Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Leon's winter set 2017 - finished just in time

I finished Leon’s winter set and Skip took photos on Saturday, in a brewery, because that’s the way we roll. The set was started a little late, because I wanted to wait until the end of the Inspired by Islay club, and I was quite concerned that winter would come before Leon had a winter set for 2017. 

But the weather held through April, unseasonably warm and pleasant. It was so lovely having the Melbourne comedy festival with nice weather – like normally happens in Adelaide. The comedy festival finished last weekend, and  until this morning it was still warm. And then today winter came! I’m not the biggest fan of winter, but at least I know Leon will be wrapped up in an enormous amount of yarn, warm and cosy and so pretty.
The details of the hat: I took the chart from Singing Sands scarf, and put it into the pattern for Shore Street hat. I had to adjust the numbers by two for the increases, but after that it worked like a charm. It’s important to me that a set is matchy, matchy, matchy.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Emergency repairs

I went to my parents place on F

riday night with my repair kit - somehow the grafting on the shoulders of my mother's ASJ had failed, so I knew I had to repair that. While I was there, my father produced  a pair of socks, which he wears at Marysville, and said they were getting thin in the heels. 

Which is not surprising, since I made them in 2011 and he wears them directly on carpet.  I was very excited, because I has some green sparkle yarn woth me. I explained about visible mwndsing - I'm not sure he was entirely convinced, but I did it, and I love it. I was really happy he brought them to me before they were completely worn through -it makes the repair so much easier.

What I cannot explain is why it looks like there is straw in the yarn.Still, they are repaired, and I've put making a pair of thick indoor socks on the list of things to kniy for him.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Singing Sands Scarf complete (Leon's winter set 2017)

The second half of Leon's scarf went much faster than the first half - it turns out when I spend more time knitting, more knitting gets done - SURPRISE.

anyway, after I steeked it, I did the edging, which took a while, but was not as tedious as I feared, even over 800 stitches of i-Cord cast off. And now it's done. 

I left off the last half repeat (1 set of "beans") and I'm glad I did, because this scarf is both very wide and very long. It's lucky it looks good on both side, because it really likes to show the "wrong" side, or at least it did while we were taking these photos.

I'm just relieved that Melbourne's weather has been unseasonably warm - I was quite concerned, given that I started this winter set so late, he would end up cold, but the weather right now is balmy. And I'm only a day from finishing the hat, and then winter can bring its worst.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Remember the Tomten?

I think I have blogged more about this little baby jumper than any other project I've made! I got the yarn back on March 22nd - the same day I bought our new home. At some point I finished the sleeves and ordered a zip. I was a bit scared about putting in the zip, but it was actually quite painless and I love the way it looks:

If (when) I make this again, I am going to do the entire sleeves in the contrast colour, rather than starting from where I did, but I am very satisfied with how this came out. It's a very cute pattern, and one that will hopefully not take me 3 months next time!

Saturday, April 15, 2017


As I suspected when I cast it on, my Singing Sands scarf was twisted. In fact I think it might have been twisted twice:

On a project this long, it actually didn't matter much while I was knitting it, the twist was always somewhere on the other end of the needles. Still, it was quite exciting to get the to bit when I could steek it:
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And now, it's no longer twisted, but I still can't see how long it is, because the needles are significantly shorter than the scarf.

I've excited to see how it will look spread out. Once I've finished the border, which is over 800 stitches, and ends with an I-Cord cast off. Luckily Elise has invited us over for a movie afternoon / evening, which will make those rows go flying by. Well, that's what I'm hoping, anyway. I'll see you on the other side of that border.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An actual Altoids tin

As part of the great destash of 2017, I'm going through my knitting notions. For years I have used the tins by The Sexy Knitter, swapping out the contents until I have my perfect tin.

 I actually kept the last one (with the alpaca face) but have been using this sheep one for a while. Quite a while. Long enough for the hinges to have gone a bit wonky, and the photo on the front to actually fade.

These tins are the perfect size, and very cute. Over a year ago, I saw a tin of actual Altoids in the shop where I buy my tea and coffee. 

I've had them in my work desk draw and have been slowly eating my way through the tin. And now, they are finished. I took the magnet from the top of the old tin, and here it is, nice and new and shiny.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wednesday - the one where there is no yarnalong

It has surprised me how often I'm knitting somewhere pretty, and I think "oh, I should take a photo for yarnalong", or I'm quietly writing comments in my head about whatever book I'm reading. The yarnalong gave a certain structure to my blog too. 
Today's post is not very structured at all! I've had the last two days off work, and have gotten rid of so much stuff. We're taking a minimalist approach to moving, partly because I want less stuff and less clutter in my life, partly because we're moving into a smaller place, and also because the less stuff I own, the less I have to pack!

I destashed about 20 Addi fixed needles last week. They are such lovely needles, but I'm obsessed with my interchangeables. As a thank you Katie gave me two lovely skeins of sock yarn:

This one is Oyster Yarns, which is The Purl Box indie dye label,

And this is a Zauberball:

I haven't had a Zauberball for ages, so I'm very excited. I know it's a little ironic to brag "I'm getting rid of everything I own and look at my pretty new stash", but my yarn is one of the things I am happy with the amount I have. It's all useful and I will use all of it, eventually. The mission of my radical house declutter is to get rid of things I don't use - and I'm quite shocked about how much of that I have. Also, how addictive it is once you start letting it all go.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Join, being careful not to twist

That's the instruction we've all read a thousand times, right?
The Singing Sands scarf is knit across, as in - the full length of the scarf is cast on, knit in the round and steeked at the end.

So, I cast 400 odd stitches on, and thought "how can I avoid twisting?" and then I thought "who cares?" Obviously I'll do my best, but if they twist, I'm cutting it apart in the end anyway.

Because of the widthways construction, the whole scarf is only 49 rows. 49 very, very long, rather twisted rows, but still, only 49 rows. I'm off to knit a row right now... I'll be done in an hour or two.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Leon's winter set 2017 - it begins

I’m making Leon’s Winter Set (2017) from Kate Davies’ Singing Sands pattern. I adapted last years Pawkies mitts by slotting in the Singing  Sands colourwork pattern. Luckily both pattern are knitted over 14 stitches, so that was very simple.

I used a tubular cast on and cast off. I love the way it looks, but it’s a pain to work and really isn’t very stretchy, despite what the internet says. I had to redo the first one, because it lacked stretch and looked funny:
I’m really happy with how they look. I was surprised when Leon choose these colours, because the blue/green colour is very pretty.
Now onwards, to the scarf. Winter is coming and I started this later than I usually make Leon’s Winter Set.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Moving on UP

Friday, March 31, 2017

Yarn in, yarn out

My Buachaille order arrived, for Leon’s winter set and the Carraig Fhada vest for me. Look how pretty it is:
Now, what I like to do when getting large packets of yarn is to do a stash count update, just to check I’m heading in the right direction (which is less yarn, by the way)
Prior to the addition of the Buchaille, I have 14322 meters of yarn. At the end of last year I had 15807 metres, so its holding pretty steady. 
The main gains - or rather losses -  I have made so far this year are actually in yarn that wasn’t counted in the stash. The left over sock yarn which, in December 2016 weigh  one and a half kilograms, has been reduced to a much more reasonable 870   grams – yes, it’s now measurable in grams!

After adding this latest purchase my current number is 16412. Now I’m off to cast some of this lovely Buchaille on for Leon’s Winter Set. The beginning of April is quite late to be starting this. Luckily, summer was quite late this year, and the weather is only just starting to cool down. Still, I’d better get knitting, and fast.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yarnalong - the one with the end of a chapter

Last week Ginny announced that, after 6 years, she was finishing the yarnalong. . I’ve been participating since  December 2013 ; over three years. It’s bittersweet – doing the Yarnalong has given me a good structure to my blogging and I’ve loved reading about what Ginny, and all the other members of the yarnalong get up to every week. But this is a time of change for me – some very exciting things have happened, which I can’t share here quite yet. It’s a time for letting go, and for new beginnings. So I leave you with one last photo of my kindle and my knitting, and I say “thank you” to Ginny, and everyone else who have brightened my Wednesdays for the last 6 years.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sneaker liners for me

unusually enough, its been three pairs of socks in a row! I found Rachel Coopey's Mixalot socks, and thought they would make perfect sneaker liners. They are basically designed for left over sock yarn, and we all know I'm trying to use that up!

I'm waiting for a delivery of Buchaille for Leon's winter set. Since it is rather late in the season to start knitting that, I want to be able to get it on my needles as soon as the yarn arrives, so I wanted to knit something quick. Because last week was busy, and some other reasons, it took me a week to knit these little beauties. Now I'm just finishing things off, and hoping that package comes in the post tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yarnalong - the one where my yarn came back to me

Those  of you who have been following along for a while know that I left some yarn at a friends place in January, and hadn't managed to get it back from her. We only live 4 kilometers apart. Yesterday I emailed her and suggested she leave it in her letterbox, and today I have it! I am very, very excited about it.

I haven't started knitting it with it yet. I'm half way through a pair of sneaker liners. I bought Rachael Coopey's Mixalot sock pattern, and I intend to knit it in variations, endlessly for the next year, using up those sock yarn leftovers.

I'm reading Gail Jones' Sixty Lights. It's quite good, but not compelling. It's got short chapters, which is useful during this busy time in my life.

And that's what I've been knitting and reading this week. What have you been doing? Pop of to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong were up to this week.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Look what I nicked from my mother

So the other day, I was at my parents place, going through her stash box. I know she has a lot of eight ply scraps and were hoping for some pink ones to use in Rachey’s socks  . It turned out she didn’t, but she had this magnificent ball of pink Opal sock wool.

I asked why she had it, since she doesn’t knit socks, or really knit much at all right now. She  said that I had probably given it to her – she has a theory that I dumped a whole lot of wool on her that I didn’t want. My memory of the situation is that when I was destashing I asked her if she wanted some of the yarn and she said yes. So I took it. It’s so pretty, and I’ll probably make a pair of socks for her out of it anyway.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Socks for friends

I was hanging out with Rachey the other night (Rachey is Elise's sister in law, and one of our favourite people). She has been poorly for a while and asked for some house socks. Sure, 8 ply socks, quick and easy. She want them longish, but because she's not eating enough, I don't need to do any calf shaping.

I pulled out my 8 ply scraps, and off I went. Because I couldn't be bothered weighing the yarn, I knit these socks two at a time on two sets of circulars. It worked quite well as a process, and I'd consider doing it like that again.

This are my shapely legs, not Rachey's
The socks themselves weigh 93 grams, and are just a simple 2x2 rib with a fish lips kiss heel.  Very quick, very fun, although there were rather a lot of ends to weave in!

I hope these socks give Rachey as much joy the wear as they did me to knit. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Socks for shoes - finished

I finished the Lady Tryamour socks, and they are perfect for what I wanted them for:

They fit neatly and pretty close to invisibly inside my latest boots, they are comfortable and I used up some of my oldest stash.

I made the medium and, with the benefit of hindsight, could have made the small. But this give my feet plenty of room to move, which is the principle behind "barefoot" shoes.

I'll leave you with a bonus, which reminds me of my school days and gets stuck in my head all the time:

The Black Sock song:

Black socks, they never get dirty,
The longer you wear them the blacker they get!
Sometimes, I think about laundry

But something inside me says don't do it yet!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yarnalong -the one that's early in the morning

The colours on that picture are all wrong, probably because it's six in the morning, and it's hard to get a good photo in the dark, but needs must. Tarragon just woke me up by peeing on the bedroom floor, I've got a house guest arriving this evening, and this is my best chance to get this weeks yarnalong up.

I'm reading Rachel Herron's latest Darling Songbird book. It's an advance reader copy, so you can't have it yet, but I highly recommend the rest of the series.

I'm listening to Blitzed, a book about drugs in Nazi Germany. It surprisingly entertaining, and read by the perfect narrator.

I'm knitting house socks for a friend, in tandem. The colours are much prettier than that. 

And that's my week in knitting and reading. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, are doing this week.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Socks for Shoes

As I may (or may not) have mentioned, I’ve recently transitioned to minimalist running shoes. I ran a marathon in Converse last year, and then decided it was time to change my running style. I started out in Vibram Five Fingers. Then Leon mentioned to me that Vivobarefoot makes every day shoes. The kind you can wear to work. I’ve bought… let’s say a couple of pairs over the last few weeks. My favourite are these little boots:

They are super flat, and have really flexible soles, but the tops are still made of proper leather. In winter I’ll wear them with tights, or under trousers with normal handknit socks. Since the weather is still warm, I’ve been wearing them with skirts and bare legs. I’ve tried wearing them with sneaker liners, but those are too short. Normal socks are too long. I have been wearing them with commercial sports socks, but I’m not a big fan of commercial socks anymore, and all my commercial sports socks are white, and even if other people can’t see them, looking down I can:
And then I remembered this ball of black Tofutsies  that’s been sitting in my stash since March 2013, because black socks are not really  that pretty. I matched them with Lady Tryamour Socks, from The Knitters Book of Socks,  and I think they will do the job nicely.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Crochet magic

I crocheted a garment! A baby jumper, and I really enjoyed making it:

I thought crochet takes more yarn than knitting, but, I guess because it's more open, this little cardigan only took 66 grams of sock yarn. And it only took six days, and I'm not spending hours and hours crafting every day at the moment. And on day two I ripped and repeated the same few rows what felt like a dozen times: Tip for beginners - crochet  all the way to the end of the row before you turn around.

I love it, and it was so much fun to make. I've queued another couple of crochet baby cardigans, because I'm so excited about how much fun they are to work.