Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Something new

I haven't abandoned the blog again, promise. There has sadly been little crafting since last I posted. I did, however, finish a pair of ankle socks today:
I like having ankle socks to wear in sneakers for the summer. I also like them as a way of using up the leftovers of a skein of sock yarn. I have found with some of my other pairs that the cuff does not properly cover the back of my heel. This time I used a few short rows after the ribbing and before the heel. This should make them more comfortable and keep my shoes from rubbing. I will have to remember this modification for future pairs.

Speaking of modifications, I made some to my last full sized pair of socks. I've been finding that my hand made socks are wearing out on the bottom of the heel and the top of the toe. The toe holes are easy to sew up and can be largely prevented by making the socks a few rows longer than usual. The bottom of the heels require quite a bit of darning, which is why I have a number of pairs of socks sitting waiting to be repaired.

I wanted to do something to make the heels a bit better wearing. For this pair I decided to try using the eye of partridge stitch on the bottom as well as the back of the heel. I don't notice a difference in how they feel but I'm really hoping that there will be a difference in how they wear. I'd rather be knitting than darning.
I'm going to try to maintain this sock momentum I seem to have built up. I'll be sure to share when I cast on for my next pair since I also hope to build up some blogging momentum. Until then.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


After meaning to get back to the blog for what turns out to be more than a year, here I am finally posting again. I realize that I really do like have the record of my handiwork that this blog provides. I've also recently bought a loom so I have a whole new craft to show off and try to keep track of.

I could kick off the second coming of the blog with pictures of my new loom, but instead I thought I'd share a project that I planned to start back when this blog was new and only recently picked up and finished:
Another Tangled Yoke with much the same modifications that I made on the first one except this time I decided to keep the bobbles. I bought the yarn for this way back with the intention of knitting this sweater. I was still pretty new to knitting so I chose to use the yarn recommended in the pattern. I ordered the Rowan Felted Tweed online in a colour I thought would suit me. Sadly it turned out that Clover was less peach than I thought and didn't suit my complexion as well as I had hoped.

So the yarn sat unloved in my stash waiting to be redyed or sold or traded. Meanwhile I found another yarn that was closer to the colour I was looking for so I knit the sweater up from that. Years passed.

Finally I decided that I needed a dark coloured sweater and that I'd love another Tangled Yoke. So I took my chances turned the balls of yarn into skeins of yarn and dumped the whole bunch into a big pot on my stove with some black acid dye. I couldn't be happier with the results. I was worried that I'd loose the nice tweedy look of the yarn but it totally survived the dye bath.

Once I had yarn in a colour I liked it was only a matter of a couple of weeks before I'd finished knitting myself a new sweater. I love it and am so glad that I was finally brave enough to risk the dye pot.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A new project

This weekend I lucked into two days off in a row so it was the perfect time to cast on a new project. I tend to find starting a project takes more time than knitting it. First yarn and a pattern need to be found and matched. This can take me months, especially since I tend to want to design my own patterns.

After yarn and pattern are chosen needles need to be found in my stash. Then the gauge swatch needs to be knit and measured and washed and measured and sometimes reknit on different needles and measured and washed...

The larger the project the more time this seems to take. I can decide on a sock pattern and get it started in about an hour unless I really love the yarn and am waiting for the perfect pair that will be worthy of it. Sweaters take me much longer in part because I am more likely to want to use my own design or because I have trouble finding the perfect yarn for someone else's design that I have fallen in loved with. The delay can be so long that the appropriate season passes me by and the sweater gets set aside until next year. This is why I have sweater quantities of yarn in my stash that should have been sweaters some time ago.

This year I am going to challenge myself to knit as many of these up as possible. I'm curious how many sweaters I can knit up in a year if I really put my mind to it. So far this year I have knit one sweater. I need to pick up the pace.

To this end I cast on for a Habu sweater that I bought in kit form when it was on sale. The yarn is two strands held together; one is a laceweight stainless steel wrapped in silk and the other is a 'paper' yarn made of linen. Needless to say this sweater will be like nothing else I own. So far I have knit about half of one of the sweater fronts:
I think this is going to be a very cool sweater. I fear it will be impossible to photograph well, though. The fabric has such an interesting hand and photographs just don't capture it. I'll keep trying so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The first of many

Since I have a bit of a blog backlog I thought I'd start with the oldest project and go from there. This project was actually knit early September 2009 but I couldn't share it then because it had to remain secret until the pattern was published. The pattern is appearing in the April 2010 issue of Yarn forward so I can now share:
The pattern is Entrelac Gloves designed by Sarah Sutherland. They are knit using Noro Silk Garden sock and if you pay attention to the colour repeats it is quite easy to make a matching pair of gloves. I was really pleased with the way these gloves fit and I was sorry to have to hand them over when they were done (the fact that it was a warm September did help).

This was actually my first entrelac project. I'll admit to doing some early swatching to make sure that I wasn't getting myself into something I couldn't finish but that was a simple flat piece. The pattern is well constructed and I would recommend it to anyone looking to try entrelac.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two months later...

When last we heard from our intrepid crafter she had just completed a pair of plain socks and was planning to knit a sweater using some yarn she got for Christmas. Since then nearly two months have passed (and let the record show that one of those months was a short month) with nary a peep. But while the blogging went unwritten, knitting and spinning continued apace (though perhaps at a slower pace than desired.)

The sweater did get designed and knit, though it was in March rather than in February. There will eventually be a full reveal, but for now this small detail will have to suffice:
There was also most of a sock completed and some spinning on both spindles and wheel. All of the above sadly went unblogged.

Here on the eve of a new month blogging will resume. Projects past and present will get their fair airing. First person will supplant third and all will be well. But only after a good night's sleep.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Letting the yarn do the work

A couple of weeks ago my fellow Tuesday coffee knitter was working on some plain socks using one of the more complicated self-striping sock yarns. The socks looked great and she was really enjoying seeing what the yarn would throw at her next. I was intrigued so on my next trip to the LYS I picked up a ball of Trekking XXL that looked like it would produce interesting stripes.

The plan was to knit up a pair of plain socks, but I'll admit that until they were well underway I was still considering something more complicated. Since I intended these socks to be a gift for someone I haven't knit socks for before I was a bit worried about fit. I didn't feel like taking the time to knit a full pair of socks in a ribbing pattern but I was seriously considering knitting yet another pair of Monkey socks. I find that the Monkey socks behave a lot like ribbed socks and make for a more forgiving fit.

In the end I managed to convince myself that, since I had bought yarn that had a lot of visual interest on its own, any stitch pattern would be lost and might detract from the yarn itself. I stuck to knitting a plain 64 stitch sock, top down, with gusset heels:

I really enjoyed sitting back and letting the yarn do its thing. I cast on for these last Tuesday and they were finished Saturday, so they were also a very quick knit. Now I just need to put these somewhere safe until their intended recipient's birthday comes along in early May.

Now I just need to find something to work on during tomorrow's coffee and knitting get-together...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A month in review

Here we are already at the end of January and since I just finished a knitting project this seems like a really good time to cover what I was up to this month. After all of my Christmas knitting I found myself somewhat unmotivated in the knitting department. I spent much of what would otherwise have been knitting time at the start of the month reading a couple of novels. I also read through a copy of "Respect the Spindle" that I was lucky enough to get for Christmas and a copy of "Reversible Knitting" that I bought with a gift certificate that I also got for Christmas.

For Christmas I had also asked for and received a couple of balls of lovely "Shepherd's Own" undyed brown worsted weight wool. I had planned to make a hat and gloves to go with a brown coat that I rarely have the chance to wear. This plan changed when I realized that I could get another 4 balls with a gift certificate I was given. This means that I now have enough yarn to knit myself a sweater and I fully intend to get this sweater knit in the coming month.

On top of reading and shopping I did some more spinning from fleece samples handed out at the guild meeting. I also worked on spinning up some merino on my drop spindles. I am currently plying up the results and reminding myself of why I usually opt to do my plying on the wheel (it is a bit slow and mindless).

Even though I spent much of my time reading and spinning, I did start a knitting project so that I would have something to work away at during my regular knitting and coffee Tuesday nights. I've had a pair of balls of Trekking xxl yarn floating around in my stash waiting for me to turn them into knee socks. I was originally planning on knitting something quite complicated but then I realized that a plain pair would get more wear and fit better with my current wardrobe.
I cast on the second Tuesday of the month and was ready to start the second sock the next week. Sadly the second ball of yarn chose to disappear for a week, which meant that I only got started on the second sock last week. They are done now:

This was a nice mostly mindless project and my fingers really took to the knitting after their early month break. Despite their size they were a remarkably quick and easy knit. I'm looking forward to wearing them with skirts come spring. I might even wear them with shoes.