Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week off, week on

I got lots of knitting done in my 9 nights off, although it went quickly! Now I'm in the middle of 3 on, 2 off, 4 on. I finished a few spinning projects: the Valentine's Day one (Red Roses). It's soft, fat and shiny :)

  Also finished the spinning the Corriedale/tencel. It took quite a while to finish that second skein, but it ended up being 1150m of singles. Each one was spun from the light end to the dark end, and Navajo-plied to keep the gradual color change. I'm going to weave a scarf with them, and see how that turns out.

I got a bit further on with the Jaywalkers. I'm up to the start of the 5th rainbow, now, but I still have a fair way to go to finish them before the end of the month.

As for Elizabeth, I got all the way up to 56%. Here's the 50% picture I took.

It's difficult to take a picture, now, because it's much wider than my needle. It ends up being a right triangle, but you start in the center of the hypotenuse and knit outwards. So the sides of my knitting become the hypotenuse of the triangle, and the other two sides are squished onto my needles. Anyway, chart 1, 2 and 3 are in the light green, and the medium green "diamonds" are chart 4. I'm in chart 5 now, row 21, which means row 168/225 and 56%. Next row, I'll have done over 30,000 stitches.

Wonder how big it will end up being?

Anyway, it's 10:30pm, and I've wasted half the night playing on the computer :) so I'd better get back to the socks. I do have school hours to knit through tomorrow and Friday, so I should be able to finish them, and the hat, too. I'm knitting a hat, as well; forgot about that. It's dark green 5ply, very nice color, with some fluffy silvery hearts. Nearly finished. I think.

Friday, February 13, 2015

V- day

Happy Valentine's Day!

We don't worry about V day in our house, not at all, but this year I am spinning the Summer Club fibre from Kathy's Fibres, which is called "Red Roses". It's actually a mix of merino and "rose", though I understand that "rose" doesn't actually mean crushed and stretched protein fibres from rose petals, but some kind of plant-based fibre. It's soft, anyway, like silk, and is adding white flecks to the red, like bamboo does. Surprisingly, it doesn't make it pink at all (regardless of what my camera might say).

I have nine nights off work; this is the first. I'm putting a few WIPs here to see how much progress I can make in nine nights and 5 school (kid-free) days. This is the project I've been taking to work.

More Jaywalkers, because zigzags are fun! This is the yarn I dyed back in September, which was completely rainbow-stripes, and then I made a big skein and dipped 2/3 into the black. The color actually shows through the black a bit, which is hard to see here, but gives it a kind of oily-look. I like it.

 I didn't take another noodle shot, but the Elizabeth is a 2-color lump of noodles, now. I finished chart 3 (of 8), which is row 117 (of 225) and 27%. I have used 209 yards of my light green. My finished shawl (for the Charms OWL) needs to be 800y, so I might have to add a few rows at the end, but that's fine. Now I'm knitting with the middle-green, which is one ply each of the light and dark. I'm going to listen to an audiobook (Middlemarch) and see if I can get up to 30% before I fall asleep :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This term, in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, I decided to take a break from NEWT studies, and do an OWL instead. (For the Muggles, OWLs are the 5th year exams and NEWTs are the 7th year exams at Hogwarts, and, in the HPKCHC group on Ravelry, OWLs are a 3-month project and NEWTs are a 4-month project).

As soon as the "Winter" term started (January to March) I began working on Charms. The Charms OWL is about lace, something I was sure I'd never bother with. You could either spin laceweight yarn (and I would never be able to spin that thinly!) or knit lace (crazily fiddly!), or both. But I managed to spin some laceweight yarn last year, so I determined to prove to myself that I could manage the challenge of knitting with it.

The stuff is like two twisted strands of thread, and the metal needles are slippery. I can hardly do it at all, if the kids are awake, and if I make a mistake it mucks up the whole pattern! And the worst part of all???

Lace looks like NOODLES the whole time you're knitting, cooked 2-minute noodles, until right at the end, when you wet it and pin it out to dry. This is where I'm up to today, which is only 20% of the project, and represents about 20 hours of focus.

This is a photo from the pattern page:

So I have to carry on with a goal in mind, but I don't really get to see it until it's finished.

This shawl is called "Elizabeth", and it got my attention because I had just gotten a new niece called Elizabeth at the time. It's been in my queue for a few years, now! I'm only up to 20% because I needed most of January to knit a birthday jumper for Zac. Now that I have about 8 weeks to go until the deadline, I have to pull off 10% each week. So far so good. I'm getting the hang of the patterns now, too, making sure what I'm knitting lines up with the pattern below, and the rows are getting longer, so I can memorize a bit of pattern and then knit for 20 minutes without finding my place on the chart 50 times. Oh, and a chart keeper! It's just a frame with a magnetic board; it holds a magnetic strip on the line of chart you're up to, so you don't go cross-eyed trying to find your spot, and knit 2 hours before you realize you skipped a line :)

So that's my project for the quiet times, when the kids are asleep or at school, and I'm not too tired.

Other things!

I haven't written here for about a month, and that's because I felt like I hadn't gotten much done. But now that January is finished, I realize that I did, in fact, hand in several things for the game.

First! Zachary 5!

His birthday is on the 22nd, so I had 3 weeks to finish it. Only just made it, by knitting on it fairly exclusively, and badly neglecting my OWL. He knew all about it, and tried it on a few days before his birthday; the Cybermen were a surprise, however, that I duplicate-stitched on before wrapping it up.

Then, for Jasmine (as she bought me this neon-colored acrylic "yarn" for Christmas)

 A couple of hats for the chemo box (up to 13, now)

Handspun yarn (Kathy's Fibres) which she dyed in a gradient blue (light to dark) for the 'club' fibre this last Spring. I spun it end to end, and then N-plied it to keep the gradient.

 And then this spin, which is a bit of a failed experiment. I N4plied it, using a thread of silver as the 4th, just to give it shiny bits. But when I washed it the wool shrank a tiny bit... and the thread did not. When one ply is longer that the others, this happens.

LOL. Still, it might work for something...

Some dyeing. This one was done on a skein that was 28m around (so a bit fiddly) and should knit up into stripes, 16 stripes per repeat. Every second stripe is dark blue, and every other is one of 8 different colors. It's not sock yarn, but it's sport-weight cable-plied wool, so it should be tough enough.

Last knitting project is one for Byron; a TARDIS hot water bottle cover.

That's it for now. You know, I'm thinking I could have gotten a bit more lace done if I wasn't so easily distracted. Hehe. Next time: more spinning and more socks, both started, and some weaving still to come...


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jasmine's pink stuff

I told Jas I'd use the rest of her rainbow yarn to make her something, so here it is in pompom form.

Cool Logic hat and gloves I made up (basically just a 40-stitch tube). Just finished in time for one of the hottest days of Summer so far. LOL.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mostly lazy

Look closely, and you'll notice that this is not, in fact, a pair of socks, sitting at the foot of "Spring" in our botanical gardens. It's one long, lazy tube. Here's where it began...

At a school picnic. Didn't really have a pattern in mind, so I cast on 64 stitches, using some sock yarn and a long 2.5mm needle. Then, I knit around and around.

And around and around and around.

I decided to stop here, at 52cm. It was 240 rounds, plenty of length for a pair. Three-quarters done, all mindless stocking stitch, just knit-knit-knit-knit-knit, watching the kids play, or sitting on the bus or in the local Gardens with an audio book, walking around the lake, or watching Doctor Who. That was the Lazy Part.

The Fiddley Part

I changed to white and knit one more round (the blue doesn't bleed into the purls of the ribbing that way). Then I knit 15 rounds of 2x2 rib. I changed back to the blue to cast off, using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off and returned to the other end of my tube.

Must learn how to do a Provisional Cast on some time. Instead, I threaded my circular needle through a round of stitches (that is, through the right hand "leg" of each V) and pulled out the cast on edge until all my stitches were 'live' stitches on my needles again. Then I did another cuff. (I could have started with a cuff, I guess, but the edges wouldn't have matched properly.)

The Scary Part

Not really. Not at all. Find the middle of the tube (I counted rounds, but you could just guess if you wished) and thread the needles through again. You need to pick up two rounds with two different needles this time, and leave a gap of one round. I left a gap of two rounds... because I had an even number of rounds, and therefore two "center" rounds. Couldn't bear one sock being 2mm longer. Hehe.

See how I threaded my needles through the right hand bit of each V? Then you need to get out your scissors, take a deep breath, and snip one of the stitches from the row between. Snip it, and unravel. I used a darning needle to pull up the stitches, one by one, until I was back down to the cables and all my stitches were "live". Now, we have two socks! Almost.

My toes, with half the stitches each on two circular needles, go like this:

1. Knit one round
2. (Knit 1, SSK, knit until 3 from the end of the needle, K2tog, Knit 1) x2

Keep repeating until there are 12 stitches left on each side, and then Kitchener those together.


First, adding toes means that the socks have a top and bottom. So the heels had to line up with the edges of the toes. Second: where to put the heels? I planned to make the heels just like the toes, and I could measure the toes I'd already knit. I used a ruler. I had a cardboard cut-out of Mum's footprint, so I measured that, subtracted a toe length, and marked the spot. Then, for luck, I stuck the cardboard footprint into the sock, stretched the sock a little, and counted down 20 rounds from where the cut-out's heel reached. Same spot. I threaded through 32 stitches in the row above and below.

I snipped the stitch right in the middle. After the row is unpicked, I had an end on each side about 10cm long, just long enough to comfortably sew in afterwards. Cutting the stitch near an edge would have made one end a bit short.

Also, if you look closely, you'll see I didn't unpick the stitch on each edge. I joined up my white yarn again, and I knit all 32 stitches I'd picked up for each heel, but I left those two edge ones (from the row between) on each sock. After the heel was finished, I gave the end attached to that stitch a firm tug, sewed it into the inside of the sock nice and securely, and there were no "heel corner" holes to worry about.


First, I knit 5 plain rounds. I find that if I don't the sock stretches too much over the front of my ankle, but that's just me. Another thing that works is to pick up a few more stitches from each edge, incorporating some of the instep into the heel. If I had normal heels, I'm sure I could just knit the heel exactly as I knit the toe.

Hopefully, Mum's foot is much the same.

After those plain rounds, I knit two "toes" exactly the same as the toes. I don't know why, but they work. Although they do look more like heels after they're blocked.

My sock blockers are a bit big for socks that fit Mum. Must get a few smaller sizes... and bigger sizes, too. Might even make socks for Dad some time, though his feet are huge!

I found my yarn pooled just a bit, because of the way I dyed it.

I don't mind pooling; it can make it's own pattern, like the vague stripes in this. What annoys me is the way the pooling pattern changes when you increase for sock gussets. I'm going to try this again soon, in a yarn that pools more, and see if it works out.

This will be a good one for my kids, too. My 7yo, Byron, said to me last month, "By the time you finish my socks they won't fit me any more"... and he's right! Now, I can measure them to fit right before I do the last bit. If I ever get a chance to borrow a sock-knitting machine for a day, I'm going to knit half my sock yarn into tubes, and make them into socks like this later on.

Another thing they'll be good for: using every last scrap of handspun so that none is wasted. Must try that, too.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A few more things

Dyed some self-striping yarn

and knit it into a long, slouchy hat.

Finished knitting up the yarn Byron dyed for his teacher

Got out my old Ashie for a spin outside in the warm weather

and spun up some Southern Cross Fibres Bond in "Flapper". Pretty color; didn't really do it justice with my dodgy 2ply.

Just enough time left in November to finish off this Kathy's Fibres merino/BFL/Black diamond. Black diamond is bamboo. Very silky.

1043 points for this last term, the least I've gotten for about 3 years! But Slytherin still won the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup. Again. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Considering that a NEWT is a 4-month project, I'm pleased that I've completed another one, successfully! This one, for the Harry Potter game on Ravelry, was a combo of Muggle Studies (make an ensemble of Muggle clothes) and Transfiguration (Vanish lots of fibre/yarn). I used 10 bags of lovely stuff from Southern Cross Fibres, spun them all, and knit up a top, gloves and a cowl. For the Transfiguration element, I had to use a new technique, or practice one I haven't used for a long time, so I picked entrelac.

Idlewood, with a ribbed cowl instead, and a bit of colorful entrelac.

Proposition, which I showed you months ago, getting the Kissy kiss of approval.

Cowl, which I just made up as I went.

I like the cowl better as a headband, especially since Idlewood has a cowl neck.

I also finished my Mission scarf in time, using up 500g or so of handspun from my boxful of handspun.

And I made a woven scarf up, using the yarn Jasmine dyed last month. I separated the colors a bit, by making it 8 strand squares of color and white. "Clown barf" (as rainbow yarn is often called) doesn't tend to actually knit up well; it pools and mixes badly, sometimes. I think the dilution was good for this yarn!

Besides, it's Jasmine's present for her teacher, who is nice, and doesn't deserve to have her eyes burned out ;)

And Jaz is happy. Now I just have to get on with Byron's present for his teacher... and a few other things before this month ends.

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