Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby knitting

I have finally got round to posting off some baby knits for babies that were growing quickly!

First up is another Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket. One of my favourite patterns. I made this using Schoppelwolle's Reggae Ombre in a gorgeous green. What a lovely yarn to work with. Super chunky. I teamed it up with some yummy brown buttons and a matching hat.

Secondly I made a Boheme jacket. I panicked when I first made this when I saw the lace pattern. So - I decided to not knit it and just did it in plain stocking stitch. This, along with the fact that I used some hand-spun yarn (yummy merino from Posh roving) gave me a tiny jacket that had a twist. I didn't have the heart to frog it as it is so soft and a lovely colour way.

So - I cast it on again. This time I used some gorgeous alpaca/merino yarn from Llamajama. I bought this yarn eons ago intending to make a soaker for Orla when she was a baby - well that didn't happen did it? I love the chocolate brown and used the pale pink to trim. An absolute pleasure to knit with and the pattern was a lot easier than I had thought. Having read other people's notes I decided to do a garter trim on the edges to prevent curling. Perfect. I used some ceramic heart buttons after asking loads of people their opinions!

I decided to send both of the Boheme jackets to the baby in question - maybe the smaller one can be used on a doll. (Although my friend assures me it will fit baby girl at the moment - so maybe I wasn't too late after all.) She has the slightly larger one to grow into too.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

St. Abbs Wool Festival

I headed along to the Woolfish festival in St. Abbs yesterday. It was a gorgeous day - lovely and sunny. I took Orla along with me and we had fun.

I met up with people from the Woolfish knitting group who I hadn't seen for ages - was lovely.

Natalie from the Yarn Yard was there too with Jane. I sat and knitted with them for a while and finished off my August socks - Orla was thrilled and wanted to be in the photo:

I was a bit disappointed that at the end of the Flying Saucer yarn it looked like the yarn hadn't been dyed properly. Do you see what I mean?

I was very good and just bought one skein of Crannog (The Yarn Yard's lovely new yarn). Can't wait to cast it on.

This was my view of Natalie's stall - yummy...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flying Saucer Socks

I had a knitting weekend last week. It was rather nice. On the Saturday my lovely friend had a house-warming barbecue in Perth and Kinross which was a convenient 20 minute drive from Knit Camp in Stirling. So, after a slow start, I dropped off the kids and husband at the party and headed off to knitting-ville.I won't dwell on the negative sides of Knit Camp as, to be honest, I knew I couldn't make any of the classes with the summer holidays on, so I just concentrated on the Market Place ;-) Although - my one (small) issue was that I paid in advance and was supposed to get a Goody Bag. I arrived late and there were none left. A disappointing start.

So the Market Place was lovely and I loved looking round the stalls. I picked up a yummy parcel from Natalie at The Yarn Yard. I also got to squish her lovely new lace yarn - crannog. (Also discussed here.) Boy is it squishy! I am looking forward to getting my hands on some when she has dyed up some more.

Also at the Market Place was Shilasdair - The Skye Yarn Company. I have looked at their site so many times and love it - but have never bought anything so it was lovely to see it in real life and I couldn't help but buy a lovely skein of their aran yarn in a deep red.

The lovely Vicki from Wild Fire Fibres was there. I have bought from her in the past and love her yarn. When I got to her stall she only seemed to have lilac left (I was there very late) so I just bought a couple of packs of DPNs from her.

What else did I buy? Oh bother - struggling to remember - I finally subscribed to Yarn Forward Magazine. I also bought a whole heap of buttons.

Oh - I know what else I bought - I went to the Knit 'n' Caboodle stall. I didn't realise it has recently been taken over by new people - and good luck to them. I bought some DPN tubes for sock projects which has come in very handy with my flying saucer - also bought from them. What on earth is a flying saucer? Well - it is a new sock yarn from Schoppel Wolle that is dyed as two threads so you get *identical* socks. The two threads are wound onto a core which spins - like a flying saucer... Check out this video to see it being unwound.

I have it in a pink/red/purple colourway. But - I am not winding mine in two balls and knitting from them. I am knitting two pairs of socks at the same time. Remember those needles I bought from Wild Fire and the DPN tubes I got - well they are all coming in very handy. I am basically knitting on 9 needles at the moment with one spare. It's fun - unwind a bit, knit a lot, swap sets, knit more, unwind a bit and so on.... I am loving it - just a plain vanilla sock (well two.) This means I may get my August socks done after all...

Oh - and then the other bit of the weekend. Well I went with Natalie (of Yarn Yard fame) to Glasgow to a lovely PicKnit organised by Antje from The Yarn Cake (a shop soon to open in Glasgow - squeeee). It was at the Botanics and it was a gloriously hot day. I was absolutely in awe as Ysolda was there (who I have seen a couple of times before) but also Ravelry's Jess and Casey. I was too shy to approach them but did have a quick conversation about Irn Bru with Casey. Hee. Seriously I was so shy in their presence. I had a ball!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sock Knitting

Forcing myself to knit 12 pairs of socks in twelve months is doing my knitting skills some good.  Not only am I completing projects (for a change) but I am also learning new skills and challenging myself at the same time.

The two Wendy Johnson books are superb for this.  She takes the sock apart into four elements - the toe (the two books I have are toe-up socks - so the toe is always first), the pattern/body (which usually starts on the upper part of the foot once the toe has been completed and then carries on up the leg), the heel and the cast off.  Each part can be done in a number of way and it is simply a pick and mix to put your sock together.

At the moment I am on holiday in France and my holiday knitting, of course, is mainly sock knitting.  Well apart from the baktus I started on the way and the gift I finished too.  (And I optimistically packed some lace yarn - but don't think I am getting near it.)  I am getting quite a lot of time to knit.  I'm not keen on the long-haul driving so Martin does a lot of it leaving me time to knit, also all three kids are in the kids' club for the first time which means two or three sessions a day with lots of time to knit.

I brought along a vanilla sock to knit on the way - nice and mindless - and I completed that today (16th July ) with just the ends to sew in.  For once it is a toe-up vanilla and is in Sassy Stripe - blues - which I have had hanging around my stash for ages.  I do need to find the second skein though for the second sock.  This sock has been great for knitting on the go with my Nic's Knots Japanese Knot Bag hanging from my wrist.

Pattern: Plain toe up using 'Socks from the Toe Up' - Wendy Johnson
Yarn:  Cascade Sassy Stripes in blues bought from Get Knitted ages ago (I got a free lollipop!)
Needles: 2.5mm addi lace circular - 100cm
Started: Beginning of July 2010
Completed: July 16th 2010
Cast On: Figure of 8
Heel: Short Row
Body: Vanilla (plain stocking stitch)
Top: 2x2 rib for approx. 1"
Cast off: Russian cast-off

My second sock for this month is also from the Wendy Johnson book - 'Socks from the Toe Up'.  It is the Traditional Gansey Sock and is a lovely pattern.  It uses a combination of knit and purl to give a textured effect as used on Fishing Sweaters particularly on the East Coast of Scotland and Northern England.  The pattern I chose to do is a simple V which Wendy comments looks like waves or seagulls - I agree.  It's an interesting way of knitting and is satisfying to do - but is oh so slow...  I am using Yarn Yard Caber (in a lovely lavender/grey) with 2.25mm needles and it is taking forever... I fear this will not be knit in time....

... so.... I have started a third sock this month.  But first - a shopping trip. I managed to get a list of knitting shop in the Tours area and got the chance yesterday to go out, on my own, and find them.  (Martin's day out - he did vineyards.)  I found two of the three open and bought a little wool ;-)  (Martin look away now...)

Shop one - Phildar - mainly a clothes shop with a small wool section at the back - think John Lewis.  I bought some plain wooden buttons for the aforementioned gift.  I wasn't particularly struck by their wool selection.  No sock yarn, nasty needles and lots of cotton and acrylic yarn.  I did buy a few things from their bargain buckets though.

6 balls of Canasta by Phildar (50g) - 79% viscose and 21% acrylic.  Going to give this to my SIL as a wee shiny present for having DS1 to stay for a week ;-)
2 balls of Phil Lin by Phildar 50g, 45% viscose, 40% cotton, 15% linen. Could possibly use this for socks - but does it have enough give?

Then I went to another shop 'Anny Blatt'.  I know nothing about this chain.  They produce their own wool as well as selling other local wool (Spanish and French from what I could see.)  They again had big bargain buckets full of acrylic nastiness.  But - they had shelves of yumminess.  I was very tempted by some lovely (but expensive) alpaca yarn and intreagued by some yak yarn. I settled on some merino wool in the end.

2 balls of Katia Merino Baby (50g) 100% merino in the perfect red.  (One of these is being made into sock number three for this month - see below)
2 balls of Katia Merino Baby (50g) 100% merino in a lovely orange.

2 balls of Anny Blatt - Baby Blatt in Montana (50g) -100% wool.

I have plans for one pair of the orange or purple and am hoping the other pair will make a pair of socks.  It seems the French haven't really discovered sock yarn in the shops yet (not the British are that good at it either - maybe I had the wrong shops...).

So - back to the sock knitting - it looks like the Gansey sock is not going to be finished on time and I noticed that Wendy Johnson has a 'quick sock' section at the back of the book ;-)  So - I have cast on the Van Dyke Socks - which seems apt - you do know my middle name is Dyke? That's a story for another time.  So I fortunately have a range of needles with me and cast this sock on last night. It's a lovely, simple lace knit and is knitting up super-fast.

Details so far:
Pattern: Van Dyke Socks from 'Socks from the Toe Up' by Wendy Johnson
Wool: Katia Merino Baby in a lovely, deep red
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs
Started: 15th July 2010
Cast on: Turkish cast on - 12sts increasing to 52sts

It is interesting how I am now so comfortable with the different ways of knitting socks and currently have socks cast using each of the three main techniques - DPNs, 2 circulars and 1 long circular.  I am also less tolerant of mistakes - ripping out rows to fix a wrong stitch instead of saying it will do.  Although I spot mistakes much sooner now and can 'feel' when something isn't right. It is also really pleasing how quickly I am picking up patterns and can now do more and more away from the safety blanket of the pattern.  I have yet to turn a heel on my own though - one step at a time.

That's enough typing for now - need to knit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Woolfest 2010

Finally I got to go to Woolfest yesterday.

What a day!!!  It was incredibly hot and by the time I arrived at the showground in Cockermouth it was already sweltering.  I staggered in with the spinning wheel (the Ashford Traditional) and took it straight to its new owner.  So now with some spending money in my pocket I headed straight for The Yarn Yard stall - of course!  I grabbed the red that I was buying for a friend and some yellow for her too and some red for me....

So now with the essentials sold and bought I could browse at will.  Wow - what an amazing show.  Stalls oozing with yarn and fibre of every colour and variety.  Spinning wheels in use all over the place.  Oh my - it was such fun.  There were sheep and llamas and angora rabbits and the cutest lambs.  So many familiar names from Ravelry, online stores and bloggers.  Lots of Ravelry badges to peep at as I brushed past people.

I was intrigued by a lovely Russian lady who was making the most amazing shawls and spinning super-fine yarn on a drop spindle.  I bought some cobweb lace yarn from her in the deepest of purples:

I got a bit carried away with the fibre and fell in love with a HUGE batt at the Wingham stall.  I have named it Jupiter because it sort of looks like the colour of Jupiter - hee.  See how big it is?  It's 80% Merino, 20% Silk.

I also bought some sock blockers - been thinking about getting some for a while - and now I am doing the 12 pairs in 12 months challenge I want a better way to display the socks.  Here they are with this months finished socks on:

I bought some plain white merino/silk - to ply with the large batt and some small felted brooches for the boys to give to their teachers tomorrow on their last day of term.  I got some sparkly fibre to play with too.  Then I sneaked back to the Yarn Yard stall and bought a skein of the new yummy sock yarn in a gorgeous dark blue/green - I think it looks like Black Watch.

After the show some of us met up in a pub in Cockermouth for a lovely meal and lots of hilarity and chat.  I'm definitely up for it again next year - but will have to stay over as it was exhausting doing it in a day.  I'll have to see if I can get someone to come with me next year.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mojo Socks Completed

So, so pleased - I have finished my Mojo socks.

The basic information:

Pattern: Mojo by Donyale Grant
Yarn: Yarn Yard Clan in autumn colours (my name for it)
Needles: 2.5mm circular (knitted on two circulars)
Changes: I made the second sock a little shorter on the foot as I found the concertina-ing of the pattern was stretching the first one.

Next time: The pattern calls for an afterthought heel - I think I would try a different heel next time. Also I think I would make the next pair matching. Oh - and finally - one of the socks calls for the sock to be turned inside out after knitting the toe and I don't think it is as neat as the other one.
Satisfaction: Lots and lots - loves this pattern :)

Close ups of the two socks here and here - with notes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sock Knitting - June 2010

I've been busy working through my socks and thought I'd take a few in progress shots.

Interestingly the three socks I am working on at the moment each use a different method of knitting and I am definitely coming round to magic loop as my new favourite.

Sock 1: Nutkin using Yarn Yard Clan in Tanzelope (February 2010 Club Yarn)
Knitted on DPNs.

Sock 2: Mojo in Autumn Colours - Yarn Yard Clan:

Knitted on two circulars. My husband thinks this looks like an elephant condom - shame on him!!

Sock 3: Playing with Lizard Ridge in Royal Mail (Yarn Yard Clan - June 2010 Club Yarn)

Knitted using magic loop on one circular.

Now here is where I need some help. The yarn used in that last picture has a really unusual dye. It is half black then white, red, white. So - it forms stripes of mostly black and white with bits of red. To begin with a did a 2x2 rib and you can see how the red pools around the sock - I like that. Then I moved onto lizard ridge - following the pattern. This gave big blobs of colour - always with black in and then sometimes white and occasionally red.

So then I thought about trying to use just the red for the short rows of the lizard ridge. I worked out I was knitting on average 23 stitches with each stretch of red and worked out a size of 'bubble' to fit that. This time when I get to the red I start a bubble regardless of where on the needle I am - fortunately they don't seem to be stacking up along the sock but I think my blobs weren't the right shape. So - I then tried again with flatter bubbles. Hmm - you can't really see them on the photos. Anyway - big random blobs? or small red blobs? Or another pattern altogether?

Oh and before you ask - it's a water-bottle I used to put the socks on for the photos :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

12 Pairs in 12 Months - June

As I mentioned in my last blog I have decided to do 12 pairs of socks in 12 months in the Shed. I know I've planned to do things like this before - but I really, really will try this time - honest ;-)

So - it started on June 1st and I cast on my second sock in my Mojo pair.

Here - a week later it looks like this:

So probably about half way there - not too bad but I think I do need to pick up pace. I do keep getting distracted with other projects.

I am still trying to decide on the second sock for the month. I could do a second nutkin but I quite like the idea of casting on something new.

This arrived yesterday and I love it:

It is the May 2010 Yarn Yard Club Yarn. Natalie felt inspired by the Royal Mail - probably linked to the amount of time she spends at the Post Office ;-)
When it is opened up you can see that half of each round is black with the red and white taking up the other half.

It's really unusual and typically for me I wanted to cast it on straight away - so I wound one of the skeins tonight and have just cast it on. I have a few ideas for socks and may just play a bit and see what works. I was thinking of the Diversion Socks but the lovely Eskimimi was having problems with speed on hers - so now I'm not too sure. They did look super pretty when she was under full steam though.

I'm also considering a lizard ridge sock. The original lizard ridge is a blanket published on Knitty and I have done a couple of squares of the blanket and love the idea. The sock version is here.

Lots of thoughts and lots of playing ahead - but I have to finish another sock by the end of June - so must press on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jar of Shame

What's a jar of shame? This is a jar of shame:

It contains all my single socks, mittens and gloves.

I am about to start a new project - 12 pairs of socks in 12 months. Simply - I have to make two socks every month, starting in June. Note the careful wordinig there.... It means I can *finish* some of those pairs where I already have one.

Here are the rules:
  • Knit 12 pairs of socks in 12 months, or 24 odd socks if you have lots of WIP socks you want to make into pairs.
  • This challenge starts on June 1st.
  • You could have seven pairs by Christmas. Some of the socks to be knit in the yarnyard yarn

Continuing the shame - here are some of the singles:

From left to right:
Purple sock in Yarn Yard Clan - think it's a toe-up
Schoppel wolle yarn - toe up with an odd cast off.
Brown banboo yarn - plain vanilla sock
Colinette jitterbug - vanilla sock - too small - now frogged.

All of these may end up being frogged as I have no notes on needle sizes or patterns (a lesson in here....)

I also have single gloves. This first one is for Ruaridh - rainbow gloves in schoppel wolle reggae - now where did I put the pattern?

Then we have *two* left-hand Fetchings - not much use really...

I have a single Noro fingerless mitten:

Here is my garter stitch mittens in Rowan Tweed - almost there...

And finally - Orla's Tomten jacket that I never finished. It is now being frogged and will go towards a lizard ridge. It's proving hard to frog though - very sticky yarn that Kureyon :)

So - lots of frogging to do and some already done. I am now left with lots of ideas and plans for the 12 pairs in 12 months. Here is my basket of sock yarn:

My clan yarn is kept in my secret draw:

If you are on Ravelry you can see my planned socks in my special queue. The queue (like all things in my life) is a work in progress ;-)

Oh and some good news - I actually finished a pair of socks - for Orla:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Clan Obsession

I'll skip past the usual apologies for not posting for a while and move on to some knitting.

What do you think of this?

It's the start of a fairisle sock using the wonderful Yarn Yard Clan in Soot and Saffron.  Lovely to knit with and I am loving the contrast.  Can you see the problem?  Probably not as you have no sense of scale from that shot.  Well - for some unknown reason I cast on the same number of stitches and used my normal size needle (2.5mm) and expected them to be a good fit - yeah - well that didn't work out at all well.  The sock has been frogged and now been cast on again with lots more stitches (72 - but maybe it should be 80?)  Re-thinking the pattern too.  The one above was corrugated rib and then a pattern taken from Alice Starmore's Fairisle book.  Now I am thinking of doing Stained Glass Window Socks which look lovely - but just with the two colours.  

In other sock news I have finished ONE - a mojo sock.  Do you like it?  It was a fun knit - and I must cast on the second one soon before it gets added to the single sock jar of doom.  Knitted using autumn-coloured Yarn Yard Clan.

Such a cool sock - looks great off the foot too - all wibbly wobbly.

Also on my needles are some Slip-Stitch Socks in yummy daffodil coloured yarn.  This yarn was especially dyed for me by Natalie from The Yarn Yard on what was otherwise a very blue day. (Huge thanks to Judy who insisted that I got some new yarn - what a lovely lady - do check out her blog!)  Natalie asked what I would like and I roamed away from my normal colour range and looked out of the window onto some flowering daffodils - and this is the yarn to match.  Isn't it gorgeous?  And isn't Natalie talented?  Oh yes!!  

Excuse the blurry shot:

Oh this one is in focus:

Do you think I have a small Yarn Yard Clan obsession?  Maybe a little ;-)

Here's my secret Clan stash (with a little Natural Dye Studio hidden in there):

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kiwi Wheel

I have a new spinning wheel.

I got an Ashford Traditional at Christmas  for a bargain price....  But I never really got on with it.  I held on to Natalie's Kiwi until I had finished the fibre I was on and then returned it to her.  In the meantime I tried the Traditional and every time got cross with it and me - we weren't bonding.

Then the week I returned the Kiwi to Natalie I was offered a cornflower blue Kiwi and I declined and I turned it down.  It just didn't speak to me.  Then.... only a couple of days later I saw a scarlet Kiwi for sale and of course it was now almost my birthday....  so I grabbed it- yippee.

She arrived and was re-assembled - didn't take too long.  Here she is in all her glory:

Isn't she gorgeous?  The previous owner called her Marcy - but don't think that's a name that works for me.  She's definitely a lady.  Something red?  Scarlet, Red, Ferrari, Ruby ???  What do you think?

Here's a close up of the kiwi itself:

And what is she like to spin on?  A dream.  An absolute dream - I have been spinning so much.

I have spun this:
All the Pretty Fibres - 2 Drum Carded Batts - 100g - 100% Merino Wool

Into this:

I also finished spinning some rainbow pencil roving and made this:

I really am enjoying spinning with this wheel - she's a keeper.

Of course I now have an Ashford Traditional Wheel for sale....