Sunday, 30 August 2009

Citrus Sunshines

Pattern: Sunshine by Cookie A, from her wonderful book Sock Innovation
Needles: 2.50 mm
Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL - 403 Citrus Punch

All finished and off the needles last Thursday. I wasn't sure about the stripes and cables together, but it does kind of work in a funky sort of way. However, this pattern really comes into its own with a plain or flecked yarn. I've seen some lovely versions on Ravelry, for example Fruitbat's patterned version really picks out the stitch definition.

Knitting lots of socks certainly has its advantages; I'm learning new techniques or polishing up on old ones all the time. With these Sunshine socks the technique for cabling without a needle clicked into place. It's a bit fiddly doing it with socks as the stitches are so small. The cable forward is no problem, but I had to change the way I did the cables to the back as the tiny stitches kept disappearing behind the work. I found it easier to take all the stitches off the needle together, then insert the left needle into the back stitches and use the right needle to hook the front stitches back onto the left needle, then knitted across them. Once I'd got into the swing of it, it was certainly a lot quicker and easier. Maybe I'll blog about this with photographs when I get chance.....

I'm about halfway through Cookie A's
Kai-Mei at the moment. The lace panel initially proved a bit of a challenge for me and the way it twists across the foot, but I'm now whizzing through them and hope to have them finished, photographed and blogged next week.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Turquoise Glynis

Pattern: Glynis by Cookie A, from her wonderful book Sock Innovation
Needles: 2.50 mm
Yarn: Opal Uni - Shade 29, Turquoise

Phew! What a relief to finish these socks. They weren't difficult to knit, more tedious, and I found the sssk's and k3tog's in the pattern extremely laborious indeed. I was positively rejoicing when there was a plain knit round in between the pattern rounds! Having said that they have knitting up beautifully and I'm really pleased with the result, although I won't be rushing to do them again. They have made quite a thick, heavy, lace sock, nice for snuggling into in winter. Turquoise is my mum's favourite colour, so I've packed them away to give to her for Christmas. It seems such a long way off, but when you've got a long list of knitting to do for presents, you need to start early!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Gadget Girl

I love my knitting gadgets, anything to make my life easier! Pictured is my newest purchase. I have been itching to get one of these for ages, mainly because I seem to be using charts more and more these days and Post-It notes lose their sticky and are constantly falling off!
I'm using it for my current Glynis project (although that's not Glynis pictured, it's one of the designs I'm currently working on and test knitting). The little magnets keep your chart in place and there's a magnetic strip for following the rows. The pocket in the side is very handy for bits and pieces and it also comes with a pen. I purchased it from P2tog; you can get it a little cheaper elsewhere, but their Zauberball is a reasonable price at the moment (as it the postage) so that's what swung it! ;) The service and extremely swift delivery is a bonus too!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Kelp Spring Forward Socks

Pattern: Spring Forward by Linda Welch
Needles: 2.25 mm
Yarn: Wild Fire Fibres Venezia (in Kelp)

I finished these socks a few days ago, but have only just got around to blogging about them. This was really enjoyable pattern to knit, quite easy and not too taxing on the brain. I made no modifications, knitted exactly as set. The yarn was gorgeous to work with; it is really soft and has a lovely sheen to it. I love the way it has knitted up and compliments the pattern beautifully. You can never quite tell how things are going to work out, so I'm really pleased with these. It's just a shame I'm going to have to part with them!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

9" Circular Sock Needles

It's about time I blogged about these fantastic little needles, a few people have approached me about them recently; asking for info about where I got them and how to use them etc. I started using them for my sock knitting in about May/June this year after getting my hands on a set of bamboo ones in varying sizes from America. Whilst they're a little fiddly to use at first, you soon get used to them and I have to say they have made my life so much easier, especially when knitting lace socks or doing colourwork.

The cable is only 9" long, so to enable you to knit completely in the round the actual needle size has shrunk to around 4 cm. See the picture below to give you an idea of the scale.

The second photo below shows how you knit completely in the round
. The only exception to this is for the heel flap (for a top down sock) and the toes for toe up or top down socks. I usually swap to dpns or Magic Loop for this bit. It's quite easy to adapt a dpn or Magic Loop sock pattern for use with these needles, but you do have to do a little bit of fiddling about when it comes to the heel and toe. I have actually just written a basic top down sock pattern specifically for use with 9" circular needles, but it's still very much in note form and I think at the moment only I will be able to understand it! ;)

Sadly at the moment the only outlet in the UK appears to be Sarah at Brownberry Yarns. I think she has been inundated with requests for the smaller sizes and has now consequently sold out, however I'm fairly certain you can pre-order from her if you're desperate to try them. Maybe I should keep this quiet, so Shhhhh don't tell anyone ;)

If anyone knows anywhere else that sells them in the UK please let me know, or even an overseas stockist with reasonable shipping costs to the UK. I could do with a few spare pairs! :)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

My New 'Swift'

Well okay, it's a bit crude, but it works! Loath to shell out over £40 for a 'proper' one and fed up using the backs of chairs, my knees and my husband, I had a small brain wave. The dumbbells are heavy enough to stay put and because they're plastic coated the yarn unwinds smoothly around them, with a little helping hand from me now and again, and it then feeds into my ball winder on my desk above. So, I've spent a very therapeutic afternoon winding up the last of my hand-dyed skeins. Job done!

How colourful they all look. Now they're all ready to be knitted up into lovely socks......that's the fun bit! ;)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fresh Berry Monkeys

I'm truly exhausted after a week back at work and intend to have a nice restful weekend. Having two weeks off has its advantages and disadvantages. A big disadvantage is the lack of knitting and blogging time. I could really get used to being at home; I'm waiting patiently for my Lotto ticket to come up!

I've finally finished my Cookie A Monkey Socks. These were a joy to knit; it was a very easy pattern to memorise and Vikki's yarn from Wild Fire Fibres was delicious to work with and so soft. I decided to shorten the leg slightly, putting only 5 pattern repeats in instead of 6, as it was touch and go whether I would have enough yarn (I had 380 yards and the pattern stated 388 yards). It turned out to be a good decision as I only had a tiny bit of yarn left. The socks have now been wrapped up and put away for a Christmas present - thinking ahead!

Photos of my Monkeys below. Unfortunately the colours aren't a really true representation of the yarn - they have come out slightly dark and the purple has taken over. In 'real life' they look much softer, paler colours.

I've now picked up my Spring Forward socks again. I'm steaming ahead with them as due to the weather there has been little else to do this weekend. I WISH IT WOULD STOP RAINING!