Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Sneaker liner project: Perfect Striped anklet pattern

I love stripped socks, in colour changing or plain yarn, but I really don’t like the way a heel flap interrupts the stripes. I have tried a short row heel, but the rows don’t line up neatly, so I developed this sock. It uses top down construction and an afterthought heel. There is a great tutorial for the afterthought heel here.

Materials: 25grams each of 2 different coloured sock weight yarns - a little more if you have big feet.

2.5mm x 5 double pointed needles

Small amount of waste yarn

Instructions:

Using colour 1: Cast on 60 stitches.

Divide stitches evenly over 4 needles. Join for knitting in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker to indicate beginning of the round.

Knit 4 rows 1 x 1 ribbing in colour 1. Change to colour 2 and knit 4 rows 1x 1 ribbing. Returning to colour 1 knit 4 rows plain. The leg can be lengthened by knitting extra stripes here.

Place afterthought heel: Knit 30 stitches onto waste yarn, then reknit them with colour 2.

Foot: Continue knitting plain, changing colours every 4 rows. Measuring from the waste yarn and the FRONT of the ankle, knit until it is 5 centimetres shorter than your toes.

Toes: Round 1:

Needle 1: K1 SSK knit to end of needle. Needle 2: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog k1. Needle 3: k1 ssk knit to end of needle. Needle 4 : Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog k1.

Round 2: Knit to end of round.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 16 stitches remain.

Kitchener remaining stitches.

Heel: Remove waste yarn. Place live stitches on needles. Beginning with colour 1 follow the Toes instructions.

Wear and admire your perfect stripy socks.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Romi Hill

Romi Hill is a designer and to me, she is to shawls what Cookie A is to socks. Which is to say, I want to knit everything she designs. In this case she has a series of shawls, called 7 small shawls to knit. There are two books worth of these, and the recently finished Taygete is from the first one.


I want to knit every single one of these patterns. And really, I'd like to make them all out of handspun.

I became aware of Romi not through her design work but because of her shawl pins, which are beautiful and also ideal for keeping cardigans closed. On her blog she had a picture of an orifice hook she made. Since I've switched to the e-orifice on my Majacraft Rose a hook is useful. Not necessary, but useful. I was spinning low twist singles which were breaking a bit. Romi doens't actually sell the hooks in her shop, but when I messaged her, she made me one


And it's so pretty.

And finally my current project is Romi Hill's Bitterroot, from Knitty. It's my first beaded shawl and I'm very excited about the yarn, which I carded and spun, and the beads, which are so pretty and match perfectly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tidying up

I've been very busy the last week, getting the gift knits finished and the WIPs under control. At one point I had 5 things on the needles. I think that might be a record for me.

I finished my father's socks. They are not as matchy as I normally try for but the grey on grey pattern was almost impossible to tell where the beginning of the pattern repeat is.

After I finished the gift knitting I picked Taygete up again. I put it down at the beginning of the cast off on knit night 2 Mondays ago and picked it up this Monday to finish the cast off. The picot cast off was time consuming, but worth it now it is finished and blocked.

I'm going to get pictures of it being worn tomorrow. I bought 7 dresses last weekend, because I'm sick of feeling like I don't have any summer clothes and I think this will really be wearable with them, for when I go into airconditioned places. For some reasons the new trams are airconditioned to about 18 degrees which is actually quite awful when I am on the street wearing very little because it is 40 degrees outside. A s an aside, if we have any of those really, really hot days this summer I might just go ride those German trams - my knitting, a podcast and a seat in the corner. Bliss.

So, on the needles I have one socklet, which I am at the toe of. Once I finish it and get (hopefully) decent photos I will publish the pattern on Ravelry. I'm a bit nervous about that, but, since this is now my go to sock pattern for the Sneaker Liner Project at the very least I want to be able to put my own projects up properly on Ravelry.

I also stopped spinning for the week I was gift knitting and it was so nice to sit down at the wheel again and spin. I missed it more than I expected. I've finished the singles for Leon's winter set and will be plying tonight and tomorrow.

Also this week I had a birthday and people gave me presents, and most of the things I've ordered in the mail have arrived. More on those things tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On stripes and gifts

I decided to put everything else aside and knit the gifts for my parents - after all I can finish the projectsl for myself anytime, but a handknitted gift is a timely thing. I went through the stash looking for 110 meters of yarn to use for my mother's slippers, but nothing grabbed me. Everything was either too short or mill dyed. When I look at commercially dyed yarn these days it just looks so flat and boring. I didn't really have time to dye something for her, so I took two skeins of hand spun that were not quite long enough and stripped them: I'm quite happy with how they came out and I am reminded - like I need to be - how satisfying knitting with my own handspun is.
For my father I am using yarn from the opposite end of the spectrum; self stripping yarn from Spotlight. Judge me not, I love Moda Vera Noir. It feels very like Opal except it is super cheap. And it wears like nothing on earth. My father has only one pair of handknit socks and he wears them all the time, so I'm going to make him socks for every present for a while so that he can rotate them and not wear them out, like he did the first pair I made him.

And if it seems like I might be obsessed with stripes, that's because I am.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sleeplessness and Indecision

Last night I was lying in bed, unable to sleep. Leon was asleep, the cats where asleep and I was lying there wide awake. To soothe and entertain myself I was thinking about knitting. At knit night last night I got up to the picot cast off on Taygete. I’m also (almost) half way through a pair of Sneaker Liner project footlets, that I need to finish before I can publish the pattern, because we struggled to get good photos of the Noro ones, and these should photograph better. After that I was undecided about what to knit and Sonia and I spent quite a bit of time last night discussing whether it was time to start our Tempest KAL. And then I realised I have a gift giving occasion in eleven days.
The gifts we give at Chanukah are relatively modest, but I cannot abide the thought of buying things for my parents, when I have a pair of socks queued for my Dad and a pair of Slipper Soles that I bought for my mother at Sock Summit 2009.
I’m a little bit undecided about what to do – the cast off for the shawl may take quite a while, given that it is picot and goes around the whole shawl. The sensible thing to do would be to put aside the shawl, with only the cast off to go, leave the single footlet lonely for the moment and start my father’s socks tonight. I’m trying to convince myself to do that, rather than complete the cast off and then try to knit a pair of socks and a pair of slippers in eight days: I’m fairly sure I can do it, but not convinced I will be able to use my hands afterwards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's quicker when it's thicker

I sampled the fibre for Leon's winter set, an Ashland Bay Merino / Silk / Alpaca blend. And the sample went so quickly. This is (I hope) an around an Aran weight, and it's squishy and plump and delightful. I spun it from point of twist which helps keep it airy and also means I have the other hand free. Given the beautiful weather we are having I spun this on the back balcony, in the sunshine. One hand free has been perfect for cider and coffee in the sunshine.


Right, so this lot was 82 grams and 14 4meters, perfect for the Claudia hat. Now, I'm off to spin the remaining 300 grams to complete the yarn for Leon's winter set 2012.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sometimes garter stitch is all I need.

I started the socks that Ursula and I were knitting out of the hand dyed yarn (Thelonius by Cookie A) and they didn't go well. There were two reasons for this: Firstly is was a bad pattern / yarn combination and secondly the pattern drove me insane. It has a ten round chart, and travelling stitches rounds every fourth round. This led to me feeling that there was absolutely no flow the to the process. Also, it may be that I have gone way overboard on socks recently. So I put it aside and cast on Taygete, by Romi Hill. I'm a bit obsessed by Romi, she designs amazing shawls, as well as creating really pretty shawl pins - and orifice hooks, but that's a story for another day.
Taygete's centre is a simple two row garter stitch stripe, with a yarn over thrown in there every 4th stitch.Link It's soothing and satisfying. And, as I always say, there is nothing like knitting with my own handspun. I think it's a great pattern / yarn combo and I am just relaxing into it.

On the weekend I finished plying the yarn for another Romi Hill shawl - Bitterroot. I'm really happy with how this came out - it’s a heavy lace weight and I love the colours. I got 817 meters for 150 grams, which is plenty to do the large size, or whatever I eventually decide on. My only regret, with the benefit of experience is that I didn't put more Angelina in it. It has a very subtle shine. Next time I card I am going to use ridiculous amounts of sparkle. This yarn is very nice though, it's soft and squishy and I'm very much looking forward to knitting with it. I'll probably knit Romi Hill shawls until I really need a break from them and then go back to knitting Cookie A socks constantly. Moderation? Not for this knitter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I finished something and something arrived in the mail



I made a colourwork hat to match the Wollmeise mitts I finished a couple of weeks ago:

The pattern is the Cat's Eye Tam by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I changed the fairisle part to match my vagabond mitts and am very happy with how they look together. I love the crown decreases and I love the fact they worked: I knit the second half of this project on a very long work trip to Wangaratta. The train was delayed and I knew I was too tired to knit, but that didn't stop me, so I was pleased that the very clever decreases came together properly.

Then yesterday I got a package in the mail:
My 63 gram Bosworth Morado plying spindle. I think it's so pretty, kind of like 1960s furniture, and it spins amazingly. Despite the weight of it I can make quite a fine thread, although I suspect I will only use this one for plying, since I have my beautiful Bids Eye maple spindle for spinning singles on: Here's a gratuitous shot of the two of them together:

I'm spinning for socks, and really did get a remarkable amount done on my day in Wangaratta.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dying with Ursula

A little while ago - at the end of October apparently - Ursula and I dyed some yarn. She blogged about it here, quite thoroughly - In her post she wandered what they would like knit up as mitred squares - so here they are - the top four squares being the yarn that we dyed:

I wish I'd thought to knit them up in the same order that Ursula photographed them, but that's a very tiny regret in the scheme of a blankie!

Anyway I'm off to cast on the socks with the Blue BFL that Ursula mentioned, we are doing a Cookie A Thelonius knit-a-long. Yes, the Cookie A obsession continues!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spindle love

I finished the dyed by me merino that I was spinning on my Ist Turkish spindle. I loved spinning of the Turkish. I didn't love the plying. I won't mention the maker of my plying spindle, but it was quite badly designed and the edge was bevelled and thin, and after a couple of falls the edge has started to sort of flake away. I'm not that sad though, because I have a Bosworth Maxi in the mail.
I love the stripes and how they came out. This was originally intended for socks, but came out way to thin. I got 472 meters from 90 grams and am going to make a Romi Hill shawl. I seem to do a lot of spinning for Romi Hill shawls, but I need to actually knit them.

As soon as I finished plying I started spinning on my never been used Bosworth Birdseye Maple mini. I love both the spindle and the fibre, which is a EGMTKs superwash merino / nylon blend, which I dyed myself. Both the spindle and fibre are pure joy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Norovember parcel

Two weeks ago Katie came to Monday night knitting with a Noro two stripe scarf (Rav link) made of Noro Kochoran. I had never heard of Kochoran, but its a bulky yarn, made of 50 % wool, 30 % angora and 20 % silk. Katie's scarf was so lovely and squishy and warm and pastel that I came home and immediately ordered yarn to make my own.
I hadn't thought of doing this scarf in pastel and was a bit concerned about choosing the colours on-line, but I went and picked up my parcel today and it's perfect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Norovember socks: finished and started


I finished the Kalajoki socks. I'm very happy with them. They are almost matchy, which is not bad considering the second sock was made of scraps of left over balls.

Princess Daisy is clearly very happy with them too and really showed her love during my little photoshoot.

I'm doing another pair of Noro socks, this time out of left overs of actual sock wool for the Sneaker Liner Project.
The challenge here is not the pattern, I've put together a pattern involving 4 row stripes, an after thought heel and a wedge toe, it's that I've decided to write it up and publish it on Ravelry. I thought that would be quite easy, because it's just a series of simple steps, but then I sat down the write it. Communicating the actual steps is considerably harder than just coming up with the idea. Hopefully I'll be back in a couple of days with a pair of anklets and an intelligible pattern.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Coming to the Norovember party

It's been Norovember for 20 days and I am just about to cast on my first Noro project for the month. This is not due to a lack of love for Noro, but because I have very little in my rapidly diminishing stash. I've got 100 grams of left over sock yarn in three different colour ways and this:

Which are the remnants from my mothers Adult Surprise Jacket. I bought the yarn in my first ever Webs purchase and my first ever Noro project, and I used 11 and a half balls for the ASJ. I think I bought 16 balls! I may have been over excited about buying Noro. I have been using the leftovers for various things ever since. Ravelry tells me that this is my sixth project using left overs. I don't love the colours, orange is more my mothers style than mine, but they are quite pretty, in that amazing Noro way.

I'm making the
Kalajoki socks, which is a free pattern I've had my eye on for ages. Also in celebration of Norovember I put in another Noro order at Webs. Hopefully I will receive that package before the end of the month, and I'll show you then, but I can assure you it's not 16 balls of Silk Garden, featuring orange as the dominant colour.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FO: Fair Isle Mitts




For the last week I've been knitting these colour work mitts in Wollmeise. I very much enjoyed the two colour knitting, although because I had to keep an eye on the charts it wasn't the best for TV watching. Which didn't really stop me. I prefer shows with lots of dialogue and very little action.

I really like how they look, and the attention to detail in the pattern. The palm stripes amuse me and the braid and diamond pattern on the wrist is so pretty I am going to reuse it in another project very soon.

There is a slight curl at the ends. Hope fully this will block out, although I'm not really sure what I can block them on. Maybe a can of "V" except I don't drink that stuff, and don't really want to buy it just for blocking. Any ideas?

Monday, November 14, 2011

FO: Last chance cardigan

I named my Rosumund cardigan the Last Chance Cardigan because I felt it was my last chance to knit something in 10 ply before summer arrives. At some points in knitting it felt like my last chance to prove my proficiency as a knitter. Despite a well written, easy to follow pattern I struggled at points. I accidentally made the cable differently from that in the pattern. I was consistent and it looks fine, and once again I am reminded that knitting under the influence can have unexpected consequences. Then I decided to do the cable pattern around the bottom edge. I completed it, cast off and tried it on, at which point I realised that the cables make the bottom pull in very tight. Not flattering. I pulled it out and reknit the bottom.

As a finished product I think I like it, although it has come out more cute and less elegant than I was hoping for. I like the way it really is reversible and there are a number of ways to style it - done up only at the top,


only with the hooks and eyes, stocking stitch side out, reverse side out and of course I like having another green jumper. I also like the fact that today really is my last chance to wear a jumper, even a sleeveless one. Summer is well and truly on its way and for me the endless long hot sunny days more than compensate for not knitting and wearing jumpers for a season.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rosie the Elephant

On Friday a box was delivered, from Majacraft. I was preparing dinner for seven and didn't have time to open it. On Saturday morning I put her together and her she is: Rosie the elephant wheel.She is beautiful and elegant, but hulking compared to Gemima my Little Gem.
Pretty much as soon as I had her set up my brother and his family came around. To entertain Isabella my four year old niece I "taught" her to spin on the Little Gem. Considering how little she is I thought she did a good job of treadling. Carrie, her mother, has concerns about Isabella's physical co-ordination and told me that she would really like Isabella learn to knit and spin. I think Isabella is just a member of this family and being uncoordinated goes with our curly hair and brown eyes. Still I very much look forward to teaching her to knit and spin once she is a little bit older.

As for Rosie, she is a joy to spin on. I'm spinning the second bobbin of lace weight, to ply with the first, which you can just see on Gemima in the photo above, and it's taking a little bit of getting used to because spinning on her feels different. The height of the orifice is a bit higher, which I'm hoping will be better for my posture and I have switched to the e-orifice, which I think I prefer.
And as a piece of furniture she is so beautiful. The wheel that I learnt to spin on had a spoked ships wheel of a similar style and I find it charming. Today is cloudy, Leon has a new computer universe (Skyrim, for those who care) and I have a good audio book and a brand new wheel to spend the day getting to know. Bliss.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A very Von Trap solution

Once a month Leon and I have my parents over for a formalish dinner. By formal I mean three or four courses and I put on a dress and all mobiles are turned off for the duration. We normally have place mats on the table. I know my father thinks that a table cloth is more appropriate, but I'm not a big fan, and besides, we didn't own one.Tonight we are having Leon's parents as well as mine for dinner. We only own 4 matching place mats and Leon said point blank that we have to have something on the table, because he doesn't want it to get scratched. I said point blank that we were not going to use non matching place mats.So, I pulled apart an old doona cover that we don't use anymore - I love it, but Leon does not. After I had finished sewing the table cloth I realised that the off cuts would be just enough for matching serviettes.

I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out and, as Leon said "our grandmothers would be proud of us". Mine certainly would, being both thrifty and a sewer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2012: The year of the Cookie.

Last year Cookie A launched her inaugural sock club. I thought about joining, but I was also thinking about joining the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rocking Sock Club. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I didn’t join either. A few weeks ago I stumbled across some of the Cookie A patterns and yarns that were part of the 2011 club and I had to join for 2012. There was no prevaricating, no big decision. I wanted in.

Sign ups began 9 September, 8 am Pacific Standard Time, which is 3am Melbourne time. I told myself I wasn’t going to wake up at three in the morning to sign up, especially as Cookie A told me (on Ravelry) that she thought that there would still be spots available in the morning. Still, at 5 am I was sitting in the dark squinting at the computer screen, which seemed very, very bright. Despite my inability to see straight at 5am my 5.05 I was signed up and back in bed.And too excited to sleep. So today I am quite tired, but thrilled to be playing along with Cookie A and the other club members for 2012.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last chance cardigan



It's spring in Melbourne. What that means, this year at least, is that we are alternating 2 or three days of winter with two or three days of summer. Nothing in between. I thought that before the consistently warm weather hits I would knit one last heavyweight jumper and I have been obsessed with Rosumund's cardigan since Katie knit it.
So I cast on this simple knit... twice, since the first time I couldn't count. I think I'm doing one of the cables wrong, but since I'm being consistent it's okay, I guess.
I tried to work it out yesterday after a bottle of sparkling shiraz. Lets just say it's hard to judge what's going on with your knitting when you can only see out one eye at time. So, what should be a simple project is making me feel uncomfortable. On the plus side, the Pear Tree yarn is knitting up beautifully and the stitch markers (from See Jane Knit yarns) are just adorable.
I'm going to Lilydale for work tomorrow which should give me a chance to do some serious knitting. Hopefully I'll be dividing for the sleeves tomorrow and then I can try it on. By the weekend I'll have half a jumper on my lap, and the weather forecast is for a blissful thirty degrees.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A very knittery halloween

Last night we went to a dress up party for Halloween. Leon went as a hipster, courtesy of his favourite knitter and my favourite joke pattern. I went as Madame Defage a literary illusion that was pretty much lost on everyone. Plus it was too dark to actually knit.

Friday, October 28, 2011

sOctober Summary




I know there are three more days left of my favourite month of the year, but I'm pretty much done. I finished my Pomotomus last night and I love them. They are stupidly bright, and insanely comfortable. Cookie A, how I love your designs.
It's been a fun month, knitting three pairs of socks. With another three days of the month to go, I am tempted to cast on for one last pair of socks: I have an eight ply pair in my queue, I'm sure I could knit those in three days... but probably better to go on to other things.
So, goodbye sOctober, the funnest month of the year. I'll see you next year
.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some spinning

I haven't mentioned my latest spinning project, and I've been working on it for three weeks. I carded together some rather dark EGMTKs purple merino / soy and some wool and rather bright something that has silk in it with some Angelina.

Here's the ingredients:

And here it is after I ran it through the drum carder and then made little fibre nestlets out of it:

It's spinning up nicely, even and fine and smooth, just how I wanted it. I love doing my own fibre prep:


I'm spinning it up lace weight for a Bitterroot shawl. I want to make a size somewhere between the shawlette and the huge shawl. The main problem is I've worked out that if I'm not careful this is what is making my hands hurt - even more than the excessive knitting. So, I've backed the tension right off and am focussing on holding the fibre softly and gently, which seems to be helping. I need to get 180 grams of this spun so I can knit the shawl and wear it to an early February wedding. It sounds like loads of time, but its rapidly approaching. And I'm finding it hard to make time for spinning, what with all obsessively knitting socks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finished, just in time for summer

I finished the knitting of the Gorilla Chest Vest on Monday. When Leon tried it on the neckline was a bit higher than intended (why does this happen with so many of the garments I knit for him?) but other than that I was really happy with the fit. When I blocked it, I did something I'm going to name "vertical blocking". Instead of lying it flat on the floor, I hung it on a wooden coat hanger. And the neckline came out perfectly.

We went down to the park today to throw the frisbee and take photos. A rather hung over Leon was a very good sport and put on the vest, even though it was 29 degrees. It's that time of year again, when my thoughts turn from jumpers, scarves and wraps and I start planning socks, colourwork and light lacy shawls.