Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The end of that NEWT... phew!

NEWT socks the sixth are called Lace Cuff Anklets  and in spite of being anklets, they used more yardage than any of the other socks. That's the colorwork for you. The bottom is a simple check, so nice and thick, and the top is an argly-ish pattern from an Alice Starmore book of charts I have. Was in a colorwork mood :) but it sure slowed me down.

Having said that, I sure didn't think I'd be able to make 6 pairs of socks in 4 months with a bit of spare time left over. Hehehe. Can you see the teeny flecks of color here? That kept me amused...

The socks are actually normal sock length, as I found when I put them on the sock blocker. I put them on inside out (so as to stretch the colorwork "floats" across the back a little more). How do you like that MacGuyver-ing there? I couldn't work out how to block the colorwork and the lace at the same time, but threading some yarn through the picots and stringing it up between two chairs, with some tension, worked pretty well :)

The white is not really white. Here's a picture I took today of the original unwashed fleece, the washed and spun (undyed) yarn (except for the flecks) and a piece of plain white paper.

And now for a summary of my first NEWT :) because I'm a bit pleased with myself for this ridiculous amount of effort to make something that would cost me $10 at the supermarket... hehehe.

Raw fleece, washed and dyed, carded

ValJean: mixed in some tencel, spun it and knitted Hermione's Everyday Socks

Marius: mixed in some mohair, spun it and knitted Boot Socks

Cosette: mixed in mohair and tencel, spun it and knitted Lace Cuff Anklets

Used old handspun yarn to make Helix, Scylla and Two Yarn Resoleable Socks
 Now, I must get back to class :) since I haven't done even one this month, and cook dinner, and plan my next NEWT starting December 1!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pen Cozy Flowers

 One of the Quidditch games last month was called Endurance Training. The goal was to make at least 5 things that are the same. I decided to combine the game with a desk-themed swap, and make my swapee (Joseybug) a bunch of felted pen cosies.

I was snap-happy this day, so here is a pattern in pics :)

Needles: two 4.5mm circs
Yarns: Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Beanshoot, Cleckheaton Perfect Day 8ply in Natural.

Cast on 7 and knit an icord for about 25 rows. (Icord = knit 7 and push stitches to the other end of the needle. Without turning, pull the working yarn across the back and knit again. Repeat.)

Flip over and examine the loose strands across the back of the icord. Get a crochet hook and put it down under the first strand (at the cast-on end)

Twist, so the needle is pointing up to the top (where there are live stitches still on the needle)

Hook the second strand and pull it through the first. You now have the second strand alone on your hook. Hook the third strand, pull it through, hook the 4th strand, etc. right to the top.

When you run out of strands to pick up, put that loop on your needle as an 8th stitch.

Arrange the 8 stitches on two circulars. Change to white. I just knotted the two ends together and tucked them inside.

Knit into the front and back of each stitch except one, making your 8 stitches into 15. Put three on one needle and the rest aside on the second.

Working with just the three stitches, knit a petal. Start with the 3 stitches near you so the right side is underneath the petal. Row 1: kf&b, kf&b, k1 (5). Row 3: kf&b, k2, kf&b, k1 (7). Row 5: kf&b, k4, kf&b, k1 (9). Row 7: k1, ssk, k3, k2tog, k1 (7). Row 9: Cast off. Every even row is purl, though it helps to learn to do it without turning your work; saves time and isn't hard. Then run the cast off tail down to the center of the flower (down the side of the petal as pictured), leaving a reasonably long end, about 10cm.

Join the yarn again for each petal, leaving 10cm at the start and end of the petal, meeting in the center.

When you've done 5 petals, secure and knot the strands.

Then, using a darning needle, pull the ends down around the knot, down the inside of the stem, and cut them short. I brought the white yarn ends out the side of the stem about 2cm down, and then cut them all short. Felting secures it all :)

I put them all through the wash, but the petals kept curling. In the end I felted them by hand a bit, and laid them like this to dry.

I wet the center with a drop of water, and put the tiniest drop of yellow dye and vinegar onto it. I microwaved them for a short time, and let it dry. The cast on end, I just trimmed short. (Good old felting.)

For Joseybug, I ended up making these ten, which look kind of cute in a penholder or two. Voila. Desk decoration. hehehe.

Spring, or maybe Bounce :)

It's Spring here in Australia, of course, and it's been so warm lately that I even accidentally got sunburned while spinning on the old Ashey (hat-fail). The spinning was a fail, too.

It's an alpaca batt (well, a bit of one) that I got in the Kathy's fibre club, but I found it very frustrating. The batt was carded, but I couldn't seem to stop it going thick and thin. Maybe it's just me; I've never spun alpaca before, but I sure hope it's not usually like this, because I have a fleece from Matt and Kylie and some top from Kelly still unspun.

I've carded up some of M&K's fleece, mixed 50/50 with leftover NEWT Romney in a few different shades...

Brown alpaca mixed with romney in rust, natural, dark red and dark blue
 ...which will probably be spun and knit into Kylie's socks next year.

The current NEWT is not quite finished (I'm doing the heel on sock 12, and then I'll do the legs of 11 and 12 at the same time) but I'm planning the next one to start in December. The current plan is to mix Muggle Studies (jumpers) with Care of Magical Creatures (egg hatching) by spinning up 4 "eggs" and then knitting four tops to represent the animals that hatch.

And speaking of babies...!

This is the first of our Spring lambs! The mum is one of the February (?) lambs, which we didn't think was old enough to be knocked up. Teen mum. Luckily, she's done well and is looking after the lamb very well. I think she's Daisy's baby, so the new lamb is Daisy's grandlamb.

Daisy is pregnant, too, and Coffee, so more bouncy babies to come. :D

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hat Week

This week, November 3-9, the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup held a Quidditch Tournament. It wasn't open to everyone; each house had to select a team of 20 to play. I quickly volunteered, because it sounded like fun (and I wanted a week off from socks)

The aim was to make as many hats as you could in the time limit, 15 points per hat, (10 for baby hats, I think) and 5 extra points if it was going to a charity.

As it happens, I had accidentally saved up a lot of Flybuys, so I cashed them all in and spent all the money on some Malabrigo Rios :D (I also had some stashed and acquired some more from Lori at knit night.)

And since it was basically free yarn, it was perfect for Charity Hats. Besides, hats for charity should be made of nice yarn.

It was a long week! My hand got a bit sore from holding two strands together and knitting on 8mm needles. I made 15 Big Button Hats (a pattern made for a past House Cup hat challenge).

Couldn't be bothered with buttons, so I tacked down the button flap and decorated it with an X. Big enough to fit me, stretching, but a better fit for the kids. And they're all going to Tight Knit World in Melbourne, so who knows where they will end up.

Having a rest, but still in Uniform :)

* Total number of hats made by Slytherin : 426 (357 for charity)
* Total number of hats made by the 80 people in the 4 teams: 1796 (1635 for charity)
* Hufflepuff thrashed us again (they're Quidditch legends) by churning out 645 baby hats. Must have been an efficient yarn/time/points ratio! Slytherin was second (though we made the most big hats by far...)
* My hats weighed about 850g, which is 800m or so (1600m of yarn, but I held it doubled).
* I have lots of Malabrigo leftovers!
* My 2012 KnitMeter has now ticked over the 10km mark ... lol
* Clearly I was below average for Slytherin, because the average was 21. Some legends made 50 or 80 or more!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hermione's Everyday Socks

Happy 29th birthday to my little brother, Matthew! Don't worry; these aren't for you...

I decided to join a "swap" and the theme was "things for your desk". So I designed, knit and felted ten pen cosies for Joseybug, and also sent her some Aussie things, Tim Tams, pictures, gum leaves... I also got 150 points for them in the Quidditch Endurance game on Ravelry's Harry Potter House Cup. Joseybug was one of the two Quidditch captains, so I had to send a secret message to the *other one* until she got her package. Fun. :)

This is a pointless fun little thing, just to get me some points in History of Magic, and also Nerd Wars. Because the House Cup isn't enough work, I joined Team Tardis in the Nerd Wars game, too :)

NEWT socks number 4 are Hermione's Everyday Socks in my "ValJean" colorway. They're the first socks that I've made from fleece to foot, adding some tencel into the mix (and some sparkley, stuff, sorry Jean) and Kid Seta to the sole again, because the yarn really was too thin for 2.5mm needles. The pattern...

is very simple. It's a plain knit row every second round, and the alternate rows are K3 P1. But you alternate so that the purls are staggered, iykwim. It pulls the stitches into diamond-ish shapes, very texturey.

The next pair is already up to the ankles. I finished these Boot Socks up to the heels last night, using Cat Bhordi's Sweet Tomato Heel, which I quite like. Now I've changed up from a 2.75mm to a 3.5mm, because the fabric on the feet really is quite dense. Good on feet, not necessary on legs. the pattern is an allover cable with no purley breaks. I think it might need purl columns, actually, because they look a lot like the Helix ones I recently did, just diagonals... never mind. I like them.

I haven't bought much yarn lately, so I got some of Pacasha's interesting "Shire String" sock yarn. I love the freckly speckles! These one's are called Elanor Gardener and Samwise.

Who knows when I'll get to them! I have lots of things still lined up...
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