Sunday, 30 December 2012

Socktopus

For my birthday (in July), I bought myself the book Socktopus. I had a good nosey on ravelry and loved the patterns, had a flick through and liked the look of it, and got some birthday money for just such a purchase (I think the tagline was something along the lines of, 'buy something for yourself - though I know you have too much yarn!).

As is the way with these things, they tend to sit in the back of my head and then emerge months later, fully-formed ideas and projects I can imagine casting on tomorrow. This is what has happened over the past month or so. I now have four projects lined up from this book (and that's before I've let the yarn from Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show rest in my head for a while. I know that, alongside these patterns, my brain will sort something out before too long!)

The problem with these fits of inspiration is that it makes me want to cast on all of them. Right now. I can hold back the tide a little, but the problem is that as soon as I get stuck on one thing, I throw up my hands and just cast on something else. And as my maths lecturer would phrase it, these patterns are non-trivial. So now we seem to have two pairs on the needles and another than I am definitely NOT casting on today, if only because the needles I need are in another project.


First, I started 2luvcrew for my soon-to-be bridesmaid's birthday ion March. I saw the yarn on The Yarn Yard website in May, and knew it had to be used for her. The ideas fermented a little and voila! - yarn and pattern matched. It's a lacework pattern of hearts, in case you can't tell.


This pattern has five different lace charts, and I've got this far and got stuck. I'm meant to be working the Heel Transition Chart over some stitches and the Heart Pattern Chart over the rest, but I can't get the numbers to add up. One for a day when I have a lot of brainpower - fortunately I have plenty of chances.

So I decided to cast on something that needed a little less concentration. My mum's birthday is at the end of January and she does love socks so I cast on Caretta Caretta for her, in Rowan Cashsoft 4ply bought from John Lewis in Aberdeen. I've had my doubts about the lacework pattern - is it just me, or is there something slightly dodgy-looking about it? - but finished one sock regardless.


I've not done the beads which I think would lessen the dodginess, and I think the effect is also much reduced when done over the entire sock... or maybe I'm just hopeful!


Next on the list is Hundred Acre Wood, which is covered in little leaves (or are they trees?), so this colour of Yarn Yard Yarn seemed entirely appropriate - this time bought from The Yarn Cake, Glasgow, in earlly November. Wound and ready to rock for a while now, but planning to cast on as soon as I finish one of the others.


And then possibly one of my (weather-)geekiest projects to date - Vorticity Socks in this yarn: Storm by Wharfedale Woolworks (which the lovely Steph had dyed for me). In a nutshell: vorticity is a property that storms have by the bucketload. I am very much looking forward to using this yarn - it has a good lot of bounce.


So despite my knitting a LOT of socks in 2012, it looks like my 'sock thing' is going to continue well into 2013.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

FO: Long Way Round

Hope you all had happy Christmases and that you got to spend quality time with those you love. Here it has been business as usual: another week, another finished pair of socks. According to Ravelry, I did finish these two weeks ago but have been waiting for the thin winter light to flesh out a little. Of course, this being the UK, it didn't happen and I eventually gave up waiting and deployed a daylight bulb.


I'm pretty chuffed; they are so comfy and work brilliantly as bedsocks. The casting on and binding off were difficult, but inbetween these were easy as pie. It does take a moment to get your head around the fact that you're knitting socks flat and sideways but it's totally worth it; I love the way the pattern shows off the yarn. I might make them again using the Zauberball used for the pattern, as that looks great too. I'd make them longer in the leg, though. As the top has ended up a little uneven, I might use a little of the remaining yarn to knit a cuff. Sometime....


Pattern: Longitudinal from Knitty First Fall 2012 [rav link]
Yarn: Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrede, bought in Vienna Apr 2012
Mods: None, although I would make them longer in the legs (by casting on more stitches). Possible future addition of cuff by picking up stitches from top edge.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching 2012

I know, I said I wasn't going to go this year; I have work to do, after all. Plus I've been for the last 3 years on the trot and by last year, I'd felt the shine had begun to wear off. However, then I got my hospital appointment through (before you ask, it's nothing major, fear not!) and it was the Friday morning of the show and frankly, I tend to feel a bit sorry for myself after these things and not be productive so I thought what the hell. Let's do it.

And of course, purchasing yarn did make the teeny tiny owie from a blood test go away.....

Sparkleduck Socka (80% merino, 20% nylon) in Double Trouble

Colinette Jitterbug in Adonis Blue

Skein Queen Entwine in Beauty Berry

My whole must not buy single skeins of sock yarn went out of the window FAST. I had no plan, no idea what jumpers I want to knit next year - or indeed what I should knit next year at all - but I do enjoy sock knitting and am certain there will be some of that in there somewhere. I did get a couple of other bits and bobs but as they're mostly involved in Christmas presents I'll have to keep schtum for a little bit longer.

It was a good day all told, and it did feel like it had the shine back on it, though I'm not certain I'll go next year as I have a lot of other plans. More on that story later ;)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond

Just a quick post to share some of the better photos from my holiday to near the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, where we rented a cottage for a week for some much needed rest and relaxation. Though it was mostly grey, as soon as the weather turned beautiful we were up and at the Loch as early as we could manage. It was a beautiful, still day, and the fog was still clearing away.


We did an 8-mile bike ride to the next town up the loch, where we got a slightly different view of Ben Lomond (the mountain). Cycling is something we both did in our youth and so I haven't ridden that far in about 10 years, and OH had never ridden thar far (or indeed on public roads at all!), so it was an experience and we enjoyed it, though we did wind up with pretty sore bums and would have liked it if less of the path was near a major road (talking was difficult with the noise).


All in all a beautiful day!

Seriously though, the rest of the week was so grim weather-wise that the photographs don't really sell Scotland as the excellent country it is, and quite often I didn't take any as the light was so grey. This did mean we spent a lot of time curled up with the telly and films in our cottage, so I got quite a bit of knitting done.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

FO: Socks and More Socks.


Holy flying cows, man, another month has passed without me blogging! Oopsies!! I will just do a quickie post today about some more finished socks. Fear not, I will do my utmost to find the time to change the record and write about something other than finished socks.

 To recap, I set myself the challenge of knitting 12 pairs of socks in 2012, and now this is well under way. After last month's slight 'where is this going?' dilemma, this month has been more 'who the hell cares where this is going?' and I've cracked on. And so, dear reader, I have not one but two pairs of shiny new socks to show you.

First up are my Jazzy Jaywalkers. I do love it when a pattern and yarn come together so well.


Yarn: Regia 4ply Ombre Stripe by Kaffe Fassett in Shade 4483 from Hobbycraft, Aberdeen.
Pattern: Jaywalker, a free pattern on ravelry (which is free to join if you haven't already!). The rav link is here.
Mods: Made the smaller size longer as I have long skinny feet. Also made on dpns (magic loop is recommended in the pattern), but the change was straightforward and and I just put one patters repeat on each needle.
Ravelry project page here.


All in all a pretty easy sock, good as a second pair. Top-down, slip-stitch heel flap, short row heel, and then decreasing symmetrically for the toes before grafting.

Next!

The second pair of socks are named 'Helter Skelter', as there are purl stitches that twist around the entire thing. The toe is a twisted toe and the heel is a short row heel - the first time I've done this on top-down socks - involved yarn overs instead of wraps, and I'm not sure I'd do it again as it's turned out a bit holey. I do feel like the yarn and the pattern are not getting on as well as with the Jaywalkers, but such luck doesn't strike twice in a month!

Also, you may notice that they are not matching socks, and this is the first time I've really done this. All down to the first ball of yarn having a couple of knots in it that meant the stripes went out of order, and I am pragmatic enough to decide that hacking up the second one to create the same effect was out.


Pattern: RPM by Aija Goto, free from knitty and on ravelry.
Yarn: Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett in Shade 4453, 'Exotic Pool'. Also from Hobbycraft in Aberdeen.
Mods: Not one, but if I had my time again I would do a standard slip-stitch heel and would rethink the twisted toe decreases.
Ravelry project page here.

In conclusion, I'm back in love with sock knitting and clearly loving Kaffe Fassett's colours. See you next time for something that isn't socks. Promise!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mischief Managed

Today , dear reader, I have more socks for you. There has been a lot of sock knitting while I was away.

Yarn: The Yarn Yard's Bonny in Making Mischief
My project page on Ravelry is here.


These are quite an achievement for me. I bought the yarn on a bit of an impulse, in the sale, months and months ago. Since then, I have tried to make them into Wanidas, which they did not suit, and to make them vanilla socks, which I felt the yarn was better than.


The butterfly stitch pattern is easy to remember, and shows of the yarn really well. It also tends to break up any bits of pooling that appear now and again. I feel I have managed difficulties with a randomly variegated yarn. I am pretty chuffed!


This brings me to a small review of my sock progress for 2012. So far, I have knitted 10 pairs of socks, though two were cast on in 2011 and one of those I forgot to photograph before posting them. This means I have 9 pairs with evidence of their existence, and 8 pairs that are totally 2012 socks.

Therefore, I am not sure how to measure the number of socks I've managed to knit in 2012; by the number cast on, cast off or photographed? My plan is to knit socks as much as possible, and see where we are with numbers in another month or so. Any thoughts on that?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Skew Socks, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Embrace my Foibles

Morning all! I promise I have not fallen off the face of the planet; it's just been a busy few weeks. Since last I wrote, I have helped getting the University knitting society back into full swing, had my PhD annual monitoring, bought a wedding dress, and checked out a few venues. Knitted quite a lot, though have not had the opportunity to tell you all about it!

So, we shall begin with the Skew socks, Pattern: Skew socks, a free download on ravelry [link]. Yarn: Regia 4ply Colour in Clown, from Hobbycraft in Aberdeen

These I knitted mostly while I was away at two conferences, in the first half of September. Broadly speaking, a really enjoyable knit. However, it did make my realise one of my no doubt many knitting foibles.

I wanted them to be exactly the same, so I made sure I started them the same, same number of stitches round, same needle size, doing the same stages of the pattern after the same number of stripes. 'This is a foolproof was to get identical socks', thought I. Not so, decided the Knitting Gods, or Gauge Karma, or somebody. They are in face different lengths, in both foot and leg.

Though I'm not sure I care now - it is only a very minor difference, after all - but I definitely did. In my rage at myself, I managed to mess up the grafting on the heel three times and needed the ever-patient Jo from Stitch & Bitch to set me right. However, they are now beautiful to me, and I have (hopefully) learned something about needing to look at the big picture while knitting.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

2012 Plan: Books update

It has been way too long since I spoke about these resolutions. In fact, it has been too long since I blogged full stop; conference season gets in the way of all sort of things. To give this a good go, I'm going to split it up by resolution category,starting with the one I am most proud of:


Apologies for the slightly crappy photo, I was so excited when I realised that put together with the three classics I read earlier this year I have read TEN of the twelve classics I was thinking would take me all year. Do you know what this means? I can read some other books before the year is out! Though sadly I am still not allowed to buy any books, as my 'inshelf' is totally full (to the point where books fall of it if you walk past too quickly).

Of this stack, I think Love in a Cold Climate and the Sherlock Holmes were my favourites, though for different reasons; there is always something happening in the Sherlock Holmes, but Love in a Cold Climate is all about people and I love that too. Frankenstein I did also really enjoy, but I was a little underwhelmed having been told it is the best thing ever, and so I might come back to that one another day; the same pretty much goes for Dorian Gray, though I've at least had mixed reviews of that one from friends. The Twain and D.H.Lawrence did prove a bit of a slog but were worth it in the end; Twain I tried to read while I was in the US and that utterly failed, which may be why that one dragged along. Mrs Dalloway was somehow compelling stuff, despite it being entirely in internal monologue, but once I got used to it I was flying. All good so far though, big plans to just keep cracking on.

Until next time....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Misadventures in Knitting

People, last weekend was a good one for many things, but not for knitting. Well, there was a LOT of knitting, and I did crack on with my vanilla sock very effectively but it just felt a bit like everything I touched turned to crumbs last week. And it continued with the knitting.

First off, I decided to try out some awesome new yarn from The Yarn Yard. I bought this shortly before my epic trip to the US so it's pretty new to me, and I'm always a one for seeing the yarn and then letting ideas ferment in my head before casting on. Except this one, it's just too pretty. I thought it would just be a vanilla sock, toe-up to showcase the yarn, and then I started.


Things began promisingly,  I loved the toe part, but when I looked at the full width part I thought, 'this could be so much better than just a vanilla sock'. Also, call me crazy but I see pooling. Or at least some kind of regular organisation to the stripes...


...though maybe I am losing my marbles. In short, it got frogged. Though it did look cute in the process.


Though my biggest misadvanture in knitting by a country mile this week has been Skelf, a bottom up jumper. I did the ribbing, knitted though the tree, waist and bust shaping and got it as far as my armpits before working out it was too big (36" size). I took it with me when I went to see Steph and she gave me enough wine that I could face the frogging. And boy was it a lot of frogging....


I plan to try one size down (34"), double-check my gauge, keep trying it on, and try to rack my brains to see if I remember what size the sample was, as I have a nasty feeling it was the 32" and it fit OK.

Of course, there will also be a lot of finger-crossing this week.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Adventures in Suffolk

Last weekend, I went to visit Steph in Aldeburgh. After the train and car rides, I arrived at Steph's lovely little house (Steph has promise to blog about that herself). It is in the grounds of a much bigger house, and we had a little potter around them (Steph has actually blogged about the grounds, with a lot more photos that I took!). It is a beautiful and peaceful place, just what I needed after a hectic few weekends!  On the Saturday we pottered into town and I bought a few bits and bobs, and had a yummy Cream Tea in the sunshine.

After tea, we had a potter on the beach, which is pebbles but there is this view back towards the town.


Also, there is a sculpture memorial to composer Benjamin Britten, who lived and worked in the town and has left quite a legacy behind him.

[If you want to try a little Britten, a good place to start is The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. He is also known for operas - like Peter Grimes, from which the quote on the sculpture is taken, and which is coming up at the Proms if you're in London.]


I did also have a little fun with my camera...


...including this stunning back-lit cumulonimbus cloud.


The next day we went to Orford, a nearby village full of pretty cottages, and an impressive castle with some incredible views. 




We did also surprise some sheep in the church's graveyard; we were not expecting to hear a startled 'baaa!' as we were walking through such a peaceful place!


Overall, it was a chilled weekend of pottering, chatting, drinking tea and most importantly knitting (more on that later though!). Thanks for having me Steph :) xx

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

FO: Cubist Socks

It has been a good month for socks. More specifically, a good month for Cookie A free patterns, since I made the Pomatomas ones not long ago. These were also partially knitted in America - indeed a little knitted on the plane home, which I felt very brave about!


Not exactly sock wearing weather here this week but I really enjoyed making them, fairly straightforward pattern (with 'breaks' i.e. plain knit rows between the patterned rows, unlike pomatomas). I love the yarn, the colour screamed at me very loudly indeed when we went to The Yarn Cake in Glasgow all that time ago. Like much of the awesome yarn I buy, I have to wait for a pattern that will do it justice. I think this is a pretty good combination, if I do say so myself!


Pattern: Cubist Socks by Cookie A [rav link], no mods.
Yarn: The Yarn Yard Bonny in Purple

Friday, 3 August 2012

Colorado

My dear reader, thank you for your patience; things here at Chronicles have been very busy for the past week and I can only apologise that my blogging has fallen by the wayside. I will tell you all about it when I can but for now, here is my last post about my trip to the US.

The whole reason for going was actually for work, so I spent three weeks hanging out in Boulder, CO, with some super-cool weather fans at this place. Can you see it perched on the hill there? Beautiful place to learn about meteorology.


As it was an organised course thing with about 30 people on it, there were trips at the two weekends. The first one involved a shortish hike in the Rocky Mountains National Park, which was also incredibly beautiful.


The view from the top, at a little less than 12,000ft (3,600m). It was chilly enough for lying snow to remain (even though it was June!) and high enough that I had to catch my breath once or twice.


The walk started in essentially scrubland and descended about 1000ft...


...into forest, where we caught the odd glimpse of the mountain tops.


Despite the descent, we still encountered some sizeable snowdrifts, as it was sheltered from wind and a little shaded from sun. There were a couple where I was walking through snow well above my knees - and the one time I fell into one I was in it up to my hips!


This is the bottom of the walk, taken looking back up - still a few snow patches near the path but it was noticeably warmer at 10,700ft when we arrived at lunchtime.

The second weekend, we did a much less strenuous walk over fields and in the woods. We got some lovely views back over Boulder and the Great Plains, and of the Front Range.



Thursday, 26 July 2012

FO: Potamus

The tide of craft has pulled me back in, and frankly I'm more excited about it that my holidays right now. I'm going to quickly tell you about some socks I knitted mostly in the US, and finished off once I was home.



Pattern: Pomatomus, by Cookie A, from Knitty Winter 2005. Every time I try to say it, I end up saying 'potamus' instead. A really enjoyable knit, great pattern, lace on every row did mean it needed concentration at least at the start, but then I saw how it worked so by the end, I only needed the pattern when switching between sections. 


Yarn: Toddy from the Yarn Yard. I am very much in the groove with sock yarn from here at the moment; it is great to knit with and makes lovely cosy socks. Sadly, I didn't write down the colour name as it was impulse bought, along with another skein (which also become socks). They are a53 and a44 between them, so who knows?



Needles: as recommended, but went down a size for the ribbing as mine seems to always be slack. 
Mods: Not a single one. 



Generally a really great pattern, I recommend it! For those who are getting into lacework socks, it is not trivially easy but not so hard as to avoid - I enjoyed the knitting and the product!