Friday, September 28, 2007

In case you were wondering

Just in case you were wondering how far a single skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock goes, here's the answer:
I didn't want to have two small balls of yarn left over from these socks, which is what I would have had if I'd started sock 2 with the new ball of yarn. So I just kept on going with the old one (these are knitted on 2.25mm sticks, 70 stitches to a round). Of course, if I'd done the toe in the same yarn, I would have only gotten half a leg, but I do like my signature red toe (which I've decided I'll only use on husby's socks - so he's special!)

In a pre-Southern Summer of Socks update (I can't bring myself to use SSS all the time, because of it's other meaning!), I've started the gusset decreases on these babies! A sustained bout of knitting over the weekend just might see these finished...fingers crossed! (well, not literally, because that would make the knitting a bit hard!). And even if I'm not, well, heck, I'm going to start a new pair on Monday anyway!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Third Time Lucky

After your comments last week on this, and much fortifying of myself in terms of making me give up on a project*, I decided to try the Midwest Moonlight pattern in my lovely orange Alpaca Silk Lustre - and I'm glad I did - I'm very happy with the result! Of course, I've had to put this on the backburner a bit this week, as I'm madly trying to finish my Spey Valley socks in time for the start of Southern Summer of Socks, as well as sewing up Beau, in time for husby's birthday the following week! Need more time in the day.
Sigh! Thank goodness 1 October is a public holiday! Yippee!
And a close up of the pattern - just because it's so pretty! Question though - is there any problem wet-blocking an alpaca blend yarn?

*(I do have a little confession...I still haven't actually frogged the two attempts at Backyard Leaves in this yarn...I will, I promise!).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SHOESday: Purple

Bells nominated Purple shoes as today's theme, and I'm happy to go with that! (I did have to choose between a couple of options though...the other pair can wait!)

I think of these as my "Stepford Wife" shoes (or perhaps more correctly, my 1950s homemaker who gives her husband a martinin when he arrives home from work, after making sure the children are washed, fed and neat!) - I often wear them with a floral patterned, very girly dress and a 3/4 sleeve purple cardi and I feel all ladylike and domestic goddessy, clipping around in these completely impractical but so pretty shoes! (Even the heel is purple!)

(And I'm not really that girly most of the time, honest!)

Theme for next week - I'm looking for inspiration - what sort of shoes would you like to see, or would you like to flash?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Southern Summer of Socks - Personal Challenge

We've got lots of sign-ups for Southern Summer of Socks (it's not too late to join, if you want - a very relaxed sock KAL with next-to-no rules, some competitions, and a bit of fun!)

While I hate knitting to a deadline and like to be a bit flexible with what I'm going to make, I do find that it can help to have a goal or target in mind, every so often anyway. Starting this KAL is therefore the perfect time to set myself a bit of a personal sock challenge (more about personal challenges on the SSS blog).

My Personal Challenge

1. Try sock knitting with:
(a) a 30cm circular needle (one of those teeny tiny Addis)
(b) two circs
(c) magic loop

2. Try toe-up sock knitting

3. Knit at least one sock pattern from each of my sock pattern books (or at least, the ones I haven't yet used, despite the constant flipping through them.

4. Use as much of all the lovely gift yarn I've received over the past few months as possible.

My reward
To make it more interesting, I am going to give myself a reward if I achieve these challenges during the period of SSS (6 months - should be plenty of time!). Apart from a feeling of personal satisfaction (which should really be enough...but you know, an actual prize makes it more real!!), I will reward myself with (hmmm, so many choices!) either Socks That Rock sock yarn (which I've never used or even smooshed against my face as you do when faced with new and exciting yarn) or a copy of More Sensational Knitted Socks.

What's your personal sock challenge?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Of kindness and crochet

Somewhat random title for today's post, but two topics which are kind of linked...

On Kindness
This week, out of the blue, a package arrived in my in-tray at work. Hmm, I don't remember ordering anything (although, to be perfectly honest, it wouldn't surprise me if I ordered yarn in my sleep...).

Opened the package to find this:
GORGEOUS red yarn - Reynolds Sea Wool, that I've read about on various blogs - all to rave reviews. And the giver - lovely Amy - to say thank you for organising the Southern Summer of Socks - how lovely - so unnecessary, but so lovely (and enclosed in a ziplock bag)! And all this kindness when it should be Amy getting the presents - because today is her birthday! Weeeeeeeeeeeee! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY! (and speaking of kind, check out Amy's mitten tutorial - so detailed!)

And since I mentioned Southern Summer of Socks, I should add we're having a little design a button and banner comp - open until next Wednesday for SSS participants - the more the merrier! See the SSS blog for details!

On Crochet
I promised Michele to flash some crochet swatches - lucky I didn't promised fab photography! Hope these are clear! I've used 8ply/DK yarn and a 4mm crochet hook.

This is a simple double crochet (US single crochet) swatch - makes a thick, firm fabric. I always do a turning chain when I'm starting a new row, and also crochet into the first stitch - otherwise the turning chain doesn't really fill the "hole" at the beginning of the row. I do the turning chain at the end of the row, and then turn my work - it just looks neater, and for the longer crochet stitches, like trebles, it makes it easier to work into the top chain.This one is a treble (US double crochet) swatch. On this one, I do 3 turning chains at the beginning of the row, and then miss the first treble of the row below - you can see on every alternate row there's a bit of a "hole" - the 3 chains act as the first treble of the row. When you get to the end of the row, do the last treble into the top chain stitch of the row below, so that you retain the same number of stitches across the row. Often new crocheters miss this step, and so end up with a triangular shaped swatch!

You can also see how the trebles don't exactly fall on top of each other from row to row - there's a slight zigzag look, and the turning chain on the top row is a bit "floppy" - it will straighten up when it is crocheted into on the next row.

Hope this has helped! Let me know if there's any other crochet questions (not that I'm an expert, just that I've been doing it for a long time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Decisions decisions...

A while back I bought 4 balls of Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre in the most fabulous shade of orange, intending to use it to make the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style, a pattern I've admired for some time.

I cast on the scarf last week, using 5mm sticks. While I love knitting this (such a great pattern), I'm not so sure that the yarn/pattern combination is a marriage made in heaven. I think the yarn is a bit too fuzzy/foofy for the pattern, which probably works best in a smooth merino yarn (as originally specified!!). I also wondered if I should use smaller sticks (say, 4.5mm).

While I was in Canberra last weekend, I took the opportunity of asking Lulu (notorious admirer of pretty things) what she thought.
After puzzling over it for some time, she was pretty sure she loved it.But Bells, Jejune and Georgie shared my concerns. So, just to be sure it's not just a gauge problem, I've done 1-1/2 repeats using the 4.5mm sticks and to be honest, I can't see much difference (couldn't get a good pic in overcast light for comparison purpose, sorry!). Which I think means I have to frog...

What do you think? I really want to use this yarn for a scarf, preferably one that is not too wide, with a pattern that is a bit open but not overly lacey or structured. I'm thinking it might go nicely in the Midwest Moonlight pattern (also from Scarf Style). Or possibly this, which quite fortuitously I saw on Cozy's Place today. Opinions? Other possibilities?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SHOESday: Wedding Shoes

If yesterday was Monday, today must be SHOESday! Today's edition: my wedding shoes.

Before I was married, I had often toyed with the idea of wearing a red wedding dress (hmm, red dress - me - who'd a thunk it??!!). I used to tease husby about this after we got engaged, and he swore that if I walked down the aisle in a red dress he wouldn't marry me (I'm pretty sure he was joking...).

Anyway, reality got the better of me, partly because I'd look like a huge beetroot in a red fooffy wedding dress and also because, you know, what colour would my bridesmaids wear?? So I wore the traditional white dress, but I thought hang it, I'm going to wear red shoes at least! It's not like anyone can see them under a long dress anyway!

And so when I saw these, I knew they had to be mine. Our wedding was in February (that's summer, people!) and I did NOT plan on wearing stockings, nor did I plan on particularly high heels (husby is only a little taller than me, and besides, if I was going to standing up a lot, I didn't want to have sore feet at the end of the night). So sandals were perfect.
Red suede sandals with a cool heel and flower trim - are these not the most perfect wedding shoes ever! (Well, they were for me, anyway). (And for the record, my bridesmaids wore purple...)

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I received my fab-0 socks last week, from my sockpal PixelDiva - great colour, great fit, designed by her especially for me!! She also included a fab skein of rose red yarn and the cutest little lamb, with spare sock yarn just in case...I love these socks - a picot cuff, which I've always wanted to try on socks but haven't yet, and a great eyelet pattern down both sides of the leg and foot.
And best of all, an arrow lace pattern down the back of the sock - I really like the idea of the pattern at the back - looks like a plain sock from the front but the real interest is behind!Now just have to decide what to make with the yummy squishy yarn - something for me, me me!!
And if you want to be further impressed, check out Bells - after some not inconsiderable effort, Bells is almost at the summit with her steeked jacket - a fantastic effort of which I am so jealous!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Progress report

Well, I haven't gotten quite as far on Beau as I'd hoped - I have finished the front but haven't started seaming or the collar. Maybe this weekend?
I have finished the first Spey Valley sock, which I'm pretty happy with - minimal pooling around the gusset area, unlike my experience with the Jaywalkers!
I used 2.25mm sticks for these, one size down from my usual 2.5mm sticks - love how the socks feel, so soft and smooshy! And I've even cast on the second sock, no SSS on these ones - I'm hoping to have these finished for husby's birthday in early October.
And just for Catsmum, more new niece details:
Hannah Elise, born last Monday 3 September, weighing 8lb exactly! Probably not going to be a redhead like her older brother!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If yesterday was Monday...

If yesterday was Monday, today must be SHOESday!

Introducing a new regular feature, right here, on my blog, every SHOESday.
I thought I'd start with an old familiar fave, the shoe that you and I all know and love (well, maybe you don't love it as much as I do, and that's ok...I guess!). Deep purple velvet upper and shiny shiny perfect-shade-of-red shaped wedge heels. Divine!I had seen these shoes in a magazine for a very large amount of money, way out of my league. But on a trip to Singapore, I found them on sale, on HUGE sale, and in my size, which alone is quite an achievement - I have a large foot by Singaporean standards (size 39 or 8 to 8.5). So I gleefully snapped them up and have no regrets. In fact, they would have been worth paying full price, in hindsight. I feel like a million dollars when I wear these shoes - and since I don't have many (ok, no) red carpet events to attend, I wear them to work. And I love them - these are easily my favourite pair of shoes. Look at that heel - from the back so thin, looks like a regular heel, but then the wedge, the fabulously shaped wedge.
And the button closure - yes, it's a real velvet covered button. And the hidden pleasure of the inside of the shoe entirely lined in red leather. Shoe perfection!

Next week: my wedding shoes.

And if anyone else wants to play along, I'd love to see yours!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Because all little girls love horses

Because all little girls love horses (well, except me) I have made these baby jodhpur style pants for my new niece, Hannah.Well, I started them before she was born, when I didn't know if she was going to be a Hannah or a Harry, as I figured they were fairly unisex (so clearly am fibbing above). I just thought they were cute. So Hannah arrived last Monday and it was time to finish these, so I worked on them all week.

And hated most of it.

I've decided that knitting to a deadline really kills the pleasure for me. So I either need to start things well early, or just gift them late - why do something which I don't enjoy. Like the Yarn Harlot suggests in Casts Off, just as it is possible to knit love into a gift, I think it is possible to knit loathing as well - and that's not a good thing, is it!

So, details:

Pattern: Jodphur style pants, from Panda book #205, Adorable Baby Knits - this is a very reasonably priced baby pattern book with lots of easy baby knits.

Yarn: Rowan 4ply cotton, about 1.5 x 50g balls, in oatmeal colour. The pattern uses wool, but as Hannah's older brother has very sensitive skin and can only wear cotton, I thought she might be the same, so used this cotton instead. It knits up well, and is quite soft to touch, for a cotton yarn. Bonus points for using yarn from the stash!

Sticks: 3.5mm Addi Turbo circular

Time: 19 August 2007 - 8 September 2007
Modifications: As the cotton ribbed waistband is not quite as stretchy or tight as it would be in wool, I made it a bit shorter than the pattern, and folded it over and sewed it down on the inside, so elastic could be threaded around the waist. If I was making this pattern again, I would convert it to knit in the round, from the waistband down.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good things come in threes

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I've won another prize - but as we all know, good things come in threes, so I guess this is it for some time. Not that I'm complaining, mind!Lovely yarn from Donni - which was originally, she tells me, a rather bright shade of pink. Not a very RoseRed colour. So, clever girl that she is, she overdyed it for me, and now it is RustRed. A lovely shade, which I've earmarked for Cookie's Twisted Flower pattern (I think...)

Because I've been the recipient of so much good karma lately, I thought it timely to top up my karma points a little, because it's always a good thing to be in the black, right.

And finally, if you are in the market for some KnitPicks needles (options, dpns and fixed circs) head on over to Donni's online shop - she's got a great giveaway on right now!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Beau - almost there...

Since, you know, winter is almost over and all, it seemed to me to be a good time to try and finish Husby's Beau jumper. So he'll be able to spend the whole summer looking forward to the time when he can actually wear it next winter. For about two weeks next winter, probably.

I took advantage of the warm weather on Sunday to block the sleeves:
And am almost finished the front - just the tops to go, then collar and sewing up (doesn't blocking make a difference!).

Who knows, I just might get this finished by the end of this weekend!!