Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Foray into the Dark Side

My first crochet project is done!

gold crochet bag

Despite the stitches being terribly uneven I really like this. I had to make it into a bag because I only had 1 ball of Muskat in this colour.

My favourite bit is where the pink joins the gold...

gold crochet bag detail

I used a 5mm hook for the body of the bag and 3mm for the gold bit (it's Twilleys Goldfingering) - they're probably the wrong sizes but they were the only hooks I already own and I didn't want to invest in new hooks until I was sure this is something I want to keep doing.

I'm still not sure.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Garter Scarf & EZ Baby Seamless


EZ baby seamless finished

I like the buttons on this one. Here's a closeup.

EZ baby seamless closeup

Details: Baby Sweater on Two Needles from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters Almanac
Needles: 4mm KnitPicks Options
Materials: Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed DK in Autumn, about 3 balls, and 7 buttons

Also done is the garter stitch scarf I started in the Deathly Hallows queue.

garter scarf 4

Details: 3 balls of Noro Kureyon colour 134
Knitted on 5mm bamboo circs. Cast on 25 stitches and knit every row. Super easy.

Love the colour changes on this one.

garter scarf 1

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mini Tote

string bag

A quick little project using a ball of Drops Muskat bought in Oslo. Free pattern here. I made a mini version by casting on 25 st (using 5mm circs) as I only had 1 ball in this colour.

In other news, I'm finally attempting to conquer my fear of crochet. My very first attempt shown below...

crochet attempt

crochet closeup

I have no idea whether it's meant to look like this. (It certainly doesn't in the book I'm using.) The holes are massive and ridiculously uneven. For some reason the holes are always bigger at either end of the row so the piece is kind of trapezoid in shape. Advice, anyone?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Brown Issue

This is fast becoming a monthly blog.

Just want to show you a couple of things I've nearly finished.

The Convertible Cardigan by Wenlan Chia in KnitKnit.

Convertible 3

Incidentally, this is a really interesting book. Most of the things I won't actually make (e.g. the giant teddy), but the stories about the designers are really inspiring, and of course it's a beautifully presented book with great photography and layout. (My next project from this book will be Anna Bell's Bridie.)

Back to the cardigan, I swapped the cable pattern for one I found in Vogue Stitchionary 2 (due to my aversion to giant bobbles) and lengthened the body and sleeves. I also shortened the collar - looks good on the model but don't think it's really that practical.

Ok. My 2 cents about the pattern.

I should preface this by saying I'm not really a chunky knits kind of girl. In my view, chunkies only look good on people who are not chunky (read: stick figures). I decided to make this purely because I was trying to avoid starting my dad's v-neck (still in the swatching stage btw).

Overall, I did enjoy the process. There is one error but it's easily picked up - pattern asks you to [k, p2] 3 times for pocket edge but you should [k2, p2] 3 times.

In fact, my only gripe would be the lack of collar shaping, which I assume is actually a design feature. The cardigan is basically a conical tube with sleeves stuck in the middle. It completely falls off your shoulder and while the name suggests it can be worn a variety of ways, effectively it can only be comfortably worn as an off the shoulder with the collar folded down. There is no way it can be worn as a turtle neck as the collar opening is way way way too wide.

Convertible 1

Having said this, I think it is something I will wear quite a lot in the coming Australian winter (not for another 8 months). It's quite snuggly and warm though the yarn is not as soft as Rowan Big Wool which I used in a similar jacket - photo can be seen from this post.

The next almost finished project is the EZ Almost Seamless Baby Cardigan (I don't think that's the official name but heck, I can't be bothered looking it up).

Baby Seamless

This was a really fun project (started again because I am still procrastinating about dad's sweater) with interesting shaping that works! Disclaimer first - making this has NOTHING to do with my biological clock ticking (it's not) or the need for a baby gift (I make it a rule not to give handknitted gifts to unappreciative recipients, of which babies would be the front-runners).

My only query would be about the width of the collar. I got gauge and made the thing pretty much according to pattern but the neck opening seems considerably narrower than my observation of the real life specimens.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Until next month.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Alive & Well

Hello there.

I'm still here. Really.

Much belated photos of the package and socks from my Sockapalooza 4 Pal. I've had this sitting on my memory card for several weeks now but life is getting in the way of blogging.

The package included some dark chocolate (really bitter - just the way I like it), a handmade project bag (excellent for sock projects) and a few postcards from Boston.

The socks are really well-made with a great 2x2 tubular bind off.

At least I'm still knitting....

Last month I finished a pair of K3P1 socks in Collinette Jitterbug. I was inspired by the Ann Budd interview on the Knitpicks podcast a few weeks back where she said the K3P1 is her fall back pattern for socks, so I wanted to try it out. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before I gave them away. They went to my (lucky) mother who has really small feet (which is the only way to make a pair of socks from one skein of Jitterbug - what's with the poor yardage?)

I also finished a pair of Very Sensible Socks in charcoal grey Zarina. Originally I was going to make them for my dad but soon realised his feet would be too wide for a 54 stitch sock. So now they're mine! The pattern is a K2P1 rib and they are so sensible looking it's not worth taking a photo.

I did try the Widdershin heel for the first time and I think it's a great heel, but I still prefer a heel flap. I think top-down socks are just more fun to knit for some reason.

I've also started the Wenlan Chia cardigan from the new KnitKnit book using some super chunky yarn I got from Nundle ages ago. I've done about a third of the body already and oh I'm using a different 6-stitch cable pattern instead of the one in the pattern - why would anyone put gigantic bobbles down the front of a woman's cardigan? (The version in the book is pink too!)

I've also started swatching for my dad's 'perfect jumper' (more on that in a later post), but yes, I've been busy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

41 hours 39 mins

The Oxfam Trailwalker is done and dusted and I'm back from the dead.

It was by a long shot the most excruciating and emotionally draining experience of my life.

Some lowlights included...

58km into 100 - Team mate discovers giant blister across her whole foot. 15 min rest stop becomes 2 hour stop.

65km into 100 - Forced to beg for food from passing team. Left dignity on the side of the trail.

72.5km into 100 - 5 out of 8 team mates retired due to exhaustion, blisters and injuries

10k's to go (about 10pm Sat and 36 hours into the walk) - Team mate starts falling asleep and is delirious. Wants to power nap in the bush. Pretend not to hear her.

6 k's to go - Start hallucinating from fatigue. See people and houses on the trail.

4 k's to go - Team mate sprained or broken ankle. Ignore her again and force her to keep going.

2 k's to go (around 2am Sunday and 40 hours with no sleep) - Looking for final turn-off in heavy fog. Visibility close to zero even with head torch. No longer feel any pain.

1k to go - Finally reach the road. In delirium abused enthusiastic volunteers for cheering and clapping.

The Finish - Feel unaccountable urge to stab volunteers who are clapping and cheering with walking pole. Pile into car and fall asleep straight away.

For boring team stats check here. So, when's the walk next year?

In knitting news, my Sockapalooza Pal Andrea from Mexico has received her Marigold socks and has some great pics here! (She likes them she likes them she likes them.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Deathly Hallows Scarf

Well the Sockapalooza socks are done, blocked, and packaged (and only 1.5 weeks late - so sorry Sock Pal!).

marigolds 2
(More pics here.)

I ended up working the heel as per the pattern because I simply couldn't get the colours to stop pooling when I tried the Widdershin heel, although I did find a very useful link that shows you how to knit this heel for socks with different numbers of stitches to the original pattern (thanks Talvi!).

The pattern is Marigolds by Pamela Wynne of Flint Knits. Yarn is Joan in Lilly Pilly from Live 2 Knit. I used 2.5mm Knit Picks dpns.

In the meantime, I'm working on something I haven't done in years - a garter stitch scarf!

kureyon garter scarf

I started this while in the Deathly Hallows queue at Borders, with my iPod plugged in (I was really paranoid I would overhear a spoiler) and grumpy as anything (standing in a queue of 200 people at 8.30am after a big night is not my ideal Saturday morning).

The garter stitch is strangely soothing and the colour changes in Noro Kureyon is just interesting enough to keep me going.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Day in Lieu

Only 2 posts in July - that's got to be an all time low!

My main excuse... (no, it's not Ravelry) is this little charity walk I'm doing called the Oxfam Trailwalker. It's a 100km bushwalk to be completed in 48 hours in teams of 4. My team has been doing 20-40km walks every weekend to get ourselves ready and unfortunately this means knitting has taken a backseat.

I've only been working on the necessary projects - i.e. my Sockapalooza socks (late! late! late!) and my mum's cardigan.

marigolds - almost 2

Yes, the cardigan is FINISHED!

lacy cable cardigan 1

(More photos here.)

After blocking, the cardigan was the purrrfect size and mum was so happy with it she squealed and danced around like a silly school girl (a very funny sight). I found the buttons at a shop in The Rocks called Buttons Buttons Buttons. They have a fantastic range of buttons (funny that) in a tiny little shop. The address is 25 Nurses Walk, The Rocks, for anyone who lives in Sydney.

Forgot to add project details yesterday...
Pattern: Lacy Cable Cardigan from Jo Sharp Knit Issue 2
Yarn: Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette in Musk - ALL of 8 balls
Needles: 3.5mm (pattern calls for 3.25mm)

I made the long sleeves from the sweater version (the cardigan version has short sleeves) and shortened them to fit my mum. I used a tubular cast on for all the 1x1 ribbing and did the sleeves in rounds to avoid seaming. That's it!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Heel Help?

I have the beginnings of a Marigold to show...

marigolds beginnings

I got up to the heel last night and now I've hit a snag. I'm not a fan of the straight short-row heel in toe-up socks because I like my socks snug and a short-row heel just doesn't have the fit of a gusset and heel flap.

I decided to try the heel from Knitty's Widdershins, which is basically made up of...
  1. Increases to form the gusset (pretty easy, M1 at beginning & end of sole)
  2. Short row increases (i.e. the heel turn bit in top-downs, but in reverse) - slightly confusing as the pattern is given for a 54-stitch sock whereas I have a 64-stitch sock so I wasn't sure how many increases or where to start/end the short row shaping
  3. Followed by the slip stitch (K1, sl1) heel flap from bottom up with decreases at the same time on both sides of the flap - thoroughly confusing as by this time I wasn't sure how many stitches I was supposed to have on my needles, and therefore how fat my heel flap was supposed to be, and therefore where the decreases (P2tog/ssk) were supposed to take place
  4. HELP!
I wish there's a formula somewhere that helps you calculate how many stitches you need for different parts of this pattern for socks with different stitches... Anyone game?

For the sake of expediency, I'm thinking of ripping the whole thing out and trying the toe-up gusset by Wendy Johnson which I found thanks to Emily on Ravelry. (Check out her Marigolds - they're beautiful.)

In other news, what happened to my mum's birthday cardigan? Well, I came so close to finishing it on time (I was literally weaving in ends minutes before we had to go to her birthday dinner), but alas, I completely forgot about buttons!

I gave it to her to try anyway and while she expressed all the admiration and gratitude to sooth the nerves of the giver, it is clearly too small!

I'm hoping a bit of heavy blocking will fix the problem but we'll see. Here it is blocking in all its glory.

lacy cable cardigan blocking

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sockapalooza Panic!

The Sockapalooza 4 socks are due to be sent on August 2nd. I've been eyeing other people's gorgeous finished socks for weeks but have I done anything about my own socks? No, siree!

Well, at least I have now got the yarn.

lilly pilly sock yarn

This is the 5-ply 100% superwash merino (Joan) from Live 2 Knit in Lilly Pilly. I've never used this yarn before but it feels quite soft and bouncy. And the colours are perfect for my pal (she likes pinks and purples and lilacs).

I'm thinking the Marigold pattern by Flint Knits. (Pal likes lace socks and I think this pattern would work well with the stripy yarn.)

Of course when I put in the order for my sock pal's yarn I had to get some for myself. (Plus it's universally acknowledged that sock yarn doesn't count as stash.)

choc cherry sock yarn

This is in the Choc Cherry colourway. I think the name made me think there would be more browns but the yarn is actually a mixture of blues, reds and greys. Lovely nonetheless.

Part of the reason I haven't started on my Sockapalooza socks is because, despite a great start, my mum's cardigan is still unfinished and her birthday is this Saturday! I'm up to the shoulder shaping of the 2nd sleeve and I still have hope that it'll get done in time but I don't think I'd be able to block & dry it properly. I also haven't found buttons for it. Panic panic panic.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spot the Difference?

Some of you may be wondering what's happened to the Child's French Socks I started way back on my last holiday. Have I unknowingly fallen victim to the Single Sock Liberation like so many before me?

Well, the answer is, no.

Child's French Socks 1

However, perhaps worse than that, the reason why sock #2 has taken me so long to produce, is due to a serious case of dopiness. First I miscounted the number of repeats in the leg (frog #1), then I picked up 1 less stitch on one side of the heel flap (frog #2), then I lost a stitch at the start of the foot and didn't realise until halfway down the foot (frog #3), then I miscounted the number of repeats in the foot (frog #4), then I dropped a stitch in the toe shaping (frog #5), and then the best one of all...

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to use KnitPicks dpns on the 2nd sock as opposed to the bamboos I used for the 1st. I know, I know, it's a cardinal rule of knitting to use the exact same needles but I've broken this on many many occasions, swapping between same sized aluminum and bamboo needles with negligible impact on sizing. (Actually, the main reason I swapped needles this time was because the bamboos weren't sharp enough to pick up the K2tog's and it frustrated the hell out of me on the first sock.)

Anyway, the result is that the KnitPicks sock is about 2cm shorter in both the leg and foot (which you can see from the photo above - it's not just an illusion). When I put the needles through the needle gauge, the KnitPicks went through just a tad easier than the bamboos but clearly a little bit of difference all adds up!

There was no way I was going to remake either sock, so the only way to purge myself of this curse on my knitting mojo was to give the socks away. Which required frog #6 - to make it smaller to fit the recipient. She barely noticed the difference but in my heart of hearts, I know!

Child's French Socks 3
More photos here.

Yarn: 4ply Merino in Roses from The Knittery
Pattern: Child's French Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Needles: 2.5mm dpns

Started: 20 April, 2007
Finished: 21 June, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Thanks Secret Pal!

I've been waiting for one sunny day so I can take a proper photo of the haul I got from my SP10.

SP10 Haul

The fabulous Kae sent me not one, not two, but THREE books...

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann - my first EZ book and current bedtime reading. This book is even better than I expected. Her no-nonsense writing style really appeals to me and it'll probably be the first knitting book I read from cover to cover. I am tempted to take up her challenge of knitting socks on 4 different sized dpns to see if my fingers will really magically adjust the tension.

I'm already planning to make the seamless jumper with the saddle shoulders (especially after seeing the drool-worthy version here).

Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy - This is more an inspiration book rather than a practical step by step. It's laid out a little like a comic book, with stylised illustrations of the sock creatures (some of which, I must admit, are a bit scary looking). Having said that, there are lots of good ideas and techniques that I will probably used in different combinations. I especially like the different types of lips/pouts.

Finishing Techniques for Handknitters by Jane Crowfoot - An informative book on finishing (and other) techniques. I particularly like the very clear photos showing what different types of increases and decreases look like (for increases I've always just picked up the horizontal bar from the row below and knit into the back but now I think I'll use the pick up the stitch from the row below and knit into the back method as it's so much more invisible!)

In addition, I also got the following goodies...
  • Cherry pattern by Anna Bell from My Fashionable Life
  • 2 skeins of Berroco Bonsai - a surprisingly soft bamboo ribbon yarn
  • A pretty spiral diary
  • A box of chocolate Pocky sticks (not in photo as it no longer exist)
Thanks again, Kae!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Meet Sophie


I made her a while ago for a friend who's expecting her first child. The baby is now a reality and Sophie has been gifted so I can show her off to the world.

I used a pattern from Aranzi Aronzo's Fun Dolls but I had a Japanese copy from my local Kinokuniya. The pictorial instructions are super easy to follow.

It's my first doll creation sewn from scratch (i.e. not from socks/knitted). She's not entirely symmetrical but still very cuddly. I think I'll definitely make more of these.

A couple more pics on my flickr including one of her cute button tail.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lethal Weapon

It had to happen.

I sustained an injury involving a KnitPicks dpn and blood, real blood, on the train yesterday (okay, it was only a small amount) . I was trying to grab it as it fell out of my hand but instead I pushed it into my leg. It went straight through my jeans, grazed the skin and left a red swollen patch on my inner thigh. Lovely.

The culprit.

In other knitting news, mum's Jo Sharp cardi is making good progress. I've finished both fronts and the back. Now I just need to calculate the sleeve shortening - darn these people with short arms!

And pzzzzt... I'm so excited to hear that KnitCast with Marie Irshad is returning to our podwaves soon!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

7 Random Things Meme

Emmms tagged me a couple of weeks ago but I was rude and just ignored her. (In my defense, I was sick as a dog when we first got back and then I was swamped at.... Well, let's not bring that four letter word up here.)

The rules: 'Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.'

1. The name of this blog is a variation of the nickname 'Princess Pee Pee' which my friends gave me because of the frequency at which I needed toilet breaks every time we took a road trip. (You can see why I needed to change it slightly.)

2. 'Sodium' is another nickname I've had. It sounds like my Chinese name. (Incidentally, my friend Kay was nicknamed 'Potassium'. K, get it?)

3. I have eaten dog. It tastes like corned beef.

4. I've never had a pet (possibly due to 3.) tho I've been plotting to catnap one of my neighbour's cat since he wanders into our house uninvited anyway. (He's the brown one.)

5. My favourite number is 7.

6. If I could speak an additional language it would be Japanese.

7. Just for something with a knitting spin, my oldest WIP is a granny smith apple green (what was I thinking?) cardigan I started around 1998. I found it recently and I've actually only got half a sleeve to go. Should I finish it?

I haven't tagged anyone as most people in the blogworld seem to have been tagged already. Anyway, if you want to be tagged, just leave a comment here and consider yourself tagged.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Happy Blogversary

I didn't even realise until now that this blog had its first birthday a few days ago.

In celebration, here's another photo from our recent trip. Taken at Wilfert's in Copenhagen.

Yarn makes me happy. Awwww.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sick Puppy

Well we're home.

Actually we've been back for over a week but I caught some nasty bug on my first day back at work and have been one sick puppy since.

Being sick does have its advantages (more knitting time) but I got into the Artemis Fowl books just before our holiday (yes, I'm regressing back to junior fiction) and spent my bed/couch ridden time reading books 4 & 5 instead.

I did get some knitting done. Like the 1st project using my newly acquired Scandinavian yarn - or the first sock anyway.

The main project I'm currently working on is the Jo Sharp cardi from Knit 2 for my mum. So far all I've done is the back and half of the left front. I love the feel of this yarn (Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette)...

Her birthday is not til mid July so I'm taking it easy at the moment (maybe I shouldn't be). We'll see.

Friday, May 04, 2007

World Tour of Yarn Shops

If you've been reading this blog you might be under the impression that we've been on a world tour of yarn shops. I assure you it's not true. But here are a few more if you haven't overdosed on yarn shop descriptions already...

Strikk (Vallagatan 23) - One of the best I've seen on this trip. This place was like an Aladdin's cave. You go through a little door down some steps into 3 spacious rooms full of yarn and knitted goodies.

The first room is full of Collinette, and their own brand of handspun single ply. They have quite an extensive range under their own label (but I've found this to be the case in many Scandinavian yarn shops tho the yarns are the same, they just put their own label on) including a 100% silk, gotland wool, and linen.

They also stock Malabrigo, Araucania from Chile, and of course, Garnstudio. Lots of buttons too. The highlight is their own knitted designs. Quite modern and very clever use of yarn and notions.

I also visited another yarn shop just a street away but it's tiny and I've forgotten the name.

Sländan (Lilla Fiskaregatan 1) - Again their own line available, including a 100% mohair with similar meterage to Kid Silk Haze (but comes in hot pink, amongst other, more subtle, colours). Their line also includes a super soft baby alpaca (below) which I couldn't keep my hands off.

Small shop but chock full of the standard Scandi yarns.

Stopped by Irmas Hus, Kalendegatan 13, but it is mainly a habedashery shop with just one shelf of yarns. Only Rowan and Drops.

Also wandered past Signe Svensson Garnaffär (Davidshallsgatan 25) but it is tiny. Some very nice shops on the same street though.

At Yllet (Jöns Filsgatan 2) there is a small line of yarns including linen and gotland wool again but it's mainly a clothing shop.

One thing worth mentioning is the artist collective shop Formargruppen (Engelbrektsgatan 8) run by 20 local artists. Lovely ceramics, textiles, glass work and jewellery. My favourite was a felted penguin by Yvonne Bävman. There's a photo of the penguins on her site here.

Wilfert's (Gammel Kongevej 102) - Best shop here in my opinion. Run by Wilfert and her friendly black labridor (I think, I'm not good with dog breeds). Again their own line of yarns including Duo (100% wool) and Duo Silk (wool silk) from Jutland in Denmark, but I found the textures slightly coarse and opted for 4 balls of their Bambini (100% superfine merino).

The shop is very tastefully decorated, with chandeliers and glass cabinets brimming with buttons and notions. There is a very good collection of Rowan yarns and magazines.

I was completely taken by the no brand but luxurious 100% cashmere that they 'buy from some woman up in Jutland'.

Also visited Sommerfuglen (Vankunsten 3) and Strikkeboden (Krystalgade 16). The former is quite good and another treasure trove packed with yarn and lots of knitting books. When I walked into the latter, a woman barked at me 'What do you want?' which led me to leave at unprecedented lightning speed. You can read a pretty good review of both here.

(Front room of Sommerfuglen)