Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two days off

I had Sunday and Monday off this week and I used my free time to finish a pair of socks and start a vegetable garden. I'll post pictures of the garden once it starts looking like more than turned earth. If I had thought to bring my camera I could have taken a picture of the little toad who was already laying claim to my bit of dirt. I love having toads in the garden since they keep the bugs and slugs down. For me toads are a real novelty since I'd never seen one in the wild before moving here.

Enough about toads and more about knitting. Monday morning I finished my socks after puttin gin some serious knitting time on Sunday (some of which was at the market):

Pattern: Tesserae from Knitspot
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy. It started out bright pink, or 'cool fire' as they call it but after a dye bath ended up a nice series of purples. This picture doesn't capture the colours as well as the previous one, but oh well. I'd love to use this yarn again. It has great variegation without a tendency to stripe and it is lovely and soft.
Needles: Bamboo 2.25 mm DPNs

These are a really nice easy pair of socks. The great thing is that they fit like a ribbed pair of socks but are more visually interesting. These socks would make great gifts, but I have no plans to share mine. Soon I will own no socks but hand knit socks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Post and run

I finished a sock this morning and thought I'd share. This picture does a better job of capturing the colour the sock yarn came out when I over dyed it. I'm so glad that I spent the time with the dye because I really like working with this yarn and now it is a colour I can live with.

I've just cast on its pair and I think I may be able to finish it over the weekend. I've got Sunday off work and I'm really looking forward to going knitting at the market. It will be nice to devote some serious time to knitting with friends.

Right now, though, I'm off to work so sitting and knitting will just have to wait.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Playing with colour

A few weeks ago I picked up 3 little RIT dyes(blue, red and yellow). My thinking was that I love spinning coloured fleece, in part because it looks better on the blog, but I keep buying plain white fleece because it is cheaper and I have a hard time picking out predyed rovings online. Mostly I just wanted to play around dyeing things.

I used my big crock pot that never gets used for cooking to heat up my water and keep everything just this side of boiling. Instead of jumping right in with the fleece, I did some warm ups with some yarn. The first yarn I dyed was a bright pink skein of Dream in Color Smooshy sock yarn that I had won but that really wasn't a colour I would use. I threw it in with the blue dye and now I have a nice dark purple/indigo sock yarn that I will actually use. In fact I have already started using it:

This photo doesn't really capture the colours but I'm sure I will be taking more pictures as the sock develops.

The sock yarn didn't exhaust the blue dye so I threw some of my white BFL roving in. It wasn't a dark enough blue though so I eventually threw in some blue ink I had lying around. I kind of like the result, though I think I still have some colour to wash out once it becomes yarn:

Finished with the blue I moved on to red. Again I started by dyeing a yarn, this time an natural coloured skein o sea silk. I forgot to take a picture but I'm sure I will get around to starting a project with it soon. This time I added more roving and my yellow dye as well. I don't have a picture of the result but I did take a picture of my second attempt at playing with red dye and roving:

Currently I am spinning this red fleece into the fine singles that I seem to produce most easily. I'm thinking it will be a three ply eventually and I'll wait to see what my yardage is before I decide what to make with it. I'm really enjoying spinning something I dyed myself. It is hard, though, to spin and watch tv. I guess the only thing to do is keep practicing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Something finished

Well I almost managed to post this morning before work but then I made the mistake of picking up some roving to prep for spinning and all of my free time got used up. It is a good thing that I have finished socks to show off, otherwise I might not have managed to get around to posting at all today.

My silver cabled socks are now complete. Hurray. They are a nice utilitarian pair of socks but I feel that I've let the yarn down a bit. This colour of Shelridge Farm's Soft Touch has a shine that really makes it look metallic. If I ever knit with it again I'm going to look for a pattern that really shows off its shine. I have some other colours of this yarn so I will have a chance to redeem myself a bit.

Now I'm off to play with roving some more. If the sun comes out tomorrow I'll make sure I take some pictures. There are things that I have been dyeing to show you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Silver socks

Ok, so twice a week was a bit ambitious. I have had things to show but by the time I get a chance to take their pictures the good light has gone. Sigh. I had planned to use my day off yesterday to make real knitting progress but I only half succeeded. I did get one sock finished:

It is a simple design I came up with when I needed something to knit while visiting the hospital. I used Shelridge Farm's Soft Touch Ultra. I love the colours and softness of this yarn but I also find it somewhat cursed. I've started several socks with it before only to end up frogging them. Part of my problem was that it took me a while to realize that I needed to use 2.5 mm needles since 2.75 produced a fabric that had too much drape and 2.25 was too stiff. Having solved this I think I will be more successful using this yarn for socks. However the proper needle size did not prevent me from messing up my pattern's heel:

I don't like how the cable/rib looks as it passes the heel. I almost frogged it when I noticed but then I came to my senses and realized that there is no reason that this pair of socks has to be perfect so I'll live with it. I may try something different on the second sock or I may stick to making them match. We'll see.

I meant to do some work on solving the difficulties I'm having with my sweater but I didn't get around to it. Soon, though, soon.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Routines

Sorry for just disappearing there for a while. April was a crazy month and my knitting and blogging suffered. I started a new summer job, finished my winter teaching and tutoring and spent some unexpected time hanging out in the hospital as a visitor. I think the craziness has now abated but it did kind of consume all of April.

I did manage to get some knitting done in my absent month. I am still working on my blue Juno after setting it aside in frustration over the way the back of the neck is worked. I think I've figured out how to fix it so that it meets my standards for symmetry but while I was adjusting to new routines I couldn't bring myself to waste energy solving knitting problems.

I knit my first socks using handspun. I used the cabled yarn (2 2 plies plied together) that combines mohair and white BFL that I was spinning back in March. The socks are unfortunately stiff. I think that cabled yarn is less stretchy than simple plied yarn and that I probably made this worse by adding what I am sure was too much twist. I also could have gone up a needle size. There is no way I am going to frog these, though. I will see if some wear softens them up a bit.

I also knit a pair of secret socks that I can't post the details of. I will say that I was amused that April's sock challenge on Ravelry was knitting a pair of socks from a pattern without a picture and that is exactly what I did. Of course I couldn't post pictures or details but I'm still happy to have fulfilled the requirements.

Anyway, this month I plan to post a lot more (not hard I've already posted more than last month). I'm hoping to have something to say and show at least twice a week. I just need to make knitting and blogging a part of my new routine.