Tuesday 30 December 2008

In between post

In between the last post and my New Years Resolutions post, I'll stick this one.

I've finished the Hourglass Socks:
Pattern: Hourglass Socks from Knitty, Fall 08
Needles: 2.5mm dpns
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering, just over 1 skein
I love these now that they are finished. They were an interesting knit, but just a tad on the difficult side to stop them being tv knitting. I think they look great. I loved the yarn too, although I'll have to see how they hold up to washing and wearing, having no nylon in them.
Isn't the pattern lovely?
Those sock blockers annoy me every time I look at them. This is only the second time I've put a sock on them and they've never been used for wet socks, as they're too bloody small. I wish I could swap them with someone for a medium set, $23.95 down the drain...

I now have nothing on the needles except the dreaded Pi Shawl which I am really only putting off ripping. Lace is not really my thing. Maybe I'll try again some other time.
So, now, what do I knit? I have tons of yarn, lots of lovely pattern books and magazines, but I can't decide what to knit! It's not on, really it's not. Hopefully inspiration will strike soon.

Oh, if you fancy picking up some magazines, I have some for sale or trade on Ravelry here. I really don't want much for them, maybe some yarn as a swap or something.
That's all for now, going to think up some resolutions and I'll be back!

Sunday 28 December 2008

He knows if you've been naughty or nice

Well Santa must have thought I've been very nice, because he brought me lots of knitty goodnes for Christmas!

I got:

knitting pattern a day calendar 2009
knitting classic style
little box of socks
luxury yarn One Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences
Knitting Daily tv series 1 on DVD!

I can't believe my luck! I'm looking forward to poring over them and seeing what I will make from them.

Not much knitting going on, too much eating and drinking instead. I have made a small bit of progress on the last Hourglass Sock, I'm about halfway down the foot. I'd like to finish these before starting anything else, they're on the needles far too long for my liking. I started these on the plane in October!

Speaking of Florida, my sister in law and her family have gone over to the house today for two weeks. They love being there for New Years. *sigh* I wish I was there too. I hope they have a great time.

Christmas day was lovely, my daughter was great fun to watch opening all her presents from Santa.
Hubby made me very proud. He wore the jumper all day, and in his parents house Christmas night, he went around to all the family there showing off the jumper and saying how great he thought it was. Awww. I think I'll keep him for another while.
Mam and Dad were in good form too; Dad was just relieved all the music was over! The music at Midnight Mass was absolutely beautiful. He outshone himself again, as he seems to do every year. I marvel that he still does it at almost 86. He's inspirational.
Mam had a good day, she was more lucid than I've seen her in a while and she ate lots of dinner so that's good. However, since then she's been very bad. It's like leaving the house at all sends her over the edge. She's barely left the bed since and just cries all the time. I'm at the end of my tether. I just can't leave Dad with her like that all the time, it's not fair. Something will have to be done next year, I just need to figure out what.

I think my next post shall contain my New Years Resolutions. I will try to be practical so I won't include world peace or waking up a size 10, but instead will focus on achievable targets, both knitterly and personally. I must put my thinking cap on!

Sunday 21 December 2008

I am the knitting Queen

Bow down before me, I am the Queen of Knitting. I rule. It's official.
I proudly present Dylan Goes Electric:
Yarn: Cascade Sierra, 8 skeins
Needles: 4 & 4.5mm circular
Size: 50" chest

Watch out Armani, it's the next top model:

Dylan from the back modelled by lovely hubby. See the neck shaping?:

Dylan flat:
The neck shaping. Hubby needs a lot of shaping!:

I can't believe I've finished! I am soo proud of myself for persevering and going ahead with the jumper in the round.

It fits hubby perfectly and he loves it!
To fix my saddle shoulder problems, I knit 10 rounds consuming body stitches, then switched and consumed the sleeve stitches until I had 20 left on each sleeve. Then I knit the saddles for 10 rows each side, did 20 rows on the back to eat up the saddle and add some extra rows for the back of the neck, then an inch and a half of ribbing for the neck.

I still have to weave in the underarms and block it, but couldn't wait to show you it finished!
I can't think of a nicer present to give to the one I love than a hand made gift.

Phew! Now I can relax and enjoy Christmas. I would have been furious with myself if I hadn't finished it. Although, I never should have doubted my Queen of Knitting status, my crown hadn't disappeared, just slipped out of place a little.
I don't know if I'll get to post before the big day, so Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope Santa brings lots of knitting goodness to you all!

Friday 19 December 2008

SOS Calling all knitters

Calling all knitters!

I am in an awful bind!
Dylan Goes Electric has gone all wrong. Everything went tickety boo up to the joining of the sleeves to the body and I thought I was great.
I looked at EZ's different methods of completing the yoke and as this is a cable pattern I decided the saddle shoulder would be the easiest and keep more of the cable pattern on the front of the body.

Well, I followed the instructions but the sweater came out all wrong! It has eaten up loads of the body and I have another 20 rounds to go before beginning the neck and it's already up to his chin!

It is a big sized sweater (50") but in order to get to his shoulder measurement (19") requires 35 rounds of the body decreases, 20 rounds of the sleeve decreases and another 10 rounds of body decreases before the neck.
Am I doing something wrong, or should I rip back to the sleeve joins and do a yoke instead? Could I do this with the cabled body? How would I do the decreases without screwing up the cable pattern?

Desperately in need of help, so all replies greatly appreciated!
Here are some pics:

I wouldn't mind but I've wasted about two days of frantic all day knitting... I know these things make us better knitters, but did it have to happen now?
Apart from the yoke disaster, the rest of the sweater fits him perfectly though, so I should take some small consolation from that I guess.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Yay for progress

Progress is good, no matter the price. My house is in a heap of mess and dust bunnies, my daughter has forgotten what I look like and my hubby has gone neglected and hungry (too bad awww).

But! look! progress!

After many false starts I finally finished the body of the jumper up to the armpits last night. I am so proud of myself that I'm amazed my head fits in the living room. Perseverance does pay off. I then promptly cast on for the sleeves and after about 6 fudges and restarts, I think I finally have it. Of course I've written it down for sleeve 2. I'm learning!

The sleeves were miles too wide to start with, so I've cast on 20% (EZ's EPS wizardry) on a smaller needle and after 2 1/2" moved up to the correct size.
Do you think I'll be done for Christmas?

My secret pal got her package the other day. I really hope she liked it, I tried really hard to put in some unusual things that you wouldn't be inclined to buy for yourself. Here's a pic of the package (Ravlink)

As for my previous dilemma, I have decided not to knit the socks for my hairdressers daughter. If during the Christmas break I find myself at a loose end knitting wise (hahaha I have soo many things I want to knit, especially a colourwork afghan) then I may cast on. Sod the consequences, knitting is meant to be a pleasureable activity, particularly for the knitter and I wouldn't enjoy that, I'd feel like I had been railroaded into it.

Really not much else to report, except this crappy picture (you try and take a picture of a Christmas tree with the lights on and not using a flash) to show that some things are worth putting down the knitting for. This was yesterdays hard work. I think I'm finally feeling the Christmas spirit now!

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Dilemma, Secret Pal and a HUGE mess

I know, I know, I haven't been around, but I've been desperately trying to get some knitting done!

I finally finished Dad's Garter Rib Socks on Sunday after solidly knitting on them all day.

Pattern: Garter Rib Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Sirdar Town & Country Sock yarn
Needles: 2.75mm dpns

I tell you, I will never knit these dudes again. For such a simple pattern they have given me hell all the way through. From stitch counts to unbalanced ribbing after doing the heel to just plain mistakes I have redone these socks 3 times. I tell you, my Dad better love these babies for Christmas!

So my hourglass socks have hit the wayside and will stay there I think until after Christmas. Just no time for them I'm afraid. Still, I'll enjoy them all the more when I get back to them.

Alice's communion crochet cardigan is coming along very slowly. I've decreased to the first shoulder and need to do the same for the second and then do the back. Once those are done I need to figure out how to do set in sleeves. I dunno if I'll ever get it done as I can't attend the last class of the course tonight. Hubby has school Parents Association meeting and i can't bring Alice to the class. So, it's with a very heavy heart that I'm going to go back to my knitting girls again instead. Woohoo!!! I've really missed them I have to say. Plus, becuase it's in a coffee shop I can bring Alice. Can't wait to catch up on all the gossip!

Right, on to the dilemma. My Mam's hairdresser in in the same crochet class as me. The week before last she was admiring my beautiful handmade socks (snigger) and of course I lapped up the praise. Last week, she came over to me and asked if I could knit a pair for her daughter for Christmas! hahahahaha. I tried my best to be polite in my refusal, saying that I had to finish Dad's socks, hubbys jumper and the crochet cardigan and I really didn't think I'd have the time. Her reply? "Sure that's ok, I can give them to her after Christmas if they're not ready"!!! I nearly choked to be honest. No mention of money for the yarn, not even I'll give your Mam a free hairdo. Plus, there's not a snowballs chance in hell that they'll be done.

What should I do? I don't want to piss her off too much in case she says anything to my Mam or dyes her hair orange or something.

Next up is Secret Pal time. This is my first one, and it's organised by the brilliant dmaxi from the Irish Knitters group. I won't say too much about my swap pal, but I'm having fun shopping for her. Have you done pals before? What did you get them? I'm a bit stuck for small things to put into the parcel.

Lastly, the disaster. I saved this for last as it's a doozy. Put down coffee in case of spillage.
Hubbys jumper? Have a look:

Remember Sesame Street? What's wrong with this picture? Have a guess.

It looks like I'm progressing nicely no? ummm no. In my infinite wisdom and all fired up by Elizabeth Zimmerman, I converted this baby into a seamless all in one sweater. No biggie, I recalculated the pattern and off I went. Except....

On either side under the arms there a band of ribbing instead of the cable pattern. Grand I said, and put the ribbing at the beginning of the round, then the pattern and then the other ribbing. See what I did wrong? Yep, that means I have one large band of ribbing where the beginning and end of the rounds meet and all pattern the rest of the way. The pattern now goes under one armpit, or there's a big band of ribbing all up the back.


I only copped this at the end of Bones last night. Hubby nearly fell out of the chair at my outburst of ****! and other juicy tidbits. When I explained my problem he dissolved into fits of laughter. He'd seen me knitting like a lunatic all week and knew how much I wanted this done for Christmas. And he laughs! At my face, he says. yeah. I was nearly crying I was so annoyed at myself for being so stupid and then at him for being such a meanie. I think he's getting coal this year instead of a jumper.

So, it's off to the frog pond with me and some more sums. A weeks frantic work wasted!
boo hoo.

Monday 24 November 2008

Lots to tell!

I am one excited girl today.
Look what eventually arrived in the post! Through no fault of Claudia AKA Wollmeise I hasten to add. The yarn was delivered while I was on holidays and because it was registered they'd only hold it for three days before returning it. She was really kind to send it on again. Thanks Claudia!

Sockenwolle 80/20 in Red Hot Chili intensity medium
Sockenwolle 80/20 Peppermint Prinz in intensity medium. This is almost peacock shaded.

Aren't they just delicious? I can see what all the hype was about. Photos don't do these guys justice, the intensity of the colours, particularly the peppermint is unreal. The texture of the skein is great too; really firm but oh so squishy! I can't wait to knit these babies up!
Pattern suggestions welcome! I'm thinking Pomatomus socks for the peppermint, the other I'm not so sure, maybe a clapotis? Would I have enough yardage in 510 yards?

Project progress:

The hourglass socks are progressing, slowly but surely. These require concentration, so when I'm at home and have a free quiet minute, (yeah right) I do a few rounds.

I don't have startitis, no, not me. This new project is a figment of your imagination. It doesn't exist. But, for those of you suffering from delusions, here's the details:

Dylan Goes Electric from IK Summer 2005. For hubby for Christmas. I'm making the 50" chest as he's a big bloke. I hope to have it finished for Christmas Day (hahahaha).

I'm using the recommended yarn, Cascade Sierra. So far, so good, although it must be said this is being heavily modded. I decided I've had enough of sewing seams together as I suck like a duck at it, so here goes Elizabeth Zimmermann's EPS to knit it in the round. I did a gauge swatch (I know, I can't believe it either) and I got 5 sts to 1" so that's 250 sts = 100%. The rest is hopefully going to fall into place. We'll see. I swear though, if this works, I shall be the greatest knitter ever. Seriously this is a total wing it job. Still, you gotta try!
Here's a pic of my ultra scientific A+ art job of a sweater with the %ages worked out. Eat your heart out Michelangelo...

I shall leave you with a pic of where I wish I was now. Sunny Florida, by the pool in my SIL's fantabulous holiday home, knitting on my hourglass socks. If I were there, they'd have been finished now. :( only 50 weeks to go until next time......

BTW, all comments must state how uncannily like Heidi Klum I am in my tantalising swimsuit. Any others may bugger off with all due respect and kindness.

Happy week!

P.S Spot the butterfly by my shoulder? It was a dead one hubby found on the ground and thought would look "great" in the photo. Like I was Sleeping Beauty or something summoning nature to me. Personally I think it looks dead and reminds me more of Giselle in Enchanted in New York when she summons nature and rats and pigeons arrive...

Monday 17 November 2008

Lots of activity, not much to show

I've been really busy this week, chasing my tail. This always seems to be the way when you return from holidays, doesn't it? It's been a cycle of washing, ironing, cleaning, work (which is mental) and trying to squeeze in some knitting time too.
I made my Christmas puddings this weekend which was a bittersweet occasion. This has always been something my Mam and I did together and it was a day of great fun. This year she wasn't interested at all even going so far as to (gasp) suggest we buy one from a shop!(/gasp)

So, I took matters into my own hands and made them on Saturday. I was up until 2am steaming the first two, so I got this finished while I waited!

Yarn: Donegal Tweed Aran
Needles: 5.5mm
This knit up in no time and Alice is thrilled with it. "It's so huggy Mom" she said last night taking it to bed. Aww. I used two colours as they were essentially scraps I had left over. This picture doesn't really show the cables very well, but it turned out nicely I think.

Yesterday while the last pudding steamed (7.5 hrs) in between making breakfast, dinner, tea and Alice's swimming lessons I got cracking on this:

It's going to be a communion cardigan for Alice, allegedly. My crochet instructor says so anyway.

I measured Alice up and am going to make this an almost bolero style cardi that just comes to under her "bust" as her dress has a high waistline.

It's bloody difficult! I'm using a 2.5mm hook and some cotton thread held together with some lurex "for sparkle" the instructor says. Gotta have some sparkle apparently. It's so slippy I keep dropping the thread and my tension is all over the place.
This was the progress made by lunchtime yesterday. By bedtime last night I had finished the 4" up to her armpits to split for the sleeves. It's really hard to see the pattern here, the cotton is so stiff it kinda needs to be spread out to show it properly. Alice doesn't like it, she thinks it's too hard to the touch. I reckon washing would sort that, but tbh, I'm not feeling the love.

I think I might see a sneaky knitted alternative hiding in the wings.
Another FO, my first ever crochet project!
Crochet Tea Cosy, no pattern.
Yarn: Misc Acrylic
Hook: 4.5mm
Sorry for the crappy photo, taken on my mobile in Mam & Dads kitchen.
This was my test piece in class where my instructor taught me how to crochet. She took it home when I had finished and joined the front and back and wadded it for me. I gave it to Mam & Dad as chez moi is strictly a tea bag in a mug type house and Dad loves it!

This is a crochet scarf that I have no pattern for and no idea what stitches to use. I'm just doing trebles at the moment, but must see if I can find a nicer stitch than that.

Absolutely no progress on the second garter rib sock for Dads Christmas present, I must get going on that soon.

Hourglass Sock 2:

Again, nothing much doing. I was determined to get the crochet cardigan and the hot water bottle done so everything else seemed to suffer a bit.
I'm almost glad to be back in work today (I said ALMOST) for the break! What an exhausting weekend.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Yarn Pron to the Extreme!


That classic song I Will Survive is ringing in my head this morning, "So now you're back, from outer space". I'm home but not here if you know what I mean; jet lag is a killer. Got home Sunday and was back in work yesterday.
We had an absolute ball on holidays. The weather was great for most of the time.
One of the best things we did was to go and see an NBA basketball game. The Orlando Magic were playing the Chicago Bulls. Magic won 96-93. Great stuff. I will definitely go again!

Plus, I was there for the election. I had specifically delayed the holiday by a week for this and I wasn't disappointed. I saw history in the making and I was proud.

Right, down to business then. Gotta give you what you came for!

Project Progress first I think, just to prolong the suspense a bit.

Hourglass Socks:

I got one done on the holidays. It's a difficult knit! For some reason I found it hard to concentrate on the pattern on the plane. I'm sure the wily among you will also spot the sock blockers I got. The disappointment is that I think I got the wrong size, the socks are loose on them. What a bummer.

Ok, here's the group shot of all the yarny goodness. Excuse the mess around it, unpacking and all that. Plus, most of it is hubbys guitar stuff.
The motherlode!!!

Here's the breakdown by store.

Knit Picks:
Imagination hand-dyed sock yarn in Damsel. These two skeins look different colours, even though the dye lot is the same... Gotta love the fairytale names!

Pixie Dust

Evil Stepmother

Shine Sport in three colours (Blush, Cream and Orchid) for the A Good Stripe Dress for my daughter at last. If she had her way I'd be knitting it now.

6 skeins of Palette yarn in Fog, Cream, Black, Fawn, Cornmeal and Bark. No idea what I'll use these for, but probably a foray into colourwork.

Wool of the Andes in Whisper

and Fairy Tale. Again, no ideas really. Perhaps a felted bag?

Gloss in Cocoa

and Pumpkin. I already had one of each of these so I decided to get another one to get a pair of socks out of each.

Sock Blockers in small. Damn US shoe sizes, I think I got a size too small. Well, I'm stuck with them now! I also got a magnetic chart keeper. Very handy and only $9.99!

Next up was Jo-anns and Michaels for some Sugar and Cream:

We went on a road trip over to Cocoa so I hit All Strung Out in Cocoa Beach and snagged me some SWTC Jezebel.

Then it was on to Knit and Stitch in Cocoa where I snapped up some more goodies:

Plymouth Alpaca Baby Grande. So soft! I think a nice scarf for this.

Some Berocco Comfort Sock. I can't believe how soft this is for an acrylic sock yarn. Hubby will be getting a pair of socks from this stuff.

More Berocco Comfort Sock

Some Tofutises

And finally some Brown Sheep Wildfoote

Anyone see the theme appearing here? Socks, socks, socks.

I also hit up Knit! in Longwood:

I got two skeins of Cascade 220 in blue. I already have 8 of these and wanted to get 2 more so I had a sweaters worth. I haven't checked yet, but I hope it's the same shade of blue!

This stuff is yummy - Great Adirondack Soxie in Monet. To me it's like a peacock feather. The colours are breathtaking.

The Alpaca Yarn Co Paca Peds in Fireside. mmm Autumn colours.

Next up was Sip & Knit in Maitland:

I love this store. Doni is really helpful and the yarns are great.

Pagewood Farms Fannie's Fingering Weight in Grapes on the Vine.

Cascade Heritage more yummy Autumn colours

Pagewood Farm Chugiak in Rainbow Sherbet. So vibrant! I'm thinking Firestarter socks.

Cascade Sierra in a lovely green. This is for the Dylan Goes Electric sweater for hubby

Last but not least, The Black Sheep in WinterHaven:

I made this trip especially to get me some Louet Gems fingering. I see this used all the time in sock patterns, so I had to have some.

Plymouth Sockotta

Phew! It's only when I see it all here that I realise how much I've bought. That's me done shopping for a year I reckon.
I almost forgot! I also got some Skechers Mary Janes. I have been eyeing these up for ages since I saw these on other blogs. I got two pairs, one black and one brown. I love these, so comfy, they make my socks look fab, and suitable for work!
My gorgeous shoes in a crappy photo taken under my desk with my Embossed Leaves.

And that's your lot! If you have lasted this far, I thank you. If you wish to contribute to my VISA bill, I thank you further. Otherwise, have a great day, and normal blogging shall resume shortly.