Monday, December 8, 2008

This just in

Are you always looking for good things to do with your extra sock yarn? Shirley made her new IPod a hoodie. Is that cute or what?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Newly dyed yarn

I spent much of the Thanksgiving long weekend dyeing more yarn. Some of these are a little different from ones I have done in the past. They are variations of one color, to give a heathered look. They are great for lace patterns, but also make beautiful plain knit socks. You can see some of the variegated yarn in front of the basket. Go to the website,, to get a better look at these yarns. I'll bet you know someone who would like one of the instructional DVDs, The Zen of Socks, and a nice skein of yarn for Christmas.

Emily's mittens

Emily is a newly graduated geologist with a penchant for working in cold climates like the Alaskan ice fields and far northern Norway. So, when she decided to take up knitting, she picked felted mittens as her first project. She knitted two strands of wool worsted together, one red and one blue, on size 10 1/2 double pointed needles, casting on 24 stitches. We sort of played the pattern by ear, and finished off the top of the mitten with Kitchener stitch. When she was done, the felting process took only about 20 minutes. As you can see, it was a complete success! She already has plans for two more pairs of mittens for Christmas presents - I'll bet she makes it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bug dyeing

A friend of mine, who is a professor of Entomology, invited me to learn to dye fabrics with cochineal dye, which comes from bugs that live on cactus plants. It makes the red color you see in fine Mexican rugs. Of course, I jumped at the chance. You can get many different colors from just one dye bath, depending on the mordants you pretreat the fabric with. These are silk scarves. It was really fun. I can't wait to try it on sock yarn. Look for red yarn sometime soon.

The Zen of Socks goes to Germany

My hand dyed yarn is getting away from me before I get it photographed for the blog. However, I did get a photo of Tibor and the yarn he bought (along with a DVD) to take back to Germany to his mother. Tibor was an exchange student 13 years ago here in Moscow, and came back to see how we were all doing. He is a corporate lawyer in Berlin now, and a charming young man. I'd like to think his time in Moscow had an influence.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New "Knitting" notes cards

I do not post often because I am too busy running my web design business, BuffaloGirlsProductions, and/or knitting. But it is time to properly introduce myself. I am the producer and the graphic designer for The Zen of Socks. Not only that I created the fabulous Zen of Socks DVD, but I also designed the Society website, this blog, the store, photograph the products and create all the graphic and PR materials.

I am an avid knitter: hats (all hats have been sold) and socks and recently venturing into sweaters. And now for something new: I created these beautiful note cards with a knitting theme. Visit the Society socks store to view these original cards. Purchase one to send to your knitting buddy or purchase the set of 7 as a gift for your favorite knitting girlfriend.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

And last weekend I also...

One of my husband's hobbies is to raise heirloom tomatoes, no mean feat in northern Idaho. We have an end-of-season tomato tasting brunch every year. After that, I get the tomatoes for my own hobby, making salsa. I have been trying for years to make a REALLY HOT salsa, and this year, I think I succeeded. The first batch, which had two cups of assorted habanero peppers, was pretty darn hot, but my son and I still ate it with pleasure. We named it Society Salsa - It'll knock your socks off. Last weekend, I made a batch that had THREE cups of habaneros - it is called Society Salsa - Pain and Suffering. I haven't tried it on my son yet, but I declare it REALLY HOT.

Guess what I did last weekend?

You're right! I spent two beautiful fall days with my yarns and dyes and now have lots of new hand painted yarn. I have tried several that are shades of one color blended to be suitable for lace patterns - I suspect they will go fast. Check out the selection on soon for best selection. Don't forget to pick up the DVD, The Zen of Socks, if you don't already have one. Happy Knitting!

New Hand Dyed Yarn

What colors! When surrounded with all these gorgeous colors use them in your creations. Ready for the coming fall evenings to cozy up and knit a pair of beautiful socks.
Mozy on over to our online store and get yourself a skein or two while they last. They do fly off our virtual shelve fast. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Goodbye to a friend

This is in memory of my friend, Brad Neuman. Brad died way too young in early August. He raised beautiful Suri alpacas in the little town of Troy, Idaho. Everyone who knew Brad loved him. He was the kindest and gentlest of men, and and generous with his money, attention and skills. Brad was one of the earliest people who carried our DVD, The Zen of Socks, on his website, and was generous in promoting our business and supplying us with alpaca yarn to try out our various projects. Brad moved to Troy in 2001 and immediately became an active member of this little community. He was a strong financial supporter of the public schools, and often had schoolchildren visiting on his farm. His sister, Judy LaLonde, will continue to manage the alpaca ranch, but no one can replace Brad's smiling face and big heart. Please check out their website at

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Naomi's socks

This is Naomi's first pair of socks from our hand dyed yarn. I love the way the yarn naturally made rainbow stripes on the toes and heels (try enlarging the image). Naomi said the yarn was great to knit with. Very soft, didn't split, just the right amount of stretchiness. The yarn is 75% Superwash wool, 25% nylon. She used the DVD "The Zen of Socks"to learn to knit socks. Way to go, Naomi!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Karen's new socks

These are Karen's new socks. She has MS and Reynaud's syndrome, so frequently has cold feet, but can't stand anything tight on her feet. Soft socks from our hand dyed yarn turned out to be the best thing. These socks were knit on #1 bamboo needles on 78 stitches on our 75% superwash wool/25% nylon hand dyed yarn. They have a K5P1 flat rib repeat that is very formal looking and very attractive. Karen says they remind her of socks being knitted when she was a child in Europe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New socks from Susan in California

Susan knit these socks from a skein of our hand dyed yarn. She says, "The colors are beautiful, and the yarn was easy to work with. There was more than enough yarn on one skein to make these socks following your basic pattern, using size 1 bamboo needles. I also referred to your DVD a number of times to refresh myself."
Something I did differently this time was to use nylon sock reinforcing yarn in the heel and toe. It wasn't too difficult to work with the two strands. Those sections are only very slightly bulkier than the rest of the sock.
I had two sets of needles and so worked on both socks alternately so they would finish about the same time. One sock was knit from the yarn coming from inside the ball, and one sock was knit from the end of the yarn on the outside. It was a little tricky with the reinforcing yarn involved too, but I managed to get through it without any major tangles. We've been cat-sitting for my son, and Daisy soon learned that the sock project was "paws off!" I think this is the best pair of socks I've made."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wavy cable socks

This interesting stitch pattern was done on a hand painted fingering yarn on #1 bamboo needles and 64 stitches. The wavy cables were made by knitting 4 st, 2x2 cable over 4 st, repeat around sock, for the first row, K 3 rows in stockinette, then 2x2 cable over 4 st, K4, repeat around sock, K3 rows in stockinette. Repeat these 8 rows for the pattern. I carried the cable pattern down the top of the foot until the start of the toe decreases. They are very pretty socks of a nice soft washable yarn. They are made for a woman's small foot. They are for sale on the website,

Amanda's first sock

This just in - Amanda from Wisconsin purchased our DVD, The Zen of Socks, and finished her first sock in less than a week! This from a graduate student and a mother of three! Very impressive. I see a long series of great socks from this person. Thanks for sharing your success.

Monday, May 26, 2008

This is not exactly related to socks or yarn, but I wanted to share with you a photo of my wonderful family. The photo was taken in Sisters, Oregon at a mushroom foray about a week ago. I was lucky to catch all three of my men in full beard plumage. Aren't they handsome? Daughter-in-law Sarah and girlfriend Veronica are very good sports. They have already learned how to knit socks, they are rapidly becoming mycophiles and mycophagophists, and they participate with good humor in family Mah Jongg games. What more could I ask for?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blue Socks

This pair of socks is slightly larger than I usually make. It will fit a woman's foot size 9-10. It is made from Opal yarn, 75% Superwash wool, 75% nylon, so can be machine washed. It was done on size 1 bamboo needles. The yarn is a sturdy fingering size, very soft and supple. They will be for sale on the Society Socks website in about a week. A nice find for someone who has a hard time finding larger handknit socks.

More hand dyed yarn

We spent the Memorial Day weekend dyeing 30 skeins of yarn. We had perfect weather for it, and had a great time. My guest dyer was my good friend Nancy Wright. Now she is totally addicted the process, along with the rest of us. She's not even a sock knitter! We got into naming the yarns. As you can see by the photo, one of my yarns is named Martha Washington after my geranium. The yarns should appear on the website,, in our yarn store by next weekend.

Susan's socks

A friend's sister has bought both our DVD and hand dyed yarn from us . She sends this photo from southern California. Susan is a skillful and careful knitter, and it is great to see her progress.She has made several pairs of socks, but this is the first pair with our yarn.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tina's socks

Tina is a satisfied customer who bought our DVD, The Zen of Socks, and has just finished her first sock, and in pretty good time, too. She used the Regia silk blend yarn, 64 stitches and size 2 needles. She says her mother is already after her to knit her some socks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A happy yarn customer

Shirley bought hand painted yarn from me a few weeks ago (see the blog entry below with her photo). She recently brought in her socks to show me and they are fabulous! She cast on 64 st and knit on #2 bamboo needles. She says she made no attempt to make the socks match, but they are clearly a pair. She really loves her socks, and I do, too. I am planning to do a lot of dyeing over the Memorial Day weekend, so look for new yarn early June.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My first knee socks

I got a commission for a pair of knee socks, and took it on as a challenge. I made several false starts using various cuff down patterns, and finally settled on a toe up pattern for the foot. I chose a short row heel, which was very successful. There was a lot of trying on and readjusting of the number of rows between increases in the calf area. I used a Regia 75% superwash wool/25% nylon yarn, 210 m/ball, and used most of 3 balls. I knit on #1 bamboo needles. Along the way, I learned a very cool invisible increase stitch. I was very pleased with the final product, as was my customer, and I'll probably make a pair for myself sometime soon. If you are interested in the pattern that I developed, e mail me at and I will send you the pattern.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alpaca socks

I've just finished my first pair of socks made from 100% alpaca fingering weight yarn. Since the yarn had no reinforcing fiber, I knit it with a strand of fuzzy nylon serging thread. I thought this might be difficult, but it was surprisingly easy. I kept the yarn and thread in a ziplock bag together, and they fed out together very nicely. I was fortunate to find nylon in the same color as the yarn, and it is essentially invisible in the final knitted product. I got this yarn from my friend Brad Neuman, owner of Big Meadow Creek Alpacas (, who wanted to see how it would work for socks. I am happy to report that it was easy to knit, is wonderfully soft, and washed well. I washed the socks on the gentle cycle of my washing machine in cold water, and laid them flat to dry. They came out just fine.
This is a 64 stitch sock done on #1 bamboo DP needles. The pattern is a lace rib, a very easy 4 row repeat. I continued the pattern down the front of the foot.

Rows 1-3: K2 P2 ribbing
Row 4: K2,YO, Slip 2, P2 together through the back of the two slipped stitches. Repeat these 4 stitches to end of row

If you are interested in knitting very soft, slightly fuzzy, very warm socks, I recommend you contact Brad through his website listed above, and see what he has available. You won't be sorry.

Yarn Feeding Frenzy!

A friend asked if I could bring the yarn that I had hand painted to work one day. Suddenly my little office was filled with women with yarn lust in their eyes! They bought 8 skeins - what fun. They all promised to send me photos of their finished projects.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Socks and cats

This weekend we had a visit from my son Ian and his girlfriend Veronica. After a week at Christmas breathing the sock knitting infused air here, and helping me dye yarn, Veronica decided to take up sock knitting. She is doing very well, and is nearly ready to make her first heel. This is a photo of her two cats, Tully and Toby, and her first sock in progress.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New yarn

I want to introduce you to a new-to-me sock yarn, Berroco Sox. It is fingering weight, 75% superwash wool/25% nylon, and is dyed to make a Fair Isle pattern as you knit. The colors are very intense, and the interval between repeats is long. The owner of our local yarn shop says that Berroco is known for its color saturation in their yarns. The yarn was considerably lower in cost than most comparable sock yarns, $12.60 for a 440 yard ball. The yarn was a little stiff to knit, but softened up nicely when washed. It is made in Romania. I'll certainly try another ball. The socks pictured are my standard slouch pattern, 64 stitches on #1 needles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New socks

I have been fortunate to get some commissions to knit socks from our hand dyed yarn, my favorite yarn to work with. The brown socks with the blue zigzag are winging their way to Minnesota even as I write this, to a young lady who is probably standing in the snow with cold feet, waiting for a bus. You notice that the socks are photographed in the snow, with a few snowflakes for accent. The pink and green socks are for my friend Pam. She has a personality as bubbly as the socks' color scheme. She loves them. The teal and raspberry socks are mine. They go with everything I wear.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Zitron Life Style

I got four balls of Zitron Life Style as a present from a dear friend of mine.
Here is the first sock and some of the second sock. I did not make the sock cuffs as long as usual because there are only 155 m in each ball. I knitted on size #2 needles, cast on 64 stitches. These socks are a bit heavier, which is great. I am rushing to get the second sock done; we are having one snow storm after another.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New socks

I love taking pictures of our hand dyed yarns and then a picture of the resulting socks.
Aren't they lovely?