Sunday, June 15, 2014

A sleeve, a sock, a blanket and edges.

This post is about the three projects on my needles, and some edge sampling. The three projects comprise a cardigan which seems to fall off the 'want to knit' list more than it should, the distraction of a pair of socks in fun yarn, and yet another baby blanket. Baby blankets are kind of a staple knit around here, they use up Handspun and make good presents. Socks, well they are also a staple, quick kiss to knit, portable as a project, use up the sock yarn I seem to collect, and are incredibly useful in the climate we have here. The cardigan - one of my wardrobe staple item, a good cardigan can make a plain dress warm enough and seem finished.

This first image shows my current sock project on top of the edge samples worked at Saturdays knitters study group. The samples are knit in grey and are held flat by a sock, more about that later. The sample shows four edges, selvedge that could be used to finish a peice of knitting. From left to right the selvedges are Chain garter selvedge, picot selvedge, picot point selvedge, double picot selvedge, all dived by a single row of vikkel braid. The cast off is a three stitch icord, which sits above the vikkel braid very very nicely. Most of these are detailed in Monste Stanley's book, The knitters handbook. Once blocked I will post better photos for reference.

Next up the stripey socks, in a lovely lively yarn. The yarn is my favorite blend of fiber for socks, super wash merino with a touch of nylon for hard wearing. The brand is Stray cat socks, found on, and is dyed to provide medium width stripes. This colour way is Silver Star, a citris lime green paired with a silver grey.

I wanted to do something more interesting than a plain vanilla pair of stocking stitch socks, but the yarn fought me every stitch. First I tried a standard Judys magic cast on toe, which worked but wasn't really set up ready for me to transition to something in the sock body. At the starting stage I wasn't sure what the transition from the toe to the sock body would be - I just wanted something that worked with this yarn.

I found the star toe and loved the effect with the stripe, in fact it was the pattern with the star toe, Multi stem, that inspired me to find a nice balance between yarn and pattern. The sock has a line of contrast colour stitches snaking up from the line of increases worked in the star toe. I liked that idea very much.

After finding the 'toe' for this yarn I tried various options to find a pattern to knit the body of the sock in. I tried to work a variation of the star toe pattern, thinking if there were paired increases and decreases that zagged left up one stripe and zagged right up the other then the stripes would be distorted. That didn't work, I wasn't clever or determined enough to make it work, the. I tried a few combinations of rib, single purl ribs up from the toe increases, and wide purl ribs that took up one with of the sock. Sorry no photos, but I can report a lot of frogging and starting again.

In the end the simplest and most elegant solution seems to be to work a slip stitch just where the colours change and in line with the increase lines. I am slightly disappointed that I couldn't come up with something cleverer but the yarn beat me into simplicity and quiet - I'm ok with that.

Here is the neglected cardigan, first sleeve half done. I've discovered like several others that the Sleeven sleeve is snug on, shall we say - mature arms. So instead of the slim fit deceases that are tapered from armpit to near the cuff I am working mine straight till after the elbow and then decreasing to the wrist. I want to wear this, I live in dresses and cardigans and would love to add this to my weekly rotation, but when I reach I to the wip basket - this has less appeal than other projects right now. I may have to force the issue with myself and commit to finishing.

Lastly is the baby blanket, hand spun for the first 140 grams and then 200 grams of commercial spun yarn. The Handspun was worked in factory scraps, from Design Spun Yarns, and ended up being blocks of three strong colours, red, orange and blue. This pure wool citris green seemed to be a good match for those colours, so I bought 200 grams of it, thinking that the green would make a wide boarder around the blanket that would balance the colours of the center. The pattern is one I've knit before, Basic Black Shawl, from Folk Shawls. I've always knit this as a Handspun baby blanket, not as a shawl, as it is simple and makes a generous square.

And there is a new hobby in our house, little cub has discovered and been indulged in Rainbow bands now the working surfaces of the family room are not only surrounded with spinning wheels, and covered with knitting, but also boxes of colorful small rubber bands. It's fun to see some one of her age find an activity/hobby that captures their interest. I admit to enabling, along with several of our knit group.

Take care - na Stella


Sunday, June 01, 2014

Monthly updates are so so very wrong

Because updating every month means that there is too much to cover in a single post, and so it feels a little manic. Given it has been so long since the last update there are finished objects well overdue for blog space, namely a pair of socks and a cowl, and also some yarn, spinning has happened and there are two more skeins complete. As usual no plans for the yarn, but I just love making it.

These are blue Gladys socks, by General Hogbuffer, knit for my eldest son with his size eleven feet. I'm aware that a sock named Gladys may not be the most masculine sounding sock, but as he is not a knitter, and is as unlikely to enquire as to the name of the pattern, as to ask about the name of the yarn, or the number of plies, or any other knitting detail I am confident he will remain ignorant that a sock named Gladys is keeping is feet warm. The yarn is after all a very manly blue, Chance, by Vintage Purls.

I usually prefer toe up socks, there is a comfort in knowing that once the foot is worked the leg length of the sock can be decided without risk of running out of yarn. In this case I liked the sock, and whist I could have reverse engineered the pattern I decided that it was time for me to again knit a traditional heel flap and gusset sock. I loved the construction of the heel flap, and despite his size eleven feel feeling like a challenge to knit a pair of socks from a single 100 gram skeins of yarn, there was even yarn left over. 13 grams to be precise. I feel the leg is a tad short visually, but do notice that most of the shop bought socks for men are short in the leg. I would happily knit this again for myself - except that there are hundreds of sock patterns out there that I want to try so repeating one pushes the chance to knit new patens further away. This sock did bring to my attention the designs of General Hogbuffer, and there are now several from that author in my project queue.

Gladys the sock had several little details that communicatd that this was a designer who liked details as much as I do. I loved the rig and farrow pattern (garter welts) thatwere used to stop, start, and break patterns up. Equally well thought out were the instructions to customize the arch shaping by modification of the rate of gusset decreases. Perhaps the most lovely and at once mentally significant and yet visually invisable was the toe shaping. Most socks, toe up or cuff down provide for a stand rate of increase/decrease at the toe, the standard seems to be four stitches every second round. Gladys starts off with decreases very four round, then three rounds, then two, which provides a lovely long and pointed toe, a perfect match for elder cubs feet have. Small details to be sure but ones that tell me this designer thinks about what they are doing rather than just following standardized patterns.

And here is the second finished object, almost a stealth project. I started this about a month ago, not wanting to waste the cashmere left over from the KSG hat. I had 41 grams left and a local knitter, Shoeboxsally, was talking about a pattern called Zuzu's petals, how it knit up quick, was lovely to wear and used only 30-something grams of yarn. She is right, she often is, Zuzu's petals is a lovely wee project. I knit mine in the yarn remaining, it took 39g and I have 2 grams left over. Perfect - although there was some fudging of the placement of the penultimate increase round when I saw how little yarn was left.

Here is a really really bad photo of it being worn, a selfie taken in the car whist waiting for little cub to finish ballet. The cowl is a lovely design, looks like a lace shawlette and yet wears like a close fit cowl, it never falls off, always stays put and perfectly covers that drafty cold spot left exposed by vee-necklines in winter.

Other news around here, there is new yarn, fresh off the spinning wheel.

Some lovely autumnal three ply faulkland. I love this fiber, it makes me realize that whist the local fiber is lovely it can at times be a little short in the fiber staple length. This faulkland is long, 3.5-4.5 inches long which makes for dreamy spinning. Local fiber seems shorter, which is probably because local farmers shear twice a year, so the growth between shearing is shorter.

And more recently is this smaller skein of merino, from Schoppel-wolle, a super wash merino. Available at Vintage Purls, it is space dyed, I bought two 50g lengths and rearranged it them to provide three matching sections. I spun each and then plied with the hope at least some of the sections would line up - some did, some didn't, but it works.



Last week we had a snow day which the cat ignored. She sat on the back of the sofa and pretended the sun was shining. I love how optimistic cats are.

On the snow day, both cubs schools were cancelled as was my work, so I supervised indor and outdoor play and knit a scrunchie. I used the last of the sparkly yarn left from little cubs Infinity scarf, and a pattern found via ravelry, the scrunchie. I loved that this pattern didn't call for knitting a strip or tube and sewing it up to enclose an elastic hair band. The scrunchie was cast on over the elastic hair band. As my yarn was finer I fiddled with the stitch count, but didn't make notes. I love the effect - there. There may have been other scrunchies made which were inspired by this one - which might have been tucked away In little cubs hair tie box - if so I will dig them out for a photo and blog post soon. I did have a lot of fun thinking of ways to cover elastic hair ties with knitting, sort of personal graffiti?


Littl cub turned twelve this past weekend, which meant lots of birthday wishes, a party and lots and lots of thoughtful gifts from people in her life. She has good friends who seem to care for her and like hanging out with her and are interested in what she likes. She now has a new hobby, one of those sweeping the internet craze hobbies, rainbow looms. She already had a small loom, but post party had two more, a mini loom and a larger reconfigurable loom.

She now also has many many more rainbow bands and several boxes to keep them in. This box is impressive, it opens like this, and then if you undo the side catches it opens even more like this...

As well, inside there are many many colours of rainbow bands, we gave her the box in an attempt as many parents do to keep their kid tidy. Her friends and knit night buddies provided a huge array of rainbow bands, sparkly, metallic, shimmer, glow in the dark, mixed neon, mixed jelly and lots lots more that I can't remember. There are several still in packages which are yet to be stowed in the boxes.

Meanwhile today is a public holiday, so I've been knitting, finishing the socks that we're featured earlier in this post, and catching up on ravelry threads and forums that I follow. I like public holidays in winter, sort of permission to be inside and warm and do hobby things.


Take care, na Stella