Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Snickerdoodles, I now know what these are. Growing up and reading American kid-fiction Snickerdoodles were something a kiwi kid recognized as a food, and more specifically a treat food .. but we here in New Zealand had no idea what they were. Last week I checked in on Smitten Kittens blog, to find two things, she has had a very cute baby, and she posted a Snickerdoodle recipie. Well ... with photos like hers it doesn't take to much to get me cooking, so last Sunday Toby and I made Snickerdoodles (part of me just wants to repeat the word over and over - snickerdoodle, snickerdoodle, snickerdoodle). I have only SK's opinion that this is a pretty good Snicker recipie, but personally I can't imagine they could get any better than this. Smitten Kitten writes "In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but I say good luck wtih that." She was right, today we baked another batch, this time Poppy and I. I might need to explain that sometimes Poppy gets called Doodle --- I'm not sure quite when or why that happened, but she is our Doodle .. so Doodle helped me make Snickerdoodles today - and that made for a great family joke. But knitting, yes there has been knitting, and Hemlock ring is done, done, done, washed and blocking.

Hemlock is now 48" across, point to point. I had to have a wee think about how best to block this one. I drew a series of concentric circles on an old sheet. We buy these sheets at work from the local laundry service, at $2 each they are worn thin but make perfect drop clothes for the textile print room, and as staff we often buy some to take home for use there. I pinned out the inner curved sections .. and finally the outside curves. I used my foam mats over the carpet, with the sheet as a top guide layer. Hemlock ring needed severe blocking to get flat, something I suspected from the Ravelry forums, and stretching it out so much caused the foam mats to curl up. My collection of round river stones, saved for holding down card patterns came in useful, as did the peti-point wrapped brick doorstop that I embroidered in another craft life.
I think I got it flat, and 'square' - with all the decrease and increase lines lined up, and even, and sorted. I have taken over the living room for the next 24 hours .. but often Thomas the train layouts or other activities have prime floor space .. so its a family give and take thing. I will leave this blocking and stretched out until tomorrow morning, just to make sure its 'set'.

There was other knitting, I worked on Mojo, so now I have 1.3 Mojo done (sorry no photos). We had 2 days away to Te Anau, the glow-worm caves were fabulous. The kids were even more fabulous, no hint of fear or terror at walking into the caves and the damp and the dark. I had forgotten how dark dark is when there is no light ... save the glow worms. Yes you can see the glow worms but not much else, not even your hand in front of your face. We did see amazing amounts of spring lambs with their mothers, lots of active fleece - I wondered what breed they were and what some one would spin or knit from them.

In Te Anau we visited the caves, and they were every bit as spectacular as I remembered as a kid. Starting with the boat ride up the lake, and ending with sitting in the dark and the quiet watching thousands of little glow worms glitter in the caves. Next day after the caves we did a silly thing, we hired a family quad bike. A four wheel push-bike, built for 4 people. Poppy had it easy, her little legs were to short to reach the peddles. Toby loved it, we signed a contract that we would obey the road code, not go off road or on the footpath and that we would keep under 10kmph. Easy - I don't think we have giggled as much with any other family activity. If we lived on the flat - I'd consider one as standard family transport.

Next we stopped at the Waiau River suspension bridge at the start of the Kepler Track. We didn't do the track, its 3 days in total I think, but the kids were pretty excited to tread on a real suspension bridge. Apparently their only knowledge of such things is from action and adventure movies were bridges regularly fail mid way and leave heros and heroines dangling. Me - I was as always just in awe of the scale of the location, the trees, the mountains, and the river. This is the river they used in Lord of the Rings.

We also stopped at Lake Manapouri for lunch, locally made pies and ice cream. Lunch was eaten outside with jackets and hats on and this spectacular view. There was no way we could sit inside the little cafe and view this thru the glass and cafe posters and curtains. The good thing about going in the off season is the sandflies are no where to be seen. As a kid we were regularly eaten alive by sand-flies on our camping holidays there.

So .. tomorrow I'll lift Hemlock, and I'll spend some time with the lathe.
Take care
na Stella

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ends and starts

Today's post is about ending and starting, both take time. In my mind both are quick, sudden even, start, stop. When its done ... well its done, its all over and finished, and when I want to start .. well I want to start now, and so its started. But in real life (as opposed to in my cluttered, questioning and often muddled mind) starts and ends are never that simple, never that contained, they always take longer.

Hemlock Ring baby blanket is near done, well it seems near done, but yet it is not finished. I've worked steadily on this since the last post ... knitting and knitting and knitting. 3 pattern rounds before the end I finished a ball of dark grey gotland ... and decided to start the blue border. I've no idea how this will look but it seems attractive. The blanket this is destined for is a boy .. so blue with the grey is an entirely conventional choice. I dithered over the cast off edge, and last night tried I-cord on needles one size bigger, frogged that and then tried I-cord on neeldes 2 sizes bigger, before ripping that and using the edge as written in the original pattern. JF wrote an alternaltive, with a crochet chain .... but I think for a boy I wanted a thicker edge than the single chain gave. The I-cord looked ok, but was not right, I worried it would not stretch enough when I blocked the blanket severly - and this is a blanket that does need a severe blocking.

This is the rippled and crumpled blanket now ...
(Is it just me or are there always a hint of a face with eyes in this blanket when I take photos of it, like last time ? )
I have my fingers crossed that after a warm soak and a severe blocking it will be submissive and docile and flat and attractive. This is where the project ending takes time, the last few rounds of knitting seemed slower than all the other rounds, and then casting off the first petal three different times, i-cord twice, before deciding to use the pattern as written .. all of that pretty much took an evening. Today only one more of the 8 petals has been cast off .. I've got 6 petals to go. My guess is it will be the end of the week before I'm weaving in ends and blocking this baby blanket.

Today I didn't knit, instead I spent some time with the lathe, my lathe. Recently my Dad arrived for a visit with a bench grinder, and so now that I can sharpen tools there was no reason not to start. I sorted out a chair leg from a bundle of scrap timber in the corner, Bear saves everything, really he does - some times it is clutter, other times it is useful. Then there was the act of starting, getting the drive belt on, the square wood properly secured and centered in the 3 jaw chuck, and setting it up ... and then learning how tight and at what angle and length every adjustable bit needed to be to work best. All that took several hours ... a lot of that was experience learning, and lack of a well stocked workshop. I understand most turners would plane the corners off the table leg .. me I turned them off. We don't have a plane set up ready to go, or a vice, and that way I got more lathe time, and more learning. Still progress ... I'm half way down the leg, and half of it is round. Oh -- its going to be a nostephinne ... if it all goes as planned or wood dust if not.

At the end -- I had black mechanics hands just like my Dad! Well not quite as black, and not as beaten up as his mechanics hands .. but I am wondering if this is going to be a hobby compatible with knitting, where smooth snag free hands make for an easier knitting experience. I have a list of things to buy, a face shield to replace the safety glasses, some more HHS tool steel, some grinding paste, and probably a dust mask, and barrier cream. Is it as odd for you to go from a lace edging and blocking discussion to blackened hands and the shopping list for running a lathe all in the same post as it is for me to write it?

And the other knit projects? Well Frankensocks has been frogged and rewound ... awaiting reknitting in another size. I still want to knit Frankensocks .. but I'm still a dither over the multiple sizes and guage mismatch.
Mojo goes well, but only had an hour of my knit time this week, so has not grown much. Mojo went to Poppy's end of term ballet class, the one parents are invited to sit and watch at. Mojo will be my traveling project this week, we are off to Te Anau to see the glow worms ... we tried this last year .. but they were closed when we arrived. Perhaps we will have more luck this year? I'm leaving the wood in the lathe and plan to work more on that this week (I'm on leave for a week), and will finish Hemlock ring and block it when I return.

Take care

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This week I'm all a dither ... neither sure or confident in what I'm doing with my knitting projects. Oh there is still fun, and two new things, but the new starts are all part of the dither ....

One solution is to talk it over, out loud and explain it all, and in doing that I might see the direction or solutions. First I've dithered and stalled on my Hemlock ring blanket, two things have stopped me. First the yarn is fuzzy and I've begun to see that it won't show the pattern clearly - and so I ask myself what is the point of working a pattern if it can't be seen? And then I answer myself - blocking, it will hold the the holes open and the pattern will emerge, I tell myself lace looks like nothing much until its blocked. Second - the rounds are getting longer and l-o-n-g-e-r and l--o--n--g--e--r. And they are only going to get longer, methinks I should just buckle down and decide to knit nothing else until it is done, for truly it is past the half way point which is the point of no return.

I've started Frankensocks, in dark charcoal sock yarn, Bears Bunker from Vintage Purls, and on dpns -- because a sock named Frankensock deservies to be knit on old fashioned pointy sticks. And now I'm dithering, why? ... because the pattern is in a gauge that I don't knit socks at, 7.5 spi, and offers five (5!) different sizes. Usually I knit socks at 9spi, (or 8.5 spi at a pinch) and I just knit the size the pattern is written in and it fits! Always.
So there has been some head banging as I tried to work out some easy middle ground between the size feet I have and the gauge I want to knit at and one of the sets of numbers already calculated in the pattern. I cast on 64 stitches .. and have worked the rib ... and it does go over my foot and up my calf .. but I worry it is perhaps too tight, too snug? The pattern will look to stretched. So rather than make a decision .. I've tucked it away in a bag and left it to stew a little, while I decide to frog .. for frog I will, I know I will, I just haven't decided to yet.

For open day - I wanted to take a magic loop project, as a demo, one for knitters to practice on at the magic loop classes. I know magic loop behaves better once there is a few inches of knitting to tame the bendy needles .. so I cast on for a second pair of Mojo and worked a toe. After Open day I frogged back all the knitting done by others, mostly as it wasn't in Mojo pattern, and have kept this as my 'go-to' project. This Mojo is in plain green Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply from my stash. I've modified the toe in two ways, first based on one I knit a long time ago, Deb Barnhills Back to Basics Sock where the increases go outside of the markers.

The second modification was a new-to-me cast on. I was lent a copy of Nordic Knitting Seven Miraculous Techniques by a work friend, and it is a stunningly interesting book - full of unexpected and stylish ideas and techniques - all in Japanese but with very clear photos and drawings. I just had to try the mobius crochet cast on .. on this toe .. and ended up with a little plait across the toe. I don't think Bear will mind.

The colour blocked roving I hackled is now yarn, a sport weight yarn, some 60+m of it. I'm not sure how far it will go .. but something for Poppy .. as soon as I stop dithering and decide what. Not wristers for the stripes won't match .. or maybe that won't matter, and not a hat, because there won't be enough .. or will there? Or something else ... but what?

During the week I also sorted out 15g of the 800 grams of fiber that I won, and have spun a little test skein in 3 ply, 5g per ply. I like it, and plan to spin the rest up .. this will be my 'at-home' spinnign project.

This week my dithering has resulted in me spinning more than knitting .. but I do need to sort out what I'm doing, why and porbably just get on with it ....

don't I?

take care
na Stella

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Open days are a lot of fun, but a whole lot of work, and I wasn't even one of the ones who handled the most work. My role at open day was to make sure the mini-classes were sorted, that the demonstrators were set up and ready to go, that the class started and stopped on time, and that the next class started on time - oh and remind the open day visitors of the demonstrations/classes. I could do that .. but it wasn't hard, people were so so keen, the Nostpinne class was full, and we had to remind people that the magic loop class needed the table, then repeat that same reminder for the hackle demonstration. That was my own class, demonstrating hackle blending .. and it was fun to share. Morag had provided a whole bag full of dyed fiber scraps to play-blend ... and play blend we did.

One thing I enjoy about teaching - is if you pay attention to the way people do things, or the questions they ask .. as a teacher you can learn just as much as the students do. Because my blending hackle is so long, 86cm, I can blend about 25g of fiber at once. For teaching that meant that 2 or 3 people could have-a-go across the working face of the hackle. One fiber addict, after watching me show the lashing on, started to lash on the fiber, in colour blocks rather than layering the colours on top of each other. When she dized the fiber off, she had a roving with colour shifts. I liked that idea so much that today as part of my post-open day clean up, dealing with all the left over bits and pieces of fiber .. I had a play at creating colour shift roving of my own. Now it is bright, very bright .. but fun .... and I can just hear the comments - Stella usually has good taste .. perhaps she isn't herself right now?

But it is so much fun that I've started to spin it already. I'm imagining a wee pair of self striping wristers or a hat for Poppy. Something, anything fun to use the yarn up soon. And I'm using that technique where you use the roving colour shifts to mark hook changes on the flyer. Very very neat. My plan is to spin all of this today, and ply it tomorrow night at Jenni's. I'm spinning on the Nagy wheel my dad found, and will lend it to a Foaf*, via Jenni, so taking the wheel to work on at spin night and leaving it behind has two benefits. First I don't have to lug two wheels, my own and the one I'm lending, and second I get to check and fine tune this wheel before I lend it.

This morning I sorted the rest of the fiber in the odds and ends bag, and then I hackled and dized it into little bumps. Some I hackled 3 times, and super blended, some I hackled only once so are more stripy. I now have evidence in practice rather than just in theory (duh!) that the more passes thru the hackle of a blend of colours, and the more colours are complimentary .. well the more likely a dull browny purple will result. There was lots more hackled fiber at the open day, but I insisted that spinners take their own hackled fiber home to spin, or even try spinning it on the Dealers Majacraft wheels (Morag let them - she encouraged lots to spin on her sample wheels). I love spinning the smooth, easily drafted hackled fiber .. so much so I want to share the love.

Open day is also about restraint, for there are traders in the trade hall, from far and wide with yummy things for sale. I was restrained, I even went home with more $ in my purse than I expected to! The two tubes are recycled tennis ball tubes, filled with beautiful gilled and combed fibre by Stuart of Fine Fiber Farms(FFF), one of Polwarth in two colours, and one of merino. There is 200g of the blackest softest Alpaca Cria ever and 140g of hand dyed 22 micron merino both from Elaine of StitchnTime (Rav link). The sock yarn, is Vintage Purls, and Bear bought that - he also bought the FFF merino. The sock yarn he says he has plans for, I suspect those plans involve me knitting something for him, maybe socks :-) and the merino is payment ... who can say no when the bribe is fine fiber?

Then to to top the day off, I had bought several raffle tickets, and won a raffle so picked a hand dyed swirl of green merino and gifted it to M, who finally has scummed to spinning, both spindle and wheel. I thought she might need something nice and fun to practice with. She won the very next raffle drawn and promptly selected this bag of 800g of coloured Polworth and Gotland blended together (59%: 41%), to return gift to me. The fiber was a trader prize curtsy of Hamish of Chocolate wools. Southern traders do know how to gift raffle prizes don't they? 800g! Oh my!

So, yesterday was mad busy, and left me tired and worn, today was calm, but still busy, and I'm less tired, and enjoying the warm weather. Next post there might even be knitting, for I have the beginings of two different socks to show.

take care, na Stella

Foaf * Friend of a friend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm loving ...

my new ladylike green shoes that are the right size to wear with hand made socks. That was such a good green .. and now you can see why I made Taimi in dark yarn not the lighter green kit yarn.
I'm also liking Taimi, which are finished, and went to work on my feet today. The leaf top didn't finish as I expected, it has a little flare or flutter - which is just fine, pretty even.

And a reminder, if you are in or around Dunedin this weekend, call in to the Dunedin Creative Fiber Open day, 9:30 doors open, things kick off at 10am. Finishes at 3ish. Cost is $NZ5. Trade hall - no entry fee for shoping :-)
Roslyn Presbyterian Church - 21 Highgate, Dunedin. You can even play with my hackles :0

more latter

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Quote from pattern
"there is a certain amount of fiddliness involved in working the top of each leave at this point ... "



Working 7 tiny 9 stitch leaves flat, back and forth at the top of each sock, decreasing to a 3-into-1-stitch point, 7 times for each sock.
End result of 14 ends minimum to weave in in each sock, 2 on each leaf, 28 ends in total.
Oh plus the cast on end, 30 ends to weave in.

Then, picking up 112 stitches around the top of each sock .. to work the i-cord bind off. Twisting each pick up loop to tighten it and make it look neat.
In total - 224 stitches of i-cord bind off.

Fiddly - yes.
Understatement - oh yes.

Worth it?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I've fallen ..

yes fallen, and its all Morag's fault. First there was the email 'I've been to the mill factory shop and they have found the last of the vintage Cowichan in their warehouse and are selling it off', its vintage and they say they won't ever make any more'. Then there was the visit to her house to drop of some equipment my dad custom made for her 'Just come in here for a minute, into the office, look 11 cheeses of light grey, its yours if you want it'. Then latter on the way out 'I put the 11 cheeses of grey in this bag, ready for you if you want it'.
What is a knitter to do when surrounded by enemies enablers derailers really good friends like that? Resistance is futile?

The only sensible thing a knitter could do - I went home with 11 wheels or cheeses of beautiful pale grey soft vintage Cowichan yarn, enough for another EZ blanket. A large single bed sized one - the kind that is so large that the yarn physically won't fit into any of my stash storage. Look, that is the yarn stacked beside A4 foolscap arch lever folders. I have a few options, leave it out to admire, knit it right away (which is what I did last time), or find a new stash storage space. All of those options are feasible -- I'll keep you posted about where I'm headed on that one - I'm not sure I'm up for knitting this one right now -- but I want one for each cub.

My current sock Taimi grows, slower now that I am working the closed lace repeats around the leg. Working pattern rounds every second round is a little slower than plain old stocking stitch. I was thinking that I would be done by now .. so much so I've sorted the next sock project from my queue [Ravelry link], and selected the yarn, and divvied it up into 2x50g cakes. I'm all set to go - its a top down sock and I'm dithering about reworking it as toe up (looks like a lot of work) or just knitting it as is. As I knit Taimi I've been playing with different right and left leaning increases, ones that are structurally the same but executed differently. Taimi is written to use yarn overs as increases, in the toe and in the closed lace. The yarn overs are the regular and a reverse yarn over and both are twisted closed on the following round to give right and left leaning increases. I knit continental, with my yarn tensioned over my left hand ... and I find the yarn overs fiddly so have substituted e-loops and backwards e-loops instead. Once knit - yarn over increases and e-loop increases are identical, and both can be right or left leaning, .. try both, you might find one easier than the other as I do.

I've also been playing with my new toy, my hackle. Before now I've been using it as a comb, to tease out and align the fibers and remove VM (vegetable matter) and neps and noils. Yesterday I used it as a blending hackle and I'm very impressed I took some scraps that were all sorts of colours, tangled up .. and looked like this ...

and after processing it thru the hackle twice - it looked like this. My only regret is that it is only 7.9 g ... and its beautiful. What can one knit with 7.9g? I will take it to the open day as a 'teaching example', and after I post I'm off to hackle some other blends - just for practice, really.

What is left after drawing off the roving is this, all the short tangled bits of fiber. Part of me wants to keep these .. but I know this is the tangled knotted bitzy stuff that we spinners toss onto the floor as we spin. With the hackle all that is removed before you even sit at the spinning wheel.

Ratio's have been invading my kitchen. This is the chalkboard, we use it for noting down important kitchen stuff, shopping list, and the cubs draw on it. Right now its covered in ratio's, for bread, for cookies and this morning for Popovers. Oh there is a little skein of yarn calculation in the top right hand corner, wraps around the ninny noddy, and weight - to give skein length, but for now its a Ratio board. The popovers were go-o-o-o-od, light, slightly crunchy, and yummy. Unlike our 'other' recipe these were placed into hot pans, and had a knob of butter in the base of each pan - as Bear says 'whats not to like?' (hello - cardio vascular disease?). So good were these popovers in fact they probably will replace our standard Mile High Popovers recipe from Lois Daish (the coconut bread in the same article is pretty cool as well, make it with cocoa and its a chocolate rough loaf, and with soymilk its a vegan recipe). These were less eggie and lighter and crisper and just as easy to make, Michael Ruhlman looks like he just might know a bit about cooking.

So I'll leave you will yarn over and e-loop increases, both left and right leaning .. whilst I play more with the hackle and blending.
na Stella

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

just a little bit more ...

is how my Taimi socks are making me feel, I've really only knit on them in two sessions, and the odd little round here and there. You know waiting for the kettle to boil for tea with breakfast, a few rounds after the morning tidy up, lunches, dishes .. school bags packed and waiting until its time to go. Those of you without kids might not know that you can only drop your littlies off after 8:30, so that sets the leaving home time in the morning. When it was just me, I'd walk the 30-40 minutes into town, or bus in at 7:30 and get a whole lot done before the rest of the workforce arrived. But not any more .. now its 8:15 leave the house, and 8:45 arrive at work. Still I get secret hugs and kisses palmed off on me as they hop out of the car .. its so worth it. But back to the socks, there are the extra few rounds with a cuppa when I get home, some while dinner cooks, and again a few rounds at home after spin night .. again whilst the kettle boils for a wee cuppa tea. All those extra rounds here and there add up to speedy progress.

Taimi has grown, lots, two socks up to the heel already. The pretty little leaf detail has started .. and kind of caught me out a little. I had imagined that the gusset was hidden in the closed lacework but no, its in the usual place, along each side of the sole. There may be a special name for the closed lace work ... if there is tell me. This is described as a 'fairly common lace pattern, but the yarn overs are twisted closed' making it less open and more graphic, which is why I'm calling it closed lace work.

I'm still working them two at a time, but right now its one heel shaping at a time, heels have short rows and that means one at a time. Taimi has a lace motif that starts a little way up the heel and then runs into the lacework around the instep and leg. That means I've got to be super accurate .. or it wont' line up and I'll have to fudge it. With knitting a few rounds here and there .. I have lost count once or twice of just which round I'm on. Right now I've frogged the start of the heel flap back to the heel cup shaping and I'm going to tick the rounds off as I knit them .. just to be sure of where I am and what I've done. Because of the lace work Taimi has a plain heel, something I didn't realise until just now, I'd sort of been thinking how nice it would be to knit this yarn in an eye of partridge heel flap, looking forward to it, but that won't work with the lace pattern, so I will shelve that wish until I knit the next sock.

Short post today ...
There is another blanket square on the way, and I've still not found the 3 I left on the Show-n-tell table at the last guild meeting - some one must have picked them up. Once found that makes four squares, well three and seven eigths really. This one is a made up log cabin variation, still in garter stitch, and all one colour. There is a lot more yarn in here to knit, but squares are not the most fun in the world .. socks and shaped sweaters and mittens and other things are .. still its for a good cause, and they are good for when I'm likely to be distracted, and they use up left overs in stash.

Na Stella

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The next sock and a good idea at the time

First thank you for all the comments (here and otherwise) about how nice Bayerische is, its lovely to get compliments and I really really appreciate them. My Mum taught me to to show appreciation for compliments and so I am - Thanks :-)

Yes, the next sock, or to be totally accurate the next socks. I did enjoy knitting Mojo two at once, I must have finally become so comfortable with knitting two-by-magic-loop so much so that I have decided to continue with the-knitting-two-at-a-time. That decision even surprises me .. the last socks I did two at a time(can't remember which) seemed to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Teeny tiny problem is I don't really have a nice project bag big enough to hold two 50g center pull cakes of yarn, for Mojo I was using a free-with-purchase drawstring hair care product bag, that was ok for bears socks, but for my socks I thought I'd make something nicer. This all brings me to the contents of today's post, there are photos of Mojo being worn, the start of a new pair of socks, a new bag that seemed a like a good idea at the time, and a new book which is making me want to spend time in the kitchen.

Mojo is all done, and when not worn it still looks like the kind of sock [or should that be sox?] that Dr Seuss would have drawn.

But once on the foot, it fits me, and Bear has ever so slightly larger feet and it fits him better. Bear has spent another spring weekend busy in the garden .. so whilst he promised a photo opportunity wearing Mojo .. he was always just on his way somewhere with the wheelbarrow full of garden waste, and/or feeling all hot and sweaty. So these are my feet .. demonstrating Mojo is despite appearances actaully completely wearable ..

I'm most definitely a sock knitter, I know this from many signs, I have screeds of sock yarn in my stash .. and I regularly add to the sock yarn stash. I own many sock pattern books .. and I add sock patterns to my Ravelry queue probably more often than other things. But most arguably the most significant sign is no matter what else I am knitting .. I always, always, always have a sock on the go. My newest sock is Taimi, the final sock in the Winter 2009 Vintage Purls Sock Club. Here are the two toes, mirror images of each other (just because I could). Morag (Taimi's designer) and I discussed mirrored spiral/star toes at knitting camp - and after that I just had to make these a matched pair. From here on in the knitting is plain stocking stitch until the gusset shaping begins and the lace fun starts. I'm not using the green that came in the kit, I've chosen a darker brown green ... from stash, still Vintage Purls sock yarn ... but more of a dark forest floor feel that the new growth sapling green that Taimi was named after.

Before I started I divvied up my 100g skein of yarn into two 50g yarn cakes .. and hunted around for a suitable project bag. Problem struck, the little bags I make are built for one 100g cake of yarn .. not two 50 cakes side by side as are needed to knit two socks at once. I decided to make a new slightly larger project bag, and tossed in an idea I had being toying with. I thought that if I constructed the tops of my project bags from silk organza that knitters could see exactly the project they were looking for more easily, solving the problem of the dance thru a wip basket opening and closing bags looking for a particular project. That was a good idea in theory .. to make the bags neatly the tops need to be a double layer of silk organza and that, it turns out, is not as see through as I imagined. The shorter bag was the first sample (swatch), and was a tad to short, the larger bag works well. These are different to my standard project bags in they have an oval base, and are taller, now I just need to add ribbon drawstrings.

The taller bag easily holds two 50g cakes of yarn and two socks in progress. I can see this shape of bag will also work for a small colour work items ... where two cakes of yarn are needed. I used silk organza for the tops, I love the luxury idea of silk and organza is one of those special fabrics. But I know in my heart of hearts that silk is not a good fabric to use with drawstrings, it abrades, silk wears thin easily and then frays. As a consequence I need to road test these bags and see how long the tops last, if its only a few months of use .. then sadly I'll have to resort to polyester (uuugghhh - shudder - wince), or ditch the idea of the sheer top. I've got my fingers crossed that the silk might last a few years ... then again given that I can't see the yarn thru the silk organza .. perhaps I don't need to use silk?

During the week, Ratio: The simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking arrived, a gift from Suzanne. Its an amazing book, not so much a recipe book, or a cooking theory book, but a tool box. Ratio aims to provide the ratio of the base ingredients for commonly cooked foods. Using the ratio of say, butter, to sugar to flour, for cookies the cook can make a batch of any size. More importantly than that, once a cook understands the effect of changing the ratio .. the cookies can be crustier, or chewier or fudgeier, whatever they want to make. I like the concept. So far I've made two batches of cookies, one vanilla and the second a concoction of my own making, current and spice, and two sets of muffins, chocolate and pear (shown) and cinnamon and apple. Everything has been a success. So far I'm a convert ... and its got me in the kitchen baking and thinking about cooking and noting ratios on our kitchen chalkboard. Its also got me using scales rather than cup measures, even for liquids ... which could be a good thing. I feel like I can be creative in the kitchen and not have to flick through screeds of cookbooks to find a recipe that appeals and that we have the ingredients in stock for.

Take care -
Ka kite ano Stella

Thursday, September 03, 2009


With shoes to match!

Tech Specs
Pattern: Bayerische knit as knee highs
Yarn : Vintage Purls Sock (fingering) - In a pickle
Each Skein : 100g @ 420 m,
Used : 2 skeins
Needles : 2mm (Knitpics)
Started : Friday 12th May 2009
Finished : Saturday August 29th 2009
Duration : 110 days
Weight : Pair of socks = 175g
Length of foot : Unstretched 9.25" | 23.5 cm
Length of leg from heel flap : 14.5: | 37 cm 10 repeats
Shoes : Leather - custom dyed to match
Shoe size : 1-2 sizes larger than I usually buy heels
Knitter : Happy with warm feet

na Stella

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

If that is a sock you are knitting ...

did something go 'horribly wrong?

Well no, not really, its what I like to think of as a Dr Seuss Sock, the sock that Dr Seuss would have drawn or knit. Mojo by another name. Something did go wrong ... but not with this sock, not even with my knitting - more like plans for my knitting. I found the most amazing shoes, pale nude coloured 1940's style shoes with a cute heel, a Mary Jane strap, and a large side button, on the sale table a few weeks ago - really really cheap, with leather uppers and sole. I don't do nude shoes, preferring darker colours ... but bought them and took them to a local leather dry-cleaner and dyer to be turned into dark blackish pickle green so I could wear them with Bayerische .. and 3 visits back and they are still not done ... grump, grump. grump. I was planning to start this post with a photo of Bayerische being worn ... but I'm still waiting for the shoes. Still I have Mojo ....

Which is an amazingly fun sock to knit ... I cast on last Thursday and knit two at once. I'm following the Mojo recipie and reversing the patterning so they are a negative of each other, not colour wise but rib and welt wise. When one goes 'in' the other goes 'out'. I think of these like an opposite pair if that makes any sense. Mojo is knit toe up with an afterthought heel .. and is a very quick knit - clocking in at a bare 8 days for two socks or so.

If you look close you can spot the line of bright orange yarn - my waste yarn marking the line for the heel pick up. Working the heel bends the tube into the sock shape.

And they work ... when worn the Dr Seuss shape becomes a quite respectable sock. Once I've worked the other heel I will go back to the cast off edge and add a few more rounds to the top. Bear suggested they are a tad short .. and I noticed the welts sections do shrink away some length. I think these would be an amazing fun sock gift .. and are a neat way to use up self patterning yarn, imagine the looks as some one unwrapped these 'unmatched weird shaped socks'? I think bear was most relieved when he tried them on, loose ends not woven in and all, and found they were actually reasonably well fitting socks.

Take care
na Stella