Tuesday, 30 October 2007

I *heart* my Jaywalker

This sock is just crazy-fun. I'm starting the heel on my lunch hour today, and I have high hopes of getting it finished later this week. Then onto Jaywalker 2 and a pair of warm, happy feets!

No, Dr Who has not fallen off the radar. I'm working on the socks exclusively until Thursday, which is the 1st of November. After that, they will be relegated to lunchtime only knitting until the scarf is done.

I'm sorely tempted to fish out the black shawl once Dr Who is done. I've been feeling cold over the last couple of weeks, especially in the mornings, and it would be pleasant to have a convenient shawl to throw over my pyjamas.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Belated photos

First, a picture or two of the stocking and its mate. As you see, they look well together and this makes me happy.

Next a photo of the Jaywalker. This is basically a pointy ripple stitch worked in the round. I've made the biggest size, since I'm wary of too-tight socks, and the word on the 'net is that this tends to the tight side of comfy.

Also a photo of the Jitterbug socks, as proof that I haven't wholly abandoned them.

Where to begin?

There is a spectacular lack of photos on the blog today, because my camera batteries suck. The camera eats battery life, so I refuse to use anything but rechargables, but they take 24 hours to recharge. I have 4 rechargable batteries. 2 of them last long enough to take a camera full of pictures, then the other 2 are needed to upload the pictures. The camera only holds about 10 pictures. Thus photos take forever. I really need a digital camera that plugs in to recharge and doesn't use batteries. And that holds more pictures. Still, this one's better than nothing.

I finished stocking number 2 on Saturday. It is lovely and the same size as number 1, so I am happy. I'll be mailing them out on Wednesday after I get paid, so friend will have them in plenty of time for Christmas (assuming they don't get eaten by the mail monsters). I'm stockinged out for the moment, but I still have a good third of each of the three colours left. (Good mileage on my cheap yarn! I am impressed!) So I'm thinking that I'll use the rest of it to make a stripey toe-up stocking for a single friend next year.

I had a weird experience finishing the stocking. I was working the toe while sitting and talking with some people, and suddenly I looked down and realised that I'd finished it without really noticing. It was a bit of a let-down, actually - usually I get all excited and happy about finishing something, but that requires noticing how close I am to being done. Still, spouse was admiring and impressed, which is always nice.

I went stash-diving after I cast off. Reorganized everything (and now it doesn't all fit, of course), got rid of one ball of horrible brown acrylic mohair, discovered yarn I'd forgotten about. I started a one-skein scarf, but frogged it after a couple of rows because I didn't like the fabric it was creating. So I grabbed one of my new balls of sock yarn and started a pair of Jaywalkers instead. And I love 'em! The yarn is making crazy stripes, which are lovely, and the pattern is gorgeous. I'm inspired to try out the socks on some other ripple patterns.

I did some work on Dr Who, too. I finished up the huge green stripe and did most of the next stripe - it's all skinny stripes from here until the end! Woohoo! I have an entire untouched ball of green mohair and half of another one left over. The fringe isn't going to take up that much! I'm thinking that I may just end up swapping the complete ball on one of the knitting groups, since I dislike knitting with it so much. It is scratchy and too fuzzy. The remnants of the partial skeins are going to be turned into a skinny colour-block mini-Who scarf. Spouse wants it. Yay using up yarn and finding my living room!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

You Weak-Minded Fool

I was feeling miserable on Tuesday night, so I cast on for a new project with my Posh yarn. A scribble scarf using the Loopy pattern from Knitty. It's very pretty, kinda hippy-ish, and fiddly as hell. On the rows that are the boucle in between the laceweight, you have to really tug on the finished work to get it to lie flat, and of course then you have to worry about breaking the laceweight! Argggh! Very much not the mindless stockinette scarf I was hoping for to cheer me up.

So, after giving the scarf a good few rows of my attention, I picked the stocking up again. This foot is taking forever. Last time I did the entire foot over the course of two evenings, but this time it's dragging on and on. I'm hoping to get the decreases started tonight and the whole thing finished, photographed and mailed by Saturday, but who knows? As long as I get it sent off by the end of the month, I'll be happy. And then I can devote myself wholeheartedly to Dr Who and some fun knitting for me!

I think there's a lot to be said about generally only knitting for oneself. I tend to get very into figuring out what people would like, and I'd rather get them something I know they'll like from the shop than waste hours and yarn on something they'll only wear out of politeness. Plus, when you're knitting for yourself, you know that the colours and patterns are something you'll like, you can shape it to fit you, you don't feel like you have to finish by a deadline. I'm discovering that I really hate knitting to a deadline. It makes me want to knit anything but my deadline projects.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I love Interlibrary Loans!

One of my colleagues has just handed me a copy of Fisherman's Sweaters by Alice Starmore. It has many, many pretty patterns in it.

Now, if only the one and only copy of Aran Knitting in the country was available for ILL...


I was hoping to get the stocking mostly done last night, but it ended up being a rather bitty evening of not much knitting. Still, I did start the heel flap, and I've got the mailing address for the recipient. All is well. And I got to see my first Jon Pertwee Dr Who!

I've gotten to a rather annoying stage in my current knitting. None of it is really portable right now. Dr Who is too big to make it worthwhile carrying in unless it's Wednesday and I'm spending the evening gaming, and the stocking requires too many fiddley tools to keep my place in the pattern. So I'm working on stuff that isn't really a priority, and it's making me nuts! I grabbed the Ziploc with the grey and fluffy scarf this morning on my way out the door, so I shall be working on that during my lunch hour. It's pretty and fun, but nowhere near being finished and thus annoying.

I've also gotten close enough to being done with Dr Who that I'm starting to think about what comes next. I need to have a mindless project that I can carry around with me for at least a couple of weeks, but that isn't so big it's a pain to carry. I'm thinking that tessellating fish may be the way forward - small pieces, easy-ish pattern, large amounts of yarn used up. Can't go wrong, really.

Or I may just do one-skein scarves for a while. They are also easy and mindless and portable. Of course, the problem is then figuring out what to do with them!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Busy weekend again

This time it was a party, house guests and the England vs. South Africa Rugby World Cup Final that got in the way of my knitting. I had hoped to finish the stocking this weekend. I got all but the last 8 rounds of the patterned part done, so I'll hopefully get it done by Wednesday or so. Not too much left to do on it now! And then I can send it away.

I'm in a funny kind of mood, knitting-wise. I really want to knit, but not for the finishing of projects. What I actually want to do is use up yarn. It makes me nuts having all of these partial skeins lurking around, so once the stocking is done and Dr Who is a bit closer to being finished, I'm going to work on completely using up yarn. One-skein scarves for a bunch of my odd-balls, repurposing stuff that I've decided I didn't like my original plan, things like that. The goal is to have all of my yarn contained in 1 tub and 1 bag, plus the project that lives in my handbag. I reckon I will need to use up about 15 or 16 balls of yarn to achieve that goal. Better get cracking!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The joys and perils of social knitting

On Thursdays I go to a knitting group at work. It's a lunchtime thing, so first one has to eat a sandwich or whatever. Then you have to catch up with everyone. Then you get out your knitting and get going. Only, by the time you've done all that, it's time to pack up again and go back to work for the afternoon.

My solution?

2-hour lunches. Think of the possibilities.

Anyway. Stocking is going very nicely. My stranding is getting more even with the practice, which is leading me to think about making a Fair-Isle sweater at some point in the far-off future. Right now I have enough things to think about. Like, say, enough sock yarn for 6 or 7 pairs of socks. Or three big fat balls of sweater yarn waiting to be cabled into oblivion. Or enough lace-weight for 7 shawls (2 of which are already in progress). Or purple yarn for fish. Or 2 pairs of grey gloves (yeah, I want grey gloves too). Or the Harlot-inspired shawl that will use up the blue acrylic. Or, or, or...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dr Who Scarf Update

775 rows complete of 1040. 265 rows remaining. Just shy of 75% finished. Woohoo! I might finish it on time!

Monday, 15 October 2007

knitting and shows and FOs, oh my!

Wow. The Knitting and Stitching Show was amazing. It was huge! I've never been to Alexandra Palace before, but wow. Two enormous rooms filled with hundreds of stalls selling every needlework thing imaginable. I've now seen Lorna's Laces, Habu stainless steel laceweight, possum yarn, yak down yarn... I wanted it all! And that's not even starting on the cashmere or the embroidery stuff.

I intended to get enough yarn to make the Interlocking Cables Sweater. And I did. I found a rather nice machine-washable wool blend in a natural wool colour. Selling for £6 for 400g and nearly 1000 metres! I got three balls of the stuff, which will give me enough to do the whole sweater and a Jack Skellington hat, with probably enough spare for a pair of mittens. I'm thinking thrums may be in my future.

I also found lovely sock yarn. First I found a rather good bargain - 3 100g balls of sock yarn for £12.50. So I got two balls to make socks for me, and a ball of a dark, tweedy charcoal grey to make gloves for the spouse. He is so boring in his colour choices! Still, I refused to make him black gloves, so he can suck it up and go with the grey. He likes the yarn, anyway.

Then I was exploring more, and found even cheaper sock yarn! Garnstudio Fabel, for £1.60 per 50g ball. It works out at an extra 50-ish g per £12.50. I got three balls of self-patterning reddy-cream, two of which will be socks, one of which will be the famous Baby Surprise Jacket. I've always wanted to make one, and managed to pick up the pattern this weekend too.

My final purchase wasn't yarn. I was looking at one stand that had lovely stuff, lots of funky kits and things like that, and discovered that they had DPN project keepers. Basically it's two telescoping tubes that slip over one another, and each has a long slit in the side. You slide the narrower over the needles of your sock (or whatever) in progress, and then slip the other tube over the opposite end. The knitting hangs out of the slit, and the tubes keep your stitches from coming off the ends of the needles. A perfect travelling tool.

I resisted the urge to cast on for any new projects when I got home that evening. Instead, I sat on the couch and finished my Instant Gratification Scarf. The Noro one. A new speed record - slightly over 24 hours for a finished project, from cast-on to ends woven in. And that was given a day of work and a day of the show in between starting and finishing!

I spent Sunday photographing the collection and trying to find somewhere to store all of it. I got the sock yarn and Friday's haul into the tub, but the big balls of sweater yarn are sitting in a bag on the living room floor. Oops. So much for reducing the volume of the stash. I shall have to work hard on getting things done and used up.

I also worked on Christmas Stocking 2. I've finished two full snowflakes of height, plus the cuff, which puts me about a third of the way done with the whole thing. They will hopefully be sent on their way to Hawaii by the end of October.

Tonight is the pub and Dr Who. Having made so much progress and then bought all of this stuff, I am really motivated to finish things. I want my living room back, dammit!

Friday, 12 October 2007

A cunning plan gone awry

I had to go to John Lewis this morning to get a birthday present for my little brother. While in there, I thought I'd swing up to the haberdashery and get the circular needle and skein of yarn I knew that I needed for some other stuff, thus saving time at the Knitting and Stitching Show for browsing interesting and unique things.

I may have gotten distracted by a couple of other things.

Don't get me wrong, I got the birthday present, the needle, and the skein of Christmas present yarn. I just got two other balls of yarn too. I got one ball of Noro Silk Garden Lite, and one ball of Twilley's of Stamford Freedom Spirit. They called to me. The colours are perfect. They literally made me stop in my tracks to pet them. The Twilley's is destined to become a hat, possibly with a cable round the bottom. The Noro? Well.

I had a new experience today. The Noro was so perfectly what I was in the mood for that I hijacked the needle I'd bought for something else and cast on for a scarf because I had to start knitting with it RIGHT NOW. I love it. It's going to be another of my love 'em to bits garter stitch scarves.

So, instead of coming out ahead of my shopping and spending the evening getting closer to finishing things up prior to the influx of new yarn tomorrow, I have already blown a bunch of my yarn money and started a new project. Whoops. Still, the money was designated for spending on fun yarn that I love, and that's what I've done with it!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Winding laceweight is tedious

...but strangely soothing. I wound the whole skein of red that's going to be the loopy scarf. Now I just have 7 more skeins left to wind, plus whatever I buy this weekend. Bleugh.

Maybe I should spend my morning off tomorrow winding yarn. That would be a good way to prepare for incoming new stuff. Of course, so would finishing up some other projects, but that's so not happening. I'm nowhere near finishing any of the current stuff. Although I could whip up a couple more granny squares for the pillow.

I made a good start last night on the big green stripe of Dr Who, and did some more stocking today. I love making this stocking! It rocks!

Thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't wind all the yarn. Once it's been wound, there's nothing preventing me casting on for new projects. And that would be bad - I've got way too many on the go right now!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Small progress

I did in fact cast on for stocking nomer dve last night. It is still fun making those little braids, and I'm liking the prominence of the green. I think it will go well with the red one.

I think once I finish this one I'm going to spend some time winding up my skeins of yarn. It's frustrating when wanting to start something new to have to spend hours winding the yarn first, so if I wind the yarn beforehand it'll be less of a problem. Of course, all the yarn I have to wind is in big skeins of laceweight. And I have no swift.

I'm heading to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday. I'm hoping to get yarn for the Interlocking Cables sweater, and maybe enough for some more socks. I don't really have much in the way of sock yarn. But who knows? They may have some other treasure I can't live without!

Monday, 8 October 2007

A Weird Weekend

I got a serious case of the blahs this weekend. Which was odd, because I also did a lot of useful and productive stuff, both knitting and personal-wise.

Dr Who is 4 stripes longer. I'm about to start on the last monster 54-row stripe, and then it's all manageable little ones until it's done! Woohoo! I'm going to have a lot of yarn left over. Need to figure out what to do with it. I'm thinking maybe a mini-Dr Who scarf, crocheted instead of knitted, just using up all of the scraps. We shall see.

I also figured out the lapels of the coatigan and started sewing them. The interfacing is a pain, being the sew-in kind, but it was definitely the right thing to do. And it's a good thing I'm paranoid, because although I thought I was making it on 8mm needles, I was actually making it on 9mm needles. Good thing they were sold out at the shop! Otherwise my sleeves would be rather wonky.

Having been through all my stocking patterns, I've decided that I am going to just do the same stocking again with the colours shifted around. My sense of symmetry needs the stockings to be the same size, and I'm too lazy to do a bunch of rewriting. Will cast on for that tonight and hopefully get it done quickly. Then I can mail them off and have one less unfinished thing lurking around bothering me. Plus, one Christmas present checked off! Woot!

The llama may not be finished by Christmas. I don't care. It's adorable, but I hate knitting it. I HATE knitting it. So I don't have to if I don't want to. It can be my friend's birthday present next year instead. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, dammit!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

practice makes improvement

I have spent many, many lunch-hours working on Dr Who. More than I would care to count. It is plain, mindless garter stitch, of which I am rather fond. Yesterday I managed 6 rows, plus a peanut butter sandwich over the lunch-hour.

Which is good, because last time I had it here, I only managed 4 rows plus a peanut butter sandwich. (I am a big fan of peanut butter).

The stocking took 11 days, of which 2 1/2 were concentrated >2 hours of knitting days.

Other stuff is racing along as well. It would seem that all of the practice I have been doing over the course of the year really has been going into improving my knitting. It doesn't feel weird anymore on my fingers. I can even *gasp* knit without looking at my hands! Well, ok, only when I'm doing something in unpatterned stockinette, garter or basic even ribbing. And even then only if it's on fingering-weight or thicker yarn. But still! Progress! And improvement!

Now let's hope that when I swing back into embroidery mode I haven't forgotten how to do that.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Another one bites the dust

One useful side effect of being home ill is having lots of lounging and knitting time. Today, for example, I spent the day in bed with the stocking. Here is the result:

Lovely finished stocking!

My other half has announced that he thinks we need some for our own Christmas celebrations, which I think is a lovely idea. And it is an idea that can wait until next year! I still have 6 projects left to finish for this December.

And only three of those need to be done before Christmas. The other three are just things for me that I want finished.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Rockin' Weekend

In addition to learning how to make lucet cord, which was fun, I've done a huge amount of the stocking. Patterned part is completely finished, heel is turned and foot is started.

Hopefully I won't lose my speed now that I am doing the boring foot. It's just plain red! At least it's not an ordinary shaped foot - it is short and fat, so I think it will go quickly.

I ended up not doing any Dr Who at all. But I think that finishing the stocking will be a good incentive. I'm looking forward to having a carrier bag full of ready-to-go Christmas presents soon. And the llama and the stockings have to be mailed to the States, so they are the priority.