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 :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Coloring in

This last month we've gotten some new chickens. They're actually mine ;) but everyone's eating the eggs. I'm keeping a little egg record, and in the first 2 weeks we got about 50 eggs. The kids have been on school holidays, but as soon as they went back to school (so they wouldn't be chased too much) I let the chooks out of their coop to wander around the yard.

Ok, they did chase them a little bit before school, and the 8 month old cat, Pepper, had a bit of a stalk, but the six chooks are unconcerned. They just wander about, clucking happily.

Promised Jasmine I'd dye her hair with some semi-permanent colors before school, so this is it. Bit of blue and purple, bit of pink. hehe.

This month I've dyed some sock yarn, sprinkling dye powder on first, then making a long skein and dipping part into dye pots so there would be stripes. Here's one color repeat wrapped around my rolling pin.

 And cranked another double-hat using the handspun from last month. It's too long, this one, but you can pin it into a cowl, too. hehe.

 I've been working steadily on my blue socks, which are done up to the ankle. They're simple enough, and I still like the color, but I'm getting tired of knitting socks. Still, I want to complete my little rainbow before I have a holiday from socks.


Saturday, October 3, 2015


Look at this cute face. You wouldn't think he could be ever naughty, right?

hehe. I told him, when I left for the Bendigo Wool Festival, that I'd get him some green yarn and make him a hat and some gloves. Haven't gotten to the gloves yet, but the hat is done, and fits him perfectly :)

He immediately reminded me about the gloves. Haha. At least he loves knitted things for now.

Finished the Denatures by knitting them all the time, even in my work break at around 3am. I did the same Fleegle Heel as was in the Rose Tyler pattern (so as to avoid having to cable on the wrong side of the heel flap) and then reinforced the heel with a strand of black. Looks a bit dodgy, and forgot to do the ball of the toe until it was too late, but it will be extra tough, anyway. The yarn is from Bendi a while back, from Stranded in Oz and called "Friar Tuck Green". Sparkles! I liked the way the lurex (or whatever it is) is incorporated in this yarn, not in bits that stick out (like many sparkly yarns) but chain plied through it somehow.

There is 7g of green yarn left. I was a bit worried. That's one of the things I hate about top-down socks; nothing you can do if you run out of yarn. If you start at the toe and you run out half-way up the leg, you can either add a different yarn that will rarely be seen under your jeans, or just stop there and have shorter socks.

So the next socks are being knit toe-up (in spite of the pattern). It's basically just a cable and rib pattern that can be plugged into any basic sock pattern anyway. I knit a bit today, while the kids were at a playground. Very bright blue, like sky blue with hints of purple. I wouldn't have thought it my color, particularly, but I'm loving it. Nice to do something a bit different.

The colorwork is on the bottom. I'm doing 2x2 squares this time, which is actually easier, and Magic Loop, which actually doesn't work. I have to just slip all the sole stitches to the other needle every second row. But never mind; I'm only doing 20 rows or so of the reinforcement.

More cranking experiments. I used two balls of DK weight acrylic that the boys had bought me one Christmas. First I cranked one holding one strand, then I joined the next ball with both ends and cranked it with 2 strands held together. So there's about 175cm of single-yarn "scarf" and 60cm of doubled-yarn "hat". I finished off the ends, and gave it to Zac, but Jasmine did a little model for me first.


I only spun one thing this last month, but it was a 200g skein of 6ply and equal to about 1200y (1100m) of singles.

It's just a little sparkly. One of the strands is merino/alpaca/silk and the other is merino/stellina, but they're the same colorway (Goldfields by Kathy's Fibres). One was spun from one end to the other (with long color changes) and the other was split in length-ways bits first (short color changes). So it should be interesting to see how it knits up. I think I'll try it on Cranky; that's why I made it so thick, after all. :)

Last: new colors from Southern Cross Fibres, in the mail on their way to my house right now!


Land Under Wave
 Following a Terry Pratchett's Discworld theme. There were a lot of coordinates I loved, especially the red one called "Cheep", but I didn't get any this month. I don't want to drown in fibre, after all :)

If you've ever read "Wee Free Men" you might get where "Cheep" comes from. I won't spoil it for you, except to say that when I was reading it to my kids, all three of them nearly rolled off the couch laughing.

And now, back to my Mission (for the Order of the Phoenix) which is to spin 750y of a 3ply. I'm spinning one ply each of the blue-green trio from the August SCF club. The Tidepool singles are done; two to go.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Wo, these ones are bright!!

Love them. Love how the legs are long and the heel flap didn't need any backwards knitting (because it's a Fleegle heel) and how I'm going to use that strategy in the next pair so I don't have to cable on the wrong side, and the moss stitch columns, and the cables!

They took forever! But they did use 95g (of the 100g I had), and were not exactly TV knitting.

Now I'm up to green!!

Green sparkly stuff from Stranded in Oz, with a DNA-shaped cable that denatures when it meets the heel. They're called "Denature", and I'm finding them slow-going, too! Mostly because every chart row needs concentration. Luckily, 2/3 of it is stocking stitch, but I'm not sure I'm going to finish them in my week off. I'll do my best.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

So slow, so fast

I know I haven’t written on this blog for a while, but it’s not because I’m a slacker so much as I’m just So Slow. I wanted to have a finished thing or two, and socks take me forever.
Last month I thought I’d get ahead on my sock NEWT. Ha. I didn’t even finish the second pair until a few days into September. I thought I might be a bit ahead anyway, since I’d made a start on Pair 3. Nope. I still haven’t finished them. I’m getting behind.
Anyway, I don’t actually have a real life deadline (it’s just a game) and I’m getting some nice socks out of it. Here are Red and Orange.
The red ones are Skyp socks, and they’re pretty simple, a bit of a twist on the usual rib. The orange ones are Treppenviertel (which means something about stairs) and they’re actually kind of fun to make and fit well. The reinforcing on the bottom is done with an extra strand of yarn that stays on the sole.
Here’s what I did for the orange socks. Basically, you have one needle for the top of the sock and one needle for the bottom (if you knit with two circulars like I usually do). On row 1 (at the start of the sole stitches) you knit 1 orange 1 white all the way across (regular colorwork). Then you drop the white and knit the other needle.
Then you find yourself at the beginning of the sole again, but the white yarn is on the wrong side. You knit 1, slip 1, all the way to the other side, turn so you’re knitting on the wrong side of the sole stitches, drop the orange and pick up the white, and purl the stitches you slipped on the last row and slip the stitches you knit on the last row. Then you drop the white, and without turning, pick up the orange and go on with the instep. When you get to the sole stitches again, there you are with both colors on the right side again.
As for the yellow socks, they are both rib and cables, and are taking me a long time! I was supposed to be finished them by now, and I have about 50 rounds to go, knitting two at a time. But I think they’re the trickiest, so perhaps the other socks will go more quickly.
Also bought an Addi King Express knitting machine! It’s only a simple plastic thing that knits stocking stitch in the round, and it has to be 46 stitches of fairly fat wool, but I bought it for experimentation. So far I’ve made a scarf for Jasmine (using a whole 200g ball of Stellar) and two double-layer hats for the charity box.
Addi King Express experiments
Addi King Express experiments
I added the ribbing and fringe to the ends of the tube, and gave it a good stretch.
AKE double hats
AKE double hats
For these hats, I made a long tube, using 2 skeins of Madelinetosh Chunky, and took it off the Addi King Express (AKA AKE or Cranky). I did some maths, put my needles in 7 rows down from the ends, and unwound a bit. Then I used the unwound bits to knit 4 rounded ends (hat tops). Because it’s a tube, I can push one inside the other, and it becomes a double thickness reversible hat. It’s still quite long, too; the boys have to fold up the brim as well. Each hat took me about 2 hours, an hour of cranking and an hour of finishing, though I dare say I could do it more quickly if I wasn’t watching TV. :)
And now, back to my yellow socks! As soon as they’re done I can finish off some spinning I started and cast on my green sparkly socks!
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