Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Treasure Chest

I get a big hit of creative inspiration from finishing knitting. On the whole I'm better at starting stuff, always flitting on to the next exciting new thing and I'd forgotten a little of the power of having a completed knitted item that you're totally happy with in your hands and in your brain.

Those socks gave me a real jolt of sock amour and I couldn't wait to get going on the next pair. The plaintive begging of the Mr caused me to take pity on him and it had been agreed that I would make the next socks for him, it was just a question of yarn and pattern choice. The perfect incentive to get my mighty stash of sock yarn from the various crevices it had squirrelled itself away in and play.

Look at it all up there. So delicious! I'd started to feel a little bit burdened by how much of it there was - especially when I didn't get so much knitting done last year but now it's all tidy and together and I can easily see what I have, remember the lovely places I bought it or lovely friends that gave it to me and enjoy dreaming of its potential. It all just fits in one wooden chest and I can't think of lovelier treasure. I'll just have to make sure I knit a bit more of it before I sail the ocean seas in search of any new bounty.

The Mr made a fine choice of Socks that Rock in Rooky. Who says that men can't multitask? He wound it whilst alternately watching the rugby and the football on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The sun has got his hat on..

..and my toes have got their socks on. O.M.G - an F.O!

Pattern: Spring Forward Socks 
Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna
Needles: 2.25mm
Started: January 2nd 2012
Finished: February 26th 2012
Ravelry page

Such lovely socks - an absolute joy to knit and they make me very proud to have knitted them. It's that magic 'looks more complicated than it really is' lace pattern. Two times through in the space of a few months and I actually had it memorised towards the end of these - unheard of for me! 

I'm glad this yarn told me what it wanted to be. The yarn sings for me in this pattern in a way it didn't quite in the shawl and the pattern sings in this yarn in a way it didn't quite in the stretchy cotton I used before. I've wondered along the way if this is the perfect ladies sock pattern and perfect sock yarn but I've finally accepted that I won't find my perfect yarn or the perfect pattern; it's about what works together and what feels right in any knitter's hands and brain at the time. When I first started knitting socks I was looking for my magic recipe - the perfect cuff, toe, heel and pattern and the one yarn to rule them all. Now I guess I'm looking for the range of things I like to go back to or use to help to identify what new pattern I might enjoy knitting most or which yarn merits a little more spending on it. I'm realising that I'm not so fussed for the super fancy structures and perfecting lots of different cast ons for socks, I couldn't get going with my sock club patterns last year in part because of that. I feel like I like things fairly simple as it's so good to get these little bundles of joy off the needles and running free. Not too simple though plain stocking stitch socks rarely quite satisfy me in the making.
In this plainer coloured yarn I love that you can really see the pretty flow and ripple of the smooth columns of stocking stitch down the leg and in to the edging on the foot. They're really sculptural off the feet and the plumpness of this super luxurious blend of silk, cashmere and merino adds to the depths. Adds to the comfort factor on the feet too. Sumptiousness, but best occasion socks as there is just no way they can wear like a super wash wool and nylon blend. Even if I ever did hit on the one sock recipe I'd repeat over and over I know I'd never be able to choose one favourite yarn, every dog has it's day!
I have another skein of this tucked away and though there is no 'perfect' these are so fine I wouldn't bet against an exact repeat. I'm very glad I have that option. Though the toes enjoyed their time in such loveliness these are actually for my Mama for Mother's Day. Weeks away still - so not just an FO but an FO ahead of deadline!! A little different from last year's. Time then to sit in the sun a while and look at what promise lies ahead.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dilettante bread baker

I'm sure if I had to make bread every day I would feel it was just as much of a chore as changing the bed or dusting. Luckily I could skip to the shops and buy a loaf and so it comes to pass that I am driving home from work on a Friday night thinking - ooh I could be really indulgent this weekend and bake some more bread. I guess at least this current passion beats knitting socks as those without the imagination to see the glory of homemadeness can't say you could buy a loaf of bread for less than the cost of that yarn. Well you know what I mean!

Bread making (like all of life you might say) is quite like knitting really. It's definitely feeding that basic need in me to MAKE. After another day at work of emails and conversations and nothing I can put my hands or eyes on and simply feel the pleasure of having created I know for sure that all these makey things are part of my elaborate balancing act.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Things to love on a Friday morning

Number one is light! I've got a meeting that will keep me at work late tonight so instead of going in at my regular time and doing more work I agreed with my boss that I'd start a bit later. Later means I'm home and there is light and time this morning.
Light to see all the buds coming on my lovely plum tree.

Time to enjoy a cup of tea in bed with the latest Interweave Knits which arrived through the post last night and a certain purry someone.
She looks so sweet and innocent there but for the last hour of my sleep she was haunting my dreams. The Mr had slipped down and fed her before coming back to bed leaving the door open so she could come up for a cuddle when she was finished. She's a girl who likes her breakfast as soon as she can rouse a human, the Mr would like her to sleep with us, I value my sleep and so insist she stays downstairs where it's much harder for her to rouse a human. Unfortunately he'd fed her a disdained flavour of cat mush which she explained very vocally was not what was required! She proceeded to stalk upstairs yelling the whole time and then prowl around our room. Thankfully attacks were mainly on him. He thinks the licks are love, I think she's tasting him to check out if she can eat him. In my dream she was climbing the curtains because he'd only fed her omelette, rose bush clippings and her biscuit bowl was full of nuts and bolts! I think she has us wrapped round her little claw doesn't she?
Let's finish with my beautiful blue hyacinth, not quite so loveable but nearly. And peaceful! I always mean to force bulbs but never know when to start, must try and get organised this year. In the meantime these were on half price as green leaves. It's so lovely to watch them bloom. The scent and colour is worth every penny and many a minute of time to appreciate them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

No pair


We had another little dusting of snow at the end of the week but though it's been cold enough for mittens and squishy socks this weekend one of each does not give the coverage required. This is the downside of being a multi project knitter! Oh but they are both mighty fine and maybe their friends will be done before the cold is gone - if not expect to see a strange new fondness for mittens and summer dresses round these parts.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Lace time

On Monday we did a strange shuffle around trying to think of an out of doors adventure we wanted to go on. Having concluded that we are bad at having fun it suddenly became clear that what was fun was close to home so we got our favourite take out lunch (Lebanese sandwiches from LBs) and then squidged on to the sofa. The Mr had wound some very special yarn for me and I finally cast on for my scarf. Long anticipated it felt suitably honoured.

Don't you lace knitting supremos laugh at my little lifeline up there. That yellow thread is where I got to on Monday afternoon and I'm so likely to make mistakes I wanted to make sure I preserve at least those few precious rows. I've managed just a couple more since and in the mindset that all good things come in time I won't be rushing.  It's an easier pattern  to be building up my lace skills with in that it's a small scarf, only one chart to follow, no provisional cast on, no borders to add later and no fancy stitches like nupps to work. Testing in other ways though - no rest rows and it shifts around a lot so it's hard to second guess what's coming next. A gentle stretch which is a good thing for my future lacy adventures. While I knit this pretty I'll put together that wish list of shawls and work out who gets to come next. In the meantime I think I'll enjoy this new time taker.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Taking time

The big work deadline has passed and with a three day weekend to enjoy as my self congratulatory pat on the back I'm trying to keep it very slllloooooowwww around here. It was tempting to come up with a list of activities and catch up chores to pack the days with to make the most of the time but somewhere along the way I realised that the way to make the most of this weekend was to plan as little as need required and go as slowly as I could, taking time over things in a way I haven't so much this since the start of the year as work has squeezed my free time. I like efficiency but I don't like it so much that I never want to dawdle. There's been insufficient dawdling, I'm putting it back in this weekend.
We were up and out early yesterday, our bodies still on working week awakening schedule. So cold and crisp and the prettiest pink blushed sky. There have been so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets so far this year. So I took my camera along and played with that, then pottered up and down the pleasingly empty aisles. Saturday early is always our favourite time for supermarket shopping. We stocked up on lots of nice baking goods, I had a thought of making bread. 

Something that takes its own sweet time. Started a loaf yesterday and was delighted to chomp in to it for lunch today while watching Walk the Line - best film I've seen in such a long time. Johnny is playing as I type this. We've had a cold snap and though there was little snow here in Oxford it's still definitely perfect kitchen pottering weather. I don't know what I'm doing at all with bread making so I followed the recipe book closely. I had a bread maker for a while but never made enough use of it to justify the space it took up. Anyway this weekend I wanted the fun and therapy of kneading the dough. Oh and the joy of the eating!
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