Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Secret No More

The secret knitting that was to be a birthday gift has been abandoned because once again, I've cut it too fine and did not make the Sat deadline. I could have done it if I went without sleep for a couple of days but sense prevailed and I chose sleep.

Also the project I picked didn't really match the yarn I had but I powered on anyway, thinking if I didn't think too hard about it somehow everything would turn out fine.

I should've adhered to the first rule of knitting - If it looks wrong, it probably is!

I actually got through sock 1 and the cuff of sock 2 before I gave up.

The failure of this project is due entirely to my own bone-headedness. The yarn is a soft merino cashmere variegated sock yarn from The Knittery in Cherries and the pattern is the picot edge socks in Jo Sharp Knit Issue 1.

Problem was that I got gauge with the number of stitches but not the number of rows. Consequently it took quite a few more rows to establish the heel flap so I ended up picking up a lot more stitches for the gusset.

The result - an elephantine sock for someone with a really fat ankle!

I had bought the yarn with the Monkey Socks in mind but this yarn is not very stretchy so the cuff was really loose when I cast on for them initially. I might try with smaller needles once I've got over my feelings of inadequacy about the elephantine sock.

I ended up giving away the Cloud Bolero I made a couple of months back.

I'm now working on the Wave Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark in IWK Spring 04 using some Grignasco Bambi yarn I bought on a whim (really should stop doing that...)

Incidentally, I think my sock craze may be winding to a close although I'm still committed to a pair a month for Socktopia.

Finally, I've got new stash - the 8 balls of Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette is to make a cardigan for my mum so it comes out of our gift budget rather than my stash budget (hehehe... sneaky, I know). I'm aiming low this time - her birthday is not til July when it'll be cardigan weather in Australia. (I'm sure she doesn't read this blog so there's no danger talking about it here)

Also I got 3 balls of some really soft mohair/wool blend with gold thread through it at a sale last weekend to make another Cloud Bolero for myself. I actually went to the LYS to get a pair of Addi Turbos in 2.5mm for the aforementioned Monkey Socks but these were 50% OFF! Who could resist?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I'm doing a spot of secret knitting this week, hence no knitting progress post.

I'll whet your appetite with the Phylotaxis Scarf I finished in Jan from Knitting Nature. The recipient of this scarf has already received it so I can now post a pic here.

You can follow all my woes with this one on the KAL here, here and here. Or you can just read the project details here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SP10 Questionnaire

I finally signed up to a Secret Pal! Here are my answers to the SP10 questionnaire...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I alm
ost ALWAYS knit with natural fibres but I'm not really a yarn snob. One of my favourite yarns is the good quality but affordable Rustic 8ply (100% wool) from Bendigo Woollen Mills. It only costs around AUD$10.70 for a whooping 200g ball.

If I must talk brands, my staples would be the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino range or Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed range. I do luuuuv Rowan Kid Silk Haze and anything by Noro but they're not the most versatile/affordable of yarns. (Incidentally, Jerms presented me with a box of yarn when he proposed which included a skein of GORGEOUS Noro Iro. I don't think he realises how many points he scored that day.)

Of course I also like anything hand spun or hand dyed. I mean, who doesn't?

I don't use a lot of novelty yarns but I'm not totally adverse to them. I do loathe that Patons Feathers/Ostrich stuff however.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

A couple of ancient biscuit/chocolate tins.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learnt to knit when I was 6. I was actually taught by my babysitter.

I'm probably an intermediate knitter. I can follow pretty much any pattern and even make up patterns when I can be bothered, but there are quite a few things I have not tried, e.g. steeking (eerie music in background)...

I'm also a poor finisher. I hate seaming and picking up stitches and I can't for the life of me master Kitchener stitch. I would love a book on beyond the basics finishing techniques.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent?

Anything citrus - like lemon or lime. Or gardenias. I'm not into strong floral scents - they tend to make my eyes water.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Most definitely. The bitterest dark chocolate and Hi-chews. And assorted Japanese snacks, e.g. Pocky.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

In an ideal world where time is not a constraint, I would do a lot of felting and sewing, and learn to spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I would LOVE a compilation CD. I listen to a lot of Aussie alternative/rock... The Whitlams are my favourite band of all time. A few more International examples of what's on my iPod are... Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Kings of Leon, Sufjan Stevens, The Magic Numbers, The Polyphonic Spree and Radiohead.

Yes, have iPods. Can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I'm not into really extreme colours like hot pink or lime green but I generally like all colours. Except maybe shades of yellow/mustard. I also can't wear any shade of brown.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married. No kids. Although am plotting to kidnap my neighbour's tabby.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes, yes, no and noooo!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Cardigans. And definitely going through a sock phase at present.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Socks. A second Cloud bolero. A cable cardigan for my mum.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circs. Addi Turbos and bambo. I have (multiple pairs of) most needle sizes and I'm getting a set of Knit Pick Options for my birthday so it will be hard to get me needles.

I would love one of those Clover felting needles though!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes to winder, no to swift (surely that's over the entire SP10 budget?!).

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

I recently discovered pieces of a lime green (what was I thinking?) cardigan at my parents' place which I started when I was still at uni. So it must be between 8 and 11 years old.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

I love the hot Australian Christmas. Beach, prawns, thongs (i.e. flip flops), mangoes.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Japanese craft books.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Any book by Elizabeth Zimmerman.
Any pattern by Anna Bell from My Fashionable Life.
Yarns you can't get in Australia, e.g. Morehouse Farm Merino, Koigu, Fleece Artist and that Berroco Bonsai stuff. Sock yarns like Trekking XXL or Regia in solids or stripes.

I subscribe to Interweave Knits. Incidentally I'm quite picky about knitting mags. I don't like any of the Australian knitting magazines. I can get Vogue Knitting at my local library so I tend not to buy them unless there's something I actually intend to make (which is rare).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Steeking. Norwegian colour knitting. Continental knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Recently converted. 26cm. Me, Big Foot.

23. When is your birthday?

21st March

(Hoorah! I finished!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Elephant Foot

This looks like a normal enough sock...

Pattern is the Spindle Socks by Anna at My Fashionable Life using Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino in a lilac.

When I put the sock onto waste yarn (I'm a good girl) to try it on for length last night, look what happened!

No matter how I tugged, I could not get it past my elephant sized heel!

It was too depressing. Of course I had to frog it immediately, hence the poorly lit photos - taken at night in haste and frustration....

So for the first time in a LONG time, I actually have no WIP (!) Well, strictly that's not true. I found the long neglected Belisa cashmere scarf which I started after Easter last year. I worked a couple rows on the train this morning but am already bored.... ARGH!!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cascading Leaves

Pattern: Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt from IWK Winter 05
Yarn: 2 balls Filatura di Crosa Zarina in grey (col. 1494)
Needles: 2.75mm dpns (I'm actually getting the hang of dpns now and prefer them over 2 circs)
Started: Feb 2nd, 2007
Finished: Feb 9th, 2007

Pattern is for a sock 23cm long and my feet are 26cm (I know, I have big feet) so initially I was going to do an extra half pattern repeat but I ended up undoing that after I tried it on my foot because the sock actually stretched quite a bit.

In the end, the only 'alteration' to the pattern I made was picking up 14 stitches on each side of the heel flap instead of 15 as the pattern calls for. I just couldn't find room to pick up that one last stitch for some reason.

The one feature I really like about these socks is the way the toe decreases taper to a point and actually complete the leaves in the final pattern repeat. Really nice touch.

Of course, I would've liked to have found Mona's tutorial on the tubular cast on she used BEFORE I'd finished the socks. For anyone interested you can find it on the sidebar of her website.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Glamour Feet

Shot on location in our kitchen.
(Can you really see me wearing these out?)

I'm on my way to meeting my NY's resolutions! These are knitted toe-up and kind of based on this Knitty pattern but I cast on fewer stitches to get the right width.

There are two things I'm not happy with...
1. The heel is shaped the same way as the toe (with short rows) and doesn't fit that well (not surprising, as the heel is not the same shape as the toe, oddly enough).
2. The loose cuff bind off is really ugly. It doesn't look that bad on because it's stretched but when it's off it kind of flares out but if I did it any tighter my heel wouldn't fit through.

Possible solutions...
1. Cuff down socks (with heel flap and gusset) will probably fit better, but it means binding off with Kitchener stitch which I have an irrational fear of (I can do it but it usually takes me ages to do even a few stitches cos I have to refer to about 5 different diagrams and then I forget it as soon as I look away). Alternatively, there is this pattern which is a toe up sock with a heel flap. Is it really as good as it sounds?
2. I can try tubular cast off - another technique I have not been able to master, but other than that, I'm stumped! Suggestions anyone?

Postscript: I didn't post any project details initially because I was lazy but here we go - the yarn is Patonyle 4ply in col. 4308. I used 2 balls with plenty left over (I'm thinking a jumper for Monkey). Needles were 2.75mm dpns.