Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I am the firestarter, the twisted firestarter


A long, long time ago, I saw the Firestarter  sock pattern and decided I wanted to make it. This was some time before 2009, before the Sock Summit, before I had knit any socks. I looked at the pattern, I puzzled over it, I felt confused... and then I drifted off and knit other things. I knit lots of top down socks, and a very few toe up ones. And now I'm back at this pattern that first called to me so long ago. I have the perfect colour yarn, and with only 312 meters, toe up seemed the best plan.
 
I started with 148 grams, and ended up with 48, so it turned out I had plenty of yarn.
 
I quite like the structure Yarnmissa has developed, with a triangular gusset and heel flap. I had to cut the gusset short by 5 repeats, and they are still a little baggy. The other change I made was to only put the ribbing on the back of the leg, I thought they looked a bit strange with the ribbing starting on the front of the leg, but not the foot. All in all I enjoyed this toe up pattern, and would consider using this style of toe up with gusset again, now that I understand how it all comes together.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A sleepless night

The other night I went to bed and couldn't sleep, so I started thinking about Spice Trail, a jumper from the latest Knitty. I'm a bit obsessed with this little jumper, and I want to make it from my stashed Rowan Denim. The gauge in the Denim is 20 stitches to 4 inches, which the gauge on the pattern is 23 stitches to four inches. And I can't just go down a size, because, even at gauge, I would be knitting the smallest, or the second smallest. So I lay there, fretting about it. The only measurement I had was the bust measurement of the pattern and my own bust measurement. I didn't have the waist measurement, the recommended ease or even a gauge swatch in the Denim. And I lay there and did maths and somehow made it work and eventually dropped off into a restless sleep.


Which is all to explain why I swatched for this project, even though it will be weeks, and possibly months before I cast on. At least now I can actually do the maths and work it out, instead of just tossing and turning and playing with random meaningless numbers.

The swatch above is knit on 4mm needles, the recommended size, and came out at 21 stitches and 26 rows per 10cm. I went down a needle size, because I thought it looked a bit loose, even though that's still tighter than the gauge on the label. I got 22 stitches and 28 rows. This is a stitch gauge that will do for the pattern, although the row gauge was way out. Following the Denim's instructions I threw the swatches in a hot wash, and the row gauge shrunk, but they also came out a whole lot stiffer, rather than softer. Here's a picture of the washed swatches.


I think I'll risk it. Since I'm between sizes, I'll knit the size that is one inch smaller than my bust, and I'll just have to hope that it all works out in the wash.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chicago scarf


 I finished the Miss Babs armchair Traveller project last week, and I am absolutely crazy about it. I had such fun doing the beading, and it is one of those patterns that is easy to knit and still interesting.
I knit it as per the wonderful Franklin Habit pattern, with one change, he warns the knitter not to skip the tassels, that they are absolutely necessary. I decided not to put them on, as I plan on wearing this scarf to work and tassels seem a little over the top.

I love that this scarf can be worn as I imagine Franklin intended, basically as a yarn necklace, and I intend to wear it during summer like this. But I also adore the fact that it can also be worn wrapped repeatedly around the neck, making for a cosy scarf.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Today

I've got finished items to show you, and work in progress going both nicely and interestingly, but that's not what I feel like writing about write now. Tonight I want to tell you what I'm not doing tonight.
 Tonight I'm not knitting
With the whole drama about my arms, someone (namely Katie) mentioned that her osteo suggested she has a day off a week from knitting. I understand the logic of having a day off from something that you generally do far too much of. I have (at least) one alcohol free day a week. But actually finding the day that it would work for - on Monday's I go to Richmond Knitters, on Tuesdays I need to relax... there's always a reason I "have" to knit. Today I left the house without taking knitting, planning to go to work, CrossFit, home and then dinner at my parents. They asked me to go early, because my brother and his family, including young children, where coming. So I went over there without knitting, spinning or anything. Now its nine o'clock at night, and this seems like a perfect day to not knit. I'll tell you though, the main reason I'm emotionally stable about taking today off knitting is that I think I'll have LOADs of time to knit over the next three days, and I want to go into it with fresh arms, and ready hands.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On handspun socks


My next project is Firestarter socks, by Yarnmissa. I've had these in my queue for what feels like forever, but have been reluctant to start them, partly because they are toe up, which means learning a new construction, but also because I'm making them from handspun, which has been sitting in my stash since May 2012. My reluctance comes from the fact that my handspun socks (not all handspun socks, but certainly mine) don't wear as well as my mill spun socks. 

Two unfortunate pieces of evidence for this can be found in my darning box right now.

If you recall, I actually didn't originally intend to spin the yarn I am using for socks at all, I was trying for enough for a shawl, it just came out short. So, I'll knit socks from it, learn a new construction, and perhaps after some good wear get to practice my various methods of repairing socks.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A visit to a yarn shop

It's my nieces fifth birthday this weekend, and I was trying to work out what to get her. I thought maybe a French Knitter / Knitting Nancy. I rang my local wool shop (which is Wool Baa, and is directly between my work and my house) a call, and they thought that five years old was too young, but that a pompom maker would be right for that age. So I went and bought one, fondled some cashmere, and left with just the pom pom maker.


I dug up some bits and pieces from my stash, so she will have something to use with it. My sister in law is many good things, but one thing she is not is crafty. Hopefully, even if not many pompoms get made, it will get my niece used to the idea that yarn is a thing that you have around, and that's its pretty and you can use for many things. I grew up in  a house with yarn, and everywhere I've lived since - including the six months I lived in a hostel, and the summer I lived on a boat, there has been at least a couple of balls of yarn.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Surprise!

As you may recall pretty much exactly a month ago I found my number. While I was a bit shocked at how high it was, I knew that I could just stop buying yarn, keep knitting away and the number would go down. Right? That's how it works. Except it doesn't. I've been a surprisingly efficient spinner, and then, Miss Babs armchair travellers all got a surprise.


There were five different colours, and I got one that I love, but that I would never think of buying, so its perfect. It is paired with Miss Winkle, a Martina Behm (of Hitchhiker fame) shawl, which is perfect for such a wonderful, variegated yarn. So they you have it. Despite not buying yarn and knitting steadily away, my number continues to rise!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finally photos

As mentioned, I finished Leon's vest last week, but we struggled to find a time to get pictures. We were going to do it on Wednesday night, but then the weather got gloriously warm. So today at the bus stop I finally snapped some shots.

 I tried to apply what I learned in the Craftsy photo course like the rule of thirds, but I'm not convinced I've nailed it. Anyway, I think the photos are good enough to show how excellent this vest looks.

 I actually don't think the twist collective photos do it justice at all. The cables are lovely, the ribbing makes it fit really well and the neck detailing is well thought out and interesting. And I personally thinks it suits Leon very well.




Monday, October 14, 2013

Signature love

I've been knitting the latest Travelling with Miss Babs project, a long thin scarf that I can imagine wearing with summer dresses, and to work with sleeveless shift dresses. The pattern calls for 3.25 mm needles, and as there are only 21 stitches involved I got out my little straight signature needles, the ones I bought for the sock yarn blanket that I so rarely work on.


I love knitting this. The yarn (Miss Babs Tarte) is lovely - a little splitty, but the Signatures are so sharp it doesn't matter. I haven't beaded for nearly a year and I'm enjoying the effect, as well as the process. I do keep on having to remind myself that it will look so much better after blocking, becasue it is a little bunchy and looks, well like unblocked lace. For me the only downside of this project is that it SO addictive, and I'm still (officially, at any rate) meant to me somewhat limiting my knitting time. But this is far too much fun to be sensible about. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

With a whimper, not a bang.


Socktober is normally a month I plan and prepare for and love, but this year it rather snuck up on me. I was so unaware of the time of the year that I cast on a pair of socks on the 30th of September and did not even think of them as Socktober socks! But here they are, finished and done:
They are Twisted from Knitty  and I'm pretty happy with the yarn / pattern combination. The pattern itself was written in quite a convoluted manner, and I would only recommend it to experienced sock knitters. The purl three, knit one rib was not annoying to knit, to my surprise, but there was something slightly unsatisfying about knitting these. I can't quite define what it is, it might just be me being slightly malcontented right now. 
Leon loves them, because he really likes the way ribbing clings to his legs. I started them  at a friends place while "watching" the Grand Final in the dark, and at the time I wondered whether I was meant to slip the stitch purlwise or knitwise. Since I couldn't find any guidance on the matter, I slipped it purlwise. After knitting most of the first leg, I found in the notes that it was to be slipped knitwise. I did not rip it, but I knit the second one as per the pattern, which does make the stitches sit a little flatter. I'm still glad I didn't rip though. Can you spot which is which?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Planning ahead… far ahead

I have a moratorium on buying yarn, until I reduce my stash to 10,000 meters, or I have nothing left but sock yarn and laceweight, whichever comes first. I can tell you for sure that won’t happen before winter, and Leon is going to need a winter set. I went through my long neglected fibre stash and discovered that, while I don’t have enough of any one thing to make the yarn, I have three lots 200 grams each that I think go together very nicely.

From left to right: 200 grams of possum/merino from Bendigo 2012, 200 grams of polworth/silk blend from Tarndwarncoort bought at Bendigo this year and some fairly random remnants. I’m going to three ply it and hopefully it will make a nice, round, slightly tweedy yarn. Even if it doesn't work out as planned, I'm not buying yarn. I guess that's a big incentive to spin well.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Well that's odd, but somewhat magic

I was knitting away on my Twist sock for Leon, relatively happily, on my beloved Signature double pointed needles. With slipped stitches at the beginning of every needle, I did  notice I was dropping a fair number of stitches. I thought, maybe it was because I cast on in the dark - on grand final day we were at a friends place, who only has a projector television. Not knitter friendly. Anyway, I kept knitting, and kept picking up the odd dropped stitch, always at the start of a needle. And then, I knit the leg off the DPNs and onto a long circular, so Leon could try it on. And he did, and then I kept knitting, magic looping happily along. This is like a complete personality switch. I've always hated magic looping because of the pull, pull, pulling I had to do, but certainly for this sock it seems the smoothest and most enjoyable thing to do. I guess some things really do change.