Thursday, December 4, 2014

ideas and inspiration?

We have a very good farmers market here in Thunder Bay - it runs virtually year round - I think they are off for maybe a week beginning of January, but open every Saturday morning of the entire year and the cool thing is it's not just farmers with produce and meats - it's actually called the Thunder Bay Country Market - but many local artisans, bakers, craftspeople and any one with the courage to put something they've made up for sale - you can find a full breakfast or just a snack in a variety of ethnic cuisines; get farm fresh eggs and local lamb; sample and buy local cheese or wild boar sausages; get all sorts of fresh breads and baked goods, preserves and other goodies; and check out what other people are doing in the way of crafting. There is a stained glass lady who purchases handmade snowshoes from somewhere and then cuts out the centre portion and she adds in one of her own local scenes, like her rendition of the Sleeping Giant, in stained glass - totally cool! A shout-out to the Pie.ology girl who makes butter pastry turnover-pie things filled with either sweet or savoury fillings!
This past Saturday, I found a cute old guy who was selling a basic pair of homemade wool socks for $7.50 - WHAT? How can he do that? The sock yarns that I'm buying, a 75% superwash wool/25% nylon blend, are costing me $18 to $22 (with the tax) for the raw material! I took a closer look and got to chatting with him - he has an old Harmony sock machine and he uses Briggs and Little sock yarn Durasport, 80% wool, 20% nylon - it comes in a 4 oz/430 yds skein in 7 colours (24 sts to 10 cm) - he told me he takes the ecru and dyes it with Kool-aid! I almost fell over! This guy is like a hundred years old! His variegated ones were quite pastel-ly pale green, orange and yellows and not really my thing, but I did buy this pair of denim socks from him. I don't particularly like the length of the top on them - they come up too high and the cuff isn't really stretchy enough and I have to fold them down twice - I'm pretty picky, and, sensitive about my chubby calves, so I like the 2X2(2X1) rib that I use on my socks better, but for $7.50, OMG!
So, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat... You know, this is the time of year I become fixated with socks - I have been collecting sock yarns for my Christmas presents and I don't know about you, but it seems to be harder to find pretty colourways - my favourite is still that Schoeller Stahl Fortissimo in the denim-y shades but not sure if that is discontinued or just the shops I have gone into just don't have... Anyway, it is getting to be quite an expensive habit, this sock-giving thing and I have 20 pairs on my list this year - I have an order in at my LYS for some B&L - they don't stock it because she says the hand knitters want the fun, softer stuff! I ordered oatmeal, denim and some of the ecru - Kool-Aid man, look out!
I told a couple of my regular sock-receivers that they would have to hand wash these socks because it's not superwash anymore and they said  hey, we never put these in the dryer anyway - didn't want to risk it! LOL!
I have found that by buying 2 - 100g balls of the same shade, I can get 3 pairs of ladies 7-9 size out of the 2 balls - previously there was quite a bit leftover, but not enough for a pair. By making the cuffs 45 rows instead of the 60 rows in my original pattern (can be found under Freebies on the knitwords website). I can use the leftover Opals from last year to make the feet and use the B&L denim for the ribs...

One last thing - I know you still haven't tried my pattern but I live in hope that someday you will and here's another little add-on. (I got this tip from Ev McNabb's Passap sock pattern that was in KW#49). At the end of the sock, when you have 5-0-5 ns in work on each bed, to take the corners off the final grafted end seam, before removing on waste yarn - transfer rib bed end stitch up and knit through end stitch on main bed on each side - then take off on waste and do your grafting however you do. Mucho bueno or however you say that!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mary Anne, I HAVE tried your pattern. Remember me the sock snob? As I am getting my socks out of the wash (some machine knit , some hand knit) I have to really look to see which ones were machine knit. And I have to say, the ones from your pattern are among the favorites. Can't wait to try the new tip for grafting at the toe. Thanks!