Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Groundhog day

I know it isn't yet - Groundhog Day is still a couple of days away - but it feels like it now that I'm starting over on this Spey Valley sock. When I read the pattern instructions to cast on 63 stitches on size 0 needles I was hesitant. Is that enough stitches? I checked the notes from other Ravelers but only a very few noted anything about adding more stitches. Okay, I thought, let's give it a go.

Last night I was almost at the heel of the first sock but I thought it still felt small. Gavin agreed to try it on. "It's fine" he said, "fine!" as I struggled to tug the sock over his heel and ankle. "I can always put my feet on a diet", he suggested. "Besides, won't they stretch in the wash?" he added.

Ummm, nope. The pattern repeats over seven stitches. Adding one repeat is problematic because it would change the arrangement of the pattern at the heel, gusset and instep. Adding 14 more stitches for two extra repeats seems too much. Narrowing the repeat would require changing and simplifying all three of the rib patterns which doesn't appeal to me. I'm also not on board with widening the repeats since the main rib pattern is already quite wide. So today I'm trying the pattern as written on larger needles. Within just a few rows I should know whether I'm happy with looser fabric. I really, really hope so because I'm pretty much out of ideas otherwise.

Deep breath and cast on 63 stitches on size 1 needles ...

Monday, January 30, 2012

a new technique

Last night I cast on Spey Valley, but when I messed up my first attempt at a Vikkel braid I put my knitting aside after ripping out and knitting back to the row before. This morning, with better light and a clear head, I tried again. Success! Look how cool that is - the stitches form a lateral braid that rings the sock.

Nancy Bush says that vikkel is an Estonian word used to describe knitting patterns made with stitches that cross over each other as a result of knitting the stitches out of order. It's a bit time consuming, but well worth the time spent for this very attractive result. And I suspect the sturdy, non-splitty nature of this Wollmeise yarn is making the crossing of these tiny stitches easier than it might otherwise be.

Since the beginning of July of last year I've been knitting the patterns in Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road as part of my Year of Projects. In the Ravelry group of the same name the moderators are gauging interest in a second Year of Projects. My first instinct was opposed - I think I'm starting to feel somewhat "socked-out" - but after starting these socks I'm reconsidering. Maybe next year I should look at Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting In Estonia? It's a nice mix of socks, gloves and mitts with all sorts of interesting stitch patterns and colourwork charts!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Year of Projects - Whitby

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

It's early Sunday evening and I feel all caught up. Isn't that a nice feeling? The laundry's done. The week's groceries are in the cupboards and the fridge. And a loaf of freshly baked bread is cooling on the counter. That's my weekend chores all done.

I'm feeling caught up on the crafting front as well. My chemo hats were posted to Halos of Hope. My wiggles square was mailed to SIBOL. Four pairs of socks from stashed oddments of Kroy yarn are on their way to the Warm Hands Network. And these Whitby socks from my Year of Projects list are done. Lots completed.

Whitby is a lovely pattern and these are gorgeous socks. How could they not be? After all they are knit from my first ever skein of Wollmeise! Besides they fit me perfectly. I plan to wear them tomorrow. I modified the pattern adding stitches to the ribbing on the back of the leg and the charts on the front of the sock to bring me to 69 stitches with finer yarn and smaller needles than called for by the designer.

In the book I've chosen for my Year of Projects, Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush, there are seventeen sock patterns. Now, nearing the end of the seventh month, I've knit nine of the patterns. Or put another way, after 58% of the allotted time I've completed 53% of my list. Not bad considering how little time and attention I gave to this challenge through November and December! But what to do next? I'm casting on Spey Valley socks tonight. I've got one more skein of Wollmeise in the perfect shade of grey for Gavin and the pattern is suitably masculine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finished Object Friday

This cute little square is a "Wiggles Square" designed by DebI Y, pattern found here. I made this from scraps of worsted weight yarn for a SIBOL challenge. With this pattern, the square is crocheted and then the wiggles are added after by crocheting around the stems of DC in the background block. It's very cute and very easy!

I'm very impressed with how Mrs. Twins organizes her challenges, especially her rule about limits to how many squares! I've seen it before where someone offers to make a blanket from donated squares and all of a sudden people are sending dozens upon dozens of squares. It makes lots of sense to me to limit donors to one square and then end the challenge when sufficient squares have been assembled. The finished blanket really ends up being a mosaic of the efforts of a multitude of crafters, as it was meant to be!

There were some curious looks while I was making the square at work yesterday. As I worked the light blue wiggles one of the sales reps approached to comment about how bright my colour choices were. "I guess people like all sort of things in garment fashion these days" he remarked. LOL. Imagine wearing an orange outfit with blue and white wiggles!

It's Friday, and as usual you can head over to Tami's Amis to have a look at the accomplishments of dozens of other crafters. There's always lots of interesting things to see!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

extended play socks

One more pair of scrappy socks done; all that's left to do is to get them in the mail. Last time I posted a parcel I tried Canada Post's online shipping tools. That worked out pretty well. The rate calculator allowed me to enter different measurements to determine the most cost-effective parcel size and shape. And I could print my own labels and drop them in a mailbox before work rather than lining up at Post Office counter during working hours.

By alternating the red/grey kroy sock yarn with a coordinating solid grey yarn I was able to extend the red all the way through the legs and the feet and use up that yarn entirely. It's been kind of fun to experiment with different strategies to use up oddments of sock yarn. For my next pair of scrappy socks I'm looking at this pattern: Circle Socks. Although the pattern is written for self-striping yarn, I plan to use two colours of yarn instead along the lines of what I did in my Circle Cloth.

This pair is the fourth pair of socks completed this month. Count that as about 300 grams out and 0 grams in - more progress towards my goal to Surmount The Stash in 2012! How are you doing with your goals and resolutions?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Work in Progress and Wool-Eater Wednesday

Aside from starting and finishing some vanilla socks from scrap yarn my crafting time this past week has been devoted to my Wool-Eater blanket. Spread out flat, the blanket is now a 36x36 inch square. I'm way ahead of the CAL schedule - I'm now working my 14th colour whereas the schedule suggests I should have just finished my 10th colour. But I can't help myself; I can't put it down. As soon as I start one colour I want to finish it and get to the next. And not just out of curiosity to see when I run short of wool!

But my obsession might explain why the cat's all over this blanket too. When it's spread across my lap she comes to sit on it. When I spread the blanket out on the floor she plants herself in the middle of it. If I drape it across the ottoman she jumps up onto it. Maybe she's not that much of a fan of the blanket? Could it be that she's trying to divert my attention away from it and back to her?

My plan is to finish this blanket by the end of the month. Based on the wool I have left I'm figuring on four or five more colours after the light green is done for a blanket that's approximately 48x48 inches square. What a fabulous pattern this is - top marks!

I'm heading over to Tami's Amis to see all the cute and clever projects in progress. Come have a look! After all in just over a week, I'll be done mine; there might be something there to suggest what I should start next. You can also have a look at the bloggers participating in the Keep Calm Craft On link-up for more!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What is up with the weather?! It's 4° celsius now and the forecast high for today is 9° celsius with steady rain. Shouldn't this be snow? After all this is supposed to be January in Canada. Very odd weather indeed! What's next ... January showers bring February flowers?

On Saturday I finished this first red/grey sock. This morning I cast on the second. My plan is to focus on these socks until they're done and then bundle up several pairs of socks to post to the Warm Hands Network in time for their end of January shipment to Moosonee. Of all this stash-busting socks I've knit, I think these are my favourites. Or maybe I just like red?

I'd also like to finish up my blue Whitby socks this week. And finish up my Wool-Eater blanket by the end of the month. Then what? I've been looking at this hat pattern; it might be just perfect for chemo hats from some leftover worsted yarn in my stash. As well I've been looking at three skeins of laceweight yarn in my stash. If I hold it double one skein may work for this Miss Doolittle scarf pattern. I bought the pattern last year but have yet to knit it, so it's about time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Year of Projects - Whitby 04

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Still another late post for my Year of Projects but at least I've this time managed to post on the correct day. If, after glancing at the photo, you thought to yourself 'well, she hasn't got much done' you'd be right. This week I've focused instead on quickly knitting up vanilla socks from sock yarn scraps in time for the January 30th shipping deadline at the Warm Hands Network. These Whitby socks have taken a back seat for now, but after my Wednesday mailing deadline passes I should be able to return my attention to this project. Maybe I can finish them in time for next week's YoP post?

It's not just these Whitby socks that have been set aside. My Wool-Eater blanket has also been largely ignored. After finding myself short about 20 yards of red yarn last week, I decided to rip out the two rounds of red and re-crochet a bit tighter. Last night I ripped out and this afternoon I finished re-crocheting. Good news: I made it with about 5 yards to spare! Now that's stash-busting!

One more note about my Year of Projects. There's one pattern - Traveler's Stockings - that I have already knit. It's a gorgeous pattern and I wouldn't mind knitting it again but I'm going to strike it off my Year of Projects list. I'm starting to feel a bit impatient about finishing the list; there are so many other sock patterns that I want to knit soon. That being said, I'm still determined to finish. So far I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I like these patterns once I've knit them. I'm pretty sure my patience will be rewarded by the remaining patterns.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

socks and more socks

Yesterday afternoon I finished these grey stash-busting socks. I've come to think of them as "industrial socks" because of the black/grey colourations. Very practical and sturdy. I'm pleased with the charcoal grey cuffs; they don't look out of place with the rest of the sock and they give the legs some much needed length.

At the Warm Hands Network, their shipping deadline for knitted contributions to ship to Moosonee is January 31st -  ten days from now. If I allow three business days for mailing by ExpressPost, then I have until Wednesday for knitting. Definitely time enough for one more pair, possibly two.

Next on the needles? This grey and red sock that I'm calling my "extended play" socks. There was about 30gr of this red/grey self-patterning yarn in my stash. I figure I can knit a top down sock with cuffs, heels and toes in this complementary grey yarn. And, by alternating the solid grey yarn with the red/grey yarn I can extend the red down the leg and (hopefully) through the foot.

I'm knitting this sock on 52 stitches. The grey socks - knit on 60 stitches - fit me, so I thought I'd better try to make some socks at smaller childrens sizes. Somehow or another all the socks I make end up my size; do you suppose it's an unconscious desire to keep all the socks I make?

Friday, January 20, 2012

today's bright idea

I had about 80 grams of this grey/black jacquarding Kroy sock yarn in my stash and I thought that'd be enough for a pair of vanilla socks. As it turns out, it's only enough if I'm content with a sock that's slightly more than an ankle sock. Sock one is shorter than I'd like and given the yarn that's left, sock two is not going to be any longer. While thinking about how unhappy I was with this result, the light bulb went off ... I should knit as much leg as I've all the jacquarding yarn I've got and then add a longer cuff in a matching solid grey yarn. Et voilĂ , I'd get a better pair of socks.

That's today's bright idea. Now that I've come up with this solution I feel immensely better about these socks. Funny, I don't think I had admitted to myself how much the alternative was bothering me. Of course it does mean that later today I will be picking out the bound off edge of the first sock. And for those keeping track, this is the second time this year that I'm doing that. I hope it's not an omen for the rest of the year!

Barring anything unforeseen these socks should be done later today. Next up? Another pair of scrappy stash-busting socks! I've got just less than a 50 grams of self-patterning Red/Grey Kroy sock yarn in my stash to pair with a complementary solid coloured yarn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Work in Progress and Wool-Eater Wednesday

On Sunday Chris posed a question on my blog about my Wool-Eater blanket:

What does the other side look like? I can't get past the color showing on the foundation row of each new color. It's me, just something that drives me batty in knitting when changing colors on ribbing. I always do the first row in knit so I don't have those color blips on my purls showing.

First things first: here are two pictures, one of the front and one of the back. On the back side the colours form a field of not very interesting mounds. On the front there are ridges outlining the diamond shapes of each row; this looks a bit like a Cathedral Window Quilt to me. I really like the three dimensional quality of this pattern. Before starting the blanket I too was concerned about those colour blips, but now I'm embracing them. I've come to think of them as representing the stitch lines in my multi-coloured crocheted quilt.

I'm way ahead on the CAL. According to Sarah London's proposed schedule I should now have finished colour eight, but instead I'm working on colour eleven. I just can't seem to put it down. The blanket measures thirty inches squares now. But now the trouble starts. I've come to the end of the bright red yarn about 20 yards short. My plan this evening is to rip this colour out entirely to see if I can't re-crochet it a bit tighter and squeak through. After all this is meant to be a stash-busting blanket - wouldn't that notion be entirely defeated if I run out to buy more?

Don't forget to check out the links at Tami's Amis! There's sure to be plenty of interesting projects to check out ... and maybe the inspiration for your next project?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

dull and dreary

Tuesday, huh? I don't know about you but Tuesdays leave me at a bit of a loss. It's a nothing kind of day, isn't it? Especially a damp and foggy, dark and slushy day like today.

My Wool-Eater blanket is too large to take along and my blue Whitby socks seemed too fiddly for my mood today. So I've cast on a pair of vanilla socks to use up this self-patterning grey Kroy sock yarn. This is mindless knitting at its best; concentration only required to cast on, turn the heel and bind off. Barring any unforeseen events, this should result in another pair of socks to post to the Warm Hands Network by the end of the week. They're sending a shipment to Moosonee on January 31st so my plan is to knock out a couple of pairs of socks in time for that.

You know, I think this day would be improved by chocolate. Maybe I should take a little break to go get some? Um yes, I believe I will. Mmmm .... chocolate.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Year of Projects - Whitby 03

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

I'm a day late on my Year of Projects update (sorry). After sleeping in yesterday there was just no time to organize a blog post before meeting up with a friend in Oakville. All of which has me wishing that there was more to report than this small amount of progress on my Whitby socks: the first sock is done and the toe of the second sock is knit. Blame the blanket I've been working on - I can't seem to focus on anything else!

This morning's winter sky is a beauty with low dark clouds streaked with red. But what is it they say?
Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Red sky in morning, sailor's warning.
Seems like the sky colour may be a valid prediction. The weather forecast calls for mixed precipitation and freezing rain at today's evening rush hour. And that makes it a perfect day to take the train back and forth to work. Sounds like the forecast also calls for some knitting time too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

munch, munch, munch

now 18" x 18"

Seems like I'm working on my Wool-Eater blanket obsessively these days, although not always productively. Last night I felt like I was coming down with something -  a bit of a fever, scratchy throat, achey - and as a result I crocheted and ripped out the dark green rounds three times. Apparently when unwell I cannot count to twelve. Just as well I wasn't working on anything more complicated.

The blanket works up very quickly so the name "Wool-Eater" is very fitting. In less than a week my WIP is an 18" x 18" square and weighs 185 grams ... that's about 375 yards! If I continue adding rounds until the blanket is about 44"x44" or so according to my calculations I'll be using about 2240 yards total. Munch, munch, munch: that's a lot of yarn!

My original plan had a light sky blue between the dark green and royal blue bands, but after crocheting most of the foundation round of that colour I changed my mind. The contrast between the dark green and the light blue was just too much! Two more colours still to add before repeating the established colour scheme - navy blue and purple. I'm guessing that my obsession won't subside at least until I've incorporated all the colours and see how they play together. Good thing the weekend plans leave lots of time open for crafting!

Friday, January 13, 2012

the plan for today

Besides the usual ....

 • getting to work safely despite the snow and wind
 • eating healthy, drinking more water
 • doing my best at work to finish all the projects on my desk
 • getting more exercise
 • avoiding yarn buying temptation

... the plan for today is to finish this second chemo hat and get both into the mail today. They're headed to Halos of Hope and if I've calculated correctly I can post each in its own tyvek envelope as oversized lettermail. Because Canada Post doesn't offer a small package rate that should be quite a savings. Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The weather outside is frightful - dark and cold, windy and rainy - in dramatic contrast to this Wool-Eater blanket that I've started. When I signed up for the CAL I had a niggling concern that the crochet work may be too complicated for my limited skills. But after following the step-by-step instructions on Sarah London's website and comparing my work to the photographs, I'd say it's going fine. Remind me, how did we ever manage before the internet?

Following Sarah's instructions, I'm doing things I've never done with a crochet hook. The foundation rows for each colour are worked into the posts of the previous rows of stitches - I've seen that before but it still strikes me as unusual. The groups within the foundation rows are created as "Cluny" groups where a series of stitches are worked with each last loop accumulated on the hook until they're joined with one big stitch pulled through all the loops to finish it off. Never heard of that before. I've googled and perhaps the name comes from traditional Cluny Lace? One thing's for sure, it's addictive, this blanket pattern. I just can't wait to finish one colour and add the next. It's kinda fun doing something completely out of my usual comfort zone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday, Wool-Eater Wednesday

Today's the first day of the Wool-Eater Blanket CAL, and I'm ready! I've dug through my stash and pulled out every ball of brightly coloured acrylic for this blanket. At Mary Maxim last weekend my sister bought a few more colours to fill out my rainbow. Between now and next Wednesday I've committed to crocheting six rounds, and since the blanket is worked centre out, that doesn't sound too onerous. Fingers crossed that this turns out to be a good stash-busting project. My plan is to keep adding to the blanket until the yarn is gone. Certainly the pattern name "Wool-Eater" sounds promising from a stash-busting perspective, doesn't it?

In the meantime I've been working away at my first Whitby sock. During my train trip to work I turned the heel and started the eye-of-partridge heel flap. Through the afternoon and evening I worked away at the leg. Looks like there are just a couple of inches to knit before getting started on sock number two! This is my first time knitting Wollmeise and it's wonderful to knit; it's the least splitty yarn I've ever found. And gorgeous stitch definition. Wollmeise is also known for extremely generous yardage - seems like I'm going to need every yard of it, thanks to my huge feet.

That's my WIP Wednesday update! Click on the links at Tami's Amis to see more updates. I'm always amazed by the variety and creativity found through those links!

Monday, January 9, 2012

a red Chemo cap

cute, eh?

Last year I made a couple of chemo caps for Halos of Hope using some red sport weight bamboo yarn that was in my stash. The yarn was originally purchased for a shawl, but the intended recipient preferred a warm red to this colder candy apple red. After making two or three last year, I put the rest of the yarn aside; that was quite enough 1x1 rib for a while. But this year I'm determined to finish what I started so I've cast on and made one more red chemo cap. My kitchen scale tells me that there's enough red yarn left for one more. And if I make a striped version combining all my leftover bamboo scraps, there may be enough yarn for two hats.

The pattern is adapted from Marnie Maclean's Pismo hat pattern - basically a ribbed watch cap. I've reduced the number of stitches to 132 to compensate for the heavier yarn and sped up the crown decreases. This size fits my head nicely but I'll make the next one slightly smaller - I'd think after losing their hair chemo patients may need smaller hat sizes. Bamboo yarn strikes me as a very good choice as it's so soft and non-irritating. A newly exposed scalp can be very sensitive to the slightest itchiness in fibers, especially after chemotherapy I've read.

Using up scraps of yarn in my stash is part of the challenge with my plan to Surmount the Stash in 2012. Other than sock yarn and dishcloth cotton, scraps make up my stash. The second week of January begins today and I'm off to a good start.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Year of Projects - Whitby 02

heavily modified

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

After ripping out my first go round of this pattern I realized that I needed to modify the pattern to suit the yarn and the needles I had chosen. Typically on size 0 (2mm) needles I prefer about 70 stitches around the foot, but as written with larger needles and heavier yarn the pattern calls for 51 stitches. By adding purl stitches between the cables and the diamond pattern, and by widening the diamond pattern by two stitches I was able to make the chart across the foot 35 sts wide. That'll do.

As well the pattern is written for knitting the socks from the cuff down, but I've modified it to knit toe-up. After all, it's one of two skeins of Wollmeise that I own, so I want to make good use of every inch of it. When I was rewinding the yarn I wound the skein into two balls of exactly equal weight so I know exactly how much yarn I have for each sock as I go along. Hmm, I wonder what non-knitters use kitchen scales for?

The designer, Nancy Bush, introduces this sock pattern as based on the gansey patterns used in traditional fisherman's sweaters in Whitby which is located on England's east coast. And as I knit this sock I can't help but thinking ... yup, I'd like a sweater like this.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chinese Waves Dishcloth

too mild to stay inside

My week finished up with one more dishcloth - this time using the pattern Chinese Waves Dishcloth. It's a very simple pattern exploiting slipped stitches to create a thick wavy textured fabric. After knitting it, I'll confess that I like it more than I thought I would. It's more textured than Grandma's Favourite Dishcloth and may be a bit more practical as a result. It'd make a very sumptuous facecloth as well.

little waves
My goal was to knit a couple of dishcloths each month to Surmount The Stash of dishcloth cotton. January's just seven days old and I've done four, so I think I'll give it a rest for a few weeks. Time to have a look at the rest of the yarn in my stash and make some plans for it. Yesterday, while checking out the posts in the Finished Object Friday meme, I came across a Crochet-Along for a Wool-Eater Blanket. And when I saw this Raveler's version I was sold on it. This looks to be the perfect use for the variety of bright worsted weight acrylics in my stash. My sister and I are yarn shopping this aft, so perhaps we can snag a couple more colours to fill out the rainbow that will be my blanket?

In the meantime I've cast on a chemo hat with some sport weight bamboo yarn. At a glance I'd guess that I have enough leftover yarn to make two hats. With little else on the needles, now's a good time to get them done. I'm really motivated to work through the stash at the moment and figure I'd better strike while the iron is hot. Chances are my enthusiasm will ebb as the year goes on. How are you doing with your crafting resolutions?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finished Object Friday


Now that my CoffeeMates socks are done I plan to wear them today. After trying them on once they immediately became my favourite socks - they're are so soft and lovely.

I've devised this simple ribbed toe-up sock with an after-thought heel figuring that was the best strategy to use the Katia Darling yarn to the most dramatic effect. I wanted to show off the long colour repeats without a busy pattern to distract. And an after-thought heel seemed like the best strategy to avoid breaking up the colours. Knitting toe-up, I used every last yard in the ball to make the socks as high on the calf as possible.

A couple of warnings though, if you come across Katia Darling at your LYS and consider purchasing it. The yarn is brush plied which makes it very soft, fuzzy and splitty. Really splitty. The eastern cast on to start these socks was a definite challenge with this yarn. And picking out a bind off proved impossible without scissors. Also there was a really poor splice without regard to colour continuity in each of the two balls I used. One fell a couple of inches above the heel and one a couple of inches past the toe - you can see the hard lines where the colour shifts suddenly in my photo, I think? Based on what I read in Ravelry I was lucky; others have found multiple splices in their yarn. Annoying! But even with all of that I can only repeat that now that these are done, these are my new favourite socks and that's all down to the yarn.

Yesterday I also finished another dishcloth - this one based on Rhonda White's Bobbles the Sheep cloth pattern. I made some modifications to the pattern to make it a bit smaller and to eliminate some of the stockinette field in which the sheep motif sits. But as you can see, my modifications weren't terribly successful. My dishcloth is not very square and my sheep sits a bit low in her field. Back to the drawing board! Don't expect to see another soon though. There's one more dishcloth on the needles to finish and then I think I'm dishclothed-out for the next while.

I'm heading over to Tami's Amis for some inspiration and entertainment. Take a few minutes to check out the variety of finishes!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

big time bobbles

Yesterday I made a start on another dishcloth - this time Bobbles the Sheep Cloth from a pattern found here. I've knit this pattern before and have found that the bobbles make good little scrubbers. "You should only knit that kind" Gavin suggests. Our supply dishcloths are looking rather worse for the wear, so it's time to make some more. Hopefully I can knit up a couple of these before Friday. Looks like this first one is not going to knit up very square ... maybe omitting all those rows above and below the sheep motif wasn't the best idea?

a few inches up the leg
I've also been working away at my second Coffee Mates sock - just a simple toe-up ribbed pair of socks of my own devising. You may recall that after finishing the first sock I wasn't happy with the tightness of the bind off. That's been fixed. I spent about an hour with needlework scissors under strong lights cutting and picking up tiny little stitches. Painful but well worth it; the first sock is now refinished with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. With any luck this pair will also be finished up this week, maybe in time for a Friday show and tell?

With the holidays over there are lots of crafters like me getting down to business with our works-in-progress. A New Year = new plans, new optimism and new energy. Have a look at the list at Tami's Amis to see all the great things being done!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ballband Dishcloth

it works fine

Rather than knit another circle cloth, I decided instead to knit a ballband dishcloth - a very similar pattern in terms of construction. The ballband pattern is one of the most popular out there, but until now I'd never had the urge to knit one.

Mine's not perfect. In one row there are two instances where I slipped the stitch with the yarn on the wrong side of the dishcloth - well technically on the RS instead of WS - and at the beginning of one row of yellow bricks I've knit for a few stitches instead of purling. All due to inattention I'm sure.

If it were something more than a stash-busting dishcloth, I'd have ripped it out and restarted but I'm letting it slide this time. After all, it works just fine. Our dishcloths are looking a bit worse for the wear these days so I need to make a couple more this week. And after that, I think I'm "dish-clothed out" for a while!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunny Circle Cloth

Sunflower soap from
Cottage North Soapworks

It won't be just socks on the needles this year; turns out there's a great deal of dishcloth cotton in my stash! 1350 grams or so: that's the equivalent of two dozen or more dishcloths. Most of this yarn was picked up deeply discounted at the annual tent sale in Listowel a couple of years ago. Admittedly, I went a bit overboard.

To work through this part of my stash I need to knit a dishcloth every two weeks or so. This shouldn't be a problem though, because dishcloths are pretty much instant gratification ... just a couple of hours of knitting for each. If I plan this right, I should have something to show and tell almost every week on Finished Object Fridays!

To kick off the year I decided to knit this Circle Cloth which I queued some time ago. It's the perfect use for small amounts of yellow cotton leftover from my Serengeti Sun dishcloths. Looks like I'll have just enough yellow to complete two of this pattern; guess I'll make another this aft. Paired with a handmade soap, like this sunflower from Cottage North Soapworks, this wash cloth makes a nice little all occasion gift, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year of Projects - Whitby 01

swatch fail

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Happy New Year! I'm really struggling with the last several patterns in this book, Knitting on the Road - some because they're knit with heavier weight yarns on larger needles than I'd prefer, and some because they're just not my style. But I'm determined to knit every pattern even if I have to modify them to suit the yarn and needles I have on hand.

For the pattern Whitby I like the style; based on fishermen's gansy sweaters with cables and diamond patterns picked out in purl stitches, what's not to like? But 51 stitches on size 2 (2.75mm) needles is not for me. I tried it, knit almost an entire leg and then frogged. That's how it works with me and socks, the leg of the sock is my swatch. It's usually a timesaver.

Now I'm rejigging the pattern to knit 69 stitches on size 0 (2mm) needles using this gorgeous teal coloured Wollmeise sock yarn. I've split the yarn into two balls so that I can knit toe-up and use every inch of this yarn. With 160 grams (about 540 yds) in the skein, these may end up as knee socks! Or even two pairs of socks! We'll have to see as we go along. Maybe by next Sunday I'll have managed to reknit the leg to about the same spot?