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.