Thursday, September 29, 2011

sOctober holiday

Leon and I are going to Hobart for a week. We fly out tonight and I'm only taking the one project: a pair of socks for Leon. I'm going to cast on when I get on the tram to go to the bus to the airport. I don't expect to have them finished in a week, although I have checked that there is shop near where we are staying that sells sock wool, just in case. I do not intend to buy much in the way of yarn or fibre while we are away. I have not bought anything since Bendigo and have hardly put a dent in the stash. If I find some possum fibre I will buy it, I want to card it up with some merino / silk for Leon's winter set 2012 .
I'll be back in blogland on my return next week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The sneaker liner project

About four years ago I bought 12 pairs of anklets from . www.catchoftheday.com.au Due to that website being a little bit ... odd I think i ended up with 18 pairs. I wear them every time I ride, which is at least 5 days a week. Since I knit me first socks at the end of 2008 I haven't bought socks. Now it strikes me that soon my old sneaker liners are going wear out. So, I could buy some or I could make my own. I already have three pairs of anklets, and a bit of time before all my shop bought anklets go to sock heaven. So I started with a Priscilla Gibson-Roberts plain sock, from Interweave Knits Favorite (sic) Socks. PGR has spent a lot of time investigating what she thinks are the best design for socks, and basically it's a short row heel followed by a short row toe. Which is what I did here. Now I have small feet, so basically I knit the heel, did a couple of stripes and knit the toe. I don't like working short row heels and toes. The only way I can describe it is I find them emotionally uncomfortable. And I really don't like the way they look. Sort of gappy. Still they are the first pair of this project and they will certainly do the job. Plus, they are stripy and there is much to be said for stripy socks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FO: Idlewood

I finished Idlewood on Sunday and wore it immediately, I haven't even blocked it yet. This might be my last chance to wear a big woollen jumper / tunic / dress thing before the long awaited summer finally comes to stay. Or not, since today is freezing and I'm sitting at my desk with a heater blowing at my feet.

It was a super fun knit. Around and around and around in squooshy handspun. The only thing is, despite doing a gauge swatch it came out bigger than I was planning for. When I tried it on I decided it would actually be better as a tunic than a jumper, so I just keep knitting.

And then the first time I wore it I met up with spinning friends, who could really appreciate it, the hand spun as much as the knitting. (Thanks Jen for the photo)

It was so nice to wear something that feels completely different from my usual outfits. Going out in a woollen dress with a crazy cowl and purple armwarmers just felt special. And hilarious. And today in the mail a bunch of coloured tights arrived, so there may be a whole lot of hilarious dressing in my future.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I finished Mimi's shawl

It's funny, after all the back and forward, should I or shouldn't I knit a lace shawl for my mother right now, after I decided to do it I loved knitting it so much. Partly it was because of the pattern - that Jarrod Flood is a genius. Partly it was because of the yarn - knitting my handspun makes me happy. It was interesting how the colours came out. If you look at what it looked like unspun the colours are quire bright. In the final shawl they are a bit more muted. But lovely all the same, and I was very happy with the way the stripping came out when knitted. I really struggled to get a photo that captures the colour, the drape and the wonderful lace pattern.

I adored knitting from the longest edge in, and despite starting with nearly 100 yards less than the pattern called for, I was never in danger of running out of wool. The final size is a generous one and a half meters across the top, and 75 centimetres to the point, so it's a proper shawl that my mother will be able to wrap around her shoulders to keep her warm and safe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Soctober prep


The last pair of socks I knit, for Leon, was an 80 stitch sock and I had a little bit of trouble with it coming off the ends of the needles when I was carrying it around in my bag. Also, my Signature needles sometime poke through my knitting bag. I have one of those Knitpicks cardboard WIP things, and I used it. It was great, but it's cardboard. I'm not a cardboard kind of person, so I decided to order a Knitizi. I ordered a 5 inch one in cherry wood, because that's the length of my Signature needles and I love my needles. But then I worried about what would do if I was knitting on the KnitPro DPNs, so I ordered a 6 inch one in African Rosewood. Nick was lovely to deal with, and they came packaged very prettily but it's the Knitzi's themselves that take my breath away. Such beautiful wood, so wonderfully crafted. I have noticed that my love for all things fibre is somehow taking me to an appreciation of wood - the different types, textures and even smells.
I'm very much looking forward to using these and as soon as I finish Idlewood it's going to be socks, socks, socks for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A moustache for a road trip

As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it for Bee. And when Skip and Bee drove us up to Ballarat for a party this weekend, I thought I can make that for Bee in the car.

And I did and she loved it. It might be the silliest thing I've ever made. It might be the most fun. Quite possibly it is both.
Photo is slightly blurry because we were racing down the freeway at 110 kilometers an hour.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting ready for the funnest month of the year

Soctober is coming and today I've been busy preparing. Firstly my sock project knitting bag was looking a little sad and tired, so I sewed myself a new one, using this fantastic tutorial. Step 16 is "add a zipper pull" so last night after dinner I made some beads out of Sculpy.

With the leftovers I made some buttons, I think they would look amazing on a baby surprise jacket.

I had a plan for what to knit in Soctober, starting with some Cookie A knee high socks for me. But Leon and I have booked a holiday for the first week of October. When I'm away with Leon I like to knit something relatively simple and for for him, it just seems nicer. So, I went through the stash looking for something that would work with Leon's preferred colour palette - dark grey, dark green, dark brown or very dark blue are all that are acceptable. I had some army green, but that would clash with the project bag, so I'm dying some light Patonyle. I think it's going to come out dark smoky blue. hopefully.

The other stuff floating in there is some alpaca fleece. One of my friends generously and randomly gave me a big bag of red alpaca. It looks like an orang-outang! It looks great carded with the dark fleece that another friend gave me, but I want to see how it takes dye. I'm thinking alpaca and silk, dyed with blues, or reds, or both, spun lace weight. We'll see when it comes out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The lace is going well, anyway.

The thing about Rock Island is that the central lace panel is only 24 rows. Now, those 24 rows are over 220 stitches a row, but even so, 24 seems so easily achieved. So within reach. So suitable to not stop until I'm done. The thing that slowing me down on this is that I have to look at every stitch on every row so even watching television is a dubious proposition. Drinking to excess is not going to work with this chart and it's not going to go well on public transport. Things assisting me in getting this done include the fact that work has gone to hell in a hand basket: the project is wrapping up on the 30th of this month, and there are only three of us left in the team. One of whom had a heart attack on the weekend, and the other's mother broke her leg, badly, in far north New South Wales, and she's flying up there to go help tomorrow. Which just leaves me, sitting in the corner of a big room with my shawl,trying to hold on to what little calmness is left.


Only 10 rows to go.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ending it again




I posted a couple of days ago about how when a project is finished it is done, locked in with all its faults in place.I was specifically thinking of my green cardigan which was fine. Just fine, because the collar was too wide, which made the whole thing a bit frumpy. I wore it to work on Friday, and I wore it to work again on Monday. I thought about putting a crocheted border on it, and then Sonia suggested putting an iCord border around the edge. I've always been anti i-Cord, but I decided to go with it. And it worked. The neck and shoulders pulled in to where they should be, the button band has an amazingly more finished look and the whole things looks a million times better
.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Excitingly complex / soothingly simple‏

I started the Rock Island Shawl last Thursday, in handspun laceweight. The border is exciting knitting - it’s a 12 stitch pattern, 8 rows to a repeat, done 71 times. It's true knitted lace, so there are no rows that are just a straight purl back. To add to the complexity, each row is short and so, rather than doing the same repeat say 80 times in a row, its only done once before the next row. The sum of all this is that, while the knitting isn't difficult, as such, I do need to have the pattern in front of me at all times. On the plus side, because the rows are so short, it is immediately obvious if something has gone wrong in any row, and there is something fun about the complexity.


(I know it doesn't look like much, but that's the nature of unblocked lace. It will look great when it's blocked, or so I keep assuring myself)

Last Saturday night I went out for dinner and drinks with friends, and I had no knitting that was suitable to take, so I went out without knitting. I figured it would be fine, Elise doesn't love it when I knit in public anyway. I was playing with some sticks from the cocktails we were drinking, and I may have been making a clacking noise. For a while. Elise turned to me and said "the knitting I don't mind, but please stop making that noise!" I guess the fact that I knit her nice things combined with the fact I always knit, has broken her.

To overcome the problem of having to pay attention all the time, yesterday at the pub I cast on for Idlewood. This starts with 40 centimetres of cowl, knitted in the round. Around and around and around. I don't need to look at it, I don't need to pay attention, it's just knitting till its done. Using the Corriedale I finished earlier in the week is just adding to the soothing satisfying nature of this project.

On the one hand, sublime complexity and on the other, divine simplicity. Now that's what I call perfection.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Squooshy drum carded spinning bliss

I finished work at 3pm on Friday so I could get home and finish spinning the singles for Idlewood. I really, really, wanted to get the plying finished this weekend and I did. We had beautiful weather and I sat out on the front balcony and plied in the sun. The 823 metres of woollen spun 2 plied yarn is squooshy and delicious. Not only did I love spinning long draw from the batts I made, but the final batts, done last week, were even better than the first lot, because I had learnt the importance of picking and teasing the fibre properly prior to carding.

Now I've put the wheel away, because I am going to finish my rainbow yarn on the Turkish before more wheel spinning. I think the most important thing I have learnt about spinning - which also applies to knitting, but since I never stop knitting I've never thought about it in this context - is that the best way to make progress on a project is to actually work on it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Endings and beginnings

I love finishing things, but even more I love starting them. When I've finished something it's done, all its beauty and faults locked in. For example my green cardigan, which started life as 600 grams of fibre is done

I really like it. I designed the whole thing round the buttons and I think they work well, the colour is good and the fit on the body is perfect. On the other hand the neckline is more boatneck than I planned and the buttonholes aren't quite evenly spaced. Certainly these things do not make the garment bad, but they make it less that the vision of perfection with which I begin every knitting project.

Take, for example, my Rock Island: new project bag, yarn completed and so far, perfect. I know that somewhere between now and when I come back and show the finished item this potential perfection will be compromised. That's just the way the world is, things come out wonderfully, but often very different from how we expect them to be.

BTW, the answer to last post's fibre question was micron.