Thursday, 26 April 2007

My First Sock

What were you expecting? Miracles?

This was knitted on cocktail sticks to start with and GarnStudio Fabel Sock Yarn which I absolutely love. I got annoyed with the cocktail sticks after the 3 rows of ribbing (they were cheap ones and even though I'd sanded them down with an emery board they were still too rough - Note to Self: buy good quality cocktail sticks next time.) so I switched to 3 x 2mm and 1 x unknown size of DPN. According to the video I watched online EZ says that you can use 1 dpn that's a different size to the others and that the difference in gauge with even out as you knit the sock - happy to report she's absolutely right!!

Isn't this lovely? I'm going to turn it into a Key Ring for one of my Swap Buddies although my sons both wanted to have it and were absolutely fascinated.

Losing Heart

Part 1 - De Cluttering Failure
We had a really good weekend in terms of getting jobs done and things tidied away. My MIL looked after the children and we managed to send 6 large boxes to the Charity Shop and organise 485 books into boxes for selling/swapping/giving away.

But now I'm losing heart with the whole exercise - I put 90 books onto eBay at 99p each and only 11 of them sold, we just about broke even if you don't count the cost of my time listing, wrapping and posting them. At that rate it will take a YEAR to get rid of all these books and that's if they sell at all.

OH went to a Car Boot on Sunday and reported back that hardly anyone was managing to sell their books, even though there were plenty of people with lots to sell.

We had to finally agree that they may just have to go to the Lions' Charity Book Sale and we will have to admit defeat on this one. It will break my heart to see them all go - I love my books!

Part 2 - Knitting Failure

I've been admiring this wool in my box for several weeks now - bought on a whim from the Natural Dye Studio - it's Alpaca/Merino and the colours are just beautiful. I spent an hour browsing sock patterns on the web, looking for something that would show off the colours and settled on Razor Shell Socks. Went to the needle case - NO small DPNs - only had 3 x 2mm and the next biggest were 4mm and 30cm long!! Decided to try Magic Loop as there was a 3mm circular. Watched the video online of Magic Loop a couple of times and cast on to give it a try. Yuck!! Magic Loop just doesn't suit me, I really like knitting with circulars but all the pulling and sliding as the stiches go on and off the needles - well I found it really slow and I couldn't get gauge either so I ripped it out in frustration. That's a whole evening of surfing/knitting and CSI time wasted. BAH HUMBUG.

Part 3 - Secret Pal Failure
I've been knitting something for my Secret Pal (can't tell you what as I WILL do it eventually) and I've been trying different things for over a week now - different yarns, needle sizes, stitch patterns - I've tried all sorts of different things to make this project work and it just doesn't want to co-operate with me. In the end I had to admit to myself that 'The Project' wasn't going to make it into April's package and instead I wrapped up lots of other things and posted them off with a heavy heart and a feeling that I'm not being a good enough Pal - some of the packages people have received are stunning!! Now the pressure is on to try and make it for my Knitter's Treat Pal instead.

Off now to find that bottle of Prozac and, as my MIL would say, 'Count My Blessings'.

Monday, 23 April 2007

My FIRST Swap Parcel has arrived!!

It arrived at last - my first SP10 package from Secret Squirrel and in fact, my first ever Swap package.

OK so Secret Squirrel must be British or at least living/working here as this is a Royal Mail jiffy bag with British postage label. The return address has been covered up with a Post-It note and I'm not going to spoil the surprise by removing it - it's fun to keep guessing.

Purple paper and a Greetings card.....

Wow - 200g of Undyed Trekking, Food Colouring, CHOCOLATE, Wool Fat soap and some really cute Wishing Sheep from the Lake District. Now I can experiment to my heart's content with the yarn and the only person who has to suffer the results is me!!! A huge thank you to Secret Squirrel, whoever she may be. I've ordered Dyeing to Knit from Amazon and as soon as it arrives I'll be busy wrapping the kitchen table in cling film ready for my handpainting experiments.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Ella Shawl

I've finally finished the Ella Shawl from It was meant to be a birthday present for my Mother but I'm not sure she'll like it so I might have to keep it! It was knitted on 4mm needles using Natural Dye Studio Cobweb weight Mohair, Colourway - Plum Mist. Here it is before it was blocked:-

And here it is pinned out on the stripy sheet.

It's already starting to dry along the bottom edge which is pulling the pins out of line....

Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern after blocking. I really enjoyed knitting this one - there was a rhythm and order to it and it was tricky enough to be interesting to knit. I still think that the finished shawl is too stripy though and if/when i knit another shawl, it will definitely be in a plain yarn.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

SP10 Contest Questions

I'm sorry to have to admit that I have no idea what 'Socks That Rock Yarn' might look like but I do know that other Bloggers and sock knitters rave about the stuff so it must be good!!

The answers to my SP10 Contest questions are.....

How Old Were You When You Learnt to Knit?

When I was first given a pair of thick wooden needles and a ball of dishcloth cotton, I was about 8 years old. My Mother's bright idea was that I should knit dishcloths as Christmas presents for elderly relatives. She cast on enough stitches and then showed me how to do Garter Stitch. I have to say that I was useless at it and completely bored. I kept dropping stitches and asking her for help, then when she'd picked the stitches up I'd drop some more and keep looking at the TV instead of the knitting. Before long she'd lost her temper with me and I was banished to the freezing cold dining room and told not to come out until I had knitted 3 rows without dropping a stitch.

I can't remember whether I ever finished the dishcloths but I do know that I didn't do any knitting after that for at least a year!!

Who Taught You to Knit?

Well, my Mother taught me to cast on and off and to knit and purl but I didn't knit anything from a pattern until I was in my teens. My Mother had a serious yarn buying habit and was always knitting complicated sweaters - Scandanavian Skiing Sweaters for my Dad, Picture Sweaters with about 20 colours for me (remember those? all the rage in the 80s!) Xmas pressies for older relatives. I got all the leftovers and used to use them to knit clothes for my teddy bears. I made them up as I went along and worked out how to increase and decrease through trial and error (some day I must read and book and find out how to do it properly).

My School teacher Miss Rutherford taught me to crochet. Boy, did that woman hate me with a passion - I had her for two years in Junior School and I don't think she had a kind word to say to me - I was always being sent outside or kept in at playtime and I could just tell she didn't like me. Handwork was compulsory twice a week and when I was 10 we had to learn to crochet - first a potholder and then a bag made of triangles. I was always being shouted at for doing it wrong or doing it too slowly but at least she taught me what to do and I've never forgotten.

For years and years I had no-one to teach me anything. I bought a pattern I liked and the yarn it recommended and followed the instructions. I learnt to do fair isle, cables, lace, swiss darning and loads of other things just by reading.

In the early 90s my husband and I went to visit his cousins in Norway and they are all knitters. Anna-Liese took me to a Norwegian Yarn Store and helped me pick a traditional pattern and the right yarns. We also bought needles and each day whilst we were there she would show me how to knit the complicated pattern in the round. I wasn't there long enough to finish the sweater so she had to translate the pattern from Norwegian into English and write down for me how to cut the holes for the arms. I've never been so frightened in my life as when I took a pair of scissors to a piece of knitting that had taken me months! Her instructions were good ones though and the sweater has never unravelled.
Its a piece of art isn't it!
Now in the age of the Internet I learn more from forums, blogs and websites than anything else. This week I learnt to block properly from Eunny Jang's blog (having never blocked anything in my entire life) and soon I'll be learning to dye using the Internet. I love computers!!!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Back from my visit to the Easter Bunny!

I'm back. It rained for almost the entire week but I still managed to take almost 250 photos and had to go and buy a new memory card for my camera as I had run out of space. Most of the photos were of patterns, shapes and colours etc - meant to be inspiration for future projects rather than a record of our holidays.

Once I've got through the post holiday mountain of washing, ironing, unread mail, emails and lawn mowing, I'll be able to get busy again!!

Here are a few small photos to whet your appetite....