The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The old year passes (soon anyway)

I've changed the pattern for the Candies colourway in the Curious Yarns sock yarn, I didn't dislike it in plain stocking stitch, but I wasn't totally happy with it, so I've switched to this, two rows knit followed by 2 rows K2 P2, I'm surprising jazzed by how it's turning out, so much so I've done th eleg already! I'm knitting the basic Opal pattern but with 72 stitches not 60 and making them as ankle socks, using 2.5mm DPN's. The only sock yarn I have at present that I don't knit on 2.5mm's is the natural Yarn Studio's merino that I knit on 3mm DPN's and use the original 60 stitch cast on from the Opal pattern. Bear in mind I have size 7 (UK) feet and they are very wide and I have a tendency to get swollen ankles when I can't get to the gymn and sit at my desk all day so I like my socks ankle height and with plenty of give in them! Thanks Sue and Lixie for the suggestion of splitting the pink grapefruit Fyberspates into 2 balls and knitting alternately - I suspect I may be driven to that but am still hoping for inspiration to avoid it! I'm playing with the idea of cabling the leg of the sock, although as I only do 30 row legs it may well not be worth it.
I've gone back through my anally retentive Excel spreadsheet of knitting things and worked out what I made this year since I started knitting again in about March/April, the last day of the old year seems like a good time to post this :-.
Achievements for 2005
1) 6 simple fringed shawls - although I've decided that one of them is too short and I intend undoing the cast off edge and knitting some more.
2) 7 baby cardigans and sweaters and a baby hat
3) 1 toddlers cardigan
4) 1 adult cardigan and one large adult sweater
5) 19 scarves including 2 lasagne scarves with the infamously long rows
6) 1 pink bag
7) 3 pairs of merino socks
Total 40 items as I count a pair of socks as one thing

I know that Jean tracks how much stash she has, how much she's used and how much added in a year, I just daren't do that, nor do I have the time to do the initial cataloguing and weighing, but I do plan on keeping a running total for this year to see how much I use and how much additional yarn I end up with!. I'm saving bags of sock wool where I have leftovers so that ultimately I'll have stripey socks in the different types of yarn, that makes it rather harder to decide how much yarn I have left! I think I nearly have enough of the Yarn Studio merino leftovers to make the first stripey pair, certainly I should have once I finish the sugar plum pair. Although I may wait until I've knitted up all the different colourways that I currently have, then decide what colours go together best. Then I'll need to knit both socks at the same time to make them identical twins, I don't do 'toe up' socks yet, this maybe an opportunity to learn how. I don't want to switch from dpn's, as I enjoy knitting with them, I always move a stitch or 2 from one needle to the next so I don't get ladders and haven't had any other problems. I do dislike my addi dpn's though, I have a 3mm set that are so blunt ended they make me cross - has no one ever told them that knitting needles have points??

I don't do the staying up til the New Year bit, in fact I go to bed really early in hopes of not being woken by fireworks at midnight, so, allow me to wish any one reading this a peaceful and content 2006 - my knitting resolutions are still being developed and may get posted tomorrow!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

When good yarn goes bad

We begin with Opal, no problem here except I can't be bothered to wind through the yarn to find the repeat so I have a totally non identical twin sock growing here - I can live with that, and I'd rather it be totally different than nearly the same!

This I love, nothing clever, it's heather twist colorway of some Australian sock yarn, it's not as soft as the merino but still nice, splits a bit but nothing outrageous and was much cheaper.

This is my latest Natural Dye Studio merino sock, the colourway is sugar plum and is gorgeous, knits up quickly and evenly, makes comfortable warm socks and the colours blend in and out of each other in a really nice way as far as I'm concerned. I've done almost a sock in 2 days this week including going to work, it really is speedy.

Here you see my problem, this is Fyberspates in pink grapefruit and look what it's gone and done, one half pink, nothing but pink and one half pink and yellow stripes that in these pics look brownish on my monitor, I can't change the number of stitches or it won't fit and even when I switched to the heel flap it hasn't improved.

I am not happy as it will have to be frogged at least to the cuff if not in it's entirety. Would adding a simple stitch pattern ior even a cable down each side change teh yarn consumption enough to move the colours or am I doomed to find a totally new sock pattern?

Back to happier yarn, on the right is a variegated skein of Opal, that I picked up on eBay, it seem sto be all the colours of the rainbow that are scatterring randomnly and happily. On the left is the beginning of my first bi coloured sock using Curious Yarn's candies colourway, I've done the cuff in the plain colour and now switched to the much more variegated colour - I'm liking this a lot!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Minor signs of optimism

With good timing these paperwhite narcissi have flowered over Christmas, I bought 2 Amaryllis bulbs at the same time but they don't seem to want to know, so I'm making the most of these.

I'm still sock knitting with 3 or 4 at different stages depending on my mood and whether or not I'm capable of counting rows!

I'm back in work today and Thursday then off on Friday although that is subject to change as it looks as if my other half will be sat in a snowdrift instead of spending time here. I'm pretty much resigned to Christmas having been a total bust this year and have abandoned it. The tree got put away without ever having been decorated, the cards I received never got displayed and I seem to have come perilously close to doing a 'Bah Humbug' response to the festivities. It all comes of being ill for a large part of December, I never really got in the mood for Christmas at all. Still, hopefully I've got the sickness out of the way and will start the new year in a better frame of mind! I'm certainly going to start with lots of UFO's to complete and a zillion socks to knit. I'll photograph the bowl of part knitted socks tonight - it looks very pretty if a little disorganised!

Monday, December 26, 2005

So, that was Christmas

This was Christmas at my mum's, my brother collected me and drove me there and back, I don't drive so it was that or I stayed at home. It was the first time I'd been out in nearly a week and it totally exhausetd me! Mum always collects a huge Christmas stocking of small gifts for me as you can see from the pile in this picture, she spoils me dreadfully on the basis that I'm her 'baby' The left hand pile is mine, the right hand one my brother's. We opened gifts, ate lunch then I fell asleep and then came home - if my Christmas's get much quieter I may as well not be there at all!

I have my Mum's permission to post this picture - one of my sister's has obviously decided that mum needs a yarn stash of her own and here is a contribution to it! Mum knits for charity mostly, jumpers and blankets mostly and seems to always end up knitting with left overs, now she has some nice yarn to knit with.

Sock yarn tastefully arranged in a bowl, all except the jade/turquoise is from the Natural Dye Studio, the jade is Fyberspates from Get Knitted. I've doen nothing but knit bit sof sock for the last few days, I'm not in the mood for anything complicated or large so socks are ideal and I have so much sock yarn I really do need to knit up some more of it.

And this is my favourite yarn so far, the Wild Foxglove from Fyberspates, I adored the colour and feel of this yarn and want LOTS more! I even feel the urge to cast on the second sock immediately rather than indulging in procrastination!

I hope you all had a good time this holiday season however you chose to spend it

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How much sock yarn do I need?

Now, I know that is a silly question, it's like asking questions about 'too much chocolate', but as it takes me about a week to knit a sock as I never just knit a pair of socks, I always have something else (or several something elses) on the go, at a conservative estimate I have enough sock yarn to keep knitting socks for the next 2 years at least. This did not stop me when someone mentioned that Get Knitted had some Fyberspates sock yarn reduced.

I might not have gone for it, but I had just started knitting this, a sock in Fyberspates Wild Foxglove, I'm loving it - the feel and the colour is gorgeous and almost taking my mind off my cough! I did show restraint, merely bought enough yarn in 2 colourways for 2 pairs of socks!
(only half of this purchase is on display - I don't want it to look as if I'm setting up a sock yarn mountain)

This restraint would have been more admirable had this not also arrived from Curious Yarns together with some truly gorgeous stitchmarkers.

The large flowery ones look heavy but are really light and beautiful. It's well worth clicking on this picture to see it bigger!

Also, these purchases on eBay! 2 sorts of Opal, one is Dream catcher and the other Prismas, the single colour is Patons Kroy, then there is Regia Marrakech and a ball of Sockini Colori!

Daisy, you asked about the wool I made the red/blue socks in, it's from The Natural Dye Studio I must be spending too much money there - they sent me a Christmas card! if you look back in the blog you'll see I've used the same supplier for the apple blue socks and the blue forest socks. This is what I had left from each 100g. I should point out I have wide UK size 7 feet with ankles that tend to swell so I made these socks using 3mm DPN's, used the Opal sock pattern, casting on 60 stitches but shortening the leg to 25 rows to make ankle socks. I plan stripe socks or mittens with the reside at some point, I keep a separate bag for left overs depending on the sock yarn type. The wool is pure merino and has washed beautifully in Woollite. I call these my comfort socks - mostly worn around the flat in the evenings and at weekends instead of slippers.

The yarns all arrived this week, part of my self determined cure for the common cold, which is not going away, I'm feeling pretty rubbish, washing 2 pairs of socks left me exhausted and coughing and it now looks highly unlikely that I will do anything this Christmas except spend it at home feeling sorry for myself as I don't feel up to travelling even as far as my mum's - she has promised to send me Christmas dinner on a plate!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sniff, cough!

You have to know I'm sick when I spend 2 days not even knitting, the cold I had or a relative of it has attacked again with a vengeance this week, I'm runing a temperature, have developed a profooundly sea lion like cough and a vocal range that would do credit to Old Man River. My motehr broterh and sister have all told me I'd be an idiot to try and get back into work this week and I am very tempted to belive them, although I am improved enough today that I finished the second sock of this pair.

I'm proud to say that is 3 complete pairs of socks made this year, teh brown/blue/cream Opal second sock is still meandering along, I'm onto the foot now and do a row every couple of days whiel I decide who it will fit.

The pink sugared almond Opal sock fits me although possibly still short in the foot but I will make its mate a few rows longer before deciding if I'll frog the toe back and add to the length.

I wil definitely have to satrt my brother's gloves from scratch so they won't be doen by Christmas Day and the shrug won't be finished but I finished all my other Christmas knitting, now all I haev to do is clean the flat, decorate the tree and write the Christmas cards for my neighbours, luckily I did all the ones for people at work last week.

Now to see what groceries Sainsburys decide to deliver to me, it's always a bit of a lottery at Christmas, but I'm definitely not fit to brave the supermarket. And I was highly amused to see what my Christmas elf name is meant to be - considering how much sock yarn I now own.

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas is coming if you're ready or not!

Firstly, anyone who wants to know where I got the mugs from can find them here, the supplier was incredibly quick, they arrived really well bubble wrapped and I think are good quality, stoneware.
Secondly, the Christmas knitting, I finished the scarf fro my friend's mum and have decided that tomorrow I'll see if I can refind the glove pattern and print it off, if not I'll have to start again as I've mislaid the page with the fingers on (not that it was a huge amount of help but it was at least a starting point!. I've started wrapping up what I have ready and it looks pretty respectable so I'm resigned to doing what I can and then wrapping the progress so far and handing it over! Thanks for the words of encouragement Daisy!

I had high hopes of decorating my Christmas tree and carrying on with clearing up the flat, but this latest incarnation of the cold has got into my ears with the result that anytime I move or stand up I become dizzy, this is not good, I have also developed a cough like a sea lion. This does mean that I have had to sit and do what I think of as mindless knitting, I finished the potato chip scarf although it was rathger tedious and too short, I added tassels but don't feel 100% happy with it, I'll find a small child to give it too then it won't be too short!

I also finished this, this is an Opal sock in the pink sugared almond colourway, the pattern supplied with Opal which I am following religiously for the first pair (which is why I haven't finished the second one even nowbecause it doesn't fit me) I've altered it to fit me properly with this sock and it's almost right, possibly a wee bit short in the foot so I'm trying to decide whether or not to frog it back to the toe shaping and do a few more rows, it really is only a matter of maybe 4 or 5 rounds if that so I may not, I'll think about it while I work on the second red/blue merino sock, I love the yarn I've been using for these, it also comes from an eBayer here, I knit it on 3mm needles for comfy socks for wearing around the flat, although I can wear them in trainers too.
Now to prove I'm really organised I have a grocery delivery booked for Wednesday evening and must go and amend it for what I want - I placed the order the day they released this weeks slots to make sure I got one!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas approaches!

In case you needed reminding! I still have a pair of gloves and a shrug to finish and it's looking less and less likely as I'm all clogged up with another cold and occupying myself with this - a 'potato chip scarf' Fun but somewhat pointless, I'm just casting it off, it's made from a skein of Touch yarn mohair boucle, I have another skein in a different colourway which I may make up to the same pattern if I like the end result.

These are two irresistable mugs, one for a friend who is having trouble with her boss over sick leave and the other for me. I found them on eBay this week and couldn't resist them.

And this is my Christmas present to myself, 8 purple stitchmarkers, 2 skeins of Fyberspates sock yarn, pink grapefruit and lavender stone, a skein of a hand painted yarn and 2 skeins of Koigu, I've heard so much about this especially on Jean's blog that I have to try it!

The flat is getting more ready for Christmas, the tree is up but undecorated and I have found the presents (I think), the wrapping paper, the scissors and the sticky tape, now all I have to do is combine it all together!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Did someone mention Christmas?

I met my friend yesterday, her baby was most well behaved, not a squeek out of her, I'm not heavily into babys although I don't mind knitting for them and I will make her something in the new year as I was clearly never going to achieve anythong more than the outsize hat before Christmas!

I've made zero progress on the shrug and the gloves, although I have now worked out how to cope with the odd numbers of stitches on the glove, my second red/blue sock is at the heel flap pstage and the pink Opal sugared almond sock is almost to the toe shaping, I'm not liking the Opal sock, I've enlarged the pattern so that it fits me but now I suspect I've enlarged it too far.

This weekend knitting will definitely have to take a back seat while I make room for the Christmas tree and get it decorated, sort out and wrap all the gifts I have so far and panic over anyone I may have forgotten. I've nearly finished writing/posting all the Christmas cards except for my neighbours so I'm close to ready for Christmas I suppose, but not feeling an iota of Christmas spirit!.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Well - it's a hat

Although it's turned out more like a beret, doesn't have a bobble yet and is so stretchy it fits my neighbour's 5 year old grand daughter when it is meant for a 6-12 month old baby! I'm persisting with the pom pom but I'm seriously concerned that it'll cover the poor baby down to it's neck! I may just give up and arrive giftless, but I hate doing that.

I walked awy from it and did more of a sock, my therapy when the current knitting goes bad. I'm on my way to haveing 3 pairs of merino socks for myself as I'ev started the second sock of teh thits pair now, and I'm reknitting the cosmic scarf that had dropped stitches in that I couldn't pick up, 1 ball reknitted, 2 to go. Back to work tomorrow so that will mean sock knitting on the bus and returning to the problematic gloves the rest of the time. I'm decided, I'll have to alternate which side of the palm that I pick up the odd stitch from, I'll just have to hope that works!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hats and gloves

Firstly the glove - is not progressing due to the pattern saying 'to increaase the size add stitches in multiples of 4 and add one stitch to each finger' which was fine - I added 4 stitches, then the pattern saying 'pick up equal numbers of stitches from each side of the palm for the finger' Well hello there - I just added one stitch to each finger and now have an odd number to pick up equally from each side - how do you suggest I do that? I frogged the first finger and am now in contemplation mode.

In the mean time a friend who had a baby this summer rang and aranged a lunch time meeting on Tuesday, I hadn't planned on gifts for them this year as we've hardly been in contact so now I'm frantically knitting a hat for the baby as a good will gesture, this means the shrug has progressed no further though the hat is almost to the decreases, then I may have time for boottees and mitts to match but I somehow doubt it.

My addiction to sock wool continues, the purple colour here is Australian sock wool and the other more of the merino that I love - being as I'm a good girl it's still in it's skeins while I wrestle with hats and gloves - and Goddess help me - a pom pom to go on the top!

In other news, I cleared a sack of rubbish out of the office (spare bedroom) and hung a Christmas wreath in my living room window - at this rate that will be all I do for Christmas this year!. I do have another wreath and a tree and stuff, but not much time left to clear up and put them up so I may go for minimalist Christmas this year! My neighbour's 5 year old grand daughter was in floods of tears as she panicked about dressing up for everyone to see her in her school play then more tears when she decided none of her family would be there to take pictures - the joys of childhood!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I'm off work nursing a nasty cold and cough with a head that feels as if it contains nothing but cotton wool, in the brief periods of being awake I finished this, it's smaller than the ones I've made for gifts and intended for keeping warm rather than glamour!
For some reason this picture has come out blurry - I really must find (and read) the manual for it. I've had the camera 12 months now so I suppose it is just about time I learnt how it works. I don't feel comfortable just pressing random buttons to see what happens!

The only other thing I've achieved is this, I started the thumb gusset on the first glove then decided my head wasn't ready to deal with anything complicated which is why the shawl got finished - I've made so many I really can't mess up and knotting fringe is mindless work anyway.

I'm off to put myself back to bed with a nice hot whisky and lemon in hopes that tomorrow my brain may function if not my lungs!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Acting like a grown up

Despite the fact that I have a new computer game to play on I've been acting like a grown up! I started this, the world's dullest colour of glove for my brother - and yes, I know it looks like a sock at present, but I promise you it isn't!
I did finish another eylash yarn scarf yesterday and sewed the ends in on two of them, I don't see much point in taking a picture of another lilac and blue scarf for you to see when you've already seen one liek it. Eventually there will be one more if I don't set fire to the remains of it out of boredom. I also didn't take a picture or teh second red china sock, it is cast on and ready for knitting on the bus and my purple fluffy shawl is growing, I've started fringing it as I go along which always gives me a lift and means I don't have it all to do at the end. I'm plannning on keeping it in the office for the freezing cold mornings that precede the boiling hot afternoons in winter.

Here's the other sock that is currently making progress, this is my attempt at adapting the Opal sock pattern to fit my wide feet and big ankles, at teh moment I have a bad feeling it may be coming out too loose, but as it's only an ankle sock it isn't the end of the world. I want to get the pattern right before I knit up my Opal tiger yarn, pink isn't my favourite colour which is why this one is being used for experimenting with.

In the non knitting news I've been busy making soup to freeze now that I have an almost empty freezer!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Progress and possible hiatus!

Here's a good reason for a possible hiatus in the knitting, my treat to myself at the end of a pretty rubbish week, it ended up with my neighbour going to stay with her daughter because she was feeling poorly, my Mum not coming over because she was waiting for a parcel, the Post Office sticking a 'sorry you were out' card through my door when I've been in (and awake) all day, what can I say? It's winter and the world is definitely out to get me!

I have registered my dispute with Paypal over an ebay seller who doesn't supply goods and ignores all communication, we'll see how effective that is! it was only for about £12 but still annoying, but the first problem I've ever had. I've never had a seller just ignore every comunication.
Here we see another completed sock, this is called red china by the dyer, and is another merino sock, in my pair of socks for every day of the week crusade! I'm going to cast on it's mate in an effort to avoid second sock syndrome although i do have a pair of glove sthat must get cast on again soon, they first glove was cast on once today but then I messed it up and frogged it. Slate grey/blue is not my idea of a fun colour - but he wouldn't touch anything girly with a long stick! I don't think I'd risk brighter than dark burgundy and even that would be a gamble.

I'm in the process of inventing a woolly hat, I'm not sure if this going to work out - it doesn't show in this picture but the middle is very nearly producing a nipple effect on the top of it, I don't have a pattern for this yarn, a single ply hand spun that I got from somewhere or other, variegated shades of vivid pink. It's all an eexperiment and will probably block out OK, I can't follow hat patterns because of the amount of hair i have to fit inside a hat! It has of course got much warmer here now I've begun a winter hat!

This is laceweight, 50% silk/45% cashmere and 5% microfibre, it's pinker than this picture looks, and I have 1800 yards of it, it's soft and silky and is the sort of yarn that you just have to stroke! I'm not sure what it will become yet but I love it!

Now, I'm off to install Civ 4 on my PC and pray that it runs OK although I realise I should knit instead, normal knitting service will be resumed later (possibly much later although I will try and do some this weekend)