Monday, 30 November 2009

Ishbel

So I can officially call myself a lace knitter now! After finishing the Ripley hats, I cast on for Ishbel. I've been planning to knit it for ages and finally persuaded myself that I might be able to manage it. I'd also been saving my Koigu for something other than socks, and this seemed ideal.

So we went from this:

Koigu KPPPM

to this:

Ishbel WIP

I had some issues at the very beginning of section A and had to frog back to my lifeline (how I love lifelines) but other than that I seemed to have no problems throughout the rest of the pattern. I think counting every single row helped with that A LOT. The only slight fubar I had was where I'd missed a YO on a row but I was able to pick it up later on and it doesn't seem to have caused any issues now it's blocked.

Blocked it last night, and now finished, it looks like this:

Ishbel outdoors

Ishbel FO

Ishbel FO

Ishbel FO

Here's the few mods I made:

For cast-on edge did the below instead:
Cast on 3 sts, 1st row, P3, 2nd row K1M1 twice, then K1, 3rd row P5. 4th row K1M1 4times, K1. You now should have the required 9sts, and your next row is the first purl row of the stocking st instructions.

For the yarn-overs:
Make my first one with k2, yo, k1 for the k3, yo at the start of the row and then end with k1, yo, k2 instead of yo, k3.

I made the small stockinette with small lace version and only used just over 250yds of yarn. So I think with the 440yds that I have in my Knitting Goddess Luxury Sock, I should be able to knit the large stockinette and small lace - make it a bit bigger and warmer.

This one is lovely and warm (I have no pics of it on me, unfortunately) and I've already gifted it to my Mum who was oohing and aahing over my knitting prowess when I saw her at the weekend. We've both had a crappy few days with family (collectively they've ruined my day off today) so I wanted to give her something to cheer it up. She was very grateful :)

But I guess now this means I have to knit another! Oh dear.

I also ordered some more yarn this week. I had a voucher from The Yarn Yard to spend in the shop so when Natalie did a shop update this week, I grabbed the below:

The Yarn Yard Clan

Yarn Yard Clan, in 1331, Happy, Botanic and Electric. Trying to work out what colour combos go best with what (I love the yellow but it's the hardest one to pair up well). I might knit some colourwork mittens... or who knows. I guess I need to stock up on my stash in 2009 so I can try and use it up in 2010!

Ideas on the best colour combos and patterns to use them would be much appreciated. It's all sock weight yarn, by the way :)

Ripleys

Ha ha did you see what I did there? Like the second of the Alien film was called Aliens and because there are 2 Ripleys in question... well yeah.

The Ripley that I initially cast on in my last post, I had issues with. I couldn't get gauge and it was going all wrong. I managed to find some information about upsizing the hat for aran weight yarn (although technically my yarn was the right WPI) and ended up with this hat for Trev:

Ripley FO

Ripley FO

As you can see, it's a bit too big - next time knitting on smaller needles might help I think. And I should probably do some proper gauge calculations rather than just knitting on regardless! :)

But then I cast on for a second hat using thicker yarn (some chunky cashmerino from a frogged hat I never wear) and managed to be able to follow the pattern directions - although I had to use a 7.0mm rather than a 6.0mm needle. Here's the one I came out with:

Ripley FO

It's very warm and soft and I've basically been wearing it every day since. Although I know it will pill like there's no tomorrow, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

I've also had more fibre and yarn arrive:

I bought this from Diane (Knitting Goddess Luxury Sock) - I think it might become an Ishbel, rather than socks:

The Knitting Goddess Luxury Sock Yarn

I also had some Spunky Club Fibre arrive (October shipment called Ribbons):

Spunky Eclectic - Ribbons

I've also been doing a teeny bit of spinning: here's part of a batt that I'm spinning up quite fine on my Moosie:

Moosie with Hobbledehoy Batt

This is all stuff done a while ago now, so I'm going to do a second post with info about what I've been up to recently!

But yeah, my first Ysolda projects and I think they went well!

PS - While we are on the topic of hats, here is the finished Turn A Square that I knit for Trev:

Turn a Square

The raglan decreases have left slight bumps on the top of the head that can resemble little horns, but I think it's cute :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Mojo gone

Just a quick post from me while I snuggle with the kitty - she's just come back from the vets after having a tooth out.

Not much to report at the moment - my crafting mojo seems to have gone entirely. After finishing the first of my Fiddlehead Mittens, the will to knit or spin has just completely gone. I'm meant to be testing a sock pattern for someone and I've not been able to get 3 rows past the cuff. Just don't know what it is.

I've cast on for a Ripley hat tonight, for Trev as I bought Whimsical Knits 2 by Ysolda Teague (also bought the first volume which came in the post today! Woo!) as it's quite simple and will hopefully help me get back in the swing of things.

I guess I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the knitting and stuff I want to do. Work is also quite stressful at the moment - and combined with the 4 hour commute every day, just leaves me exhausted. I've also had a lot of family crap to deal with - which dragged on for over a week and I'm still dealing with the aftermath of having some very nasty things dredged up that I didn't want to think about ever again - yet in the name of trying to assuage other people's guilt and make them feel better I have to do - despite being quite happy to never see most of my family again.

Plus I don't feel too well at the moment - so I guess it's all compounded into this horrible pity-party of a post. I just need to get away somewhere quiet and just be left alone with only Trev and Kooky for company.

Going to go eat some chocolate, watch some Project Runway and see if I can figure out how to move past the band on this hat.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Moosie Moosie Moosie!!!

My Moosie came on Wednesday :) So so glad to have it finally here!

Bosworth Moosie

It's part of the October herd - whorl number 25 which was technically my second choice, but was actually my first choice when I really sat down and thought about it. My first was one with mouse nibbles, which I picked purely on account of the nibbles - but this one is far more beautiful

It's pin balanced on the underside and with the long Bocote shaft, weights just 25g. Moosies are dense for their size, so even though this one looks a bit strange having such a long shaft on such a small whorl, it spins beautifully.

Technically it's: White PB, heavy mottles in rings, green undertone on 1 side

Bosworth Moosie

It's absolutely gorgeous. I struggled to truly capture how beautiful it is, but here are some more gratuitous pics, just in case:

Bosworth Moosie

Bosworth Moosie

Bosworth Moosie

Bosworth Moosie

I also took a couple of family shots with all my spindles together. Love this shot:

Bosworth Spindle Family Shot

This is probably it for big crafting purchases for me, for a while. I have enough spindles and things. I could do with getting a ball winder and swift, but other than occasionally getting some new Knitpicks tips, I'm sorted. Got my monthly fibre sub coming from Spunky Eclectic and I also got a place in Socktopus' Knit Love Club for 2010 - so I'll have yarn and socky goodness coming to me regularly too!

I tried to do some spinning with it this week, but the mojo just wasn't there. Tried spinning a couple of different things, but it wasn't happening. Will try again in a couple of weeks once I've got some other stuff out of the way.

Happy happy :)

Koigu Socks!

At last I have finished Trev's Koigu socks. Finished them yesterday, so unfortunately I suck and they are 2 weeks late.

Here they are:

Trev's Koigu Socks

Not matching, due to the difference in skeins, but they make a good pair of fraternal twins.

Used Jenny's Super Stretchy Bind Off on both socks and did a slightly better job of it on the second sock as it's looser and easier for Trev to get the sock on and off.

Here's the low-down on what I did:

Cast on 24 stitches using Judy's Magic Cast On.
Increased to 64 stitches - 32 each for sole and instep.
3x2 rib on instep with 2 purl stitches either side.
Knitted 96 rows before turning heel.
Decreased to 10 stitches on the short row heel - used Priscilla's method for this.
20 rows of stockinette on needle 2 before beginning ribbing all the way round on cuff.
Added one stitch at centre of needle 2 to allow for ribbing to flow uninterrupted - totalling 65 stitches.
68 rows of the cuff (once starting ribbing all the way round) before binding off using the Super Stretchy BO.

These are really tight on Trev across the instep - I wonder if I should try a heel flap next time? Don't know if that would help with the tightness. But I'm testing a sock pattern as my next knit, so I'll see how that goes.

Overall, they're ok, I guess. Could have done a better job of them, but they're the same size, and whilst they're a little bit too small, they generally fit him.

So I finished those yesterday, and then cast on a hat for Trev yesterday afternoon - which I finished today! Only fgot a WIP picture of it, but it's the Turn a Square hat pattern. Went very fast - used a tiny bit of a grey ball, and just over half a blue ball. Might try and do a slouchy beanie for Trev from the remainder of the grey.

Turn a Square WIP

But before I do, I have a couple of other knits for me. First these test socks, some Fiddlehead Mittens and maybe a hat. I also need to finish off my long overdue CPH - the left front of which got frogged the other day. Full update on that to come whenever I get back onto it again.

Got some Moosie pics to follow now! :)

Running

I, lazy-bum extraordinaire, have taken up running. Well, I don't know if I can say "taken up" yet as I've only done 2 sessions and the one I just finished nearly killed me! Feels like it anyway.

We've started doing the Couch to 5K programme as it's meant to be an easy way (easy? Huh who are they kidding!) to build up from doing nothing, to being able to run 5k (3 miles ish) within 9 weeks.

So we plan to do sessions 3 times a week. We did the first one on Friday - despite my not getting home from work until 7:30pm and being knackered and hungry, because Trev was really keen to get started we went out and did it.

Wasn't as bad as I thought, actually. Had some shin ache, which I almost always do when I exercise, and apart from a stitch that I got during the first run that then went away, it was all fine. Covered a surprising amount of ground - a little over 2 miles I think, which was far more ground than I ever expected to cover.

Bit achy, as to be expected after the session. Calf muscles feeling a bit tight (might have to try and do some Pilates on the off days to ease that up in general) but overall pleasantly surprised.

So like a mug, I got up all happy to try and run this morning and OMG... death! I don't know whether I was intentionally running faster than last time, but I really struggled today. More my lungs being on fire than my legs being unable to take it. Despite stopping a couple of times we covered more ground, which is great. But it was so much harder - I was surprised. At this rate, I may want to repeat week 1 before moving on to week 2, but we'll see how we go.

As I type this I'm still bright red (which seems to happen whenever I exercise) - so hopefully the fitter I get, the less red I'll become - which will be nice. Makes it very hard to feel dignified when you exercise. Although I now feel part of some little jogging club, since most of the other runners we crawled past said hello. Awww.

Update to come after session 3, provided it doesn't kill me!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Anniversary Presents and Stuff

Been shameful on the blogging front recently. Only one post in the whole of September? I must have been busier than I remember. Or lazier.

But all in seriousness the last week or so has been mentally busy. I had this whole week off work, on account of it being my birthday on Monday and wedding anniversary yesterday. We went to visit some friends in Germany on Saturday, and came back Tuesday which was brilliant fun. Will post some pictures later but we had a great time. We went to a beer/wine festival, drank loads, ate loads and played a ridiculous amount of Guitar Hero, which we have since purchased since getting home. That's too much fun.

Trev's also decided he wants to learn German and I'm going to teach him. We bought some books and things to help him while we were in Germany (from the German as a foreign language section in a very nice bookstore in Mannheim) and a few bits for me to help refresh myself - which I badly need. We're yet to sit down and have a proper lesson yet, but I've put together a lesson plan for him, so at least that's a start.

On the knitting front, we had a few problems with the postal strike eating up post and things we were waiting for, including yarn, fibre and anniversary presents.

Firstly, here's the Koigu I bought from a fellow Raveller. I love it! In some ways I think it's too pretty to use for socks - I'm better off using it for a shawl or something. But I'm undecided. Gorgeous though:

Koigu KPPPM

Also had a couple of lots of Spunky Club Fibre arrive. The first lot I'm about to show you, took nearly a month to get here. Most impressive:

Spunky Eclectic - Zombies

That's 4oz of Falkland called Zombies. It's so soft. I love it!

The September fibre only took a few days longer than normal. It's 4oz of BFL called Rolling Hills. I'm not so keen on this one - may try and swap it for one of the other months that I like:

Spunky Eclectic - Rolling Hills

The final missing fibre is some Peregrine from the Yarn Yard in colourway Red Squirrel. This is a 75%/25% merino/nylon mix. It drafts beautifully and feels so soft. Not too sure what to do with this one. Sarah and I used it for some sampling when in Germany, so I've probably got only about 90g left now:

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club May 2009

Finally on spinning, I got to pick my Moosie selection last week. Hopefully my finished Moosie will be posted out on Monday and will be here by next weekend. Got no idea which one I ended up with, or which colour shaft I'll have as I asked Sheila to choose for me. So excited though - I've been after a Moosie for ageeeees.

Expect lots of photos when it gets here.

Soooo, onto anniversary presents.

Trev wanted to get me something useful, so I suggested sock blockers (Succaplokki). We found some I liked on Etsy and ordered them along with some stitch markers. Unbeknownst to me, Trev had then also ordered me some mitten blockers that I said I liked as I'll soon be knitting my Fiddlehead Mittens. (For anyone who is interested, the store is Succaplokki on Etsy).

Sock & Mitten Blockers

Here's another picture of the Mitten Blockers (Tumbbuplokki) with the little pop-out thumb blockers:

Mitten Blockers

Absolutely beautiful. I love them! The stitch markers are also cute and you almost always get a freebie of some description with each order, so I have a little keyring and 4 extra stitch markers from the 3 orders we've made.

So I've been working on socks for Trev as his anniversary present. Unfortunately I didn't get them finished in time, due to going away and then having my left arm swell up due to a scary mosquito bite, but here they are so far:

Trev's Koigu Socks WIP

I used Jenny's Super Stretchy Bind-Off which I must have done too tight as it's stretchy, but not massively so. Trev can only just get the sock on. But it fits, which is the main thing. When I'm done with them both I'll note down all of the finer details of the socks.

Now off to watch some Futurama and do some German!

Monday, 14 September 2009

My firstest ever pair of socks

Please excuse the excitment - I am dead chuffed at having finished my first ever pair of socks! Given that socks were the reason I finally learned to knit, I am super excited to have managed this.

I finished my Mum's Lemon Express socks on Saturday and gave them to her on Sunday. I cast on for Trev's Anniversary Koigu socks straight away.

But without further ado, here are my socks modelled by my younger sister Emma:

Express Lane Socks

Express Lane Socks

Express Lane Socks

Express Lane Socks

You'll have to excuse the slight bagginess on her - she's a small size 6, as opposed to the chunky size 8 with cankles these socks have been knitted for! But she does a good job of modelling, with her legs and ankles which are FAR SKINNIER than mine. Hmph. But hopefully my new sock blockers will be here soon which will help negate that :) (Negate needing to model on my legs or Emma's, that is. Not my cankles. I think they are beyond help.)

So overall I'm pretty happy with them. If I had the chance to knit them again I'd probably go down a needle size or two, and increase the stitch count to 68 or 72 (these were knitted with 64 stitches) as I didn't like the stitch definition - although blocking fixed a multitude of sins. I'm also not a huge fan of the the yarn-over short row toe and heel. I'm trying a new version for Trev's socks and liking it more so far.

And my bind-off was also too tight - despite using EZ's Sewn Bind Off. Well I say too tight - I couldn't pull the socks up as high as I wanted as the bind off just wouldn't stretch any more, but you can get them on your foot easily enough.

I've just seen a new stretchy bind off in the new Knitty - Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off - which I think I will try for Trev's socks. I'm all about new techniques at the moment. I've used Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On for his socks and I'm in love. It looks amazing, although I had some small holes at the end of the first row - anybody know why? Strange. I'm also going to try a new heel type for his socks - want to learn as many new things as possible.

Here are his socks so far:

Trev's Koigu Socks

Simple 64 stitch sock on 2.5mm needles - 3x2 rib on the instep (with a 2 stitch purl edge on each side) and cast on 12 stitches for the cast on. Got about twice as much of the ribbing knit by now as shown here - the sole is plain stockinette although the ribbing will extend around the whole leg once I get past the heel.

I do love so many of Cookie's patterns, which are top-down and quite frankly, scare me. But I may try knitting a pair of Monkeys, which I will give to Emma if they come out too small.

I have some Koigu on the way from the States - bought from a Raveller, which seems to have been swallowed up by Royal Mail. We had a load of strikes here in Peterborough which means my Spunky Fibre has also not turned up yet. So I got them sent to work in London thinking that would be ok, and then they started to strike there. So it's lost amongst approximately 2 million other items of post. Yay.

I've also entered the ballot for the Socktopus Knit Love Club - which would let me have 6 fabulous new patterns and yarns in 2010 along with other fun stuff - hope I get one of the spots. More news on that next week.

But for now I'm off - Trev has gone to see his sister in Cardiff and I'm all on my lonesome with only the kitty for company. Time to be all crazy-cat-lady ish and retreat to the bedroom with knitting and Kooky.

Night all.

P.S. Also seen this pattern in the new Knitty - looks good as it comes in huge foot sizes, so I may have to give this a go. Will be a while before I feel comfortable fiddling with patterns to make them fit my feet.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Socks!

The last couple of weeks have been good for socks. I stuck to one of my 2009 Knitalutions and have learned how to knit them! Having said that, I haven't finished my first whole pair yet - the second sock is struggling with Second Sock Syndrome and will take a while before it's finished.

Anyway.

I had these 2 skeins of Zitron that had been custom-dyed for me to use for some Endpaper Mitts.

Zitron Trekking Sock Yarn - Custom Dye

The mitts were frogged as the colours just didn't work, so I put the yarn to one side for socks for when the time came. And despite having a load of WIPs that I need to finish sooner rather than later, I cast on last Wednesday night with the lemon Zitron. I thought these would make good socks for my Mum as I know she likes the colour and I already had a pattern in mind - Express Lane.

I finished the toe in one sitting on Wednesday night and by the time I got to work on Thursday morning had 2 pattern repeats complete:

Express Lane WIP

By the time I got home, I had 5 repeats done:

Express Lane WIP

Because I'm Magic Looping these, I'm having some issues with a bit of laddering either end, but blocking should fix this as it's nothing major. I'm also not too happy with the stitch definition - looks too loose to me and just generally a bit crappish. Next time I knit with this yarn, I may go down a needle size to 2.25mm from 2.5mm as it's a very lightweight yarn. My gauge was coming in at 8.25 stitches to an inch, rather than the 9 inches called for in the pattern. This is not necessarily a bad thing as my Mum and I both have huge feet, so these needed to be bigger than the pattern anyway.

Didn't take long to get the point where I needed to turn the heel, the doing of which was much easier than I thought. There's no pictures after this one, since I couldn't take any I liked that didn't make my cankles look horrendous. Seriously, I suffer from major cankle-age. Not a good look. I need to buy some sock blockers as a priority as there's noooo way I can use my feet for modelling:

Express Lane WIP

So first sock was soon finished - used calf shaping on every pattern repeat on the back of the leg and finished off with EZ's sewn bind off. Despite trying to leave this loose, it's still a bit tighter than I would have wanted, but it's ok.

Trev is quite enamoured with my sock making so I suggested that I could buy him some nice yarn and he could have some as an anniversary present (it's our 7th in a month). So we went to Socktopus on Friday and came home with 2 lots for him. He was only meant to pick out one lot, but he couldn't make his mind up.

We ended up buying my first Koigu (it won't be the last!):

Koigu KPPPM

Koigu KPPPM

2 fairly non-matching skeins, despite being from the same dyelot. Weird. His was a surprising choice here, as I didn't think he was a big fan of orange and this has got pink in it too! But he'll be wearing them at home, so it's no big deal. Just strange.

The second choice was some Superwash Cherry Tree Hill in much more predictable colours:

Cherry Tree Hill

Cherry Tree Hill

I've only promised him one pair for our anniversary. Both if I can manage it, but definitely only 1. He's also getting some hats and gloves as part of general knitting, which I may try and get done by then too, so he can have a little winter warmer box, but we'll see how we go.

I did get myself something small while at the shop - a little WPI counter as I'm tired of using a ruler and guesstimating the thickness of my handspun:

KaratStix WPI Counter

I also had the second shipment of my Ixchel Fibre Club arrive - 160g of super angorino tops:

Ixchel Fibre Club #2 - Shipment 2

I'm still waiting for a YarnYard Fibre Club shipment (postal strike seems to have sucked this up) and for the latest Spunky Eclectic Club to arrive, along with the yarn that I bought from New Lanark for the aforementioned hats and gloves. Fingers crossed there'll be some Koigu for ME in the near future, but I need to deal with an issue that cropped up on Saturday - some buttwipe scamming my bank account - leaving me without money and access to whatever is left while they send me out a new card. With today being a bank holiday in the UK, it's unlikely that I'll get a new card for at least a week which is super frustrating :( Boo hoo! Scumbags. Some people just have no decency. So WHEN I get my money back, it's going to be spent on luciousness to make me feel better.

But I was cheered up by an email I got Saturday night telling me that my Moosie is about to be started. I was in the November herd, but I must have been bumped up as it's going to be started in September hopefully for mid-October shipping. Yay!

All the while I've been writing this, I've been able to see the second sock out of the corner of my eye. Back to knitting, I think...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Moooore fibre!

I completely forgot that I had more fibre come that I forgot to blog about :)

I have completely stalled on the knitting front. I'm desperate to cast on for some new projects or try and finish off some UFOs, but until I get Otto the Bear done I don't feel like I can. I've finished one arm, so he just needs a second arm and a face!

As mentioned in my other post, I swapped the July Spunky fibre club with a fellow Raveller for the June club. Here it is and it's gorgeous:

Spunky Eclectic - Selfish

Spunky Eclectic - Selfish

Because I got a little bit of extra money at work, I also treated myself to a new braid of fibre and some yarn I've had my eye on for a while.

From the lovely Limegreenjelly, I bought some yarn which I intend to chain-ply and make some super sexy stripy socks from. It's 100g of BFL:

Limegreenjelly - Chasing Rainbows

The yarn is from Spindlefrog - I had this particular one favourited in my Etsy for ages and was very worried someone else would snag it. So when I saw it was still available I had to have it. It's sock yarn - 100% merino. I think I will probably make socks with it, but maybe a small shawl or cowl or something. But probably socks. Not that I've gotten on to sock knitting yet! Need to pull my finger out.

Spindlefrog Merino Sock Yarn

Spindlefrog Merino Sock Yarn

Speaking of sock yarn, I've started to spin up the Time of the Month fibre:

Spunky Eclectic - Time of the Month

I'm spinning it up on one of my spindles at the moment. Trying to spin it to be a bit more lofty - sort of long draw, if at all possible. Although I need to get out of the habit of drafting above my head and start to draft lengthways. Although that's hard with a great big tail of fibre hanging down.

I also gave my first spinning lesson the other day. I had a friend come over from Germany who wanted to learn to spin. So I gave her a lesson and some fibre and a spindle. She picked it up annoying quickly, I have to say :) Very jealous of her first yarn compared to mine. No pics - but maybe she will share some if she wants!

I'm now going to go and do some spinning. Or maybe knit a swatch with some sock yarn so I can work out gauge for the toe-up worksheet from Knitty for my first pair :)