Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Totally Terrific Three Tsock Pattern Club #1 Nutkins!

I've had this pattern in my queue for such a long time, and so was very excited when it was voted one of the patterns for the Super Special Six Pattern Sock Club (or in my case, the Totally Terrific Three Tsock Pattern Club!)

And I had the perfect yarn - the yarn called for in the pattern, in the exact colour used by the designer!  It was, in fact, this pattern, which made me covet the Wollmeise Spice Market so much.  Which is odd to me, since I hardly ever wear brown shades.  But this colour, I just love it.  The depth of colours, the way it works in this pattern. 
I'm really sorry that I can't capture it accurately in the photos!

Pattern:  Nutkin, by Beth LaPensee.  I made a few modifications to this pattern - just to accommodate my personal preferences.  Lots of people in the group on Ravelry were determined to do the pattern as written, to try the short row heel and toe, but I  suppose I wasn't knitting them to learn something new, I just wanted a nice pair of socks that I knew would fit me - and short row heels are not friends with my feet!
Yarn:  Wollmeise Twin (80/20) in Spice Market (dark).  Cannot tell you how much I love knitting with Wollmeise and how happy I am with the way this colour knitted up!  I used about 105gm of the 150 gm skein.  What a nice bunch of leftovers! 

Sticks:  I used 2.75mm dpns for the cuff and first 3 pattern repeats, then changed to 2.5mm dpns for the rest of the leg and foot. 
Modifications:  Instead of the folded cuff, I did a tubular cast on with a twisted 1x1 rib.  Instead of the short row heel I did my favourite eye of partridge heel flap and gussets.  And finally, instead of the short row toe I did a standard wedge toe.

Time:  We had two months to knit this pattern, and I made it, hurrah!  1 March 2011 - 29 April 2011.

It's interesting, there is a lot of talk about how this pattern biases - which it does, for many people!  The designer suggests it is due to how you pick up the stitches when knitting down the turned cuff, but I think it is the pattern itself, as mine biased and I did a different cuff entirely.  But the biasing doesn't bother me, I just make sure the sock is twisted around correctly when I put it on!

I love my lovely new wollmeise socks (my first pair for myself - it won't be the last!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big balls and hot nuts

Yes, because I am really a 12 yo boy...

On Sunday I made the 3 hour drive to Our Nation's Capital, with 3 lovely lady companions (well, when I said I made the drive, I sat comfortably in the back knitting the whole time!), for the purpose of visiting the Old Bus Depot Markets for the Celebration of Wool day.  The markets are a regular event, but the wool day is once (or is it twice?) a year.  It was my first visit, and it was a very good market, I thought, not just for wool (and other yarns) but just generally.  A really nice selection of other stalls (very little crap, like you can find at some markets) and some great food stalls.

So in case you can't guess, the Big Balls refers to all the huge hanks (some formed into balls) of natural coloured merino, and the Hot Nuts is of course the freshly cooked caramel macadamias.  I scoffed at the others when they said they were going to get some nuts, but when the nut man offered me a sample, I was sold like the most gullible person ever. 

I think between us we'd eaten half the bag before we even left the market (ok, it was mostly me!)  And I only bought them as we were walking out, heh! (this photo was taken after I'd arrived back home and had a few more...)

But like the bad photographer I am, I did not get any photos at all at the market, so you'll just have to imagine the Big Balls for yourself.  According to those who'd been before, it wasn't as good as in previous years - fewer yarns and possibly fewer attendees as well, but I still had a good time and of course made some purchases...

Merino Twist x 2, MCN sock and Merino Silk
All of these from Fibrewebs - because we all know I have a terrible shortage of red sock yarn and sock yarn in general...

Lang Jawoll Magic
And this lovely from Rex and Evelyn Reynolds Yarn Supplies.  I could have bought one in every colour, but restrained myself...although I did encourage others to partake, because buying vicariously is almost as good as buying for myself!

After tiring ourselves out shopping, we were in need of fortification, so headed to a great Malaysian/Chinese restaurant called Sammy's, with some other Sydney knitting pals.  And had a huge and amazingly inexpensive feast.  With maybe just room for a hot chocolate (ok, and a chocolate sample plate) afterwards at nearby Koko Black. 

After that we were ready for the trip back. It was a really lovely way to spend my Sunday, and Canberra turned on beautiful weather for us - my overcoat and huge shawl were not even required!  Thanks to Ingrid and Linda for chauffering me!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Connor's birthday vest

Now what sort of knitter would I be if I didn't make the little fella a new handknit item to wear for his birthday (I guess I'm lucky his birthday falls in mid-autumn and not mid-summer, heh!).

As it can still be quite warm around this time of year (just not yesterday, brrrrr), I thought a vest would be best.  And I had this lovely handspun from my clever knitting and now spinning friend Ms Funky.  Perfect!

Pattern:  Argyle Slipover from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss.  Of course, I omitted the argyle, and I converted the pattern to be knit in the round up to the armholes and then flat.  I also did a three needle bind off for the shoulder seams and knit the armhole bands in the round.  Of course, even with that, I still had 20 ends to sew in once the knitting was done - gah!!

I wasn't sure I'd have enough of the red for the body, so I added in a couple of stripes across the chest, just to be safe.  I was knitting pretty close to the wire, deadline wise, so I didn't want to have to rip back in case I ran out.

As it turns out, I would have had enough, but I still like the stripes!

Yarn:  150g of Fruit Salad handspun from Ms Funky, plus some of the turquoise colour for the contrast edging.  And about 5g of Rowan True Botany 4ply in a similar-ish turquoise (shade 552 Frost) for the stripes.

Sticks:  3mm and 3.25mm KnitPicks Harmony Options.

Time:  17 April 2011 - 6 May 2011.  Just squeaked it in, with time for a wash and block the day before his birthday (thank goodness it was sunny that day!)
Paired with his new jeans (from Gap!  Yay for having Gap in Australia finally, although booo for how expensive it is), I think he looks pretty darn cool!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

They say time flies...

and they'd be right!
It's a cupcake-erpillar!
Yes, it was the little fella's first birthday today.
I can hardly believe it!  Since it was also mothers day, we had a family bbq to celebrate.  And to top it off, we had a perfect sunny autumn day for it.  I didn't quite get a sleep in (well, not for as long as I would have liked, heh!) or breakfast in bed, and I spent the morning baking cupcakes and other prep work, but the good thing about bbqs is the  leftovers, which meant no cooking for dinner, huzzah!

And it was a lovely lovely day.  Hope you all had a lovely Sunday too. 

Friday, May 06, 2011

Strength in every stitch

At around the same time as we were all devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, one of my friends lost her mother unexpectedly. So I did what knitters in these circumstances so often do. I got out my sticks and a special yarn and, using a pattern sold to benefit the earthquake relief funds, I made a shawl for my friend.
eiki, by Janel Laidman. This pattern was designed and released just after the devastation in Japan, and the profits are donated by the designer to various disaster relief funds. According to the designer, eiki means "strength" in Japanese, and I thought that was exactly what my friend would need in the times ahead of her.

The pattern itself is a small shawl, the main portion done in garter stitch and the edging in stocking stitch with a lacy leaf pattern. It will use a largish skein of sock yarn, although I used a laceweight.

Yarn: Habu Tsumugi Silk! In red #52, from the stash. Japanese yarn, for a friend who loves this yarn, for a pattern to aid Japan. Couldn't have been more perfect, really. And it had the specified yardage as required by the pattern - although surprisingly, I had about 100 yards left over. This is an interesting yarn - a bit rough to knit with, but not uncomfortably so, but yet soft in the knitted fabric.

Sticks: 3.5mm KnitPicks harmony options. I perhaps could have gone up a size or two, but being garter stitch, I didn't want it to be too open and stretchy.

Time: 18 March 2011 - 11 April 2011. Not bed for me and lace knitting, thanks in part to working on it while we were on our holiday!

I was interested to see how it would grow on blocking, and discovered not a lot! It didn't really grow at all across the top (about 1m/40") across, but did grow down the spine, from 43cm/17" to 52.5cm/21". So a small shawl indeed, or a large neckerchief! But one with thoughts of strength, love, life and hope knitted into each stitch.

Monday, May 02, 2011

StashDownUnder 2011 - April

I feel like I didn't get a lot knitted this month, although my totals aren't doing too badly, now that I've sat down and worked it all out.  I do have a couple of FO's to flash, which I'll do in the next week or two (promise!).

I did come into some yarn this month - I'm in two minds about whether to count it as part of my incomings, since I didn't buy it - I kind of inherited it.  I sort of think I won't count it...I do plan to knit up some of it as a gift back to the person who gave it to me, in the next month, so that makes me feel less guilty about not officially counting it, heh!

It wasn't a huge amount, and it was all good stuff (I had visions of being the recipient of a vast amount of yarn of questionable quality, but I got lucky!).

First up was 16 balls (well, 15.5, as one ball was quite damaged - like it had been accidentally cut by scissors or something...well, that's what I'm hoping anyway, rather than moth damage!) of a navy 8ply/dk merino crepe yarn - which I'm thinking will make a nice Greenfield cardi.

Next was 5 balls of Heirloom Merino Magic in a range of colours - nice yarn (this will be the gift).

And I saved the best for last!  4 balls of Zara in tomato red!  woo hoo!
I also received a bunch of needles, mostly straights, including a couple of KnitPicks harmony straights - which I suspect have never been used - I'm thinking of selling these - anyone interested?  (I'm not sure many people I know knit with straights any more, especially the really long ones!)

This month:
Actual balls used:  3.5 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  7.5 x 50g balls (lots of 4ply and laceweight this month!)
metres used:  702m

Actual balls used:  21.5 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  31.5 x 50g balls
metres used:  3855m