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Showing posts from 2019

I spoke too soon and now I have two hats

Remember when I said that my planned pooling on the Sockhead hat was going really well? I spoke too soon, and instead of striping nicely, like it had been, it pooled horribly for about four rows, which basically ruined it for me.

 I think the pooling happened when I was knitting at lunchtime at work, while reading. This meant that A. I didn't notice and B. it looks like my gauge was looser, which meant that the colours stacked instead of spiralling. Once I realised what had happened I kept knitting anyway, because I was out and didn't really want to deal with it, but I got less and less happy with it. 
I finished it anyway, because that's the sort of thing I do. The first hat used 48 grams, so I had enough yarn for a second hat. As soon as I finished I cast on a second hat, exactly the same, 112 stitches on 3mm needles. 

This one worked perfectly the whole way. Stripes, no pooling and look at that beautiful crown. I'll give the first one to KOGO and hopefully someone…

Unravelled Wednesday - preparing to holiday

On Saturday we are flying to Brisbane, Queensland for some much needed warmth and sunshine. Of course, when planning a holiday, my thoughts turn to what I want to knit and read. In preparation I have been "swatching" for Leon's next jumper.

 I'm doing an Elizabeth Zimmerman saddle shoulder sweater, because, usually for Leon I have to either design my own or heavily modify a commercial pattern, and I resent paying ten bucks for a pattern that I have to resize. So I started a sleeve as a swatch, finished it, blocked it and started the second one.

The yarn, the stunning new colab between Purl Box and Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill is called Field of Dreams, and it is dreamy - polworth ,linen and silk. It knits up very fast, hence my 3 hour sleeve. We are only going for a week, but I'm bringing a second project, just in case. 

I abandoned the review book I was reading (full review of Trapeze by Leigh Ansell can be found here). It feels like an awful thing, not even being…

Things that are more important

I had a plan for the weekend. I was going to to the Melbourne Yarn Festival and buy some yarn, and then I organised lunch nearby for a bunch of the Richmond Knitters. Fun, right?
Instead, this happened -  on Friday night I went with Elise to see her mother who was in hospital. They had just decided she was in the "make her comfortable" stage. On Saturday morning she died. Today we buried her. And it's sad, and Elise is so, so, sad. Obviously, no yarn festival for me. But I was reminded, looking around at the funeral, how important our friends are. Elise's friends showed up in droves. She has friends from school, and university and a lot of friends from choir, which is to Elise what the Richmond Knitters are to me. There is no moral to this story, except pat your yarn and tell your friends you love them.

Once Upon a Sock - August 2019

My August just flew by, with a ridiculous number of small projects - a baby jumper, three hats, a cropped jumper for me and and a colourwork cowl. But you are not here to here about all of that, you are here for the socks. There were two pairs this month, a pair of sneaker liners for me, and a pair of full sized socks, also for me.

The full socks were a Rachael Coopey pattern from the book "Harry Potter Knits" or 'Wizarding Knits, as it was called in countries were copy-write is a thing. I bought the book years and years ago, and this is the first thing I knit from it.  They were really fun socks, mirroring each other, and quite fancy, without being difficult.

I knit them from Socks that Rock that I redyed myself. I was very happy with the colours, but I was also aware going in to it that the yarn got brighter as it went along. Not surprising, as they were dyed on different base colours. It made me remember how much I love a really tight twist sock yarn. Most of the yarns …

Unravelled and Yarnalong - The one where it is spring

Spring! I'm so excited. It's (almost) light when I get up at 6am, and it doesn't get dark until 6pm, and there was a hint of warmth in the air this morning. I know that we will likely have another cold patch before it really warms up, but I'm celebrating every bit of warmth I can. This week I'm reading the next (and final?) Jackson Brodie novel, Big Sky partly because Kat finished it last week, and partly because I wanted to read a substantive but not heavy book.

 I knew that I will soon be listening to the sequel to The Dry, so it was partly just a decision as to which detective novel I wanted to read first. I am enjoying visiting with Jackson and Julia and other old friends. I love the way Kate Atkinson has characters that populate many of the books of this series - and not just main characters, but bit players too.

In audiobooks, I wanted a contrast to detective fiction, so I started Daisy Jones and the Sixby Taylor Jenkins Reid. I am loving it - it's written…

I can dye a rainbow

I had a few small balls of left over sock yarn of 20 to 60 grams that I thought would be perfect to dye up as minis for my blanket. I wanted some solid or semi solid colours, and I wanted to practice dying in more subtle way - traditionally I have just chucked heaps of dye on, and it's come out fine, but after knitting with some Unicorn Tails, I wanted to try for a subtler semi solid.

I decided to just use the primary colours and dye a rainbow, mixing as I went. The red I used was a little pinker than I would like, but I decided to use what I had, rather than  buying more.

I'm very pleased with the results. I learnt a lot about colour mixing, particularly in relation to my less successful attempts (orange and browns) and I have 17 new colours to add to the blanket. I'd better get knitting!

Modern Sourdough - A beautiful book about bread

I bake all my own bread, and have done for the last decade or so. The photos in this post are of my bread, made with commercial yeast.

Originally I made bread in a bread machine, and then I “graduated” to oven baking – I must admit I don’t knead the bread by hand, I used my beloved Thermomix. I have dabbled in sourdough in the past when I saw Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri on Netgalley I said "yes please" very quickly. Michelle is a Jewish, London based bakery owner who has a similar cultural background to me, and a lot of the breads are familiar to me from my everyday life - I bake challah whenever I host Friday night dinner and I'm obsessed with bubka. 

Even on my tablet this book is exquisite. Very clear recipes, accompanied by stunning photos. The text is interesting, informative and clear. So, will I be getting my starter started and my dough soured? Probably not. We only bake once a week, and this book is quite clear about the extra preparation and planning…

Unravelled Wednesday

It's been a good week, so far. After my "knit four things in a week" craziness last week I started a pair of Rachel Coopey socks on Sunday night. It's been a while since I knit lace socks, and I'm loving it. I did manage not to knit at lunch time for a couple of days, but blew it today!

I'm particularity loving knitting in my own hand-dyed yarn again. 

In reading, I started and finished R.H. Herron's Stolen Things. Check out that front cover, isn't it marvelous? 

The book itself is great. Fast paced and thrilling and a tiny bit silly while still raising very serious issues. I highly recommend. And then I read another e-Arc, courtesy of NetGalley, We have Always Been Here, another great cover:

It's the memoir of Samra Habib, a gay, Moslem, immigrant to Canada, and the first half was really good, but the last part has descended into identity politics and lectures about representation. It's fine, but kind of tedious. And that's my week! 
As usua…

Three hats and a colourwork cowl

I wrote about having enough left over yarn to knit a hat last week. I did, and I did. It came out a little too big, and, although I loved knitting with the mohair, and see more fuzz in my future, I wish I'd chosen the pink, rather than the grey. I can't see me wearing this, so it's into the donate pile. I like it with the purl side out best:

Although it works with the knit side out too.

I also knit a hat deliberately for charity out of jewel tones of LOSY. The thing is, the mini balls of yarn I use for my blanket are 10 to 40 grams. Each blanket square uses 3 - 5 grams, so each row of blanket gives 50 to 100 grams of leftovers

 Even if I reuse some of the colours later, there is still a frightening amount of leftovers, and apparently I'm severely afraid of leftovers. So, when I wanted something simple to knit on Tuesday night, I thought a charity hat was the go. The thing about these plain hats, is I can cast them on, do one decent nights knitting, and finish them on m…

Chuck Sweater success

I finished the  Chuck Sweater by Andi Sutterlund last week, and wore it for the first time one Thursday, and I am in love. It fits perfectly, hitting exactly on my waist,

 The sleeves, always a challenge for me, are the exact right length. 

The yarn, which I dyed myself is lovely (if I say so myself, and I do!)and knit up exactly how I was hoping. i did alternate skeins, which is always a good idea with hand-dyed yarn. The base yarn is Bellevue Park Wool, and it is beautiful, soft with a really smooth hand, a delight to dye and knit. 

The knitting itself was quite straightforward, after I had got the hang of how Andi writes her patterns, Although I know people have had trouble with the sleeve cap. even though I've knit a fair few top down set in sleeves, I sat down, in the light, at the table with a cup of tea to pick up the stitches and knit the sleeve cap.

No wine, no TV...and the first attempt (which I ripped without taking photos) was not good. I eventually used Barbara Walker&…

Unravelled Wednesday -the one with the finishing things

Welcome to Unravelled Wednesday, were I link up with Kat and the gang to chat about what we've been reading and knitting this week. In knitting, I keep on finishing things, which is fun, but then I need to start things and that seems difficult right now, so after I finished Chiuck, and made a matching hat (more about that when I see how it came out of the blocking) I cast on a charity hat with LOSY. It's knitting up really fast, and really quite prettily, if I say so myself. but I'll have it finished by the end of the day, and I'm having trouble deciding whether to cast another one on, or whether I should move on to the next thing in my queue, whcih is a colourwork cowl. i wonder why I'm stuggling with such a low impact decision? In books, after I DNFd The Calculating Stars last Wednesday, and then in one the Hugo award. I guess I'm out of alignment with popular opinions. I started reading Last Train to Istanbul.
I really struggled with it to start with - it…

Cutting it close ... and furry

The whole time I was knitting Chuck I hoped to have at least 70 grams of yarn left over. My plan was to buy some mohair and make a hat. I've started obsessing about carrying mohair along, to play with colour and texture. Rachey's Latu used 70 grams, and was also 10 ply, so that's where I got that number from.

I had bought more yarn than the Chuck pattern called for, because I knew I wanted long sleeves, and also, dying it myself means that the colour is not replicable. Not even close!

At the end of the jumper (which is currently blocking, photos and wrap up late in the week) I do have exactly 70 grams -which includes both my swatches!

I went to Morris and Sons today and bought some dark grey Kid Slik haze. I'm very excited about knitting with this yarn. 12 years ago, when I started knitting seriously, loads of people where using this yarn - it was nick-named KidSilk crack for it's addictive properties. Then it went out of fashion. Now mohair is back, and I'm here …

Safety socks

I finished my latest pair of sneaker liners (Roxy by Trudy Hertaas , and wore them today. Knitting these in Socks Yeah, which is a fairly thin sock yarn reminded me of a solid fact: there are three things that affect the final size:

1) Needle size 2) number of stitches AND 3) yarn thickness. 

Which is to say these, knit on my usual 62 stitches and 2mm needle size came out quite small. But I wore them today and they are rather perfect. I reversed the pattern for the second one. I was thinking about just eyeballing it as I knit, or rewritting it in excel, and then I wondered if my (work) photocopy machine could mirror the image. It could, and it worked, so that made life fun and simple.
I also changed the side cables: the pattern had one extra long cable, which I didn't realise, so when I saw my sock had one longer cable I "fixed" it. After I realised what had happened, I left the cables equal, because to me it looks better that way.

And now I'm back to only having one p…

Unravelled Wednesday - the one with socks AND a jumper

Knitting two things at a time does my head in! It made sense when I cast on, and then I figured 'socks for out of the house, jumper for knitting on when I'm home". And it has been nice being able to carry the sock with me even when I don't think I'm going to have a lot of knitting time, but knowing that I only have a couple of hours left to finish the pair of socks is very distracting for me. Anyway, I'll knit and finish them on Friday. until then I'm focusing on my Chuck Sweater, which only needs two sleeves and it's done too. Cropped jumpers are very speedy! 
In reading, I finished As Dust Dances and it was a disappointment, I really didn't enjoy the second half. Now I'm reading The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.

I'm really not enjoying it. The premise is that the earth gets hit by a meteorite, and so now we should colonise space, before the earth boils. I think they should try to fix the earth, because it seems more logical and…

Blanket update

I'm suddenly obsessed with knitting on my blanket. I don't know if it's because all my friends gave me their left-over sock yarn, and now I have about a kilogram of scraps - special shout outs to Katie, Kris, Susanne and Louisa. Or because it looks funny, and will until the sides are evened up.

Or because I have a knitting plan that takes me through to next year, but unless I spend a day or two a week (or throw in a bunch of of charity hats with the left over LOSY) I won't actually have enough projects to get me through to next year.

I don't know why, but I do know that I am obsessed and can't stop knitting on this blanket! Which is good, because it took me 10 years to knit the first half of this project, and I'm thinking I'll knit the second half in one year. I know that if I only knit this, I could get it caught up in no time, but I still have to remind myself that, or all the things I knit, this one is not about finishing it. I'll remind myself of …

FO Friday

I finished the two Baby Surprise Jackets I was knitting and sewed the buttons on, washed and blocked them, bought a card and a mailing envelope. 

Now Leon just needs to get an address, and these can go off the there recipients. I really like how the button choice came out on both of these. I'm very happy with both of them. Like I always say, it's pretty hard to mess up a Baby Surprise Jacket.

Interestingly, despite both being knit on the exact same needle (3.25mm Chiagoo), one came out noticeably larger than the other. 

Really, one of my most favourite knitting things in the whole world is pairing a solid with a self striping, whether it is for baby jumpers or socks. One of my other favourite tings is taking photos of baby jumpers on my teddy bears:

 As a bonus to this post, here's a pictures of the a previous baby jumper (not a BSJ) that I knit, with the actual baby in it.