Thursday, February 24, 2011

I read a book!

I read a book this month! Yes, that makes 2 whole books for 2011 (so far!). Heh!

(I am in the process of reading others though...)

It was this one:
Yes, a knitting book. But not just any knitting book, this one (a lovely christmas gift from Bells) is more like a ramble through Elizabeth Zimmerman's crazy amazing knitting mind, her fishing and other adventures with her "Old Man" and a bunch of pithy patterns for various knitterly goodness.

I already had the little green paperback edition of the Knitter's Almanac, but had never really read it, apart from bits of the February chapter, with the famed February Baby Sweater. But this edition, the commemorative edition, is a hardback with lovely colour photos of the patterns, along with the also-famous February Lady Sweater, and a lovely introduction from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who found a knitting soul-mate in EZ and this book in particular.

I'm really glad I've now read it all, not least because it's really entertaining. I can only aspire to the level of creativity (or unventing) of EZ, but at least I can knit her patterns. I especially like the blanket in the April chapter - it looks great knitted up in Noro (I assume) - and has such a clever construction.
I think it's a book every knitter should own, and I'd recommend the fancy version, even if you've already got the paperback!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Remember my Week of Wollmeise? Way way back in September 2009? Well, I've finally finished one of those projects! (and I have been knitting on a few of the others too). Yay for Binding Off 2011!

Meet husby's Frankensocks:
So called because they are a hodge-podge of patterns and because, well, they are a bit ugly. Not quite what I had in my head when I was planning them. But husby likes them, which is all that matters in the end. And I learnt a few new things too, which is always a good thing.

Pattern(s): I used the Latvian twist cast on for the top of the sock, from Nancy Bush's Canada sock from Knitting on the Road. Very easy! The downside - makes a bunch of extra ends to weave in!
Then a standard ribbed cuff. Next I used the chart from the Christmas in Tallinn stocking, from the same book. It worked over 72 stitches, and was a nice simple snowflake pattern. It wasn't very clear on the first sock, so I reversed the colours on the second one (top sock in photo below), and you can see the snowflakes much better.
The rest of the sock is regular stocking stitch, with a slip stitch heel flap and a wedge toe.

Yarn: Wollmeise of course! Wollmeise Twin, in Birkenrinde and Dunkle Kirsch for the contrast toe, twist cuff and fair isle section. I really really enjoyed knitting with this yarn and hope it wears well. Since husby is the first in our family to have Wollmeise socks!
Sticks: I used 2.75mm dpns for the cuff, 2.5mm dpns for the fair isle chart and the next few rows, and then 2.25mm dpns for the rest of the sock. You can see that the yarn flashes on the larger needles, but once I switched to the smallest sticks, the yarn started to behave quite nicely, and striped. I decided to use the needle changes to add shaping, rather than mess around with decreases as well as the fair isle band.

Time: 7 September 2009 - 31 January 2011. Although they were in hibernation from the end of 2009 until around December 2010. And with a bit of attention, the second sock took less than a month, weeeeeeee!
What I learnt: Latvian twist cast on! That highly variegated yarns don't really work in fair isle! How changing stick size affects tension and the way variegated yarns behave! (well, I did pretty much know that already, but this is a really good demonstration).
I'm so pleased to have these off the sticks!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I miss my Dad

Today is the fifth anniversary of my Dad's death. And Connor's 9 mo "birthday".

A couple of Christmases ago, my mum gave us a photo album filled with photos of my Dad, along with some of my (very embarrassing) childhood Father's Day art and other memorabilia. She did one for each of my brothers and herself as well, a big undertaking given none of the photos were in digital form. Some of these, like his baby and childhood photos, I'd never seen before.

I got the album out today and lit a candle and picked some rosemary for my Dad. And I showed Connor the pictures and told him how much his Pa would have loved him, does love him.
I'm going to make this an annual event. And will do it for Husby's father too, who died 12 years ago this January gone. I grew up without most of my grandparents and know little about them. I want to ensure that even though Connor won't ever have a Pa or a Poppy that he will feel like he knows them anyway.

I miss my Dad.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Anniversary Socks

Now that it has been received, I can finally post about a little something something I made for the winner of my 2009 (!!) blogthday competition! (I know, I know, but I explained all to the recipient Sarah in advance!)

Pattern: Anniversary Socks by Nancy Bush, from Interweave's 25 Favourite Socks book. I'm a big fan of socks with patterning on only the front or back (especially for magic looping) and of course being a prize for my blog anniversary, I thought this pattern especially fitting.

I really like how the small cable flows from the ribbing all the way down the leg and foot of the sock. I also like the combination of the cable and lace patterning. And the eye of partridge heel. Looks so good in this yarn (hmmm, better than in the picture!)

Yarn: Wollemeise Twin (80/20) in Dunkle Kirsch, about 85gm I think. I forgot to weigh the socks! These are the first socks I've knit (and finished) in the Wollemeise and gosh it is lovely stuff. Love knitting with it, love the stitch definition, love the finished product. It is a tad splitty, but I've found one of the benefits of being a slow knitter is that this isn't so much of an issue!

Sticks: 2.5mm KnitPicks Harmony fixed circulars.

Time: 31 August 2009 (yes, the day before my Week of Wollmeise!) - 11 December 2010 (um, it took me a while to block and post them to Sarah - my excuse was I wanted to avoid posting during the christmas rush!). I had a bit of a break in the middle there due to my pregnancy induced Wollmeise aversion - luckily for me, Sarah was very understanding of the delays!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

StashDownUnder - January Total

So I signed up for StashDownUnder this year, with the aim of using 5 balls of yarn each month this year. And not buy any. Or at the very least, come out stash negative for the entire year. I'm not sure I can actually go a whole year without buying any yarn at all ... so I'm not going to make a promise I'm pretty sure I can't keep.

But I am pleased to report that I did not buy any yarn this month! So going well so far!

I'm going to run my StashDown totals in 3 ways - just because I kinda like details which are meaningless but interesting. Interesting to me, anyway! First off, I'll do it how I always have, just by number of actual balls used. Then I'll do it by converting to 8ply equivalent (4ply is double, laceweight is quadruple, worsted/aran is 0.75 etc) (but I'll only do that for the yarn knit, not the yarn given away/destashed). And finally, by metres used! (Got to keep my maths brain working somehow...)

January 2010
Actual balls used (including yarn given away): 10 x 50g (5 knit, 5 gifted)
8ply equivalent: 12 x 50g (7 balls knit, 5 gifted)
Metres used: 1399m (709m knit, 690m gifted)

Yay, on track!

In other news, I wanted to acknowledge a lovely gift I received last week. One of my blog buddies, Michele, has knit a fab-o cardigan for Connor. Not only knit it, but she indigo dyed the yarn herself as well.
It's a Norah Gaughan pattern, and it's so very cool. I can't wait until it fits Connor (I kind of wish I was a lot smaller and skinnier so I could wear it in the meantime! heh!)
Thanks so much Michele!