First sock fatalities

July 31, 2008 @ 9:39 am
posted by kris
Filed under: socks


To the trash can…

It was going to happen sometime. My husband *really* wears his socks, so I”m actually surprised these lasted as long as they did (1.5 years). I gotta start cranking out more socks for him or he’ll have to wear regular tube socks *gasp*.

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Sorry for my absense…

June 21, 2008 @ 3:21 am
posted by kris
Filed under: misc,socks


Hiking in Zermatt – isn’t the view amazing???

Finished handspun socks!

We planned this trip awhile ago, and with everything going on I kinda forgot about it, but then suddenly it was here. My family and I (and my parents) went to Zermatt, Switzerland for a week. It was freakishly expensive, but after the initial shock, we learned to live with it and thank goodness our apartment had a kitchen so we could cook all our meals.

We had more good weather days than bad and oh, when the sun shines, it is truly one of the most beautiful places to be. We had an awesome view from our apartment, but to get out there with the boys was really fun. They are hardcore hikers/climbers! They always took the hardest paths and always wanted to go up up up to the top! One of the most memorable days we took the train/ski lift up and walked down. It was about 2 miles (maybe more?) and we were constantly amazed at how well the boys did, considering they haven’t really done much hiking. The whole time I kept thinking, THIS is why we moved to Europe. The accessibility to the outdoors is really great here, and I am ALL for taking a lift up to a mountain top and/or enjoying a hot meal and wine in a hut. :)

The trip back we had some back luck – my wonderful husband read the wrong departure time, so we missed our comfy glacier express. We took the regional trains back home and I think we had to transfer 6 or so times. Yeah, that was fun. But I’m home and getting caught up on stuff.

So, now I’m off to bed, thought I would leave you with some pictures! One is of my family on the memorable hike and the other is my husband showing off his new socks which I’ve named “36 pieces of flair”. Hope everyone knows the reference. :)

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Knitting handspun socks in Switzerland

June 14, 2008 @ 1:39 pm
posted by kris

So we’ve had a traumatic past couple of days. Thursday afternoon, we headed out on a train to Chur (me, husband and boys). My parents left early in the morning so they were already there. It’s a long story about a car that has been in the shop for 4 weeks as to why we didn’t leave all together. Anyways, the train ride was actually pleasant, the boys did great.

The boys have been potty trained for about a month now and have been doing so very well. Hardly any accidents and if it did happen, it would happen during their nap. Bathrooms on the train really aren’t great for beginning potty trained boys. One of them did fine, but Elijah got totally freaked out by the weird toilet and how it moved. I think this really scarred him for life and he didn’t want to use a toilet after that – even the ones in the train station and in our hotel. So we put him in diapers again. He always wants to wear underwear but then when he realizes that means going to the toilet, he starts screaming and crying. Ugh. Today Michael bought a kids toilet seat – you know, the kind that fits over the toilet so it’s smaller and he is finally comfortable enough to use it.

We got a rude introduction to Switzerland! When we got to Chur, it was surprising at how expensive everything is. Thank goodness my parents were there to warn us. We knew it would be expensive, but I don’t think we were quite prepared. One swiss franc is about the same as one US dollar. We paid close to $40 for a McDonalds meal for 2 adults and 2 kids. Wow. We also booked a cheap room (at least in Chur – it was $130 a room) and it was in the middle of all these strip clubs and bars. How embarrassing it was to be walking with 2 kids and your parents with pictures of these naked ladies everywhere. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The next day we took the Glacier Expess train to Zermatt and it was a really great train ride (but OH MY GOD expensive)

Zermatt was so much nicer and everything is clean and there are no cars (except for these little electric cars). Our room is amazing and surprisingly not that expensive. Off of our balcony we have an incredible view of the Matterhorn and the weather is PERFECT! We have a kitchen here so we plan to cook as much as possible to save on the costs.

So anyways, that was my rant about Switzerland. On to knitting! I finished spinning the skein of CMF superwash merino in San Francisco and I was so-so about it. It wasn’t as thin as I would’ve liked it and also I wasn’t sure about the colors, they kind of went everywhere. I decided to knit Michael socks with it anyways (and he saw the colors and thought it was ok), and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. The transformation that handspun makes from yarn to sock is amazing. Oh, it is so awesome. I wish I could take a picture of it, but sadly, internet connection here costs money (of course) and the computer that works with the internet connection doesn’t have a port that fits the memory card. Argh. I’ll take pictures and post them later. I am making a plain stockinette foot with a 2×2 rib leg and an afterthought heel. I never made those heels before so I thought I should try it.

Other than that, I am missing my spinning (no wheel for 1 whole week!) but have my handspun socks and Fiddleheads to keep me company among the mountains!

Oh yeah, today is WWKIP day, I’m going to try and knit outside awhile. But it’s kinda sad that I’ll be by myself. There is a yarn shop here, I’ll have to find it! :)

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WIP: Baudelaire in Posh Yarn Lucia

April 8, 2008 @ 11:54 pm
posted by kris


Look at that amazing texture!

I am being so good. I am knitting from my stash. And not recent stash – DEEP stash! I bought this yarn about a year ago and didn’t like the feel and color of it. It is 70% merino and 30% cashmere and it is indeed soft, but it’s kind of sticky like when you rub velvet the wrong way. I think the colors on the web were much more darker and vibrant, so it was a slight let down. But I liked it enough to keep it, and the person it was for would like it. It was supposed to be socks for my mother-in-law LAST YEAR, but never got the time to do it, so I decided to do it this year. And it makes me feel good that I’m getting a jump start on Christmas. Well, really, what it is is that I want to reduce how much we spend at Christmas, and hand knit socks are priceless!! Hand knit cashmere socks…well…much better than some bargain basement DVD from Target.

Anyways, so I wound the yarn up on my injured ball winder and still didn’t like it, and I started having regrets. But then, I started knitting with it and my god, it was amazing. The pattern was the perfect choice – Baudelaire by CookieA. The stitch definition and the fabric was very pleasing and oh-so-soft-you-can’t-stop-touching-it. I’m still not happy with the color, but I have to remember that it’s not for me. I know that my MIL will love it!

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Pictures…finally!

December 21, 2007 @ 9:27 am
posted by kris


Yarn binge!

Mom’s new tabi socks

La Digitessa…masterpiece in the making!

Ugliest baby sweater EVER!

Poisonous Firestarters are done!

I know, I have been super horrible with pictures. I get them up on flickr and then forget about them. Let’s see…I went on a yarn binge in Houston, I finished up the Firestarters that I’ve had on my needles since October. I also finished up tabi socks for my mom for Christmas. I have also been chugging along on Yarnissima’s La Digitessa. Gorgeous!!!! It is a little snug, and I’ve considered frogging. But now that I’m on the gusset, I think frogging is out the window. I think I’d rather give them away if they were too tight. Who am I kidding though, as much work as this sock is, I don’t think I could part with it. It takes an amazing amount of concentration to learn the pattern, but once you learn it (it only takes 1 repeat), you can chug along. The gusset is a little tricky, I hope I’m doing it right, I guess I’ll email Yarnissima herself and make sure.

Notes on the Firestarters, the pattern is changed quite a bit. I did a magic toe, I didn’t do any ribbing except for a 1×1 twisted rib cuff, and I did an eye-of-partridge heel. This sock fits very, very nicely. It’s a little snug and I like it. It’s like buttah. And the best part is that I have enough yarn for another pair, I may even do Firestarters again!

I also included a picture of the fugly Striped Lily the Pink. It is awful. and ugly. And I cry every time I look at it since I believe I will have to chuck it. I am putting it on the side for now until maybe I learn how to put things together properly.

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying my time in the islands. The weather here is perfect. It has rained every day, but just for a minute or two and then the sun comes out and rainbows are everywhere. I thought it would be a lot hotter and humider than it is. The breezes are really nice. The whole family is enjoying going outside without having to put on a sweater, jacket, socks, shoes, mittens and hat. This year Rowan really enjoyed the beach. In previous years, they have been too scared to go into the water. Elijah is still scared to go in, but we’re going to try again at a different beach (one without waves) and I think that will go over better. I have also been eating all of my favorite foods (ono grinds) and probably gained about 5 pounds in 2 days.

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Cast on crazy

October 22, 2007 @ 11:07 pm
posted by kris


poisonous firestarters!

The malabrigo is just ok

Hanami + marisilk = heaven

So, since I finished 2 pairs of socks, I have been casting on like crazy. Why oh why do I do this? It’s just pure torture for me. I know it’s normal for everyone else, but for me 2 projects are good. And really, I only work on one at a time anyways. So what did I cast on?

I think I already told you about the Firestarters. I started that in London. I didn’t post any pictures though. It’s with Wollmeise Poison Nr. 5 and how can you not love that color? I really want some magic pooling to occur but with Wollmeise, I almost always get stripes. Not a bad thing, but I love pooling.

Then, I have been planning to do the Hanami Stole for awhile now. Shannon of the SSK Podcast convinced me that I need to do one. So I bought the malabrigo laceweight and then I had problems finding beads. The sizes aren’t the same here, no real surprise. So I had a hard time guessing what size to get. Shannon volunteered to send me some of her leftover beads so that solved the problem. Only I waited, and waited, and waited. No beads. The damn post office is out to get me, I swear. I think it’s a conspiracy that they don’t want me knitting.

So, when I went to London, there were many bead stalls, so I picked out some (same sizing as the US yay!) and got a little extra since they were cheap. Well, relatively. OK, so now I’m ready. I had the urge a few nights ago to cast on and I had needles, I dug up the yarn and even found that I wound a ball already, and now…where did I put those dang beads. I looked everywhere twice and then finally found them in this huge cavernous yarn stash bin. Must’ve gotten in there when I put all the yarn I bought in there.

OK, I cast on! I really enjoyed doing the beaded cast on. It’s lovely. I didn’t expect to like it that much because I am not a bead person. And I love the way it just sparkles and makes the stole more dressier. Not gaudy at all. Only thing is that I didn’t like the way the malabrigo is so light and airy. It knits up nice but it has no substance. After 3 repeats, this started to bother me as the marisilk sitting on my desk starts to invade my thoughts.

I balled up the Marisilk and started knitting with US5 circs. The stitches were too loose so I cast on again with US3’s. Much, much better. I love the way the stitches are tight and defined. The fabric is just a tad bit stiff, but I’m thinking that will be ok once I wash and block. I just love the weight of the silk and the sheen. I will have a hard time giving this one up as a gift.

So I’m obsessing over this pattern. I can’t stop thinking about it and knitting it and envisioning the finished product. I think I’m setting myself up for disappointment because in my head I’m building it up so much. Why do I torture myself so? I also want to do it in Wollmeise laceweight too now. :) But I’m going to hold off and finish it before I start making plans for the next one. I think it’s that damn beaded cast on! HA!

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Super secret project unveiled!

September 24, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
posted by kris


Isn’t this gorgeous?

Gusset of coolness!

On the foot

So, here is the secret project that I’ve been working on. It’s the Fratello socks by Yarnissima! I am always on the lookout for great socks for men and this one is a winner. The pattern is fairly simple, purl side out, with a little bit of travelling sts. The design of the sock is genius, and if you’ve seen her patterns online, you’ll know that Yarnissima is the queen of cool gussets! I only have one sock done, and will hopefully get the second sock done sometime before Christmas!

The yarn is an exclusive color from Wollmeise and I LOVE this coffee brown!!! You can buy the pattern by itself or get the yarn+pattern in a kit. Contact Yarnissima at yarnissima (at) gmail (dot) com for more details and how to purchase.

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Seems like forever…

July 16, 2007 @ 11:38 pm
posted by kris


Montego Bay Scarf

My latest acquisitions

…since I blogged! I’ve been busy with hank wanking, podcasting, casting on waaaaay too many projects, and staying up late playing with Ravelry. It’s a disease. OK, so let me get you caught up on what’s been going on at casa Bockstark. Or should I say Haus Bockstark? Dunno…if there’s a german translation for that.

First I finished one side of my Vista Mare aka Billy Reid socks. I love it, even though it’s tight going around the heel. Let’s just hope it fits cuz I’m not ripping this baby out. I would like to sell the pattern

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for cheap – like $2 – so that I can avoid getting a job. Haha. But really, I’m serious. If I could make money knitting, that would be SO AWESOME!

Next, I cast on for a secret project that I cannot reveal since I was asked not even to show any pictures at all. I don’t think I’ll be able to show anything until September. I don’t know how I’m going to live. For some odd reason, I feel like if I can’t show the “proof” that I’m knitting, I must not be. Why am I so weird?

Then, I couldn’t wait any longer and finally cast on for the Montego Bay Scarf. Ridiculously easy, and oh so pretty! I am using the Marisilk that I got as a gift from Andrea of Das Schneeschaf. I’m knitting this when I need to take a break from my very labor intensive socks.

OK, and I’m not on my yarn diet anymore. Wollhuhn Tanja doesn’t think I was ever on one. And she said that it’s bad for my health. Doing the Taste of Germany thing has really made me crazy. After all, I have to see and feel these yarns before sending them out right? heh. So far I have 4 dyers and still deciding on the 5th. It has been really cool getting to know all these german dyers, they are all very, very nice. Check out all my purrrrdy new yarn…

Also, last week, Elem and I met with the two goddesses – Claudia (Wollmeise) and Marjan (Yarnissima). They were so much fun to talk to!!! This is the 2nd time that I met Claudia and the first time to meet Marjan. I am so glad that they both took a much needed break to come and visit us. It is really nice to talk to fellow knitters not only about knitting but parenting/kids too. I’ll see them again in September when we all go to Benediktbeuern!! Oh god, I don’t know how much money I’m going to spend. Too much…

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Vista Mare update

July 4, 2007 @ 1:13 am
posted by kris

Sorry no pictures! Thank you SO MUCH for all of your comments and input. After looking at everyone’s suggestions, I completely FROGGED IT! Yep. I did. I wasn’t really satisfied with the designs on the sides, so if I was going to frog it back to the beginning of the gusset, I might was well frog it completely. The only bad thing is that the yarn is kind of weird knitting it back again. You know what I mean? Frogged yarn is never as good as “fresh” yarn, so it has weird little bumps here and there. I’m hoping they will go away when I wash it.

My solution was to change it to 84sts, but have 78 in the foot, and then increase to 84 in the gusset/heel. I wanted to keep the same gauge, because I tried knitting to a 8sts/in, and the design looked kind of loose. 9sts is perfect, esp with the Wollmeise yarn.

The good news is that I changed the design and it is looking fab! I am back to the gusset again and even though there are more stitches, it’s going really fast. Probably because I memorized the patterns! :)

The BEST news though is that I showed pictures of the socks to Billy and he is so excited about it that it *may* inspire him to write a new music video about socks! :) woohoo!!! So if you want to knit him some socks to push him over the edge to FORCE him to write a song, email me and I’ll let you know the details!

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Vista Mare: A cry for HELP!

June 30, 2007 @ 11:33 am
posted by kris


Vista Mare front

Detail of heel

I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but I’m designing a sock for the infamous Billy Reid. It was conceived in the Cinque Terre in Italy and everywhere we went, we saw signs advertising rooms for rent. And almost all of them said “vista mare”, which means seaview. Since this sock looks kind of aquarium-y, I thought it was appropriate. But I also wanted Billy’s name in it because it’s HIS socks. So the full name is “Vista Mare aka Billy Reid socks”. It is basically a bunch of patterns thrown into a toe up sock.

So, here’s my cry for help. It is currently 72 sts around, knitted in a 9sts/in gauge. The foot fits perfectly, on my husband’s test foot. Where the problem comes in is in the heel/leg. I did a heel flap and increased for the gusset (+32 sts), and that part actually fits ok. It’s when I’m done with the heel and I’m doing the leg part that’s really tight on the instep. I don’t know if my husband has a freakishly large instep or what. I can get it onto *my* seemingly tiny foot, it’s a little snug, but it’s ok. I know that if I continue, my husband won’t be able to get it on at all. What to do, what to do? If I increase the sts, it would make the foot part too big. If I change needle sizes, I think it would make the pattern look wierd. Any suggestions??? I don’t think making the gusset bigger (increasing even more) would help…or would it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully I won’t have to frog the whole sock. But if it’s meant to be, then so be it.

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What does bockstark mean (pronounced bok-shtark)? My crazy German friend, Matthias, made that word up to mean "really cool" and says that it is catching on in Garmisch. So I am helping him popularize the word! I thought if I ever opened a yarn store, I would call it "Bockstark Yarns". This blog is all about my projects, yarns and crazy ideas related to knitting and other crafts. Contact me at bockstark.knits(at)gmail(dot)com.