Friday, 31 July 2009

A personal best

One of my Ravelry groups tracks the total yardage of all yarn that each person knits or crochets into a project or otherwise destashes. I've chosen to only count yarn once the project is completely finished. This means that there are months where I've done a ton of knitting but have a very low total. There are also months like this one. Total yarn knitted, crocheted or gifted out of stash - 4889 yards!!!!!!!

Goals for the coming month:
  • Finish the Franken-Mei Socks I'm working on
  • Make 20 more granny squares
  • Make progress on two other WIPs
  • Work on a piece of garb
  • Finish another section of the Santa embroidery

It's too hot for spinning, my hands get all sticky and mess up the fiber. But I'm trying hard to work on all of my hobbies, not just knitting. Tomorrow I plan to do a big photo update, since I've started a couple of projects that have never featured on the blog...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Sock Madness*

I need new socks. It's wretchedly cold and damp this summer, to the extent that warm woolly socks sound delightful rather than nauseating. I plan to keep working on other things in and around socks, but it's going to be pretty much all socks, all the time for the foreseeable future. For my own reference I'm making a master list of all my sock yarn and the patterns that go with. I reserve the right to select new patterns, of course!
  • Austermann Step - Circle Socks
  • CTH Multi - Coupling Socks
  • CTH Lime Green - Oak Leaf Socks
  • Jitterbug Brown - Spring Forward Socks
  • Jitterbug Green - Leyburn Socks
  • Frankentwined - Kai-Mei Socks, cast on last night
  • Monster Stash - Mad Colour Weave Socks
  • Embers - Nutkin Socks
  • MMM Grey - Plaited Points Socks
  • Blue Wool-Ease - plain ribbed bedsocks for camping
  • Kroy Socks - Extreme 2-in-1 Socks
  • Opal Blue/Grey - don't know yet
  • Red Heart Red - Rick Socks
  • Red Heart Blue - don't know yet
  • Regia Red - See You Later Socks
  • Regia Blue - don't know yet
  • Schoppel-Wolle Dark - don't know yet
  • Schoppel-Wolle Light - Vilai Socks
  • Kettle Drum Aegean - Absinthe Socks

I've also got my Tsock kits, but they are less of a priority because really, they are for fancy wear. My regular socks are for schlepping around the library and walking. And of course, all of these socks are going to generate leftovers, so I need to figure out exactly what I'm going to do with those.

*Not the actual Sock Madness, just my own personal sockstravaganza.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Smitten with mittens

Finally, 9 months after starting them, I've finished my Winter Cottage Mittens, aka Bonfire Mittens*. It's somewhat embarassing to think that someone could have grown an entire baby in the time it took me to finish these. The worst part? The actual knitting only took about a month.

Test-knitting these was a great deal of fun as well as a good learning experience for me. It forced me to really think about the pattern, both in terms of the end product and in terms of clarity and ease of interpretation. I spotted some things that needed changing or fixing, but I never saw a copy of the final pattern. Still, my mittens look just like all the other finished ones - there can't have been much caught by the other test knitter that I didn't find!

I adore this colour. Orange is my favourite colour, and there is so much variety and depth in this colourway. Posh Yarn is always a pleasure! I've got a goodly chunk of the white contrast and even a small ball of the orange left. I picked up a skein of black fingering a few months ago to go with. The plan is to use black or white as contrast and Posh leftovers as main and make more pairs of mittens and mitts. Stashbusting, useful items, warm hands!
*The pattern is called Winter Cottage, the colourway is Bonfire. I like Bonfire much better as a name.

Monday, 27 July 2009


Back at work after two delicious weeks of vacation. After a weekend of a summer cold, films and a mitten, I decided that the mitten would be a good handbag project for my lunch hours. After all, it was halfway done, so even though I wouldn't finish it for WIPs Wrestling all progress is good. Just finished lunch. I'm two rounds away from starting the decreases at the fingertips. I'll probably finish the hand by the end of tomorrow and the thumb on Wednesday. It's amazing what a couple of rounds squeezed into a baking marathon will add up to!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ruined forever

My foot's feeling better, so I thought I'd get Roy out and spin up some packets of sample fibers this evening. I chose to start with a 5g bag of dehaired camel. Yum. And then I fished out a 5g bag of pure cashmere. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to spin anything else again. It was like spinning with butter. Or possibly the underbelly fur of the softest longhaired cat. Softer than angora. With practice I suspect I could get a really nice laceweight out of it, but it's insanely expensive!

Ah well. Fortunately for me, the friend who gave me lots of her yarn when she moved also gave me three big bags of fiber. One's a mystery, but there's one of merino/silk and one of merino/cashmere! Not much cashmere, but enough that it's still like spinning butter.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

WIPs Wrestling Update

It's now two thirds of the way through the month. And I've finished four of my six WIPs! Woohoo! The first was the pair of green Monkey socks which were nearly done anyway. The second was this chunky neckwarmer, made from yarn I was given by a dear friend.

Mum's heavy winter shawl, finished just in time for her mid-July birthday. :D It's so big I couldn't block it properly on my bed, so I'll be reblocking when next I visit her.

And finally, the one of which I'm most proud. I've finally, as of 11:30 last night, finished the crocheted ripple bedspread I started two years ago. I can't even fathom how many episodes of assorted crime dramas went into the making of this bedspread. It's on the bed, and thanks to a bout of unseasonable weather was very welcome last night.

And as a bonus:

My lovely grandmother decided that we really, really needed a microwave, since we've never had one. She let me pick, and now this adorable red Whirlpool is living in our kitchen. And thanks to the microwave, we were able to make the popcorn that fortified me through last night's crochet marathon. Thanks Grammy!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Flashbacks - more embroidery

In addition to the small projects floating around, I've also finished a fair few big projects. These two are among my favourites. Just plain cross-stitch, but I love the colours.

A trio of cats, my first big finished piece:
A birth sampler:
This one is very special. I made it for my mother a few years ago for her birthday. You see, I'd discovered that although she's made many birth samplers over the years for lots of babies, no-one had ever made one for her! I picked this one out because she's very into astrology. I spent hours poring over astrological charts to work out the details. Thankfully my grandmother keeps the family birth certificates or I'd never have gotten the time details in secret! It came out quite nicely, I think, although the designer didn't leave much space for the words - I had to rechart a section of it.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Flashbacks, part one

While I was visiting my mother, I took the opportunity to photograph many of my pre-blog needlework projects. Most of what I have there is embroidery, but there are some exceptions!
A few years ago I was helping mum with one of the perennial rounds of organizing, cleaning and purging, this time in all of her sewing stash. We found a bunch of little kits, things that had been freebies with some of her embroidery magazines. Since at the time I wasn't knitting and had very little in the way of embroidery supplies, I swiped them!

A free embroidery needle case that I use to store my sharp quilting needles:

A scissors fob:

A little framed jobbie that mum has hanging in her sewing room:

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Didn't make it

I decided that dinner and double-checking my packing was more important than finishing the sock, so I didn't get it done til the day I got back. I got home, had a cup of tea, unpacked, and sat down to finish that toe! All done now, I'm very pleased. :D
(The second sock isn't modelled because I've got a bandage on my right foot.)

I did a ton of knitting while I was on vacation, unsurprisingly. I was *this* close to finishing mum's heavy shawl, but I ran out of one colour of yarn! I was so vexed! In a nice save, though, the yarn shop is having a 20% off everything sale this week in honour of their birthday. Hubs went over yesterday and picked up the extra skein I needed. I wound it last night, spliced it on, and am sailing away again. Because I only needed the extra skein to do half a row, I decided to add a seventh repeat of the lace pattern. Bigger is always better for a heavy winter shawl! I've got 7 long rows of lace left, then I'll join the pink and work the garter stitch edging until I run out of yarn. I hope to block it this weekend.