Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hedgerow socks, all done

and a good photo of them is still to come, but these socks are beautiful, a great pattern and surprisingly good yarn, a huge thank you for the nice comments on Toby's self made wristlet, his grin was so goofy when he read them today, so again thanks for encouraging him.
TodayI report that my test knit fish did not work out, so am still on the hunt for a background yarn to use amongst the sock left overs, and yet again I'm adding to my stash ..., plus I've got a new toy, and it is still in the box!

So Hedgerow is finished, both of the pair. I don't seem to suffer from the second sock syndrome, usually the second sock is quicker to knit than the first - as I am keen to wear them once I see the first one done. I do need to provide better photos, sock one was steam blocked, but sock two - well she is straight off the needles, so here appears a little crumpled. I knit sock one on metal dpns, and sock two on bamboo - after gentle ribbing from Tania
about not using the wooden ones I love. You see I love wood or bamboo needles, but had one of my Brittany dpns break in use only a few weeks after I got them. The company was great, I emailed about the breakage and they sent a whole set of 5 more, so now I have 9 in that size (2.25mm). But some how in my little simple mind, the break put me off using them, I would think "what if I broke another one?" Tania very gently reminded me again and again at knit-night that what did that matter, I had 9, so what if I broke another one or even three! After all I had 9.

What I want to see now once these socks are blocked is if the tension and so the size differs for me knitting on wood than steel? Any way, I used Ashford bamboo for the second sock, the Brittany are just a tad short to pick up a gusset comfortably with, Oh they work but there is a risk of the stitches falling off. And I loved this yarn, St Ives, a real cheapie available at my limited LYS, so much so I will probably buy another ball to add to the one I have left over and knit something else in it.

And my fish, in the last post I mentioned how I was going to knit a test fish in the cone of Merino yarn from Milton Mill to see if I could use it in the fish afgahn blanket. Short answer is no, the yarn is to big, which means the the fish was big. Now I am thinking of a Meg Swansan and Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater for that yarn, the Box-the-Compas Yoke sweater, in black with bands around the yoke fading thru grey to white, just like in the book. I went to the library, and took out a few books, and while much of the patterns in that book are very boxy and 80's that one appeals. So back to the fish - well the sock yarn fish represented here in green is much smaller than the Milton mill fish, which would cause ripples in the fish blanket if used. Of course in hind sight comparing wraps per inch would have told me that easily and much quicker. Duh!

While away, I stopped at Ashfords and picked up some sock yarn, Opal Lollypop, 2 x100g balls to make a second GFS for Poppy. The last one I knit when she was 4 going on 5 is now a very snug shrug, although the sleeves are still just long enough. I did knit a generous turn back ribbed cuff, and will do that again in any kids item. Any-who a new one is needed. This little top is a lot like knitting socks and quite handy to go over short and long sleeved tee shirts as well as pretty dresses.

So I did succumb to souvenir yarn, picking up 6 50g balls of unmarked Peruvian baby weight 4 ply alpaca at the Alpaca Centre in Geraldine. 3xBlack and 3xpale grey - I am thinking this might be better for the we call them pirates hate for Toby, leaving the pale blue and bone alpaca for moi. I have never knit Alpaca before, and now have 4 or 5 batches in stash, so hope I like it to knit with. Is that poor planning or optimistic planning?

Oh, and btw, I did also pick up a new hobby tool while I was away, an ashfords traveller spinning double drive wheel. I thought I was saving up for a new Pentax Camera to replace my 4 year old Minolta. But a few weeks ago a colleague brought his to work, and I hated it, absolutely hated it. Plus to get a lens as bright as my Minolta and macro/close ups as good - well it was going to be a large saving project. So it turns out I was instead saving for a spinning wheel. I had looked at buying one thru TradeMe, the nz version of e-bay - but they were mostly old, unbranded and came with no guarantee they would spin the fine stuff I like to knit. This was a case where as a newbie I needed the knowledge of an experienced spinner to go down the cheap path, being confident in selecting and using a vintage or older wheel with less refinement for beginners.

Still - I have some study to finish - so no hurry to get this out of the box, lets limit the distractions, to the usual family, knitting, working, shall we?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Colour, colour, colour deep and strong.

Quick post before we drive north tomorrow, and more colour, finally a fish report, Toby my 8 year old has a knitted project he insisted I include in this post, and more on my latest fetish - spindle spinning.

We plan on going north to Waimate Thursday, where we will leave the 8 year old with the 5 and 73 year old*, departing Friday morning to to Geraldine (rumored to have alpaca for sale), then on to Asburton (home of Ashford! - with the factory!), on to to Christchurch where Bear wants to take me out for dinner and buy lots of dark room supplies. He and two buddies are setting up a darkroom studio, and yes we know it is the age of digital, we have had that conversation already. Its the same as knitting when you can buy clothes.

I'm always surprised at the intensity of these yarns, somehow I expect hand dyed yarns to be pale, subtle and faint, but these are strong and vibrant. Usual recipe, skein up yarn in 210m hanks and soak in a liter of warm water with 1/3 cup white vinegar, this time I boiled the yarn, so to one liter of water, 2 mustard spoons of powdered food dye, a squirt of brown dye (in liquid form - to tie the colours all together), mix, add wet yarn, and simmer gently until liquid is clear or clear-ish. The yellow, green, and orange all exhausted, that is the water turned clear as all the dye was taken up by the fiber. The blue, rose red, and brown didn't - mental note, use less brown and blue next time. btw the rose red is sold as rose 'pink' - maybe I used to much? So beautiful strong colours, all ready for the Peruvian knitting workshop in 3 weeks, me I'm not over keen, am I? does it show? And I am wondering what colours I would dye for me to knit and wear ... something not so bright perhaps?

And this? I wound off the cone some of the 4 ply natural merino from the Mill shop in Milton. I want to swatch knit, and fish for the fish blanket seem a good idea. The first cone of wool bloomed so much, that while this looks like heavy fingering, - I just want to check it doesn't turn into something heavier once washed.

Here is the latest fish, No 97 I think ... each square of the check is just under a cm, so more of a goldfish or sardine really.

Toby is 8, and has been working on these for a while now, occasionally I catch him sitting quietly in front of kids-tv knitting away. He has a french knitting doll, the kind that makes I-cord (has around 70 cm done), and a plastic knitting frame. Some time early last evening he came and showed me his 'innovation', he had created a thumb hole by 'not knitting a few' and wanted me to cast off. So I did. I let him know there was a 'neater' way to make a thumb but his way was just fine - and just between you and me, that really isn't ribbing, its ladders. Nothing wrong with feeding fiber obsessions in one so young is there?

This is the frame he uses,

And spinning, yes I'm sort of addicted, mostly because I want to get it right. I can see my errors, to uneven, to thick, to slubby, and much to much twist. This is day 3/4, and I have switched to a different fibre. In the batch I bought from the mill there was a some smooth and straight, and some with more crimp. I've been to the library and got out every spinning book I could and they all say more crimp is good for beginners. This morning I switched to the crimpier fiber and it was immediately, and easier and finner. Some how I would have thought straighter fibers would produce finner yarn, but for me right now the crimpier ones make finner yarn. I'm working on reducing the twist, I realise the spindle shouldn't spin like a furious top, more like a lazy spin, giving me time to feed out a really fine even bit of fibre to add.

* the 73 year old is my dad, the 5 year old is Poppy. so nearly 2 days, one night childless ....... :-D

Monday, September 24, 2007

Its term break so ..... fibre time.

School holidays started on Saturday, for two weeks, and smallest child has gone to visit granddad for much of this week, which leaves one 8 year old underfoot. Things are pretty calm here so I've been playing, some dying, some buying and some finishing up of a project that never even made my WIP list a few weeks ago. And yes, Tania - another post another stash enhancement. So in a year when other knitters are knitting from their stash, I am actively growing mine.

The dying, when I finish Hedgerow, I plan to knit Brother Amos mostly because Brenda has made it clear just why she chose each construction technique, and you all know I'm a sucker for techniqe. I had stashed undyed trekking away to use and inspired by Clara's newsletter on how to create your own semisolid colour sock yarn I painted flame based colours onto the Trekking, using chocolate, two shades of red, egg yellow, and an orange mixed from the yellow and the reds. I took my time and did some test yarns first, and then painted away. I am still using at home amateur food colour dyes, the powder ones, but got a really good result. First result was a bit orange, so while it was still damp I returned it to the pot and over dyed with chocolate so now have glowing ember colours to keep my tootsies toasty warm.

At the last weavers and spinners knitting group, many of the other knitters had their little miniature Guernsey sweaters finished which spured me to finish mine. I reknit it, and it has little under arm gussets, a shoulder strap. I did omit the neck gusset as Curley has a large head and didn't need the neckline pulled in. Curley is in Waimate with Poppy just now, so she couldn't model for me. The Guernsey is sitting beside the sink as an indication of size. In case you are wondering, this is a Kauri wood bench, the original kitchen bench installed in the house in 1939. It shows wear, but looks much better than I'd imagine any 1939 formica or synthetic would look today. Its like having a giant chopping board to use, and no - we have never died or suffered from food poisoning.

The next 'class' is on Peruvian knitting and we were asked to bring fine yarn, in lots of colours to work with. I did a little swotting up and read about how bright colours are traditionally used so set about dying some. Yesterday Toby and I drove to Milton, 40 minutes south of Dunedin to check out the Milton Woolen Mill factory yarn shop, what a find! I purchased two cones of wool, one merino crossbred and one unknown 'wool' from the sale table. They also had possum merino 50g balls of dk weight for $3NZ, merino alpaca, and several weights of cone yarn, all labeled by sheep breed and spinning style. A fine gauge knitters idea of a yarn shop.

The original white yarn was a cone of merino 2 ply, the finer of the two in the image above, bought for the substantial sum of $5. It was marked 500m, but I wound of 2 batches of 200m yesterday to dye and didn't seem to alter the cone size at all. I clamped my warping pegs to give a skein length of 1m, and wound off two hanks each 210m, then dyed one orange and one green, they yarn bloomed considerably when dyed/washed. I plan to add blue, purple, pink and chocolate brown over the next 3 weeks so i am ready to knit something Peruvian at the next class.

While I was at the Mill factory shop, I did get waylaid by a basket of yarn at 20c a ball, which I though would be of use for the Peruvian class, but on arrival home found it was mostly singles yarn, so not of use for knitting. But I do have that table loom ...

At The Mill factory shop, also sold fibre for spinning in what I think are called slivers(?), most was merino blends, with silk or tencel, but they did have dyed merino fibre for $10 a kilo, in deep red, orange red and green. I've been thinking about spinning and so bought 50g of fibre on a whim, a whole 50c investment. Latter that same day I used internet instructions to build my own spindle, and last night played with spinning. Its not easy, but it was day one for me the beginner spinner and I liked it, I liked it a lot. The single yarn I made is not the kind of yarn I like to knit with, much to much twist, but I am a beginner and it was strangely satisfying. On friday I'm off to Ashburton home of Ashford, and thoughts of acquiring a spinning wheel are strong. Chris is not helping much, he is enabling this thinking, I have been scouting around second hand ones on Trademe, the New Zealand version of E-bay, .... I'll let you know.

Friday, September 21, 2007

working away .... calming down after yesterday!

Today, more progress knitting on Hedgerow, not much to report on Fannigan so no report (just plodding along on the raglan yoke shaping), I went to a knitters workshop this morning so some teeny tiny samples to show, and a new video. QuiltyKS very nicely asked via u-tube if I could post a video showing more detail on how I hold a single yarn. The videos I have posted before showed more the actual stitch forming, or the process with 2 yarns than the holding. So bonus today - new video.

Hedgerow, knitting sock two, past the rib, and on to the leg. I had around 3" of this knit last night - but frogged most of it before I went to bed. Yesterday I had an adrenaline moment - which seemed to affect me for much of the evening. My son was invited to a party after school, and we had planned he would go to the party in their car. During the day the mother organising the party texted me and said my 5 year old daughter(Poppy) was invited as well, We texted back and forth a bit - the upshot being that she would collect both Toby and Poppy from school and we would collected them around 5. School finishes at 3, at 3:30 I got a txt saying, she was home and I could bring Poppy around. Wild hyperventilating panic, as I rang the school, the office staff had no small girl left over, I waited on the phone and after some time, yes they did have my daughter safe. I text the 'other' mother and let her know Pops was still at school and I was going to get her.

So I drive madly to school, and the office was locked, no sign of her or any one. I rang the school office and somewhere deep inside the building they reported she was taken to the main gate by another friends mother, I went to the front gate - no sign of her, was the main gate one of the other 3 smaller gates? Rising panic... then an adult waved from the playground, it was one of Poppy's classmates mothers, she had noticed Poppy in the office and so had stayed on with her 3 children to play and keep her company until I got there. Finally some hour or so latter, I texted the 'mother who forgot' and let her know that Poppy was ok and safe. Turns out she went looking for Poppy and 'some other mother' said she had seen Poppy go home with her dad! Poppy was blisfully unaware of all of this and thought that extra play time with Corry was fab idea. I was shaking, but she is safe, people looked out for her, adults took care of her, No one left her along, and that is very comforting indeed.

Knitting last night was fraught with mistakes, I knew better than to work on fair isle, but on the socks I kept getting my row repeats all muddled, which put down to adrenaline from earlier in the day, also my dad came to stay from Waimate, and he sat in 'my' spot under the table lamp, so I found myself knitting in the dark edges of the room. On edge and in the dark - not good. And yes - I have noticed that the rib on one sock is slightly longer than the rib on the other - but we are in denial about that.

This morning I went to our monthly spinners and knitters workshop, where we sampled edges and bands. There were lots of books, some one bought new pathways for socks knitters to show- and now I know I want it. Its on my list. We talked, ate, had a cup of tea and knitted little samples. I have already done faced edges and picot edges, and i-cord before so had a play with double I cord (very nice once I got the hang of it), a twisted edge, and some ruffle samples. There was also a lot of book browsing and yarn admiring. A nice quiet time. A few of us are also signing up for a knit-to-fit workshop in November, a whole weekend away, so two away knit workshops this year - not bad.

And here is the latest video installment, apparently my earlier videos (thanks Bear) didn't show how the yarn worked through the fingers clearly - so this one aims to resolve that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The first socks I ever knit ... were a long time ago

... apparently I have been a sock knitter much longer than I thought, so I've got photos of a miss-spent youth to share, and a little more on knitting toes.

Way back in my early 20's, it was the early 1990's, teddy bears were popular, as was making and dressing porcelain dolls. A little like knitting nights, groups of us meet to work on our hobbies, pouring, painting, firing and dressing dolls. We even had conventions and national competitions, I traveled away to many. I readily admit to be a maker, and of liking technique, so very easily got sucked into doll making with all its associated bits. I had not realised that was the true start of my sock making. So I present one of the first socks I ever made, I think this was the 2nd or third all in cotton (no stretch) on 1.25 mm and 1.5 mm dpn's (thats 0000 and 000!) Following a pattern by Doris Thurlow, these were knit flat and seamed up the back. I didn't know about socks or anything else in the round back then, but knitted lace socks all the same. I can't believe I did it, I can't believe I wanted to do it! What was I thinking? Oh - I remember, I didn't like the fast-knit loose baggy ones for sale, and wanted something more in scale to the doll.

A closer look, this pair are less than 2" in length, and have a round toe, a shaped calf and knitted lace, but no gusset. Maybe thats why 2mm and 2.5mm dpns don't worry me now?

What did I learn?
- maybe I was meant to knit socks, or maybe I should really think about the why of making something much much more.

Fossicking around the web recently, I found this Grumperina entry. I've discussed sock toes before, here and here and while I am trying to make toes more part of the sock Grumperina deliberately makes the plain toes longer on socks whereas I am trying to shorten them. Maybe toes are meant to be plain? The plainer and longer the better? Am I the one out of kilter with the knit world - but no belatedly I realise Pomatomus has the beginings of a patterned toe, you simply omit the increases and keep working in pattern in the initial stage, then work the rest of the toe plain. I'll think on it, but it reminds me of a comment Suzanne left some time ago about Diamante with its gusset extension fitting better, there is obviously more to fitting and shaping a sock than increasing and decreasing.

Lastly I was looking for a stretchy bind off for machine knitting. Please don't abandon me at the mention of a machine, but bear with me for a while longer, I can machine knit, and I have some final year degree students machine knitting things for their collections, so I dabble, you understand, but only for work reasons. Its not like I have a machine at home - I have three but all are on semi perm-loan to work. Well I didn't find any understandable stretch bind offs for machine knitting,
Back to looking for stretchy machine knitting bind off instructions I found this, which is apparently in English but not understandable at all. I think they are adding extra stitches between the stitches using a 2nd knitting bed, so it maybe it is the equivalent this? Sort of making extra stitches in the last row.
But why am I talking about this here in this hand knitting blog? Because that difficulty of getting a stretchy bind off is the very reason I hand knit, technical difficulties are so much easier to overcome in hand knitting where with two sticks or 5 or one and yarn you can create anything, but with a machine the simplest things become near impossible. There may well be a stretch bind off - but if so its not easy to find.

this is post number 101, the Knitknitfrog has officially now one hundred posts. I'm not quite sure what the correct knit blog protocol is to celebrate, I do have vague plans for when visitor numbers trip 10K, but hadn't thought much about the 100 th post.

what a wonderful toe, so round!

and I've got some news to brag about... hence the early and short post.

Hedgerow 1 is finished, and isn't that litle donut so cute? The second sock or Hedgerow 2 will start soon, but tonight I plan to work a little more on Fannigan (I should iron but ...)

and I got a post accepted into Yarnivales 12th issue!
really truly I did and its here
happy dance - and and lot of interesting reading to catch up on ..

Friday, September 14, 2007

trust the instructions, and just knit

This week I tried to be to clever which resulted in a frog episode, this mornings poolside knitting was totally frogged, and Fannigan is growing slowly. The new Knitty is up and so the list of socks I want to knit next grows, I'm now in Ravelry and have some, two, beginner tips and a round up of the knitting year to date.

so, I've often wondered why sock toes are plain, especially after seeing the images of embossed leaves socks in Favorite Socks, where Mona Schmidt aims to integrate the leaf repeat into the star toe. So trying to be 'to clever' this morning while sitting poolside during small-fry swim lessons I continued the hedgerow rib into the toe section of my sock and worked the decreases into the pattern. Bad move, bad bad move, the toe flares not narrows. The first image is after 3 decrease rounds so should show significant narrowing. Now the togs (swim clothes) are in the washing machine, the kids are playing semi quietly, and hedgerow is shorter than it was 10 minutes ago. I will put her back on the needles - live stitches don't bother me. So sorry Jane - I promise to trust you completely on sock 2.

Some times we learn best by making mistakes, and I've not read or understood before the reason sock toes are plain-ish - thats not to say its not written anywhere, I'm sure it is. Just I learn't the 'hard way', if 30 minutes of poolside knitting could be considered hard.

Fannigan - grows slowly, but not quite as slowly as the garter ribbed jersey for Bear - I think I knit nearly 2 rounds in the last week on that. Once Fannigan is off the needles I'll focus on Garter-Rib. Back to talking about Fannigan, I've just started the raglan happing, and the slivery threads you see are fishing line, quite good stitch holders but you do need a clever fisher folk handy to tie the right sort of knot in the slippery stuff. I use my at hand fly fisher Bear. There are pros and cons of using fishing line, pros are its slippery and very very easy to pick stitches up of, cons - well it is springy and for the first few rows it gets in the way of knitting.

The new knitty - one of my favourite sock knitters Deb has the back to basics sock pattern inspired by Cat Bordhi that is now on my to knit list. Also on my to knit list are the Chalet socks in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. Pam was knitting these at a knit-night a few weeks ago and the twisting traveling stitches appeal. So that makes the list (in no particular order), Diamante, Chalet, Embossed leaves, Brother Amos, and something by Cat. That book is on my get soon list, which will I'm sure in turn increase my wish-knit list.

Ravelry - its good, for me I've snatched so little time to linger there my page is bare, but you can spend a lot of time just clicking around seeing other peoples projects. I miss the action on KR - activity has really declined recently. I think if I was beginning to make my way into the knitting web-word, Ravelry would be all I'd need, in many ways it replaces much of what a blog can do. I also expect that for people like me who follow some patterns, but design their own, and want to read about techniques and see ideas fleshed out in blogs by very clever knitters, then Ravelry won't ever be enough.

What do those on the Ravelry list need to know,
First - put lots of images of current and finished project, and of your stash into Flickr, then loading up your projects and stash is easy. I had put stash and FO images into flickr in readiness- but forgot the progress images. So this last few days I had to export web ready images of my current wip's and upload them.
If you want to list your knitting books as well, load them up into Library thing, so you just have to export and upload the list. There will be other little things that make 'entering and setting up Ravelry easier - but as I said, I've only briefly visited this last few days. I have found 6 other Dunedin knitters are members, 3 I've meet at knit-nights. And 34 nz'ders. I post links to blogs, where they have them, in a week or two.

and a round up, one of Ravelry's options is to list WIP's, and to mark them as Finished Objects once complete. People are backdating, and loading up FO as well. So I did a quick summary using my blog, my photo library and my knitting workbook/visual diary.
so far in 2007 I have knit (or crocheted),
  • 1 childs sweater,
  • 2 baby blankets (fair isle and the fish blanket is big enough to use),
  • 1 BSJ,
  • 1Pr felted fibre trends clogs,
  • 3 wash cloths,
  • 3 hats (ok one was for a teddy bear),
  • 2 pairs childs mittens, and 6 pairs of socks.
  • 1 dolls house blanket
  • 2 felted bowl
  • 2 i-pod covers
  • one teddy sweater
I have also revamped a cabled cardigan and will finish Fannigan for me before years end. My knitting for 2006 and 2007 is on show here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

progress, mail, and nearly there ...

Today, progress reports on my two main projects (Hedgerow and Fannigan), more mail arrived, and a Queue update.

So progress on Hedgerow is good, I've turned a very nice heel, many thanks to Jane, and now am working on decreasing the gusset stitches all away. Sock progress always seems quicker once the heel is done, top down or toe up, doesn't matter, just quicker. Jane's instructions are very very clear, and very sensible, down to picking up and decreasing out extra stitches to hide the typical gap between gusset and heel flap. And explaining why the heel cup starts with a wrong side row (nicer finish).

And more progress reporting, Fannigan has both sleeves completed, and I'm now working on the yoke, I've decided to work Fannigan as a knit in the round raglan. I was thinking of a saddle shouldered shaping, but two things stopped me. First the arrangement of the stripes as I worked the saddle was an issue I could not resolve for a saddle shouldered stripped sweater- would I keep the stripes, would I abandon them and replace them with more stars across the saddle, would I knit the saddle plain or stripped - and how would I get it all matching up? I sketched various options - but none appealed. My other option was to knit fannigan as a raglan, with the stripes continuing around the body, until just below the neck line shaping. That is what I did for Poppy's mint merino raglan, and it worked well. I did knit the last portion where short rows lift the back neck - in one colour. I think this is a nicer option for Fannigan as well, partly as I would rather not short row in fair isle (read purl back and risk this), and also because I'm not sure what to do with the pattern as rows disapear into the neck line.

You might notice I've worked the first inch or so on two circs - which helps with knitting past that narrow section where the underarm stitches are on a holder and there is not enough distance there to stretch out for ease of knitting the sleeve section. I've now moved to a single circular, but realise that I really need to make sure I have two of each circs in the sizes I use most to make this easier when knitting sweaters in the round.

Fannigan will probably have a square neck line, so I need to think through what to do after casting off the front neck stitches. Do I shape the back in a curve - or try and plan it straight. I also need to work on what do do once she is steeked along the center front - will I fold and face with gros-grain, will I knit a facing, or an extension as on the baby blanket, can I find fabric the right colour to bind it with as in the originals? Decisions, decisons ...

I also found that working the first row of a corrugated rib in K1Green,P1Red was not a good way to prevent flick up, see.... Won't be doing that again any time soon. The sleeves were worked this way, but the body had a single row of K1P1 in green to set the rib before working the corrugated K1P1 rib in colour. That is not showing any tendency to flick up.

So, today when I got home from a v.looooong day of meetings with students, its a mid project checkpoint, and then finishing with recording a nearly hour long interview with a first year student for my study ... there were not one but two parcels on the table for me. How nice, there were also two huggy kids and a Bear cooking pasta for dinner - I felt truely spoilt. Parcel one was Folk socks by Nancy Bush, and it looks good. Lots of toe and heel options to study in more detail. My kind of book. I'm planning to work my way through a book or so a month. This is something I do occasionally - build up my library collection in one area - right now it is sock technique books. Parcel number two (from the knittingzone)- had two items, Trekking sock yarn, an undyed skein, and a set of 4" steel dpns in 2.25mm. I love my brittany needles, the warmth and the shortness, but after that one broke I feel the need for something more sturdy in that smaller size. The undyed Trekking I plan to semi-solid dye fire and brimstone colours (flames with a hint of dark charcoal maybe...?) and use in Brother Amos socks.

Nearly there, so close and yet so far, I'm expecting my 'invite' to arrive tomorrow, this is where I am tonight (12th sept)
* 226 people are ahead of you in line.
* 19935 people are behind you in line. (nearly 20,000 waiting!)

and this is where I was this time last week,
# 952 people are ahead of you in line.
# 18496 people are behind you in line
so 726 people invited in this last week(?), yet a whopping 1,439 added to the queue! Its hard to imagine so many net savvy knitters out there in(on?) the web. Also hard to imagine how so many people can be added at any one time when Ravelry eventually goes live, without some sort of bottle neck.

But it will be next week before I can take a day off work and play away some time in Ravelry. Next Tuesday or Thursday to be exact .... until then I'll be snatching time in the evenings and not knitting .....

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The crochet video I promised

But here is a rather brief video of a a single crochet stitch, as promised. I can't remember being taught to crochet, and its not something I profess to being an expert at. I do know that my family relocated from Auckland to Dunedin in the early 1970's when I was 6 or 7 and I could already crochet then. My Nana taught me, she is still around and aged 94 or so. I had real problems with following patterns, nothing I crocheted ended up flat, I must have had a tendency to increase willy-nilly. The up side was my Barbie and Syndy dolls had the most amazing ruffled crochet flamenco skirts.

... Introducing the finished blocked hat for Poppy, with matching Teddy hat for Curly Bear (not blocked). Both hats made up as you crochet with multiple frogging. Curly has featured here before. Ok so now there is only 4 Wip's in the knitting basket - Bears (Big spousal bear) garter rib sweater, My silk merino fanna cardigan, Hedgerow socks, and the very slow cook Fish blanket.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Where did that come from - an Instant completed project!

Ta Da!

Can you guess what this is? It is yarn, but not knitted. The beginings and endings of a crochet hat for Poppy. No pattern, just winged it, with a bit, make that a lot, of frogging. It is still frogging if it is crochet? I think so. Instead of knitting, yes my wrists are better (thank you for asking), I crocheted, and managed to finish this hat. It was an abandoned WIP from last summer, languishing in my yarn drawer, right at the back. Its Regia 4 Fach Haltbar, Col 5414 batch 50379
(41% superwash wool, 34% cotton, 25% polymid, I've had it about a year - and ordered it for socks but found it brighter and stripier than I expected - so put it aside. Perfect I thought for a crochet Derby style hat, but other projects came and took over my attention. I've got a 2nd 100g ball, so maybe next year a hat one size larger?

I pulled it out from stash during tidy up recently, crocheted a few rounds and then tried it on Poppy, then increased and flared out a brim section. After a few cm's I tried it on Poppy, and well, her face says it all really. That hat would have been ok with a clown outfit, in a "fits on top of my head but looks to small for me" way. The proportions needed adjusting somewhat.

So I frogged the brim, and lengthened the sides. Last night I added a new brim, and then slipped stitched around the edge to stabilise it and add some stiffness. This morning I soaked and wet blocked, rolled and stomped on it in a towel. Around here that is a family affair with all the kids lining up for a turn to stomp on the towel.

For now it is drying in a sunny spot in the lounge, on a balloon blown up to 2 cm larger than Poppy's head. I plan to find some suitable grosgrain and machine stitch in a hat band to finish it nicely.

Just for the record my 5 year old girl has a 50 cm head in case any distant relatives are looking for little girls head sizes. And tomorrow if time permits - I plan to upload a crochet tutorial video I played with today.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Progress, progress ...

Today - maybe a motivation tip, I'll tell how work typing needs slow my knitting progress, and stash like you would not believe!

Motivation, or 'how to keep interested and going on what you are knitting', for me I think the trick is to have at least one of my current projects on hand that is nearly finished - then that "I did it, I did it, I did it" dance and the urge to show all around you how clever you are feels close, close enough to spur you on. Right now - Fannigan sleeve 2 is around 14 cm off being complete and that feels like a 'finish' moment.

There is the yoke to knit I am still not quite sure what to do there. I am following progress by Bellsknits on her fair isle jacket/cardie, who has finished the body and sleeves, as part of a jacket steekalong. I wish I had been in on that .. but never mind. Next time, maybe. The jacket seems steeked with a saddle shoulder . A variation on what I was planning - an EZ knit in the round saddle shoulder. There are a few knitters on the steek along, all at different stages, Louise has unexpected happenings to deal with - which makes for good reading and learning. Oh secretly I must be a knitting Voyer!

While Hedgerow is progressing nicely, knitting a little bit here and a little bit there. I really do love the colour of this yarn. I am doing some research interviewing and transcribing. This means much typing, on a lap top, not good, for a few days my hands and wrists have been aching. I've still been knitting but lie in bed at night knowing I should not have knit. Things tingle which is not good. Today I adjusted my work chair way up, and found the footrest under my desk and really made an effort to lift my wrists - tonight my hands feel better. I will cut back on the knitting while I am doing the transcribing - just to be on the safe side.

and a final word on stash ... now you may all have come across this before - but it is new to me, so just a quick peek at a real stash, my two small draws is nothing, nothing, not like the Yarn Harlot who uses spare space behind books on bookcases and within the base of her upright piano and nothing even close to this labled the largest stash in the world and they probably are right.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I've got mail - the old fashioned kind,

A few weeks ago, Bear asked if I wanted this book, while he was buying some darkroom books. You see Amazon suggested this, he must have been known to buy the odd sock book. I wonder why? hhmmmm
Yesterday it arrived - and I think between Hedgerow, and Brother Amos (yes that arrived yesterday as well), and the other book I ordered yesterday from Amazon for myself I guess it will be a year or two of socks.

And stash - Yes Tania I do have Stash, albeit a small stash, only two shallow drawers in a large set of drawers, and a plastic tub in the hall cupboard. See the side bar for an update.
And I am all prepared to be very very sheepish when I become a Ravelry addict like better knitters than me, such as Stellify and Tania and Jussie. Can you believe the waiting list to Ravel is over 19,o00 people! Just as well we are all knitting something to Ravel latter. I looked myself up today, and with 1,033 ahead of me (11,000 already in), and 18,000 behind me - that is just huge! - Don't you love how the waiting list checker is coded 'Antsy'?
So ...
  • You are #12039 on the list.
  • 1033 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 18357 people are behind you in line.
  • 36% of the list has been invited so far
Do you feel so so sorry for that 30,396th person (maths 12039+18357)
- do you think they knew they were so far down the list when they signed up? (we are not at all sorry for the 12,039th person - she has many many WIP's to finish),
and yet you know that within a day or so another hundred or more will clip on to that list.