Sunday, February 24, 2008

Elsa's Babbit

Pattern: Sophie
Yarn: Sirdar Bonus Flash DK - Peacock - glad of the strength of this as I pulled and pulled at it to knit around the stuffing for the head without leaving great ladders between the dpns - used about a ball
Needles: 3.5mm Bamboo DPNs
Started: 15 February 2008
Finished: 24 February 2008
Notes: Loved knitting it once I was past the cast on where whilst wrestling the dpns I feared it might go the way of Clarabelle's Woodins. My cast on didn't entirely disappear as it should and I confess I thought I was starting at the nose so would be able to hide it with embroidery but you actually start at the back of the head. I'm happy enough with it and I don't think that little Elsa (one today) will mind too much. I took the tip to use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches and found that worked really well; there are fiddly moments after each body part pick up (urgh sounds dodgy!!) but enough plain knitting to be quite soothing and watching the little creature grow is much fun indeed. I packed in the stuffing to get a good firm rabbit which I think was well worth it. The pattern is very well set out and easy to follow. Loved having no ends to sew in at the finish.
Modifications: Just the addition of a little pompom tail :o)
A different kind of pink flower as my PS today

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Toasty Toes

The Fiery Socks are all done and what could be better for keeping my beloved's toes toasty in the current cold snap? Purty yarn and a simple (sock equivalent of a garter stitch scarf) pattern mean they were finished quick smart.

The rich colourway made these a natural choice for my Project Spectrum 'Fire' project though I had nearly put this skein aside to send to Ambermoggie for her Hospice Socks project until the beloved suggested I might use it for socks for him. Ah the boyf request - so hard to resist! We struck a deal, I have knit these for him and he is making a donation to the hospice.
Pattern: Plain stocking stitch - 52 stitch cast on, twisted 1x1 rib and eye of partridge heel
Yarn: Not quite one skein (dang and blast) of Colinette Jitterbug in Tapis
Needles: 3.75mm Metal DPNs
Started: 3 February 2008
Finished: 17 February 2008
Notes: I'm reasonably happy with the finished socks - love the heel - but if I had spent a little more time preparing and a little less time fretting about whether there would be enough yarn I could have got a better pair in terms of density of fabric and leg length.

Jitterbug is the loveliest feeling of all the sock yarns I have knit with - very springy - and the intense colours are magical but I am scared about the length per skein. I've read a ton of similar worries out in blogland and I wouldn't have used it for a pair of man socks if it weren't for the irresistible request factor.

Having decided to go for it, I did just that and grabbed at the biggest size needles I thought I could get away with and cast on a reasonable number less than normal stitches - that impulse to just knit - so strong one side of the project and so inexplicable the other. I think this would qualify for the Fast and Wrong section on the much missed Knitty D and the City podcast.

I could have just measured the beloved's surprisingly skinny ankles and worked out my gauge and I think I would easily have got a pair out on smaller needles with a slightly longer leg, invisible joins between the dpns and a firmer fabric. These are fine but when you have this amount of yarn left at the end it is somewhat galling. I tread a confused path of reading all that is out there and trying to be prepared but then choosing a dubious way to put the knowledge to work - ie the way that gets me to the knitting quickest. I think I may have done better with these if I'd never read a word on the subject of shorty shorty skeins and just looked at the ball band - though in all likelihood I would have then ignored that - I mean the 3.75mm needles were downstairs with me and the 3.25mm ones all the way upstairs.

Glenna took the opposite approach to me in terms of sensible preparation for the use of Jitterbug (I like how it sounds dangerous, as if you should only handle while wearing gloves). If you are a lazy gal like me I think when all is said and blogged if you stick with the 3.25mm needles recommended on the ball band you can get a reasonable size pair of socks out of Jitterbug. Or you can send it all to me and I will knit only socks for me from it as there was plenty for my Esthers :o)

*****

Anyway on to the important stuff - the closing date for coming up with a pattern for my Fast and Wrong yarn purchase, the Fishermans, was yesterday and thank you so much to all the entrants for great ideas. While I love the shawls that were entered(moths to flames indeed Kath, I think it was the haze from the smoke that caused me to buy this in the first place!) I choose Clarabelle to receive the yarn for suggesting both this cute little dress pattern and this fab scarf pattern that jumped straight into my Ravelry queue (never fear I have plenty of alternative yarns to make this with). Congratulations Clarabelle.

*****

PS photo courtesy of my Valentine Anemones

Friday, February 15, 2008

My one weakness...

Beautiful yarn, it's my one weakness as Dorcas Lane would say when another little parcel arrived from Get Knitted.
The latest little indulgences are a ball of Megaboots Stretch and some Tofutsies which was on sale and is so Project Spectrum friendly in colour it would have been unforgivable not to buy some!
I can see the sock yarn featuring large this year as I try to buy in less than the number of skeins that go out. That one or two odd balls here and there may add up but a lot less quickly than the odd ten or so here or there for a jumper. (And no I am not even thinking about yardage!) So far this year some quick bears (two balls), a couple of chunky scarves (six skeins) and a pair of socks (two skeins) have done me proud, giving me another six skeins I can buy already without another knitted item being completed :o)

And if some more Harmony needles made their way here too? Well - fine needles are my one weakness.

I haven't yet got any socks onto the Harmony DPNs but I was so impressed with them in the handling that I thought I'd try some of their circular needles too. I bought two 60cm 2.5mm ones for the LMK socks. One sock is finished (complete with sewn bind off) and the other is taunting me. I wasn't a natural with the toe up shenanigans and and could easily let number two linger unknit if I don't coax the inner knitter along soI thought I'd get two circs so pretty they'd make it an irresistible knit. Again credit is due to my toe up sock knitting mentor for spurring me on and for advice on the lengths to buy :o) Hopefully I'll get this sock underway this weekend, along with polishing off the Fiery Socks, Cabled Cardigan, Moonlight and starting a Sophie. Ah well a girl can dream.
More PS pink courtesy of a glorious acquisition from the very talented Hanna
after all pretty bags are my one weakness.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Knitting: it's not just about Knitting

Sometimes I think it's more about blogging, friends, feeling inspired and alive than woolly items.

Sometimes it's a about a new favourite band!

I'm really enjoying Pink Martini; in particular the album Sympathique which of course my musicophile other half has had forever but just forgot to share with me.

It took an article with the knitting lead singer, China Forbes in Knit1 for me to catch up and now I have the latest album Hey Eugene on order.

Knitting, it gets in everywhere :o)

Here's a bit of Pink for PS in celebration of Pink Martini

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Other PS Fire Knits?

As well as the Fiery Socks I have another couple of colour appropriate knits already underway that it would be good to get some work in on over the next two months. I'd like to think I might finish one or even both, but I'd feel happy with just some visible progress and I think the inner knitter may be in agreement as she would like to be wearing one of them and seeing her Mama in the other.
Knit One is the long hibernating Moonlight - I put this away last summer as it is such a winter woolly. The back is done so I'm a good portion in; sleeves or fronts next is the question?
Knit Two is the fresher on the needles Cabled Cardigan; look at those red needles - what could fit better with the current scheme. Focussing on the colours does give me a boost to get to work on the malingerers, it's like seeing a different side to them. It would be nice to have a finished item to give to Mum for Easter; I'm mid sleeves here and then just one front, seaming and collar to go. Definitely doable so long as the inner knitter complies :o)

Todays post is brought to you by the colour red in car form - these are made in Oxford, though I found this one in Cornwall.
Beep, beep!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Competition Time

I blame the yarn fumes. I wasn't going to buy any yarn in January - not a diet but a rational thought that maybe this year I would try and knit up more than I would buy. It soon became clear that depriving myself of yarn in gloomy January when I wasn't feeling well was about the most irrational thing I could do. So when I saw some hand dyed sock yarn called Sea Spray from an ebay seller based in Cornwall I had to have it :o)

Then I saw that Get Knitted has the Knitpicks Harmony DPNs set so I just cruised on over there for a peek and managed to talk myself down from the full six pack to just trying one pack - ooh just look at them. I got the 2.25mm size as someone who shall remain nameless (but who has been wearing a nice scarf of late) sat his great bottom on my set of 2.25 sock needles and snappyed one. I think I may love these more than the Brittany's. Though the proof will be in the using - the Harmony's are ahead at the moment as they're longer, more colourful and you get six in a set so when snappying happens you still have five - love that!

So far so good you say, nothing too yarn fumey and crazy here and what was that about a competition you promised us??

Whilst on the Get Knitted site and feeling oh so good for only buying one set of the DPNs I just had to have a little look at the sale yarn and when I saw they had Lorna's Laces yarn at a great price into the basket it went. Ooh I was excited - I've ogled many pairs of socks knitted in Lorna's Laces in blogland and was itching to have a go with the stuff myself. So imagine my surprise when this beauty arrived:
Somehow I had convinced myself that this skein of Fisherman was in fact Lorna's Laces sock yarn. I did know that they did lots of different weight yarns but with the yarn fumes befuddling me and the purty colour calling me I just ignored the description and bought!

I've spent a little time with this lovely creature and searched Ravelry for some inspiration on what to make with it and the truth is I just can't think of the right thing at the moment. I don't see myself knitting with this anytime soon so I think it needs a better home. (So finally she gets to the competition.)

If you would like one skein of Lorna's Laces Fisherman (100% Wool , 500yds, recommended needle size 5mm) in colourway Irving Park then just leave me a little comment by February 16th saying what you would make with it - then next time this happens I'll know what to do with it :o) The winner will be my favourite idea and I'm more than happy to send this anywhere in the world.

To round off today's post I bring you the colour orange represented in the form of cat:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Easy like Sunday Morning

Inspired and encouraged by Rose Red's toe up sockcess I took a few quiet moments this morning to actually read the instructions for the short row heel that has been the latest road block to progress with these oh so troubled socks.

Having managed the toe you'd think I would have pushed on through the heel without a pause but pause I did last November and then it became a big deal in my mind. Having to actually read instructions has been the bridge too far for months and I was starting to believe that this was too hard for me. Pah! With time, patience and the wisdom of generations of knitters to draw on I learnt to knit in the first place so with the same resources available there is nothing to fear in the knitting. Thanks to Rose Red for the advice to set aside some time to tackle this and to Wendy Knits for the original instructions. Aren't bloggers grand :o)

Here's a little PS colour to finish off with as I seem to be knitting on my greyest of projects this first PS weekend just to be contrary!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Project Spectrum: Elements is Go!

Bring on the fire.

The themes for the first two months are the element fire and the fiery shades of red, orange and pink. For me the beauty of this project is that I can be involved at whatever level works for me;I like the sense of being part of a bigger group all focussing on these themes in our own ways. Encouragement and inspiration without pressure.

My starting plan is:
  • to knit one item in an appropriate shade for the two month block
  • to add appropriate themed photos to each of my posts during the project and then collect these into a sticker set at the end
  • to participate in the Artists Trading Card swap
  • to work in some other colour/element themed creativity such baking (always happy to bring food into the equation) and maybe some embroidery?
My first knitting project will be a pair of socks in this deep rich, fiery shade - Tapis. I am making these for my guy so sadly the gorgeous and oh so fitting Flickering Flames pattern seems a little too girly. Instead I think I will stick to a plain stocking stitch sock to show off the colours as much as possible; might try an eye of partridge heel for a little interest when I get there.The first block of this project is just perfect for keeping warm to!
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