Sunday, 24 January 2010

WIP Wrestling!

The name of this post is stolen from an event that they have in the Ravelympics. What is the Ravelympics, I hear you ask? Well it's a giant crafting "thing" that takes place alongside the normal Olympics - so the summer version in 2008 and for 2010, the winter ones. The basic premise is that you start and finish something during the duration of the games, although there are also specific challenges that you can choose to tackle depending on your level of madness. The one that appeals to me, and I'm going to start already (as I don't want to wait for Feb), is WIP Wrestling, where you try and finish as many of your half-finished projects as you possibly can.

In my case, I had 8 WIPs outstanding at the beginning of the year, most of which have been sat there for a goodly while and need to be finished. So my aim, as well as finishing other projects, is to get all of these done so I can be free of the guilt of seeing them in my stash when I cast on for something new.

The culprits are:

  • Husband Socks - update on these below
  • Boose's Booties - also an update on these
  • Trev's Gloves - started and finished one, last weekend - need to get the second one done so Trev can enjoy non-frozen hands
  • Fiddlehead Mittens - finished the first one of these really fast - stalled on the second, and still have to knit linings for them too
  • Otto - this got put to one side after I had a serious falling out with the sister whose child it was intended for. Rubbish excuse I know, but I need to finish him and then decide what to do with him
  • Hourglass Jacket - started this because loads of people were, did about 4 rows and then got distracted by other stuff
  • Central Park Hoodie - did the back quite quickly, and then most of the left front, which I then had to frog for using the wrong size needles. Need to get smaller projects out of the way so I can focus on spending a big chunk of time on this one
  • First Handspun Socks - spun up the yarn for this which is a bit overtwisted and seriously tough. But need to give it a go on sufficiently large needles just to see how they come out
Sooo, I promised an update on 2 projects above. The first one is Boose's Booties, which I don't have an updated photo of, but instead some progress. I've finally found some buttonholes that I liked for these. I tried the sewn buttonholes, but just couldn't get them looking even and nice. So instead I crocheted a small chain, then slip-stitched back along it and fastened it in place. Also bought some cute buttons from John Lewis - so the first shoe is totally finished (even if it is too small) and the second one should be quicker work.

In terms of the Husband Socks, these are finished - after a massive knitting binge yesterday. I've wanted to get these finished, so that when I pick up my first Knit Love Club parcel tomorrow, I don't have socks-in-progress to guilt me out of doing these ones. I had about 60 rows to do, which I more or less managed yesterday. And after blocking and drying last night, here they are:

Trev's House Socks

Trev's House Socks

Trev's House Socks

I think they look pretty good, despite the problems with instep tightness I mentioned last time I posted about them. And now they've blocked, they've really softened up and fit Trev really well. I didn't experience any bleeding of colour in the water as some have found with this yarn - just a massive amount of dirty water! Clearly my toting them around as my commute project, whilst it's been good for productivity, isn't good for cleanliness. Here's the vital stats on the socks:

2.25mm needles.
Use Judy’s Magic Cast On: 16/32 stitches.
Worked up to 72 stitches for the foot.
95 rows before turning the heel. (Work until 16 active stitches left.)
70 rows of the leg before starting the cuff.
20 rows of 2x2 rib.
Finish off with Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

Simples!

So much for nice simple stockinette socks. I've seen what the pattern for my first Knit Love Club parcel looks like and I'm very intimidated. I'm sure I'll be longing for stockinette before long!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

New Year's Knitalutions 2010

Well, time to review my knitalutions from last year and see how I got on and maybe make some new ones.


  • Learn to knit socks (and how to knit them 2 at a time as I already know Magic Loop)

  • I managed the first part of this - knitted 2 and a bit pairs last year and subscribed to a sock club. As for the 2 at a time bit, well I can try that this year.

  • Be a selfish crafter - knit and crochet more for myself than I do for other people

  • Don't think I did too well on this one - didn't really finish much for me at all, other than a few hats and pairs of gloves. But I did lots for Trev, which is technically selfish, as it makes me happy.

  • Learn how to seam knitting properly - I HATE seaming crochet and I'm no good at it, so I need to learn how to seam knitting, especially with my CPH on the needles at the moment

  • Nope! The CPH is still on the needles, so this hasn't happened. I know how to do mattress stitch in practise, but in reality, ummmm...

  • Learn to spin! I'm looking at a couple of courses in shops in London. I love the idea of a wheel, but will try out both wheels and spindles to see which I prefer

  • Yay! This was probably my first achieved goal last year, as I learned to spin in January. Not spent much time trying out a wheel, but have put myself on the list for a Journey Wheel and acquired 7 Bosworth spindles in the process. Still not that prolific a spinner, but hopefully that will come with time.

  • Learn colourwork/stranding/Fair Isle - not too sure I want to learn Intarsia (maybe in 2010) but would love to make a funky Fair Isle hat or something. Thinking Endpaper Mitts (here on Ravelry) to learn?

  • Done! The stranding part, anyway. Made the Endpaper Mitts and started on the Fiddlehead Mittens which are also stranded. In terms of Intarsia, unsure whether or not I'll attempt that this year.

  • To design something knitted, and maybe something hairpin lace

  • Not yet - having too much fun and learning knitting other people's patterns first.

  • Learn the "raglan" style of making sweaters - learn how to make stuff top-down and seamless

  • Still something I want to learn - haven't finished my first sweater yet, so might be a while before I give this a go.

  • Learn more about how garments are constructed so I can make changes and amend things to fit me

  • Also on the "still to learn" list.

  • Learn how to do short row and other shaping to allow for a proper fit in the boobage/waist/hip area

  • I've learned a little bit about short rows and how they pertain to socks, but in terms of actual garments? Still not there yet.

  • Learn all my knitted increases and decreases and more ways to cast on/off

  • I think I made pretty good progress on this. I know most of my increases and learned lots of different cast ons, such as tubular, german twisted, long-tail, cable, invisible, Judy's Magic, etc. Cast offs haven't been quite so many, but plan to add to this - done standard bind offs, sewn bind offs and recently learned Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which I adore!


    So in terms of aims for this year? I think I should be a bit less ambitious, especially as we are likely to have quite a lot on this year - we are thinking about moving up to Leeds, which involves selling the flat and my finding a new job - so that's likely to eat up a chunk of time. But here's a few, hopefully more achievable things:

    • Finish everything I currently have in Ravelry as a WIP
    • Knit all my Knit Love Club socks this year
    • Spin more - try and finish at least 6 full skeins of yarn
    • Make another jumper/cardigan of some kind for myself
    • Continue to be a selfish crafter - but remember that this means I can knit for other people as long as it makes me happy
    • Make sure I save up at least half the money I need for my Journey Wheel
    • Try and be more disciplined when it comes to finishing projects - I want to suffer from attacks of finishitis, not startitis.

    I think that's enough for now. The socks should keep me more than busy enough for most of year, along with trying to spin more and finish another garment. I know I've got a couple of baby garments I'm going to want to finish, so that should be good practise for making garments of my own.

    I'm already making good progress on the WIP thing - will set up another post about this in a sec as I have another FO to show off :)

    Piccies as promised

    OK, so it's not Saturday, it's Sunday. But in fairness I did take all the photos I needed yesterday :)

    Time to have a little photo catch-up of some of the other things that have been going on.

    Finished Ripley:

    Ripley III FO

    Ripley III FO

    Made the standard medium size - the only change I made was to kitchener the band as soon as I had finished knitting it, rather than at the end. I found I was able to minimise holes and get a cleaner result this way.

    Baby Booties:

    My colleague who stole my black Ripley on account of her being pregnant (she was very cold when we went on a business trip to Madrid and in fairness I did lend it to her and she fell in love with it) will be getting a few handknits from me! I've started on these booties but the first one has come out super tiny. So unless she has a small baby, I don't know what to do with them.

    Boose's Booties

    Boose's Booties

    I've made a change to the pattern where I've used an applied i-cord to make the straps as I think it gives a nicer looking result. Just need to do the buttonholes on this first one and then knit the second. Cute, despite being too small.

    Trev's house socks:

    Trev's House Socks - WIP

    Just past the toe on the second one now. Annoyingly, his socks are still quite tight on him across the instep - but not as much so as his Koigu socks. Next pair I try I'll use a gusset and heel flap and see if that makes things fit any better. Of course the next pair of socks I knit will be for ME, but due to my massive cankled feet, I can still try out this technique :)

    Hobbledehoy Handspun:

    Hobbledehoy Handspun

    I've wound my 2-stranded plying ball - will ply it later this week once everything has settled down, to make it easier to ply. No idea what sort of yardage I will get from it, but should be a semi-decent amount.

    Time of the Month Handspun:

    Time of the Month yarn

    As mentioned before this is the first 2oz, and came out to just over 100yds. Tried to long-draw in places, but didn't really work - so this is a hybrid of lots of different drafting styles. Chain-plied it to preserve the stripes - think it looks good! Not too sure what the WPI is - somewhere between a DK and a sockweight, I think.

    Limegreenjelly 800 yard challenge:

    I mentioned this challenge in passing in my last post, but here's some more info :) On the LGJ group on Ravelry, we were inspired by a member who spun up a beautiful skein of laceweight using LGJ fibre and got a yardage of over 800 yards. It was then suggested that we all try and do the same, with a prize for the winner.

    I've been a bit late to the game, esp considering that I am using a spindle, but I started on Wednesday and have already spun up about 10g or so, I reckon. In some ways I think I will be quicker with a spindle than with those on a wheel, as it's easier to insert lots of twist, fast, but still need to get a move on before it takes me forever.

    I'm using some 70/30 merino/silk blend I bought from Jo called Lhuna and so far it's coming out like this on my Pink Ivory Mini:

    Limegreenjelly 800yd challenge

    Limegreenjelly 800yd challenge

    Limegreenjelly 800yd challenge

    When I'm totally finished with it I'll do a blog post on how I spun it and the full details, but for now pretty pictures are enough :)

    Right, off to do some more spinning and knitting!

    Thursday, 7 January 2010

    Welcome to 2010!

    Welcome everyone to this year! Sorry I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front. I had over a week off work and didn't get round to writing a post. Oops. I blame it on too much walking, eating, drinking and sleeping.

    Not been overly productive on the knitting or spinning front! But here's an update on each.

    Knitting:

    I finished the first of Trev's Cherry Tree Hill house socks - pics to come once I've finished them both, or once I can take a pic in daylight of the one that's on the blocker. Come out well, and fits him good, which is great.

    I also knitted 2 hats - a simple grey beanie for Trev and a new Ripley for me. I needed a new one because my black one got hijacked by a cold pregnant colleague on a business trip. So I cobbled one together out of leftover bulky yarn, but don't really have a picture to show yet. I do however have a pic of Trev's new hat:

    Simple Beanie

    I created a garter stitch band 8 stitches wide. S1, k7, p1. Then the same until I had 64 stitches on each side.

    Joined in the round and picked up and knit a stitch in each on the first round. On the second round, did k1, kfb all around to give a total of 96 stitches.

    Knit in the round until hat measured 5” from start of work.

    Began decreasing 8 stitches every other round until I had only half my stitches left, then decreased 8 stitches each round until left with 8. Cut thread, and pulled through remaining stitches.

    Simples!


    Spinning:

    Bit more to report here. I've had 2 Spunky Club shipments arrive and I've already started spinning up one of them. First off, is November's - 4oz of South African Fine in a colour way called Istanbul sunset. This is the one I've started to spin into a 3 ply yarn:

    Spunky Eclectic - Istanbul Sunset

    Istanbul Sunset WIP

    December's - 4oz of Wensleydale in a colour way called Cold Front. The colours are actually more vivid than this, but my camera doesn't like taking blues:

    Spunky Eclectic - Cold Front

    I also had some new toys turn up. I signed up for a Journeywheel package that was being put together to celebrate Abby's new book, Respect the Spindle. It consisted of a copy of the book, a special 46g batt of 55% merino, 30% tussah silk and 15% cashmere and finally a birds eye maple mini spindle with a Bocote shaft - the Batt, Book and Birdseye pack. Because of the weight I was after, I instead went for a featherweight spindle. And here we are:

    Batt, Book & Birdseye Bundle

    The spindle is a gorgeous 18g and the batt is quite possibly the softest thing I have ever touched. With this one, I also ordered a Walnut Maxi - as I don't have a Maxi yet and I've always wanted a Walnut spindle too. Here's some more gratuitous spindle pictures:

    Bosworth Featherweight Birds Eye Maple

    Bosworth Maxi & Featherweight

    Bosworth Maxi Walnut

    In terms of actual spinning, I've not accomplished much. I finished spinning and plying the first skein of the Romney Time of the Month sock yarn for more socks for Trev - came out to about 100yds for the first 2oz and I guess I need to take a picture of that oo!

    I've also spun up all the singles from the Hobbledehoy batt but just need to ply it. You can also see the Istanbul Sunset fibre I've started to spin up above and because I just can't help myself, I've also started to spin up some fibre for a challenge - more details later.

    Right - I'm going to make myself a little list of things I need to remember to take pictures of to show you next time:

    - New Ripley hat
    - Romney TOTM sock yarn
    - Hobbledehoy batt yarn
    - Challenge spinning
    - Trev's socks

    I also need to report back on my New Year's Knitalutions for 2009 and how I did! I also need to make some new ones for 2010 but I promise I'll do that on Saturday :)