Knitting Confessions: I’m Scared of Socks

My name is Nadya and I think I have a sock phobia.

I’ve generally played it safe with my projects – scarves, hats, mittens, and the occasional sweater.  I stick to the usual yarns like Cascade and Malabrigo without venturing too far out into the great unknown of Art Yarns or Frog Tree (exotic, I know). My knitting is manageable and mild-mannered.  And I’ve never every tried socks or any pattern using needles smaller than size 4.

It’s too delicate, I tell myself, I’ll never be able to manage it.  It’s too intricate, I think, I wouldn’t be able to keep the pattern straight.  I’ve breezed right through gorgeous sock patterns on Ravelry in the same way vegetarians skip over the burger section of the menu.  But now I figure if I don’t try the hard stuff, what’s the point of this expensive, time-consuming hobby?  Maybe it’s just me growing up.

As a college student, maturity is often thrust upon me – I do all my own laundry now.  I mean, I can even cook myself pasta without burning anything.  I’m beginning to view the world as something I will soon be a part of, and jobs as a necessary, and even exciting, prospect.  University has meant that the last three years saw me grow up and take on adulthood.  Despite all of that, and despite being able to argue with my professors over world issues that baffle the best, I have refused to knit socks.  It seems a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Therefore, to see me through the new year and my new signs of waning adolescence, I have decided it’s high-time to tackle a part of socks.  I’ll start with an easy pattern.  No need to be overly ambitious at the beginning.  I’ve started saving some interesting sock patterns with the idea in mind that I will actually do them one day.  No more great sock experiences will be forgone in the same way as all those mouth-watering gastronomical experiences being vegetarian has denied me.

I’m taking hold of the knitting needles of fierceness this year and I’m gonna make myself a pair of warm, pretty socks.  I’ll do it even if it takes months.

So, if knitting socks is a sign of maturity, what’s lace?

Add comment March 27th, 2012

Local Dyer to Die For – Schafenfreude Fibers.

Sudha, Melissa and I have been on the lookout for local dyer ever since the wonderful Baywood Yarns got busier with her day job and stopped dyeing those beautiful yarns for us. Meanwhile, we found many dyers: Baah! yarns, Anzula, Dream in Color, Madelinetosh but none of them was local to us. We kept looking…

About a month ago we started looking seriously at Schafenfreude Fibers and met up with Diane Palme. We petted the yarn and looked at colors and drove up to her dyeing studio. And finally settled on her Luster Sock base as our first line from her. This is a 100% Superwash Blue Faced Leicester(BFL) wool in a 438 yards (100 g) skein. If you’re just discovering that there are other wool fibers beside merino and cashmere, Blue Faced Leicester is a longer stapled wool (the individual fibers are longer) which is fine enough for next-to-skin wear. It is extremely popular for fine to medium yarns for anything from lace to socks to light sweaters, and insulates and wears well enough for outerwear too.

We placed our order and she gave us a sample skein which I knit up quickly. I couldn’t bear for anyone else to knit up the beautiful orange color. I had seen a sample of Swallowtail at Diane’s studio and wanted to do something lacy. Since the store already had a sample of Swallowtail, I decided to go for something that had been in my queue for a while – Holden by Mindy Wilkes. The pattern is super-simple and addictive. It took me less than a week to make this. Diane’s gorgeous yarn was wonderful to knit with and when I blocked this shawl the results were incredible. The yarn holds form extremely well and the color is simply stunning on anyone who wears it.

Come see Schafenfreude’s colors at the store or online and watch this collection as we grow with this wonderful local dyer!

- Saloni


Add comment March 26th, 2012

Knitting Summer Flies

Donna Griffin’s Pattern Summer Flies is simply one of the best written patterns. I am not crazy fond of lace shawls but we needed a sample for the store in Classic Elite’s Alpaca Sox and I grabbed the yellow color because it was bright (brighter samples seem to do better than the neutrals).

And then I started to knit and couldn’t stop. I started this pattern and was done before you know it. So here are pictures of the one I made:

Then I noticed that people gave me compliments when I wore it (which was often – it was wonderfully soft in this yarn). I thought it was the color and then someone asked me if the pattern was “easy.” For those of you who know my mom Sudha – everything is easy for her and it really is because she has forgotten more about knitting than I know. I do not hand out the designation quite so easily(!) – I would say this is a beginner lace pattern – BEGINNER – LACE. And there is something deeply satisfying about marking off each row as you knit the pattern. She has written down EVERY row.

Then I noticed that other people wanted to knit the very same pattern. As it happens a group came to our store today and they were all working on their versions of Summer Flies. I started an album on our Facebook page for the different versions of this shawl. Send me your pictures if you want me to add them info AT ninerubies DOT com.

And there are other yarns you could try on this shawl. Ravelry tells us some of the popular yarns are:

Madelinetosh Pashmina: I think it would be lovely in Pashmina
Malabrigo Silky Merino: The shine of this silk/wool blend would be gorgeous.
Cascade Ultra Pima: For those of you who don’t like animal fibers
Dream in Color Smooshy Cashmere: Oooh, yes!
Blue Heron Rayon Metallic: I have not seen one in this and the pictures do not do the sparkle justice but I can imagine the shawl will be gorgeous.

Go on to Ravelry to see more versions of this shawl – 3351 people have projects in this shawl on Ravelry. Just to give you an idea how many people are going crazy for this pattern.

Add comment March 14th, 2012

Knitting Fads: Cowls


Tuesday Night Cowl by Susan Lawrence

If you’ve been on Ravelry at all in the past three months, you’ve seen a whole bunch of new and old cowl patterns filling up the Hot Right Now box.  Every day in the store we get requests for yarn to make the Madelinetosh Honey Cowl or for new circular scarf patterns.  It’s always interesting when a certain pattern or type of pattern takes off like this.  And to be honest, cowls are kinda funky looking –  they are giant, knit circles, or, in the case of the mobius cowl, giant mobius strips.  What is it, exactly, that makes this bizarre piece of clothing so popular?

Personally, I have a lot of issues with scarves – they don’t stay up, they get tied too tightly, the make the front of my sweater uncomfortably bulky, etc.  Scarves have been the cause of many a street scene and public display of frustration.  They’re also monotonous to make and I lose patience with them quickly.  I do not like straight scarves, and they don’t like me.

So with the dawning of the Age of Cowl, all my scarf issues were put to rest.  Cowls and circular scarves are easy and neat and not difficult to manage.  They are just slipped on, over a jacket, or looped twice around the neck, and that’s it.  They’re warm and simple and they don’t get in your way.  As an added bonus: they’re actually chic.

From a design perspective, cowls leave a lot of room for unique style elements; any knitter with a little experience (or close to none) can spin the basic cowl in a number of ways.  Make it all moss stitch, or drop stitches, or add a mobius, or or or do anything you want!  Once you start designing cowls, it’s hard to stop.



Add comment March 8th, 2012

Malabrigo Finito

Malabrigo does it again! Not only do they dye the most beautiful colors but they choose gorgeous fibers as well. This time they have chosen an ultrafine merino fiber for Malabrigo Finito in a light fingering weight. The yarn is so soft that it does fell like cashmere when knitting and when knitted up. To see the colors, pricing etc and to pre-order this go to the Malabrigo Finito page on Nine Rubies Knitting. We are expecting this yarn to arrive on March 14th/15th 2012 in our store. The yarn is probably only going to come out once a year and when supplies are gone, it will have to wait until next year.

Meanwhile, we do have a sample skein at the store – thank you Tobias! I started playing with it and was thinking of samples to make with this. Let’s see it’s a light fingering yarn and has 220 yards to the skein. Single Skein projects that seem like they would do well in this yarn:

Red Skies at Night



A Very Good Cowl Indeed

I particularly like the idea of a cowl as the yarn is soo soft, it will be very nice against the soft skin of the neck.

For 2 skein projects, so far I like:

Falling Water

I Want You

So, tell me what you would like to make in this yarn! I know what we are going to make with this yarn for the store sample.


Add comment March 7th, 2012

Interweave Knits 2012

Here are a few of my favorite things from the new Interweave Knits Spring 2012.

We’re seeing quite a few patterns for short sweaters that are either sleeveless or with short sleeves.

The first one in this issue is the Reticulated Pullover.

We love the fact that it is in Cascade Eco Wool which is an extremely affordable yarn. The smaller sizes just need 2 skeins because of the huge yardage in skein of this yarn.

The look is fresh and we love the diagonal lines on the side that make it very flattering to wear. A similar sweater in this range the Peony sweater from Cecily Glowik MacDonald.

This can be done in any fingering weight yarn – originally it has been done in Baah! Yarns La Jolla. The color range is gorgeous and highly saturated. Some of the colors are limited editions and cannot be found easily again. So take advantage while they are still here.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on spring projects right away.

Add comment February 29th, 2012

Knitting Through the Doubt

I promise it happens to all of us.  Halfway through a difficult project, or when you’ve hit a point of boredom with a scarf, it’s easy to fall into the knitter’s trap – doubt.  Think of it like the runner’s wall, it’s just that moment when it seems impossible and interminable.

Sometimes it’s hard to trust the pattern, especially when it doesn’t look like your shawl is shaping quite right. To help with all this, Nine Rubies has an Easy Lace Knitting class coming up in May taught by Paula Dennis. So sign up and get rid of that doubt – think of it as Knitting Team in Training.

Add comment February 28th, 2012

Introductory Weaving Samples

Somewhere along the way, I realized that we did not have easily accessible pictures of the samples for our Introductory Weaving class. The idea of the Introductory class is to get a taste for weaving – this is aimed primarily at knitters and crocheters who are used to knitting yarns. The first sample that we created for this class was a simple woven scarf in Plymouth Grande Glow – Baby Alpaca. This yarn has a subtle sparkle to it and is in solid colors. The resulting scarf is soft:

Worn by the model in our store:

Our second sample for this class was created when people attending this class asked for a non-animal fiber in their yarn. The yarn we used for this was a 100% cotton tape called Lang Sol Degrade.

This yarn has a slow color change and every scarf made in it is different and comes out astonishingly beautiful. It has become the more popular sample for our introductory class.

Check out the lovely fringe on this scarf. This is taught in the first class and is created using a nifty little device called the Fringe Twister.

Interested in this fun class? The details are all on our website. If you have more questions, give us a call at the store at 650-685-6205.

Add comment February 14th, 2012

Best Christmas Patterns (So Far)

Snowflakes and reindeers and Douglas firs and ugly sweaters and holiday cards sent from halfway around the world – it’s Christmas time again!  You know the drill: these are some of the store favorites for Christmas celebrations.


Christmas Bauble by Greedy for Colour

This pattern has blown-up on the internet!  It’s like every craft blog worth its salt has featured this tutorial at some point and some have even posted some creative variations.  Greedy for Colour’s knit ornaments look sweet, easy, and perfect for your leftover yarn stash.

Paperclip Ice Skate Ornament by Suzie’s Stuff

We at Nine Rubies think these ornaments are super creative.  They look pretty simple to make, and the paperclip blade makes them unique.

Yarn Basket Ornament by Red Heart

Red Heart hit the nail on the head with this ornament pattern – it’s perfect to give to your fellow crafters or to the friends who tease you for your yarn obsession.

If you have some blah glass or metal ornaments laying around, try dressing them up with some ornament cozies:

Ornament Cozy by Knit Darling


These stocking patterns are pretty classic.  Who knows, they could end up being family heirlooms after this Christmas.

Paige’s Christmas Stocking by Jennifer Hoel

Tis the Season Stocking by Pennies per Hour of Pleasure

Christmas Tree Christmas Stocking by Lion Brand Yarn

(psst, this one is crochet!)

Bunting and Garlands

A key part of the holiday season is tacky decorations, not that these garlands are tacky!  Actually, they’re pretty cute and I could be convinced to leave them up all year (or at least all winter).

Snowflake Garland by One Sheepish Girl

Smitten by Emily Ivey

Advent Garland by Frankie Brown

The last one is the best Christmas garland I’ve found yet!  How cute is this?  You could even use all the separate parts for Christmas ornaments.

Gift Wrappings

Embroidered Gift Tags by Craftyminx

Yarn has so much potential, especially with gift wrapping.  Embellish your presents with crochet flowers, novelty yarn ties, and sweet handmade gift tags.  The possibilities are endless.

Add comment December 17th, 2011

The Holiday Grab-Bag

I love Christmas.  I love the cheesy music and the sugar cookies.  I love making ornaments and hanging them on my family’s plastic “vegetarian” Christmas tree.  I love the horrible matching sweaters and the reindeer socks I can buy at Target for a dollar.  What I don’t love is scrambling for gifts.

It usually happens, at least once a holiday season, that there is some friend I forgot to go shopping for.  They’re usually family friends, that girl who dog-sitted for us once, or the son of my mother’s aunt’s nephew.  Either way, they’re on their way over and I don’t have any sort of holiday present for them.  Enter Nadya’s Fantastic and Wonderful Grab- Bag of Knitted Goodies.

This isn’t an original idea, I know, but it’s still super handy for December; basically, I use up my yarn stash by making chunky knit scarves, fingerless mittens, and unisex hats that I can then give to whoever visits during the holidays.  This way I get my yarn box nice and empty for the new year, I keep myself busy with short two hour projects (which is all I have the attention span for during Christmas break), and I’m ready and prepared for the unplanned houseguests.

You’re probably saying “But wait! Gifts like that can’t nearly be personal enough!”  And you’re right.  But remember the basic tenet of elementary school: everyone loves a handmade gift.  It works even better if your handmade gifts are warm, usable, well-made, and not a macaroni necklace. The holiday season is a trying and hectic time full of last-minute shopping trips and little kids underfoot.  Make your own grab-bag  and let things get a little easier.

Here are the ones I’m doing right now:


Chunky Circle Scarf by People Webs

This scarf is easy to crochet and turns out pretty cute.  I like it because it uses up a whole bunch of yarn – either you can double up some worsted weight or you can use chunky yarn.  Either way, expect to be down a few skeins in no time at all!

Scarf of Many Colors by Sand and Sky

This scarf was made for your stash!  You can use up all the little leftovers from your other projects to make this gorgeous mix of color.  Also, the stitches are super simple – this scarf is a relatively mindless project.

Luxe Cowl by Nutty Irishman Knits

Can you tell I have a thing for cowls?  This one is also great to use up the odds-and-ends of your yarn stash.  If the color flurry is unappealing, it’s equally gorgeous in single color worsted weight.  This simple design means it will be appealing to most, so you can’t go wrong!

Annie by Jane Richmond

If you want something a little harder, try Annie by Jane Richmond.  It’s done on smaller needles than the rest and the texture is so pretty.  Another mindless scarf project, but the results are super chic!

Honeycomb Cowl by Courtney Spainhower

I really like the texture on this one.  Use self-striping or basic colors to make something pretty and cozy.


Emerald Green Handwarmers by Creative Yarn

These are the easiest things in the world to make!  They’re each knit as a rectangle and then sewn up the sides with a hole left for the thumb.  You could even supplement the moss and double moss stitches with your favorite stitch.

Camp Out Fingerless Mitts by Tante Ehm

These are so cozy.  I especially like the coloring effects the designer used.  Worsted weight should work just as well if you don’t have any Noro laying around.

Mock Cable Fingerless Mittens by Naomi Adams

Mock cables are faster than actual cables and the effect is neat.  I like these because they work well as a small gift or stocking stuffer.


Rikke Hat by Sarah Young

This hat looks so European and comfy, I’ve even made one for myself.  DK weight and relatively small needles, the Rikke Hat is more delicate looking than some of the other patterns listed here.

Twistin’ the Night Away by Susan Menashe

You probably know some teenage girls who would flip for this turban-like headband.  Susan Menashe’s pattern takes not time at all and uses up your chunky yarn to boot.


What are your favorite quick knits?

Add comment December 16th, 2011

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