The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baby it's cold outside!

Whilst I realise that here in Manchester in the UK it isn't that cold I'm getting a little tired of spending time out in the cold when I should be safely indoors. Yesterday I waited 30 minutes in a queue for a cab home with my shopping, this morning the powers that be where I work had a fire drill, more time out in the cold. Coming home tonight my bus was late and I spent another 20 minutes out in the cold! I'm pleased to be able to report that my feet didn't get even remotely chilly in my hand knitted socks, if only I'd finished this jacket as well! This is what the bright pink will eventually become, I'm slogging my way very slowly up the left front, anotehr few cms and I get to do armhole shaping which will make me feel better, I still have what seems like miles to do on the back though!

This is the limited progress on two partners for single socks, I'm hoping the green mountain madness will be finished this week, the Opal carnival is irritating me, I'd thouhgt I'd manage a real pair of identical twins but the yarn isn't died precisely enough, it may turn out close, but it won't be a match.
In other news, I just bought a new phone for the flat, my current one no longer holds a charge and the number 2 doesn't work, not really practical when my Mum's phone number needs 2 of them! Now I learn patience while the handsets (got 2 so hopefully the buttons may last longer) are charging for the first time. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back in touch with the world, I don't see my mum ever joining the computer age so I need the phone.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Reviewing February early!

Today's sock, this is Koigu, the first time I've used it, I don't have anymore than the yarn for it's mate in my stash so unless the knitting fairy appears with some it will be some time before I make more than this pair in this make of yarn. I really can't justify buying any more sock yarn this year really!

I'm doing my review of February today as I won't be finishing anything else this month. By my reckoning I finished 10 socks, 9 odd ones and a mate for one of January's and the cable and rib tunic. I've also done about a foot of the Irish Walking scarf in Debbie Bliss cashmerino arran with a vague plan that it will be a Christmas gift!.My plan for March is to carry on with the socks, making the partners for all my orphans and get a move on with the bright pink jacket, teh red shrug and the Irish Walking scarf, I don't expect to finish any of those, but I'd like to be able to show some progress and at least 5 more pairs of socks by the end of March!

These were my Christmas present from my friend that I finally did Christmas with at the weekend, I've thoroughly enjoyed myself reacquainting myself with music that I haven't had in my possession for a number of years, It's a verygood thing that CD's don't wear out when you repeat play them over and over again!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Resurrecting WIP's

I've dug this out today whilst I was catalogueing my sock yarn from yesterday. It's a long length jacket in a very vivid pink that I started last year, I've found the pattern, the needles and the rest of the yarn and even knitted 5 rows of the back so far.

The front of the jacket might prove to be bus knitting although I do still plan on doing socks on the bus in order to make the mates of all my lonely orphan socks.

I want to progress this as well, but can't find the pattern at the moment, although I could carry on with it regardless as it's made to the pattern of my aqua jumper and I know it doesn't need any shaping for ages yet!

It's been cold here today but I did get into the garden to do some clearing up - old leaves and paper blow into our garden whenever the wind is high. I'll have to get out there and do more work soon, but it was too cold to stay outside for long.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Socks, yarn and more yarn!

I've been at my friend's house today, reinstalling Windows XP and being well fed by him and his mother, I live in dread of him learning to mend his computer without assistance as he and his mum are both excellent cooks. I always enjoy visiting them as they make me feel so at home. We've been planning on meeting up for ages - since before Christmas and finally exchanged gifts today!
I got plenty of knitting done while Windows ground it's way through the installation, so the Koigu sock is past the heel, the second Green Mountain Madness is on the cuff, and the bicolour Opal Magic that I'm experimenting with is on the leg. This means I'm creating 2 more odd socks here, but the Green Mountain Madness one is at least the mate of one of the February orphans!
I can't remember who suggested photographing stash, to be honest it would take too much time for me to search out all the yarn I have tucked away, but I want to catalogue and sort my sock yarn, so I present for your delight two pictures of most of the sock yarn, what is missing is the yarn that belongs with pairs that I've started making. This picture is the hand painted/dyed yarn, some Curious Yarns, some Cherry Tree Hill, Lorna's Laces, Fyberspates and assorted other yarn bought on eBay.

This is mostly Opal, some Regia and some that I got from Texere. Bearing in mind that I get a pair of socks from every 100g of yarn this is enough to make 86 pairs of socks minimum. I hadn't really realised until I put it all together in one place quite how much I had, I think I may be looking at knitting socks as gifts for next Christmas!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The kindness of strangers

Two weeks ago yesterday on my way home from work I lost the small packet you see in the picture here. It contained 7 small denomination coins, none of them legal tender here. They weren't mine, they belonged to a friend and I was absolutely devastated that I'd been so stupid/careless with someone else's property. I did manage to obtain replacements, but they didn't have teh same sentimental value and although my freind was really generous spirited about the loss I've been beating myself up mentally ever since. Yesterday I went to catch the bus home early as my partner was due and a Spanish lady at the bus stop stopped me, fished in her handbag and produced this same bag of coins, she'd been looking out for me in case she saw me!. Words fail me to describe how I feel, I never in my wildest dreams thought that getting them back was a possibility, I've been grinning alternately with filling up with tears every time I think about it!
Further happiness is this, more merino yarn that may become socks, but I have 200g so it may turn into a baby something or other!

This yarn will become a pair of socks for a friend - longer legs OK??? I have to say I'm not actually tempted to keep this, I bought it with my friend in mind and it's sooo pink it isn't me!

These, however are me, and are the next 3 odd socks, I promise I really will switch to making their mates in March! The bottom left sock is in Koigu, my first try with thi sbarnd, the jury is still out, it seem snice to knit with but I'm not sure if I like the 'feel' of the fabric.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fanfare please!

Having looked at the TV schedules for the weekend I realise that I have finished even earlier than I thought, the closing ceremony isn't until Sunday! Here we have the cable and rib tunic that I originally planned for my Olympic challenge, yesterday you saw the 5 odd socks that I produced in addition to that. I'm now contemplating reknitting the top in the same yarn - boring, or waiting until some 'fruit salad' colourway arrives to make one for the granddaughter of downstairs neighbour. I don't want to fall into the trap of making it for her birthday as that would set a precedent I couldn't keep up with, so I think I'll wait for the fruit salad colour. I will eventually make the other lilac jumper as it is bound to come in handy for some child or other!

I won't be posting tomorrow as beloved is here but will return on Friday with no doubt more pictures of half knitted odd socks.

Incidentally I left a tip on Lynne's blog that others may find useful. I kept losing my sewing up needles, I now leave the last bit of yarn in them, knot it onto a loop and string them on a kilt pin along with my expensive stitch markers. The whole lot goes in a small lidded plastic box that lives in my knitting tray of socks! As I use my stitchmarkers almost daily with the sock production line I never mislay that box for long and I always have a needle to graft my toes.

Good luck to all the rest of the Olympic knitters out there, enjoy your challenges - and for the love of life, don't forget to eat and sleep sometimes!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The leaning tower of socks

Here is sock 5!! I admit I have a few ends still to sew in to have them all completed but I have Friday off work so they will be done then.
Thanks to those of you who say the blue flower looks like a dwarf iris, you've confirmed my suspicions. The half dead plants had an over night soak in a sink of cold water and are possinly looking slightly les sdead, that may be wishful thinking though. I'm going to keep them as cool as possible - I don't use heating in the flat and I'll keep them in good light but no direct sun until I can see if they survive at which point they'll be acclimitised to outdoors.

A pile of 5 socks as planned to top up my Olympic endeavours, they look good I think! Very colourful at least. Ambermoggie the sock yarn in my last entry was from Colourspun Yarns on eBay, at present she only has cashmere sock yarn and I refuse to let myself try cashmere, my tastes are expensive enough already!

My current stack of odd socks, guess what I will be doing in March?? Before that however I'll be knitting another cable and rib tunic! I tried the almost sewn up Olympic tunic on my neighbour's granddaughter and it very nearly fit her. Bear in mind that granddaughter is 6 next month and I just made a tunic intended for a 1 year old I am rather startled. I know Debbie Bliss patterns are sometimes reputed to be generously sized and granddaughter is tiny, the combination means that all I need to do is make the body about 3 inches longer and te sleeves about the same and it will fit her. She is 6 on (I think) March 8th so I seem to have found myself another rush job to do. Ths Olympic tunic has one sleeve seam to do and a few odd ends to weave in so you'll see that tomorrow and I can hand it over on Thursday.

Incidentally to all those people who find my blog searching on Patons Funky Chunky, I bought mine ages ago and I haven't located any more in the last few months. I'm even less help to the person on an Iranian ISP who was searching for 'pictures of sex with my sister' I'm afraid I don't know his/her sister as far as I know!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Spring is sprung

Here is something I planted last autumn, I wish I could tell you waht it is, but I haven't the faintest idea beyond it being a bulb! It is in fact the second one to flower but the first one where I've had daylight access to photograph it. I seem to have had no success with the snowdrops bulbs I planted so will add more this autumn.

Thanks to the insanity of the post office these arrived today, they have sat at the Post Office since Saturday because 'they didn't have a van driver' which was why my redelivery didn't happen either. These poor things have been in an unheated sorting office while the outside temperature was distinctly frosty, they were then attached underneath a heavy box with tight elastic bands and dumped in my neighbour's very warm hallway, they have very little hope of survival! The nice plant people are sending new ones! They should be Heuchera Palace Purple rather than depressed dead brown!

Sock wool always cheers me up fortunately and this is delightful, soft merino, my favourite for comforting 'happy' socks.

This is for my planned play with felting attempt, I haven't yet decided what I want to make but this will be a part of it at least. The cable tunic is slowly being seamed, I hope to have it for dispaly purposes by Wednesday, but no picture tonight as it still looks pretty tatty with lots of loose ends.

Here is sock 4 for the challenge, one more to go, but I've miscounted my decreases on the heel gusset and am trying vainly to see where I went wrong, hopefully it will speed up tomorrow.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How many ends?????

I've actually lost count of how many ends there are in this, for a small garment it certainly seems to have more than it's fair share! I worked out that each sleeve had 7 ends, and the front and back have 4 plus 2 for the collar, it just seems like more. I'm going to plod on with the ends in between the socks rather than do them al at once, I loathe sewing in ends and normally try and do soem as I go along, but this pattern doesn't leave an option to do that as you do the shoulder seams first, then pick up the stitches for the collar.

Luckily I had this to finish off - only 2 ends and my third sock finished out of target of 5, this is becoming more and more achievable I think. I know have 6 odd socks awaiting partners, I have a real plan behind making odd socks like this, I'm aiming to have10 odd socks done then start alternate matching socks and new colours so that I always have around 10 odd socks but that every other sock creaates a new pair without me having to make consecutive identical socks. We'll just have to see how well that works!

These are the last 2 Olympic socks, making steady progress Incan Ocean and Mayan Jazz according to teh speardsheet on which I hav elisted a small part of my stash of yarn. Somehow I seem to have enough sock yarn to cater for a human sized centipede. I console myself with the thought that socks wear out and will need replacing even though I handwash all my knitted socks regardless of their composition. I'd never remember which required what treatment so hand washing is safest and is becoming a weekend ritual! Thanks for your kind words Sue, I'm apparently addicted to bright coloured socks, I've spent years wearing dark coloured clothes with the occasional bright T shirt, I'm throughly enjoying the variety of colours I can make my socks in, they make me smile when I get up at the crack of dawn each day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The home straight?

Both sleeves completed and although I realise that I should block the blessed thing etc etc I'm tempted to finish it off and see what it looks like, It has come out pretty even and the pieces that should bs the same size by some miracle actually are - lets face it, I'm kidding no one here, I can't face the idea of blcoking it!

Herewith the sock progress, of the last 3 socks I'm aiming to finish I have one on the foot and one at the heel gusset stage, I'm becoming cautiously optimistic that I'll be finished. Much speedy bad tempered knitting has been done today caused by the Postal Service failing to redeliver the packages I rang up for yesterday - if it turns out that any of them contained small plants they wil be paying big time!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Marching onwards

The second sleeve of the cable tunic is started, but I confess that I'm getting bored! Anyone who reads my blog knows that I flit from one WIP to another like a somewhat demented butterfly with a vase of flowers to chose from. I'll be glad to see the back of this, I'm hoping that the knitting apart from the collar will be done this weekend so I can do the finishing off next week.

In the mean time I'm carrying on with one of my many socks, this is Cherry Tree Hill's green mountain madness, I keep saying I don't 'do' green, but I do like this mixture, it has a delightful depth and intensity, the yarn feels thick, soft and warm and the sock is growing quickly. I still think I might just get 5 socks finished off, I've managed 2 this week, but yet again my bus home was too crowded and bumpy for knitting, quite apart from the driver getting lost and having to ask her passengers what the route was.

I'm now trying to decide what I'm going to work on after the Olympics end, being sensible I need to look at the WIP's on hand and see if any are close to being finished. I have a vague plan to work on one each month along with my sock obsession but I had meant to work on Christmas gifts early this year as well. So many decisions to make and so much yarn to be played with!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We have a sleeve!

Here we have a sleeve, and one with shaping everywhere there should be, not only that I have clear notes so that the second sleeve might have a fighting chance of matching it!! Always supposing of course that I actually do what I have written down!
I'm seeing the father of the child this is planned for next week, so ideally I'd like it blocked and finished off by mid week, my plan is to do the front and back tomorrow evening, the sleeves on saturday evening and the finishing off on Sunday evening, but we've all made plans like that haven't we??

And here we have sock 2 finished of the five I was hoping to finish before I started knitting the cable and rib tunic twice (one wrong then once right) rather than the standard once each piece. I'm still hoping I might manage the 5, but it will be close, especially if I keep losing bus knitting time on overcrowded buses full of strange people.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Olympic progress and gardening

Despite everything the front and back are both finished, I'm pleased with how they've turned out, I just wish it hadn't taken reknitting one of them just because I wasn't concentrating. I've also had to restart the sleeve as I'd managed to miss out the shaping completely - I seem to have been keeping my knitting brain in a bucket somewhere rather than making use of it! It is now progressing steadily and I live in hope that I will get it done before the end of next week so I can pass it to the intended recipient.

This is where I am now up to, fortunately children's arms aren't that long! The sock didn't progress today as I was rather short of bus knitting time, 2 buses didn't run today so this morning's bus was crammed with no room even for short DPN's. This afternoon the bus seemed to be peopled with rather strange drunken Irishmen who insisted on admiring my knitting and quizzed me at length about what else I knit and how you knit socks. This was interspersed with them reminiscing about the historical knitting habits of their elderly female relatives!

This made me happy, my seeds have arrived, now I must clear the window sills and start planning which to germinate first, these won't all be for our garden, I'll be sharing what I germinate with 2 of the other gardeners in our row of flats and also with my partner for his garden. There will be plenty of people benefitting from this lot of goodies!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


This is where I was at last night when I posted, I even got the cable misplaced when I cast on again but the trusty crochet hook rescued me, I really couldn't face leaving it like that so I knit some more while I was online - just ask what that did to my typing!!

At the moment the new back looks like this, it's about 15 rows from completion and I'm feeling much happier, granted I stayed up too late doing this but I was actually engrossed in watching the pairs free programme in the figure skating and didn't notice the time!!
Watching the luge this afternoon when I got home helped progress on the back, it seems the faster the event the faster I knit! I dread to think what would happen if I tried knitting and watching speed skating or motor racing - I guess it would be OK if I was knitting something in the round!

I did say I was going to finish 5 socks during the Olympics as well, here is sock number 1 completed on the bus today apart from the toe grafting which I still have to do while I talk out loud 'Purlwise, Knitwise, Knitwise, Purlwise' or I end up with odd numbers of stitches and there are enough people talking to themselves on the buses I catch without me joining in! This has come out big, I have one set of needles/numbers for thicker wool and one for thinner and this has turned out to be thicker than I thought! Tune in after the Olympics to see how dissimilar it's brother turns out to be - I haven't cast it on yet as I have other socks to finish first.

The plan is that this will become finished sock 2 this week as it is already onto the foot - but please everyone, don't hold your breath! This is limeade pure merino and so soft I think I may fall asleep when I put them on!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pride that goeth before a fall?

This is what remains of the back of the tunic, if you look closely at the picture yesterday you will see what I didn't - that the cable wasn't central! Even when I recast this on tonight I got it wrong and had to get out my trusty crochet hook! I now have about 5 rows done, but Blogger won't upload the picture of its sorry state. I can hardly blame it!

Sorry Melissa and Daisy, after your praise I've just demonstrated my inability to count to 6!

In other news, we sorted out the new VCR and successfully proved that it wasn't the old VCR that had died but the SCART cable connecting it to the TV, that is one very very expensive SCART cable! As today is clearly intent on giving me a reality check (or a good kicking) I shall go to bed very soon for safety!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Olympics day 3

Here we have the back - or the front of the tunic, this thing is growing far too fast!
I've watched some of the actual olympics today, I just about grasp the downhill even if it does look like attempted suicide to me!! I'm completely at a loss when it comes to the snowboard half pipe - I did watch the finals, but it didn't grab my attention at all.

And this is the back if that was the front and the front if that was the back! I really have badly overestimated this or underestimated me, mind you, I don't get as much knitting time during the week, but according to my schedule it is now Tuesday!
I've decided that as I currently have 10 socks started I'm going to see how many I can complete in addition to the cable/rib tunic, I'm going to aim for at least 5.

Still no sign of getting the VCR to work, but my brother has very kindly volunteered to sort it out for me, and I have tracked down all 3 manuals for the various components!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day 2, and sulks and smiles

Day 2 of my Olympic challenge apepars to demonstrate that I have underestimated my abilities/speed of knitting - I've finished what I had scheduled to do today by tea time. I'll see how things turn out, but I may start thinking of something else to add into the challenge, possibly the next section of the Pacific North West shawl.

This is one reason why I got more knitting done, the new VCR/DVD arrived but I can't get the TV to see it. I currently have my best pouty face on as I have tried every combination of cables that the manuals suggest but the TV still doesn't see it! I went back to my knitting in disgust!

This is a happy thing though, some lovely double knitting wool from Jen at Fyberspates, it's soft and luscious and best of all, as you can see, it's purple! I think possibly a moebius scarf/hood or a scarf, I'm waiting to see what it says it wants to be.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Happy things, annoying things and olympic progress

First happy thing, the flowers that beloved brought for me yesterday, I'm having a tough time coping with the tail end of winter and they are so bright and happy, they make me smile.
I've put the picture on my computer as wallpaper to keep after they die and add colour to my day.

The second happy thing, Hipknits sock yarn for me to experiment with - and it's purple - that always makes me happy! I'm definitely a purple personalthough I've not knitted myself anything much in purple I do want purple socks!

Annoying thing - I was actually making an identicla twin sock here - until I had to remove a great chunk of the ball because the next red stripe is in two pieces separated by an entire repeat of the yarn, I have my doubts as well that the two chunks of red wil actually add up to a whole chunk of red! I may have to remove another complete pattern repeat in order to resolve this, wasteful and annoying. Next time I'll deliberately do non identical, I'll knit one from the centre of the ball and one from the outside and forget identical anythings!

Here we have the cast on for my cable and rib tunic, looks shockingly uneven doesn't it? This is the reason why I never actually made anything in cotton before, I'd cast on and retreat in horror!

And here we have today's achievement, it's exactly the amount I had scheduled to do, I'd have got more done had I not fallen asleep part way through the Olympic opening ceremony and woken up an hour later! I note that the unevenness has largely disappeared and I suspect that the rest will vanish when it's blocked. I'm enjoying this pattern so far and not having any wrist trouble from knitting with the cotton. I'm not sure how much I'll achieve tomorrow as I have my new VCR arriving and will of course have to set it up, also my mother is planning to visit and I don't think I know the pattern well enough to talk and knit it yet.