Thursday, 1 November 2018

Once Upon a (Southwark) sock - November

I think this is the first time that Once Upon a Sock and the first of the month have coincided for quite a while.  (Having checked, it was back in March).  Today is also the first day of Wovember - a celebration of all things wool.

A drainpipe outside the main cathedral

On Thursday of last week, Mr Knitty and I spent an evening at Southwark Cathedral, to see a talk on the book that goes alongside the All The Stations project, by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe.  For those who don't know the project - Geoff and Vicki did a trip last summer, where they visited every single train station in the mainland UK.  (The full documentary is here )

The cathedral is gorgeous.  There was a monument to Shakespeare (given that he worked in the parish when he was at The Globe Theatre.

Of course, I had a pair of socks on the needles, which I worked on during the talk.  I'd decided that if anybody complained, I'd be prepared to stop.  Luckily, I was sitting at the back and nobody was paying attention to me, as they were listening to the talk and taking part in the Q&As. 

The socks at the beginning of the Q&A
When it came to the book signing afterwards, it made perfect sense to knit in the queue.  I think we were waiting about 90 minutes, so it was a good distraction and more work towards this year's box o' socks.  (Please can we ignore the dropped stitch somewhere round the toe which I found a couple of days ago).  Geoff could not get over the fact that I was knitting whilst waiting, to the extent that he asked if he could write it in the book.

The Candy socks are finally finished.  After messing up the heel at least three times, I told the socks that I didn't want them languishing in the project bag; I didn't think that it wanted to be languishing in the project bag - so could we please work together to get the heel turn sorted.  

Yarn - Regia Pairfect, in the colourway Candy.
Pattern is Sockmatician's toe-ups. 

These are knit in Regia Pairfect - designed to be knit from the cuff down.  I chose to knit it toe up, so the pink on the toe should be the cuff, and the thick stripes on the feet should be on the legs.  If I were to knit them again, I'd either try cuff down (gulp) or knit the toes and heels in orange and re-jig the yarn so that the pink cuff and thick stripes are in the right place. 

Last month, I also cast on an orange pair.  This was meant to be my socks for last June, then this June and then whenever-I-could-get-round-to-knit it. 

I've recently started using this progress keeper, because it's gorgeous.  I think it came with a yarn purchase...

Yarn: Opal 20 Years, colourway 9285 - Candle

The final pair, which still need a heel are my third time lucky socks.  This was the yarn I used in my first attempt at socks over four years ago.  The next attempt was over three years ago where I got halfway through the heel and no further.  (My friend Jane was telling me how to turn the heel with wraps and turns.  The lesson finished before the heel did).  They're now nearly finished - pending an afterthought heel.  

Yarn is Sirdar Heart and Sole.  I cannot remember the colourway.

There are a group of us who blog about socks on the first Thursday of the month.  If you knit socks and want to join us, you would be most welcome.  Each month we have a live link-up, hosted by Paula at Spin a Yarn.  If you want to join us, all you need to do is post your blog entry, add your link to the link up and link back to Paula's blog.  It doesn't matter if you crank out a pair of socks a week, or just manage a couple of rows a month - if you knit socks, you're part of our gang and it would be lovely to share your projects!   

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

I Need to Knit a Sweater

It's starting to get chilly.   Like,  properly Autumnal chilly.   It's almost as if the weather is trying to convince me to knit more  The clocks going back this weekend hasn't helped with the 'let's pretend it's not getting into Winter'. 

A lot of people I follow on Instagram were at Rhinebeck earlier this month.  (Of the 29 knitting people I follow, eleven were at Rhinebeck; only two of which appeared not to be posting).  It surprised me how difficult I was finding it watching their stories.  There is something about the knitting community getting together, which is amazing.  Knitters understand knitters in a way that non-knitters never will, and I feel in need of a bit of understanding at the moment. 

Counting down! 

However, I did stay up until the early hours to watch Kristy Glass' Tell Me About Your Rhinebeck Sweater.  YouTube have a new feature called Premiere, so for the first time any recording is played, the people watching it, can interact via a chat window.  The premiere happened at 0100 UK time.  Mr Knitty was on a night shift, so his place in the bed was taken by my laptop.  So, in my own little way I was part of this year's Rhinebeck story.  I did cast on a pair of socks to knit whilst watching, but with keeping up with the sweaters and the commenting, there wasn't time for knitting as well.

Just check the time on the laptop
If you've not watched any of the 'Tell Me About Your Rhinebeck Sweater' videos on Youtube, I'd highly recommend it.  It gives you a change to indulge in other people's creativity and find new patterns and yarns you've never heard of.  The only risk is an increase in your Ravelry queued items!  The videos can be found on Youtube for 20162017 and 2018. 

I'm starting to think about Christmas knitting - both for this year and for next.  Between now and Santa, my sister is due a second baby - so I also want to do some hats for him/her.  (Older brother who was born in October got hats for his first Christmas.  Bump is going to get hats for being born and something else for Christmas.

This may, or may not, have been bought for Bump's Christmas present. 

I've also decided that I really, really, REALLY need to knit a sweater.  There's something about Christmas knitting that's got me wanting to knit everything but what I actually need to get sorted.  I'm also getting a bit bored of knitting socks; the needles are small and my shoulders hurt after too much knitting.  I've been inspired by the Rhinebeck sweaters and I want to get on and knit my own - even if I don't get to New York State until 2020 at the earliest.

Of course, extra yarn for Christmas gifts means that the stash is getting even more out of control than it was to start with.  That's even more reason to knit a sweater; a sweater worth of yarn will clear more space than a pair of socks worth of yarn.  Of course, if I actually start a sweater now - then there won't be time to knit Christmas gifts.  It's the first year I've done gift knitting, so I want to at least try and get it right.

I guess I need to start by casting on....

Friday, 5 October 2018

Once Upon a Sock: October

So, I didn't forget to post yesterday.  It just got late, and I got tired...

I have three pairs of socks currently on the needles, one of which I don't have photos of.

The pair I want to get finished today:

Yarn - West Yorkshire Spinners, colourway Blue Lagoon

I was away over the weekend, and was hoping to finish them then, but didn't.  The other pair, which really should be next to complete:

Yarn - Regia Pairfect, colourway Candy
This is knit with Sockmatician's pattern, using German short rows.  Of the three times I've tried them on this pair of socks, I've got it to work once.   I'm liking the German short rows, but it does take a bit of concentration to turn the heel. 

Today is also my birthday, which is an excuse for more knitting time and sewing badges on to my camp blanket.  For those not in the know, it's a common tradition for Guides and Scouts to sew old badges or souvenir badges on to a blanket, which they then take on camp.  The blanket I'm working on at the moment, includes these incredibly cute badges:

Hello Kitty badges from Japan, 2015
Also my sister gave me the best gift - a poetry book about knitting.  I have no idea where she bought it, but it's amazing.  All proceeds go to Knit for Peace.  There's even one poem which references James Norbury  Be still my geeky knitters heart.  She's also sent me a video of her and my two year old nephew singing Happy Birthday. 

There are about three yarns I want to cast on for my next pair of socks, as well as the Christmas yarn I should start to think about starting on.  That's in addition to any socks I want to knit for Mr Knitty for Christmas.  The focus should be on the two currently on the needles.  If I don't, I'll just cast on a new pair once I've finished the blue stripey pair and the other two pairs will still be waiting for heels, this time next year. 

On the first Thursday of every month, there is a group of us who blog about socks.  OK, in this case - a couple of us have made it the first Friday of the month, but that's OK.  There is a monthly link up hosted by Paula at Spin a Yarn.  If you blog and knit socks, you're more than welcome to join us. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Once Upon a Sock: September

Remember last month when I was being a bit smug about lifelines.  I claimed that if I put them in, I wouldn't need them.  Oh dear.

I was trying to use the short row heel found on the Arne and Carlos Youtube channel.   I had the idea that if I increased stitches, then I wouldn't need to make so many stitches after knitting two together.  Whilst the logic was good, because I increased the stitch count, the rest of the maths was thrown out of whack.  In the end, I decided to use a Fleegle heel instead.  To be honest, it's not my favourite heel, but so many things had gone wrong with this pair of socks I just wanted to get them finished. 

Yarn is Schoeller und Stahl Esslinger Sockenwolle in colourway beige-orange

The next pair I completed since last month, were a pair I cast on at the end of February.  I was going to use the short row heel used in the knitting expat vanilla sock pattern.  However, she has written the pattern over 64 stitches, and I only had 60 stitches. So, instead, I used the fish lips kiss heel and worked out how to do it in a contrasting colour.

Main yarn is Regia 4ply, colourway Brazil.
Contrasting yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners 4 play, colourway Cayenne Pepper

Also completed over the last month, were the toe-up Hermione's which I cast on back in July last year.  The good thing about me having similar sized feet to Mr Knitty, is that I can get him to try on pairs of socks I have knit for me, and then work out any amendments which I need to make.  Luckily, these fit him perfectly.

Main yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in Rum Paradise
Contrasting yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in Bubblegum

I also need to be less of a slattern when it comes to weaving in my ends.

Also on the needles at the moment are the candy socks and the mosaic socks.  Both of these have been made with the Sockmatician toe-up recipe.  The last time I made these, I got into a muddle with the heel turn.  This time, I have used lifelines , just in case.  I have managed one heel turn, so I know I can do it.  The second heel has gone wrong twice, so I'm putting it to one side for the time being.  This pattern uses German short rows, which are just as easy to use as people say they are.  I think I still prefer the shadow wrap short row heel used in the fish lips kiss heel, but I would definitely use of German short rows again.

As I have a hospital appointment today, I plan to cast on a new pair of socks, so I have something to do whilst waiting.  These are going to be my May socks for the box of socks challenge.  Once I've cleared another pair of needles, I'll cast on my socks for July and September.  Even better, all of this sock knitting has given me more scraps for my memory scrap blanket! 

There are a group of us who blog about socks on the first Thursday of the month.  If you knit socks, whether one pair a year or one pair a year, you are more than welcome to join us.  All you need to do is write a blog entry and add it to the link-up page which is here.  Alternatively, you can just click on the link-up and read more about other peoples' sock knitting. 

Just for today, I'm going to leave with a song.  No idea why this one is on earworm....

Thursday, 9 August 2018

USA: The Stash

Believe it or not, I was pretty restrained.  There was one yarn shop in Washington DC, which I didn't visit, as I knew there was more to explore in New York.

On my first night, I found Knitty City

Now, because that photo was taken after the shop closed, it doesn't show the baskets outside with the yarn on sale, or the boxes of books, or even the lady sitting outside knitting and telling me that all the books were free.

Oh dear.

Clockwise, from top left: 
  • Intermix - Stacy Charles
  • Kristin Knits - Kristin Nicholas
  • Hat Couture - Theresa Silver
  • Backyard Silk Blend Collection - Manos del Uruguay
  • Vogue Knitting: Teen Knits on the Go
  • Gotham - Stacy Charles
  • Curvy Knits x 2 - Jillian Moreno
  • Funky Knits - Carol Meldrum & Julie Marchington
I wasn't completely sure if I had enough weight allowance to bring back all of these books (let alone the space), so I had to go shopping for a new suitcase to carry the extra books back.  What started off at RRP of $170, was in the sale at $85.  The cashier who ran the transaction asked if he could try a mystery coupon to see if it made a difference.  Final cost, $46.40, including taxes! 

I will admit that the constant declarations that things were made the US, or the proliferation of flags got a bit irritating.  I get it, you're proud of your country/ isolationism!  However, when it came to yarn 'made in the US' is exactly what I was looking for! 

The first skein of yarn I found:

Knitted Wit Victory Sock
Colourway - Grand Canyon

Then I saw this one:

Knitted Wit Victory Sock
Colourway - Everglades

Then I saw a third one.  I wasn't sure if I could really justify a third skein.  However, I'd been sitting in Central Park listening to a guy playing his guitar and singing, including songs by REM, so I had to get it, given their song of the same name.  

Knitted Wit Victory Sock
Colourway - Cuyahoga Valley

I had a few hours to kill on the Saturday morning, and wanted to go to Lion Brand Studios (mostly because I knew they had a sale on, and the thought of getting some of the nicer yarns for a reduced cost was a tempting one).  In the end, the shop wasn't open at the same time I was free to visit it.  I also had Purl Soho on my list.  I've seen a video of it, and it looks like nothing on earth!  I'd planned to visit on the way back from Liberty and Ellis Islands.  However, I took more time than expected, by which point the shop had closed. 

Returning from Ellis Island

I have a very bad picture of me sitting inside Knitty City, in front of the bookshelf.  I hadn't even given it a glance!  I did have a plan to go back on the penultimate day I was in New York, but I decided that I'd done enough walking on the day in question, so didn't return after all.  

After walking to find the Alice statue, I didn't have the energy to return to Knitty City

Whilst I never went back to Knitty City, a couple of people had recommended Strand Books to me - and oh boy, was it a good recommendation!  The shelves for knitting and crochet were floor to ceiling; I had to borrow a ladder to peruse the top two shelves.  There was another lady looking for crochet books; every time I found one on the knitting shelves, I'd pass it down to her, just in case. 

Clockwise, from top left: 

  • Knitting in America by Susan M. Strawn 
  • The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice
  • The Knit Generation, ed. Sarah Hatton
  • Knitting from the Centre Out by Daniel Yuhas
Knitting in America is one I saw at Knitty City; after looking it up online, it seemed right up my street - so I was very pleased to see it on the shelves at Strand Books.  (Ravelry page here).  Knitting from the Centre Out looked like an interesting way of approaching patterns and The Knit Generation featured designers I liked. 

They were also selling the famous Vogue Knitting Book - both the old and new editions.  I really wanted to get one of them, but didn't know if it was cheaper than in the UK, nor whether I'd have enough space in my luggage.  Despite the extra suitcase, books are heavy!  There was one by Amy Herzog which also had to go on the 'maybe later' pile.  

The last book from Strand Books, was one that is mostly intended for my very good friend and knitting mentor who had a baby, whilst I was in West Virginia.  If she likes the book, it's hers.  If she doesn't, I'll keep it.  Either way it works out, and some of the dresses are adorable

Also, in the knitting related purchases:

I first read about Kool Aid as a dye in Stitch and Bitch.  I couldn't quite get my head around the idea of using a drink powder to create a permanent colour to yarn.  I'm still not sure I've got my head around it, but with some packets of dye, space in the kitchen and an internet tutorial or two, I'm sure I can work something out.  

The final thing were a couple of bracelet charms which were on reduction at Girl Scout Central - the Manhattan shop for the Girl Scouts.  I thought they'd do quite nicely as stitch markers.  The one on the left is to celebrate 100 years of selling cookies; the one on the right is a Brownie elf.  

I'm due to go back to the US next year for a Scout camp, with Mr Knitty joining me afterwards for a holiday.  I'll either be going back to places I visited this year, or go somewhere new, with new yarn shops to explore.  It's a win-win.

What have you been up to this summer?

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Going Away, Coming Back & Tidying Up

The problem with trying to maintain a blog, is writing when you don't feel like it.  Current lack of job, combined with the outstanding complaint raised against my former employers has lead me into the mood of not wanting to do very much at all.  Nothing productive, at least.  

In June, we went to Germany and at the end of last month, I came back from the US.  Both trips have been bookended with me trying to impose order on our flat.

Earlier on in the year, I saw a post on Facebook, for an allotment somewhere in Scotland, who were looking for yarn to decorate their allotment for an open day in August.  Given the number of free kits I've collected from the front of magazines, I was more than happy to oblige.  I ended up sending a massive parcel of leftover or unwanted acrylic yarn, and in the process I found yarn in the stash that I'd either forgotten about, or didn't know I'd bought in the first place.  

One of the best things about tidying up, was finding this:

Happy yarn!
My First Regia in colourway 0184

This is a ball of My First Regia that I've been trying to find online, but everywhere was out of stock.  The colourway name is Dominik, and I really wanted it as a square on my patchwork blanket.  I have no memory of buying this yarn, but I've very, very happy to have found it in the stash!  

Somewhere in the video I made (but never uploaded) about Woolinn, I made a comment about knitting a uterus.  In the clear-out, I also managed to collate all my pink yarn and sew-on pin attachments, to do just that.  

What is the correct plural of uterus?  Uteruses?  Uteri? 

I'm starting on the Kon-Marie process of tidying up; the theory is that you decide on what to keep - and only keep that which sparks joy.  I'm currently part-way through sorting out a couple of bookshelves.  

The knitting bookshelf in its first incantation

The theatre bookshelf has been downsized, and has swapped places with the knitting bookshelf, which has got considerably bigger.  

The knitting bookshelf in it second incantation - this is now the theatre bookshelf

My plan is to have all my knitting related stuff on the one bookshelf; books, folders of patterns, my swift and ball winder, the tin of sock needles, etc. etc. etc. 

The bookshelf in its current incantation

Isn't that just beautiful?  I can't stop looking at it.  My socks books are together; my lace books are together; my stitch dictionaries are together; multiple books from one author are together.  There's space for the yarn swift (on the top shelf in the picture).  There's a bit more space, should when I buy any more books.  What can't be seen is the very top shelf, which is currently housing all the clutter I've moved to get the books in.  There are a couple of other boxes to go on, including my Box O Socks  I don't think I'm going to manage 12 pairs of socks - especially as I've lost the March socks - but that's not going to stop me knitting.

At some point, I'm going to have to do exactly the same with the yarn stash.  Please send chocolate in preparation.....

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Once Upon a Sock: August

I recently came back from the US.  My plan was to have two completed pairs of socks on my return. Ha, ha, ha.  On the plus side, the rainbow socks I was knitting last month are now finished.  (Photos to be added when it's not late at night and I can take some decently lit photos).

What I have nicknamed my 'sunset socks' kept going wrong and have been ripped out at least three times. (The third time, I realised I hadn't ripped back far enough, so I had to rip back even further.  I don't know if that counts as four times?)  It's getting a bit boring now.

The socks, on leaving Paris

The socks taking in the view at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, Atlanta (the busiest airport in the world)

The socks, coming in to Charleston WV

Recovering from jetlag on my first day in the US. 

At this point in knitting, I'm at the heels.  I wanted to try a short-row heel, using slipped stitches - as shown by Arne and Carlos in their video here and in the pattern for the Lifestyle Toe-up Socks.  I don't like short row heels, as they don't fit my feet too well - so I've done a gusset increase.  It could work amazingly, or it could end up a mess.  I've put lifelines in, just in case.  Past experience says that things are more likely to go wrong without a lifeline, so I'm optimistic.  

Whilst I didn't finish the socks by the time I got home, they did get a good view of New York.  One of the things on my list of things to do was to find the John Lennon memorial in Central Park.  There was a man there with his guitar, so I took half an hour to knit and listen to him singing.  Then I walked to Knitty City where I joined a group of ladies who were knitting hats for charity.  It was the perfect way of finding balance in the big city.  We talked about socks and ways of knitting - and they let on that Mina Philips - aka The Knitting Expat used to visit there, when she lived in New York. 

The Imagine memorial to John Lennon
Inside Knitty City - I was very restrained in my purchases! 

I have another pair on the needles - which will also need a lifeline before turning the heel - and once both the current pairs are off the needles, the next pair are queued for cast-on!

On the first Thursday of each month - a group of us all get online and blog about socks.  Paula's blog has the explanation - and the link-up of blogs is right here if you want to read more about socks - or would like to join us.  

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Once Upon a Sock: July

So yes, I've been away.  I went to Woollinn, create a video blog for it, then spent over a month trying to edit it.  (I've still not finished). 

Last weekend we came back from Germany.  (I'll write about that separately).  I had a mad panic beforehand about taking only one knitting project with me.  In the end, I didn't finish the socks I'd taken with me, let alone did anything with the yarn I took for the second-project-shawl.  Oh well. 

The sock had a mistake in it (I knitted when I should have purled - or the other way round), so I had to tink back several rows.  It wasn't my top priority on holiday! The mistake is now rectified, and this is the current state of progress:

Socks - vanilla socks
Yarn - Something by Opal
These were the ones I was working in a couple of months ago.  I was going to do an orange heel, but instead I did a Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  I love the fish lips kiss heel to knit, but find that the short row heel doesn't work for my feet so well, so I've done ribs on the top to make it easier to put on.
To make the socks look right from the front, I just re-attached the colour at the right stage of the rainbow:

The sock heel
The bit where the yarn is re-joined, looks slightly odd from the front - but actually fine from the side.  I'm sure it'll all look better when it's washed, blocked and worn. 

I wanted to do more of this this week, but I've been hit with a cold and flu - so it's been going more slowly than I would like, as I don't want to make another mistake.  They're going to be ankle socks, partly because it won't fit if the legs are too long, and partly because I need the needles free for a new pair to be cast-on in time for me flying to the USA on Tuesday. 

There's a group of us, who blog about socks on the first Thursday of the month.  I think I'm just going to make it....  Links to Paula's blog is here who has the full explanation - and the link-up page is here

Sunday, 20 May 2018

"We've got a dangly thing"

Apparently the workshop I'm doing next weekend was fantastic.  I hope it is.  Was.

There was slight consternation online this week, after Simply Knitting claimed to already have been to Woolinn Dublin, ten days before the rest of us.  I haven't yet prepped for my class (Introduction to Hat Design with Woolly Wormhead).  I just need to knit a swatch of the yarn I'm using to design my hat.  I've just been stash diving, and can't find the yarn I was looking for - but have found five other yarns which I could use.  The deciding factor will be which fabric I want to feel against my skin. 

This weekend we've also booked our summer holidays; a week or so in Germany.  It's the first time since 2015 that Mr Knitty and I have had a summer holiday, together, in summer.  It's quite exciting.

We have a light in our bedroom.  For years, we thought it didn't work.  Apparently it did work, there just wasn't a light pull to make it work.  Rather than go to the hardware store, I thought I'd get creative with a scrap of string and some beads.

I tried French knitting; it didn't work.  Twice.  I tried knitting some i-cord, with beads on the working yarn between rows.  In my head, all the beads would line up and look amazing.  In reality, it didn't work.

In the end, I just knitted a string i-cord, with (possibly too small) 3.5mm needles, and then threaded the beads on afterwards.  All this was done whilst Mr Knitty was out of the house, just to see how long it took for him to notice.

I didn't quite realise how much this looked like a female hygiene product

His first words on walking into the bedroom? "We've got a dangly thing"

And he was right.

The light pull in situ

Once Upon a (Southwark) sock - November

I think this is the first time that Once Upon a Sock and the first of the month have coincided for quite a while.  (Having checked, it was ...