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Saturday, July 28, 2007

All wrapped up

My Sockapalooza package is ready to go!

Sockapalooza parcel

The socks are knit, I've made a tiny skein of darning yarn, I've located (eventually) the ball band, and I've found a scenic local postcard. I've also put in a gorgeous felted rose brooch that I found in Sylvesters. I know it's traditional to send chocolate in these exchanges but I have been able to find clear info on whether it's OK to send food into the States and I didn't want to risk the package being held up.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Missability Radio show and competition

My good friend Felix asked me to spread the word about her radio show and competition.*

The Knitted Walking Stick Cosy Competition 2007


Inspired by the dignifying powers of health-related knitting projects everywhere, The Missability Radio Show is organising a walking stick cosy knitting competition. With your great ideas, knitting skills and visionary powers, you can transform even an ordinary grey walking stick into a fantastical design!

The competition is open NOW and all entries must be received by 7th September 2007.

There are two categories for this competition; the winner in each category will be awarded £40 in yarn vouchers. There is no limit on submissions.

The first category is Fantastical Designs and the second is Real Life. Entries will be judged by walking stick users and The Oxford Bluestockings, an incredibly talented and accomplished bunch of knitters** based here in Oxford.

The cosies will be featured on The Missability Radio Show. Notable submissions will be described by our knitting correspondents on the programmes due for podcast release 9th September!) Photographs and cosies will be publicly exhibited from 12th - 16th September in The Drama Studio at Oxford Brookes University and from 12th - 19th September in The Oxford Centre for Enablement, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford.

Full details of how to enter the competition can be found here.

To see other people’s knitted walking stick cosies, check this out.

Finally for more information about The Missability Radio Show go to here or phone Felicity Ford on 07835 136201.

* Since this means a post that I don't actually have to write myself I was more than happy to oblige!
** Aw, Felix you're making us blush!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rain rain go away...

I'm getting distinctly edgy about the weather here. Half the county seems to be underwater. Not my little town as yet (thank goodness) but it's rather nerve-inducing to be travelling away from home into town for work and not being 100% certain I'll be able to get back again.

In the meantime, I'm putting in some good work on the Vinnland socks which are turning out to be nice, mindless knitting, perfect for keeping my thoughts off the rising water levels. They should also be nice and cosy once they're done. I'm even happier with the colour now, at least it's one spark of brightness!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sockapalooza - finished object

The Kew socks are done! I actually finished them off on Thursday evening but only just got around to taking a photo. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out and just hope that my sock pal likes them too!

Kew socks

I now just need to finish off the Vinnland socks, then I can make a start on Baudelaire with the gorgeous Jitterbug yarn!

Harry Potter and the Mystery Stole

Good title for book 8, eh? OK, it's not as difficult as destroying a Horcrux but it's tricky lace (especially without magic). In fact I think it's the most difficult lace knitting I've attempted yet. It's a good thing it comes in instalments, if I'd been able to see the whole pattern at once I'm not sure I'd have dared to try it.

I didn't get much done on the mystery stole on Saturday - reading HP7 turned out to be quite emotionally draining (i.e. I cried like a baby) - but I knit quite a bit on Sunday whilst watching the thrilling climax to the Open golf with the result that I completed Clue 2 and am currently about two-thirds of the way through Clue 3 (yay!).

Here's the stole knitted up to the end of Clue 2:


a detail of the central pattern:

Patern detail

and the lace border:

Border detail

So far it's looking pretty good - I made one mistake quite early on in Chart A which I only spotted when it was too late to fix it but at least it seems to be a symmetrical mistake!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Yarn Harlot made me do it

"It" being signing up for MS3 (aka Mystery Stole 3) and I suspect I am not alone (in fact I know I'm not as it seems that sign-ups jumped from c. 4000 to c. 5000 after Stephanie's post about this KAL). However, I'm not blaming anyone, indeed what seemed like a somewhat insane idea (what with the looming Sockapalooza deadline and all) on Friday evening is looking rather more feasible now because...big drumroll...the first Sockapalooza sock is finished, right down to its little Kitchenered toe (I'm knitting top down for reasons that will be explained later).

How has this been achieved? Answer, I think I may have put in about 24 hours of knitting time this weekend. Here it is in pictures.

The yarn arrived on Friday morning and on Friday evening I dashed up to Katie's after work to wind it into a lovely fat cake of yarn.

Fyberspates sock yarn

I'd already decided that I would knit a variant on the Kew pattern from last autumn's Knitty. The colourway is Ocean Forest so it had to be something leafy (and possibly also a bit wavy) and the Kew pattern seemed just right. I wasn't overly keen on the top of the socks as pictured, they seemed a bit on the loose and ruffly side (I like the tops of my socks to be snug), however I did like the garter stitch wave on the edging. The solution, I knit the edging and one repeat of the Kew stitch pattern over 70 stitches as directed and created a fold-down cuff which hides 20 rows of 2x2 ribbing at the top of the sock.

worked up to the turning row at the top of the cuff..

9am Saturday

pretty weird looking sock..

5pm Saturday

but turn down the cuff..

5pm Saturday

turn the heel..

9pm Saturday

work 2 repeats on the instep..

5pm Sunday

and voila, the finished article.

11pm Sunday

If you look careful;y at the edging in photos 1 and 3 you can just see the clear beads used in the beaded cast-on. Not to get too poetical or anything, but my sock pal has been bemoaning the Florida heat and I thought that rain-drops on leaves might be reminiscent of the somewhat damper British summer!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tear ball band in case of emergency

OK so I've caved.*

I tried a little bit of plying earlier and it did not go well. I think that if I take my time and do everything properly I should still end up with some pretty decent yarn from my first attempt at spinning but just one yard of yarn plied direct from the spindle was enough to make it quite clear that that was not the way to go. So, new plan. I'll spin up the rest of the second single, then skein it and wind both skeins into balls, slowly and carefully. I can then ply from the ball without (hopefully) too much entanglement as was occurring earlier when I tried plying one ply from the skein and one from the spindle (did I mention the words hopelessly naive in an earlier post?). I'm still not sure that I'll achieve such desirable things as evenness of twist and nice interplay of colour but it won't matter because the yarn will be for myself.

Yes, as hinted at earlier, I have ordered emergency sock yarn for my Sockapalooza socks (the relief is almost tangible - time's a wasting and I still haven't knit a single stitch!). My sock pal wasn't too specific about colourways or fibres, only stating a disinclination for wildly variegated yarn and a vehement dislike of purple, which is a shame because there are some great purple socks yarns out there (and indeed in my stash!).

However, I took another peek at her blog today and discovered that she's very much into aqua at the moment and is yearning for cooler climes. This then, in the colourway Ocean Forest, should be perfect. I'm quite excited about knitting with this as I've not used Fyberspates before and it looks absolutely lush**. Pattern ideas are nudging rather than leaping out at me but the gauge looks like I should get plenty of stitches to the inch which makes for plenty of choice.

Talking of patterns I want to knit, I have finally bought the yarn with which to make me a pair of these (which I have been coveting for ever so long). Whilst I was online buying the Sockapalooza yarn my hand 'slipped' and I also purchased a skein of Colinette Jitterbug (another thing I have been coveting for some time). It's in the colourway Velvet Plum which just sounds gorgeous.

Finally, some yarn that I already have my sticky mitts on and some actual knitting.

I popped into the my LYS to see if (by some strange chance) they'd started stocking any sock yarn other than Artesano Alpaca Hummingbird (which is lovely but a bit hot for summer in Florida). They hadn't but I got into conversation with the owner and between me not managing to say "sorry, you don't have what I'm looking for" and feeling guilty because I'd come in a few times recently without making a purchase*** I ended up buying two skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk with the idea that I could possibly use it for the socks if the spinning didn't work out. I know, what was I thinking??

Debbie Bliss Pure Silk

However, it is lovely yarn and I think it would make a beautiful open lace scarf for someone (not quite sure who as yet), possibly in the Chalice or Oriel lace pattern from the Harmony Guide vol. II.

And a sneaky look at the second half of POTW.

POTW - second half

I'm 11 repeats in with 10 to go. I still haven't done the maths on how many stitches I'm going to have to pick up along the long edges for the border but there's still plenty of time to work that out.

* Alas I only read Katie's rallying pep talk (in the comments on the previous post) after I'd bought the yarn. I totally appreciate the support but really I'm very relieved to be off the spinning treadmill and also rather excited about the new yarn arriving.

** Very excitingly you get 425m in a 100g skein - that must be enough for two pairs of socks surely. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

*** It's a small shop so not the sort of place in which you can browse anonymously, it's usually just you and the owner which starts to get embarrassing after about the sixth time you go in without making a purchase. This is why I love Get Knitted (that and the free lollies etc.).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Like I don't have enough work deadlines

I've been really good all this week, working on the POTW on the bus and at lunchbreaks and spinning when I get home with the result that I've completed 10 out of 21 repeats of the 2nd half of the POTW and am more than half-way through the fourth bit (or batt if that's the right word?) of prepared fibre out of 5 on the 2nd single for my 2-ply yarn. Still, there's a lot of spinning still to do before I can even ply the stuff, let alone knit it (thank goodness it's a quick knit).

spun fibre

My plan (and I'm a novice spinner so do tell me if this sounds hopelessly naive) is to spin about half of my fibre to make one ply, then on a fresh spindle, spin the other half-ish for the second ply with the aim of ending up with two plies of roughly the same length which can then be plied together. We'll see pretty soon how that works out in what I like to call reality. Once I've finished spinning there'll be a mammoth skeining session and then it's off to Katie's to wind the two plies into balls. Actually just typing that makes me want to chicken out - the plies are pretty thin in the places where I let the spindle drop without grabbing enough fibre and I have now idea how my spun fibre is going to behave in a centre pull ball. Maybe instead I need to hand wind my first ply back onto a bobbin and ply it together with its mate still on the spindle.

I think I'd risk the centre pull option if a) I wasn't on a schedule and b) the eventual product was for me (I can put up with lots of woven in ends from knots and breaks). Given that I need to have knitted and posted a pair of Sockapalooza socks from this by August 2nd I think this is going to have to be done quick and dirty so to speak!*

In the meantime..

double shortbread biscuits

I made these on Sunday when my wrist was too tired to spin any more and it was raining (thus precluding a trip to the Co-op for bought biscuits). I was going to try small chocolate flowers in the middle of plain flowers and vice versa but the dough was a little too soft, still they look pretty good I think and they certainly taste alright.

* I am still horribly worried that it won't be done on time. I really don't want to let down my sock pal - I think I'll have to buy in some emergency sock-yarn as a back-up. I'd use my Trekking but she doesn't like purple.