Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pilates and finished socks



Once a week I do Pilates. I really enjoy the effects of it: my body is more balanced, I get a lot less aching in my shoulders, I run faster with less training. What I don't enjoy so much is the actual act of doing it. It's very finicky, and concentrated. But the rewards for effort are enormous, so I will certainly continue doing it. In order to amuse myself, and possibly by instructor, I made a pair of Tulip socks to wear to Pilates.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finsihing things, starting things and sitting in the park

I finished the Elizabeth Zimmerman February sweater on two needles, out of my hand dyed wool. I think its really cute. The main thing I noticed when knitting this is what a long way I have come in knitting lace this year. I made the grown up version in February and I really struggled with the lace. Even on the sleeves I put markers every two repeats. Now my mind has been trained to remember lace better, and even knit a fair bit of this drunk. Although I had to put it down on Christmas day, because I found myself squinting at it, closing one eye so that there would be only one baby jumper in front of my blurry eyes. In fact the only time this went wrong was at knit night, and I apologise for spending the last half hour I was there muttering under my breath and occasionally raising my head to cry "it's not working. Why? WHY??"
.

I also finished the yarn for the Bitteroot shawl. It's from a stunning EGMTKs braid.

Here is is in all its stages:

Although I think the final yarn is prettier than this, photographing yarn is HARD.

As for the starting things, I cast on for Stephanie Purl McPhee's tulip socks. I have been preparing wool from my corriedale fleece to spin and this afternoon I am going to start that. i am very excited because it is beautiful, and Leon is pretty excited about me handspinning a jumper for him. At least I think he is. Or at least he should be.

And today the weather was beautiful and sunny and we went and played frisbee in the park, and then sat under a tree while I worked the intarsia heel of the second sock. if there is one thing I've learnt it's that intarsia should be done with your eyes on the work. Although I did promise my Uncle a Kafe Fassett jumper, and if I do follow through with that I'll have to learn to intarsia under all circumstances.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Decimal complete


The Decimal cardigan is complete. Finished, blocked and worn. Despite my couple of freakouts while knitting it, I'm so happy with the results. As usual, none of the things I worried about were an issue. I thought I might be short on yarn, since the pattern called for exactly the ten balls of Rowan cotton glace that I had. No problem, I ended up only using seven and a half. I thought my hands might get sore from knitting with cotton. Again, no problem there. The Rowan Cotton Glace is beautiful. I want to knit with nothing but Rowan from now on. Maybe if I finish my stash completely in 2011, that can be my 2012 thing!

I was worried about the way my shoulders and body stitches would meet up:

That worked too.

We were meant to go to the botanical gardens for a picnic yesterday with my brother and the neiphlins, and windy. Which was fine, but it means these photos were taken at Elsternwick Station, not as scenic a spot as the Botanical Gardens. Today it is looking nicer and I may well take my husband and my knitting to the park for some quality sitting time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have you been good boys and girls this year?

If not, you might find that Santa brings you coal for Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Staycation!

On Fridays, my grandmother always used to ask me "what's your program for the weekend". Well, the weekend starts now, and it's ten days long! My program is as follows:

1) Finish Decimal
2) Knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman February baby sweater in the pink wool I dyed recently
3) Finish spinning the EGMTKs for Bitteroot
4) Start spinning the washed fleece for Leon's jumper
5) Wash more fleece

In non crafty activities I will be seeing family and friends, completely going through my clothes cupboard and folding things up, and spending lots of time on the couch with Leon. Unless the weather gets nice, in which case I will be spending lots of time in the park with Leon.

Have a merry whatever and a happy everything.

Love, Sharon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Decimal Terror

In every larger project I knit there is a moment of terror, where I am absolutely convinced that the entire project is going to be a disaster. Until last night I hadn't had that moment on the Decimal. Oh, I had the freak out with the sleeves. Then I had the "why are my stitch counts off?" after joining the sleeves and the body (Much thanks to Jen for working that one out for me). But generally I have been knitting along, enjoying the simple lace, the rhythm of the thing, the beauty of the Rowan yarn. I am somewhere about 6 rows off the top of the yoke now. Last night I tried it on. And now I am having that moment, the one where I am convinced the entire project is a complete bust. It seems very small. Now, that's not a fair judgement for a cotton cardigan, unblocked, with no button band, the sleeves not yet seamed, tried on in the pub. But I am going to spend the rest of the day worrying about it, until I can get home and have another look at it.

If my job was more interesting, would I spend less time worrying about my knitting at work?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Decimal

This week has mainly been about knitting on my Decimal cardigan. I've joined the sleeves and am working on the yoke. While it has been a generally fun knit, there have been moments of stress. The worst one was when this. I cast on for straight sleeves, staring with 53 stitches, and planning to increase to the 83 stitches called for in the pattern. Two days later I was in the shower before work, feeling happy and contented with my world and my knitting, when I realised, with a crashing thud of my heart, that I was going to end up with the right number of stitches, but with the pattern in the wrong place. When I looked at pictures of Decimal I realised that the pattern placement is vital, to get the beautiful placement of decreases, as shown in Snowden Becker (the designers) piece:
So I thought about it, I worried about it, I didn't do any work because my job is really boring and my energy was elsewhere. Ravellry is blocked at work, so I couldn't look it up on there. I sent emergency emails and got comfort but no concrete advice. Basically I had to move the entire pattern 5 stitches across. I really didn't want to rip, I was already half way through the sleeves. Eventually I took a leaf out of the great Cat Bordhi's book: she says in a tube you can put the increases anywhere and it will still be a tube. I did twice as many increases on one side as the other. That this can work did my head in, but it has worked.

I've also finished spinning the first half of the singles for the Bitteroot shawl.
I love the way this is looking and it is an absolute delight to spin.

And now I'm off to Christmas at Leon's family, hopefully I'll be able to make more progress on the Decimal while I'm there this afternoon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My weekend in craft , by Sharon

When In was at high school, my best friend Anna and I would update each other on Monday mornings by writing little stories in each others school diaries. These were invariably titled thing like "My weekend, by Anna". I found my old school diaries the other day, and there they were. And although it's not Monday yet, here's an update on my weekend (or at least the crafty activities. I did actually leave the house, but, since I didn't take my knitting with me, you don't want to hear about that, now do you?)

Actually it was a long weekend, because I was sick on Friday. I was absolutely exhausted and couldn't get on my bike to get to work. It just all seemed far too difficult. I spent the day resting around the house. I plied the wool I have been spinning for Owls. I am extremely happy with how the yarn came out- its soft and fluffy and squishy and balanced. I probably won't knit it until autumn, because a jumper knit in one piece is a bad plan for a Melbourne summer, but I am very much looking forward to it.
I also dyed some Bennet and Gregor wool pink. It's for a February baby sweater for my niece.

I navaho plied the last of the stripped wool for Leon's mitts, and then I started spinning a pretty EGMTKs polworth/alpaca/tussah silk blend in a laceweight, intended for the bitterroot shawl.


I crocheted some pretty cat toys out of Mini-mochi, since all handknits Tarragon has damaged have been made out of this slightly furry sock wool. The cats are playing with them a little, and we found one floating in the water bowl, something he does like to do with his toys. It made me wonder if i should have used polyfill to stuff them, rather than ugly, scratchy wool.

I've done a little bit on my Decimal cardigan. The Richmond knitters are doing a knit -a-long and I am really enjoying knitting it. The pattern is extremely well written and I think it's coming out well.
Although my photography skills leave something to be desired, since it really is a pretty colour blue colour, not an odd grey.

I'm a bit tired today and its raining and I think I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend spinning and knitting and sitting on the couch. And that's it really, my weekend in craft, by Sharon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Presents in the mail!

I've been haunting my letterbox a bit recently. The race pack for Sundays run never arrived which worries me a little, not because it matters - I went and picked up a new one - but what it if it had been something precious, like yarn? Or fibre? Or knitting books? On Tuesday I went to the parcel centre to pick up two parcels. One was this:

Hand dyed cotton fibre from Stranded in Oz. I joined Mel's spindle club at the beginning of the year and every two months she has sent me something delicious to spin, as well as various pretties, including a stitches per inch wrap, a spindle and stitch markers. I wasn't sure how I would go about receiving fibre that I hadn't specifically chosen, but I've loved it. Maybe because everything that has come has been so pretty, or maybe because its all been so different: Alpaca and Cotton and Merino and a tencel blend. And the colours, blue and brown and rainbow and just wonderful.

As well as this I got a package from Miss Babs. I bought the lace weight for the Knitty lace shawl pattern Annis. It’s the yarn featured in the pattern and it looks and feels amazing. Clearly I have gone shawl mad, perhaps because they are not as hard as I thought they would be, or perhaps because I really do have enough socks.

As well as the yarn I bought 200g of fibre. Miss Babs had marked it at $8 instead of $18 dollars - she honoured the price, and managed to get the package delivered to me within a week, both of which are really impressive. I have no idea what I am going to spin with this, but I am sure something will come to me.

I think now the only thing I am waiting on is Interweave Favorite socks and a Neale Stephenson novel. And a Webs order that they are holding because the Malabrigo is out of stock. And my December Fibre Club order should be here next week. I wonder if there will be any other surprises in my letterbox?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finished obejct: Argyle Vest

Yesterday I finished the Argyle Vest. It felt like the finishing took forever, but that's probably because this is my first garment for over a year that required seams. And picking up for necklines and that sort of thing. Anyway it's done now. I'll block it again before I gift it, in March.
I think it looks good. This afternoon I am not wildly enthusiastic about it, probably because I have so much else going on, like my family being here, and work being weird. Additionally today I ran the 10km "fun" run I have been training (not as hard as I should have been) for over the last 8 weeks. I surprised myself by a) having fun and b) finishing in under 57 minutes. I've cast on my next project, which I AM wildly enthusiastic about, but I'll talk about that when there is more of it discuss.
Vest modelled here by Leon, who is pretty much the exact same size as my father.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finished - Handspun socks

I finished the socks I was knitting out of my handspun, hand dyed yarn. Yes, I have to write that, or say it, or point it out to people who haven't even considered where the yarn came from. Anyone who asked me what I was knitting got told "socks, I made the wool myself Dyed it, spun it, now I'm knitting it..." I'm very proud. My English grandmother (who is actually from Germany, but lives in England) is here with my Uncle and Aunt for a visit. She saw me knitting and commented that I knit continental, like she does. Or rather did. I have many memories of her coming to visit for summer and sitting in the living room knitting and reading.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Three quarters of the way there

I've been fortunate to have a three day weekend for the first time in two months. I've really been feeling the lack of time. I've spend quite a lot of the weekend crafting. I've finished spinning the singles for my Owls jumper:

500 grams of them. Unfortunately I've used up all my bobbins, so I'm going to have to make them all into balls before plying. Knitty told me I could, so hopefully it will work.

I've finished the intarsia on my fathers vest.. I was worried the Pear Tree yarn would grow in the wash, but it seems to have actually firmed up a little. As always with intarsia it looks much better after a bath.

I've finished the first of the Sunshine socks, and have started the second. Like all Cookie A patterns I've knit this is logical,easy to memorise and charming. I'm loving knitting with my handspun, for me it takes the process of making it myself to a whole new level.

Also, although I haven't actually been at work, I'm told my blocking wires arrived! It takes the edge of Monday morning, knowing I've got fibre related goodies waiting for me.

And now I'm going to go put on a frock. It's Leon and my one year anniversary and we are going to dinner at the restaurant where he proposed to me. When we got married we didn't have a cake, because it wouldn't have worked with the way we did our event. I've spent the whole year saying that I want a wedding cake. Today Leon went out and came back with this:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Green

On Friday I bought some green shoes.
I decided I needed some new green socks, so I dyed up some sock wool, using food dye and my trusty Le Cruset.
It definitely turned out green.
I'm going to make Embossed Leaves, from Interweave Favorite Socks, as soon as the book arrives in the mail.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sheep, sheep and bicycles.



Last weekend Leon and I went rode from Ballarat to Skipton on the rail trail,spent the night in Skipton and rode back. It was a lovely ride, about 150kms door to door. I was glad I cast on the sock, which was perfect train and pub knitting. the riding itself was fun, the weather was great and the views were stunning for a fibre fanatic.

It was so nice to be touring again. I think my bike was plased to be out of the city, too. My bike and I did thousands and thousands of touring kilometres, and then life sort of got in the way, and I haven't toured since before I started dating Leon (when I first met him I was on a bike tour, but that's a whole other story). It was such a pleasure to be sharing something I love with someone I love.




Thursday, November 18, 2010

I did something fairly out of character yesterday: I started a new project while I still had my fathers vest on the needles. The reason was that I've finished the back, and the front is really not a portable project. I cast on for Cookie A's Sunshine socks, out of handspun sock wool. Leon and I are going bike touring this weekend, and i thought socks would be a more suitable accompaniment. I love Cookie A - of 11 pairs of socks knit this year, 5 have been Cookie A patterns.
The vest is progressing well - as I said, the back is finished and the front is half done. Now I'm off to get the house in order before we leave for our trip.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Centenial

I moved my fathers argyle vest to started on Ravelry and noticed it was my hundredth project. I don't know why we get so excited about "100's". One day when I was out riding with my father and the odometers on our bikes ticked over the 100 mark I asked him why that is so exciting. He answered that 'Its a decimal number ending in two zeros". True but not helpful.
Anyway, of 100 projects, this is only my second intarsia one. Not because intarsia is hard, but because its annoying:


On a happier note, I found out what happened with my blocking wires - apparently the courier company left a note in my letter box. Really? Because I stalk that letterbox pretty hard. Anyway, they are now going to be delivedy to work. I'll definitely have them before the next shawl, scheduled for January.
I'm off to wind some handspun for socks, because I need something to knit in class tomorrow, and I don't think those 9 balls of tangled wool are the best plan for public knitting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A finished item photo essay



Knit:Soak:
Block with pins:

Finished:


And wear:


Happy.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Drama, Dram Drama

Drama 1: On Sunday I cast on for an argyle vest for my Father. I’m using pear Tree wool, and for the accents colours some leftover Jo-Sharp and am slightly concerned about that it might be slightly too big. At knit night, when I mentioned I was using this wool a few people piped up with “Pear Tree is lovely, but it grows”.
I bought the yarn at the Caulfield craft show earlier this year, I sort of wanted to make a cardigan for me out of it, but when I decided to knit a vest for my Dad’s birthday I realised I could use this, and reduce the stash. I had 510 grams in 5 hanks. I needed four hundred grams, so I skeined it up, cast on for the back and the front, and off I went.
Yesterday, after the pub I compared the back, which is half done, to the front and realised that one skein of the wool was slightly darker than the rest. Not enough that I noticed when casting on, but, when laid on top of each other it’s obvious.
When I get home from work today I’m going to rip the front back and start again with the spare skein. This will also give me a chance to sort out the intarsia balls of wool in a way that doesn’t leave them as hopelessly tangled as my first attempt.

Drama 2: I have not yet blocked my shawl. The blocking wires still haven’t shown up. I’ve never had a package lost in the post before, and I’m still hoping it will show up. I’m going to buy some rust proof pins over the weekend and pin block it, because the weather is getting nicer and I want to wear it.

Drama 3: There are no photos today because I am, naughtily, posting this at work. The issue is that my life is getting in the way of my crafting and blogging. Yesterday when I got home from work I had the choice between sitting on the balcony and spinning in the sunshine for an hour or going for a run: and I went for a run. And tonight after work I have pilates and then I have to cook dinner and then prepare my “learn to knit in 20 minutes” presentation. Last weekend I had quite a lot of time for spinning, and spun up a whole bobbin for Owls, this weekend there are other things, including a three year olds birthday party.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finishing things, starting things

I finished the shawl, which makes me happy.

I love the way it looks like watermelon. I love the fact that I calculated correctly and used up nearly all my wool. It's still unblocked because I ordered some blocking wires two weeks ago from Brisbane and they haven't arrived yet. i know I need to follow that up, but I keep presuming they will arrive soon. On Friday I got home, and discovered one of those exciting blue notices from the post office. I hopped back on my bike, got to the post office and, when the lovely post office lady gave me my package, was actually disappointed that it was from Interweave! The contents did not disappoint though, Abby Frankenmont's drafting video. Abby taught me to spin on a spindle and I liked the video, it reinforced that what I am doing on the wheel is alright. And that's what I have been doing today, spinning for my Owls jumper. I had to stop for a break though. It turns out that spinning on the wheel and running use the same muscles on the backs of the legs, and mine are rather tired from a sprint session in the park yesterday. I'm also meant to be preparing a presentation - I have to teach a class for half an hour on any topic, so on Thursday I am going to attempt to teach 18 police to knit. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The four day weekend lived up to its promise. I knitted on the Sunrise shawl both inside the house and in various public locations. It's going well, and I'm around 14 rows from finishing. I'm shortening the pattern slightly, partly because I don't want a big shawl, mainly because I fear I am going to run out of wool. I have been doing desperate calculations, based on the idea that seven rows take ten grams. If I'm lucky I will make it to the end, otherwise I have some nearly white sock yarn that matches, I can cast off in that.

I spun and Navaho plied 105 meters of alpaca for Leon's scrunchable hat . I learnt that fibre preparation really impacts on the finished product and that my ability to card dirty alpaca is not very high. Also that spinning 50 / 50 silk alpaca mix is fun, fun, fun and I want more of it.

I plied together some natural brown wool, that I am going to use for my owls jumper. I was not too enthusiastic about my attempt at long draw until I plied it, but now its soft and strong and bouncy and I love it. I've been wanting to knit this jumper since I first saw it, and I think knitting it out of handspun will be amazing.

I also took advantage of Webs free postage offer. I bought 3 lots of sock wool - Malabrigo, Dream in Colour and Aranchino, and 150 grams of laceweight Malabrigo for a Lettuce jumper I have been obsessing about. I'm a little bit in love with Hannah Fettig, and with knitting jumpers out of laceweight. Oh and some spinning fibre...

I don't feel too bad about adding to the stash, since its 450 grams of wool, and I am taking 500 grams out on the first of next month, and the handspun I will be knitting for rest of November will create some real room in the stash box. Hopefully.

My parents are away and we've had their half Bengal, Fern, staying with us. wherever you look in our plce there is a spotted cat. Here's the beautiful tarragon, helping me knit my shawl.

Other than the fantastic weekend I am sulking a bit, because I have to work for a living and it's really cutting in to my crafting time. Still it's only two days until the weekend. Here's hoping my blocking wires arrive before then, so I can get the shawl off the needles, blocked and ready to wear for Monday morning. If this shawl won't cheer me up, nothing will!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cup weekend!

I finished my mother's socks, and they are in Queensland, all wrapped up and waiting for her birthday. I enjoyed the second sock more than the first, but never really got into the rhythm of the slipped stitches.

Then I cast on the Revontuli - Northern Lights Shawl, in Zauberball I bought at the Caulfield craft show earlier this year. I love the colours, but couldn't see it working well as socks. I'm enjoying knitting this, it's simple enough that I have the pattern memorised, but very effective. I think it will be the first of a number of small shawls over the next few months, although probably the only one that looks like a watermelon.

This morning I have carded some alpaca, changes the bobbin on my wheel and am ready to spin. I have a four day weekend and plan to finish about 60 grams of stripy 8ply alpaca, to make a hat for Leon. I think its going to be a fantastic weekend. It's raining and I'm wearing polar bear pyjamas and waiting for Leon to get up, so I can fry up the pancakes from the mixture I made earlier. Then I have the whole next four days for knitting and spinning, interrupted only by dates to see friends, which I will, no doubt knit right through. I'm reading a good book, I went for a run yesterday when the weather was still nice, so I won't feel obligated to do so in the rain and I have a good supply of tea in the house. It should be a lovely time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Socktober 24th

It's been a fairly quiet week here,knitting wise. I've been working on my mothers Leyburns. The first one was hard going. I think I quickly understood the relatively simple pattern, but did not understand what was actually going on, which made it a struggle.
Anyway, I've just turned the heel on the second one, so it won't be long now. I want to be with her when she gets them though, as they are a bit tight over the heel, but great once they are on, kind of like Jaywalkers. As she has quite ... generous ankles, maybe I should have chosen a different pattern, but these are so pretty. They are going on holidays on the 28 of this month, so I have to decide whether to send the socks with them, or wait. Ahh, decisions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The sock love just keeps on coming

I finished the knee high Noro socks: Leon calls them my witchey socks and I think it's obvious why:

I love them, although if I were to knit them again I would do my normal wedge toe, rather than this one, which looks great with the stripes, but is not quite as comfortable.

My intention after this was to knit something other than socks, but it turns out it's my mothers birthday in two weeks. Now I know the date of my mothers birthday, but I had not put it together in my head that the 5th of November is two weeks away. My mother asked me to knit her another pair of socks, as she has worn completely through he soles of the William Street socks I knit her last winter. Clearly she appreciated the knit, obviously she loved them to death, so I judge her as deserving the knit. I had planned to make her Leyburn's for her next gift, I just hadn't worked out that her birthday was coming up before next winter.

To compound the panic, my parents are going on holidays on the 28th of October, so if these socks are to be gifted on her birthday they have to be finished by Wednesday week. I decided to knit a cuff down version of Leyburn, in this pretty wool by Stranded in OZ, that has been in my stash since Bendigo two years ago. It makes the prettiest little flower pattern. I wouldn't be worried about the timing but, despite what the Yarn Harlot said about them I'm not finding these a particularly quick knit. A very pretty one, yes, but not fast. And my hands are getting rather achy as well. If I don't get the pair finished by the time the Parents leave I'll send one to be given on her birthday, and give her the other one on their return.

I'm almost socked out. I'm going to finish this pair and then knit something else, on 5.5 mm needles. Although I will be using sock wool again. I feel like I am burning through the sock stash, I'm going to have used 5 balls of sock wool in a little over a month. I am resisting putting in an order with Blue Moon Fiber arts, but I'm not sure how long that will last. All those pretties.