Thursday, September 30, 2010

Socktober, the funnest month of the year.

Welcome to Socktober, the month where we celebrate all things sock. I am unduly excited about it. I love knitting socks, and I feel like I have not done much sock knitting recently. I just checked and last year I knit 16 pairs of socks, while this year so far I have knit seven, so that explains why I am feeling sock deprived. It's funny, because when I found out that people knit socks, I couldn't really see the point. And then I knit my first pair, and the rest is history - and a very full sock draw.
As well as being about to cast on a pair of socks, I am spinning sock wool. Today is a stunningly beautiful spring day - I just ate breakfast on the front balcony. My plan is to walk down the the shops, stopping at the park to cast on the socks, and this afternoon I'm going to take my wheel onto the balcony and do some spinning.
The Richmond Knitters are doing a BFF knitalong, so I'm off to cast mine on. I'm looking forward to seeing how the look in the different colours everyone has chosen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fingers and stripes and more cutting of knitting

As I promised myself, a quick and bright project. I decided not to bother making these gloves matchy, matchy, as I didn't want to waste too much of the yarn and Mini Mochi is not a yarn that like to make things match.

I knit the first glove. There were HUGE gaps between the fingers, which I had to darn shut. Perhaps learning to do fingers while drunk was not a good plan.

I knit the second glove:

For some reason the Mini Mochi did not change colours at all. The wool really annoyed me, it's a terribly underspun singles yarn. I've used it before for socks, and it holds up fine, but it is quite splitty to work with. And I didn't expect it to look this unmatched:

I have now cut the chewed bits off the bottom of my Train Tracks scarf, and will be finishing it up again over the next couple of days.

And for everyone who mocked Princess Daisy for looking a bit chubby in a previous post, here is a picture of her in all her beauty, and not next the feline equivalent of a supermodel:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Steeked and Complete!

On Wednesday night I finished the knitting of Leon’s aran jumper, crocheted the steeks and cut them. This was not as nerve wracking as it could have been, as I did a practice run on my long suffering swatch. Even completely unsecured, the fabric held together. Bennet and Gregor wool: I cannot say enough good things aboutit . Perfect colours for Leon, a nice texture, soft but still manly and it provided good stitch definition too:

The biggest moment of fear was when I cut the neck, and it came out a very strange square shape. Still, after I knit up the neckline it came out like this.

The steeks look like this on the inside, after they have been sewn down and I am very happy with them. They are so visible only because I did them in a lighter wool.

It fits, it suits and it satisfied a deep craving for cables that I have been harbouring. It also got around Leon’s caveat that he only likes plain jumpers in boring colours. And the sleeves were simple enough that I knit them in public, and in the pub, while the body was largely confined to knitting in private.

I’m very happy with this jumper. The only change I would make would be to make the sleeve tops slightly smaller. I loved steeking, both the principle and in practice. Next jumper I make for Leon will be Elizabeth Zimmermann’s kangaroo pouch sweater, in handspun, in preparation for making a steeked v-neck cardigan for myself.

Now I'm off to knit something small and brightly coloured.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Works in progress

I realised I have not blogged about Leon's aran jumper since before I actually cast in on, but I have been knitting away on it. Today I did the front neck and am now only 12 rounds from finishing the body of it. I'm not far off finishing the second sleeve, either. This means I could be steeking as early as Thursday.

(Is it weird that I'm knitting a jumper the exact colour of my carpet?)
I don't want to rush the knitting though, although I am enjoying it the weight and the cables are making my arms and shoulders rather sore. Last week, when I arrived at knit night Danielle was on her way to get a massage at the Chinese massage place three doors down. How can I not have noticed the existence of a Chinese massage place that close to somewhere I go every week??? Anyway, they did me a world of good, so I might pay them another visit tomorrow.

I have also started spinning the wool that I dyed last week. I am successfully spinning quite thin, and I am planning to make two ply socks. I am thinking the colours in this would look beautiful as Sunshine Socks.

(The colour is somewhere between these two photos)
And in something not directly related to crafting, we now have proper Internet at home I can watch YouTube videos! The photos on peoples' blogs come up! I don't load up a page on Ravellery and go make a cup of tea! I feel like I have truly joined the 21st century.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One piece of beautiful thread

Last Sunday, after I blogged, I found myself at a bit of a loose end, in that sort of pleasant, what shall I do next, sort of way. So I decided, on impulse, to wash some of my fleece.
For an uncoated sheep it was not very dirty, and smelt strongly, but only of lanolin. I gave it a cold wash, a wash with come hot water and scour, and a hot clear rinse. I'm so glad the worst of the drought is over, because this is not a water friendly operation - mind you, neither is my plan to grow cotton, but that's another story, involving borrowing a bit of garden from someone.
So I washed it, threw it in the washer to spin dry and pulled it out. It was so beautiful I had to quickly spin a lock on my spindle. I didn't flick this or prepare it in any way. It was still a little damp, and this is how it looked:

I am so looking forward to a spinning jumpers worth of this.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A very crafty long weekend

I took a four day weekend, because I could. I seem to have done a remarkable amount of crafting, although that wasn't really the plan, it's just what I like to do with my life. Its also the last long weekend I'm likely to have for a while, I'm doing a Certificate Four in training and assessment on Thursdays, and I figure I should try to be in the office at some point.
Another sample conversation from work. The person who I hoped would have some idea about my job - what I am supposed to be doing, how long I will be in the role etc, came back from leave. I saw her in the tea room.
She: 'Who are you reporting to?"
Me: Well, no one really".

Anyway, on
Thursday I finished spinning the first half of the Alpaca and plied it. . Friday I finished the sleeve of Leon's jumper and am more than halfway up the body. Now that I am three quarters of the way through spinning for his hat scarf and gloves I am concerned that I won't have enough yarn, and that it will look too busy stripped up together. I am considering buying some dark brown batts and using that as the stripe, although that could cause issues with the fact that the alpaca and the wool skeins are very different colours from each other.

I also finished plying some singles that I spun ages ago, that will be bathmatt number four.

On Saturday some of the Richmond knitters went to the Rose Street Markets. It was so nice to go out with like minded people, and to not be the first - and only - person, to pull out knitting while waiting for meals to arrive. I bought a reversible skirt. It always feels good to buy things from the people who make them, and who make them so pretty. And she is a knitter.
Then I header off to crafternoon, where the ladies were sewing and drawing and pouring resin - outside. I knitted some more, spun a bit on my drop spindle and headed home.
Today I've cleaned up the front balcony so the plants are neat and there is space and order. I'm so looking forward to taking my wheel out there when it gets a little bit warmer.
And that's my weekend. I've just made pancake mixture and Leon is down the shops buying bananas and supplies for dinner. It's going to be a lazy Sunday afternoon - a little more spinning, some knitting, I might read a bit, watch something on DVD.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How can something so cute be so evil?

Leon and I have a cat (actually we have two, but this post is only about one of them). This is Tarragon:

He looks cute, right? He's a lovely cat. He follows us around the house, sleeps on the bed and is obsessed with yarn. Nearly as obsessed as I am.
When I brought home my train tracks scarf
I knew that Tarragon was crushing on it. I would find it in odd places, like draped over the cat scratcher in the bedroom, and on the kitchen floor. Because of this I hung it on the very top of the hat stand. The third day after I got back I went to put it on and discovered this:

Now, luckily its near the end and I still have 100 grams of the yarn left, so repairing it will not be a major drama. But still!
And here's a photo of both cats. See why I forgive them anything?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Impulse dying

I had a wonderful day yesterday. I took the day off work to do fibre prep and wait for the Telstra man to come and fix the phone, so that we can have proper internet. Hand carding the alpaca didn't take as long as I expected:

and I got to start spinning it.
At about 5pm after a wonderful day of spinning and knitting and reading I started to think about what I am going to spin next. I want to spin for the Blackrose socks, but I didn't have anything suitable in my fibre stash. What I did have was this:

The everlasting wool. I bought this on a very rushed trip to Bendigo earlier this year. While the fibre is a robust merino the colour is ... lets say ill advised. I've spun it up and it looks even worse. So l threw it in the rice cooker with a mixture of water, purple and black food dye and vinegar. I would now described the colour as positively interesting, rather than simply scary.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this spins and knits up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sock fail

The other day i was getting re-dressed in the evening (I often ride home, have a shower, and then go out). I went to pull on my sock and discovered this:

Now I'd been wearing that sock all day, its not a new sock and is made of Socks that Rock, which is a sturdy sock yarn, and if I was told I could only use one sock yarn for the rest of my life, this would be it. No, it just failed.
So I fixed it, and although its not perfect it makes the sock wearable.
I'm not sure why i think this is significant enough to share. Maybe its a bit like what happened at work, everything is going along fine and then FAIL. And then of course I darn it, or throw it, or whatever and move on.

Anyway, I have taken today off work to prepare some fibre for spinning. I've popped some bread in the bread maker so I can have fresh bread for lunch, the sun is trying to come out and it looks like its going to be a very satisfying day. Have a great weekend!