Sunday, February 7, 2016

Zachary 6

Look at how much this teeny chub

has stretched out :)

Can't believe he's already six, and simultaneously, can't believe he's only been around for such a short time; it seems like he's always been here. :) This year he got a green Milo of handspun merino, as usual, too hot to wear much in the middle of Summer. He's a most gratifying kid to knit for; no sooner have you finished one thing than he's asking for another thing. He does wear them, too, unlike his big brother...

Happy Birthday, Zachary!

I've made a few things from handspun so far. I wove a nice wide scarf from the "Moss" and "Autumn" yarn from a few months back. Polwarth is a fairly soft wool, and bamboo is soft and shiny like silk.

And I added this handspun hat to the charity box, and a few thick ones, too, made from Madelinetosh Chunky. I cranked up tubes with the AKE and then frogged a bit and knit hat tops on both ends. I can't tighten the tension on this machine, and the hats wouldn't be very warm, but two layers makes a difference. I also knit a proper ribbed brim onto some of them.

Having used up a bit of handspun, I thought I should spin some more. This one's the "Esmerelda" I mentioned last time, Navajo-4plied.

Probably another hat, that one. And then I spun a bit of blue "Ink" to match an upcoming colorful one

The destashing resolution is going well so far. I sent away about 200g to some Ravellers who asked, and spun, knit or wove another 1300g or so. I didn't buy any, nor did I get any fibre from Southern Cross Fibres this month, as the dyer, David, has been on a  holiday. There's still a fair way to go... lol... but at least my boxes aren't quite as overflowing as they were.

I didn't get any socks knit in January, since the kids were on school holidays until the 1st of Feb, but now that it's Feb I'm making up for it by having two pairs on the needles (so to speak). I'm still failing to make heels or toes with Bach, and the socks are a bit loose in gauge, but I'm planning to finish my second pair in 7 days tomorrow, which is something.

Next spin is going to be a big fat skein of Eider from my first SCF club month. I'm going to 3ply these together. It's not the babysoft sort of yarn, but it should be good for outer things, hats and gloves, perhaps.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Resolutions and stuff

Hi all! Happy New Year! :)

This last year, 2015, tells me I 
knit 12745m, 
spun 29737m, 
woven 2419m.

(More knitting and spinning, less weaving than last year)

I did get a few projects in before the end of the year, but the motivation really drops when you're not earning imaginary points with your crazy internet friends. hehe. I did a little spinning, and cranked/knit another pair of socks.

I think it's Shetland in the "Bitter Chocolate" color, but I'm not sure. It was a prize, and the label said "International Yarn of Mystery." That guy from SCF is pretty funny ;)

Dyed the self-striping yarn a while ago, and cranked a tube. (Bach was misbehaving just doing that this time!) and handknit the toes, heels and cuffs again.

 So far this year I've only finished one thing: a bit fat cowl knit on 20mm needles and using 3 strands of wool. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it is soft and warm.

But I've started a few things. This term, in the Harry Potter game, I'm doing a 3-month OWL in the subject History of Magic. For that, I'm doing a project for each of the four Hogwarts houses. Zachary's birthday top, being green, is the Slytherin one. So I have started that, and the Hufflepuff charity hat (in sock yarn). I've also started a thick, handspun hat I can walk and knit at the same time, a bunch of double-thick cranky hats, and I'm spinning "Esmerelda" (which is so lovely I kind of hope I never get to the end of it). 

This year I decided to have 5 new year's resolutions. It doesn't matter if I fail, as long as I do some trying. Two are health related (weight loss and pedometer steps) and three are crafty. 

1. Knit 24 pairs of socks. (Must master CSM a bit better to achieve this, but haven't actually unpacked it since the kids have been on holidays)
2. Knit 50 charity hats. (They're going to the local Soup Bus, to whom I promised a bag of hats in April)
3. Destash some of the yarn! I will keep getting my 200g of Southern Cross Fibres to spin each month, but I will resist buying lots of new yarn. (Maybe just a bit, and some at Bendigo)

Today our thermometer says it's 44°C (111°F) outside, overcast and muggy, with a strong, hot wind that smells very faintly of smoke. Summer! So my Steps resolution is not going very well today :) but I haven't bought any new yarn so far, in almost two weeks!!! lol. I did buy a book or two, though, and when it's cooled down I'll drive to the post office. Been meaning to get "Knit Red" for a while.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Playing Bach

My new circular sock machine is made by Erlbacher Gearhart. I called him "Bach" (mainly because so many people call their machine "Erl"- hehe) but I really should have known better. I learned a bit of Bach, way back when I had piano lessons, and that's about as far as I got. I think I've jinxed my CSM, because Bach won't play nice, at least, not for me.

We've been arguing for the last two weeks.

Can I make a tube? Yes! Tubes are generally nice and easy. I got the kids to dye up their own yarn and whipped up some little presents for their teachers.

Zac made the first on the left, Jasmine made the second and Byron the last two.

And you can turn tubes into socks by adding toes, cuffs and afterthought heels

But as for using the machine to make a heel, I can't seem to do it without stitches dropping off or forgetting one of twenty things, or cranking the wrong way...

Half a dodgy, holey heel. Then I had to cut it off the machine because it jammed.

Two nice neat picot hems! Pity I had to cut them both off just after starting the heels...

A heel and a toe! Pity I didn't start at the top...

There are bits of socks everywhere. I thought I was good at the hems, at least, having started them off so many times. But so many factors (eg a different brand of yarn) make a difference, that today I couldn't even do that much. Felt very much like throwing Bach out the window.

The videos on You Tube make it look so easy. So a big part of my frustration is how ridiculously stupid I feel that I can't do it yet.

Anyway. I cranked another tube. I'm going to take it to work tonight and knit on the toes. :)

By hand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


This NEWT (for the Harry Potter knitting game on Ravelry) is finally done! I really struggled to get this one finished; socks are a lot of work!

Purple! This is yarn I got from "Fiberific!" at Bendigo last year. Loved the knitting and the color and the pattern.

and it's got hugs and kisses cables all over it :)

And then I used all the bits of leftovers to make these colorwork socks out of all the rainbow bits, and the black and white :)

The next 8 socks are going to fly by! I've gotten my Circular Sock Machine (it's an Erlbacher Gearhart Speedster) and (as recommended) put a few skeins through it as just plain tubes. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if I can do a picot hem and a heel and a toe.

It's a sharp learning curve but I'm starting to figure out all the parts and pieces. There's a sock thing called a bonnet. You hook it up to all the hooks, thread some yarn down from the top and through the yarn carrier on the side, and just crank the handle around and around. That makes it sound easy. There are lots of things to keep an eye on, like hanging weights from the bottom, keeping the tension right, fixing problems with the hooks, etc.

Did these three skeins in the three days after getting the machine (I call him Bach) and today made the second one into armwarmers and a little bag for Jasmine. Took me far longer to knit the little bit of ribbing at each end than it did to crank the whole tube of sock yarn :)

It's December. No new NEWT for me; I'm having a month "off" (even though I start work again on Friday with 6 nights in a row!) I'm going to figure out how to knit socks properly, and fix a few things that need repairs :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

No new socks

hehe. I have 8 days to finish two pairs. I'm knitting toe-up and I'm past the heels in all 4, but I need to get a move on.

Keep getting distracted by spinning, though. I'm on holidays... and getting nothing finished!

Oh well. I've added a few more things to the pile of handspun.

Golden Moss (polwarth/bamboo) and Land Under Sea (merino/suri/silk)

The gold one goes with the Autumn from last post, but I'm thinking of weaving these two together for a scarf.

Tundra (merino/qiviut/cashmere/angora/silk/tencel!)

Kelly gave me this one (well, yarn money, with which I bought this very soft mix). It wasn't very easy to spin (angora is short fibres that tend to felt together, and I've never spun Qiviut before, which was 25%) but it's so, so soft. I spun all the grey first, then the colored one. Not sure exactly what to make yet, but probably something for around my neck! (Soft!!)

I knit up Jasmine's hat (though she wasn't in a modelling mood, as it was hot. lol)

and used the Crank to make this double-thick cowl. The start and finish are Kitchenered together, and the wool is Cormo from the Tonne of Wool Project. It's warm as toast.

All those nights off and that's all I've done. Well, back to it. These purple socks have the oddest heel. You increase on the top of the foot, separate the right and left around the heel (so the line of XO cables works) and then Kitchener the up the back of the heel.

Kitchenering the back of the heel. Check out how the knitting needles are almost the same size as the darning needle. Hehe.
Then you pick up stitches along the sides of the heel (top edge of the cable) and knit the leg straight up. Odd. I think I'll have to knit a pair or two of patterned socks every now and then, just for the experience. I hope to get my Speedster soon (there were tariffs and taxes to pay! Didn't know it would cost so much, especially with the US-AUD exchange rate, but it's apparently on its way).

Hope I can figure it out!

Friday, November 6, 2015


These are my favorites of all the new socks this year. (These are Pair 9. I was going for 15 in 2015, but haven't quite gotten there yet.) I'm quite the Doctor Who fan, so these have been on my list for a while.

Police Box Sox :)

These are the Indigo socks of my little rainbow collection. I got the yarn for free when I bought some things from Lorna's Laces one time. It's totally merino, so not what I would have chosen (as I wear through socks quick enough without using soft yarn.) This is Malabrigo Sock in the colorway "Shery", and it's a dark blue with vague hints of purple and green.

I reinforced the balls of the feet again, and did an afterthought heel in the "Graphite" BFL/nylon (Hedgehog Twist Sock) to add some strength there. Hopefully they'll last me a while.

And so I have one more patterned sock to go, in purple, and then a simple-pattern colorwork sock in all the rainbow leftovers, and then... hopefully... it will be dozens of plain CSM socks for a while!

The SCF fibre arrived. I'm on holidays now for 4 weeks, and plan to spin away some of the stash. So I started with the "Autumn" one in my last post.

Navajo plied to keep those lovely colors separated. Not sure what I'll do with it, yet, but I hope to make something with the coordinating yellow. We'll see :)

Also finished my Mission spinning, which was three colors spun together. It's a huge fat skein weighing 300g :) and will hopefully be enough to make something for Zac's birthday.

I haven't made too many other projects; it's all socks and spinning, but I did finally finish 3 pairs of little mitts for the kids. I bought them each a yarn from Bendigo last July with the intention of making a hat and handwarmers. These ones are very simple:

Cast on 40.
Knit 10 rounds of 2x2 ribbing.
Knit 10 rounds of stocking stitch.
Knit 10 rows (back and forth) of stocking stitch (to make the thumb hole)
Knit 10 rounds of stocking stitch.
Knit 10 rounds of 2x2 knitting.
Cast off.

I used a stretchy cast on (Twisted German caston, I think it's called) and a stretchy cast off (Jeny's Surprisingly stretchy Bind Off) and so, as you may notice, they look just the same if you turn them upside down. I think gloves that you can wear on either hand or upside down are good for small kids. If I made the whole things in 2x2 rib (or something reversible) they could have worn them inside out, too, but I like the stocking stitch. They're a good size, too. Not too big for a 5yo, but easily fit my hands, too.

More spinning to come. I'm half finished some colorful and soft fibre. Also started the purple socks and Jasmine's multicolored hat (to match the mitts).

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Another pair! I now have 5 pairs of brand new socks. Sigh. Next up are Police Box Sox, which are "indigo" and have a TARDIS pattern. Everything is blue at the moment. :)

I have done one more lot of singles for the Mission mix, but I'm not sure I have time to finish it this month. If I do get some spare time (and I only have 9 nights off to finish the PBS) I might do a few small things for classes (to get some points).

Also planning the next NEWT project. Inspiration is eluding me, to be honest. Perhaps I'll make a bunch of charity hats, like thirty or something. I can crank a few. I have some FlyBuys money available, and I might get some more of that MT chunky for charity hats. Charity hats should be knit in nice yarn.

The machine knitting bug has bitten me a bit. I'm actually thinking of saving for a Sock Knitting machine. It whips up plain socks or ribbed socks. Takes the "hand-made" part out of the value a bit, but who cares. I might get myself one for my birthday next year, and tell my family I'll whip them up any socks they're prepared to buy sock yarn for.

Then I might be able to keep up with socks for myself (say, 20 pairs a year) and for the kids and N, if he wants them, and charity socks, too. Could make a pair a week. I think the learning curve for CSM's is quite steep, but I know a few people on Ravelry who will surely give me some advice when I need it.

P.S. Here's a bit of the Southern Cross Fibres club that's coming my way soon. I have a coordinating one that goes with this (the yellowish color) and another that is red and green and autumny. This one's my favorite. I'm going to have to get spinning to keep up with the new stuff! And then, find some things to knit with all this handspun :)

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