Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mostly lazy

Look closely, and you'll notice that this is not, in fact, a pair of socks, sitting at the foot of "Spring" in our botanical gardens. It's one long, lazy tube. Here's where it began...

At a school picnic. Didn't really have a pattern in mind, so I cast on 64 stitches, using some sock yarn and a long 2.5mm needle. Then, I knit around and around.

And around and around and around.

I decided to stop here, at 52cm. It was 240 rounds, plenty of length for a pair. Three-quarters done, all mindless stocking stitch, just knit-knit-knit-knit-knit, watching the kids play, or sitting on the bus or in the local Gardens with an audio book, walking around the lake, or watching Doctor Who. That was the Lazy Part.

The Fiddley Part

I changed to white and knit one more round (the blue doesn't bleed into the purls of the ribbing that way). Then I knit 15 rounds of 2x2 rib. I changed back to the blue to cast off, using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off and returned to the other end of my tube.

Must learn how to do a Provisional Cast on some time. Instead, I threaded my circular needle through a round of stitches (that is, through the right hand "leg" of each V) and pulled out the cast on edge until all my stitches were 'live' stitches on my needles again. Then I did another cuff. (I could have started with a cuff, I guess, but the edges wouldn't have matched properly.)

The Scary Part

Not really. Not at all. Find the middle of the tube (I counted rounds, but you could just guess if you wished) and thread the needles through again. You need to pick up two rounds with two different needles this time, and leave a gap of one round. I left a gap of two rounds... because I had an even number of rounds, and therefore two "center" rounds. Couldn't bear one sock being 2mm longer. Hehe.

See how I threaded my needles through the right hand bit of each V? Then you need to get out your scissors, take a deep breath, and snip one of the stitches from the row between. Snip it, and unravel. I used a darning needle to pull up the stitches, one by one, until I was back down to the cables and all my stitches were "live". Now, we have two socks! Almost.

My toes, with half the stitches each on two circular needles, go like this:

1. Knit one round
2. (Knit 1, SSK, knit until 3 from the end of the needle, K2tog, Knit 1) x2

Keep repeating until there are 12 stitches left on each side, and then Kitchener those together.


First, adding toes means that the socks have a top and bottom. So the heels had to line up with the edges of the toes. Second: where to put the heels? I planned to make the heels just like the toes, and I could measure the toes I'd already knit. I used a ruler. I had a cardboard cut-out of Mum's footprint, so I measured that, subtracted a toe length, and marked the spot. Then, for luck, I stuck the cardboard footprint into the sock, stretched the sock a little, and counted down 20 rounds from where the cut-out's heel reached. Same spot. I threaded through 32 stitches in the row above and below.

I snipped the stitch right in the middle. After the row is unpicked, I had an end on each side about 10cm long, just long enough to comfortably sew in afterwards. Cutting the stitch near an edge would have made one end a bit short.

Also, if you look closely, you'll see I didn't unpick the stitch on each edge. I joined up my white yarn again, and I knit all 32 stitches I'd picked up for each heel, but I left those two edge ones (from the row between) on each sock. After the heel was finished, I gave the end attached to that stitch a firm tug, sewed it into the inside of the sock nice and securely, and there were no "heel corner" holes to worry about.


First, I knit 5 plain rounds. I find that if I don't the sock stretches too much over the front of my ankle, but that's just me. Another thing that works is to pick up a few more stitches from each edge, incorporating some of the instep into the heel. If I had normal heels, I'm sure I could just knit the heel exactly as I knit the toe.

Hopefully, Mum's foot is much the same.

After those plain rounds, I knit two "toes" exactly the same as the toes. I don't know why, but they work. Although they do look more like heels after they're blocked.

My sock blockers are a bit big for socks that fit Mum. Must get a few smaller sizes... and bigger sizes, too. Might even make socks for Dad some time, though his feet are huge!

I found my yarn pooled just a bit, because of the way I dyed it.

I don't mind pooling; it can make it's own pattern, like the vague stripes in this. What annoys me is the way the pooling pattern changes when you increase for sock gussets. I'm going to try this again soon, in a yarn that pools more, and see if it works out.

This will be a good one for my kids, too. My 7yo, Byron, said to me last month, "By the time you finish my socks they won't fit me any more"... and he's right! Now, I can measure them to fit right before I do the last bit. If I ever get a chance to borrow a sock-knitting machine for a day, I'm going to knit half my sock yarn into tubes, and make them into socks like this later on.

Another thing they'll be good for: using every last scrap of handspun so that none is wasted. Must try that, too.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A few more things

Dyed some self-striping yarn

and knit it into a long, slouchy hat.

Finished knitting up the yarn Byron dyed for his teacher

Got out my old Ashie for a spin outside in the warm weather

and spun up some Southern Cross Fibres Bond in "Flapper". Pretty color; didn't really do it justice with my dodgy 2ply.

Just enough time left in November to finish off this Kathy's Fibres merino/BFL/Black diamond. Black diamond is bamboo. Very silky.

1043 points for this last term, the least I've gotten for about 3 years! But Slytherin still won the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup. Again. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Considering that a NEWT is a 4-month project, I'm pleased that I've completed another one, successfully! This one, for the Harry Potter game on Ravelry, was a combo of Muggle Studies (make an ensemble of Muggle clothes) and Transfiguration (Vanish lots of fibre/yarn). I used 10 bags of lovely stuff from Southern Cross Fibres, spun them all, and knit up a top, gloves and a cowl. For the Transfiguration element, I had to use a new technique, or practice one I haven't used for a long time, so I picked entrelac.

Idlewood, with a ribbed cowl instead, and a bit of colorful entrelac.

Proposition, which I showed you months ago, getting the Kissy kiss of approval.

Cowl, which I just made up as I went.

I like the cowl better as a headband, especially since Idlewood has a cowl neck.

I also finished my Mission scarf in time, using up 500g or so of handspun from my boxful of handspun.

And I made a woven scarf up, using the yarn Jasmine dyed last month. I separated the colors a bit, by making it 8 strand squares of color and white. "Clown barf" (as rainbow yarn is often called) doesn't tend to actually knit up well; it pools and mixes badly, sometimes. I think the dilution was good for this yarn!

Besides, it's Jasmine's present for her teacher, who is nice, and doesn't deserve to have her eyes burned out ;)

And Jaz is happy. Now I just have to get on with Byron's present for his teacher... and a few other things before this month ends.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Navajo 4ply

Waves to Ruth...

Back in April I heard of a plying technique called Navajo 4ply. Basically, it’s a way to mix 2 plies so that one is being Navajo plied (make a big crochet chain with your hands before letting it twist) and the other twists in beside it. You can swap by grabbing the other single through the loop and making that single become the N-plied one.

It means you can mix two colors into a 4ply, and each part of the yarn will be 3/4 one color and 1/4 the other. It can make some interesting effects.

I find it just a bit difficult to get my hands around all the plies, tensioning them all while N-plying one, keeping the two twisting evenly together, and stopping and starting (ie, getting the plies into one hand and then back to two) to move my flyer hook along. But it's a fun challenge.

Here’s my fibre from the N4ply in the last post. The colorful one is called Autumn and the green is called Mint.

Number 112

Spin into singles

Number 112

I usually ply from a "yarn cake". I put them in bowls at my feet (so they don't roll away) and tension them under and over my jeans leg. (Otherwise I have problems with the twisty singles curling back on themselves and making stupid 'worms'). On my bobbin I have a "lead" (a bit of yarn tied on, so I can attach my fibre to it). It has a loop on the end (handy for starting N-ply), and I tied the two plies just above the loop's knot and pulled one ply through to start N-ply.

Number 112

(Definitely do not try this with one hand! lol. I just had to hold the camera for a sec)
Where the “n-ply” changes from one to the other. See how it changes from 3/4 dark to 3/4 light?

Number 112

 So the idea is simple, if you already know how to N-ply. Just a little more concentration and dexterity required. :)

The finished yarn (once more)

How it looks (in a different yarn combo, and with regular changes from the blue to colored) when knitted up.

 So there you are.

Tonight I am working on my last piece of NEWT for the HP game; it's a handspun entrelac cowl that I'm making up as I go. Hehehe. I've finished and blocked the Idlewood... will show you next time. :)

Friday, October 31, 2014


October is almost finished, only 4 hours to go, and I've managed to finish some stuff before the end of the month. Today I finished three things! Well... one.

These are my socks made of Cheviot from Southern Cross Fibres. It's a tough sort of yarn, but it's already softer after one wash. I tried a new heel with these ones, which was a proper "afterthought heel". You just knit the tubes from toe to top, then you find the place you want to insert a heel. You thread the two circulars across the sole with a one-row gap between, like this.

 Then you snip a stitch from the middle of the row. I used a darning needle to pull up the stitches until I got to the last stitch on each side, but I left those to keep the two sides connected neatly. I just left the loose ends until the heel was done, and then I pulled the ends tight and darned them in.

 The heel itself is just a toe. I knit around for a few centimeters before I started decreasing, but then it's the same shape as the toe. Fits great.

As for the other two things, well I supervised.

I thought I'd make presents for the kids' teachers at the end of the year, but make them partly from the kids. So Jasmine decided to make Miss Pitson brightly colored yarn, and Byron made Mr Karslake some Geelong Cats/TARDIS yarn. We've discussed projects, and I'm going to make a woven scarf with Jasmine's and a pair of fingerless gloves with Byron's.

Spinning. I spun up some DK weight Bond in Cornucopia, two skeins for the NEWT. Some of it's been knitted into Idlewood, as you saw.

I made up some more Navajo 4-ply, though I don't know about the colors. It's merino from Kathy's Fibres, in a pale green solid and a multicolored one called "Autumn". Hmmm...

And I spun up some thick and squooshy BFL/silk in a very red Red.

I wonder if I can make one more thing before the end of the official month (about 20 hours) in the Harry Potter game? I'm thinking... weaving... :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finishing nothing.

This is the time of the month (and I tend to think of knitting in months) where I knit and work and spin, and NOTHING gets finished. My Idlewood has made some progress. I added some colorful entrelac squares, which ended up lower than planned, but it was nice to knit some color.

Also added some length to the scarf. I spent a very nice Spring afternoon, sitting on the grass in the local Botanical Gardens, knitting this crazy thing and listening to audiobooks. It makes me feel like a mad knitter granny making the sleeve of a crazy jumper for an unfortunate relation... lol. It's using up some of my handspun stash brilliantly, though, and will certainly be warm.

It's half done (ie. 250g) and 80cm long.

I started some socks in thick yarn, socks that are taking far too long for wool that thick. The socks I'm making for Mum and for Byron get a few rounds done here and there, but are a long way from finished. I started spinning some random merino, and hours are falling into it like a black hole. I spin and spin, and no progress is made!

But I'm in very good spirits. My awesome Dad managed to fix my computer. I still have another week of holidays to go. The weather has been getting warmer. And next week... maybe that's when I'll finish lots of things.

We'll see.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Progress is being made on the NEWT this week, and I plan to do a little more these next few days. My Idlewood weighs a little under 200g now, and I’m well into the first skein.
My Mission scarf isn’t going so well. I had a fair bit done, but had to frog it all and start over, and as a result, lost all enthusiasm for a while. But I’ve started again, with a garter stitch end, and I’m just trying to figure out what manner of cables to add, as I knit along in green. Love knitting up hand spun, though!
Mission Scarf
Last month was the first in ages that I didn’t do all 6 classes. I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this NEWT! I dyed some sock yarn… always fun… in some self-striping colours. One is black with stripes of rainbow (hopefully a single round of each colour), and one is white with a black-edged stripe of variegated greens.
ByJaZa Socky
ByJaZa Socky
I’ll be interested to see how they knit up, but when I’ll get to them, I do not know!
Number 110
This one is some more BFL/mohair from Kathy’s Fibres, spun into thickish sock yarn. And my 4th class for September was some Actual Real Live Weaving, at last (my poor neglected loom!)
Turkish Delight
Turkish delight. Since the colours are called “Turkish Rose” and “Chocolatier”.
And now, back to the scarf, I think. Tomorrow, the kids are back at school/kinder after the Spring holiday fortnight, and I am looking forward to some quiet hours.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Testing testing

Woot! I think I’ve figured out a way to post blogs with my little ipod. So this is something of a test; we’ll see how it turns out.
I haven’t been able to post here for ages. My trusty old computer will not connect to the Internet, except the iTunes store, and I don’t know how to fix it. Annoying!
So, last month…
I think I showed you the colorful handspun yarn? These are the entrelac gloves I made with it.
Then I spun up 4 lots of purple Bond and 2 of Spelsau, and plied them all together at the start of September. I did the plying on my old Ashford Traditional, because it has a jumbo flyer, and I’ve never tested its limit. Its limit, apparently, is about 300g! These giant skeins are so fat! I love ‘em.
I had a 70g skein of Bond leftover, so I started with that. This time my Idlewood has a ribbed cowl neck, and I’ve just switched to the first fat skein and am doing raglan increases. The fat skeins are two strands of Bond (more soft, less tough) and one of Spelsau (more tough, less soft) in the hope that it’s a good mix of nice-to-wear and wears-well.
Also, I got my new nephew! I gave Joshua his little tops, and gave his sister Jasmine’s 3rd birthday top (same wool as the green, so they can match). Hope he’s able to wear them a few times before he grows big! :)
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