Finished Indigo socks. And it was a snowman!

I changed the direction of the leaves in the cuff:

There’s a neat little leaf in the cuff, adding to the decreases there:

It’s my own addition. Just like how I changed the heel flap:

I used 85 grams of Wolop Basis Sok plantaardig, handdyed indigo sock yarn. Mock cable. Only twisted stitches on the cuff because they are hard on my rsi. I’d prefer the look of twisted stitches on the leg but I prefer painfree shoulders more.

And these are the gifts that were hidden in the ball of yarn. I LOVE knitting up a magic yarn ball!
magic yarn ball knitter gifts
Buttons and stitch markers and a seam ripping tool for sewing (much appreciated) and a cat shaped pinch thingy annnnnd indeed a snowman! Thank you Lieneke!! 😘 You have given me Sinterklaas in the middle of Summer!

magic yarn ball knitter gifts
The packaging was neat too. Little bags with polkadots and owl tape 🙂

Look at the owls! They have opinions, I think:
magic yarn ball knitter gifts
And that mushroom stitchmarker haha! I gave these mushroom beads to Lieneke for our first Sinterklaas because she loves mushroom (just not for dinner thanks). And she has the skills to make these amazing stitchmarkers (that won’t snag on your knitting for example) but I didn’t know she had and now I have one!

I freed up the owl marker before the mushroom and it’s already been in use:

On my Old Town cardigan. Yes I am dutifully knitting on my WIPs now that SockMadness is over! Nice place holders make it all the more enjoyable 🙂

Happily knitting a blue sock.

You know I don’t like to knit with blue yarn.
But I make an exception for the hand dyed indigo yarn from Wolop. This is great to knit with!

I’ve already finished one sock.

The pattern is a pattern with leaves that I’ve used for plant dyed yarns from Wolop before and I LOVE those socks. They remain beautiful and wear so well.

Woad and Red onion:

The pattern used to be Blattwerk by Stephanie van der Linden but there’s an error in the charts and I’ve changed the mock cable and the heel and other things. Also this time I’m knitting it top down.

The back:

The toe:

(I still cannot kitchener toes without them getting pointy edges. Don’t know the solution. Do you? I tried pulling the yarn through the last three stitches but that didn’t work.)

This is where I am now, about to turn the heel on the second sock:

There’s an extra incentive to knit with blue: this yarn is wound into a Magic Ball!

As I knit little presents fall out:

As part of a swap Lieneke filled it with little gifts that are are freed when I knit up the yarn. This was freed already:

🙂

Now that makes me knit with blue yarn!

This is still waiting for me:

Poke poke to get a peek peek:

Hmm. Suspicious shape… I know this shape…

Could this be…. a snow man?…. as a cookie cutter?

What do you think, Lillepoes?

Ponder….

Yes, definitely a cookie cutter. Knit on and make me some salmon flavoured cookies!

Knit on, human!

Last round of Sockmadness is Sunday.

Tomorrow the very last round of this year’s Sockmadness starts. At 11 o’clock in the morning in New York time the pattern will be released, that will be about 5 o’clock in the sun filled afternoon in Europe.

Every team has one last knitter standing and these will compete against each other. We think the winner will knit 24/7 and will have a pair finished in maybe as fast as 10 hours. This is ridiculously fast! The average time for knitting a pair of fairly uneventful socks is 14 days for normal people.

The team member in my team Nattier Markhor who is still competing is Puppymancer. She’s a chemistry teacher and loves puppies. Add to that that a Markhor is some sort of stubborn goat and you’ll apreciate the pictures I found to cheer her on with tomorrow in the team thread:
Distill the meaning of the pattern!

Make sure to tighten those stitches!

A month ago I knew I’d run my race when Sock Madness pattern Symphony came out. Being a pattern with lots of twisted stitches my rsi would flare up and I had to be sensible. It wasn’t fun, giving up, but after a few days moping I returned to the team thread to cheer them on. Also the Dutch SockMadness thread has been fun to read.

Being out of the competition meant I didn’t HAVE to knit the competition patterns that were released. And I didn’t. I had too much fun returning to the vests and cardigans I’d been knitting before the Sock Madness started. Not to mention the plant dyeing and flower printing and that lovely day of spinning at the Sheep Shearing Festival.

These are the patterns from the last few rounds:
round 6, the last round, Pentoeminoes by Mylene Pijpers:

This sock features intarsia in blocks of five squares which are called pentominoes. I’ve never done this technique in a consistent way. I have not knit this sock.

This is round 5, Honey and Clover by Natalia Vasilieva:

This technique is mosaic, with slipped stitches and changing colours every two rows. It’s not a technique I particularly like because all the slipping means you have to practically knit every row twice. This sock is made with garter stitch which I do not find an appealing look.

Beautiful cuff brim and heel and sole stripes:

So many socks this year have colour work in them, it seems to be an emerging theme for SM11! It made a lot of socks thick. Not bulky per se but warm.

In this sock madness there were also some bonus patterns, for the people who had finished their competition socks fast and had to wait for the end of the round.
This is Guise & Gyle by Carolyn (Candy) Degel:

Cables and stranded colour work and twisted stitches.

There was one sock that could benefit from a semisolid yarn, Ssssnakes by Bridget Landry:

There’s a snake lurking in the greens.

And the other solid coloured, no stranding, no beads sock this madness, Retro Madness by Copper Blade Designs:

Just playing with knits and purls.

Here’s the bundle where all the patterns of this year’s Sock Madness will be: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sock-madness-11/patterns

Now I’m getting ready for the last round of this competition and being a fun cheerleader. Of to search some more pictures and help those goats.

Go Puppymancer, go!

(breaking my own rule I did not put sources to the puppy and goat pictures yet. I’m too tired at the moment.)
(All sock pictures are pattern page pictures and are attributed to the designers of the socks.)

Finished socks “Streepje anders” after yarn party yesterday.



Pattern Streepje anders by Heleen Kok with modifications.

Today I finished one toe and a whole foot (plus its toe) as I took the whole day for resting and knitting after a wonderful yarn party yesterday.

At the party there was yarn and knitting and spinning and weaving and cake and bonbons and pie and quiche and taco’s and cats and “Bossche Bollen” and cat tea mugs and lots of handknit socks!
wolfeestje yarnparty

One girl brought these stitchmarkers that she makes professionally. She made these especially for the birthday girl:
wolfeestje yarnpartywolfeestje yarnparty
Those are chocolate, a cookie and Bossche Bollen. With a bite out of them! The birthday girl LOVES Bossche Bollen, usually when I go visit her I have to bring some, so this was a perfect gift.
These are very well made too. It will be a happy day when the maker decides to open her online shop 🙂

Another girl, Meilindis, brought her loom! That’s a new one for me, someone chatting and weaving at a party. Go check out the wonderful patterns she can make on a rigid heddle on her site Meilindis.nl (it’s in English).
wolfeestje yarnparty
It was great seeing her work and she explained a lot. If you have extra heddles you can do all kinds of patterns on a rigid heddle, just as if it was a loom with “schachten” (don’t know the English word. What people consider to be “a real loom”.)

She dazzled me with her colour handling and I learned a bit how a weaver can manipulate colours. Soothe them, ease them, shift them. Meilindis has a special knack for this!

(I do not. I somehow lack the imagination or the courage for it, to combine “strange” colours. It was funny to discover this “handicap” of mine. It made it much more marvellous to see Meilindis combine an try out colours with such ease and wit! But I think I may have confounded her a bit with my squeals and boggling eyes and compliments 😉 )

The birthday girl is just as fond of big cat mugs as I am:
wolfeestje yarnpartywolfeestje yarnparty
The one on the right is my present to her!

Here are better pictures by the maker:

It’s an handmade mug from Budapest artist Brigitta Bondar who has an Etsyshop ARTushkashop as well as a brick & mortar shop in the centre of Budapest. Near the trainstation or centre square I believe. She’s also on Facebook, in English.
Brigitta is a wonderful artist and was very fast en precise in communicating with me and then shipping fast and securely.

ARTushka also has this sheep mug in her Etsy shop:
pic by ARTushka
and more sheep in the Budapest shop:
pic by ARTushka

The birthday girl is not allowed to keep sheep in her house so she settles for cats. This is wonderful Suus, a fairly young rescue who is so friendly and curious:
wolfeestje yarnpartywolfeestje yarnpartywolfeestje yarnparty
There were a lot of cat ladies at the party and Suus was adored!

Equally adored was cat Sproet who came down from the bedroom for a visit. Sproet is old and blind but made the rounds and found his way, using his whiskers.

An afternoon with yarnwomen, tea cats, real cats, cake and chocolate, made for a wonderful party 🙂

Finished: SM Spring socks and Spring yarn

Pattern Lambs and Chickens and Bunnies, Oh My! by Ros Clarke.

I made fraternal socks, I didn’t have enough of the Gouda green left after the first sock. Then I decided to mix all the colours up a bit. Except for the bunnies, I liked them to be the same popping Moonwise purple.

You will notice that, even though I mixed up the colours, the colours in the rolled cast on are the same (albeit in a different sequence). That’s because I made a mistake in the first sock.

We were supposed to cast on with colours A, B and C. Which in the pattern refer to: “A = light green; B = undyed/white; C = yellow” which are the background of the bunnies, the colour of the sheep and the colour of the chicks:

Colour F is the background of the chicks and is called “grass green” in the legenda.

Now then, my stupid tired brain last Saturday evening insisted that the bunnies are sitting in a field of grass (while the chicks are in… some forest?) therefor their background colour must be called “grass green” and since that is colour F in the legenda I cast on with F, B and C: yellow, white and brown.  That’s the left sock:

I corrected for the left sock which is casted on with colours A, B and C: background bunnies = white; colour sheep = yellow and colour chickens = dark brown. The same colours as the first sock but the correct route taken to get there. And a different sequence which explains why they the curly top doesn’t look exactly the same on both socks.

Luckily most honest mistakes that do not butcher the intent of the designer are allowed. I assume this is the case here too but I will have to get official recognition before I can say I’m in the clear.

For the competition the sock needs to be at least 9 inches from toe to heel:

There are other rules too, which can vary per pattern. Here there had to be at least 50 rows between the turn of the heel and the row where the sheep on the foot start.

The leg had to be at least 6 inches high. It’s nice that my size is the usual size Sock Madness knits for so I can be sure the, when following the rules, the socks will fit me.

It was fast knitting. I’m glad they’re done. I love them and am wearing them right now. So pleased with the colours! But I’m glad they’re done, I’m a bit done with sock knitting now. Especially with stranded knitting.

Luckily there’s room for something else now, for example I made 309 meters of this lovely yarn:

out of the raspberry rolls from Schaap & Draak at the Knit & Knot fair in Tilburg:

I think it will turn out to be a worsted or DK weight, what with handspun getting all fluffy after setting the twist.

I’m hoping to make this lovely cloche out of it:

It’s the crocheted The Shelly Cloche by Devon Finney. A nice Spring and Summer hat I think. Can be made in one afternoon! How’s that for fast gratification.

new Sock Madness: lambs & chicks & bunnies, Oh My

The pattern is Lambs and Chickens and Bunnies, Oh My! by Ros Clarke. It’s been out for three days and a hundred people have already finished a pair. In my team no one has but seven already have one sock. I hope to have one sock at the end of today.

pattern pictures:

I chose different colours than most people, not picking any warm colours:

The bright yellow behind the chicks is onion dyed sock yarn from Wolop, left over from one of my favourite socks: Tears of Laughter.

The top blue and the green of the feet is also yarn from Gouda, dyed with plants by knitter friend Sasssefras. Yes, I still use this yarn after all these years.

The blue behind the bunnies is left over Wol met Verve yarn from these socks: Blattwerk WMV

I love these colours together. I thnkNow there’s new sock yarn marinating in onion skins. I’m making my socks a little brother!

 

hijacking someone else’s design

So I’m knitting the mystery knit-a-long in the Dutch sock knitting group on Ravelry. It’s the design by HeleenK: Streepje anders

It turns out to be a wonderful stripey sock which looks nice in many different yarns.

From the start I knew I wanted to do a version with shorter legs, because I want these to be socks for Summer. With their nice berry colours:

I did only half of the leg charts but I didn’t dare to show in the KALthread were everybody was so enthousiastic and following every clue to the lettre as it was being revealed. The designer was so happy with everyones pictures. How could I show mine, butchering her design?

But she’s such a nice woman and it felt weird not showing my progress when they all had seen my cast on post and I did try to maintain the intent of her design so I dared to post a picture, very apologeticly. It feels so intrusive, to alter someone else’s design, especially when it’s so new and part of it is still a mystery.

A leg half as high as the pattern states:

HeleenK responded in an awesome way! She said that she views it as a compliment when knitters make her design their own. It means something in the design resonates with them and they delve in and commit themselves to the thing behind the design. The motivation? The base?

She loves seeing both the actual design knitted and variations of it. Shows again how limited I am in percepting reality. It comes in way more varieties than I can imagine!

When I started the foot and didn’t enjoy the slip stitch pattern in the design much (I’m tired, I need something that doesn’t throw me off rhythm) I dared to frog it and substitute with stripes of my own, that go with the pattern (I hope) and I will show HeleenK without hesitation:

And I learned another new heel: the riverbed heel:

(heelflap on the left, toes on the right of the picture)

I did a long heelflap to accommodate my high instep.

The second sock has a heelflap too. It’s a nice, relaxing knit now, the feet.

Finished: Mod Madness socks

One sock blocked, one sock unblocked:

What a difference:

Once I get the confirmation email that these were knitted to the specifications (which they are) then I will do some modding of my own. The cuff of the first sock is too tight. I’ll hack it off and reknit it, bottom up.

Both toes are too roomy and the way the decreases sit at the side, amidst three stitches (twice) of stranded knitting, isn’t too nice. I’ll unravel them and redo them in a different stranded pattern, with less than 6 stitches between the decreases.

Overall I feel very good about them. They are stylish, functional Winter socks and I’m not afraid anymore of making socks with an overal stranded pattern. Cast on 72 stitches, knit them on 2,25 needles, choose between round plied yarns or fuzzy and any pattern is mine now!

The first sock weighs 45 grams, the second weighs 47. (probably the looser cuff and never touching the 2 mm needle on the second sock.)

Sock Madness: Mod Madness

The new pattern for the Sock Madness is Mod Madness by Copper Blade Designs. It’s been out for 3 days and many, many people have already completed a pair. (!!) Or at least one sock.

This is where I am:

I’ve knitted flat out for days now but I’ve only just turned the heel…

(on the screen an amazing sock in solids! She did the toe wrong though, colour stripes should flow from foot into toe, and she’s asking the mods if she should redo the toe or whether this is an honest mistake and do the next one right. Socks look great in solids eh?)

This is how they will look in the end:
 pattern pics

This one is taller than the one on the screen, in red and navy. That one meets minimum requirements. I’m doing a taller sock though, because I’d love for these to be wintersocks.

One of the things slowing me down is proper stranding technique. Usually I have one strand on the left hand (continental technique) and one on the right (English throwing technique). In the cuff however we have to alternate knit and purl stitches and it takes way too long to do that with the throwing technique.

So I’m teaching myself continental with both yarns over the left index finger. Just pick the one you need for this stitch.

This is how youtube says I should hold the yarns. Finger raised for tension and easy picking:

However, I knit Continental Combined, meaning I have a quick way of purling and picking. I run my yarn on the very tip of my finger, using my finger as a working surface. It makes for very speedy knitting, with minimum hand movements.

But with two yarns… they are too close together:

For the cuff I’ve learned to strand the yarns differently to keep them well apart on my working surface. That the tension got very different between the two was no issue.

(Gardening fingers. It’s lovely in the cabin this weekend! I’m rooting though the earth, getting rid of the long roots of Spiraea Douglasii, a.k.a. Hardhock. Such a nasty plant! Our lot is covered with it. I can manage to dig it out in the dry forest ground but in the wet, lumped together soil of the meadow and draining ditches it’s undoable. This year I’m happy if I get it out of the forest. Next year the grassland… perhaps rent a small digger and sift through all the soil.)
 Grrrr.
I can weed for about half an hour, then it’s back inside and rest and knit. All the birds are out and singing while I dig with my hands through the earth. Sun is shining. Not a bad way to spend some time 🙂

Also: gauge issues. I started the cuff at 1.75 mm because it was ribbing and I can do my colour work very loose. But it was too tight so I went up to 2 mm. Looked better. But still a bit too tight. Went up to 2,25 mm. Cuff fitted comfortably over my foot. But once the leg portion started the knitting looked way too loose.

So here  you see part of my leg, switching half way from 2,25 mm back to 2 mm:

The knitting on top looks much better now. (This picture is read bottom to top, just like knitting charts.)

Now that I’ve done the heel and am being passed by knitters left and right I’m tensioning up. Might have to go back to 2,25 mm.

I’m still knitting continental combined with two strands over left index finger. The knitting is now smooth and regular. But I’m still so slow! I knit like a child, giving attention to every stitch. I tried going back to one strand left, one strand right but I feel that’s slower now than this new technique.

As others have unlocked speed in this skill, this may be the sock that puts me out of the competition. Might just as well be, my body is starting to ache. Shoulder, hands, fingers. I’m not doing this right. So I guess I’ll be slowing down now. Taking more breaks. Remember to drop my shoulders when knitting.

Luckily I’ve been put on the right team, we are the slower knitters and in my team not too many people have already finished a sock. I can still make it… if I hurry. Which I shouldn’t. Won’t. Probably.

My sock does turn out lovely though. The grey is blueish, it’s Grey Hare by Dutch Wool Diva. The white is just regular Drops Fabel. A bit more fuzzy thread than the Diva. Should have brought one of the smoother yarns. But the combination is beautiful!

Here’s a picture from last week, when I was trying to learn stranded with two yarns on the left:

I knitted my finger to the project, took the wrong end of the strand to work with. Knitting ain’t easy.