Decisions, Decisions

My Work Work-Plan Plan – in which I plan to have a plan and then work to work to my plan – is all working according to plan. (hee hee, I love to I wreck heads!) I’m two days into my strategy and I’m feeling all super-productive and happy. This super-focussed-feeling is spilling into my home-life too (so I’m only allowing myself 30mins to blog) and even has me feeling I should be super-focussed on what my knitting project priorities should be.

Note I say “should be” because, in reality, my inner-crafty-self is not listening to super-focussed-work-self. Super-focussed-self says I should be focussing on finishing those last few inches on DH’s GlenvarAgin Cardigan, so that I can get cracking on the sleeves – and finally give it too him after all these years. Inner-crafty-self says “Boring! Oooh look… shiny new techniques!” and promptly potters off in the direction of a crochet hook!

Better Mousetrap Socks by Debbie New from Unexpected Knits

One shiny new technique that grabbed my undivided crafting attention last week was Better Mousetrap Socks by Debbie New (above). Within two days of casting on, I had completed one half of my first sock. I was amazed – I don’t know if I’ve ever progressed a sock that quickly before.

Trust me, it's a sock!

One thing I’m not sure about is the way the colours are working. If you recall, I’m stranding a self-striping, faux-fair-isle yarn (Berroco Sox) with another solid sock yarn (Bergere de France CHO’7) for a bulky, quick knit. It’s giving the following effect, close-up:

So... whaddya think?

I’m not sure that I like it. I don’t think it does enough to express the construction of the sock. I think the overall sock will just look homogenously mottled.

I’m of a mind to unwind the second cake of yarn and re-wind it so that the Berroco Sox and the CHO’7 are each double-stranded separately and then complete the second half of each sock in stripes of each. Would that be completely crazy looking? Should I leave well-enough alone?

 I’d love if you could give me your opinions, dear Reader.

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WIPs for DH

It looks like April is going to be all about knitting for DH. I decided my socks for this month should be socks for him since my last two pairs of socks were for me. Apart from which, he recently discovered where I’ve been hiding all the socks that need darning and has been taking them back into circulation. Yes, definately a new pair of socks is called for. So I cast on yesterday: 

Better Mousetrap Socks by Debbie New from Unexpected Knits

 This is going to be a fun knit. The socks are knit sideways in one long strip, with mitred decreases shaping the toe and heel. You then fold at the toe and heel and graft one half of the stitches to the other. 

When DH enquired what I was knitting it this morning, and I told him his next pair of socks, he replied: “They start out that big?” he asked in alarm. “Yes”, I told him, “you have very big feet!” I’ll tell him they’re knit sideways later; maybe after I knit the first strip and ask him can he make a sock shape out of it. (Heh, heh, heh!!) 

I want these socks to be quick to knit so I’m bulking up by stranding two sock yarns together: Berroco Sox with Bergere de France CH’07. This dove-tails well with my recent drive to bust-down my stash: two pairs worth of yarn get used up in one go.  This is a real turn-around for me. I’m usually really frugal with my yarn and would never consider doubling-up on yarn as it would feel like paying twice over for a project. That’s what the realisation you’re at S.A.B.L.E. does to you!

To figure out how many stitches to cast-on I had to knit a swatch and do a bit of algebra. My grand total of stitches is 246; however I’ll only have to knit about 14 ridges of garter stitch. The high quantity of stitches is a giving me grief at the moment though. The only spare cable I can find for my 3.5mm Knit-picks interchangeable needles is 40cm long. It hasn’t stopped me from starting but it’s getting a tad annoying.

I already know that when I start sock 2 I’m going to cast-on to two cable needles using Judy’s Magic Cast-on. This will keep the stitches live for me and save me picking up stitches for the second half. I just need to get me to a half-decent yarn-shop that sells cables for interchangeables.  

His other WIP, GlenvarAgin, is still moving along and growing: 

Four more inches to go on the body

Unfortunately, it would appear – so is he! 

Breathe In! Hold it!

I’m kinda at a loss to explain why this cardigan fits him so well on the back and looks like it’s a foot too small on the front. The fact that it’s still on the cable needle may contribute to some of it; and perhaps when the zip is added there won’t be an issue; but I fear there’s only so much “negative ease” can do for me. Sigh! 

Go back up an look at the Rear View some more, there. Just admire those short-rows around the sholder-blades. Can’t see them? I know, isn’t it fabulous! 

If you remember my knitting plan for the year, you may recall I had planned a cardigan for DD to be done in March and a jumper for DS1 to be done in April. In fact, I’m not letting myself cast-on for either of these until I’m finished DH’s cardigan. Only four more inches to be added to the body and then the sleeves and I’m there. 

(I did sneak in a Brioche Shawl for my mother last week but it was her 70th last Sunday so a special excemption was granted by the Knitting Police.) 

And – mark my words!!! – DH can go on a starvation diet if this doesn’t fit him – I’m NOT knitting this one again! Ha ha!

WIP-ette

On the last Sunday of February I finally got the chance to join up with other spinners at the monthly Sunday’s Spin-in at Powerscourt. I brought with me the only spinning accoutrements I possess, a beginner’s drop-spindle and some dyed roving that I’d started on the Irish Knitter’s Retreat back in October 2008! I started the afternoon not being able to remember a single thing from the lesson Chicwithstix had given me way back then. However, thanks to the generosity of time and knowledge on the part of Kneehigh, Chicwithstix, DubSpinner, Deimne, Flick and Claire42 it started to come back to me. 

I was determined to finish spinning the roving I had and I learned a few things in the process too; such as dyed roving is more prone to felting and leaving it stuffed in a plastic bag for 18 months is not conducive to easy-spinning. However I did  finish up with this. Art/Novelty-yarn-esque as it is, I’m proud to have got to the end and for learning all that I did. 

Very nice dear.... but what is it?

I had the “yarn” on separate toilet roll centres, all ready for meeting Chicwithstix at the Crafy Market last Sunday, so that she could give me pointers on how to ply them together. And then… I met her scribble lace scarf, knit using beautiful blue hand-spun of her own for the accent yarn. So now my “yarn” is not going to be plied but – with the able-bodied, enabling of Bootie and Clarabel – got partnered with some Drops Kid-silk in beige from The Constant Knitter

When I grow up.... I'll scribble!

I’ve received excellent advice from all the spinners I’ve met recently. The advice I like best of all is from BionicLaura: “spindling for 5 minutes a day will teach you more than an hour once a week” because it means I’m going to have to invest in a whole lot of roving. Roving is just perfect to tide me over while I’m on this strict yarn diet, isn’t it? With this in mind I got 100g of pencil roving from Chicwithstix at the Crafty Market. It’s a Merino Tencel blend that I’m going to spin, dye and then ply. Until then, I just content myself with burying my face in it an inhaling. Aaaah! 

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down...

Oh! my strict yarn diet… I completely forgot! (tee hee!). The main reason we went to the Crafty Market in the first place was to get a chance to see The Constant Knitters’ wares. She did not disappoint and these two balls of Kid-Silk by Drops were purloined with a lacy wrap from Knitting Brioche in mind. 

Planned for "Herfst avond scarf" by Nancy Marchant from "Knitting Brioche"

Chooseday’s Choice – Star Attraction

Last Tuesday I had a bit of a dilemma:

Pink or Blue?

These two balls /skeins of yarn were each intended to make a hat as a gift for Christmas. The problem was, I only had time for one of them.

So… should I choose

a) the Merino Blend Anti-tickle in pink for a lacy berret for a co-worker and fellow knitter; who would appreciate the effort – and to whom I feel endebted because of her friendship and support through-out the past year?

or

b) the New Zealand Print Classic in blends of green and blue for my Sister; who is also a fellow knitter, would appreciate the effort – and to whom I feel endebted because of her friendship and support through-out the past year?

Yes, it wasn’t an easy one.

In the end, the choice was made for me – by the afore-mentioned co-worker / knitter friend. I had shown her the purple star that I had made for Averil (thankfully, I can reveal this now as she’s just told me that she got it). But she thought I’d made it for the Charity Sale-of-Work and wanted to buy it. Easy peasy choice for me: Star now, Hat later.

She's a Star

 You’ll have to wait until Wednesday’s WIP Pawade to see the hat I started for my sister last night – don’t be greedy!

F. O. on Friday

So how are you liking the frequency of posts around here these days? Who knew I had so much to say? It’s quite a change from earlier this year when it all went so quiet for months. One thing I was doing back then, instead of blogging, was knitting; and I’ve loads of F.O.s to show for it. I’m going to try to get back into the habit of showing one off every Friday, until I catch up. One of the earliest from this time is this pair of socks:

KPPPM Rib Fantastic Socks

I call them “Averil’s Socks” though they’re most definately made for me!!! I made them using two skeins of KPPPM that Averil sent me for my birthday. They were cast-on in late May 2009 and cast-off on 5th June, 2009 – a speedy knit. The yarn was a joy to knit with and I absolutely love wearing them. In fact, they’ve been worn and washed so often the colour has faded from the original blue-ish purple to a grey-ish blue. Still a beautiful colour, mind you. I’m wearing them right now! Thanks again, Averil. I must get to meet you, one of these days!

I enjoyed the pattern too, which is from “Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn” by Carol J. Sulcoski – she of the beautiful skein of luxury sock yarn for my Victory Socks. This is the only pattern I’ve knit from the book to date; but I’ve lots more in my pipeline.

New Star Shining Bright

So no-one wanted to hazard a guess on what I was making from Wednesday’s post?

It’s another Christmas Decoration. I made it using some KPPPM I had left over – hence “sock yarn, but I’m not making socks”. The colour shown here is more representative of the original socks, before they’d been washed a few times. I took the picture (in last Wednesday’s post) because I thought the view of the inside was so weird looking – I wondered what the rest of you would make of it.

So, it’s a Star – they twinkle don’t they, even if you don’t use beads? The pattern comes from Debbie New’s book “Unexpected Knitting”. That’s why it’s “New Christmas Fiddle-faddle but Easy” i.e. not from EZ’s Almanac. Like all the best Stars at Christmas-time, it’s currently on a journey. Fingers crossed it reaches its destination safely – it’s a gift from afar.

What the???


Billious bauble

Originally uploaded by dmaxi

At the moment, my kitchen looks like a torture chamber for knitting.

What do PVA glue, baloons, wire racks and clothes pegs all have in common?
Extreme Blocking, that’s what.
This is Hard-core, I tell you!

I’m finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that I’m making something benign enough that it could go on a Christmas tree.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

There’s nothing like public proclamations to make one accountable. Just this evening, on the Irish Knitters Group on Ravelry, Aileen started a thread where we set out Ten Goals for 2010. I knew I had a few aspirations floating around in my head; but I surprised myself when I reached ten with some to spare. Here’s my “Ten for ’10”:

  1. Finally knit a cardigan for DH that actually fits him (I’m on attempt no. 3 by now – not counting all the frogging)
  2. Design and knit a cardigan for DD with variagated-blue Lamb’s Pride bought in TIK last WWKIP!
  3. Knit jumper for DS1 using Brown cotton bought at Knitting & Stitching show
  4. Review sock yarn I’ve used to date to establish one or two preferred makes so that I can…
  5. … set up template for socks for DH using Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints Method
  6. Bust a lot of my stash by using Tunisian Crochet to make a few shawls & scarves as gifts
  7. Knit something lacey
  8. Go to at least one Knitting Meet-up so I get to…
  9. … Meet some more online knitting friends in the flesh
  10. Publish a pattern on my blog / get a pattern published

I also should have listed “learn how to darn”. I’ve put at least four pairs of socks out of circulation until I figure this out. If I don’t do something soon I might as well adopt The Yarn Harlot’s method: Shout “Darn!” and promptly throw them in the bin.

What hasn’t even made it to the list is “making progress on the Fair-Isle Ouroborus Cardigan“. Hmmmm… is that telling, I wonder?

Now, dare I set down in writing a few goals I have for this week?…

  1. I’ve tomorrow off. I’d like to finally sort out my weekly meal planners / grocery shopping list so I can get back into grocery shopping regularly. Recently, we’ve been doing it in an ad hoc manner and I never know what there is in the fridge.
  2. Start writing Christmas Cards
  3. Actually do something from my list of gardening jobs for December
  4. Knit some Christmas Ornaments for a Sale of Work in our office
  5. Post off my Secret Santa Swap parcel (yes, I can see this one getting done anyway!)

So now I’ve said it – publicly and openly. You are all now not only my witnesses – you are my accomplices! It’s up to you to keep me honest.