Sock-Sock-Sockin’-Along!

So how’s everyone doing on their socks? Anyone need a little encouragement to start on the second sock?

You can do it!
Just think of how cozy those socks are going to be once they’re done!
Wooo, socks! 🙂

Let’s take a moment to see how we’re all doing around the store – maybe that will help you feel better about your progress!

Team Froot Loop

Emily is somehow leading the ESK pack so far with her pair in Lorna’s Laces Solemate in colorway Rainbow.  The color repeats are balancing surprisingly well and look really cute in this pattern!
emilyFrootLoop

Jess’s Froot Loops aren’t far behind!  She’s using Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in colorway Boreal. The color is working up so nice and the yarn is so squishy – perfect for this pattern!
JessFrootLoop

Team Elementary Watson

Erin’s socks encountered a few obstacles (Starry abandoned due to gauge, Cables accidentally worked on the bottom of the foot) but now she’s going strong and getting close to the heel!  She’s using Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Glacier.
erinWatson

Tiffany’s Elementary Watsons stumbled when she had to start her toe a second time, but since then she hasn’t run into any problems!  The yarn (Numma Numma The Usual) is showing off the stitches quite nicely and the color (Chinese Takeout) is gorgeous!
tiffanyWatson

Feel free to join in for more than one pair if you’re feeling ambitious!  Keep up with our progress, share your successes & frustrations, and generally get to know your fellow knitters on our Ravelry group! Good luck and keep at it, everyone!

Shipping Changes

I’m not really sure how to say this; I hate that we have to do this so much that writing this post feels like the yarn shop equivalent of “we need to talk.” So. I’ll just go ahead and rip the band-aid off. We’ve got to change our shipping policies. Shipping costs are crazy and getting crazier and we don’t want to do this at all but business-wise, it must be done.

So, effective November 1st (Friday), we’ll have some new shipping policies. Here are the big changes:

  • Free US shipping will only apply to orders over $100
  • The flat rate for Priority Mail orders within the US is increasing from $5 to $6
  • Canada and Mexico now fall under the same international shipping costs as all other countries (i.e., no more free or flat-rate shipping)

I’ll just give us all a second to shout or cry or pout, I need one too.

We have not increased our domestic or Canadian shipping costs since we opened in 2007. In that time, there have been at least 6 postal rate increases, including the one this past January which nearly doubled the rates of most of our packages headed towards Canada. Within the US, a 1 lb box used to cost $4.60 to anywhere in the US. Now, the price for the same box ranges from $5.05 to $6.51, an increase of 10-41% depending on what state it’s going to! And it goes across the board the same way. We’ve tried to hold out as long as we can, but unfortunately the time has come, and we are genuinely sorry. No one wants you to have to pay more for shipping, least of all us.

The good news? Our old shipping prices remain valid for a few more days!

Friday Five 10/25/13

It’s a blustery 65 degrees in Atlanta this week, and my only two WIPs are a fingering weight colorwork sweater and my old nemesis, the Sock-A-Long socks. So it’s really no surprise that my mind is wandering to hats, hats, and more hats, and, like the world is sending me a little sign, suddenly there a dozen great new hat patterns I want to knit for every member of the family.

Madelinetosh’s new Honey Hat uses just one measly skein of Tosh DK. It’s fun, it’s slouchy, it’s an easy knit, and it would complement my Honey Cowl oh-so-nicely. And a matching cowl-and-hat set could be a great holiday gift!

honey_hat1_medium2

Themisto. So, what you’re telling me is that I get stripes and color and cables all in one. This hat is pretty stellar. Plus, an awesome colorwork hat without really having to do colorwork? Sign me up. And if red and black aren’t your thing, check out how great this looks in some of the subtler color combinations on the projects page. I’m thinking something bright and fun paired with a nice neutral cream or brown!

themisto

It really doesn’t get much more basic than Halldora J’s Simple Moss Stitch Hat, a great new free pattern. This is the kind of hat I love because it’s an easy knit, it doesn’t take a huge amount of time, but at the end, you have a really classic, classY hat to wear or gift to a chic friend/family member. One skein of sportweight yarn is all you need, and you’re set for hours of relaxing knitting.

simplemoss

Autumn Whirlpool says it’s for little girls, but I have to tell you that I want one of these hats, and I want one for my little boy, too (he can even have pink, if he wants!). Cables, pom poms, earflaps and those great tassels – this hat really does have it all, and with sizing up to 22″ I can definitely get my noggin into this!

autumnwhirlpool

This last pattern is not a hat at all, but it’s too fun not to post – Hexagon Mitts! Love these. I’m a sucker for a fun construction technique, and you can knit these with just one variegated yarn or two complementary ones. It would also probably be a great project for using up those extra 1/3 balls of sock yarn you always end up with, or even mini-skeins if you’re feeling adventurous.

hexagon

For those of you who want to stitch a little something festive for next week’s holiday, I also found these cute, free, quickie patterns in my Ravelry travels!

ghost pumpkin bat

Meet the ESK Staff! Part 2

Another week, another staff member to introduce from your favorite yarn store! Meet the Queen of Color: Tiffany!

What type(s) of crafting do you do?
It would be easier to ask what types of crafting I don’t do- under water basket weaving? Truthfully, I haven’t taken up weaving yet, but I would like to learn!

Crafting has always been in my family, both of my grandmothers would do arts and crafts with me while I was growing up and I remember my mother was always tatting. I finally decided to learn how to crochet from my Grandmother in 2002 (I was hooking in high school! ::snickers::). I taught myself how to knit in 2004, but didn’t realize until I met up with a local knitting group that I was knitting all my stitches through the back loop! I continued my fiber obsession in 2011, when I picked up spinning both with a drop spindle (or 5) and a wheel. Now I can’t imagine leaving the house without any sort of woolly WIP!

What’s your favorite color?
Any green or blue shade, especially in jewel tones or neon brights

What’s your favorite type of project?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific favorite type of project, but I love knit accessories in general, especially the thick and quick projects because I tend to lose motivation about halfway through my larger projects. Sadly, it’s a bit too hot to wear most of my items except for a few weeks a year!

What’s your favorite yarn that we carry?
I’m a huge Malabrigo Junkie; I love the variety of super soft bases and the vibrant colors. I keep trying to use other yarn brands, but I keep coming back to Malabrigo!

Where do you find inspiration?
Anything obscure and nerdy/geeky/dorky. I try not to knit the patterns that are constantly “Hot Right Now”, however sometimes I just need to be caught up in what everyone else is doing- especially when a new two- or three-colored high contrast shawl comes out 🙂

What’s the Finished Object you’re most proud of completing?
I have two: my Caladan, which is my first finished beaded lace project and my Sproutlette Dress that I hand spun the yarn and then knit for my daughter.

English vs. Continental?
Ok, here’s what I do: I hold the working yarn in my left hand, I don’t secure the yarn around any of my fingers, I just kind of grip it and I still ‘wrap’ or ‘throw’ my yarn around the needle. Weird, I know but it works!

Who is your favorite designer?
I love Woolly Wormhead’s hat patterns! They are so fun and quirky- I expect to be making several patterns from her Bambeanies book this winter! I also enjoy Stephen West’s early designs that are simple and dramatic.

What’s your favorite entertainment?
I’ll watch and listen to just about anything. If I don’t like what is currently on, well, luckily I usually have a WIP nearby to distract me and pointy needles usually do a good job of persuading others to watch something else.

What’s your favorite non-yarn-related hobby?
When I’m not doing anything fiber related, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. As a renowned picky eater, my new hobby is going to new restaurants and trying out new foods!

Meet the ESK Staff! Part 1

We here at Eat.Sleep.Knit. have a great time helping customers find the perfect yarn, but what else are we up to? If you’ve ever wondered who’s on the other end of the phone, email or shipping invoice, now’s your chance to find out!  For the next few weeks we’ll be introducing the amazing staff of your favorite yarn shop – starting today with the woman who started it all: Erin!

What type(s) of crafting do you do?
What type of crafting haven’t I tried, ha! As a kid, I was into pretty much anything involving a glue gun – I’ve made quite a few hair bows in my day. Then my mom taught me how to crochet, and I dabbled in that for a few years but fell mostly off the crafty bandwagon in college. Then, I met my now-husband, who really brought out the crafter in me – I took up cross-stitch, painting flower pots, latch hook rugs, sewing those little felt Christmas ornaments, and I was even pretty into stained glass for a while. Once I learned to knit, though, which was about 10 years ago, I’ve pretty much abandoned everything else.

What got you into knitting?
I taught myself to knit in December of 2004 mostly using internet videos from Knitting Help. I wanted to recreate my family’s heirloom Christmas stockings for new family members. I watched the cast on and knit stitch videos over and over and wondered how anyone would ever describe this as relaxing. In fact, I found it so frustrating that once Christmas had passed, I think I didn’t pick up a knitting needle for nearly a year. The next time, though, it all made a lot more sense, I dove in head first and haven’t looked back.

What’s your favorite color?
You can’t ask me this question; every color is wonderful. I tend towards a more autumnal palette, but rainbows are one of my favorite things.

What do like knitting most?
Sweaters galore! Sit me down with a sweater pattern and I can have a medium-sized women’s sweater done in 2-3 weeks. Hand me a sock pattern and two months later, I’m probably still whining about having to make a second one. It definitely does not help that I’m possibly the loosest knitter of all time – I knit worsted weight on US 2.5-4 depending on the required gauge.

What’s your favorite yarn that we carry?
Reeeeeeally?? You know I chose all the yarn, right? I’m borderline obsessed with all of it. Lately, I’m really into ShibuiKnits – I’m knitting Concord Jacket out of their new Pebble yarn held double, and it makes me deeply happy.

And as always happens when I’m asked about my favorite, my mind is now full of “oh and also!!” Pretty yarn is pretty. But can I also mention, another yarn I LOVE knitting with that I think gets overlooked a lot for the next “ooh shiny” is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport. I knit up a Cria in The Bean colorway and the yarn is so unbelievably nice to knit with, the color so even, the stitch definition so pleasing.

What’s the Finished Object you’re most proud of completing?
Any pair of socks, hahaha. Actually, that’s probably true. I love these Pucker socks, even though I gauge-failed big time and ended up gifting them to my mom.

English vs. Continental?
Continental! No fewer than 20 people have shown me how to purl English-style and I still can’t figure it out.

What’s your favorite knitting resource?
Hands down, the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries. Every knitter should own them! And any other stitch dictionaries. So inspiring and fun!

What’s your favorite non-yarn hobby?
Oh god, this is so nerdy – jigsaw puzzles. I love jigsaw puzzles. I own a gajillion. I’m planning a “puzzling corner” in our new house. (Lots of natural light!)

Where is your favorite vacation destination?
My husband and I took a trip to Costa Rica last summer that was the most wonderful vacation either of us had ever been on. We spent part of the time in the mountains close to San Jose, at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, and the second half of the trip at sea level in a little villa overlooking the ocean, and we’ve been talking ever since about when our son Levi will be old enough that we could go back.

Only 75 Days Until Christmas!

When it comes to holiday knitting, I invariably wait until the last minute to make millions of scarves, hats, and {insert items I can’t possibly finish in time here!}.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this extreme procrastination/overachieving so I thought maybe I would try to help reduce some stress!

First, it’s a good plan to really think about who is getting a handcrafted gift this year.  Remember: Grampa Ralph, Aunt Sue and Mom love their handmade socks, but Cousin Tammy never even sent a thank you note (also known as The Scarf Incident of 2010). Be sure your gift is going to be appreciated. Don’t stress yourself by knitting or crocheting for everyone if only a few are going to care the way they should!

Next, let’s try to narrow down what type of project the lucky recipients would get the most use out of!  If your sister drinks tea incessantly, she might actually love a kettle cozy, but Uncle Joe would get more use out of a watchman’s cap and scarf.

If you’re like me, you need to focus on smaller projects that can be finished quickly.  For those of you that plan your gifts in advance and have time to make large, intricate presents for your loved ones – I applaud you! But here are some ideas for the rest of us (most of which have scads of free pattern options on Ravelry):

africanflowerpinHousewares:

campoutmitts

Accessories:

pinesDecorations:

 

This is obviously not a comprehensive list of all the possible projects, but sometimes I need to see someone else’s ideas before I can really get going – if that’s you too, I hope this helps give you the motivation you need.

Happy Knitting!
(posted by Emily)

Friday Five

I had to rip out my socks already. Gauge swatches, not just for fun! Being a loose knitter makes sock knitting kind of tricky; often I go down to the smallest needle size produced by a manufacturer and still can’t get gauge.

Whenever I’m having a spat with my current project, I like to fantasize about starting something new, something that would never mislead me or come out the wrong size or turn out to be all wrong for my body type of course, because a project not yet started is filled with potential.

Rye - tin can knitsLike Rye.

These look so cool, and in aran weight yarn, they’re sure to knit up quickly and be super cozy for these chilly mornings. And surely I can get a gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch!

(And if you haven’t checked out the rest of the Simple Collection, you should – this is a series of FREE patterns from tin can knits intended to help you learn some new knitting skills while creating some adorable accessories and even a simple sweater, in sizes all the way from newborn to adult.)

Maroo Mitts - AmbahAnd then there are Maroo Mitts. Fingerless mitts – the best parts of knitting socks, fun and easy and forgiving. Plus with fall really and truly underway, a bit of cozy for my hands always appeals.

Bonus, AMBAH is having a Ravelry knit-a-long for her patterns as well. And these would be a great way to use up some sock yarn scraps, which, if you’re anything like me, you probably have coming out of your ears whether you knit a lot of socks or not!

And I don’t knit a lot of socks. I’m a sweater girl. I can knock out a simple sweater in a couple of weeks while my socks lag behind on the needles. And speaking of a simple sweater …

square-and-stripe-6

Square and Stripe, by Veera Valimaki, the designer who brought us Color Affection. Like a striped shawl, except better, because it’s a simple sweater. A simple, boxy sweater that will pull on easily over anything, anywhere. Roomy and cozy and screaming to be knit up as that first fall sweater of the year. Better still, it’s knit up in Tosh DK, and we just got in a new shipment.

sambuka-newOr a nice new cowl? I favorited Sambuka a week or two ago, and it looks like it would be a pretty quick but rewarding knit.

I never really get how I’m supposed to wear a cowl, but I love knitting them, and they look so great on other people that I have to believe with a little confidence, anyone could pull one off. And this one has two mesmerizing stitch patterns!

goverallsAnd if all else fails, there’s always this. Because babies. In overalls.

I’ve actually had this queued up for months, but now that he’s here I’m terrified to knit him clothes because he is growing so fast we need a new clothing size every 6 weeks! But at some point, I need to bite the bullet and just knit up some On-The-Go-Veralls. Because babies. In overalls.

So what will it be? A new, fun, fall project? Or do I do the mature thing and choose my new yarn, knit my gauge swatch, and get back to Sock-A-Longing with all you lovely folks, this time with a pair of socks that have any hope of fitting?