needed.  And I DEFINITELY made these guys too long up the calf - all future socks should avoid bordering on knee-highs!


Did I just say next time?  I thought I didn't like knitting socks, especially in fingering weight!?

And here's a link to the socks on Ravelry...
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