Monday, 31 December 2012

Knit the Queue

Mooncalf recently came up with a gem of an idea - she made it her goal to knit her entire Ravelry queue in 2013. Very quickly others were planning to do the same and a Ravelry group was born - the group currently has 205 members and I am one of them :)

So, as of 31st December 2012, my queue for 2013 looks like this (in no particular order):

Mostly garments:
Four pairs of socks:
And a selection of other cute accessories:
Total:   21 items

This is a little very ambitious for me, I've knit a total of four garments ever so far BUT it is what I've bought most yarn for this year and so I need to start with the knitting already. I know there will most likely be more socks than these four and I know that even with these 21 projects I'm looking at one every two weeks, but it feels worth having some sort of plan and trying to stick to it. If nothing else I need to be reminding myself how many cute projects I already have yarn for (almost all of these, starritt snuck its way onto the list without yarn -- a weak moment?). Two of these projects actually already have swatches sat around too.

I still have a few WIPs to carry over to 2013, yesterday I finished a hat and today I've done one of two side seams on my Angostura but despite my best efforts I know I'll have the Angostura, a cardigan in King Kole Riot Chunky and a pair of Sideswipe socks to continue with in the new year. That said, the yarn is wound to start my first socks of 2013 -- the Wildflower Socks for SKA's Flora and Fauna challenge.

Here's hoping 2013 will be a productive year with minimal stashing!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fresh Start

Today I finally restarted a sleeveless sweater I abandoned in January this year.

It doesn't look like this right now, but I hope it will soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

FO: Boyfriend Socks

More socks for Mr Me.

This acrylic/nylon blend was bought at Natural Stitches during his visit when I stayed out in Pittsburgh for three months in 2009. Red is his preferred colour so this yarn was very much up his street. Despite the crinkles in the photo, the socks are actually a snug fit.

Pattern: Boyfriend Socks by Alice Bell.
Yarn: Berroco Comfort Sock in colourway True Red.
Mods: None.
Project: online at Ravelry.

Monday, 12 November 2012


I recently found myself thinking again about weaving. However, looms are pricey things and I really didn't fancy spending in excess of £100 just to see what it was like. As I followed links around the Internet though, I came across a few people who had "played with" a Spears Weaving Loom, typically bought from eBay for a fairly reasonable price. So, off I went to eBay...

This weekend was my first chance to get it out and have a go. Despite the best of intentions I didn't get close to finishing up with a scarf. I did manage to finish 'spanning' the loom though:

82 warp threads. Nothing too exciting to start with, just some acrylic DK leftovers. Not sure if I'll get any time this week but I hope to get back to this soon.

Friday, 9 November 2012

FO: River Socks

I've been wanting to knit these socks forever. I've had the pattern printed out and in a project bag with the yarn for in excess of a year now. So when I was looking around for another travel project, these seemed like a great choice:

I love the twisted stitches and the anatomical toe.

Pattern: Kalajoki by Tiina Seppälä
Yarn: Stylecraft Pure Luxury Merino DK in colourway Cornflower from Hesters Haberdashery (Lancaster Indoor Market)
Mods: None
Project: Online at Ravelry

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Little Gifts

There's very little more exciting than the arrival of a squishy parcel in the mail. Today's squishy packet is my fibre club installment from easyknits. 50% White Corriedale, 25% Grey Corriedale and 25% Banana.

Oh for more time at the spinning wheel!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


It's been really quiet on the blog of late. More than once I've thought about coming back and posting something but life has been getting in my way and my enthusiasm for knitting was struggling to find a moment to peek out from under my workload. Since my workload is unlikely to alter much for a while I figured I'd just have to "put on my big girl pants" and get on with it.

Right now I have a number of knitting projects on the go:

1) Another Calorimetry that I started and finished earlier last weekend when I was mooching around feeling ill (just a cold, I'll survive). Sadly, I didn't judge the size quite right and I think I need to reknit the whole thing with a few extra stitches (and a smidge more yarn than I probably have available).

2) A cute little "Movie Star Scarf" which I also started this week whilst snuffling on the sofa. This is being knit from some handspun and that in itself makes it quite an exciting project. There's definately some scope for improvement in the future but I'm very pleased with the way this yarn has come out.

3) The first of a pair of Cadence Socks in a gorgeous Old Maiden Aunt sparkle sock yarn.

I've also got a selection of swatches and things that are still begging to be sweaters but I'm not sure I can handle the commitment right now.

Friday, 31 August 2012

FO: Plum Snapes

At last year's Glasgow School of Yarn, I took a class with Amy Singer and she recommended Sock Candy as a yarn for those who would like handknit socks but cannot wear wool. When back with Mr me, we picked out some yarn on Blue Moon's Website and, some time later, it arrived. After a little fondling, the yarn went into the stash until I pulled it out in April ready for a Ravelry SKA Sockdown challenge.

I really do like this colourway. It's called Plum Crazy but it makes me think of the beach. Dark, wet (muddy) sand and blue seas.

Knit two at a time, toe up (I was hoping to use all the yarn but didn't quite). These would have been a quick knit if I hadn't initially made my traditional toe-up mistake of forgetting to knit the pattern on the back of the leg. They spent some time in timeout before I finally gave up aspiring to find a block of time to drop each stitch and correct it, instead I ripped back the leg and reknit.

Pattern: Snape's Stockings by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Candy in colourway Plum Crazy
Mods: Lots! Knit toe up, adjusted the number of stitches in the pattern repeat and the number of repeats round the sock. Knit a different heel and toe. Can't remember which toe, but the heel was the origami heel and I'm never knitting one ever again.
Project: Online at Ravelry

Thursday, 30 August 2012


This is the first year since I was a child when I've found an interest in growing things (where previous attempts probably consisted largely of mud pies).

Here are the pickings (so far...):

The carrots were grown in wellies which seemed to be very effective at keeping out the slugs and other things that have ravished the rest of the outdoor gardening attempts.

The tomatoes were grown in my office.

Nom :)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

WIP Wednesday: River Socks

For a while I was committed to, and focussed on, finishing projects... and then I started these:

A simple top-down sock in DK weight yarn. I've had the yarn and pattern in a project bag for about two years now, it deserved to finally get made. It's a DK weight sock, my first. I'm not totally sure there's a call for too many chunky pairs of socks, but I won't know until I've tried it. The pattern is simple and very effective.

Pattern: Kalajoki by Tiina Seppälä
Yarn: Stylecraft Luxury Merino DK in colourway Cornflower

For other Wednesday WIPs, try Tami's WIP Wednesday link party.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

FO: Marin

This was a mindless knit during some thesis panic. I needed knitting that just amounted to following row after row of instruction so I ignored the chart and just plodded through portions from the written instructions as and when I got the chance:

I love the colour of this yarn and I'm glad a pattern finally came along for it.

I don't know if I'll wear this as a shawl much (it could be a bit heavy?) but it will make a great winter scarf.

And, of course, there's always the neckerchief option.

Pattern: Marin by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Lana Gatto Feeling from Natural Stitches, Pittsburgh
Mods: None.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Cooling Off

Where we are in the North of England, the summer hasn't really ever arrived. This week though, I'm away in the South of England and the skirt has come out to play! This morning I sat at the side of an outdoor pool and spotted these two mini lizards - one taking a swim and one cheering him on from the side:


Drying off

So cute!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

FO: Multnomah

I sat down this weekend and wove in ends on three projects that were sat waiting for those last finishing touches. Here is the first:

For a long time I was convinced that, even when I blocked it, this shawl would be way too small to be wearable. Turns out I was wrong :)

I think this will be a great casual scarf for autumn/winter. I'll wrap it round my neck bandit style:

All in all, a great pattern/yarn combination (thanks for the ideas Ravelry). If I did it all again I would have made it a bit bigger. I still have twenty-five grams of yarn leftover and even with the extra size it would still be very wearable.

Pattern: Multnomah by Kate Ray.
Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball in colourway Herbstwind (Autumn wind).
Mods: None.
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Exploring: Arnside Tower

One of the things I love about geocaching is the encouragement it gives to get out and see places you never knew. This week it was Arnside tower:

It was a beautiful day out.
And I found the cache too!

Monday, 30 July 2012

FO: Elijah

I finished something!

This guy has been waiting for eyes for quite some time now, but this weekend I finally looked up instructions for french knots. Some time later, I had two eyes and an elephant:

I think he needs a scarf :)

Pattern: Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Patons Smoothie DK
Mods: None.
Project: Online at Ravelry

Monday, 23 July 2012

In Celebration of Green

Needful Yarns, Feeling:

A first chilli pepper:


Marin by Ysolda Teague:


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Growing Things - Part 2

Watering my plants today I saw my first tomatoes:

The flowers have been out on most of my chillis for a bit, but today was also the first time I spotted these little purple ones:

Office gardening seems to be working out considerably more successfully than garden gardening!

Monday, 16 July 2012

FO: Shetland Shorty

This may be the first item I've ever knit purely for functional reasons. I have a brown mesh cropped cardigan I bought six years ago on one of my first forays into the world of work (a summer internship at the company my Dad worked for). Since the company wasn't just programmers, they had higher standards than the places I've worked at since and so I was required to wear things that weren't jeans, namely skirts.

It was the perfect summer for skirt wearing. Nice weather, little rain and no air conditioning. I bought two new skirts in serious looking colours plus a few netural looking summer tops and two mesh cropped cardigans, one brown and one rust coloured (Sadly some time later I gave away the rusty one thinking I could have no further use for two cropped mesh cardigans).

Since then I've discovered that, when we do have summer weather, that cropped brown cardigan is the perfect thing for making me feel like I'm not in a state of undress whilst still maintaining a comfortable body temperature. It's great for so many occasions. And so I set out to knit something comparable:

I think I've been pretty successful. This is Shetland Shorty, a free pattern from It's a clear, well-written pattern and the sizing seems pretty good to me (I knit the XS). It's biggest negative is probably the quantity of stitches that have to be picked up for the various edgings but that's simply because that technique is still pretty low down my favourites list. It's also got a very slight tendency to be more of a boob holder than a cardigan, but it's a fine line with these cropped things I think. I'll quite probably knit this again in other colours and will also look out for similar patterns (lace, cropped, tie cardigans) - any suggestions?

The yarn is from stash (extra brownie points there) and seems quite well-suited to the pattern. It's a milk/cotton blend with the emphasis on the milk. It's soft and smooth and didn't seem to split at all. The colour looks far more interesting knit up that I'd thought from the hanks.

Pattern: Shetland Shorty by Gudrun Johnston.
Yarn: Kollage Creamy in colourway 7101 - Almond. I bought this yarn from Natural Stitches at 40% off in 2009. The project took just short of two skeins so I have just over three left.
Mods: None.
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Summer Knitting

In the Spring we had a week or two of beautiful weather. This is pretty common here in the UK. In recent years we've had a week or two of sunshine in Spring and then it tends to return to wetter, colder, windier weather until late August when it suddenly realises it's about to become Autumn before we've really had Summer and *then* we get just a little more sun to prevent us all from just electing for a year-long hibernation.

In Spring I thought this year would be the year for summer knitting. I knit a sweater out of cotton and linen thinking it would be the first of many. I finally bought yarn for Laika and carried it round with me for a bit before eventually knitting a swatch. I thought about what I might do with some Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton yarn I've had stashed for a while now (I still don't know, feel free to enlighten me -- I have 5 skeins of this green).

Then it started raining.

It hasn't stopped.

I knit some socks to keep my feet warm.

It still didn't stop.

I knit a cropped summer cardigan to encourage summer along. It's so cold and wet that despite having been finished for over two weeks I can't possibly get a photograph of it on me -- I'd freeze.

I knit a shawl in winter colours to keep me warm and yet still the weather hasn't changed.

Tonight I plan to swatch for a bulkyweight cardigan (think winter) with a lacy pattern (think summer) in a relatively subdued blue (more winter than summer) in a cotton yarn (more summer than winter).

Now, where are my fingerless gloves?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mixed Feelings

Today I finally bound off my Multnomah shawl.

Today I discovered my phone camera.
This hasn't actually been on the needles for years (although it might feel like it) but was started a mere two weeks ago at a conference... well sort of, it had a few false starts before that. The lengthly feeling has mostly been to do with the amount of time spent knitting vs tinking. Whilst I'm pretty sure it's mathematically impossible I feel like more of the latter was done than the former. Around half way through the Feather and Fan repeats I lost the ability to count.

Feather and Fan is a pretty straight forward pattern with only one row with any lace knitting at all:

[k2tog] 3 times, [yo, k] 6 times, [k2tog] 3 times

Unfortunately I suddenly lost the ability to count to six. This shawl uses 40 Feather and Fan rows (10 times the 4 row repeat). I knit the last eight rows at least three times over. I knit the middle ones a few more times than that. Woops!

So, happy happy party, I'm done! Only thing is I'm not sure I love this shawl... I cast on because:

1) I had the yarn and I wanted to knit something that wasn't socks. Ravelry showed me some nice projects using this pattern for my yarn and one was even in my colourway -- it looked great.

2) It wasn't a fancy lace shawl. I love knitting complicated delicate lace BUT I just can't work out how to wear those shawls in the everyday. This yarn wasn't suited to a complex pattern (too busy) but was perfect for a casual shawlette to wear as a neckerchief with jeans, to work, anyday I wanted.

3) Whatever I knit had to be pretty mindless since I was starting at a conference where I was expecting to be moderately busy (I was actually a bit busier than that and didn't start the shawl until the second to last day).

Now I've bound off I still think the yarn/colour/pattern combination works and is perfect for casual wear. It was also mostly good mindless knitting (until I totally lost my mind, but I suspect no knitting can handle that).

So what's wrong?

It's quite small. Other projects in this yarn did use larger needles but I tried that in a few of my false starts and didn't like the fabric at all. Unblocked this shawl doesn't really wrap comfortably round my neck in the bandit style I was hoping for. I'm crossing my fingers that it blocks a little larger but if not - do I frog? If I could face it I guess I'd rip the entire feather and fan section, add a few more garter rows and then reknit (and possibly extend) the feather and fan.

Fingers crossed blocking will do the trick. I'm not sure I want this to move back to the "still unfinished" pile.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


When someone says they've lost their knitting mojo, they most often mean that they don't really feel inspired to knit right now. Yarn isn't jumping into their arms and screaming knit me, patterns aren't demanding to be cast on "right now" and somehow they can always find something else to fill their time.

That isn't me right now.


What I mean when I wonder if I've lost my knitting mojo is "how have I been knitting this shawl forever?", "why have I not touched those socks in weeks?", "when will I get round to casting on for those garments I swatched for?" and "why have I spent more time ripping out rows than knitting recently?". (And not even ripping out, I don't trust myself to rip anymore, every stitch must be tinked one by one).

I have lost my knitting brain.

I've lost the ability to count to 6 reliably, to repeat the same movement over and over without accidentally substituting in something else, and to read my knitting so I can realise how to fix that mistake quickly and efficiently rather than ripping back endless rows of perfectly fine knitting.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Days 1 to 4

This year I'm participating in my first ever Tour de Fleece. Each day I spin a little (rarely more than a little because time does not allow and various bits of my body are starting to complain).

For the first four days I worked on spinning up some mystery Fyberspates fibre with two Fibreholics samples I'd received in December 2010.

Day 1 (15g of something from a Fyberspates mystery bag):

Day 2 (~20g of Corriedale from Spinning a Yarn via Fibreholics):

Day 3 (~20g of BFL from Colourful Designs via Fibreholics):

Day 4 - YARN!! 52.5g of sportweight 3 ply (12wpi):

And then the leftovers n-plied with both the remaining bobbins held together. 5.6g of light worsted (10wpi):

Then there was one... 2.1g of n-plied mystery fibre in a light fingering weight yarn (15 wpi):

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

FO: Blisco

I can't believe I forgot to post this... possibly the thing I'm proudest of so far this year:

This is starts out as a really interesting knit and then moves into straightforward stockinette.

Pattern: Blisco by Lily-Kate France.
Yarn: Patons Linen Touch DK in colours Carnation and Lilac.
Mods: Shortened the sleeves a bit.
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Monday, 18 June 2012

FO: Booties

These have been a long time coming. Cast on in March(!) I've finally finished them today, more than three months later.

Why so long? I don't love them. I think the contrast of the black against the orange is a bit too harsh but I didn't have enough orange to finish them any other way. (I don't hate them either mind).

They've spent around two months waiting for 18 stitches to be grafted - that's it. The baby they were knit for is now rather too big for them so they'll go in the gift box and wait for the next baby to come along :)

Pattern: Stay-on baby booties
Yarn: The last of the Regia Stretch Color in colourway Edmonton, bought for my first ever pair of socks and also used for some blanket squares.
Mods: Knit in the round, slightly shorter leg.
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

FO: Harvest Dew Socks

My first FO in a while:

These socks were knit for April's Rose Hiver sockdown theme. The pattern is really straight forward without being boring and I'm very happy with them.

For a bit of a new experience, I started these top-down socks with a provisional cast-on and dived straight into the leg chart without any ribbing. I knit the pattern as written from then on until the toe which I shortened a little. Once I'd grafted the toes I then went back and picked up the live stitches from the cast-on and knit the ribbing. I really like this as a way of knitting socks. I'm pretty sure I get a better fit from top-down socks but I also never seem to use up as much yarn because I always seem to have a leg pattern that is tighter than I thought. Knitting this way I should know much more quickly if I've cast on too few stitches for the leg (rather than have the ribbing trick me into thinking I'm OK) which will allow me to knit longer top-down socks.

Pattern: Harvest Dew by Rose Hiver.
Yarn: Eden Cottage Yarns (was Wild Fire Fibres) Fantasia in colourway Samhain.
Mods: Knit toe as written until 21st per needle then repeated only the decrease row until 13st remained per needle and grafted the toe shut. Provisional cast on (as above).
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Friday, 1 June 2012

On Socks and Swatching

Last weekend was a trip to the in-laws for Mr Me to do some odd jobs and sort through bits and bobs. I took along plenty of knitting and had high hopes for finishing off some socks and swatching for the next few projects.

I did get the swatches done. This first one is for Laika:

The yarn is Schoppel Wolle Admiral in colourway Turquoise from The Sock Yarn Shop. I've swatched on 3mm and 3.25mm needles since the pattern calls for 3mm and I've noticed recently that I've typically needed to drop one needle size for most patterns. I've not measured the swatch yet but I'm pretty sure this will be my next project.

The second (final) swatch is for Paulie:

I've bought two completely different sets of yarn for this (I blame Mr Me for the second lot, he was definitely enabling) and in both colours bought two options for contrast stripes. This is Stylecraft Life 4ply from the haberdashery stand at our local indoor market (for a nice cheap cardi I can wear and wash over and over again without worrying too much). The colours are Cobolt (the grey is the same in both halves of the swatch) and Zing (yellow) and Melon (pink).

I'm not totally settled on which colour I'm going to use yet. Pre-swatching the yellow was an afterthought - I picked out the grey and the pink and then added the yellow just before purchasing. Now I've swatched I'm quite fond of the yellow. Thoughts?

And the socks...? Not finished - I guess I was being a bit ambitious.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


This weekend I took some time to explore the forgotten portions of my stash. I'm often rifling through the fingering weight baskets but it's rather less often that I look at the rest of the beautiful things I've picked up over time.

When I started buying yarn I knew nothing about fibre and little about what there was to like (or not) about yarn. Soon after I took a long trip out to the US and discovered a fantastic yarn shop - my lessons in yarn began there.

Initial purchases were often from the bargain bins - some perhaps a mistake, but others are clearly just waiting for the right project to come along. I've recently knit a very successful summer project and this heavy-worsted cotton feels like it fits right in with this trend:

Queensland Collection Pima Fresca in colourway Sapphire
from Natural Stitches, Pittsburgh

On a subsequent trip to the states my yarn purchases were more about buying good quantities of well-known American yarns to be able to knit a garment with sometime in the future when I'd got my brave up:

Dream in Colour Classy in colourway Midnight Derby
from Natural Stitches, Pittsburgh
More recently my yarn purchases are typically focussed on a specific project that I've deluded myself into thinking I will start right away. Strangely I'm often wrong...

Noro Kureyon in colourway 206.

In this case I was pretty sure this yarn was about to become an Entrelac Scarf. I'd never tried entrelac (I still haven't) and it seemed like a great project to learn a new skill. Soon after purchase doubts crept in and having rediscovered the yarn this weekend I'm now wondering about a Lanesplitter skirt instead.

How do you buy stash?


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