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Showing posts from June, 2018

In and out, round and round

The other day at Richmond Knitters, Katie pulled this stunning skein of Little Dipper Yarn out of her bag and gave it to me - it's prettier in real life, this isn't a great photo - winter and the lack of sunlight one this round. The yarn is alpaca and silk and cashmere and so soft. Katie is allergic to alpaca, so thought I should have it. Sweet!

 It matches this Socks That Rock - which officially has the title of The Oldest Yarn in My Stash. I think it will make a great Swoop shawl - a Romi Hill shawl that i already have the pattern for.

Meanwhile, I've been collecting left over sock yarn. Everything in this bag has already had a blanket square made form it. Catherine is also knitting a sock yarn blanket. She's a bit more focused than me, and knits a square every single day. So I gave this bag (250 grams of it) to her. Funnily enough, some of it was leftover that Sonia gave to me. 
And so it goes, around and around, using yarn, and sharing yarn and loving it.

WTF - monster socks

As soon as I finished my  What The Fade shawl, I knew I wanted to use the leftovers to make faded monstersocks. I had already used some to make sneaker liners, but I wanted a fade. I bought the How I Roll pattern,  pattern, which is basically Rose City Rollers with a fade. Her technique is a little different from the blenders I have used before.

I quite like them - if I had done more maths I could have made them more matchy, but the first one I got through the fade too quickly. I really should try to take a break from making sneaker liners, I have a draw full, but I find them such fun to knit. I wear a pair every single day, and often at the gym I run around in nothing but my socks, so they do get worn, seen and appreciated.  


Things I've lost (part two)

Three years ago, as part of Kate Davies' Inspired by Islay, I made a pair of house socks called Baffies. These were orange and white, and I found I wore them all the time in the house. So comfortable. After we moved, I could only find one of them and eventually I threw that out, because I try to only keep things I love, need or use around. And then, as part of the great clear out of 2018, while going through one of my clothes drawers, I FOUND THE OTHER ONE. Still, I only had one, since I threw out the first one.


 It's the middle of winter now, and cold and I really missed those little slippers. After I finished the hot water bottle cover I moved straight on to a replacement pair. They took me a weekend of knitting, and have barely come off my feet since. And I match my homewares, which is an important factor in making colour choices, right? 




Gloamin-Tide - the swatching post

I wound the yarn and swatched as per instructions for the Gloamin-Tide mkal.
I quite like the way it came out, although the top two colours look really close. Also, this photo makes them look kind of green, and in other lights they look more yellow. 
I was lazy and used the easiest cast off, which was way too tight. I swatched on 3.25mm metal needles and am getting slightly too large a gauge. i love the fabric, so I think I'll switch to wooden needles for the actual knitting and call it good.
=The first clue comes out on Monday (actually Tuesday 2am in Melbourne), and I can hardly wait. in the meantime though, I'm planning to KNIT ALL THE (other) THINGS. I think this mkal will take about 4 knitting days each week, which leaves me a little time to work on other things. I swatched  for Carbeth as well - and when I say swatched I mean cast on a sleeve, magic looped 5 rows, decided it was enough for me to know what needle size I need and went and bought DPNs in 5.5 and 6mm. I really …

Carbeth - I finally gave in to it

Back in February, Mason Dixon Knitting did the "Bang Out A Carbeth" knitalong. I nearly knit one in the few days between when Ifinished my set for Scotland and when we flew out, after I realised I wouldn't have time to do the Cairraig Fhadah then. But I decided not to put myself under that sort of pressure.  I also wondered how useful sure a warm thick jumper would be in Melbourne.

Then I saw Kat's, in our cosy Edinburgh Air B'NB. She was curled up in a chair, wearing tartan PJ bottoms, Carbeth, sipping a hot drink and knitting. I've never seen an image that is so snug and lovely. 

The idea of knitting one simmered away, and then I found the perfect yarn on the KnitPicks site. Not only was it exactly what I wanted, it was also pretty cheap. So I bought it.

It arrived today. I won't be casting on immediately, but it is pretty near the top of my queue. Winter has arrived here, and i want to be the one curled up in a chair, wearing my cosy Carbeth and drinking …

Gauge matters

I was knitting away on my replacement hot water bottle cover, and it looked a little bit too big. I had gone down a needle size from the pattern, so I figured it would magically sort itself out. When I finished, it was still too big. Probably because my gauge - counted at the end of the project, rather than the beginning - was 22 stitches/10cm. The pattern gauge was 25 stitches.

It would do the job, but I thought it would be nicer if it fit. I tried had felting it, which didn't work, so I bunged the cover, with the bottle inside, into the washing machine for a 60 degree wash. It worked.


It is perfectly felted on to the bottle. I can't get it off, but why would I want to? If it needs washing, I'll just wash the whole lot together. So, while it was a basically successful project, its a good reminder that gauge matters, and if you think something is off, don't wait until the END of the project to work it out.

Carraig Fhada - finished

I finished the vest on Tuesday, blocked it and wore it on Thursday. We saw Puffs (a Harry Potter play, with the premise of  what were the Hufflepuffs up to while all the stuff that went on in the books was happening. Brilliant) and took the opportunity to get some photos.


I really like how this came out. It's deliberately a little bit looser than my other vests, I'm currently going through a positive ease stage in my life. 

The Kate Davies pattern was typically brilliant, easy to knit but still interesting. The only mod I did was to lower the neckline by starting it when I started the underarms. All in all a very happy making project.



Things I've lost (part 1)

Winter has arrived in Melbourne. I'm having the strangest time, because normally I'm quite sensitive to the cold. this year, everyone around me is saying "it's so cold' I'm I'm saying, "it's fine, why am I wearing so many layers?". 
Despite this, I went looking for my hot water bottle the other night, because sometimes when i get into bed my feet just won't get warm. And it's gone. Hot water bottle, handspun, handknit cover the lot. I know where it should be, and it's just not there. I've got a fairly pared back house, so it's all a bit of a mystery.

Anyway, there is only one thing to be done:

Meet my new hot water bottle. I'm going to make a cover from Buchaille, left over from the vest I've almost finished, and everything will be fine. I'm still really curious as to what could have happened to the old hot water bottle.

I'm also really curious about this:

Maximum temperature 42 degrees! I know it's importan…

Technique Tuesday - FAIL

When I started knitting Carraig Fhada I bragged about how beautiful my tubular cast on was. When I got to the neck, I used the matching tubular cast off. After all, I keep reading about how stretchy it is, and I love the look of it.

It's a bit of a pain to work, 4 rows of slipping stitches, then dividing the stitches onto two needles and kitchenering them, but I kept telling myself that the extra hour or so it took me now would be more than made up for by the joy it would give me.

Once I'd cast it off I tried it on: and the collar cast of was tight and binding. It made the whole vest sit wrongly. Pulling it out was nearly impossible, in the end I had to cut out the cast off. So frustrating when I thought I was being so clever!


And that's another way

I have some lovely sock yarn in my stash that I don't really know what to do with, so when The Monster Socks Group on Ravelry announced they were doing a mini skein swap, I jumped in. I'm doing a double batch, so 18 mini skeins, because it works out the same for postage.
I'm very exited - the idea of sending out yarn and getting lots of other skeins back just seems like magic.

And look how cute the mini skeins are:




Well, that's one way to deal with it

I'm strangely concerned with not having anything in my life that I don't use, or am not going to use. Basically I somehow contracted minimilism, and now I just want to get rid of all the things. One of the things that has been bothering me for a while is the laceweight at the bottom of my stash. On Ravelry it looks like this:


But I've used half of each of those skeins, and I have other left-over lace-weight and in real life it looks like this:



So I'm giving the lot to the Op Shop. My local Salvos sells a lot of random yarn, so hopefully someone will enjoy this. I will certainly enjoy having less things in my life.

(And while I'm here, my current stash-count is 15555 metres.)

Yarnlaong - the one where it is June

Funnily enough, this month I'm reading Golden Fool the second book in the Tawny Man trilogy. Last month I was reading the first. I have actually read some other books in between! If youw ant to follow my reading, you can find me on Goodreads as Sharondblk.
I am knitting the Kate Davies vest Carraig Fhada. I've had the yarn for it since the beginning of 2017, and i can't believe it's taken me this long to start it. I'm knitting it in the specified yarn, Kate Davies' Buchaille, and loving it.  It's such a fun knit: beautiful yarn, intuitive pattern with a great rhythm to it.
This weekend is a long weekend here (Queen's Birthday, even though it isn't, biologically speaking, the Queen's birthday)
I am looking forward to going in to the three day weekend with such a compelling book and fun knitting project on the go. There will, of course, also be some running, some socialising and a lot of sleeping, but it's the reading and knitting that I'm lo…

Risking the MKAL

Ysolda announced that she is doing an MKAL, and I am very drawn to participate. I'm not sure why, since usually I ma very controlling about what I knit. Also, there have been some dreadful shawl MKALs, including the Stephen West one that came out looking like lady bits, and What the Fade, which I loved knitting, but is just a giant triangle shawl in brioche and garter. I can only image receiving a  clue every week that says 'keep knitting the same, but in a different colour".
I digress. Having decided that I MUST participate, I very quickly realised I don't have anything even near suitable on hand. Time to buy yarn. It's a three colour shawl, calling for a subtle gradient. I went with Miss Babs, partly because I like her as a dyer, and partly because she has a neat feature on her website where you can compare colours.

And I chose a grellow theme, because I don't have any grellow in my life. I fell in love with the Healing Salt colour and then matched the others …

A beautiful beggining, but will it lead to a square end?

I've flirted with the tubular cast on before - it gives a stunning edge, but can be a pain over a large number of stitches. For the Carraig Fhada vest I wanted to do a cable cast on, and I finally found a fairly easy way to do so over on Craftsy.

The only thing is, the pattern then goes in to twisted rib, but I think the non twisted side looks better so I've flipped the knitting so it flows through nicely. 

The vest is named for the lighthouse at Port Ellen on Islay - the thing is it's a square lighthouse, so I hope it doesn't make me look blocky! We spent 4 nights in a hotel overlooking  Carraig Fhada, watching the lighthouse flash across the bay, and seeing the pictures with this pattern bring back sweet memories. And, if you are wondering when I'm going to stop talking about that holiday, probably about the same time Ifinish knitting all the patterns from Inspired by Islay and The West highland Way.