Sunday, 29 April 2012

3KCBWDAY7 - Crafting Balance

Crafting Balance 
Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

Up until two or three years ago, I was a knitter.  Then I discovered the Attic24 blog and I became a dual-crafter.  I've mentioned before that my grandmother taught me crochet stitches, but making things using those stitches never clicked with me pre-Lucy's tutorials.  These days, I'm more likely to crochet a blanket than knit one.  Other garments tend to be knitted, although I did crochet a school cardigan for DD1.

Spinning is something new and I my goals for that at the moment are:-

  • Spin a consistently even yarn
  • Spin enough yarn to make a sweater
  • Make rolags that draft easily and don't make me swear

With regard to balancing the crafts I do, there's no conscious thought of allocating x amount of time to each of them.  I just pick up whichever project appeals to me most at that time.  Similarly, I don't think to myself that my last few projects have been knitting so I really should started something crochety.  I do try to do some spinning each day because I'm still very much learning and find I improve more if I sit down at my wheel each day.

So, we've come of the end of 2012's Knitting and Crochet Blogging Week.  I've enjoyed it very much and have come across some blogs that I probably wouldn't have read before.  So, thanks to Eskimimi for organising it again.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

3KCBWDAY6 - Improving Your Skillset

 Day 6 - Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

I have to admit that I don't go looking for patterns with a view to learning something new.  I look for patterns on a 'that looks nice; I'll add that to my Favourites' basis.  Having said that, if there's something new to be learned with a pattern, I'll give it a go.

Short row, knitted down from the shoulder set-in sleeves was something I learned firstly on my Redhook capped sleeve tunic and then improved when I made Deco (the Carol Sunday short-row method seemed to work really well for me).  With Tinder, I learned how to make one-row buttonholes, which I hadn't done before. 

There are certainly things I've never done, some of which I might learn if I ever choose to make something that uses that technique. 

I've never tried double knitting, but don't have a yearning to learn.  I won't discount doing it in the future though.

Amigurumi is something else I haven't done, but I have plans in that direction - particularly Melvin the Snail!

In the last two years, I've learned to spin (since my husband bought me an Ashford Traveller for Christmas 2009) so I'm working on improving that, although I am managing to make yarn that's less 'arty' these days

So, whilst I'm comfortable with what I already know, I'm open to new ideas or techniques.

In any case, if I start to think that I'm getting 'stale' and feel the need for something new, there's always weaving!

Friday, 27 April 2012

3KCBWDAY5 - Something Different

Day 5 - Something Different

Voices from the Shelf

"Listen" said the blue scarf that had been there the longest and considered himself to be in charge.  "That's the second time she's gone outside today.  Must be time for the Noisy One to go off to school - the other one; you know, the one that huffs a lot, she went earlier.  Get ready folks, look smart."

"I don't know why you're getting so excited" commented Green Swallowtail.  "Winter's over now - you're too thick".

"Well, excuse me" grumped the blue Horseshoe scarf, "have you seen the weather lately?"

The lacy Baktus sighed.  "It's all right for you.  She hasn't worn me in aaaaggges.  Said something about blocking me again as I'd got floppy and out of shape.  I don't like blocking - especially when I get near-suffocated in the towel and then get stamped on.  It's not exactly dignified, is it."

"Don't fret, Bakky" chorused the Candle Light shawls, who considered themselves sisters, being the same pattern, but different sizes.  "We haven't been worn in months and months either, but it'll be summer soon and then our time will come."

"I don't mind if I don't go out today" said the Kerchief.  "I'm a bit special because I'm made from her handspun yarn.  That's why I've got a few lumps and bumps -- I like to think they make me a bit 'arty'".

Multnomah sighed.  "Arty indeed. You do go on you know, Kerchief.  I'm from handspun yarn as well, but I don't make a song and dance about it.  Mind you, I'm a bit smoother than you - she'd got better at spinning by the time she made me".

Kerchief didn't say anything, but decided to have a bit of a sulk in the corner.

Ulmus piped up.  "She won't choose me.  She never chooses me at this time of the morning.  Said I'm too long and dangly.  Long and dangly?  I'm beautiful.  I'm not really suitable for walking the black bouncy thing.  I think it's called a Jess.  I'm made of baby llama, cashmere and silk you know."

"I think you may have mentioned that fact several times" Volna said dryly.  "The Jess is a dog.  She likes yarn.  She tried to pick me up when I was still in a ball and not the lovely creation I am now but the lady told her off so she went and got one of The Man's socks instead.  Not a hand-knit sock - one of those shop-bought ones.  The lady told Jess she doesn't mind if she picks up one of those.  Does anyone know why The Lady doesn't knit socks for The Man by the way?"

"He says his feet get too hot" answered Simple City.  "She says it's because he wouldn't appreciate them.  I heard her tell Huffy Girl one day.  Anyway, I doubt it'll be me.  I'm more of an autumn kind of girl because of my colours.  I don't really mind - I don't want muddy paws on me, thank you very much."

"Ooh, listen" said Ptarmigan.  "I just heard a zip.  That means she'll be wearing the blue coat.  Could be me.  I fit nicely around her neck, being a cowl and not a dangly scarf or a triangle that needs arranging around the neck.  Just pop me over the head and off you go."

"Oh, in that case it definitely won't be me" said the Mystery Shawlette.  "I'm designed for summer and I'm a bit Posh you know.  She only ever wears me with her red coat and that has buttons and not a zip.  She shuddered.  "Ooh, I wouldn't like to get caught in a zip.  Remember what happened to Blue Sampler?"

The other scarves were silent for a moment, lost in thoughts of their poor, maimed friend who still hadn't had his hole fixed.

"Oh, I forgot to ask" said Swallowtail.  "What happened to Double Bump and Pimpelliese?  I saw ages ago that they were finished, but they never made it up here with the rest of us."

"Oh" Blue Horsehoe.  "They went off in the car with The Lady to be put in a box with other things so they could be sent to Romania where there are people who need them.  I bet they get worn a lot more than we do."

Ptarmigan, the newbie, nudged Kerchief.  "What's up with Haruni?  She never says anything except "felted bag".  Is she ill or something, or a bit, you know, odd?"

"Shhh" whispered Kerchief.  "She joined us not long after I got here - I'd only just settled in and found my place here.  She's got depresssion.  It was a real shame as she was so young when it happened."

"When what happened?" asked Ptarmigan in an undertone.

"The Show" Kerchief explained.  "She was entered into a show.  She didn't win.  She came second --- to a felted bag.  A felted bag that was a bit wonky."

"Oh" said Kerchief, understandingly.  "Poor thing.  That explains a lot."

"Felted bag" whispered Haruni - and started to cry.

"Bugger - we've set her off again" said Kerchief.

"SHE'S COMING UP THE STAIRS" shouted one of the Candle Lights, "everyone look their best."

"What, what?" said Guernsey Wrap, waking up.  "Please pipe down and some of you stop getting your points in a pickle please.  I'm trying to sleep out the spring and summer until it's my turn again."  With that, he went back to sleep and started to snore gently.

The other scarves just rolled their eyes at him and continued to wait, in anticipation.

"Nooooooo" wailed Ptarmigan.  "Look."

All the scarves peeped forward.

"Sod it" said Horsehoe as he heard footsteps going back down the stairs.  "It's sunny out.  She only came up to get a tissue.  Oh well, there's always the next time."

They all slumped back on the shelf, hoping the weather would take a turn for the worse by early afternoon when there might be another chance of Going Out.

"You never know" said Swallowtail, optimistically.  "She might need to do some shopping later this morning."

Everyone's spirits were raised a bit at that thought.

Muffled voices came from the cupboard across the room.  "It's all right for you lot - at least you've made it into the wardrobe."

"Oh, do shut up, Stash" the scarves chorused.

*** The End ***

Thursday, 26 April 2012

3KCBWDAY4 - A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?
Am I a seasonal knitter? Living in the UK, our seasons don't seem to be as pronounced as they are in other countries. Add to that my hatred of being cold and I think I have to conclude that no, I'm not a seasonal knitter. I knit socks all year round. I don't start the New Year thinking about what I'm going to make for Spring/Summer (in truth, I'm not that keen on sleeveless hand-knitted summer tops), neither do I get to the beginning of the school year at the start of September and consider which thick sweater I'm going to knit first.

No, I see a pattern I like or find some yarn I like (either in my stash, a yarn shop or online) and start. The only item I've consciously made with seasonality in mind is an orange short-sleeved cropped cardigan for my older daughter for her holiday with grandparents last year:

But I can't think of anything else I've deliberately made for a particular time of year.

The next item I'll (probably) cast on is a Porom hat - in handspun woolly yarn. Definitely not for summer, although with the UK climate, you never know!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

3KCBWDAY3 - My Knitting or Crochet Hero

Phew!  I wasn't sure I'd be able to contribute today as my internet connection fizzled out last night and I've had a stressful morning trying to get it back up and working, including a telephone call to BT which took much longer than it should have done due to having to ask the very nice man who took my call to repeat himself several times because I couldn't understand his accent (why does that always make me feel like it's my fault?).

Anyway, back to today's business of my knitting/crochet hero.

Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.

Actually, I don't think I can pin it down to one person, so I think I'll choose five, if you'll indulge my manipulation of today's topic.

1. Kaffe Fassett

I'd always knitted from magazine patterns (my grandmother and mother had copies of Woman, Woman's Own and Woman's Weekly delivered and the occasional Woman's Realm appeared in the house from time to time as well) and bought the yarn from a local yarn shop.  After I moved to London, first to college and then staying there once I started working, I picked up a knitting magazine one day and read a feature on Kaffe Fassett, just after Glorious Knitting had been published.  That was it.  I went out to a book-shop and bought myself a copy.  The first garment I made was the Toothed Stripe sweater.  I used a mixture of yarns, from Rowan down to some purple fluffy mohair-ish.  I used purples and pinks from indigo down to baby pink and I loved that sweater.  After that, I bought other KF books, which led to me expanding my crafting repertoire to needlepoint, counted cross stitch (because I bought a book on that that caught my eye one day) and patchwork.  It was Kaffe Fassett who made me brave in colour choices, even though I disagree with him that the use of colour is more important than technical know-how (but that's just the way I am).

2. Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Do I need to add anything more than just her name?  A brilliant woman whose designs and attitude were refreshing after the staid "you must follow these instructions to the letter and not make any changes At All" patterns I'd been used to.

3. Lucy at Attic24. 

I could do crochet stitches as my grandmother had taught me how to when I was young.  I didn't feel able to translate those stitches into actually making anything other than big, spiralling Granny Squares though.  I was confused by instructions about ending rounds or turning chains at the end of rows and wasn't sure which was the next stitch to work into.  Finding (through Ravelry) Lucy's blog, her use of colour and her detailed tutorials meant I was able to put into practice what my grandmother Gertrude had taught me 30+ years previously.

4. Jared Flood at Brooklyn Tweed

I love him.  He comes across as a really nice chap in interviews (and if you know otherwise, please don't burst my bubble by telling me!).  His designs appeal to me in so many ways.  The shapes, the styling, the details.  It's as though he's designing for me.  I'm currently resisting the urge to hop on a train to London and go to Loop so that I can fondle and buy some of his Shelter and Loft yarns.  I've even got as far as working out that I could get there and back during the time the girls are at school - 'wanties' are that bad.  Resist I shall, however, until I've reduced my stash as that way I know I'll enjoy it even more.

I've knitted more of Jared's designs than any other designer.  Nine finished items, one in progress and another (the Porom hat) planned for sometime soon.  Here's a mosaic-pic of the FOs:

5. Jess and Casey, founders of Ravelry.

If it wasn't for Jess and Casey, Ravelry wouldn't exist.  If Ravelry didn't exist, the fibre world would be a much poorer place.  Not only an immense resource for every kind of information a crafter could want, but a community where you can find other people just like you, who don't look at you as though you've sprouted a second head because you're oohing and aahing over some yarn or a pattern you've just seen!

So, there you go.  Five (well, strictly speaking, six) people that I admire in the crafting world.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

3KCBWDAY2 - Perfect Craft Day

I've gone for the wildcard topic today as my photographic inspiration was somewhat lacking.

Craft Your Perfect Day
Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills.

My perfect, fantasy craft day would begin when I woke up naturally to a quiet house.  No alarm to tell me it's time to get up and chivvy children; no dog requiring to be let out into the garden; no chickens shouting that they want me to come and give them something to eat and sort out their water bowl because they've knocked it over again.  In my fantasy craft day, someone else would have done all that and then gone away, leaving me on my own.

After a leisurely breakfast of whatever I felt like having to eat, it would be just me and the radio, a few well-chosen CDs or some crafting podcasts.  I might start a new project, or pick up something I've been working on.  My yarn wouldn't snag or tangle, likewise the cords on my circular needles.  My pattern would stay put and not move.  The weather would be nice and bright, but not too sunny, so that I could take decent photos (for once).  I wouldn't make any mistakes, drop stitches, read the wrong line of a chart or realise halfway along a row of crochet that I'm using the wrong colour. 

I could live with a day like that.

Monday, 23 April 2012

3KCBWDAY1 – Colour Lovers

Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

I like colour.  If I look in my chest of drawers, I'll find t-shirts of all colours.  If I look at my Ravelry Projects Page, I see that I haven't limited myself to knitting from any particular area of the colour spectrum.  There are, however, also items I've made in neutral tones.  The one colour that I haven't really used is black - I think the Pirate hat is the only items where I've used black in the last several years.

What I do find myself doing from time to time, though, is having several projects on the go that are in the same colour family.

At the beginning of 2011, I went through a blue/purple/green phase.  A jumper, scarf and then another scarf using the leftovers from the jumper were made and at the same time I think I was spinning up some blue/green fibre which I then used to make a Multnomah shawl.

Last summer, it was red.  Summer Mystery Shawlette, some toe-up socks in Wendy Happy (Virgo colourway) and my Deco cardigan.  All started/knitted on around the same time.

At the moment, knitting life is orange.  St Brigid, a pair of Charade socks and a Rock Island shawl.  All being made in orange tones.  I'm even doing the orange section of the stripey blanket I'm crocheting.

It's not as though I don't have a selection of yarn from which to choose.  My stash is, well,  not as huge as some people's, but big enough that could keep knitting and not run out of yarn for at least the next year and it contains yarns of various types and colours.  I tend to buy what catches my eye.  When buying yarn for a sweater, I don't tend to have in mind a colour, but will usually find a yarn and then choose a colour from within that yarn's palette.  For sweaters, I do avoid certain colours because they don't suit me, but when it comes to socks (in particular), I buy whatever I see that I'd like.  Take the yellow stripey Flusi Monster socks.  The yarn was on offer in Kemps, but I liked the colours they had (the yellow stripey and turquoise stripey).  I don't wear yellow or turquoise (except for a yellow t-shirt my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago) on my top half as neither colour suits my skin-tone.  With socks, however, it doesn't matter and I found myself enjoying knitting up the yellow yarn.

So, yes, I like colour - I must do; I'm using 33 different shades in the stripey crochet blanket!

Friday, 20 April 2012

A blue skein

It took me five days to spin this, ply it, wash it and dry it and I'm rather pleased with it.

A couple of months ago, someone posted about 'lap waste' on the UK Spinners group on Ravelry so I went to the World of Wool website to have a look and bought some.  Lap Waste is basically leftovers from making up full-size skeins of fibre that WoW sell and comes in bags of several sizes.  I bought a bag of 500g and think I paid £9 for it.  When it arrived, I was quite pleased as most of the bits of fibre were of a decent-enough size to at least practise spinning.

I'd separated it into the bits and as you can see, had put some of it into bags at that point.

Also in the bag were these two fibres:

The blue/purple bit on the right is, I think a blend of merino and silk and I split that in two and spun it into two singles.  Then I spun the purple into a single.  The intention was to ply the three singles together, but when I put the three strands together, I decided that the purple was too dark.  So, I took the light blue from the bag, spun that and then plyed that with the blue/purple strands.  The result is the skein of yarn in the top photo.  80g in weight, 183m of lenght, DK weight.  I think it's going to be a hat - probably Porom.

I've now taken the red, orange and yellow fibrey bits from the bag and am carding them to blend the colours into rolags.  I've never spun from rolags and I'm finding it quite difficult.  The resulting yarn may well turn out to be at best, 'arty', but it's all good practice.  Mind you, I did learn something important about carding yesterday.  Keep an eye on what you're doing otherwise your hand might slip and the teeth on the carders are sharp.  This is how I know:

It doesn't feel as sore as it looks, unless I knock it.

Hope you all have a nice weekend, despite the weather, which doesn't seem able to make up its mind today.  I'm hoping to make it our quarterly knitting/crafting get-together at Frating (a village just outside Colchester) tomorrow, but as DD2 came home from school with a sore throat yesterday, I might not manage it.  By the time I go to knitting group on Monday, it will have been four weeks since I last saw any of my knitting friends and I do miss getting together to chatter and gossip. 

Bye :)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

2012 Challenges

I haven't been doing much knitting or crocheting over the last few days as I've got the spinning bug (more about that once I've got something to show that isn't just a pile of fluff), so I thought I'd do an update on my 2012 'challenges' that I think I mentioned earlier in the year.

Book Challenge: I set my reading goal at 20 books in 2012.  I'm quite chuffed to report that as of a couple of days ago, my total number of books read so far this year is 14.  Of those 14, 12 are 'proper' books, with a decent number of pages.  The other two are "It Itches" by Franklin Habit, which is knitting-related cartoons and essays (well worth a read if you need cheering up) and a Mills & Boon novel.  Let me tell you how the M&B-reading came about.  On the web-forum where the book challenge originates (Neighbours Fans - not that I've watched Neighbours for several years, but it's a very friendly community over there), we decided to have a mini-challenge within the main challenge and for reasons I can't now remember, we decided that we should each read a Mills & Boon novel (it was optional), which turned out to be good fun, especially when one of our male members recounted his surreptitious borrowing of a M&B novel from his local library.  I've currently got two books on the go - "All Wound Up" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and "RSVP" by Helen Warner. 

Yarn Bought vs Yarn Used: This challenge is from the Phoenix Knitting Forum.  According to the spreadsheet I've been keeping, I've bought 6766 metres of yarn and used 6355 metres, which means I'm -411 metres.  Whoops!  I should be back in credit before too long though as I've got a pair of socks OTN and DD1's stripey blanket will use up a fair amount of yarn.  I've decided to not count handspun yarn except when I've knitted it as it probably still takes me longer to spin the yarn than to knit it!

FO a month: Also Phoenix.  The idea is to finish at least one item each month of the year and so far I've managed this without having to resort to whipping up a dishcloth on the last day of the month!

Photograph challenge:  Another Neighbours Fans one.  Not going so well, it has to be said.  I keep forgetting to take my camera out with me, or forget to charge the battery.  I've got some photos taken, but need to get around to uploading them to a Flickr set and organising them in word order (the challenge consists of a list of 50 words and the aim is to take a photo to represent each word and some of them are going to be quite tricky). 

So, that's where I am challenge-wise.  I'll be back soon with some yarny photos and maybe even a sock FO (toe and a few rounds of the foot on sock #2 were done earlier today between spinning sessions).  Tomorrow, I must push the Dyson around the lounge - DD1 was complaining when she got home from school this afternoon that she keeps getting spinning 'fluff' on her when she sits down.

And just in case you're thinking "what a lazy moo", both children have been fed, the dog's been out on two walks and I've done all the ironing except the load that's currently in the tumble dryer.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A bit of a pig

That's how I've come to think of the second half of a 150g braid of merino fibre I bought from Colinette.

This is what I've got left to spin up:

But, can you see those two lumpy bits?  Here's a pic of them a bit closer-up:

Lumpy, a bit matted and despite fluffing and floofing to separate the fibres, it's not going well and I'm ending up with a little pile of bits that I've pulled out each time I get past those sections.

I'm going to have a go at combing it to see if that helps, but if not, I've decided I'm going to chop those two bits out because life's too short to be wrestling with a bit of fibre that won't behave.

This started out as a braid of merino that was 5  metres long, so as I'd planned on spinning it into two singles and then ply those together, I folded the braid in half and cut it so I'd got two lengths, each of 2.5m.  The first half spun up quite nicely, but this half really is being a bit of a pig.  I've even asked on the UK Spinners group on Ravelry because there are people there who really do know what they're talking about when it comes to spinning and one response I've received says that it could be the saturation of the dye that's causing the problem, or the fibre could have become a bit fulled during the dyeing process.  It's a bit disappointing though as the colours are very nice.

This is the first half, spun up onto a bobbin:

And this is what I've spun so far of the second half:

There's definitely more dark green in the first half, so once it's plyed it will hopefully look nice.  Actually, I have no idea what it's going to look like: I just spun away without any thought or planning as to how I was going to spin it, other than it was going to be a 2ply.

Lunchtime now and then I'll get back to wrestling with the sticky bit as I'm getting to the point where I want this off my wheel so I can spin something that's a bit more friendly!

This spinning activity means that I haven't done much of anything else.  I really must try to concentrate on one thing at a time, although I probably won't!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Stripey Blanket WIP

Last week I showed you the beginnings of a stripey blanket I'd started.

Yesterday, I finished the first repeat of all the colours I'm using and this morning I did the first three stripes of the second repeat.

This was the third photo I took as I couldn't get the colours to show up very well and Jess kept sitting on the blanket (you can see her legs in the top left of the photo - that was the furthest away I could get her!).

In total, I'm using 33 different colours of various acrylic brands and am crocheting them up in rainbow order of colour group.  As I was working up the first colour repeat, some of the colours got discarded and I went rootling through my acrylic stash bag to find another couple of colours that I thought would blend in with what I'd got.  I didn't want to go out and buy any extra yarn, except for colours I particularly wanted to use but knew I'd run out of.

This blanket is destined for DD1 and I've consulted her about which colours are going where and this is a combination that we're both happy with.

The funny thing about colour is how shades can change depending on which other colours they're next to.  For example, when I started the second repeat (the lipstick red) I was a bit worried about how it looked next to the deeper violet purple and thought I might have to pull back several rows and have a re-think.  I then decided to roll the blanket around so I could see the violet group of colours next to all the reds and pinks and saw that as the red group got lighter,  into the pinks, the red didn't look quite so strident.

I think that I'll do three full repeats of all the colours and then choose colours from the middle bit to do a border.  As I'm doing two-row stripes of each colour, that'll give 198 rows which should work out at around 5 feet in length before the border.  I haven't worked out how I'm going to do the border yet - how many stitches per row around, etc - so I'm making a dishcloth in the same pattern to use as a practice piece.  The dishcloth is in the microfibre yarn that I made other cloths from a few months ago (the weirdly coloured stuff - do you remember?).  This ball is in a different colourway, but dyed in the same way and, erm, yes, it's ugly as well!  I'll show you when I'm done.

The pattern for this blanket is the Vintage Vertical Stripe (Ravelry link) which is very easy to do as it's just rows of treble crochet (UK terms), but worked into the gap between the stitches on the preceding row rather than through the 'v' at the top of each stitch.

I'm also past the heel and about 12 rows up the leg of my first Charade sock, but more about that in another post as I think I've rattled on enough today already!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Flusi Monster Socks

Socks seem to take me a while to finish these days.  Maybe it's because I've made so many pairs and have got a bit socked out.  Maybe it's because I'm trying to divide my time between too many WIPs.  It could also have something to do with my eyesight getting more bi-focal, so knitting on small needles at a tight tension means I either have to wear reading glasses with my distance vision contact lenses, take off my regular glasses so I can see what I'm doing, or hold my knitting further and further away from me so it's not all blurry (oh the joys of getting older!).

Anyway, I've finished some socks.  The second one took much much less time than the first which is something that's happened with the last few socks I've knitted.  I think once I've cast on the second sock I just want to get the pair finished so I can wear them.

It probably won't come as a surprise to you to read that these are for me (although now that DD1 takes the same size shoe as me - at 12 years of age!! - she does sometimes borrow a pair of my hand-knit socks).

The yarn is from Kemps (£1.39 per 50g ball rings a bell).  It's Regia Flusi Das Socken Monster, a self-striping yarn designed with shortish colour repeats aimed at knitting socks for children (so the stripes aren't too wide, presumably).  They're ok socks.  Nothing special and I have to admit that if the orange was red I'd like them better.  But, the yarn was on offer and I'm a sucker for a bargain.

So, have I started anything new in the last week?

The answer to that is yes - two things, actually.  Whilst sitting in bed last night waiting for DD2 to go to sleep (which didn't happen until after midnight) I cast on and knit the toe for a new pair of socks.  Charade which are a very simple two-row pattern (Herringbone Rib) which looks effective.  I'm doing these toe-up using my usual gusset/heel-flap method (I'll try to remember to take some photos as to how I do my heel as it's a little bit different to other toe-up methods that I've come across) and am using some orange yarn - the ball band's fallen off but I'm pretty sure it's Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Ombre shade 1880.

The other thing I've started is this:

It's another crocheted blanket.  That's quite a lot of my acrylic yarn stash and the bag it's in is one of the bigger-sized shoppers from Morrisons (both sizes make good project bags!).  I'm using 34 colours (I think).  I did have to buy two new balls of yarn for this from Modern Knitting (always good service from them) and a skein of Lorna's Laces sock yarn happened to wing its way to me as well.  Oops.  I'm not sure I'm still in yarn credit after this little splurge, so I'd better get hooking.  Once I've done one full colour repeat of the blanket I'll post a better photo with more details.

My Rock Island shawl has been put aside until after the Easter holidays.  With all the noise that DD2 makes, let alone the demands from her and her sister, trying to read and knit from a lace chart doesn't really work.  I did try, but quickly realised it wasn't going to work out in my favour.