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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Colour of a carnival

I finished the knitting of the Real Gorilla Chest Vest on Monday night, and once the ends are sewn in and it's blocked I'll post photos. After I finished it I wanted to knit something fun and bright. Many of the things I have knit recently have been in natural coloured wool or dark man colours. I'm in a bit of a blah mood, although it's impossible to be too sad with the sun shining and the weather warming up. So I cast on with this:

The pattern is Cookie A's Pomotomus and the yarn was hand dyed by me. It wasn't a technical dying job, Jen had a dye day and at the end of it I painted on the left over colours on some yarn Workshop sock yarn, and got this. I love it, it is super bright but not neon, but it was a little hard to find a pattern that wasn't overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the yarn. I think this works, and if this doesn’t brighten my mood right up, nothing will.

For some reason the Kasey Chamber's song Colours of a Carnival keep going around my head and I thought it was a good name for these socks. Then I looked up the lyrics and realised that it's actually quite a sad song. Here's the chorus:

It coulda been the colour of a carnival

It coulda been the light in the dark

It coulda been the blaze of glory

That keeps us all from falling apart It coulda been better

It coulda been bigger

Everything that I need

These socks are definitely the light in the dark!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The gorilla chest vest - a sOctober diversion

After knitting three pair of socks in a row- all from the same sock book Interweave knits Favorite Socks, I thought it was time to take a breather, and decided to knit a handspun vest for Leon. He called it the Gorilla Chest Vest, after a song Monty Burns sings in the Simpsons. Scarily enough it does look a little like gorilla. I'm using Barbara Walker's top down formula and loving it. For handspun I cannot imagine anything better than the formulas of designers like Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker. And working with Barbara Walker feel like she is in the room talking to me, suggesting what I should think about and discussing design options with me.
I'm up to the bit where I join and then knit in the round until it is done, so I don't imagine it will take very long. regular sOctober programming wit recommence at the completion of this project. In other news - I slipped and bough some yarn. From Spotlight. I was there buying tulle, because I want to try a new way of washing fleece, as the merino I ma trying to get clean is rather sticky and more difficult than the Corriadale I have previously washed. On my way through I saw their Moda Vera Noir self stripping sock yarn on special. I'm in love with self stripping sock yarn, but I try not to buy it because I like to knit complex pattern and the results of combining these two loves is rarely good. But at three dollars a ball? I've knit with this before and it makes very nice long lasting socks, and also really fun baby garments. I might make another pair of socks for my father with the dark yarn and something fun out of the brights for myself.

See My Vest

Burns: Some men hunt for sport,
Others hunt for food,
The only thing I'm hunting for,
Is an outfit that looks good...

See my vest, see my vest,
Made from real gorilla chest,
Feel this sweater, there's no better,
Than authentic Irish setter.

See this hat, 'twas my cat,
My evening wear - vampire bat,
These white slippers are albino
African endangered rhino.

Grizzly bear underwear,
Turtles' necks, I've got my share,
Beret of poodle, on my noodle
It shall rest,

Try my red robin suit,
It comes one breast or two,
See my vest, see my vest,
See my vest.

Like my loafers? Former gophers -
It was that or skin my chauffeurs,
But a greyhound fur tuxedo
Would be best,

So let's prepare these dogs,

Mrs. Potts: Kill two for matching clogs,

Burns: See my vest, see my vest,
Oh please, won't you see my vest.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Last year I made my father a pair of socks for his birthday, which is in March. I figured he appreciated them, although I wasn't sure how much wear he would get out of them when he asked me the question "how do you deal with the fact that they are thicker than normal socks?". The only possible response is "buy bigger shoes". But it turned out he wore them ALL THE TIME. And now he's worn holes in them. So I figured he deserved new socks. I wanted to make them out of something that would wear better than the 100 percent high twist merino that the previous socks were made from. I found some Mountain Colours Bearfoot in the stash, which I bought at Sock Summit 2009, and thought it would do the job since it is 60% wool, 20 % nylon, 20 % mohair. I loved this yarn, although the slight fuzziness and colour variation would not work well with a busy pattern, I think it does well here. It was an absolute pleasure to knit with and the colours available are amazing and the only reason I haven't ordered an absolute bucket load is because I am trying to work through my stash, rather than accrue more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Spindle storage

Until yesterday my spindles lived in a draw. This was not a pretty way to store them, and possibly not the safest way, all jumbled up and messy. It's just, I never intended to have loads of spindles. But I seem to be acquiring them at a steady pace. So yesterday I drilled some holes in the bottom of an Ikea Billy Bookshelf shelf, but in some hooks and, magic: my spindles are safe and on display.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back from Tasmania

Leon and I had a lovely time in Hobart. We did the things that you do, Mona and Cadbury and the Salamanca Markets and Lark Distillery and had a great time. But I know it's not a tourist report you are after, it's an update on the crafty things I made, and bought.

From the Spindle Tree in Salamanca Place I bought a needle holder made of Sassafrass. It holds a darning needle. No more looking around for it in the bottom of my bag. Also, it is stunningly beautiful and I'm going through an "I love wood" stage.
You can't tell from this picture, but it's about the size of my ring finger.

I also bought one skein of sock wool from the Spindle Tree, because it is so pretty.

While we were doing all the tourist things I knit on Leon's cable and rib sock. I cast it on on the tram on the way to the bus to the airport and finished the second sock on our last morning there, which meant I could take photos in our favourite place, the Lark Distillery.
So, it turns out I can knit a pair of socks in under a week. On the tram for the final part of our journey home a woman opposite me was knitting, and I just had to sit there and watch, because I had, for the first time every, run out of knitting. I came home and immediately cast on a new pair of socks.