Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Finished One!

I'm so pleased with having finished this sock! Not only because it's the lovely REIMS STOCKINGS pattern but also because I learnt how to do magic loop! Love the technique and I don't think I'll go back to's just "faster" with the circs. Now onto the second one :)

How's everyone doing? I'm looking forward to starting up again in January and if I don't post again before Christmas, here's to wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

Can't wait to see more of everyone's projects!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November's Midnight Rose Spoiler

It looks like a good majority of you have your sock yarns already for November! I'm mighty impressed with the postal service this month - I surely hope this will keep up but maybe it's the approaching holiday season and the post office working overtime already?! It'll be nice if packages continue to move this quickly in the New Year too :)

Don't click the photo unless you want to see the yarn all big and in its glory :) I had a great time dyeing this one for everyone - it was an experiment in layered colouring. I can't wait to see some of your knitted items!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the USA! Me and DH are going to venture over the border this weekend and see what the sales are like - we figure we might get into some stores...maybe...if "Black Friday" is anything like our Boxing Day sales here in Canada after Christmas, we won't hold our breath...LOL

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Welcome New Members!

Welcome everyone who's recently joined! I'm really excited to get going and hope you enjoy the club as much as I enjoy dyeing the yarns for everyone. If you have any questions at all, don't ever hesitate to email me at zenyarngarden AT yahoo DOT com.

I have also invited all the new registrants to the blog and if for some reason you aren't receiving the invite or having troubles, please let me know that too so I can re-invite you. If you're an existing member and never got added to the blog, please let me know too as we all want to see your knitted items as you complete them :)

If you're on Ravelry, check the sidebar too as we also have a group there! Again, welcome and looking forward to getting started in the New Year :)

Still Magic Looping :)

And my sock is coming along! I managed to figure out the gussett with magic loop and I am not sure I'll ever go back to DPNs...this is just easier I find! I'm really enjoying the Reims Stockings pattern too - it's producing a nice effect on the sock! Onto the toe very soon :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

2008 Membership Registrations

All membership include shipping for the term that you choose and are in US dollars and payable through Paypal. Don't forget that you can also use a credit card through Paypal if you prefer not to use your Paypal account or don't have an account with Paypal. Deadline to register is January 8, 2008.

I've broken registrations down by country to make it a little bit easier. For international registrations, if you don't see your country listed, please contact me at zenyarngarden AT yahoo DOT com as I'm happy to do a special order for you!


2008 Membership Details

For 2008's sock club, I'm happy to offer 3-month and 6-month memberships so if you'd like to join for a bit longer, that would be awesome! Also, you'll realize about a 10% savings on the 6-month membership compared to the 3-month. I'm opening the registrations up here first before posting them into my stores so as to give everyone who's already a member a chance to join again if they like before opening up the club to new registrations.

For yarns this round, I've decided to focus on fingering weight as it seems that most of the intricate patterns call for this weight of yarn. This will mean 100% superwash merino in 2 and 3-ply, a lovely 3-ply superwash merino/nylon blend and a new yarn that I'm hoping to be able to get that's a 70% superwash merino/20% bamboo/10% nylon blend. It's different from the usual bamboo blend I carry as it's a true FW and really lovely - same twist as the merino/nylon I've used already in the sock club. So if you like that one, you're sure to like this one too - just like the merino/nylon but with a bit of a sheen to it with the bamboo :)

For now I'll focus on yarns so we can keep membership costs down but if we get enough interest in the club, I am planning on throwing in another exclusive pattern! Everyone responded so well to the Reims Stockings pattern that I thought it'd be nice to do a pattern again.

Okay, now I'm going to try the Paypal button option in the next post - stay tuned! For mailing dates, please see the information in the sidebar.

Deadline to join is January 8, 2008.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Magic Looping :)

Yes, it's true...I haven't before and I'm so excited to learn this technique! My sock seems to be going faster and I don't feel like I'm going to drop stitches. I am, however, using a size 2 instead of a size 1 needle for the Reims Stockings pattern and may end up with a slightly larger sock than anticipated but that's okay, I'm having too much fun to stop now and it feels like the size 2 is a good size to learn ML on.

It's not much sock yet but had to share :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Michigan" too

While I like the surprise pattern that was included with this month's shipment, I decided to put it aside to use later with another yarn and this time to stick with the lake water theme. I spent 12 years living alongside Lake Michigan and often watched its waters slam into Lake Shore Drive on turbulent weather days; so I have some ideas of my own as to what Great Lake water in the colder months is all about: dark, icy, and even a bit threatening.

I decided to go with the Lacy Mock Cable Socks because I like the way the soft waves of the ripples and the little eyelets suggest churning water and give the pattern some movement. I downloaded this pattern from One Planet Yarn and Fiber because I'm always happy to support indie designers, but I'd imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to concoct a similar pattern on your own. This also marks my first toe-up sock, and while I'm okay with the method, I'm far from a convert.

Anyhow, here's one finished sock.

I really, really love the base yarn. It may be the softest yarn I've knit socks with, and the fuzziness gives the colorway a waterlike murkiness . I could see where this might not be the yarn for crisp colors, but I like the way it turned out for "Huron."

Just gotta knit the other. Can't wait to see what's coming up next. Thanks for this one, Roxanne, it's another winner.

Guess who's playing with colour soon?

Yup, that'd be me! Yarn was delivered today and soon I'll be in the dye pot! I really haven't decided on colour yet like I did in the other two months but sometimes, as a dyer, I just like to get the yarn out, put it in the dye pot, line up my dye colours and let the colours speak to me. Funny how that works! Sometimes it's a colour I see "out there" but this time, it's going to be a spur of the moment inspiration. Be inspired! :) I can't wait!

Oh, I decided on the merino/nylon again for this month that was our first club yarn. Why you ask? When I polled the group early on, it was a clear majority for fingering weight yarns and as a dyer, I love how this yarn takes colour - it inspires me! Also, after seeing a couple of your FOs with this yarn, I'm more than pleased with it so I can't help but offer it to everyone again. It seems to be a very nice yarn base. Hopefully you are all enjoying it as much as I am!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Is it November already?

Wow guys, I can't believe we're in November already! I have had semi-solid on the brain for a couple a days and I am just realizing this will be the 3rd of 3, did that go by quickly!! I'm just "getting into" the semi-solid dyeing too...darn it!! Okay, so I am going to re-start the club again in January after we get a chance to get through the Christmas holidays so if you'd like to join again, details will follow shortly after the last shipment goes out on the 15th.

How is everyone enjoying the pattern and the yarns? I love seeing everyone's creations here and on Ravelry. You guys rock the knitting!

Anyways, just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to let you know I'm thinking about the next yarn and hope you're all doing well! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hi! I'm Your Friendly Neighbourhood Pattern Designer!

Howdy! I'm Alyson, and I designed the Reims Stocking pattern that you received with your shipment this month! I wanted to drop in and post a little greeting and talk a bit about my inspiration for the pattern...and maybe gush a little about Roxanne's yarn (like y'all don't know.)

I'd not worked with Zen Yarn Garden before Roxanne contacted me about a pattern. (How had I missed this glorious stuff? Heaven only knows...) Once I had the yarn in my hands and had squeezed and squished it half to death, I spent some time thinking about all the elements there were to play with. I knew I wanted something that would look good in both a semi-solid (my favourite yarn to work with) and a variegated, so that it would be equally complimentary to all of Zen Yarn Garden's wonderful yarns. I also knew I wanted something that would fit in with the arts and that was a little "zen". I started perusing some of my books and in one, I spotted a lace pattern, called Gazebo Lace, that had an element that reminded me very much of the flying buttresses and architectural elements of the great cathedrals of Europe. (And I couldn't help thinking that few things were more "zen" then centuries-old cathedrals!) I even recalled a photo I'd seen of Reims Cathedral in France - and I was set, with all my elements satisfied! I was really excited about playing with the pattern - the bobble cast on creates peaks reminiscent of the peaks and spires of Reims, and is a fun alternative to the standard ribbed cuff. The heel flap even evokes the tall, grand doorways of the European cathedral!

I was even more excited when I saw that Roxanne was inspired by colours in nature that really played up to the Reims pattern, with a look that could almost seem marbled and like stone, just like that same cathedral I'd used as the inspiration!

It's been a real joy designing this pattern and working with Zen Yarn Garden (which is definitely one of my new favourites - both yarn and person!) I really look forward to seeing what you create, and if I can ever be of any assistance whatsoever with pattern support, please feel free to contact me. My email is alysonknitsATgmailDOTcom, my blog is The YoYo Knits, and my Ravelry name is YoYoKnits. I'd love to hear from you!

Happy knitting!

Monday, October 22, 2007

October's Yarn Spoiler

I see a lot of you are receiving October's yarn so yay, I'm posting a spoiler. Do not click on the photo unless you want to see it larger! And as some of you have described the colour as "serene", I think I'll go with that description instead of "moody" guys say it so much better...thank you!

Are any of you going to use the surprise with your either of the colourways so far? I think I'm going to...I already have my skein in a cake waiting to be cast on when I'm ready! As an added bonus, we will have the sock pattern designer Alyson dropping by in the next day or so and writing a bit about the pattern and fun is that? If you have any questions at all for her, she will be available for pattern consultation too...yay!

Wow, November is coming quickly too and that'll be the 3rd of 3 shipments already! Time flies so quickly. I am planning on opening up the club again to begin for another 3-month membership in January of 2008. I hope you'll consider joining me again. More details will follow in November. In the meantime, looking forward to seeing all your creations!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October's Inspiration

Some of you may have received the yarn already if you're in Canada but most of you should get it toward the end of this week. I thought I'd show you the inspiration for this month's colourway in the meantime. I don't think I'm giving away the colours - you just never know what I chose from this picture...LOL Ahhhh, so tranquil and so peaceful this picture.

Where we live in Ontario we are lucky enough to be very close a large body of water and it's just so beautiful! Can't wait to see how everyone likes this "moody" colourway and the surprise! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

October's Colourway

Everyone ready for October's shipment? It's on its way on Monday!

Just a little background on the colourway this month - it's an interesting one...LOL I found my inspiration in nature and most of you will know what it is when you see the colourway name but let me elaborate a little here. Last month I did tonal variations in the yarn with different colours that work in harmony with each other - for this month, I wanted to try a different idea when it comes to semi-solids so I chose a colour from my inspiration in nature and did various shades/blends of that colour. It produced an interesting effect that's for sure. Last month's yarn was "cheerful" and this month's yarn is "moody" as a result of the blending throughout the skein. I don't know about you but I think colours can evoke emotion so that's why I use these terms. I hope you like it!

I've used a new base yarn again this month and I'd love to hear your feedback on it - it has a nice sproingy-ness to it too.

Have a great weekend everyone and see you next week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's almost time for shipment #2!

I can't believe how quickly the time flies but the yarns for October's shipment are being prepped and soon I'll be in the dye pot! I had a flash of inspiration for colour on the way across the border to Michigan just a week or two ago and said to DH - "that's definitely my colour for October's semi-solid club!"...he agreed it'd be cool too! Yay!

I also have a surprise in store for everyone with this shipment...I thought it wouldn't be until November but it's here early and well, yay! We'll have a guest on the blog to talk about it fun and stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Here are the finished cuffed socks from Favorite Socks modeled by my daughter and her dragon friend.

This was an easy knit. I modified the pattern to be toe up, used sz 1 Addis with magic loop.

Can't wait to see what the next shipment will bring!!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Keeping up (for now)

Well, I've managed to finish my first pair of club socks before the second installment shows up. As far as I'm concerned, that counts as "stash" progress in some convoluted knitterly way of thinking.

Anyhow, here they are:

The pattern was very easy and works well with this yarn. If you decide to knit this one yourself, my only recommendations would be that you might want to take some time to figure out how you're going to do the last three leg decreases before you get to them and you might want to reconsider the toe. This toe is one of those spiral things (I'm too lazy to look up what it's called), and I don't think that type of toe fits as nicely or looks as finished as the traditional toe that you find in most sock patterns. Just my two cents. . .

Can't wait to see what all of you are doing with your yarn. I'm also looking forward to the next installment of the club. Thanks, Roxanne, for making this first skein such a winner.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another WIP

I was in full-blown stash-reduction mode when I decided to join this sock yarn club. I generally resist clubs because I can be very picky when it comes to variegation; so I'm not thrilled about paying for it sight unseen. If it's too drastic and results in clashing pools and flashes, I don't want to wear it or knit it. I do, however, like tonal and slight variegation; so I figured this was the right club for me.

Part of the deal I made with myself, however, is that no club yarn would become part of the stash. It had to be the next project in the queue once the yarn had arrived. That being the case, I present to you "Conwy" from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road.

I am REALLY enjoying this knit. The pattern is easy and looks great with this yarn. The yarn itself is so soft and feels so nice that I can't put it down. I'd planned to put this project on a daily rotation with two other projects I'm working on, but that idea went out the window when I picked this sock up for the second day in a row. I suspect that I'll finish this first sock and then go back to my idea of a rotation with the second.

I'll post another picture once the sock is done. Until then, I look forward to seeing what everyone else is doing with their skeins.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I'm knitting a few rows of my Infusion sock here and there in between work on my more complicated project, but thought you might like to see it. The colors shown here are reasonably true. I'll be making the lacy cuff soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I just bought my first house and am having a hard time dealing with the seller and moving, but this just made it all better.

Now, if I can just get everything packed away and organized so I don't feel guilty for knitting when I should be studying, unpacking, or working...

yes the pictures are on top of moving boxes and taken with a cell phone camera ;) that's how i roll... until i can find my camera and a good picture taking spot!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Got my yarn!

I love the colorway, the yarn is so soft! I'm going to be looking through patterns to figure out the perfect one!

Already Knitting! :)

My Infusion arrived in Saturday's post. My goodness it's soft..and already has a slight, soft halo.

I'll refrain from talking about the color since so everyone can experience the surprise on their own. I'll just say that the color reminds me of well worn chambray or Nantucket reds.

I've decided to go pretty simple and have started a plain sock with easy lacy cuff from Interweave's Favorite Socks. I've modified the pattern to be toe up and I'm about half way up the foot of the first sock.

What can I say?..... I think they will be sweet and charming in their simplicity.


Yarn Arrived!!!

My yarn arrived in today's mail. I had to open the package at the post office. The ladies at the post office were petting it. They loved the color as well. And I already know what pattern I will be using for this yarn - Pembrokshire Pathways. Now to just finish up a few socks already on the needles before I start this pattern.

Friday, September 14, 2007

September Sneak Peek - INFUSION

Hello everyone...the yarns are ready to be shipped on Monday and I'm excited to get these out the door to everyone. Here's a little sneak peek of the yarn and hopefully it's distorted enough that you get some sense of the colour but not a complete sense of it...LOL

Looking forward to your response on this colourway - it's named INFUSION because it's a fusion of tonal colours that may be different individually but blended together, they work in harmony with each other. I can't wait to see what patterns everyone chooses too!

Next month I am already planning a different interpretation of what a semi-solid can be!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Favourite Yarn Weights Poll

I sure would love your feedback on your favourite yarn weights to use for socks! This will help me with deciding on what weight yarns to use for the coming 2 months of the club. The poll will close in one week on September 19, 2007. Thanks for participating and you can choose more than one yarn weight if you like!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Checking In...

Hope everyone's doing well! I am gearing up here for our first yarn of September 15th and I can't wait! I have a few surprises planned too but not until next month...I'm really excited about the surprise and I hope everyone likes it!

Welcome to all the new club members who have joined in the last little while too!

Yarns will ship from Canada on Monday, September 17 as we don't have mail service in Canada on Saturdays. You will receive a confirmation by email from Paypal. Usual mailing time to the USA is about 4-5 days depending on what coast you are on so yarns should hopefully start reaching their destinations by the end of the week.

Can't wait to hear your feedback on the yarn base too!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Semi-Solid Review & Free Pattern

Did you get your Knitter's Review newsletter this week? Clara Parkes reviews semi-solid yarns and even provides a fabulous free pattern for semi-solids! In her words:
Colorful hand-dyed yarns are fabulous to look at on the skein, but sometimes they can be a little tricky to knit. The more striking the color combinations, the more they tend to obscure any stitch patterning you wanted to use. Lace, ribbing, openwork, it all gets hidden behind the swirling flashes of color.
Oh yes, just what I was thinking too but of course Clara puts it in much better words than I do...LOL Make sure to check out the free pattern though - it's a fabulous one for showing off semi-solid colourways and the yarn I've found will also give that fabulous resulting knit the articles speaks of with it's twist and nylon content - a combo of strength and beauty - can't beat that!

Is September here yet? I can't wait to get started...LOL

Friday, August 17, 2007

September's Yarn Sample

Oh so yummy and I've chosen it already! It's a brand new yarn base for me and it's a fabulous fingering weight 3-ply 80% superwash merino with 20% nylon. It dyes up beautifully, has a fabulous twist and should have a nice hand to it too! A lot of intricate sock patterns call for fingering weight so I thought this perfect to start us off for semi-solids...

I include a wee sample of it which I dyed in complimentary colours and just in case you were wondering, NO, that's not the colours you'll be getting...LOL!

Have a nice weekend everyone!


As we add on more members (welcome!) the poll is down to one colour - GREEN! LOL I'm quite sure that everyone wasn't expecting a variation of green for 3 months so I think I'll close the poll and go with my original idea of a hybrid colour. It's quite clear that black/brown/yellow/orange are just not preferred so I won't be touching these colours or any variations of them as I hadn't really planned on them anyway.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback and I hope I can come up with something pleasing for everyone - stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's Talk About Colours

Now that people have started voting on the colours poll and there's 3 colours that currently aren't on the "chopping block", it got me to thinking...maybe the poll is a little too simplified.

For instance, when you say you don't like red - what does that mean? There are a lot of variations in red and to conclude that it's all ranges of the red family is a little too simplified for me to do - am I to assume you hate brick red and fire engine red the same? Some of the colours are "no-brainers" like black and brown - not too many variations in those two colours but for the other colours like yellow, orange, red, pink, burgundy - is it all ranges of these colours that people don't like? If we end up with 3 colours by the deadline that'll make it simple for me but I just wanted some feedback on your choices...can you elaborate for me in the comments?

To be honest, I was surprised to see some of the colours chosen - like red or burgundy or even pink - I thought those colours were well-liked...but maybe it's just certain versions of these colours you don't like.

Would love to hear from you!

Colours Poll

Please vote in the following poll to let me know what colours you absolutely don't want to see - if a colour is not listed, please choose "Other". If you are fine with all colours, please just leave a comment saying you are fine with any colour. I am hoping by gaging some feedback it will help us to avoid the biggest drawback of being in a sock club - receiving yarn you'd never use and absolutely don't like. This will help me to avoid those colours that people really don't want.

UPDATE 8/17/07: poll closed since we're down to only one colour already!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome New Members!

So pleased you are here! I am excited to be creating semi-solids for everyone! To give you a bit of background as to how the idea came to life - I had a contest on my regular blog and the winner chose a semi-solid colour which got me to thinking that it'd be fun to have a club to offer these types of yarns. Solids are great but the wee variation in colour of semi-solids just makes that little bit of difference that can make a pattern sing. I hope you'll join in and have some fun and first thing I'll be asking everyone is what colours they absolutely hate so I don't end up sending out colours that nobody wants.

Again, welcome and thanks for joining - you can find a club button in the sidebar to save and upload to your blogs!

3-Month Memberships

Are now available through Etsy and through Hope you'll join us - I'm looking forward to creating semi-solid colourways for everyone!


We are about to launch our new sock yarn club offering semi-solid colourways for those wonderfully intricate sock patterns that beg for a colourway that's not too busy and has just enough colour variation to work harmoniously with the pattern stitches to make them pop!
More details will be available at - stay tuned!