Yarn Tasting: UnSpun Sock Yarn

I’ve been making and knitting with my newest yarn experiments,

my own UnSpun Peruvian superwash sock yarn, both the fingering and dk weights,

and knit with my new Double Cappuccino Socks pattern as well.

Double Cappuccino Socks, project details on Ravelry HERE.

As I have been doing all along (see all UnSpun posts), dividing plies, replying with a tighter final twist, scour washing to set the twist and felt up any possible slack .

This bunch of skeins was my learning curve . . .

Well, then I just have to knit some socks.

A sample of the same grey yarn over-dyed with some yellow onion skins I had saved up, and pressure cooked half hour in my mini instant pot. Then I strained out the skins, wet the skein and along with a glug of white vinegar I simmered for about half an hour in the onion skin “broth” on low pressure. It was very thirsty for dye, and the onion skin dye was pretty dark. Next time I won’t pressure cook the actual dying, but simmer and careful few stirs to even out the dying as well as giving the yarn a further scour to set the new twist. However, I actually am quite pleased with the slightly blotchy onion gold over the cool grey, for in my opinion the duo of grey and deep golden brown pair excellently together.

A few weeks ago I sent off these “boot” socks knit in UnSpun dk weight

to my sister-in-law to be test-worn . . .

Americano Variation of Double Cappuccino Socks, project details on Ravelry HERE

and also sent skeins of fingering weight sock yarn to a dear knitting friend for sock test-knitting, and so now awaiting her critical feedback. So far my own feedback is that – yes, the yarn is beautifully rustic, has a little spring, but not as much elasticity, which was my expectation from a coarser longer wool fiber to achieve the rustic appeal. However, slightly problematic for these reasons; the yarn seems slick and strong, might do better to be knit with smaller needles “than usual”, to tighten up the fabric, it seems, and the dk may be too thick to wear comfortably for walking. So meanwhile I am trying out a pair of Basic Brew . . .

Basic Brew Variation of Double Cappuccino Socks, project details on Ravelry HERE

I know for certain these will be an improvement on socks for walking, with very dense tightly knit fabric to take a lot of punishment — holding 2 fingering weights with US1.5 [2.5mm] needles — one of the fingering sock yarns (the pink) together with a puffy downy 100% merino sock yarn (the brown) and together another match I am over the moon about. I am learning that better than a single strong rustic dk yarn knitting up speed boot socks as the blue Vancouver-bound ones were, is holding two of the fingering weights together, for the stitches are softer and the merino of course, adds super downy softness to the strong rustic UnSpun yarn. I have sock-knitting on the brain a lot these days, but things are naturally winding down with the sock yarn-making, and feel its time I bring it to a fruitful pause so that I can get on with the next knitting & yarn adventure. I mean I have been doing so much unplying and replying, having fun with my super fast plying machine I bought last summer (the Ashford e-spinner I mention in this post) I guess I wanted to try to find some kind of a niche with it, and I most certainly did, as I am not able to spin fine sock yarns to save my life. Also, I haven’t done any fiber blending for Tweed Chronicles in ages, and just plain spinning, so those things I hope to spend a little time with soon. Just been working a lot outside and what little left-over energy I have , sock-knitting just hits the spot and keeps me on the level.

April on the mountain

April, and it is springtime on the mountain again . . . the flora & fauna waking up and everything in its place. In our garden are loads of apple blossoms this year, and the first buds of the old fashioned climbing roses, and fuzzy pink new leaves of black oaks, everywhere color and wonder.

Oh, and some finished socks I am sending off to Vancouver for a belated birthday gift.\

 My Un-Spun sock yarn is fabulously rustic;

it feels like woolly wool, smells like wool, looks very much like wool,

it is soft and springy and completely machine washable.

♥    ♥    ♥

Pattern: is Double Cappuccino in the variation “Americano” , recently added to sock pattern.

Yarn: Un-Spun Peruvian Superwash DK sock yarn , which I made and posted here.

Pattern footnotes & variations on the menu.

A sort of coffee menu seems to be developing as I’m adding variations to the Double Cappuccino theme since my latest pattern overhaul. I’ve written three unique variations for the sock pattern; a handsome country sock, a basic plain & simple sock, and a pretty little ankle sock with just a kiss of lace rib on the cuff.

First, the country sock — Cafe Latte — a really wide rib, along with a contrasting cuff, heel & toe. On this particular sample of variation I was experimenting with a *k1, p1* rib for half the contrast cuff, then I switched to *k3, p1* for the other half, before settling into the *k7, p1* wide rib . . . but the footnote on this sample is that I think one or the other would look best. Soon I’ll have this first pair of country socks finished, and will no doubt refine the idea in a second pair, for it is my favorite of the three variations.

Next is the ankle sock– Single Shot — just one lace repeat, but then continuing in the wide ribbing, as a plain ribbed half leg or ankle sock. The thing is that the single ribbing behaves in a particular way with the decreases of the lace, that it creates those little cup-shapes in the ribbing, which I find so adorable and I really love this variation. Single Shot is for those modest lace lovers out there.

Last and not least is the sock I’ve wanted forever — Basic Brew — for mindless knitting and dependably uncomplicated. Again the cuff shown in two ribbings for the sake of example; *k1, p1* and *k7, p8* , just a little step start of interest and then just go ahead and stride out, working the whole sock in stockinette, through the heel and all. A plain sock method I’ve always wanted and I think this Basic Brew variation will be it. Can’t wait for this finish because the soft gradient Kroy yarn in copper colors is really spectacular. Well, there’s the three variations which have been now added to Double Cappucino Sock pattern, and I’m going to just settle in with knitting samples of these for a while.

Mmm… double cappuccino!

As I sip an absolutely fantastic yummy afternoon cappuccino latte, I write out this little post, telling you all about how I have for a long time, several years perhaps, wanted to go back into my early pattern archives and overhaul them, one at a time. Well I have just brought up to date Double Cappuccino, a collection of four patterns . . .

So far the ensemble is socks with variations, thumbhole mitts, cowl, and the original legwarmers pattern from over eight years ago, one of my first patterns ever, which came to be when my oldest niece turned fourteen and wanted some legwarmers for her birthday, and so I decided to learn how to knit simple lace. Those original legwarmers were my first, and over the new year I have thought of the many ways I can incorporate this simple ribbed lace patterning, and write into an easy pattern collection. Abelene was hinting all about these “new parts to an old thing” just a few days ago, and although I may add some more parts later, I think for now I’ve finished! However, for me the knitting has only begun, for now I have a heap of samples I would love to make in the territory ahead, for its the variations that I’m wild about, so please come join me here for many more delicious afternoon double cappuccinos, accompanied by some knitting!

Just flew off the needles!

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Lace + ribbing = a beautiful springy cowl!  I just finished my project in a cowl-along I’ve been knitting in recent week. I intentionally didn’t block it, being very pleased with the three dimensional waffled surface the merino lace yarn creates with the ribbed pattern & yarn-overs.

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It is a very easy modification of Double Cappuccino Legwarmers  , and I chose to work the ribbed lace with really big 6mm needles for a frothy open look,  so it grew in length fast, therefore naturally the patterning  was easy enough that I knit it entirely while walking up on the ridge over the last week!

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So downy soft, yet athletic from the ribbing, that I plan to eventually give it to a certain dancer, hoping it won’t fly off in the middle of her leaping across the stage,  I planned this to go with her mostly black dance wardrobe of course!

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This is the first of my start on gift knitting, for the holiday swiftly on its way.   So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the ridge for a hike while casting on for another !

Pattern: Modification from Double Cappuccino

Details: on Ravelry  here

 

Double Cappuccino & Ruffles

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The lace leg-warmers are at last sweetly embracing my now fourteen-year-old niece . . . . .   sans boots.

The ‘boot leg’ photo will have to be another time.  In fact, these leg warmers are named “Double Cappuccino” because whenever we have our Equinox sweater photos, they always, without fail, begin at Calistoga  Roastery.  That, and they really do remind me of a whip-topped yummy drink.   Until the next time at the roastery , I was lucky to squeeze in this little photo shoot before our visit was up and my nieces had to leave back home.

jenjoycedesign©Double Cappuccino 1

Double Cappuccino Leg Warmers have a frothed milk quality with an ever-so-slightly asymmetrical lace pattern in ribbing,  and is such a speedy and uncomplicated knit.  ((proof : I made these while hiking))  Knit with sport-weight natural undyed superwash sock yarn, achieving just the right light airy quality  from knitting on US 4 – 3.50 mm needles.   Tasty !

My niece in her infinite good taste,  chose to adorn the upper rib with cute little buttons . . .

jenjoycedesign©Double-Cappuccino-leg-warmers

Which makes these warm to the eyes as well as to the touch !

Calistoga Coffee Roastery is the first stop with all of our  modeling of Equinox Sweaters, so it will be the first design (and kick-off) of my ~~ Calistoga Collection !

Double Cappuccino pattern on Ravelry HERE

Pattern page for Double Cappuccino on Yarnings HERE

*   *   *

Now, I can’t leave it at that , because *both* of my lovely nieces participated in our little impromptu knit-wear photo shoot of this morning.  Here is my adorable eleven-year-old niece in the “Ruffles” scarf I made her for Christmas.

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It is nice simply tied and cascading down the front,

or double wrapped and tied for a very pretty affect.

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Is she not the most photogenic kid ever?

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* * *

Ruffles details on Ravelry  HERE

Free How-To instructions for Ruffles Scarf  HERE.

Three Days

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One of my weird kitchen concoctions ~~ hot pepper chocolate.

I have been home alone on the mountain with Emma and The Ravens for four days now.  Jeff is returning tonight,  from Mexico where he has been visiting with his daughter in Cancun since the nineteenth, visiting ancient Mayan ruins and enjoying a lovely warm beach.  Here, I’ve been very busy with holding the fort, and working on this lacey thing . . .

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But really what I’ve been working hard on while alone in the house, is my traditional gift of Christmas to Jeff, but I dare not show you a thing until Christmas morning. In the mean time, still serving up my Spiced Chocolate drink if you’d like to stop by ~~I’ll whip one up for you !  If you can’t make it over, I understand, but you’ll have to try this at home ! Here’s how :

 Jen’s Spicy Bittersweet Chocolate 

(For two servings)

With a mortar & pestle, crunch up a couple of cinnamon sticks, and dried chile flakes or a whole small chile pepper  ~~ to taste, what you consider ‘barely hot’ , or ‘really hot’, it is up to you.

(( Optional:  a few cardamom pods, and a  ‘petal’ from a star anise pod, a dash of grey sea salt ))

Simmer in a pan with  about 3 cups of water for about 20 minutes, take off heat and melt into it a few ounces bittersweet chocolate, whisking while it melts.

More chocolate is nice… as much as you feel to balance against the heat of the peppers.  I don’t add more sugar, as the idea is to be bittersweet and spicy hot… which is really delicious. However, nobody is stopping you from sweetening it up :).

Whip up a small bowl of cream, again, barely sweetened.

Strain through sieve into cups and pile on the whipped cream , sprinkle with something… like nutmeg or cinnamon… and enjoy !

Wishing You All and Yours lovely days of these fresh first winter days (or summer) and Happy Christmas sentiments.

Seven Days

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Seven days left to make things.

Leafy green is finished !

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As is the sea critter . . .

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As is the mint-licorice . . .

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and also the sherpa hat ! ! !

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A dandy one indeed.  Wool shell & cotton ‘lined’.  I will have to show you sometime how I accomplish this.

 Until then I’ll keep you all guessing.

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Okay , but that’s not the whole list. There is one more thing I must make, and I will not post until Christmas morning. In the mean time, I will show you the progress of my first lace project . . .

jenjoycedesign©lacey-ribbed-thing
Yes , my first, oh the glorious fun I am having ! And it’s no surprise to me that lace work is so doable while walking the ridge!  As this  progresses,  is blocked out, you will see the lace pattern so much better. Until then, oh the suspense is a little nice.  Well, I appear to be ahead of the game and can relax and do some gift wrapping now ! I hope all of you Elves out there are blissfully making.

* All project details on Ravelry HERE .