The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Planned versus achieved

So, for January into the rotation went the following:-
1) red shrug - about 10 rows got done
2) gloves for big brother - no progress at all
3) lilac clapotis - finished, and I've an offer from an expert to overdye it
4) pink funky fur baby jacket with hood - not touched
5) Socks in general, the following in particular,
Fyberspates wild foxglove - done
merino in sugar plum - done
Opal pink sugared almond - done
Opal limited edition variegated in all the colours of the rainbow - not finished but I'm on the foot of sock
Australian sock wool in heather colour - 1 made and abandoned as too scratchy

I also managed to finish the brown/cream/blue opal socks, swatched for the cable and rib tunic and made a foot of a cabled scarf, I suspect my plans had been over ambitious, and I'm happy that I've made progress. I have one more sock waiting to have its toe Kitchenered, but I'm saving it to use as a demonstration model tomorow for my colleague and I finished a merino sock in 'fruit salad' colour.

February's plans are focussed on the cable and rib tunic with any socks I get finished seen as a bonus, I'd like to finish another 2 or 3 pairs and get the scarf a bit further along. That loosk a bit more realistic than January's plans were!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Decisions, decisions

Progress on my Lorna's Laces sock, I'm just decreasing for the toe, I'm very happy with this yarn, it's the first time I've used it.
I'm also very happy with my wool socks, it was freezing cold today and my feet have been blissfully warm all day even when waiting for buses!

More merino socks, merrily progressing, at this rate I'll have socks for every day of a fortnight by Easter!
I've decided that I will have to go with overdyeing the clapotis, I should add that I'm not blaming Hipknits for the silk problem, I had a package stolen and Trudi who was running it at the time kindly managed to replace the contents, but I think the problem may have arisen then. I'm terrified of spoiling it as I've never dyed anything, I'll have to do some serious research.
Thank you everyone for the sympathy in your comments - I know you felt my pain!

Here we have Cherry Tree Hill Fall Foliage, Fyberspates Valentine, and a joyful pair of skeins of my favourite Merino bought on eBay, I'm trying to decide which to knit next when I finish my next pair off.
I've checked the online Radio Times for Feb 10th, BBC TV starts showing the Winter Olympics at 18:00 GMT but the actual ceremony start at 19:00 I have visions of the knitting world all casting on at the same time! If a butterfly flapping it's wings causes tornados, what effect will 1800+ knitters casting on at the same time have on the universe?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Disappointment and a FO

You'll be able to see why I'm disappointed - look at the bottom left hand corner of my finished clapotis! When I wound the skeins into balls that didn't show, and I didn't see it last night when I joined in the final ball, in fact if you look closely at the top right hand side there's another change in shade from the first to the second ball. If I remember correctly this came as 2 skeins, but the silk snapped several times when I was winding it and I must have got them in the wrong orderwhen knitting, medium first, light next and darkest last. They were all bought last year as the same shade at the same time from Hipknits, and there's no apparent variegation in the yarn as you knit with it. The only I thing I can think to do is to try washing it and see if any colour comes out and if it evens out, and after that try over dying it, but I've never tried dying anything and am very wary of it.

Being throughly fed up with it, my first major FO this year and I'm not gonna be wearing it any time soon that I went back to my lace and reached 46 rows and I think 93 stitches, it's still going well but slowly. I shall return to my obsessive sock knitting for the next week, see if I can get another pair finished as I know they work!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Lace is good, socks are quicker

Some slight progress to be seen on the lace shawl, unlike the knitter at WIP Insanity who has nearly produced a shawl in a week I anticipate this taking me several months! I do stand back in awed amazement when I see the speed with which she produces incredibly complicated designs as well as working and raising a family! I close my eyes to the housework and attempt to raise myself! This is now 36 rows done, soon it will be impossible to photograph as its knitted from the centre back down to the point and will have to go onto a circular needle where it will impersonate sea weed until its finished. I'm happy with this, it's the largest piece of lace I've ever managed and I did manage the last 10 rows with only one minor error that I fixed without frogging and only had to tink back 2 stitches.

Another finished sock which may wait a while for a mate, although I have cast on the cuff as evidence that I plan a second sock in the future. I'm about socked out this month so have spent most of today fiddling with my lace shawl and returning to a clapotis in pale lilac Hipknits silk that I cast on a LONG time ago - last August and haven't touched since the end of October. I've cracked on with great speed today and am into the decrease section, so I plan on finishing that now before returning to the socks and definitely before I embark upon my Olympic challenge.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Quirks and stupid stripes

First a picture of more sock wool - I know I needed it - really I did while I deal with being tagged by Cathy on the following!
Groundrules: The first player of this game starts with the Topic"5 weird habits of yours" and people who get tagged need to write a blog entry about their 5 quirky habits as well as state this rule clearly.In the end you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.
I'm coming to this rather late so won't tag anyone, however, if anyone reading this wants to consider themselves tagged - be my guest!

1) I'm an obsessive collector, once I start collecting a set of something I carry on even after I've stopped being interested in whatever it is, as a result I resist starting collecting anything (with the possible exception of wool)
2) I have 17 body piercings only 5 of which are normally visible.
3) I mostly listen to folk music when I'm online, have no idea what is in the charts and never put the radio on anymore.
4) I always turn the sound off when politicians speak on TV if I'm on my own.
5) I hate having my morning routine disrupted on a work day - anything out of the ordinary derails me and I have real difficulty in going out of the front door.
Those may not be VEY quirky but they are what I can think of for public consumption by friends and family who read this blog!
This is a happy sock progress picture as is the one above, for information the new yarn is Opal petticoat and an Opal skein called Haggebutte or something similar. I'm not expecting to get much sock knitting done in February due to that Olympic challenge so I'm concentrating on getting several first socks done so that I can do their mates and suddenly have pairs again!

This, this is my problem I was trying to tell myself that the preciseness of the stripes in Carnival Opal didn't matter, but in this sock pattern it does when I knit the heel flap - the stripes double in width - to be expected and possibly lived with, but as you can see in this picture I end up with a green stripe one row wide, then a yellow one the same, this then gos straight to a red stripe because I've used almost a pattern repeat in the heel flap, I think it looks ugly, but don't know how to fix it or if it can be fixed without lots of messing around.

My only thought is whether the afterthought heel would solve at least part of the problem, and if it would can anyone point me to an online explanation of it that they can recommend?

By the way - I got my rejection email from the job interview today, I'm off to celebrate with a glass or two of fine Shiraz!I did at least get one thing right that day - i got it right that I'd been dreadful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Foxgloves - at last

May I present the foxglove socks, finished this evening so that I can wear them tomorrow - all my others are drying, I handwash all my hand made socks regardless of what the yarn says, I buy all different sorts and I will NEVER remember which can be machine washed and which not, so they all get hand washed, blotted between towels then air dried.

Melissa, don't be scared of socks, this is my 8th pair now, all done cuff down because that was the free pattern I got from the retailer I bought my Opal yarn from. I use DPN's because I like them and I get lots of compliments from people who see me with them on the bus so it's good for my ego too! I'd recommend starting out with a yarn you like, but not too much and just follow a pattern, just believe what it says and see what happens. When I first tried to read and understand my pattern I was totally thrown by it and left it for weeks. Then I decided to follow it blindly and by the time I reached the foot I grokked what it was about, finished one sock then felt able to adapt the pattern and start a new pair that would fit me.

There'll be no post Thursday, my beloved will be here but I'll be back Friday, no doubt with more bits of sock, I looked back at my plans for January, I think we'll find I've exceeded on the sock front and totally failed on everything else, but I do have this weekend to try and rectify that!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Progress - and encouraging other knitters!

I'm getting all excited here - I'm a third of the way along the foot of my second wild foxglove sock, by my reckoning it will be finished by the weekend, will be the fourth pair of socks I'll have finished this month (even if one doesn't fit anyone I know), will give me a hand knit pair of socks for every day of one week and is my favourite colour/yarn combination so far!!

The right hand sock is ready for picking up the gusset stitches and is turning out 'interesting' I think the colour is really jazzy, I have enough yarn to make a plain and a patterned pair which is my current plan, whenever I have enough any yarn I'll make a plain and a patterned pair for variety, what I do where I have 4 balls of something like the tiger Opal I'm not sure!
Another colleague is thinking of taking up knitting again so I supplied her with some fancy yarn for scarf making, I had spare eyelash yarn from the Christmas scarves that I'd got bored with after making 2 in each colour! I'll teach them all to knit yet!! That's one scarf knitter and one returning to sock knitting this month. It also means 150g reduction in my stash. (We won't mention anything I might just have scored on eBay now will we??)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Socks, scarves and bread!

I know I'm knitting socks obsessively at present, I have 8 at various stages of production, I claim it is because I can only happily do certain bits on the bus! These are my latest 2, Opal carnival and the rainforest tiger colourway - I decided I had several balls of each so I can make a plain and a patterned pair if I decide that patterns will work. I can see the carnival colourway but the more I look at it the more convinced I become that it won't readily 'take' a pattern. It will also have to be matched with it's mate, it'll be my first try at making identical rather than fraternal twins.
The tiger is a bit 'un orange' for me to see as a tiger, but i do think it can take a stitch pattern of some sort, so I'll give it some thought while I knit my way through the plain pair.

This arrived today, it's a poor picture, but how many artistic pictures can you take of a cone of deep pink aran 100% wool? I've a vague plan in my head to make cabled scarves this winter, but rather than just turn out the Irish Walking Scarf in multiple versions I'd like to do each scarf with a different pattern, much more interesting for me and may mean my head doesn't explode. I have a couple of source books for aran stitches so I'm going to trawl through them and see how inspired I get!

On the subject of the bread machine - I bought it about 7 years ago, I've never been able to track it's manufacturer and actually buried it in a cupboard for nearly all of the last 7 years. I've decided to give it 6 months, if I'm still making bread with it I'll invest in a fancier one with a timer and stuff, it mostly works OK so I'm not too fussed about being able to use it to perfection. Tonight I made sundried tomato and parmesan bread using a mix and it is truly wonderful!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A decision and some sadness

I decided to try the carnival yarn, being self patterning so lending itself to my basic sock pattern, I'm still debating combining Jaywalkers with the tiger yarn. The colours have changed a bit in the picture, the blue is more turqouoise and the orange is really yellow! I'm working from the middle of the ball, makes it more interesting, but I think I'll have to try and make the second sock match with this yarn as the stripes are so wide and obvious. I'm not sure if I like the sock yet, it's not like some colours where I've fallen instantly in love or loathing.

I've been busy today, doing domesticated stuff, cooked a proper dinner (something I rarely do) done several lots of washing and made my usual batch of chicken and vegetable soup with pearl barley, if I get it right that lasts me 3 days at least of the week so I don't have to cook when I get in, I just don't have the time and end up eating prepackaged stuff or junk food if I'm not careful.

I did spend some time watching TV while I was sock knitting, I found myself getting thoroughly depressed, I was watching old episodes of the programmes made by Fred Dibnah, all about our industrial heritage, you may remember the days when the UK used to have a steel making and a mining industry? Not that long ago I was given the job of talking to a work experience student in our office about our trade union, it was like talking to someone from another planet, she had no idea why trade unions came into existence, had never heard of Arthur Scargill, nor of the Liverpool dock strike. It's very hard to explain to someone born after Margaret Thatcher and her cohorts came to power that 'once upon a time' workers stood by each other and fought for the rights of all rather than for their own personal benefit.

Then I watched Antiques Roadshow, a man brought in 2 cracked and scruffy pieces of crockery with bubbled glaze, the expert said that they had no financial worth, but their true value was in their story, they had been picked up from Hiroshima by a medical orderly sent to help survivors of the atomic bomb. Temperatures 6 miles from the centre of Hiroshima had been so high that ghe glaze had melted - over 1000 degress Centigrade, I can't imagine not being moved by the site of those 2 pathetic items.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Socks and a choice

Another finished pair of socks, granted not an identical pair, but fraternal twins at least! I've even sewn the ends in. That makes 5 pairs of socks finished this month if I include the first pair that don't fit me. I grant you I've barely touched anything else that was on my to do list for January but I have been doing other things - honest!

These are the 'in progress' socks, the wild foxglove had to be frogged back to the start of the gusset shaping because I seemed to have been doing it on auto pilot and decreasing in a rather random fashion. The Lorna's Laces Iris Garden is onto the gusset shaping too, and the Opal variegated is just about to start the heel flap. I'd like to finish the foxglove sock as that would give me my first target of 7 pairs of handknit socks, the other two are first socks of pairs.

Now I have to decide on the next sock yarn to start, will it be Opal Tiger or Opal carnival? I fancy trying something new with this and am contemplating belatedly joining the trend of the Jaywalker sock with the Tiger colourway but haven't seen anyone use that combination. In the background is the Irish Walking Scarf, I'm still trying to decide if cable knit scarves will be this year's obsession with me, it is only up to 11 pattern repeats so far, I just pick it up and do a few rows when I don't feel like doing anything tricky.

Friday, January 20, 2006

What happened here then?

Please can you tell me why instead of bread from my breadmachine I got half a mis shapen brick? I lost the manual for the machine the day I unpacked it and threw it away with the packing so I'm working on trial and error, this, to me, looks like an error!! Tasty but solid best describes the texture, it's my first try at wholemeal and my be my penultimate - I'll try once more and see if it improves before I give up on wholemeal!.

I've had a very sleepy week, but this sock is now well into the foot, I've busted my yarn diet wide open on eBay today with some more sock yarn and a cone of bright pink arran, I couldn't resist it, and I do haev a plan for the arran. As for the sock yarn, who needs a plan? It's sock yarn, every sock knitter needs at least twice as much yarn as she needs socks!
This sock is on my only set of bamboo DPN's and I loathe them, they are nice and warm for knitting in cold weather, but they feel so light and insubstantial I'm permanently scared I'll break the stupid things and the stitches stick, I'm an inefficient knitter in style, so sticking needles slow me down even further, I won't be doing my Olympic challenge on bamboos!

This, ah this yarn I love, it's from Lorna's laces called Iris Garden and looks and feels gorgeous. I'm a tad concerned though, I'm a purple girl, not a pink one but the last few pairs of socks that I've produced are mostly pink and the purple I abandoned as too scratchy, is this a sign that I'm turning into Barbie in middle age?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Has anyone seen my brain?

Firstly replies to comments, ambermoggie, the pattern is Fiber Trends Pacific North West Shawl I bought it from Get Knitted here. The yarn I'm trying out was bought on eBay from Yarnwise. I'm not sure if it will work out yet, but I've now done 24 rows, this is a very long term project.
Melissa, thank you for your comments, the sock yarn is again from Get Knitted, Fyberspates Wild Foxglove, but checking the site there isn't any available at present. They do have other colourways still and may be able to tell you if more is available.

To explain about the missing brain, I spent yesterday confusing everyone by thinking it was Tuesday, as a result this morning I discovered I should have put the garbage out too late to do anything about it. I then arrived at work to find I'd left my antibiotics at home so had to collect work that I could do at home and go home to work and take the tablets.

No pictures tonight as I'm just doing socks today, and I do believe there are a limit to the number of sock pictures that an audience might wish to see. I don't see me finishing either second sock this week, but it does look as if by the end of the month I will have achieved my 7 pairs of home made socks that I was aiming for!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Meandering along

This is turning into a very slow week for knitting, I've not been able to get seats on my evening buses where I can knit and I've honestly been too tiredto do much of anything in the evenings, to prove that I'm about to bath and go to bed before I fall asleep with my nose on the keyboards and invent a totally new language!
Today has been a miserably gray and damp day, with more people asking how the interview went and telling me that it can't have been that bad! Bless them it's very kind but I know when I've made a complete idiot of myself!

This is what I have been playing with in odd moments, the first 24 rows of the Pacific Northwest shawl pattern, I see that someone has made that her Winter Olympic challenge - I'm very impressed, this has taken me 3 days of muttering to get such a small piece done and I'm not sure it is going to turn out as I' d like it to.

I'd intended the Yarn Harlot's snowdrop shawl as my first serious lace, but I'm afraid I just can't get the hang of charts and this pattern has charts and written out instructions - although I'm not yet confident they are entirely correct as they don't seem to reverse the K2tog and SSK as I'd expected, but I'll wait and see! Incidentally I'd have made a lot more progress had I spotted that I was supposed to be doing SSKP not SSk on one row!!! mental note to self, I wil read what th epattern says, not what I think the pattern shows!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yes, I am mad

Stephanie (the Yarn Harlot) has issued an Olympic challenge for the Winter Olympics that start in February. Despite my fundamental lack of interest in winter sports, I do have a project that I need to have finished in the near future, the cable and rib tunic that I recently cast on from Quick Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss, as I've only done the first pattern to see if I had gauge I've decided to throw my hat into the ring and do that for my Olympic challenge.

I realise that I am probably cerifiabley insane to do this, but that's OK, some of my best friends are mad -I mean slightly strange! I'd intended photographing progress on the current sock, however I've made very little progress and then left it on my desk at work! I blame this forgetfulness on having to spend most of the day being lighthearted, witty and amusing about yesterday's apalling interview, I can only do that for so long before I get a strong urge to curl up in a ball, stick my fingers in my ears and go 'La la la I can't hear you!' Hopefully there will be some progress to display tomorrow although I'll have to take a diferent sock on the bus tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Exercises in futility

The interview today did NOT go well, I hate telephone interviews and this one was even worse than the one I failed at last year. I'm seriously thinking of not trying for this one again!

As today has been an exercise in futility I finally finished the second sock that belongs with my first ever sock, futile because it doesn't fit me, but at least I have finished!

This makes me happier - progress on the second of my Opal suagared almond socks, it's grown well the last few days and I have high hopes of having another finished pair fairly soon.
That will give me 6 pairs that fit me and the pair that doesn't!

Now, I leave you to go in search of chocolate, the cure for most miseries and feelings of futility.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

No knitting day

There's a good reason for not knitting today - I have a job interview tomorrow and needed to get myself organised for it. I now have notes on a number of filing cards prepared, the interview is over the telephone so I'll have the cards all set out to remind me of the sorts of thinsg you forget in interviews - things like your name! There's no real point in showing you a picture of filing cards so here's a picture of my first amaryllis to flower this year - I bought it cheap at the supermarket and it's thrived from day 1.

This is, though small even more of a victory - I was complaining several weeks ago that I had 2 more amaryllis bulbs that wouldn't get going. I abandoned them in a carrier bag on the landing, dropped some sweaters on top of the bag and forgot about them. yesterday I was having a clearing up day and went to throw them away - opened the bag and found that both the bulbs had started to sprout - they're rather behind now, but I'm hoping they're a good omen for tomorrow!

I may treat myself to a little knitting to relax before bedtime, but nothing significant is likely to happen there - just more sock!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Socks again and Christmas 2006!

First things first, Alex, I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the merino that I bought, apart from socks I rarely work with 4 ply thickness as its so time consuming. I do have a shawl pattern in fingering weight that I was thinking about, but I don't think it's the right pattern. While I decide I will content myself with stroking it and enjoying its softness.

Sock progress continues, this one is into the gusset decreases, I'm reasonably optimistic this will be finished thsi week, one more after that and I'll have my pair a day for a week milestone achieved.

This picture has another of my part knitted socks, it too is at the gusset shaping, it's growing nicely but is the first of a pair so I'm not sure if both socks will get done this month.

Below you can see the reasons why. I'm experimenting with knitting with Rowan DK cotton, I got it cheap some time ago and I'm testing it on a Debbie Bliss children's pattern to see how I get on with it. I've never made anything in cotton before - I don't like what feels like a lack of stretch to it, but this pattern is mostly ribbed so feels as if it will have more ease.

At the bottom is a test in Debbie Bliss cashmerino arran, bought cheap from eBay on the cone, I made a lasagne scarf with it then lost inspiration. I'm thinking this may be OK for gifts at Christmas this year and am testing it to see, so far I'm happy with the way the cables stand out, my picture doesn't really do justice to either of the cabled patterns. If these two patterns work out I will actually be using up stash yarn rather than buying more which I'm sure I was supposed to make some sort of resolution about this New Year?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Brief update!

I have finished the heather mist sock, it is washed and drying to see if I bother with making a pair of frog this one. If I frog it, what do I do with 200g of scratchy four ply? Would it make anything worth felting - I've never done felting so it would be an experiment. Sadly the Natural Dye Studio at present only has this Australian sock wool and none of the luxury merino that I've been merrily turning into my happy ankle socks - still it isn't as if I don't have a sock yarn stash of centipede like proportions!

I saw my doctor today - lovely woman, gave me antibiotics and something to suppress my cough while I do my interview on Monday, she checked my blood pressure which hasn't got any worse despite the fact that I've not been able to work out for about 6 weeks. She's confident that this hasn't made my asthma any worse and was most encouraging generally, I actually came away feeling as if I may get better!

I now have to search through my patterns and stash to find something to knit for a boy baby - a work colleague and his wife have just had a boy when all I had nearly finished in my baby stash is a flufffy pink hoody, so now I have to find and knit baby boy inspiration!

Hello to the visitors arriving via the new webring Knitting Blogs that I just joined, nice to have you here!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sox and S.E.X

First I want to sing the praises of a seller on eBay UK, I bought the skein of variegated merino I pictured in my last blog entry - in fact I bought 2 form Katy's Knits and Bits, when it arrived I was so pleased with it's quality and price I went back and bought the other 3 skeins in that colour and also in the parrot colours in the next picture. The skeins are only £9 each and are so soft my friend was stroking and petting one in Starbucks yesterday! The yarn arrived yesterday with this thrown in for free - 171g more of the same quality yarn that she thought I might be able to use. Granted, I am supposed to be reducing my stash but this was a really nice gesture.
Here we have the bright version of the yarn - it really does remind me of parrots, just under 700g of this for me to gloat over. I checked her eBay shop earlier and she has no more of this at the moment but does have 8 skeins of the dark colourway if anyone is interested.I don't know the lady, but I'm happy to recommend her, she ships very fast too!

Here we have some sock progress from this week, I've been back in work and very very tired as my cough keeps waking me up, but I have done a bit to all the socks I have started, these have made the most progress! We have the rough Australian sock wool at the toe shaping, this will be finished this weekend, before I make the second one I'm going to wash it in Woollite and see if it improves, if it doesn't it goes to the frog pond and I make it into something else. I have 200g of this and offered half to my friend who is relearning sock knitting and she felt it and refused it - if that is any indication. I don't like the way it splits either, the more I've knitted with it the less I like it . The second pink sugared almond Opal sock is about to embark upon the heel flap, it ceases to be bus knitting at that point until I reach the straight foot bit.

Top left Lorna's laces in Iris Garden colourway - my first try with this particular yarn, I think I'm liking it so far but it is only just past the cuff at present, back right is the second Wild Foxglove sock - almost to the heel flap and the variegated Opal, I decided not to frog it, I think I like the pattern the yarn is making and I have enough to make a second pair with stitch pattern in it. All 3 are at bus knitting stage thank goodness and the front right sock is the fruit salad merino sock - ready to start the heel but I lent a set of each sock size of my DPN's to the friend relearning sock knitting so this is on hold until I finish the heather mist sock.

I have made a small reduction in my stash this week - my friend had a birthday so I passed on to her 200g of 'white' (looks like cream to me) Ukranian laceweight yarn, 100g of luxury merino in pink china colour and all the oddballs from my merino socks to play with. I know I'd planned on stripey socks for myself, but I counted how much sock yarn I had on hand in the rather vague 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 oh heckI make that LOTS sort of counting and decided to pass the yarn to someone who could use it far more quickly than me. I've given her a spare copy of the Opal pattern - I have loads as I seem to get another for every ball of Opal I buy so she can get started this weekend. Sister (and brother) sock knitters I may have corrupted another person into our sock knitting rituals!
Healthwise I'm still coughing so much I sound like a sealion, I expect someone to throw me a fish soon, I'm seeing my Dr tomorrow to see if I can have something for it at least for Monday as I haev a telephon ejob interview that I can't afoord to bark through. I'm so tired of being ill with it, I know compared to so many people this is nothing but I've been poorly for most of the last 5 weeks, it's stopping me going to the gym so my back is deteriorating again. My partner was due down today but I had to tell him I was just too tired and washed out, all I want to do is sleep which isn't the most exciting spectator sport in thw world!

PS I'm assuming dear reader that you know that SEX stands for Stash Enhancement eXpedition even if it was an expedition online I think it counts!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

SIP's - socks in progress

First we see the finished candy socks in all their glory - 2 pairs of socks finished this weekend, despite a return of the cold/fluey thing that keeps attacking me, I've spent the weekend drinking as much liquid as I can and keeping warm in the hopes that it won't return fully, socks are ideal knitting for these occasions! In the mean time I've made chicken soup with added garlic, it'll keep vampires at bay even if it doesn't keep colds away.

Here is the fruit salad colourway from the Natural Dye Studio, well into the leg of the first sock and the completed heel (first sock) of the heather twist Australian sock wool from the same people, I don't like it as much to knit with, it doesn't feel as soft but I'm reserving judgement until I wash them. I do like the shades of purple though - but then anyone who knows me knows how much I like purple.

The back two here are second socks, pink sugared almond Opal and the second wild foxglove, I liked this colour so much I bought 2 more skeins of it on the principle that you can't have too much of a good thing especialy if it's sock wool or chocolate. The front yarn is a variegated hand dyed(I think) Opal but, shock horror although I like it I may frog it and try it with a pattern, possibly Broadripple or Jaywalker, both those are on my 'learn to do' list for this year - any opinions on which if either I should try with this yarn? I probably have enough to make a plain and a patterned pair out of this.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Socking it to you!

I set myself a target of 3 new pairs of socks at least this month and lo - here is the first, sugar plum merino from the Natural Dye Studio, my fourth completed pair with all the ends sewn inand just as soft and comfy as the first three! I love this yarn, it's a very basic simple pattern that I know off by heart and can knit on the bus so I've been working on it whenever the Candies sock has been at a difficult point or when I've had to stop and think about it! I'm nearly to the toe of the second sock, that will be done this weekend. I also redid the toe of the wild foxglove sock after lengthening the foot and am much happier with it. I admit to having 6 odd socks on my needles at various stages of being done and 3 first socks waiting for second socks. The started socks are all at different stages and I knit a few rounds of each most days - eccentric I know, but it suits me. Thank you to everyone for the compliments on the Candy sock, I'm really pretty pleased with it, anyone wanting the yarn will find it at Curious Yarns

This arrived today, well 2 skeins of it in fact, 600g in total of 4ply merino in a colourway to die for - I think it's wonderful, it looks even better than the picture and feels very nice, I'm not sure if iuts sock material, but if not I'm sure to find a purpose in life for it. For now it is sitting in the bowl of contemplation on the table where I place especially gorgeous uncommitted yarn while I find out what it wants to be. I bought it on eBay and am seriously thinking of going back for more, I'll hunt through my 4 ply patterns and see how much more I might need.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A finished candy sock

One finished sock, not quite how I had imagined it but there's a good reason (or several) why it's ended up like this. I have wide feet that tend to swell a bit when I spend all day sat at my desk, it means I don't like anything patterned on the toe of my socks, it always feels as if it's going to rub. Because I made the whole sock bigger than the basic Opal pattern I wasn't going to have quite enough of the pink to do the toe, this would have meant that I'd have had a plain toe half in patterned yarn and half in plain and I didn't liek the look of it when I tried it out so I decided on a plain toe with no pattern and no pink, If you make a standard cuff down sock on 2.5mm DPN's casting on 60 stitches with a 30 stitch 30 row heel flap I'm pretty sure you'd easily have enough yarn for the toes, I was working on a 72 stitch cast on and a 36 stitch/row heel flap which was how I ran out of the pink.
Here we can see my miscalculation, the stitch pattern I used was 2 rounds stocking stitch and 2 rows K2 P2, that worked fine on the whole leg but when I split it in half I've ended up with one side ending on a block of 4 K stitches including the gusset decrease, and P2 K2 on the other. If I'd realised before I started the second sock I could have moved the heel round by 2 stitches and had mirror image socks but I didn't suss it out until I'd done the whole heel flap. This picture also illustrates what happens when you can't count to 2, if you count backwards from the toe, the first 2 pattern repeats are fine, then the third repeat I only did one round of stocking stitch instead of 2!
Anyway, I've tried it on, it fits and is comfortable, it isn't perfect so I may get more of this colourway and have another go sometime as I do try to make things as right as I can get them, or at least so they reach my mental image of what I was trying to achieve. I do like the slight bobbly pattern, it is most definitely candy coloured!

As further proof of my anally retentive streak I've just frogged my wild foxglove sock back to the start of the toe decreases, I've decided that I haven't made the foot quite long enough so I'm going to lengthen it by about 4 rounds, it will definitely fit better than and I'll be happier with it, I used to fudge things for me and only try and make gifts as close to perfect as possible. I've decided this year I'm worth having good stuff made for me. Last year of the 40 things I made only 3 pairs of socks and 1 jumper were for me - I'm planning on redressing that balance a little in 2006.

PS. I lied - it isn't really finished as it has ends that need weaving in!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Candy socks

I really really am liking these socks, the one question mark I have is if I have enough of the pink left to do the toes - my own fault - I should have taken into account the fact that I knit the socks bigger than average circumference and that causes me to use that bit more yarn. I've weighed the remains on my new kitchen scales that claim that I have 4g left, which as I had 9 at teh beginning of the second heel makes me think I should have enough, but when I reach the toe of the first sock I will be sensible, and I wil put in a life line before I switch colours! I may also do one of those bizarre knitters calculations where I try to work out how many stitches were in the heel and then how many there are in the toe - I'm sure you get the idea?

I'm not sure that my other half really appreciated the true glory of these socks, even though I do recall spending some time yesterday explaining it to him after sharing a bottle of champagne - bless him, a truly tolerent individual!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Knitting plans for 2006

I'm going to work on my aim to have 14 pairs of hand knitted socks (I knowthat is just a small percentage of my sock yarn stash, but I think it's a good beginning)

I'm going to try and decipher the shrug pattern and get on with that - and now my brother has tried on the part knitted glove I know how to alter the pattern (I think) to make them fit him.I then have to go back to the huge number of UFO's I have lurking and tryand get at least some of them moving again. Rather than restart them all I'm planning on taking out 2 at a time, one clapotis and one other item to add to the rotation.
So, for January into the rotation go the following:-
1) red shrug
2) gloves for big brother
3) lilac clapotis
4) pink funky fur baby jacket with hood - that just needs the front bands knitting and then sewing up so should be finished easily, once I locate the pattern for it!
5) Socks in general, the following in particular, the second Fyberspates wild foxglove (not yet started), a pair of merino in sugar plum, one is finished and one at the heel flap. The second Opal pink sugared almond, the cuff is done and I'm into teh leg, an Opal limited edition variegated in all the colours of the rainbow, I have 2 100g skeins that Iwant to experiment with and have knitted the cuff of one. Some Australian sock wool in heather colour, one cuff knitted of one sock, that will give me a total of 8 pairs of hand knitted socks for me. They won't all be finished in January but I reckon I have a good chance of getting another 3 pairs finished (as I already have half of 3 pairs done!) If I finish the baby hoody then I intend finishing my funky chunky sweater -only one and a half sleeves and the neck and sewing up to do.

Now I'm off to -finally- celebrate Christmas with my other half, for various reasons we haven't been able to spend time together yet this Christmas so today we do New Year and Christmas in one!