Busy busy busy

I’ve been running around doing all-sorts this week.  I’ve been at C House a few times, at the library (hi Henry!), at the gym (!!!), to KnitJam, and I’ve had a visitor this weekend – my friend Charlotte.  Whew!  And now I’m starting all over again.

I’m going to the gym with the bro and also sometimes with my upstairs neighbour.  It’s definitely a good plan to have gym buddies.  We’re planning to go to pilates, too.  Should be fun!

In knitting news, I’ve finished my first project for 2011: the Snapdragon Tam for my sister-in-law:

Snapdragon TamSnapdragon Tam

Pattern: Snapdragon Tam by Ysolda Teague [Ravlink]
Yarn: Elle Family Favourites DK in Gold.
Needles: 4mm metal circulars.

I am pleased with it, and it was fun to knit, too :-)

Travelling Woman shawl

Finally, belatedly, here are the pictures and info for my “Gap Year TravelsTravelling Woman shawl.

Travelling Woman shawl

Pattern: Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante [Ravlink]
Yarn: The Yarn Yard Bonny in Byron Bay & Art Deco solid, and Wendy Sunbeam St. Ives 4ply Sock Wool in Dark Grey.
Needles: 4mm metal circulars.

Travelling Woman close-up Travelling Woman close-up

P is for Projects

I had a sudden bout of startitis today (the urge to cast on new knitting projects) but I’ve managed to restrain myself!  Why did I do that?  Well, for the last… oh, good while, I’ve been resolved to finish the projects I currently have on the needles before I start anything new.  I’ve got a lot of things that have been meandering along for a long time – I have started and completed other projects in the mean time, but I haven’t finished these others.  So I’m making an effort to do that now.

The thing that’s helped me the most with doing that is that I decided to pick a “WIP of the Week” every Friday, and concentrate on that project for the next seven days. I’m not forbidding myself from knitting on my other WIPs if I feel like it, but I’ll be focussing on the one that I’ve picked and hopefully be doing the most work on that.  I haven’t kept that up completely all the time, but it’s certainly helped before so I’m going to try it again.

When I first started it, it worked like a dream – I finished my first three picks very quickly that way. At the moment, I have two – the Menace jumper, which is a UFO (I count something as a UFO rather than a WIP if it’s been hibernating and not worked on for ages) and now only needs seaming, and the Clapotis scarf which is somewhat more portable. By the end of this week, I intend to have finished the straight portion of the scarf, and made a start on the jumper seaming. Although if I haven’t managed that, it doesn’t matter – I’m not aiming to finish the projects within each week, just to get as much work done on them as possible.

So, the current WIP(s) of the Week will be at the top of the “Currently” section of my sidebar. Below them are my Ravelry-powered progress bars for my In Progress and Hibernating projects. The hibernating ones are greyed out and italicised (and if you want to know how I got it to do that, drop me a line – it involved some code wrangling that I’d be happy to share with anyone interested). The links go to the Ravelry project pages, so I’m afraid if you’re not a member you won’t be able to get in unless I remember to set them as ‘open’.  Or at least I think that’s how it works.  Although if you’re not a member and are a knitting/crochet/spinning fan, I’d definitely recommend you go and sign up – it’s a fabulous site :-)

Anyway, I thought I’d do a round-up (with pictures) of my current lot of WIPs and UFOs. And project details for those I haven’t mentioned on here before.

Continue reading “P is for Projects”

Let There Be Glove

My “Damson Gloves” [Ravlink] are my current main knitting work in progress.  I have no gloves, you see!  I lost mine a couple of years ago, and it seemed silly to buy new ones when I could make some, so I started on these.  And, um… I finished one plus just past the cuff of the second!  It wasn’t even like knitting the fingers were as fiddly as I’d been afraid they might be.  I think I got distracted with gift knitting and things with deadlines, and just lost the momentum on them.  And of course, every time I remembered them again since, it was already cold weather.  I do have nice warm fingerless gloves, although that’s not quite the same.

This year, however, I’ve picked them up again.  Or picked up glove no.2, to be more accurate.  I’d actually knitted up to part of the thumb gusset, but I didn’t actually know exactly how far up.  So I ripped it out (it was only a few inches, after all) and started again.  Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do so sooner.  Well, I do – I had lots of other knitting that I was concentrating on, and these didn’t have a deadline.  But now I want gloves, and the weather is getting colder!  So this is how I’m doing:

Damson gloves - wip Damson gloves - wip

Actually, I’ve now got a little further than that – those photos are from a couple of days ago, and I’ve now knit the little finger and started on the ring finger.  If I concentrate on them for another couple of days, I should be finished.  Hoorah!

I don’t think I ever did a project info post for these gloves, so here it is now:

Pattern: Basic Glove Pattern (from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns) by Ann Budd [Ravlink] using a 1×1 rib cuff,  Wavy Rib up the thumb and Claw Pattern Cable with Bobbles on the back of the hand (both from The Harmony Guides Vol.2, pp.70 & 76).
Yarn: Yarn Yard Hug in ‘Damson’.
Needles: 3.25mm Addi Turbo bamboo circular (80cm)
Ravelry Project Page: Damson Gloves

With a bit of luck, my next post about these will be to show off the finished versions!

Conquering entrelac

Or so far… not.  Heeeeelp!  I’ve been going backwards and forwards on the first half-inch (the setup triangles) of the entrelac sock pattern that is the second pair for this year’s Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon.  I was getting great big gappy gaps between the triangles and after I looked at this tutorial / pattern [Ravlink] for an entrelac scarf that someone on the mailing list recommended, I came to the conclusion that it was because of the extra two rows at the top of the triangles in the sock pattern – they didn’t ‘attach’ to the sock cuff.  (The triangles were made by knitting increasing short rows, using one more stitch from the cuff every time until you get to six.  I don’t think I can describe it any better than that, but the scarf tutorial has pictures.)  The scarf tutorial, which starts the short rows with knitting one stitch instead of two like the sock pattern, solves that problem.  So that’s what I’ve now done with those.

[thumb:1122:l:l=d:t=]Pattern: buttercupia: Noro Entrelac Socks. [Ravlink]
Yarn: Posh Yarn Emily in ‘Troubadour’.
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs
Ravelry Project Page: SKP09 Pair #2

However!  Now that I’ve done all the triangles, I’m a bit stumped.  I have to pick up stitches to start the rectangle / diamond section, and it says to work left to right.  But I’m not sure if I’m sposed to turn the work before I do that, or go “backwards” on the right side, or what.  Aaaaaaah, confusing!  I think I’m just going to have to experiment and see what happens.  I should have knitted a swatch first.  Oh well!!

Other than the entrelac socks, I’ve been doing some spinning, actually remembering to keep up with taking Project 365 photos (I’ll post those soon), and… um… also doing other stuff?  Oh, I know – I have new glasses which is great because now I can see what I’m typing (always helpful), and I’ve also been reading a fair bit.  In fact, I’m thinking of doing Dewey’s Read-a-thon, although I should probably make my mind up soon if I am going to join in.  If I do, I don’t think I’ll commit to the whole 24 hours because I don’t want to mess my sleeping patterns up again just as they seem to be improving, but I could do 12 hours easily.  I would say more, but it starts at 1pm BST (the site says GMT, but they mean current UK time by that, not actual GMT) and that would make my finishing time too late.  And in fact, since it’s just past 1am right now, I think I’d better go to bed and get some kip!  Night.

Pentathlon sock #5

Since most of what I’m knitting right now is shhhhh, secret, here: have a photo of something I can show you! It’s my fifth and final pair for the sock knitters’ pentathlon. Currently on temporary hold while I finish the presents I have to do, but I should get it done by the end of the month with no problem.

Photo of Sock Pentathlon pair #5 in progress

Pattern: Summer Olympics Medals Socks 2008 by FrauHugs [Ravlink]
Yarn: Posh Yarn Lei in Drizzle
Needles: 2.5mm, 80cm circulars (Addi Turbo)
Ravelry Project Page: Pentathlon Pair #5

Alive, alive-oh

D’oh, I zoned out for a while there. I wish that would stop happening. My next psych appt isn’t until July, either. It was s’posed to be April or early May, but it got put back. :-/ Still, I can phone them if need be, so it’s not that bad.

Anyway, I haven’t been completely unproductive (read: asleep) over the last few weeks. I’ve been reading (I keep meaning to write reviews… I really will do that. Eventually), and knitting, which I shall talk about a bit more in a moment, and doing a bit of work on a fannish website project with Sann. And over the last couple of days I’ve been gradually putting some knitting / crochet books and some more yarn up for sale on eBay. I might even get the non-knitting things I have to clear out up there, if I can get around to taking photos and working out postage. I need a better pair of scales!

Actually, talking of scales, I may or may not have lost weight recently, but I have been eating more healthily. And without having to think about it too hard, either – it’s becoming more of a habit, which is really good. As well as that, I’m going to start doing more exercise again. I had meant to before, but I as part of the whole zoning out thing I was mainly stuck indoors. However, this morning I’m planning to either go for a walk in the park if I can get hold of Ally in time, or go to aquafit and then either the gym or just stay in the pool for a swim. I’ve got to get back into a routine where I’ve got something to get going for in the morning, and having something that I need to leave the house for is better. Otherwise I’m likely to faff around at the computer in my pyjamas until lunchtime! Quite possibly doing something productive, but still – I need that routine of being really “up and about”, and being actually dressed is part of that.

Back to the knitting, anyhow. Let’s see… looking back at those goals I set myself at the beginning of May, I’m afraid I still haven’t finished Mum’s present (I’m going to go and do some work on that in just a mo!). But as I said, I did finish the baby bootees, and I’ve also finished my second pair of socks – the Berlin Muster pattern – for the Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon. I hit my personal targets as well: I wanted to finish in the first 100, and to improve my sock knitting time. Which I did: I finished as number 68, on 23rd May, so it took me exactly 3 weeks to knit them, doing an average of an hour or two a day. :-) Since then, as well as Mum’s pressie I’ve been working on my Fireworks socks, and I’ve now finished the first one after a bit of a hiccup with the garter stitch toe the first go around (it ended up about twice as long as it should have been!). The second one of those is cast on and I’ll now be slowly making my way down the leg whenever I want to work on a project that requires very little concentration for the most part. I don’t have any pictures of that just yet, anyway, but I do have some of the finished objects. Want to see?….

Continue reading “Alive, alive-oh”

Rebel rebel

My second pair of socks for the Pentathlon is underway. For this one, I think the main challenge is in the preparation (there was confusion over which translated version of the pattern and which chart was most accurate), and since it’s a 16 row lace pattern where the stitch count increases and decreases a couple of times, you have to keep your mind on what you’re doing. I’m not finding it too much of a problem though. Not mindless telly knitting, but fine for watching something where I don’t want to have my eyes glued to the screen the whole time and so can keep count.

However, I have rebelled a little ;-) The pattern recommends using solid or semi-solid colours, and I… have not. I was going to: I said in my last post that I was intending to use a solid red. But the lace pattern is a leafy sort of thing, and I just didn’t want to make it in red. It would probably look lovely in the Yarn Yard September Club yarn:

Photo of the Yarn Yard September Club Yarn

…. but much as I think that yarn is beautiful, if I make yet another pair of green socks right now I might lose the will to live. ;-) So that one was out.

Then I thought, well, it’s a really pretty pattern. (In fact, if ever a pattern said “knit me in pastel pink!” to me, it’s this pattern, but that’s never going to happen. Sorry pink, but I’ll never wear you. Ever.) It’s lace, but I’m not sure that a multi yarn would obscure the pattern completely. And the Yarn Yard Feb 08 ‘Art Deco’ club yarn is really really pretty: light blue, chocolate powder brown, cream, pale yellow, a hint of soft green. Really springlike. And I could use the minty blue-green contrast skein for the cuff, toes, and maybe the heels. So, that’s what I’ve cast on with. And I was right, this yarn is really pretty. However, so far I’m not entirely sure if it’s knitting up as a pretty lacy sock, or a small woolly pizza. Below is a photo of the cuff and first lace repeat. Any thoughts, anybody:

Photo of my Pentathlon pair #2, cuff and first lace repeat

Anyway, here are the project stats as they stand at the moment:
Pattern: Berlin Muster by Kristin Benecken [Ravlink]
Yarn: The Yarn Yard Bonny (previously Sock) in Art Deco (Feburary 08 Sock Club yarn)
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs
Ravelry Project Page: Pentathlon Pair #2

If I do decide to change the yarn, I’ll definitely stay with Yarn Yard Bonny as it’s just perfect for the project, and I think I’d either go for the solid bright blue from the November club yarn or persuade myself that three pairs of green socks in five months would be fine, and use the above August one. I’m hoping that the Art Deco will work out alright, though. Not least because I’ve set myself the goal of coming in within the first 100 this time…

The big baboon by the light of the moon was combing his auburn hair

First Monkey sock up to the heel flap (click for a larger version)I’ve been beavering away at my Monkey socks, one repeat at a time, usually while listening to podcasts. One of the nice things about this pattern is that the lace repeats are logical, and so very easily memorised. But you know, I don’t think I made a proper ‘project info’ entry for this project. So:
Pattern: Monkey socks, from Knitty (Winter 06).
Yarn: Opal Rodeo #1170.
Needles: Set of five 2.5mm DPNs.

The first pic here is of the first one of the pair, either at the end, or almost at the end of the heel flap. The stitch marker in the middle is where the cast-on row began. I haven’t bothered with that for the second sock.

One and a bit Monkey socks (click for a larger version)And here’s a pic of the completed first sock and the just cast-on second sock. There’s actually a lot more of it now – I’ve just finished the lace repeats for the leg and done the two set-up rows for the heel flap, so when I’ve finished writing this post, I’m off to go and listen to podcasts and get that heel flap done.

One of these days, I’m going to sit down and knit a pair of socks from start to finish, without working on other projects at the same time. Or, without swapping between those projects all the time. I’ve been trying to use Lixie’s Stashtimator, but I have no idea how long it really takes me to knit a pair of socks. Still, I have a ton more stash to count before I can get to my final figure anyway. Urk. I can tell you, though, that I have *wince* 6.1 miles just of sock yarn. Ouch. And that’s not counting leftovers. I’m realising that “too much stash” is a very subjective thing, because I’ve seen people who think they have a large stash when they only really have a couple of shoeboxes full. How do they do that? I don’t think I’ve had a stash that small since about two weeks after I started knitting! I’ve really got to go on a yarn diet / stashalong, haven’t I?

Purple Opal Magic Socks

Opal Magic Socks

Ahh, my first socks! Aren’t they fab? I don’t remember exactly why I decided to knit a pair of socks – whether it was just the next thing I wanted to try, or if I saw the yarn and fancied having a crack at it. I do know that my friend Char was with me, and she’s a sock knitter. So she definitely had some hand in the proceedings! *g*
Anyway, we were in the Battle Wool Shop (an L-ishYS) and with help from Char and the lovely ladies who work there, I picked out this yarn and a set of 2.5mm DPNs, and was given Sue Morgan’s Simple Sock Pattern pattern free with the purchase. I went for this because, well, there wasn’t a lot of sock yarn available – what there was was either completely plain, or the Opal or Regia self-striping. Or at least, I think so – there might have been some more expensive yarn there at the time, but I wasn’t looking for that – I wanted to go for something that would stand up to my novice sock-knitter efforts! Anyhow, I know they do have Lana Grossa and Trekking in the shop now as well as Opal and Regia, and I’m not 100% sure what else. If they have handpainted lines, it might live with the other expensive yarn on the other side of the shop, and I haven’t looked over there recently – too much temptation!
Opal Magic sock cuff But I digress. So there I was with my new sock making supplies…. but I can’t remember now if I cast on straight away or not. The picture on your right was taken in November 04, at any rate.
I knitted that first sock in fits and starts. The leg took quite a long time, though I was enjoying watching the pattern manifest itself. Then I blitzed the heel and foot gusset overnight in late December (pic below). The foot, again, took quite a while, and once I’d completed that toe, I have a feeling that the whole project hibernated for some time before I cast on for its pair.
Again, the second one was done in bits and pieces, but then in winter 05/06 I picked it up again and worked steadily until I was done! Whee!
More pictures are under the link!

Continue reading “Purple Opal Magic Socks”

Forest Canopy

Forest Canopy pattern set-upI can’t quite remember if I’ve mentioned this here yet, but I have cast on my Forest Canopy Shawl. This isn’t the best photo – it wasn’t good light and for some reason I couldn’t get the focus. Maybe I should have zoomed in or something? Anyway! What you can see here is about half of the set-up section of the lace pattern. I’ve now completed the set-up section and I’m about to start the first body repeat.
Project stats:
Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl by Susan Lawrence.
Yarn: Posh Yarn Eva 4-ply (55% silk, 45% cashmere) in Tuscany.
Needles: 4.5mm (bamboo straights for now, to change to a circular when it gets wider)
I’m actually kind of confused about this pattern. Not about the knitting of it as such – the pattern looks straightforward enough in terms of knitting the stitches. But it’s the construction of the shawl that’s stumping me. It’s not making sense in my head. You see, the pattern describes it as a “top-down” shawl. To me, the top of a shawl is the widest part, the edge that goes across the shoulders. Am I mistaken? Because the shawl starts out with… um… I’ve forgotten how many, but only a few stitches for the cast on, and then you increase from there. That would indicate to me that I’m knitting from the bottom point upwards.
I would have just assumed I’d got confused with what top-down meant. But. When you’ve knitted the desired number of pattern repeats, it then tells you to knit the border along the bottom edge and follow the directions to get the scalloped cast-off, etc etc. It doesn’t say anything about casting off the top edge and picking up along the bottom. Yet, if I’m starting with a pointy bit….. argh! Perhaps I’m missing something vital about the shape of the shawl because I haven’t yet started knitting the main pattern. I know I’m not knitting from a corner, either, because I’ve got the centre stitch right where it should be for knitting directly up or down.
Can anyone give me any clues? Anyone? Help?

Fetching so far

Fetching wristwarmer cuffFetching is progressing nicely, and it’s an absolute pleasure to knit. I have found the cables a bit more fiddly that others that I’ve done in the past, for some reason, but it is a nice straightforward little pattern, and is coming out beautifully. And as you can see, the Posh Yarn Sophia 6-ply (in Mute) looks utterly scrummy.
FYI, the project stats are:
Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath, from Knitty (Summer 06).
Yarn: Posh Yarn Sophia 6-ply (100% cashmere) in Mute.
Needles: Set of 5 4mm DPNs.
I’m now, by the way, further up than shown in this pic – I’ll take another one when I’m significantly more along with it.
But for right now… I think I’m going to stretch my legs around the flat a bit, and get something to eat. Which reminds me, I wanted to make a shout-out to my lovely encouraging monitor, Lisa – thank you for your support! And I wish I could go and get some fresh air, but it’s ‘orrible and rainy, and 3am, so I guess that’ll have to wait til the morning. Food first, some stretches, then a shower. That’ll do me for now.

Completed Regia socks

Finished Regia socks: click for larger picture! I’m only just getting around to uploading my photos, but I finished these socks… um… a couple of weeks ago now, I think. You will notice that the cat refused to get out of the frame – see below for an even better example of that. *g*
Anyhow, these were made in Regia’s ‘Mini Ringel Color’ shade #5217, which as you can see is nice and bright! I made them with 2.5mm DPNs using a basic sock pattern that I got free with some Opal yarn ages ago, although slightly modified since I made them longer (to the top of my calves) so they’d go well under my DMs. Therefore it needed to be a bit wider at the top – I actually cast on 6 extra stitches and decreased further on down, but I think in future I should just start with larger needles. The finished socks are a bit stiff feeling… not too tightly knitted, but the yarn itself. I think they’ll soften up after they’ve been washed though, as my Opal ones certainly have.
In other news, this time I’m trying posting using w.bloggar – let’s see how it goes…
Now back to the sock pics:

Continue reading “Completed Regia socks”