While I’m away

Hey folks who may have wandered¬†here…at the moment I’m not posting regularly here due to busyness.

Saturday_night__crosstitch_fun__hoopart__handembroidery__tswizzle

But I do post art/craft stuff on Crossed Wires, my main blog and on Instagram where I’m @melwrites¬†and I pin some of my stuff and a LOT of inspiration art, craft and other things on Pinterest.

You can also find me at http://www.mjscott.net or http://www.melanie-scott.net if you want to know about my writing and those sites have all the usual other social media places to find me!

Slack at blogging but not slack with the needles

So apparently I have been slackity slack slack updating this blog. I will claim that I was too busy knitting with Nerd Wars T4. But before I launch into T5…here’s some random other pics of T4 projects I completed.

More colourwork aka the Sandpiper cowl

A neckwarmer (Edelweiss) from the my first handspun and hand dyed yarn

Stranded in Oz merino/lyocel Melbourne Twilight

Singles

Yarn

Stranded in Oz Dark Matter

Yarn

Hat

Habitat hat (aka let’s try some more complicated cables)(Cascade 220)

Textured shawl recipe (Bendigo Alpaca)

Currently on the needles….two pairs of pink socks, a scarf and a long neglected shawl. I also have yarn for a Color Affection. Knit knit knit!

War of the stitches

So I’m doing Nerd Wars on Ravelry (it’s all Jenny Crusie’s fault), and as befits a lover of Pratchett, I’m in Team UU. Basically you make stuff to fit with various challenges each month and attempt to tie them into your particular team’s fandom and general silliness ensues. But due to said warring, I have been knitting fairly consistently this month and thus have pics to show off (I will not bore you with fandom tie-ins…if you’re really interested, you can join Rav and check out the Nerd Wars forums).
Preemie hat:

Some nice warm mittens for my Mum to keep her always cold fingers from getting chilblains this winter!

And because, I am apparently in a hat mood, two hats for me:

Firstly one with cute owl cables because well, they’re cute

And lastly, furthering my goal of doing some color work this year, a stranded hat. It’s not perfect but I think it came out pretty good for my second attempt.


Stay tuned for more insanity next month….

Resolutions…amended

I’m adding a resolution. This year I’m also going to knit a cardigan or a sweater or something. The idea freaks me out a little and I don’t know why (really, there’s just as many stitches in a pair of socks as a thicker wool sweater). Maybe it’s the thought of working out the shaping so they actually fit nicely. Math! (Hah, I am an ACCOUNTANT, I laugh at math, I can use spreadsheets and calculators just fine).

Besides, I live in cardigans and hoodies and jumpers. It’s ridiculous not to make my own.

Plus, I spotted this on Pinterest the other day…pale grey and dark blue and really just beautiful (clicking through the pin should take you to the Rav project page). I wanna make something as pretty!

So in true Virgo fashion, I am going to test out my theory on a couple of doll/baby sweaters. Get my head around making a cardigan or sweater top down because, while I don’t mind sewing things up, knitting things in one piece has to be simpler. Then I shall attempt something bigger. Along with the colorwork and the socks and the everything else on the list. In my copious spare time : )

PS I am very excited because I find out my Nerd Wars team tomorrow!

Colour steps

So I said in my crafty resolutions that I wanted to try some colourwork projects. Now I will confess, my only real experience with colour work (other than contrast heels and toes on socks) is a very ill conceived attempt at an intarsia sweater when I was a teenager. It involved mohair, a fox pattern, batwings (it was the eighties!) and basically was a project way above my knitting paygrade. It never got finished (as my mother who paid for the yarn at the time still likes to remind me) and I kind of swore off colour work (come to think of it that was possibly the project that put me off knitting way back when too!).

But when my sil was over for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show, she showed me a DVD of someone doing two handed fair isle (this is an extract of it…it’s a Canadian company called Philosopher’s wool). And it was kind of intriguing even though my brain went “what, how, crazypants”. (And yes, we watch knitting DVDs. Knitting nerds, unite!)

I will admit that a lot of Fair Isle I look at and think wow, amazing work, but it’s a bit too busy for my personal taste. But I have been stumbling over color work patterns on Ravelry that I like so it seemed like time to give it a go (I’m still avoiding Intarsia like the plague). Being my usual Virgo self, I ordered a book or two on the subject (Virgos must READ ALL THE THINGS and KNOW ALL THE STUFF before starting something) then determined that I would order some yarn for a hat pattern in one of the books. In the meantime, I wanted to practice, so I trotted off to the LYS and got three balls of wool and decided to knit the sampler purse pattern from the Philosopher’s Wool page I linked to. Only in eight ply. Because the thought of trying to manage multiple balls of yarn and teeny needles seemed liable to do my head in.

Anyway, this is how far I’ve gotten so far (about three quarters-ish)

Not too bad. The tension seems okay and I figured out not to change the order in which the yarns come over or under after the first five rows or so. And that row near the top with white blue white blue white blue. I totally knitted that using the two handed technique! My continental tensioning continues to suck but I shall work on it as it’s definitely faster than wrangling both yarns in my right hand. Best of all, I’m quite enjoying it! See what happens when you try stuff?

So when my hat yarn arrives I’ll be ready to dive in. My only thought with the whole stranded colour work is that it essentially produces a double thickness knitted fabric, which is going to be maybe TOO warm for Aussie conditions. Then again, I am the chick who feels cold when everyone else is warm, so maybe that’s a good thing.

So, one resolution progressing. My ankle is mending so hopefully I can get back into the spinning soon too! And in a fit of madness, I have signed up for Nerd Wars on Ravelry…eagerly awaiting my team assignment, so I have to make at least one project a month for the next few months.

Crafty resolutions

It’s a New Year and I’ve just gotten out of the walking boot that has been firmly attached to my right foot and limiting my world somewhat for the last three months…yep, I’m a klutz who busted her ankle! Not recommended. But it’s on the mend now which hopefully means I’ll be able to use my spinning wheel and sewing machine soon.

So herewith are some crafty resolutions for the year:

1. Decrease the fibre stash with more spinning
2. Knit with said homespun
3. Knit at least one pair of socks top down…I’m a toe up gal but hey, let’s try the other way
4. Try some simple color technique (just because)
5. Make myself some more KIP bags

How about everyone else? What do you want to try this year, craft wise?

Shadow Kin yarns

I posted about this over on the writing blog awhile back but now I have my very own stash of Shadow Kin yarns (colorways created by my sil based on my book).

So here’s a squiz.

Can’t decide which one I want to knit first….leaning towards Wraith or Half-Light

A tale of two shawls

I’ve been busy busy with writing things (my very first book comes out in just over two weeks!) but have managed to finish two more projects. I get cold easily so I’m a big fan of wraps and scarves and shawls and am trying to bolster my supply.

Firstly…a small shawl…The Age of Brass and Steam shawl out of lovely soft PearTree supersoft merino. This is gorgeous snuggled around your neck. It’s about 150cm at its widest point and 54cm deep.

Blocking

Finished

The second shawl is a bit bigger. Probably about five years ago, my sil gave me a lovely smallish shawl that I use as a writing shawl. I always liked the pattern (Landscape Shawl by Evelyn Clark) so when I came across it at Bendigo last year, I bought it. And realised that you could make bigger versions. Marry that with said sil also having some gorgous deep oceany blue green 10 ply for sale at the time and a project was born. I didn’t get around to starting it until this year though but now it’s done! It’s about 170 cm wide by 93 deep, so quite a bit bigger. And that’s without being the full pattern as I didn’t have quite enough yarn. Nor have I blocked it terribly hard. It will be an extra snuggly shawl for writing or sitting on the couch in winter.

Unblocked

Blocking

Close up

Both of these were relatively speedy projects. The grey shawl, I knitted half of jetlagged on our day of waiting for our onwards flight to NY in LA and probably could’ve knitted the rest in another day or so if I’d had another marathon session. I did an extra repeat, so mine is bigger than the pattern. The Landscape shawl takes a little bit more concentration for the changing sections but grows fast once you get the hang of it.

Now I just need yarn to arrive to my next two projects. I’m doing a Knit along with a couple of fantasy loving friends for the Dragon Wing Shawl from Knitty (waiting for a skein of Dream in Colour Baby in Bermuda Teal) and I also signed up for the Knitspot Fall in Full Color club as I’ve always liked Anne’s patterns and thought this would be a good way to ensure I make some of them. I did the pattern only option due to budget. The first pattern is a laceweight pattern but because I’m doing the shawl in a lace/light fingering, I decided to do it in 4ply, so I’m waiting on some more Dye My Pretties yarn from Stranded in Oz. I’m sure I said after Bendigo, no more yarn buying for awhile. Hopefully the next few Knitspot patterns can be accommodated out of stash! I’m still working on a pair of socks and a cabled scarf too…oh and another lace shawl. Need a clone army to get more knitting time!

Toe-ectomy (or a tale of knitterly denial and remorse)

Well, having finished the green socks and then wearing them around yesterday, I decided they were definitely too big.

At first I contemplated just giving Dad a bonus pair of socks as they would probably fit him but then I wondered if he would actually wear two tone green socks. Plus said socks were knitted for me because I need more nice warm handknitted socks.

So, being a virgo, I went and did some investigating on Rav about other people’s experiences knitting these socks. At first I thought the heel was too big (ie I needed to wrap a diff number of wraps next time or something) but then someone had mentioned that they got that problem when the foot was too long on their sock. Sure enough, when I pulled the sock forward so the heel fit nicely on my foot, the foot itself was suddenly revealed to be about an inch or more too long on both feet.

*HEADDESK* Don’t ask me how I got a foot that much too long. A combination of swatching row gauge instead of using the toe plus somehow managing to think that round a 10.2 inch foot up to 10.5 made sense (rather than rounding down to 10, if not 9.5 as a sensible person who knows stuff like negative ease is required for socks (WHICH I DO) would do). Le sigh. Maths skills and logic were apparently taking the day off when I was setting up the socks.

Also, because of the construction of these socks, you can’t really judge the fit until you’ve finished the heel and at that point I was in knitterly denial about the fit and just kept blithely on (next pair, there will be a life line before the heel and frogging if the same thing happens). Knitterly denial is a wonderful thing. Granted I wanted them as house socks but I didn’t need house canoes.

Anyway, too long socks were the problem. As I knitted them toe up, it wasn’t as if they were going to unravel nicely from the toe. But I was trying them on (still vaguely hopeful the problem would disappear like magic…knitterly denial again), I suddenly thought, well, Mel, if you threaded a lifeline through the row that hits your little toe where the toe would usually finish and snipped a stitch and then unravelled the toe, you could just start again from there and knit a top down style toe back on from that point.

And then I had to go have a fit of the vapours at the thought of CUTTING knitting. Scary stuff. But when I consulted with Melissa, the knitting guru, she seemed to think it was a perfectly sensible plan. And suggested just threading the circ back through rather than a lifeline. I will note that she has been knitting many more years than me and knows what she’s doing with stuff like picking up stitches rather than winging it with much internet assistance like I do. But with confirmation that my plan wasn’t complete lunacy, I had no excuse to back out and try plan B (which may have involved hot water and a tumble dryer).

So, I steeled my knitterly nerve and decided to try a toe-ectomy on one of the socks. With the cunning fallback plan of knowing that Melissa was coming to visit next week and could probably save my butt if I stuffed it up too badly. So I tried the sock on, worked out where my litte toe hit, reloaded the stitches, checked that I had 30 on each needle (my number after finishing the original toe ie I was starting at a point before I’d started the increase rounds for the sock), then snipped a single stitch below the reloaded row and started to unravel.

Which looked like this.

And then turned into this. Eeek! Toe-ectomy. (sorry blurry pic, was overcome with the vapours again)

I invite you to look closely at the bit I removed…see how much there is with straight sides after the curved bit…that’s how much too long the sock was. Just to prove my knitterly denial.

At which point I had either just invented socks for pedicures or those weird toeless boots that are around this season or I had to carry on and re-knit the toe…okay, a more patient knitter than I might have skeined and washed the frogged yarn to unkink it at this stage but I figured waiting for it to dry might make me lose my nerve, so I skipped that bit. Given I have only attempted kitchener stitch twice in my life and didn’t think I wanted to add that into the experience, I decided to kind of reverse engineer the star toe I’d just knitted for my new pair of socks, so that I could finish by just threading the tail through the last six stitches and pulling the toe tight. And lo and behold, it worked. I had a sock that now fits reasonably, if still a little wide given my assumed drift in stitch and row gauge. But definitely now wearable without vast pouches of excess fabric at my heel which were just going to remind me of my knitting fail every time I wore them.

So then I turned around and did it again on the other sock. Knitterly redemption! And lessons learned (plus now the cutting my knitting bit I have to do in the new pair of socks is far less scary).

A final pic of new improved green socks. Go me. I’m hoping the new socks are less traumatic.

More socks

It must be sock finishing week as, lo, I have managed to finish another pair.

These are the Riverbed master pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi. Knitted in nice cushy 8ply Merino in various shades of New Greens and Blues by Stranded In Oz. I was worried about running out of the darker one so swapped to the lighter shade for the legs but I think, looking at how much yarn I used of the lighter, I might have almost made it (I’m hopeless at eyeballing how much yarn I have left). But I think they kind of look like the feet are wet, as though you stepped into a river, which is fitting given the name.

I found the pattern really easy to follow and fast to knit (yay for thicker socks), and even though these are a little big (purely due to me stuffing up somewhere in the calculations and nothing else), I’ll definitely be making Riverbed socks again. They seem to fit my high instep very nicely and the heel is very easy to do. I could’ve frogged these back a bit and fixed them but I just wanted a nice warm pair for wearing with slippers round the house and they’ll do that nicely. Plus I practiced cabling without a cable needle on the leg (which having just looked at this tutorial again, I realised I did a little bit wrong but hey, it still worked).

But next up, sockwise, I’m moving onto Cat’s other book…Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters: Book Two in the New Pathways for Sock Knitters Series and trying that method out. Which involves….eeeek……cutting the knitting at one point! It may yet require alcohol.

For those I have this lovely stuff:

Which is the new Mitey Sock by Stranded In Oz. The colourway is KDO serendipity, one of Melissa’s random mixes…it makes me think of an underwater garden somehow.

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