Victory!

The demon socks are finally done! I would have finished them in the US but stupidly did not take the first sock or make notes on where I changed colour for the leg after finishing the heel. But they are done now. And if I ever knit socks for my dad again, they’re going to be 8ply. Men have big feet.

But yay, they are done so I can turn back to my other projects without guilt. Including some socks for me, given how cold Melbourne’s winter is being.

And here is the proof. The pattern is Diamond Gansey from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson. It’s a nice easy pattern. I subbed in her gusset heel as I prefer those and I knitted these as 78 stitches, so added a stitch or two to the lace pattern. The leg is a 3×3 rib, so I increased another stitch each side in the middle of the row when I wanted to start ribbing.

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Bendigo spoils

Have been up at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show today and this morning and thus must show off my stash enhancing aquisitions. I was relatively restrained (even though these pics may indicate otherwise)….

Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply Alpaca…destined to be this scarf (and maybe the hat too).

Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury Merino 4ply…for a planned shawl. (more blue-grey than grey as it looks here)

More Bendigo Alpacas because it was on sale and pretty blue (probably another scarf of some sort)

A nostepinne (which one uses to wind skeins of wool into balls when one can’t be bothered hauling out the swift and the ballwinder).

Moseley Park 70% Merino 30% Tussah silk fibre (Colourway is Balm)

Tarndwarncoort 4ply Polwarth

Handpainted Finn (4ply again, I think) Love this colourway…it looks like stormclouds. Am going to have to make a shawl out of this.

And now onto the Stranded in Oz pretties. Because, let’s face it, I always buy more of Melissa’s stuff whenever I come within fifty feet of it (or even just looking at it on the interwebs). She’d outdone herself this year, simply beautiful colours and yarns. I have pics of her stand too but will check with her before posting them.

This is her June 2011 Fibre Club fibre…Merino Lyocell in Melbourne Twilights (slightly pinker than this) and Black Diamond Bamboo

Silk Sock Yarn (Ocean Blues)…will probably be another shawl and once again this yarn falls somewhat foul of the hard to photograph certain blues and greens rule! It’s even prettier in reality.

Superwash Merino 8ply (am making some handwarmers and then a matching scarf or socks)…and I will apologise for this shot as the greens just won’t photograph true to life. It really is the most beautiful malachite/good green opal green with opaline blues.

And again in “Drama Queen”

Sterling Sock Yarn in Heaven (it sparkles…I must have sparkly socks!)

And more sock yarn that has lost its tag. I think it’s the Dye My Pretties sock in Fairies in the Garden…

Btw, if anyone has SIOz yarn lust now, she’s also doing the Craft and Quilt fair in Melbourne in 2 weeks time or there’s the online store or she has a stall at the Port Adelaide Market in Adelaide every Sunday.

Some international yarn hunting

So I am currently in New York, so naturally have to check out some local yarn stores to play with some American yarn…

So far have been to Purl Soho and scored these:

Spud and Chloe Fine Sock in Calypso (which is more aqua than this pic)

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino light in Pop Rocks (awesome deep pink)

And Knitty City where I added these beauties

Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Bronzed Lake

And more Madelinetosh…this time the Pashmina in Ink (darker and more indigo than it looks here)

I think most of these are going to end up as shawls for me. I could do some serious damage to my credit card here but it all has to fit in the suitcase plus I have many beautiful yarns waiting for me at home too. Plus I want to have a little bit of money to spend at Bendigo!

Random pretties

Have spent part of the morning playing with my yarn stash and my new camera so I can practice with the latter and get the former up to date on Ravelry so I stop deluding myself that I have made stash inroads. There is still plenty of yarn in the stash! Maybe I need to pic a project for each yarn and not let myself buy more until I have made some of them (er apart from NY and Bendigo and, um, the box I’m expecting from Stranded In Oz, any minute now.

But it’s nice to have an excuse to fondle one’s yarn. I’m picky about how yarn feels, particularly if I’m planning it to be something that will go anywhere near my face/neck where certain wools make me itch, so my stash is just a big bundle of pretty, nice feeling things. Like a rainbow of kittens that don’t bite and scratch (or purr…ooh, purring yarn, that would be awesome! Like the living fur in Brothers In Arms.)

Anyway, having loaded all the pics onto my Rav stash, I thought I’d share a few here too. And I swear there are some things in my stash that are not blue, green or blue green. Really. Just not many. Need more pink.

Stranded In Oz Wool/Merino roving in Dark Matter (Am half way through spinning this, so this is what’s left) This is from this year’s fibre club.

Stranded In Oz Handpainted Wensleydale top in Bottle (ditto re fibre club)

Stranded in Oz Merino sock

Stranded in Oz Alpaca/Wool sock (have to knit something with this soon, so soft and squishy!) (last year’s SiOz yarn club)

Knit Picks Shimmer Lace in Shallows

String Theory Caper Sock (with Cashmere! We likey) Bye Bye Blues (gifty from Melissa, I believe)

And now, back to the non yarny world!

Progress

The second devil sock is about a third done. I can’t always knit too long on a sock project as between mucho typing and teeny needles, I get sore hands. So I started a couple of thick needle projects. A nice snuggly shawl for me and a conversion of shawl project to cowl project for friend’s well overdue birthday present (yarn didn’t want to play nice with the lace). All this signals the usual May/June onset of knitting urge frenzy. I spun far more than knitted between October and April (as overdue present and devil socks will attest to) but, just like last year, as the weather gets chillier, my need to KNIT ALL THE THINGS suddenly gets out of control.

Which is not good when I’m on deadline and also because I have to limit my needle time to keep shoulder and hands happy. Still, progress is being made. I even had a small victory today in frogging. Now, I was taught the basics by my Mum when I was a small thing. The basics being casting on in one way, knit, purl, probably some sort of increasing and possibly k2tog decreases. That’s about it. Back then, if I dropped a stitch or something, Mum fixed it for me.

Since taking knitting up again, I’ve been expanding my repertoire and learning from books and YouTube (all hail YouTube) and websites. I’ve picked up a lot of stuff, I can knit socks and lace and things but still sometimes feel like I don’t know what I’m doing with basics like picking up stitches for heel flaps (I avoid this mostly as I prefer toe up) and yes, while I can pick up a dropped stitch, if I notice a mistake too far back, I’ve tended towards the “must rip out many rows to get to error and cry if you don’t have a life line” school of repairs. I am not a gun knitter when it comes to such things (or anything really). Trust me, my sil is a gun knitter, my Mum is pretty good and my grandmothers both knit like the wind. Me, I muddle through.

But today I was knitting away on the cowl on the train (which I don’t often do as most of my projects require too much referring to patterns) and noticed I had purled two stitches that should have been knit about three rows down, two thirds of the way along a row. At first I thought “Frak” followed by “no, lifeline, noooooooooo”.Then I thought “pull yourself together, self, it’s just two stitched, just drop them down and fix them”. Which I proceeded to do. On the train, no crochet hook, just needles. Dropped ’em down, figured out which way made a knit stitch and fixed them. Go me!

Not a big achievement but a small step to understanding this whole sticks and strings thing a bit better. Now I just need to con said sil into showing me some of the other stuff and I’ll be set.

Sad knitter

Or dumb knitter. Or both.

The first demon/devil sock is done! Hurrah!

The second sock is started which would also rate a hurrah! but observe, if you please, the size of the red yarn ball.

I am thinking that is not enough to knit the whole foot of the second sock. D’oh and damn and blast. Of course, the yarn is discontinued (it is Elann Sock It To Me in Red/Burgundy (I think it’s 7319) just in case anyone has a ball they would be willing to sell a dopey aussie knitter). Which means I either need to find a very close match here in Oz and offer Dad either that, or overdyeing them. And no, ripping and restarting is not an option, his feet are big! I would have to cry.

So I have posted of Ravelry that I am ISO of yarn and, in the mean time and because I need to knit something on slightly bigger needles and don’t have the brain power for lace while I’m trying to also churn out many words on the wip, I started these.

Gorgeous cushy 8ply premium merino from Stranded In Oz I have 2 50 g balls which should be enough and I am going to knit both at the same time (not two at a time on the same needle) but work on one for a bit, then the other for a bit. That way if I get to a certain point and feel like I don’t have enough yarn, I’m sure Melissa will have something else pretty in 8ply that will go nicely and I can do different coloured legs or something. I will defeat the evil yarn demons! The socks are my first attempt at a sock from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I’m doing the Riverbed architecture in probably a plain vanilla sock with ribbed leg. Hopefully I do not screw them up! The toe of the first may have a little boo boo in increases but as they are for me, I just fixed it how I wanted and moved on.

Sock saga

I am a bad crafter lately, or maybe an absent crafter. Am officially running out of hours in the day. My spinning has progressed to half the Dark Matter.

I have started the second half on a new bobbin and hopefully one day it will be finished and plied. The weather is turning distinctly chilly which means the knitting yen is returning (I tend not to knit much in Australia over summer as it’s hot…also because this summer I learned to spin instead). But before I can make anything for myself I have to finish a pair of socks for my Dad and a shawl for someone else. Dad’s socks are one of those projects that just won’t grow, dammit, even though I don’t mind the pattern. The yarn is one that’s nicer once it’s washed, so a bit scratchy to knit plus men’s feet are loooooooooonnnnnnggggg, I keep managing to have needle disasters (aka slipping out of the wool or dropping stitches randomly which I don’t usually do), last night I failed the heel in the pattern completely and am now substituting a different heel and really, the thought of the second one waiting to be knitted is not that appealing. But we shall persevere! Hopefully my horrible suspicion that I may run out of the main yarn will turn out to be wrong….

But I am calling them the Devil socks in my head…see they even refuse to photograph nicely.

There are also discussions being had with the new cat over knitting etiquette. She’s pretty good with the spinning wheel, she watches it and occasionally tries to tap the yarn (especially if one stops and has a dangly bit) but mostly leaves it alone. But the knitting apparently is all Dangly! Wiggly! String! Mine! so we have extreme knitting with bonus random doses of cat pouncing at the moment. I’m hoping she’ll lose interest eventually, the other two never really thought it that fascinating…Tabasco mostly minded that I didn’t always let him sit in my lap while knitting. Anyone else got a project that just won’t die?

Finally

There’s has been a bit of a crafty hiatus due to general craziness around here and the need to keep my spinning wheel in my bedroom to keep it safe from the curiousity of a new cat. But she’s calming down, so I’ve been doing a little bit of spinning again and, luckily, haven’t completely forgotten how.

This is Dark Matter which is a wool/mohair blend from the Stranded In Oz fibre club this year. It spins beautifully and it turning out purty. The other half of the roving is mostly blues and greens so I think it will ply up pretty! Much spinning between here and plying though!

Mermaids

Last spinning class today. We did silk (cocoons, caps/hankies, lap, tussah top and mulberry top) then angora, milk fibre, soy, bamboo, alpaca top, tencel, corn fibre and nylon glitz.

Tonight I came home and felt like going back to good old uncomplicated wool…so I decided to spin some of the fleece I dyed last week (third pic down). So far, so good, I think it kind of looks like mermaids.

Not sure how much yardage I’ll get but hopefully I can ply it with silk thread or something to eke out the length.

Colour my world

Here are the results of the dyeing adventures at spinning class today…these are all dyed with Landscape protein dyes, using the slather in dye, wrap in glad wrap, steam in a ziplock bag method.

My yarn, the colours are a little deeper than this but you get the idea

Some merino top…which is really a nice jade/malachite semi solid…a colour my camera refuses to photograph well

Some Finn/Corriedale fleece…this is getting close to felted maybe…will have to see what happens when it’s dry and I can flick it.

Hopefully it’s okay because I’ll be interested to see how it spins up.

And some more fleece and ditto.

I managed not to dye myself, so go me! We also tried spinning suri alpaca (in locks…HARD plus the locks look spookily like human hair so it was hard not to feel you’d mugged some poor brunette and shaved her head), bamboo top/carded (ditto), kid mohair (pretty and nice to spin so it’s a pity that mohair makes me itchy), cotton (well, Jo was brave enough to try that and the verdict was WORSE THAN THE ALPACA) then some of the other sort of alpaca which was do-able. After all that, it was kind of nice to go back to spinning some nice coated Finn/Suffolk fleece which I’ve mostly got the hang of. Yay for wool!

Next week is our last week where we shall attempt silk! Should be fun.