Saturday, October 31, 2009

Done, done .. done and done

Today is a finishing day .. in that I have four things that are finished to show off. Two pairs of socks and two yarns. There is a lightness to finishing so many items .. and a curiosity to what will be next - that is the fun bit .. choosing what is next. So today is the FO report for Soctober 2009, Franksocks, 3 ply cria alpaca and 2 ply Romney ... oh and there is photo evidence from the halloween disco.

Finished 1.
Soctober 09 - all done, both socks, two at once, and it was fun. Slightly unnerving casting on and knitting just by instructions without a photo or image or drawing as a guide. I will knit these again - they are pretty, and I do like the neat little zig-zag lace between the cuff ribbing and the leg patterning. I'm also pleased with the yarn I choose -- there were lots of photos posted of Soctober progress on Ravelry and while all were nice .. I wasn't so keen on the socks that were knit in stripy yarn .. it hid the lovely lace. Details - Vintage Purls Sock Yarn (Tamhi from the last sock kit), 2.25mm needles, knit size 64 stitches, cast on 6th October and cast off 30th October 2009. A frugal sock 32g of the 100g skein left over - but I would knit another repeat of the leg pattern (or two) next time .. and yes there will be a next time.

Finished 2.
I seemed to be on a sock-roll or fest this month - perhaps there really is a Socktober. I was fired up and keen and ready to knit each clue for Soctober as it was released and when I had knit all each clue contained I would turn to my 'other' sock, Frankensock and knit that. End result is that Frankensock was finished only one day latter .. Saturday. Details - Started 16th September, finsihed 30th October, Vintage Purls Sock in Bears Bunker (I adore this colour - it is like licorique), 2.25mm needles, knit size XL (ok - either I have big feet or SA has a weird sizing system), left over yarn = 23g and again next time I would add a pattern repeat to the leg section just to make it a little longer. The first sock was hard going .. but the second sock just flew off the needles .. quickly and easily with none of the stress of getting the right stitches on the right needles to knit the next section or tracking the right size. I did garter graft the toes .. so worked an additional half round to finish with the sole knit and the instep stitches purled before grafting the toe closed.

Once the ends were woven in - Frankensock looked fairly ordinary .. and I was in two minds about adding the decorative scar-stitching or not. Bear like them as they were, he admired them .. so I knew I had to add the stitching to make them mine .. else I'd be tempted to gift them to him.

Green or Orange? Those were my stitching choices, I went for orange, which seemed a little Halloween-ish but was more of a contrast than the lime green I had. I added the scar stitching whilst the socks were on the blockers ... and I like it. I'm not sure what shoes these will go with .. or where I will wear them other than deep within my various pairs of knee high boots .. but I do like them.

Finished 3. is batch of Orange Romey from Tally Ho that I hackled. I've not measured the skeins either for wpi or wight or length yet .. but there just might be enough for a sweater for Poppy. Or several hats for Grandad. Hackling the fiber made the spinning fairly easy - it removed all the tangled bits and a lot of the vm .. and left smooth straight long fibers which were easy to spin. I am thinking a top down raglan with long sleeves and the body as long as the yarn lasts, so it could be a cropped sweater. I started with 500 g but hackling leaves a lot of scrapy waste .. so I've no idea what weight of fibre I actaully spun.

Finished 4 is a wee 3 ply skein of Alpaca Cria (thanks Jenni), 85g and 144m. I divvied it up into 333g piles to spin 3 singles .. but some where I spun one ply much thinner, so had 15 g left on that bobbin when the other two bobbins were empty .. one day my spinning will be consistent, one day. I plied this and skeined and set it .. but it looked like string, and the skein twisted a little, so I ran it thru the wheel again to add a bit more twist and skeined it up a second time, and set it in hot water before dunking/shocking the skein several times between ice cold water and hot water. With all the handling of being skeined and plied twice, and the shocking - the alpaca has bloomed beautifully. I've not had much success with Alpaca before, its all looked pretty much like string unless blended with something with bounce .. but have read about the hot/cold shock treatment. It worked so will be my treatment of chocie next time get that same nice bloom.

Lastly there is the photo evidence of cubs school disco. Poppy went as Wendesday from the Adams Family and Toby as Indiana Jones (not an axe wielding maniac). Bear had decided to dress up this year .. and as a Punk. So with some minor clothing modifications (adding a Union Jack in the shape of a bottle cap to a white tee shirt) and some styling (turned up jeans, big boots, chains) he was nearly ready.
but there was

a few last things .. Bear wanted me to add a tattoo to his recently shorn head - A for Anarchy (eye liner pencil in black - the chemist didn't have tattoo green).

and a tat to his arm (I couldn't resist the 80's style z ..)
He won a box of chocolates for his trouble - and was the talk of the playground the next day when I collected the cubs.
Take care na Stella

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Preparing for Wednesday, & Thursday & Friday ...

This week there are several days to prepare for, I've spent the week preparing Wednesday ready for Thursday, I'm waiting for Thursday and my students are alternating between panic mode and the-calm-before-the-storm mode as they head towards their final degree hand in this Friday. Yes there has been knitting, only sock knitting .. but there have been other things distracting me. First up is Halloween .. and the parental preparations required that will allow me to keep knitting thru Halloween events, then I've got the knitting report, Clue IV of the Soctober mystery sock was fun .. and pretty, and quite clever, and my second Frankensock grows - and its easier the 2nd time around.

Halloween - in my day, when I was a kid .. Halloween was something we saw on sitcoms .. in a distant land .. where kids wore costumes crafted by their mums (or dads) and trolled the neighborhood requesting and receiving candy and treats. Seen from afar it seemed an odd tradition but a lot of fun. Here in New Zealand Halloween was not part of our little set of traditions - we had to hang out for bonfires and Guy Fawkes and toasted marshmallows and fireworks - and the lolly scramble. But as the world gets smaller, as travel and communication is easier .. as we have more of the world at our doorstep, traditions seem to be adopted and adapted. The school my kids go to, a primary school, has a tradition of a disco in the last term of the year. And for whatever reason the once a year Disco is now held on Halloween, that is this Thursday, and the kids dress up, so apparently we learned do the parents. The first two years Toby was at school he went with a friend whilst Bear and I sat at home with our baby daughter. Last year they both went .. and Bear chaperoned, and found that dressing up was a 'big deal', he came home and announced 'all the other parents dressed up - I felt out of kilter'.

Knowing that - this year we've made an effort - Poppy is going as Wednesday, so I spent Saturday sewing the Wednesday clothes ready for wearing on Thursday. I made a Black calico old fashioned full skirted petticoat buttoned down the back, and a long sleeved pocketed, severe dress also in black calico with a prissy white collar. We are going with the bleaker look of the the early Wednesday here - not floral. apparently Wednesday is named after the poem - Wednesdays child is full of woe, and her middle name is Friday. Tucked in one pocket is a headless doll (from the $1-$2-$3 shop) dressed to match and into the other pocket a pair of blue and black stripped knee high socks. Poppy loves it and has announced she wants to wear it as her new party dress - to all her friends parties. Now I'll admit I was a little tired of the whole pink sparkly purple fluffy frilly barbie-esque theme of little contemporary girls clothes - but I'm a little taken aback by my new wee goth's enthusiasm for severe black.

Toby wanted to go as a 'homicidal maniac' - that is in ordinary clothes but with a large plastic axe. We refused and negotiated him down to Indiana Jones, he has jeans, brown leather boots, brown belt, kakhi shirt, a cheap fake felt hat, and a bull whip (again the $1-$2-$3 shop - but found in the slightly naughty adult aisle - don't ask, we removed all the packaging). He is happy - its modest enough to fit in with super cool friends, not to exotic, and he spent a lot of time outside trying to crack the whip. We have elicited a promise not to whip any teachers or kids ... what else can we do? Bear has bought himself a pile of chain from the hardware shop, and several black belts, and dug out his oldest black tee shirts and jeans and plans to shave his head and go as an aging punk. Me - I'm going to go to knitting, after all its Thursday night, I'm going as a slightly odd or crazy middle aged lady who knits in public places, (I feel I've done my bit by providing all the costumes).

Sewing and providing has robbed me of my knitting time this week, but I managed to keep up with Soctober Clue IV. Its turning out a very pretty sock, Kirsten Kapur is a clever designer. The two lace twists on either side of the leg shifted and moved and neatly became a single center motif on the instep - very nice, very neat. Cue V is due out Thursday US time, so I'll not get to pick that up until Friday morning here New Zealand time. It will be the toe - but I'm wondering how Kirsten will toe these socks ... aren't you?

Once my Soctober Sock knitting was complete .. I turned to Frankensock sock II. Knitting anything the second time is always faster and easier .. all the puzzlement and guessing has been done as the first. sock was knit. I'm just begining the heel flap so well on my way to finishing.

And I'm reading, I'm half way thru The Nature and Art of Workmanship by James Pye, which I will write a little more about in a post soon. It is one of those books that I read that 'just feels right', I love the idea of workmanship of risk and workmanship of craft .. and some of the other concepts that he discusses seem to fit seamlessly with my understandings of different approaches to design. I like it. I also started two books yesterday, Everyday knitting - treasures from a ragpile by Annemar Sundbo, which I have from the library for one week so have to read now, and The cutlure of knitting by Joanne Turney. Both of these I've only dipped into the first few chapters of .. but I love them both. Everyday knitting is both sad at the thought of all that history being torn up and insightful into lost arts and processes of knitting and of recycling .. and The Culture of knitting so far is hilarious. I'm not sure I should consider it hilarious but the chapter on gendered knitting and the meanings imbibed into(onto?) men wearing cardigans is a hoot - plain and simple - a hoot. I don't know I'll ever be able to look at a cardigan wearing man and keep a straight face ever again.

I'll explain more in another post - when I've read more and probably have a more balanced report to make on the whole book.

na Stella

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How did that happen?

Today the post is a series of questions, rhetorical perhaps, mostly around the theme 'how did that happen?'. First up a new podcast, a New Zealand craft Podcast, with a cuppa-tea-what-is-in-the-tins New Zealand style theme every week, and interviews of local crafters, secondly books as I seemed to have a acquired rather a lot recently and thought it might be prudent to 'fess up'. Thirdly there is the actual knitting report, for it is after all a knit blog, I have Frankensocks and a new lace project, small lace, easy lace, but lace nonetheless.

My first 'how did that happen' question' is about being interviewed for Crafternoon Tea by Genny [aka GrannyG on Ravelry] who is doing an absolutly wonderful job of podcasting about craft and food in New Zealand. Her podcasts are here, Morag from Vintage Purls was interviewed in her third episode, I'm in her fourth, and I know she has a few more crafters lined up. As well as arranging to hear crafters discuss their influences and practice, Genny brings New Zealand culinary delights of the 'tea-tins' to light in her podcasts. I grew up here mostly in New Zealand, and as such experienced much of the baking Genny discusses. I'm a fairly intelligent cook - but I'm still learning a lot about baking our national dishes and being a good host.

My second 'how did that happen' is about books, earlier this year I decided to add a few needed books to my work library. I felt it was important to keep my working library current. So I bought a few here and there .. In August Berg had a sale, most books were a mere £5 so a few more were bought. Over the year I'd see a book, or read a review, and buy it, mostly from Amazon or BookDepository. When the books arrived I've read the intro,and sit it on my desk meaning to read more ... as soon as I has more time. Then the another book would arrive, and another one (familiar anyone?). The shocking thing is it appears I've acquired 26 books this year on craft, knitting, fashion, design and pattern-making. This first pile is what I've called the 'theory' pile. Right now I've no idea what I should read first .. and I've still got two more 'theory' books ordered, paid for and yet still to arrive and add to this pile - the Culture of knitting, and The Nature and Art of Craftsmanship. How did that happen - and what should I read next? Any one - help?

Then there is the 'practical' pile of books, another eight books that cover and explain and explore skills and techniques of cutting and shaping and developing garments. There are four here that really excite me, an old one from the 1940's Practical Dressmaking by Mabel Erwin, and Draping: Art and craftsmanship in fashion design (simply amazing), and Patternmagic I and Patternmagic II. Those are fun, simply fun but its easy to spot designs made by students who have seen those books - very very influential - I tell them the trick it to use the theory to make it unique not to copy. Oh there is way more than that in the pile, there are two on the history of garment cutting (Development of Costume and Cut My Cote). The oldest book I added this year is The 'Climax' System for Cutting Gentlemen's Garments by Legatt, W. E. and Hodgkinson, T. W. London, published in 1917. Again I ask - what one should I read next? Although to be honest its easier to choose with these practical texts, one can dip in and browse, as one needs. Both sets of these books of course join a much larger collection of books in my 'at work' library .. as well as being part of my own personal library, much of which is at home. And knitting .. yes there were some knitting books amongst the aquisitions, not pictured in this set, these are already on the shelf behind my chair.
  1. Contemporary knitting for textile artists, Ruth Lee, Batsford, London, 2007
  2. Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, Museum of Arts & Design, 2007
  3. Knitting Art 150 Innovative works from 18 contemporary Artists, Karen Searle, Voyager Press, 2008
  4. Knit Knit Profiles + Projects from Knitting’s new wave, Sabrina Gschwandther, STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book, 2007
  5. The Culture of Knitting, Joanne Turney, Berg Publishers, 2009 - still to arrive.
Which brings me to knitting, Frankensock is done, all bar the toe graft. I'll finish the other and graft both at once. This toe is in garter .. which is nice, and squoooshie, but garter grafts can be tricky and I'd like them both to match. Sock two has ribbing done and is about to get the four pattern repeats set out and worked. Tomorrow is Thursday so the final Socktober 09 clue will be up .. so that will delay much progress on Frankensock.

Then finally there is a new project .. a lacy baby vest, pattern and yarn both by Margaret Stove. This is the finest yarn I've every knit with, and I'm sure it will catch or snag - but hasn't yet. The whole vest is knit with only 30g of yarn. I cant find a link to the pattern .. but it seems the same lace as used in Froot Loops. Its a nice easy and cute pattern.

take care
and don't tell me about any more books please?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shhhhh ..... look

Poppy, my new knitter knitting, but don't make a fuss ... I don't want to distract, annoy or make her feel self conscious. Only yesterday I was asked about how my children were involved in my craft, and specifically in knitting. I answered that both knew of knitting, and other forms of craft making, and I'd happily show them how to 'do-stuff', but they seemed more interested in me making specific things for them than becoming proficient. Then yesterday afternoon Poppy asked where 'her kniting was', and when found wanted me to show her again how to knit. So I did and left her to it. Today - I'm smiling 'cause Poppy is again knitting... but also because things are working out fine knitwise, I finished the Entrelac headband, the third clue in Soctober 09 was released and so knit asap, and my 'other' sock, Frankensock is back in progress.

but first ... look, this morning Poppy excused herself from the last of the kitchen dishes and went off to knit, alone and without help. She is confident and happy, and making progress. Oh its full of holes and tensioning the yarn is foreign to her, but the needles keep sliding out and she keeps putting them back in - and the best bit is that she looks happy.

Quant is finished, and I'm happy with it, I will probably knit another because it seems to be Poppy's new favorite and it tidies up her wispy fringe very nicely. i was a little surprised that the ends were not a symetrical match .. but found via Rokusudoku on Ravelry that one can use the instructions in Lisa Shroyer's Basic Entrlac Scarf (Free download from Interweave knitting daily). Next time I'll do that - yes there will be a next time. The mismatched ends don't really matter because they tie up under the hair and are hidden .. but sometimes I like to know how to make things match. I also appreciate how generous most online knitters are with advice and help.

Soctober 09 - clue III was up Thursday, it contained instructions for knitting the heel flap and cup. I had the clue contents all knit up by end of Friday night - a little dissappointed that it was done so quick. There is a great deal of fun knitting to a schedule, and the pattern is intuitive so even when there is a variation for the heel flap (m1 replaces yo so there are no holes on/in the flap) - its still intuitive. For now I'm metaphorically sitting and waiting for next Thursday - or Friday morning here in New Zealand, for the last clue.

With Quant done, and waiting for Clue IV, I delved into my project basket and found my abandoned Frankensocks. Now Frankensock has not been the most intuitive sock to knit, the pattern is quite complex. Not the stitch pattern of the sock but the way in which the pattern is written. There are 5 sizes so each line has instructions for each size bracketed where needed, and often there are several size brackets in each round. There is a chart for the ziggardy zaggardy mock-lightening patterning .. but not for the end where it zags away into the side rib, so all of that is written out in text for each round, with some sections for one size and some for other sizes. On top of all that there are two full patterns, one for the left sock and one for the right ... they look symetrical but we all know to get symetry in knitting requires completly different instructions at times. All of that means for me, a knitter who has problems following instructions .. that there are a lot of detailed instructions that need to be followed to make it work out. Kniting this is something I feel I have to brace myself for, and work up to - for all these reasons I've found it easy to find other things to knit, Soctober, Quant .. and I find myself thinking what should be next.

And yet when I actually sit down to knit, with a pen to tick off what I've done, and knit .. and count and check ... its fine. This is a lovely well thought out intelligent sock. Perhaps a case of the sheer visual volume of nine (9) pages of close set knitting instructions for a pair of socks that disturbs me - I like charts. All that said, I'm nearly done, the serious patterning has finished, and I'm on the plainest section, the foot.

Take care
na Stella

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


sorry today is a quick post, usually on Wednesday I post after we eat but before anything interesting is on tv (which seems less and less these days). Today I'll be busy latter, so I'm squeezing in a quick post before we eat the family meal (Bear is cooking - so its Chicago Biscuits from Ratio and Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup, yes he is amazing, and yes he is making the Chicago biscuits, no we bought the yummy soup from Jim at Highgate Bridge). But knitting ... today its a new start ... and this one might be a keeper .. and I'm ready and waiting for Soctober 09 Clue III.

If you remember I was trying to knit a hat, top down for Poppy with not enough yarn ... and between two of my cyber-knit-sibs I've realized the folly of my way and started a much more realistic project for the amount of yarn I have. First Morag pointed out that there were multiple projects on Ravelry that needed only 60m of sport weight yarn .. then Suzanne charmed me with her description of her Garterlac Dishcloth that lead her on to work A Step Above [both Rav links]. I have once in a dim distant past, in my teen years knit a cardigan with a entrelac front .. so dim and distant I can only remember I knit it but no details. My current thoughts on entrelac ran along the lines of surely all turning and working on such small numbers of stitches would bit just plain annoying and fidly and a right pita. Turns out I'm wrong .. I've started the Quant headband by Star Athena - and its going well. I've supplemented the yarn a little .. with some left overs from stash .. and its fun. I'm frogging straight from the hat to the headband, and its working surprisingly well. Entrelac is surprisingly ordered and easy to work once a square of part square of each is worked - the next row patterning is just obvious.

I'm working this and hope to finish before Friday -- because Clue III should be up then and so I'll be able to knit the next section of my Soctober 09 Sock. To recap I frogged sock one, and added sock 2, and have knit them two-at-one-time. I'm much happier - this time the lace grows out to the rib. I'm still confused by the pattern and the Part II errata, the pattern clearly states that you need to have the round begin with one knit stitch and followed by two purl stitches. The for the size I'm making, 64 sts the written directions go on to say Round 1 (RS): p1, yo, k3 ..... etc
That is not a round that starts with a knit stitch ..
The chart version for the same section ditto shows P1, yo, k3 ... etc. Methinks the round should start with one purl stitch and two knit stitches ... which is what the first clue directed ... and what I've done and what worked - see?

You can see also that Yo-you realized it was a knit photo being made and so hurried out to be part of the action. Gotta love that cat (except when she bring mice inside the house), she wants to be part of the knitting but completely ignores my yarn (as far as I know anyway).

Take care (sorry about the rush)
na Stella

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wash day in a hand knit world

looks like this ... or at least it does in our household. Fifteen (15) pairs of hand knit socks. I do have to say the sock drawers were a little empty today, I'm wearing 'shop bought socks'. Bear told me to 'look at the line - there is a blog photo there', and he was right. Today I've got the KSG (Knitters Study Group) class report (slip and mosaic stitches), a thrice knit hat stalled, a finished object - my Nostepinne (yes really), and my Dads replacement hat really wasn't finished last week when I blogged it but it is now, I added a cuff to keep him extra warm.

Saturday was the Knitters Study Group (KSG) class on Slip stitches and Mosaic knitting. Colour and texture work with only one color worked per row .. but rows are often knitted several times with different yarns. Most of the Mosaic work instructions I have are for things knit flat .. and I don't do flat for colour work, so I worked my sample in the round. My most interesting yarns are sock yarns .. so I picked a variegated yarn and a couple of plainer yarns and had a play. My sample is the wee tube with the white background. There are some sections where I purled instead of knit ... or visa-versa as I forgot the instructions were for knitting flat. Going out to knit necessitates a sort of the knitting basket, moving the essentials and the current knitting project into a knitting bag or basket. I do this at least once a week for Thursday night knitting, but sometimes twice for KSG or workshops. Recently the little ball of hand spun hackle blended self striping yarn has been surfacing .. and I've been avoiding it.With only 60m of sport weight yarn I was unsure what was my best option. At Thursday night knitting I started a pair of wristers, 2 at a time, from both ends of the ball. Except the yarn was uneven, something I'm putting that down to the unknown and varied fibers in each colour section, so uneven that the wristers ended up completely different sizes. Back home I wondered about a hat, and so tried one. I cast on 16 stitches and started right in with 2x2 rib, working increases in each purl section every round until I could add in more knit ribs. Its hard to knit to fit without a gauge swatch, so I had to rip back half my work once I discovered it would be to big and knit it again. I'll use the tail to draw in the top hole and close it. For now I've run out of yarn .. so its on hold till I find, dye, buy, and or spin something of a similar weight and suitable colour to complete it.

My first finished object this week is my turned Nostepinne. All done and out of the lathe. Now its not the best turned woodwork ever .. probably on a par with beginner anything. But I'm proud of it. I really need to find me some wood turning chisels .. but for now I can start another piece and start to improve. The Nostepinne is in Rimu a fine grained reddish wood ideal for wood turning, and the walnuts are a gift from my dad. They were fresh from gathering so we washed them to remove the last of the blackened outer husk and now they are drying on the front porch in the sun.

The Robust Romney hat - aka Hat for a boyfriend / father /etc ... was done. At least I thought it was done, but it was single layer, and Dad works outside or in his unheated garage a lot. I had yarn left over so decided to pick up along the cast on edge and add a turn back cuff. I kept it in matching rib, and the pick up resulted in a neat turning line and let me knit until I had only enough yarn to cast off. Poppy offered to model .. but as you can see, she has a smaller head than her Grandad.

My Soctober sock grows, clue II arrived Friday morning, and by Friday night I had it all knit. I'm a little confused by the patterning. Odd how comforting and useful a photo or schematic is to a confused knitter and reassuring them what they have knit looks the same as it should. And odd how disconcerting it is when one can't see what it should look like. Now I had a search for progress photos on Ravelry and I see mine is out of sync with one other. Bother! I had my round set up exactly as the pattern directed and used the charts, but people are human, and erata happen. Easily fixed, and I will fix it. I've also cast on for the second sock ... as the clues are in such small sections that it seems silly not to knit two at once.

So I'm off to knit Soctober sock II, clues one and two.
Take care
na Stella

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Wordle is a is a fun thing. Its a reading tool, well a visual reading tool. You can enter a body of writing or link it to a site with an rss or other feed and have the content presented back to you as a text based graphic. We use it sometimes at work to get a feel for a body of writing, to check that we are writing about what we think we are .. and I have students use it as a tool to summarize wordy things - especially when they are stuck. I've just come back from a session in 'embedding literacy' - and it was dense, good but dense. The session left me wanting to play, to work with tools that encourage students to think about meaning in writing rather than think about verbs and nowns and pronunciation. In Wordles words it 'is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text'
When I Wordle my Knitknitfrog blog the result looks like this (I just pasted in the url link). Right click the Wordle-image to open it in a new tab or view it larger here. Apparently I have to attribute the image I made using my own writing in my blog to by including it here - so legal stuff considered done.

It is very comforting to see the largest word is Knitting, followed closely by Socks and Sock. What is surprising is make, and start and think, and last, and week and now and done, all feature. Lathe and wood are in there - but I'd expect that, my lathe is a new toy and new toys tend to occupy my mind. Learning, yarn, and family are there ... I like this tool, like it a lot, it is easy to use and the results are either comforting or they make me think (in a good way) about what I'm doing or what I've done.

Try it - with something you like, or something you have written.
My next post will have actual images of knitting - not be a distracted side post.
na Stella

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Finished? Maybe, and its ...

I've been aware of this event called Socktober for a few years ... and envy'd the speed at which people knit the socks, but mostly the speed at which they notice and find the sock pattern in time to knit the Soctober socks. Me, I'm always late to the party, often many many months late to the secret mystery knitted things parties, well past sign up and start dates, but not this year. This year I stumbled across the 2009 Soctober at the very start of October .. so this year I'm in, confident I've enough time to take part.

So here is my start, so far one sock cuff, a little rib, a little zigardy zagardy lace, some more rib (how odd - wondering what we knit next) and waiting on the next clue. Of course being ahead of the world on the date line thing, the Thursday sock installments will show up here on Friday's .. so a few more days to wait before I can knit the next section. Maybe I should make a start on the second sock? Me and the 356 people who are registered on Ravelry as knitting this sock .. plus many more any outside of Raverly. I've got till the end of November .. and right now that seems very achievable.

Part two of my dads knitted Christmas gifts is done. Its a Hat fit for a boyfriend (or father, or brother or uncle or self ...), by Sephanie Nicole. Nice, fast, plain in a boy kind of way with neat decreases at the tops of the ribs. I think I've finished, I had planned to pick up along the hem and add a fold up cuff .. just to make sure it was a warm hat .. In truth - when Bear tried it on - it made him look like a pumpkin head, so I really think I should if I have enough yarn left. I'll let you know, there might just be enough hand spun left to do this. I've named this one the Robust hat, and hope it might survive a hard life keeping my dad warm for a little longer than the last hand spun hat I made.

take care
na Stella

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Honey I'm home

I do feel like that this week, we are home again. This time I've returned from a 2 day jaunt to my Dads where I learned to sharpen chisels, and turn old files into chisels, and we modified the tool posts that came with the lathe, and scored a wee bit of high quality wood for turning, vintage recycled New Zealand Rimu and Kauri. I also knitted, all of the drive up and most of the drive back (Bear was driving), and now have the first of my Christmas gifts finished and ready to gift. This is the first year I've planned knitted gifts for Christmas .. and its tempting to make long lists and try and knit it all - but I won't, I think I know better than to set up unrealistic gift knitting plans. So today ... there is a finished object, and a new start and a knitting related project in progress.

Mojo II is done, these are planned to be one of those presents I mentioned, for my Dad. He said the last pair of hand knit socks I gave him were the only wool socks he could wear without itching. He had a smelting accident long before I was born - working in a foundry in the early 1960's, it was hot and they were pouring molten metal from crucible to casting - he was wearing shorts and tee-shirts and elastic sided steel cap ankle boots. Health and safety has come a long way since then, something went wrong - and he ended up with a boot full of molten metal. The scar has long since faded .. but in hot weather he says it itches - 'real-bad', and he has never been able to wear other than soft cotton socks. I guess woollen socks have come a long way since the 1960's, and I didn't know he could only wear cotton socks when I gave him a pair of hand knit socks last year. He mentioned in passing - that they didn't itch .. that the ones I knitted were the only wool socks he had ever had that didn't itch and drive him crazy .. so I decided to knit him new socks and a new hat for Christmas, as well as our standard Vintage Tractor calender gift.

Mojo is one twisted sock pattern, in the nicest way possible - but straightens up nicely when worn or blocked. I've made this pair matching, but still think of them as 'Dr Seuss socks' - as in the kind that would have featured in Dr Seuss books, had socks been featured - or would that be sox?

Tech Specs
Mojo(Rav link) by Donyale Grant
Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Needles: 2.5mm circs (magic loop)
Started: Sept 18th 2009
Finished. October 3rd 2009
Left overs: teeny tiny bits of yarn, a frugal sock, and something contrasty as waste yarn for the afterthought heel.

With Mojo done, I had nothing to stop me making some decisions on Frankensock. I had started this a few posts ago but frogged it thinking it was to small to fit. I've begun agai, this time one size up, but still knitting on 2.25mm needles rather than the 2.5mm specified. I just like my socks at a firmer gauge than 7 spi the pattern suggests, I like 9spi, or 8.5 at the loosest, they wear better, and fit snugger and just stay nicer longer. I'm now 3 repeats up the leg .. and realize that I might need to add a repeat or have short socks. Frankensock has optional mismatched colour toes ... so technically I can add a repeat and not worry to much about running out of yarn, I can use the yarn I use to add the Frankenstein style stitching. So far so good .. but its a chart and pattern sock, so not a good traveling sock, and I suspect not a good knit night sock. That means I now need to find a take-out project to start ... more decisions.

And the knitting related mid project report is my very first nostepinne. I'm taking the turning slow .. first because learning new things takes time and energy and effort, and second because I thought it best to take time and find out how to sharpen things. And third - because I've not yet sorted 'proper' wood turning chisels, so I'm running it as a full metal work lathe with little blades held in the tool post and controlled but little wheels that move the blade up, in, and along - slowly. I must have done something right in the sharpening and I ended up with wood shavings below the lathe, not just dust. See - a nostephinne was hiding in the painted wooden table leg that I started to turn last week! Really it was, although I suspect the handle is still a tad thick and needs to be smaller to make holding it easier. I found the Spindlecrafters group on Ravelry, and within it a thread started by Grippingyarn on getting and starting wood turning with a lathe, and contributed to by TinkerJohn with all sorts of wonderful helpful info for a beginning lathe user. I've got a wee bit more to turn on this one, before final sanding and cutting it out of the lathe .. and polishing - although one can buff and polish it whilst in the lathe .. so I might try that.

Its back to work this week and the cubs are in Holiday Programe whist Bear is on long service leave. He has a list as long as my knee high socks of things he wants to get done over the next few week whilst on leave .. I hope for his peace of mind he manages most if not all.
Me I've got a week working before the student return for the final term of the year .. and so its the calm before the storm of final hand ins and graduations...
take care