Finished: handspun socks

I picked up and finished the colourful handspun socks that I put on hold back in september:

They are made from one continuous thread that gradually changes colour. Knitted toe up, per pattern SokBasis* by Janneke Maat.

For the toe and the heel I knitted from the other side of the ball.

Bind off was a Sewn Bind Off like I learned from the Warm Up socks in the Sock Madness 10 that’s about to begin. It was yarn chicken all over again and I won, both times:

These socks are all about the colour. I had them parked in a matching WIPbag for the last four months. I sewed it myself and the wristband is a woven band like used in traditional Dutch costumes.

These socks have quite the stories attached to them. I put them into hibernation them when I discovered that I had knitted them both with way too much room around the ankles. It was a testament to me being overstressed and utterly unable to think:

Before that I was knitting on them just when a little white and black patch of love walked into my life:

Lovely Pip! The kitten that lived in the woods around the cabin, scared, hungry and tick ridden. Little Pip who one day mustered up all the courage his little body could contain to come up and say hello and found himself a safe home. A place to be a kitten again.

By now he’s a young adult called Zorro and he’s quite the hipster. He lives in the city and is living the life!

Us granny cats are fine just relaxing in the cabin:

The socks are made from handspun yarn which is a delight to make and to knit with.

The fibre is 70%BFL with 30% Nylon and was a custom dye job by and a birthday present from Tibbe:

She gave it to me at a time that I was still very ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrom/MSEID and she knew bright sparkly colours are so very welcome in a time like that.

I wasn’t able to spin it for a year but have looked at and enjoyed the roving all that time. Once I was able to sit up long enough to spin it the experience made true on all its raised expectations.

All that luster, it’s like spinning silk. As a fibre BFL spins so easily and this was quality BFL, not matted by the dyeing process for one bit:

I made it into a two ply. I had divided the original roving in four strips, spun them each from one colour to the last one and then plied them two by two:

I had not split the roving exactly even. One ball and thusly one sock is 55 grams, the other one is 45 grams. One sock sits a little bit higher up my calf.

Since she gave me this present Tibbe has stopped dyeing yarn for other people. She has started a business selling tea and spices and herbs online and at markets all over the province. She loves meeting people and making them happy, now with warm consumables:

Finished: Sock Madness Warm Up Socks

The one with the lighter toe is done on a bigger needle. On 2,25 mm instead of 2 mm. The fabric is quite loose, I think it’ll wear soon or perhaps cause the sock to loose its shape.

The colourwork on both legs was done on smaller needles.

For both socks I altered the heel significantly. Until they fit.

I’m ready for Sock Madness now!

It took 9 days to finish these. That’s my speed I’m afraid. A plain vanilla pair of socks will go faster but I doubt I’ll be a constructive addition to any team that’s going for speed. I hear the absolute winners can pound out a pair of intrinsic socks in 12 hours.

This has been my day to day progress:

Day 1: toe and up to nearly all the gusset increases. Locked my stitchmarker in with knitting.
Day 2: heel, heel, heel, heelflap, heelflap. Ripping and redoing.
Day 3: few rows, completing gusset under ankles
Day 4: leg up to half of stranded part
Day 5: Saturday, lots of knitting time. finished 1st sock (it’s 40 grams) and knit toe of 2nd sock.
Day 6: colourwork on foot 2nd sock finished
Day 7: gussets done, 48 st op de ondervoet, 32 op de bovenvoet. Attach new yarn.
Day 8: turn heel, flap and up to row 16 of colourchart for the leg (colourwork in needle 2 mm)
Day 9: rest of colourchart and cuff. Finished.

Weird Wool Wednesday: too much of a good thing.

My project for watching TV is Perusviuhkat socks, the sock with the white fans in it, to calm down a pooling yarn in February ice colours.

I’ve been knitting on it for a while now so I put it on to see how much longer before I can start the toe:

Hmm. That’s a bit generous, wouldn’t you say?

Sideview:

Something is missing…. Gusset decreases, that’s what!

There’s no way I can fix this. No amount of decreases at this late stage or even cut away the excess and sew things together with my sewing machine will see me end up with a wearable sock.

No, I’ll have to frog back to where the gusset decreases ought to begin.

While frogging I confessed to myself that I’m majorly annoyed by the cuff, it’s so loose that it falls down all the time and I really don’t like garter stitch as an ornament.

So I frogged back to the beginning of the cuff:

 

Finished: Party Paws, one sock and the Cashmere Neckwarmer

I had loads of knitting time last Saturday! I took a long trainride to a house that was filled with knitters, pie and cats and we did nothing but pet cats, eat pie and knit.
This is what I was wearing:
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My Holle Cardi, Rikke hat and a lovely neckwarmer in green Malabrigo Lace. I’ll tell you about it once I take it off long enough to make good pictures.

I took a brisk walk to the station and when I boarded the train I had to peel off all the wool because I’d grown too hot. I was travelling first class and was non too embarrassed to show handknits in public:
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I later stood up and walked to the front of the carriage to take pictures of the light showing that the toilet was occupied. Twice. I AM embarrassed of that.

Mainly I was working on my Sock Madness practice sock:
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I arrived at the party and I kept working on it even though there were many distractions:
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Lovely, weird, hilarious distractions:
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That’s the calendar “Darn! Men with Yarn!” from Club Geluk (“Club Happiness”). It’s guys showing off knitted accessoires. Designed by two mad knitter ladies from Amsterdam.

“Club Geluk designs retro fabrics, vintage prints and textiles, (handmade) living items, unique gifts and DIY kits. We have written a knitbook to knit the unknittable: Club Geluk and the Secret of the Knitted Ham and More Bizar Knits. We also teach knitting, crochet, embroidery, crossstitch and macramé.”

I didn’t let naked men with yarn keep me from my goal. I finished my sock and ate pie:
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Sock Madness 2016 Warming Up sock. Pattern Don’t Tread on My Toes by Heidi Lenore. Tiretracks running over the toe and Flame decal at the cuff, like the ones you see at the side of fun racing cars:

The gusset increases are placed at the underside. I think that’s a lovely detail:

It’s kind of snug and I had to amend the pattern a bit to get the heel to fit. Will do second sock on a larger needle, 2,25 mm. I already knitted the toe for that second sock at the party.

One of the guests had gotten me a second ball of that self striping cotton from Deventer to finish my Party Paws gloves. Which I did on the same day!

They weigh 55 grams, together.
They were finished on Saturday, these pictures were taken on Sunday and I’ve used them for driving in my car on Monday. It rained on Monday. They had gotten only a tiny bit wet, only two fingertips, and right away my “paws” got really cold. The gloves being cotton.
There’s need for Party Paws #3, in wool, I feel.

But these gloves sure made me smile, wearing them and holding the steering weel.

Saturday, at the end of the day I travelled home and finished my cashmere neckwarmer:

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Sunday pictures:


It took 102 m DK weight. Not blocked yet but the round scallops look great and they lie flat. The cuff is the design of Prickly Pear socks, which features in one of my knits at least once a year I think? There’s a similar design in the Sock Madness Sock “Don’t Thread on my Toes” above and there it’s called a Shell Rib. Maybe that’s a thing that I love, Shell Ribs. It’s also akin to the “Little Coffee Bean” stitch which is a traditional Dutch knitting stitch. “Koffieboontje”. Faux Rib?

Anyway, I love my neckwarmer! Once I block it the pattern will show even better.

I should write down my notes about this one asap. And I want to cast on a new one, with the blue yarn, soon. Not with a scallopy edge but something more pointy…
The yarn wears divine! Very soft and not tickling at all. My neck will have something to wear while I take pictures of the green Malabrigo neckwarmer.

It really was a great day! So many things to talk about with fellow knitters and sewers and weavers and pet lovers. Meeting up with people who have smart hands and great minds is always an inspiration. Figuring out techniques and designs and smart solutions. Learning new things.

And laughing. So much laughing. Lovely people.

It was a great day!
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Finished: Mosaic Mittens

Each mitten weighs 26 grams. Hands elongated with extra ochre diamonds. Pattern An enchanting mystery by Wenche Roald.

You’re right in thinking the left one looks a bit more snug above the thumb then the right one. It was knitted with a 2 mm needle instead of a 2,25 mm needle. Because I think I have 2,25 mm needles everywhere now and I don’t check.

There was a bit of yarn chicken going on too, late at night:

A dangerous sport…

I frogged a row and started decreasing earlier. After I had put it on my left hand and convinced myself the thumb of my left hand is shorter than the one one my right hand.

And knitting stretches, doesn’t it? Anyway, I won:

“That’ll block right out.”

I like the colours. They are pleasantly uncomfortable to me.

I wore them when I was at IKEA yesterday, one mitten was still wet from blocking, and on the drive back I noticed the landscape having the same colours. Spend straw and reed, grass, blue skie and dirty clouds, dark asphalt. Lovely.

 

Knitters’ breakfast at IKEA

This morning I went to the IKEA to meet up with knitters and have breakfast.
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Breakfast was OK. Very IKEA.
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Then we cleared away our trays and brought the knitting to the table.

I worked on my Cashmere Neckwarmer. I had finished it and have worn it for about two days but the bind off curls a lot and I want to make it a bit longer.
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After a couple of hours it was time to go home again. I took a small detour through the shop and visited the curtain fabrics. My skirt is made of IKEA canvas and it’s such a useful fabric. But they didn’t have this particular fabric anymore, otherwise I’d be invisible.
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PS This is where the Sock Madness sock is now:

 

Below is yesterday morning. I did knit a bit, I did. Team Slow…

Sock Madness! Warm up sock based on Indy 500.

In March sock knitting people run a fun competition based loosely on the US basketball competition known as March Madness. There are 7 rounds of patterns. The first pattern is reasonably straightforward and as the rounds progress the socks become increasingly more complex in design.

Every registered competitor who completes a pair of socks in round 1 will be placed on a team with approximately 40 players per team. It is announced ahead of each round how many will proceed to the next pattern/round. By the 7th pattern there will be one member from each team left to battle it out.

Competitors don’t sleep at this stage. They get fed by their spouses while they knit knit KNIT. Usually a Fin wins. It’s great fun and great suspense! Here’s the group on Ravelry.

The fun has already begun and there are two patterns to warm up with. I’m doing the second warm up pattern is Don’t Tread on My Toes by Heidi Lenore:

Lenore is a Indy 500 fan and based her design on cars, racing and tire tracks. There are four versions, here presented with most straight forward one on the left and the more intrinsic one on the right.

 

I’m doing version C. Here’s where I am after two days knitting:

Not much progress on the second day considering this is where I stopped after day 1:

But I had many difficulties with the fit of the heel and the heel flap. The pattern is good, mind you. It’s just that I have weird feet and a gauge to match them.

Below is the pattern when all the gusset increases are done -interestingly placed at the underside of the sock!- and the heel is turned:

It doesn’t have enough length for me, the heel should turn at the end of my foot.

This is caused because my row gauge is off. I’m doing 52,5 rows to the 10 cm and the pattern states 48. In a 20 cm long foot that’s 8 rows. Which is exactly what I lack, 1,5 cm in length.

I ripped back and knitted 8 more rows after the gusset but before turning the heel:

Ah yes. Better. This is where a heel should turn.

Normally you’d lengthen a foot before you make the gusset increases. But because I have a wide instep I need those gusset increases to appear where they are.

Now I made a heelflap and let it “eat up” the stitches on the left needle right up to the patterned part. Just like the pattern says I should.

I couldn’t put the sock on anymore. It was way too narrow. Caused my gauge, I’m sure my stitch gauge is off too (I’m going to measure it afte

I’m at 35 st per 10 cm. Pattern says 34 st/10 cm. That’s not too different… did I read the pattern wrong? By now I’m so flustered I’m knitting it my own way: I’m now knitting in the round from the point shown in the last photo. No heel flap.

I occasionally decrease and it will end up with two gussets tapering to the ankle bone. But I’m wrecking the original pattern and I feel awful about it. This is absolutely not allowed once the competition starts, you’re supposed to knit the pattern as is. Even if it doesn’t fit you (or anyone you know). This is to ensure that everybody knits the same amount of stitches at a minimum. Levelling the play field.

I’m sure I make too much of this. I should just relax, tinker some more and enjoy the ride.

 photo How-to-change-a-flat-tire-like-a-pro_zps5813bf47.jpg

a 3D printed spindle

This is a gift box set from New Age Spinning etsy shop.

The spindle spins really well and it didn’t mind at all when I dropped it a few times yesterday. This will be perfect to bring with me to woolly gatherings where nobody blinks an eye when you spindle or when you drop things. (There are, however, always quite a few people who love green at these sort of meetings so I might have to keep an eye on things!)

It’s so handy, with its own little cute box. And so colour-coordinated! This is the very first gift box that the shop owner put together. She wanted it to be a present and she chose green as a colour for me. Well chosen. In the shop you can choose your own colour. However, I advise all of you to choose green so I can bring mine to gatherings and we won’t have to “test our friendship”.

It comes with a cup so you can use the spindle both as a drop spindle and as a supported spindle. I haven’t mastered supported spinning yet. Which is probably a good thing because I’ve seen people fall in that rabbit hole only to emerge with arms full of beautiful twigs and the dreamy look of satisfaction in their eyes.

Two adorable sheep charms and twenty stitch markers:

Knitting for pleasure involves the trash bin.

Last December I realized I’ve knitted all the things I NEED. From now on I’m knitting things I WANT. I knit for pleasure now. It’s all a bit novel to me and today I’m taking a new step: I’m going to throw away some knitting.

These are my Winter Snows MKAL mittens:

The pattern, Winter Snows MKAL by Kat Lewinski, is fully released now and it looks like this:

This style is not to my liking. I like my snow flakes to be different, less formal. More like these:

First Snow mittens by Aet Terasmaa and Inga Snöflinga Mittens by Johanne Landin

So halfway my mittens I changed the pattern and started to sprinkle some of these random snowflakes in. But to be honest, I had lost some of the fun in these mittens.

Then I put them on, to take these pictures for you and to contemplate whether maybe I should just knit a border and call them Winter Snow Fingerless Mitts?

I wanted these mitts done and over with. I want to knit other things. Then two things bubbled to the surface of my attention:

  1. I don’t like fingerless mitts that cover the palm of my hand and have a thumb. I want to be able to shove them down, out of the way.
  2. this wool is SCRATCHY

For the few minutes I wore these mitts my wrists started to mutter and nag. Even if I finish these I will not wear them with pleasure. Even though I love the colours and the grey is my precious handspun Blue Texel I won’t wear them with pleasure. And my knitting is all about pleasure.

So

They

Must

Go

Into

the Bin.

Yes. I’m going to throw them away. I squashed the inner voice that started to look for alternative uses (give to a fellow knitter? mugwarmer? plant pot enhancement? bird nest material?). No. Nope. No. Out they go.

They don’t bring pleasure to my wool life?

Out

they

go:

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Ouch. Not a comfortable sight at all. But hey! It frees up a pair of 2,25 mm needles! I can study some more on my Cashmere Neckwarmer!

And it freed up space in the WIPs too. Which is how this came to be:

A second Temptress shawl in a fingering yarn that’s a luxury blend of silk and seacell in colourway Aquilegia. With 5/0 triangle beads from Miyuki, bought at Crystals-and-ice.co.uk, in colourway Silver Lined Smokey Amethyst (5TR-1804). I love silverlined triangle beads from Miyuki!

(The holes resemble butterflies but at the moment all I’m seeing is stacks of handknitted sweaters holding hands. Is that a hint? Should I knit on my Tangled Vine Cardigan??)

The pattern is Temptress by Boo Knits, needles 3,5 mm. I made one before and I love it:

Such a weird colour this yarn has. It’s grey I think… a weird kind of grey. Grey thinking of purple. The beads are a warmish kind of greypink, quite out of my comfort zone. Weird colours, I love it!

It’s a lovely way of knitting, casting on for things you fancy, being it pattern driven or yarn driven. It is a lovely experience. This weeks unexpected gloves are testament to that.

The strange thing I noticed with these things I started this week: this shawl, the Cashmere neckwarmer, the gloves, is that I want to knit different things when I’m here at the cabin then when I’m in the city. In the city I want to knit mittens and socks and cardigans, it seems.

Tomorrow we’re going to to city again, we’ll see how I fare. There’s still Tangled Vine Cardi and Fairytale Mittens and socks WIPs to keep me going if I suddenly stop wanting to knit with silk or cashmere once I reenter the city boundaries.

 pic by Bernard Delobelle

Like I said, it’s lovely following your wooly fancy instead of a sense of obligation. I’m still a beginner but this week I did practise in another instant: I decided NOT to go the annual meeting of the national spinners’ guild in March. Even though it’s the official meeting, where we have to vote and stuff.

But this year the prospect of going didn’t spark any joy in me. None at all. Which is a pity because I’ve been an avid member of this guild for years.

Instead of listing all the reasons I should go I just noticed that this meeting doesn’t bring pleasure to my wool life. And I took it from there: I decided not to go.

And what do you know, the very next day I was invited to a wooly get-together from a Facebook group for spinning and felting, for the very same date in March. My joy for this meeting sparked effortless!

And that’s what a wool hobby should be all about, effortless joy and joyeus efforts.

 pic by Niels Damkjaer