Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blogs I Love III - From the start...

Back in the early days of blogging (when blurry photos seemed okay) there were some lovely people who made sure I wasn't lonely and some of them are still very much here and blogging along today:

The aforementioned Glenna is one, another is her friend:

Hedgehog Knits
Kelly is not a knitting hedgehog. I'm sorry if that's a disappointment to anyone but really, though she is a mere human person, there is no way her knitting can be a disappointment to anyone. She keeps a super cute pet hedgehog Molly who features too rarely on the blog in my humble opinion - so go tell Kelly to let us see her. She's had all kinds of job craziness of late which limits her blogging activity a little but the knitting still continues apace.





Knitting in the North
Charity is a very generous commenter. I'm never too sure how she cares for her mighty brood of chicks and fits in all the knitting and blogging to be honest. Still I think she's let slip some relevant info of late - she's pretending that Katie is just learning to knit but I think she gets the kids started at Liam's age and then passes off the knits as her own. Seriously though, she's amazing and I love reading about how she fits knitting in with family life.





Marianne's Knotminding
Marianne is a very naughty blogger - she never blogs. She's always over here reading away and saying lovely things and yet she never posts anymore and let's us know what she's knitting. Come on Marianne - I know Bobby's Blankie is a beauty but it's time we saw some more of your fabulous knits. Though I do love to see the bleeding hearts popping up in my and so many other's comments sections. Thanks for being such a faithful reader.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Favourite Knit so far...

I was just reading about Bells' favourite knit and thought I'd join in. Unlike Bells I didn't have anything immediately in mind, though let's face it I knew it would be a pair of socks. As I was looking over my Ravelry project page I spotted my favourite knit.
It's the Primavera socks, finished back in May so they haven't seen much use so far this year, until one cold evening this week the 1TB got in from work and went upstairs to change and came back down wearing a very fine pair of socks on his feet. They're his favourites I've made for him by far. All the elements together - great fit, pattern, yarn and colour. And if they're his favourites then they're mine too :o)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Sock Love: Turning a Heel

This is the heel I just completed on my bee-yoo-tiful Monkey sock. I love it, both the sock and especially the heel turn.

It's not exclusive to this sock, I'm always excited to do the heel on my top down socks. I enjoy it so much that, as I did on this one, I sometimes pause the project to find a peaceful little moment to knit the heel flap and make the heel turn all in one go.

Turning a heel was one of those phrases I knew in my pre-knitting life and I had the idea it would be a tricky thing to do. It pleased me no end to find that it was straightforward and so clever. While I was blindly following the instructions for my first sock I don't think I even realised that I achieved this significant moment in my knitting career! Now, every top down sock I make, I relish this part most of all. A simple, elegant piece of engineering. What's not to love?

Anyone else have a favourite element of the sock knitting process, or have I reached new heights of knitgeekery? Thank goodness I have the excuse of Socktober.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alchemy

A ball of Regia Silk Shine magically transformed by knitterly alchemy and serious sewing skills to a gorgeous sock project bag. My friend needed that tricky-to-find shade 150 to finish up her Anna stockings and I still hadn't found a mate for my lone ball following the Vancouver debacle so this is a perfect resolution to two troublesome situations. Thanks again Clare, the Monkeys love their new home :o)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sarah, Sarah quite contrary...

...how do your socks grow?

Well quite slowly actually now you come to ask as it seems that I used most of the weekend when I wasn't snivelling into a tissue to knit a snood.* I know it is Socktober when sock love is official and I don't normally need an excuse to knit socks but my brain wasn't up to small needles so I got big uns and just knit until:A polar explorer's snood fit for a gardening mad Mama. Well from one set of bandwagon knits to another, I've been unconvinced about cowls but they are lovely to knit so I'm glad that my Mum is convinced about them. I did want to make a really generous size so that it could perform the snood function of making a hood or sit snuggling warmly around the neck. I can confirm that it is very toasty and that is why you aren't getting any better photos as I had to remove it before I overheated.Pattern: Just knitting with a few decrease rounds
Yarn: Rowan Plaid - Moonwave - just under two balls
Needles: 6.5mm 80cm Bamboo Circular
Started: 9 October 2008
Finished: 12 October 2008

*Definition from: The Clarabelle Official Knitters' Dictionary


So snoods aside I have actually started two of the three socks I plan to do this month; one pattern repeat in each on the Poms and the Monkeys and am loving the speed of the Monkeys in comparison to the 1x1rib of the Poms (had not really thought how slow that might make them to knit). Am doing the original Monkeys this time around but I think No Purl ones won't be absent from All Fingers and Thumbs for too long.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blogs I Love II - The Links

The title should be said by voice over man: "It's Blogs I Love, the sequel, this time it's about the links." Some blogs belong together in my mind you see, when you write about one you want to write about the other.

It felt quite wrong to mention Bells without mentioning Rose Red - these partners in crime organise the Southern Summer of Socks together and have a delicious Nigella blog they share - Mouthfuls of Heaven.

Rose Red Shoes

I found Rose Red after I saw a rather lovely shoe avatar popping up in people's comments and had to check out the blog of the owner of such a beautiful thing. Rose Red shares more of her AMAZING shoe collection every Shoesday and in between shows us gorgeous knits (sometimes with the daring use of stunt buttons) and flashes her awesome yarn collection including much alpacky.




Knitting to Stay Sane
Glenna's blog was the one that started all this wonderfulness for me. I was loving her Ivy design in Knitty and followed the link to her blog and, well, it's clear enough what happened next! Glenna makes a lot of sweaters, very well, tackles any new technique with ease and with helpful hints and then throws in a few designs for good measure. Her book reviews are always fabulous as befits someone who started the Ravelry group and read-a-knit-a-long: Knitting 20th Century Novels.


Under the Influence
Glenna's twin sister blogs here and is always working on something lovely. Initially she seemed very resistant to the development of a stash but the unusual trait is being gradually smooshed out of her by beautiful yarn crying out for a home. Martha's photos, in particular her cityscapes, are always fabulous and she writes many an amusing post. Conversations with a recalcitrant Icarus spring to mind.



Artis Anne
Living in the beautiful countryside of Wales, Anne is a lady who isn't afraid of sheep! She doesn't hang back and just knit the yarn, she's not shy of getting in there right from the start with an unwashed fleece. Her adventures with her Guilds are always fun to read about, as are her adventures with her daughter:






Kath's Krafty Kreations
Kath and Anne have set up their own Etsy shop together: Mam a Mi and their dyeing skills are now being put to a very good use. Kath started knitting properly when she became a mum and as well as her virtual shop she works in a bricks and mortar yarn shop. Somehow she also fits in actual knitting. Kath and Anne share the same avatar - a beautiful photo of Kath learning to knit as a little girl. I'm looking forward to when Kath's daughter Emily gets going with the needles and blogging!


Baad Medicine
I met Teri during this year's Tour de France KAL when she took charge of our team wonderfully and forgave me for not finishing my beret on time. Teri's blog is two for the price of one as T and J share a blog. Both are very enthusiastic knitters: T is not just creating a pile of Christmas gifts she's going for a cloud and J didn't let advanced pregnancy stop her from attacking her knitting with scissors, oh more scary steeking!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Socks I Love: FO

No I've not suddenly started knitting super fast and rattled off one of my Socktober projects. The FO love is for the Honeybees which have been done since before the holidays but were awaiting photographing as this glorious yellow is mighty hard to capture. Love for these socks may be official because it's Socktober but it's not unconditional love. I am not head over heels for these tricky customers and a lot of the issue is with those heels.

Pattern: Honeybee Socks
Yarn: Oxford Kitchen Yarns Sock - bit under a full skein
Needles: Trusty Harmony DPNs - 2.25mm
Started: 25 March 2008
Finished: 13 September 2008
Notes: I think these have convinced me that standard show row heels and toes for toe ups are not for me, second go and I'm still not happy with the fit around the heel and the length of the toes. Allow me to demonstrate:

Gappy and baggy heelWay too long before the pattern starts on toes
Still it is very hard to argue with the beauty of the stitch pattern which necessitates them being knit toe up. I think I just need to find some alternative toe up toes and heels to drop into patterns like this to get a look and fit I would be happier with.
The one mod I did make was in the cuff. When I cast off the first one I was very upset to find I couldn't get it over my heel and promptly stuck it in time out for a long while. When I was feeling less sulky with it I unpicked the cast off and redid the cuff as a simple 1x1 rib which I think works fine though probably should be a little more generous, actually another repeat or two of the pattern is probably what I would really enjoy here.

So you see the path of love has not run smooth with these little ones but at the end of the day those beautiful bees and the rich gold, fabulous yarn make them hard not to love. This yarn really bloomed after washing. It feels a little prickly and rough whilst knitting which actually helps to hold the stitches in place if you drop them and now it feels soft and snuggly; what a perfect sock yarn. It's the first time I've knit with Blue Faced Leicester wool and I would go back for more for sure, also the natural dyes used seem to hold well through hand washing and I just love having this sunshine on my feet.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Blogs I Love

I've been lucky enough to be given some blog awards lately from some lovely fellow bloggers. Thank you so much to Princess Pea, Blog Bletherings, Bells, and Terri Knits. I'm always really delighted when someone nominates me for one of these things but also a little unsure about how best to pass the honour on. I'm also always a little disappointed you see, when one of my favourite bloggers doesn't nominate me in their list. Maybe it's just me and my mega ego but in case some of you lovely peeps feel a twinge of this sometimes too I'm always loathe to pick out just a few blogs. All the blogs I read are great in their own particular way; for me one of the endless fascinations of blogging is how we all stamp our individuality on the same medium.

However having said all that I loved the little mini reviews that Bells did with this award and it gave me an idea about how I would like to pass on my appreciation of my favourite blogs. Kicking off today I'm going to have a little "Blogs I Love" featurette, a shameless luvvy fest; I fully intend to work my way through most of the "normal" blogs on my reading list - ie not the mega blogs everyone knows already like Yarnstorm, Yarn Harlot, Posie Gets Cozy (though that one is a favourite). When I first started blogging trying out new blogs from the blogrolls of regulars was one of my favourite pastimes, now I read many blogs regularly I tend to add more only from lists like Bells compiled or when new uns comment here (on that note thank you Sonia for your comment on my last post - unfortunately I can't see your blogger profile to see if you have your own blog - I'd love to stop by and say Hi if you do) so I hope that this feature may bring a new place you'd like to visit and will show my lovely bloggy friends how much the blogging they do is valued by me. I'd knit you all a woolly hat to say it but I've had to recruit the 1TB just to get the mini ones done for Innocent/Age Concern
Without further ado the first four "Blogs I Love" spots go to my kind awarders :

Bells Knits
Bells' blog is so full of warmth and enthusiasm that I quickly felt like an old friend. We seem to have a very similar sense of humour and have knitted the same number of socks. I'm not sure I'll ever live up to some of her amazing projects though - steeked jacket anyone?





Blog Bletherings
Ms Blethers is forever whipping up some lovely creation, normally for one of her daughters, the lucky things. She's recently clicked two February Lady Sweaters off the needles at record pace - probably to ensure hers (which she did first) was not nabbed!






Princess Pea
This is a blog with style, fit for a Princess who seems to knit only envy inducing beautiful things, often with a lovely vintage feel. She's charming, gracious, elegant and she can fit both big toes in her mouth at once ;o)






Terri Knits
Terri Knits has got the fastest needles in the West and she isn't afraid to use them to make a bazillion gorgeous sweaters and socks. While she makes me feel inadequate that way she does at least have more WIPs and stash than me :o)






Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Singleton Socktober

Socktober is here, Socktober is here - dance the happy dance! Some may say it is always Socktober at All Fingers and Thumbs but for this month the sock love has an official outlet.

Ambitious plans are afoot (sorry couldn't resist). Initially I was going to aim for three pairs of socks this month, then I remembered and the speed I go at and I modified the plans slightly; you see there are three classic sock patterns that I haven't knit yet. It's hard to believe but I haven't made a pair of Pomatomus, Jaywalkers or Monkeys even though I have now knit a grand total of 21 pairs of socks since I was first infected by the sock bug nearly two years ago. These patterns seem to me to be three pillars of the sock knitting world, in order to earn my sock knitting stripes they must be knit. Ravelry project stats prove their popularity: 2019 pairs of Poms, 5018 Jaywalkers and a quite unbelievable 6871 Monkeys; these are bandwagons I need to jump on. So, as I don't yet suffer badly with second sock syndrome I thought I'd do my best to induce it by knitting one each of all these patterns this month (and then of course I will knit the second ones next month). Yarn is chosen, fingers are flexed let the joy of Socktoberfest begin.
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