New toys and new projects

I’ve been without the internet for a week and a half, and in that time I’ve had a birthday :-) So: new toys and new projects! (Photos of all to follow.)

I knit a hat in grey and purple single-round-stripes with single colour slip stitch spiralling cables. I didn’t plan the decreases very well, though, and the top is sort of puckered and bunchy so I might frog it, although I like the effect.

Partner-R gave me a swift and a ball-winder for my birthday, and – due to his absence in Belgium – I spent my birthday afternoon winding all my skeins into balls and watching Buffy. I hate winding balls by hand, and it’s such a joy with the right equipment. And the swift is beautiful.

I was eager to start knitting each and every one of the new balls, but began by casting on for BMP with purple knitwitches as the main colour and black as the contrast. I haven’t yet finished the ribbing, but that’s because the way I’ve been spending time allows for mindless knitting but not fiddly chart-following stranded knitting, so I cast on for my second clapotis, in the blue and purple variegated sock yarn from Ally Pally. I’ve just dropped my second stitch, and it looks rather lovely.

My other crafty presents were two spindles (from J and the MIL) and some fibre, so today I’ve done my first spinning! My first attempt produced very slubby and uneven grey yarn, which is currently hanging in the bathroom to set the twist. The second attempt is much better – I’ve got a better idea of how thick to draft the fibre, so my lilac yarn is nothing like as uneven. It’s still on the spindle because I like it enough that I’m planning to spin the whole of that top into the same yarn; I have another the same, and really quite a few more different ones, and I don’t want to fall into the trap of only spinning a tiny amount of each thing and then being unable to use the yarn.

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Attention span of a flea

I’ve finished the first elegant ribbed stocking (photos later), and am very happy with it. I’ve even cast on and done the first six rows of the second, but my eye is wandering. I knit one needle of Pomatomus, but it needed too much attention, and that’s not the kind of knitting I do in work crises (not feeling well this evening, hence knitting instead of working). Couldn’t even bring myself to finish the round.

I knit the first elegant rib in a week, so I really shouldn’t be bored yet, but I’ve been flipping through Favorite Socks, and my Ravelry queue, thinking about what other sock yarn I’ve got stashed, and wandering about what to make with it. Red smooshy is probably going to be the embossed leaves socks; purple Cherry Tree Hill for clessidra. The purple Knitwitches is variegated, so probably wants to be something plain, and is suggesting it might want to be the main colour for Ilga’s socks, but they’re Fair Isle and require other colours for the pattern. I’ve got ordinary black which would work for the dark colour, but the only other unassigned yarns I’ve got are Opal handpaint, which is too fussy, or ordinary dark green, which wouldn’t go. One of the assigned yarns – the red smooshy or the purple CTH – would go better, but I’d have to knit their assigned socks first in case there’s not enough yarn. And the purple colour would go better, but the red texture would be better, because the CTH has a really different texture from the others (tighter spun and less fluffy). I’ve got some purple CTH and some Lorna’s Laces valentine left over from other things, but probably not enough :-(

If I don’t want to knit the other elegant rib just now, what I should do is knit friend-R’s other jaywalker, or even some of my stalled red cardigan. The cardigan’s too boring, but if I can force myself to get through the next few inches, I’m at sleeve-splitting-off time, which is itself interesting, and which leaves me with shorter – therefore less boring – rows. But it’s big and heavy and requires five balls of yarn at once, and just thinking about it makes me tired. And anyway, I really want to be knitting socks.

Jaywalker is probably the right level of interesting – something to do, but easy to remember and not at all taxing – but I’m all out of enthusiasm for the pattern.

I keep looking at the existing pairs of socks that I’ve made, and marvelling that I ever managed to finish both, let alone that in all cases I knit the second straight after the first (although I did have a shortish hiatus in knitting the triskell cable socks). What was it that kept me going? When did I lose it? And how do I get it back again?

Ahem. Seem to have turned into Carrie from Sex and the City for a moment there.

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O. M. G.

Wandering around Socktopus (note to self: I do not need more sock yarn), I have made a discovery for which I don’t really have words. The facts will have to speak for themselves. Bison sock yarn. Forty pounds a skein. A 50g skein, that is. And it only comes in brown.

I mean, I know I talk about the luxury being part of the appeal of hand-knitted socks, but seriously. Seriously.

(PS. Have turned heel of elegant ribs and am working on gusset decreases. Hooray!)

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Elegant ribbed stockings



I’m well into the leg of the first elegant ribbed stocking, and it’s lots of fun (plus going really quickly because it’s knit on quite large needles – 4.5mm, 4mm and 3.75mm). I’m halfway through the fourth cable turn section, and am expecting to hit the 10″ required for my next needle change at the end of the pattern repeat, which will make it neat and easy to replicate on the second.

I bought fancy sillk hand-dyed ribbon for these, since the pictures in the book include a ribbon tie around the top, but I think it will look silly – these are going to be thick, chunky socks (not at all well named, although the stitch pattern is quite elegant, I suppose), and a ribbon would strike a bum note. But all is not lost! I’ve just been looking at the pictures of Clessidra (which may be my next sock project), and that – more delicate pattern, finer gauge, etc – would be a much better home for the pretty ribbon.

I’m loving the Cascade 220, by the way, and am trying to resist the urge to plan something else to knit with it, requiring the purchase of more. It seems a crazily thick yarn for socks, but it’s the same weight as the yarn mentioned in the book, and I’ve already said I’m probably not planning to wear these socks out and about – strictly lazing-around-the-house socks – so it’s no big deal. And I meant it when I said it was going really quickly :-) I’m cabling sans cable needle, which is helping, too, although I doubt I’d be brave enough to do it for cables wider than two stitches.

One final picture, the last photo of the Ally Pally haul: the very bright red and pink sock yarn of which Frax and I have joint custody. Well, she’s the resident parent, but I’m hoping for visiting rights! Thanks to Frax for the photo.

There are so many pairs of socks in my immediate knitting future it’s quite scary, but now the weather is being seriously cold, I’ve taken the unusual step of wearing socks indoors! And they’re mostly my currently-meagre supply of handknitted socks, because they’re so much warmer than bought socks, because it means I get to wear them without worrying about wearing them out too quickly, and because it’s the only time I wear socks without boots, so I get to admire the pretty (I’m wearing Baudelaires as I type). So I’m looking forward to expanding my hand-knitted sock wardrobe and having many pairs of beautiful red and purple socks to choose from.

In not-news unrelated to socks, I’ve got photos of the nearly-completed Urban Rustic gloves that I keep meaning to (a) write about, and (b) weave in the damned ends, but I can never quite summon the energy to do either. I hate weaving in ends, and I’m worried that these will sit in my WIPs pile forever, although they’re actually really nice gloves, and I’m pleased with my mods: the double-sided dual-yarn effect, and the added multi-directional cuffs. The pics are in my Vox library and on Flickr, anyway.

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