Friday, March 28


Ouch! Did you hear that? That was the sound of me falling off the wagon.

The yarn purchasing wagon, that is.

I have been very good since before Christmas, I have only bought a couple of balls of sock yarn, and they were for a project for someone else which is now finished. Instead I have been very diligently knitting from my stash.

I can't say it has got much smaller, but I've definitely seen some reduction in the number of balls of yarn that are crammed into those two large plastic boxes in the cupboard upstairs!

But today, Something Happened. I think the thrill of getting my request for part-time work approved, went to my head. I started worrying about running out of sock yarn (ha!) and then I realised my dad's birthday is coming up soon and it would be nice to knit some socks for him too.

Of course I always think first of the Yarn Yard when it comes to sock yarn, and I knew that Natalie had recently introduced some nice lines of 'manly' tones, so I was straight over there to pop a few in my basket (and one or two others for good measure, you know).

But Ravelry has got a lot to answer for. Browsing around for sock patterns I came across a really nice example of Clapotis, made in a plain yarn. I've already got one made in the Bittersweet colourway of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, as per the original pattern, which I use at work to protect my forearms from the cold desk.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a plain one, perhaps a little smaller? Ooh, and looky looky - Get Knitted has a sale on its Rowan Classic silk & wool DK; before I knew it 8 balls of the Sorrel colourway had jumped in my cart, and I was checking them out, along with a couple of balls of Rowan Classic cashsoft 4-ply!
Oops and double oops, or as Pixl Kitten would probably say, 'Penis wrinkle deluxe'!

Ah well, it had to happen some time I suppose. I just didn't realise I would lose control so completely!

My mission now is to stay on the wagon until the end of May, when I am going to the USA. The rules for this trip will be: plan in advance, only buy what I can't get easily in the UK, and I am going to try and set a budget, ahem.

Tuesday, March 25

Another new technique!

I finally found the sock bind-off I've been seeking for what seems like eternity. Well, to say I've been seeking it would be a bit of an overstatement, but this loose bind-off suits me very well.

Normally for my toe-up socks I use the sewn bind-off, as described here. My normal bind-off is way too tight for socks.

All well and dandy, as long as you have a tapestry needle to hand. Today I found myself without a tapestry needle, and with a spare lunch-hour in which I intended to finish ribbing and binding off the Express Lane sock I started the other day.

A quick Google later, and I discovered this little hint, which is essentially a regular bind-off with additional stitches added in to make it more stretchy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! I used it every four stitches on my 60 stitch round, and it makes it well roomy for the over-heel-manoeuvre.

Saturday, March 22

Gratuitous kitten picture

They are truly irresistible scamps at the moment. Every day there is a new game or a new favoured spot in the various items of furniture in the room. One of them is definitely going to be a lap cat!

Thursday, March 20

Learning something new every day?

One of the things I love about knitting and crochet is that there is always something new to learn. Think you know how to do short rows? I thought I was an expert, until I read a post by Natalie about her recent mastery of the short-row heel/toe. And I noticed that she mentioned the p3tog and k3togtbl manoeuvres of the pattern she was using. "Ye gads!" I thought. That's not how I do it! I must seek out this method and try it out!

Funnily enough, although Natalie was using the Express Lane sock pattern from The Inside Loop, the sock pattern that I had chosen for my next adventure - the Falling Leaves socks from Knitty - also seemed to use a similar method.

Aha, I thought, I will try this one out and hopefully get to master the same technique. Not so, unfortunately. It was one of those occasions where you get quite a lot of practice at the casting on and it takes a while to get the actual thing going.

First stage - cast on the recommended number of stitches, do a few rows, realise that it's going to be too big.

Second stage - amend to my usual number of stitches, get to the turning point of the toe, then realise I haven't a clue what the instructions are trying to tell me to do!

This is where I got stuck:
"Row 27: Yo, p13, sl next 2 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, sl these sts back to left needle and p2tog tbl, turn work.
Row 28: Yo, k14, untwist next 2 sts, k3tog, turn work.
Row 29: Yo, p15, sl next 3 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, sl these sts back to left needle and p3tog tbl, turn work."

Is it just me? I can't for the life of me work out how to p3togtbl! Tbl suggests that you need to purl the stitch through the loop that you don't usually use when you purl, no? Which makes sense if you are just purling one. But if you have to p3tog, and you have to do it tbl, all I can think of in my head is one hellishly difficult manoeuvre! Or is it just k3togtbl by a different name?

Ouch. I have to stop thinking about it now cos it's making my brain hurt.

That's what happened last night, so I decided to frog it AGAIN and try using the short-row toe instructions from the Express Lane socks. And then when I started on the Express Lane sock instructions, with my amended number of stitches, I thought what the hell, why not just make it easier for myself altogether and abandon the Falling Leaves altogether.

So I did!

I have to report that, just as Natalie said, the instructions are nice and easy to follow. No confusion here! I like the pattern it produces along the edge of the toe, but I do find it a bit excessive, given that I'm used to the 'wrap and turn' method of making short rows, and I never have problems with holes anyway.

Great to have another weapon in the knitting armoury, however!

Friday, March 14

Finished Zocknis

I LOVE these lacey socks! Although they caused me untold aggravation and I don't know how many times I had to painfully go back a few rounds to find out where it was I'd forgotten to do a yarn-over, or failed to pull slipped stitch over....

But I love how they turned out in the end, they fit beautifully after I went up a few needle sizes to 3mm, and my fears that they might be a bit sloppy have not come to pass.

Perhaps I am making small steps towards taking on some more complex lace? I'm certainly going to try some more lacey socks in the first instance.

Another MAJOR piece of news is that, after about a year of trying to perfect my provisional cast-on for toe-up socks, I FINALLY got one of them to 'unzip'!! Apologies to anyone who's not familiar with the provisional cast on and has no idea what I'm talking about, but those who are will recognise a familiar problem! I'm going to try and work out what I did, at least I've proved it is possible. I will experiment a bit and try to write down a failsafe way of always getting this result (alternatively if anyone can point me to one that someone else has already done, I'd be grateful!)

Saturday, March 8

Please admire

New socks on the left (Regia of some description, love the colours!) and new shoes, courtesy of Clarks.

New carpet, aubergine. So thick, so dark, so much better than the previous one!

Sunday, March 2

Latest FOs

Quick couple of the latest finished objects, I have been a bit remiss taking pics of my sister's hat and the ipod cosy, but here's the other two.

Bodum cosy made of my first handspun efforts. Nothing to write home about, but quite fun in a rustic way!

Lisa's neckwarmer - a gift for my friend who recently celebrated her birthday; last night we had a 'girl's night out' in Leicester staying with another schoolfriend. Great to catch up with them, and not the kind of bawdy event that the phrase 'girl's night out' usually conjours up. Let's just say we had a lovely meal, a few glasses of wine, and were in bed with cups of tea and hotwater bottles well before midnight.
I love this pattern, the Herringbone Neckwarmer, which I found on Ravelry. I knitted it out of Twilley's Freedom Spirit, I think it took two balls. Looks lovely, no?!