Is it July already?

Posted by Caroline in Book making, Knitting, socks on August 17th, 2017

I can report that the cardigan has had a lot of wear even with the baggy neck that I still don’t like. It’s warm and it fits me and that is good enough. When I come to knit the cone of blue I’ll make more of an effort with the neckline. All I’ve been knitting recently is socks and I’ve reached the stage where I’m bored with them too. This is the sum total of a week’s holiday knitting and it’s even worse than it looks because when I came back I’d only knitted half of the rib. It turns out that there is less knitting time on a cruise than I expected, I took 400g of sock yarn away with me and managed half an inch of rib. It’s an unusual situation, I’m ruling that these will be holiday socks as the yarn went to Norway and back and if these are holiday socks then the rest of the yarn qualifies for holiday socks too.

So where have I been since March? I’ve been at the gym for three hours a week, I’ve been spending at least four hours a week learning Norwegian,  I’ve been making yoghurt every week, the child had a few weeks of exams which always throws my routine and we went on a cruise which needed a ridiculous amount of planning as we’ve never done it before. Oh how they mocked my packing of magnets. Oh how they ate their words when I pinned the daily newsletter to the wall. In addition to this my access to the internet has been hit and miss for months and now I’m at the stage where  my laptop has turned its nose up at wireless internet altogether and has started becoming sniffy about being fastened to the router with a wire. It’s been easy to put off updating the blog until some other time, I started writing this in July and now it’s the middle of August.

I had a request to make River’s journal less authentic and more user friendly by switching out the expensive hand torn thick paper for plain old lined paper. It’s his book and he can have what he wants even if it is wrong. I bought a few exercise books and cut them to size, sewed them into a block that was the right thickness for the existing cover, pasted a bit of cheesecloth onto the spine, cut out the old block, pasted in the new block and replaced the endpapers. Job done, teen pleased. I did toy with the idea of starting from scratch with new covers and making a better job of it but when I finished making this I put the leftover blue leather in a safe place and as usual it’s so safe that I can’t find it now that I want it again.

I was making socks in my last post (oh, what a surprise) and I did finish all of them by the birthday deadlines. I’d like to say that they have all been in wear for months but I’ve just found the black striped pair at the bottom of the knitting bag. Rather like updating the blog, that’s a job that has needed doing for a long time but I just couldn’t be bothered. Unlike the blog when it is ignored for too long yarn starts falling out of the top and rolling under the coffee table. I was wondering what there was in it and was surprised to find two and two half pairs of socks as well as the multiple bags of yarn that I was expecting. There I was thinking I would have to have a Cinderella moment to work out whose feet it was I was aiming these at and it turns out that the blog knew all about it. If only I had told it where I had stashed the Tardis-blue leather.

I’ve lost 27% of my body weight and as a result I’ve lost a lot of my wardrobe too. I don’t mind replacing t shirts as they usually only last a summer until I accidentally bleach them but other than that I don’t want to buy for this summer and then find that (hopefully) things are too big for me next summer. I made one simple blouse come t shirt and then used that pattern to take in some shirts. The shirts cost me less than it would have been to buy the fabric and the majority of the sewing work has been done for me because I’m keeping the hems, collar and front facings. They fasten on the wrong side but as I can get them on and off over my head I don’t much care. I keep taking the odd item to the charity shop while I dither on a hanger by hanger basis as to whether I should get rid or make smaller. Like updating the blog and tidying the yarn basket it’s another job that is easier to put off for another day.

 

 



Warm again

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on March 7th, 2017

It was just me and the self timer on the camera and I had a race against the fading light so these are all the photos the blog is getting. The plain cardigan is finished, I decided against pockets as I don’t have the need for them that I did when I had a dog. (Those of you who are cat people may not be aware that you can identify a dog owner by the black plastic bags in every pocket of every coat and bag they own). It’s plain as plain except for the rib at each side. I could sell you this as a well thought out alternative to waist shaping but the truth is that it was simply so I didn’t need to bother with a stitch marker. The rib was a big flag that signalled that this was the point to decrease as my bust is smaller than my hips. The yarn is Forsell’s Touch of Silk, it’s made for machine knitting so is sold oiled on the cone. It softens up once you wash out the oil, you can skein and wash it before knitting or wait until the end and scour the finished item in very hot water and washing up liquid which is what I did. I bought a full kilo cone in this dark brown and a part cone in dark blue and I know now that there will be enough of the blue for a sweater without having to resort to stripes. It knits up nicely to four stitches to the inch on a 5mm needle, it would be fine on a smaller needle but I don’t think that I would like the fabric on anything much bigger.

After it was off the needles it seemed a bit gappy around the neck but I convinced myself that it would fill in with the collar. Had I sat and worked out the numbers at that point (ideally even earlier before I’d cast off) I would have seen that the neck was nearly 20″ around which is fine for a sweater where it has to clear your ears but somewhat large for a cardigan. I didn’t look at the stitch count for the final row and so decided that the width was an illusion caused by the lack of a collar. I knitted the collar, both front bands, washed it, dried it, put the buttons on and not surprisingly found that the neck was still gappy. I’ve poked at it for a couple of days, attempted to steam the neck into a more pleasing shape, poked at it some more and tried to muster up the enthusiasm to take off the bands and collar and fix it. In the end I went for plan B which was to run a piece of yarn around the neck and pull it up slightly. It is a quick and dirty fix but it is a fix and if at some future point I want to do the job properly (yeh, as if) then I can.

I usually have a three week delay while I dither over for buttons but this time I had the buttons long before I had the yarn. I’ve had them for months and I’ve been waiting for the right project to put them on. (I typed that and went to check exactly how long I’ve had the buttons for, maybe it was as long as a year? It’s actually three years, doesn’t time fly?) This project is as good as any other to put them on, I get to look at the ravens now rather than having them squirreled away waiting for the perfect project. If a better project comes along I can take them off this and put them on the new thing. I love them, they make me happy every time I pick up the cardigan and that shows that it was the right project to use them on.

I have nearly finished sewing in all the ends on the stripey socks, the birthday is weeks away and I’ve done a sock and a half so far. I ran out of black with a stripe and a toe to go but managed to find three part balls of black within four feet of my seat. I suspect there might be more if I actually went and looked. The coloured leftovers went straight into another pair of socks, the colours all work together because they all went into the same dye bath. I quite like them, the colours work well together and two of the four yarns are sparkly. I’m being daring here and I’ve started knitting on the basis that there is going to be “enough” yarn, usually I’d mark the middle of each ball of yarn so that I could be sure that I had enough for the second sock. If I run out it will be after the heel where it won’t be noticeable and I know what dye I used so I have the chance of transforming another oddment of grey sock yarn into a green that will blend in.

 

 



The swatch did not lie but the pattern did

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on February 24th, 2017

The cardigan has now reached the exciting stage where I decrease eight stitches every other row. It fits, it’s a bit snug but my tension square says that it should ease up a bit when washed. There will be a collar and button bands in due course and probably afterthought pockets too. It is not the same cardigan as the one I had started last time, after I’d bought the pattern I realised why it was that the entirety of Ravelry thought that it knitted up small. The tension was given over stockinette and the finished measurement was exactly right for the stockinette tension and the number of stitches which would have been fine if it had actually been knitted in stockinette. It had cables and usually patterns add a few extra stitches at the bottom of the cables to compensate for them pulling in but this one didn’t. The cables took at least two inches off the finished width and that wasn’t taken into account anywhere. I would need to address the sizing, sort out the arms (Ravelry was again united in saying that they ran narrow), change the hood to a collar – it was just as easy to ditch the pattern and knit something up based on the tension I had. I had also lost faith in the designer and that’s never a good starting point. It is now a plain crew neck raglan cardigan from “the knitters handy book of sweater patterns”  at four stitches per inch. If I pull my finger out and don’t dither over buttons there’s still a chance I could wear it before the season changes. I usually pick knitwear based on what looks to be an entertaining knit but this time I’m aiming for something finished and warm. This is knitted on what is for me huge needles, most of my knitting is in the 3mm range so 5mm feels massive. It makes for a really quick knit though, or it would do if I was knitting the cardigan and not socks. It very quickly became too big to be carry about knitting.

I’m on with birthday sock knitting, a pair for a birthday in April and another for a birthday in March. If I’d planned this properly then I would have started (and finished) the March ones first but I didn’t. I think I’m on the verge of running out of black sock yarn and to be honest I’m not all that upset about it (although I will be very upset if I don’t reach the toe of the second pair). The child no longer needs black topped socks to comply with a school uniform and I can do without a big slab of black on tiny needles as my evening knitting. If he had smaller feet it wouldn’t be so bad but they go on forever. I’m easing him away from what he sees as being a normal sock by moving to stripes. If I can sell the stripes then I can move onto stripes that are not black. If this fails then I’ll just buy another 500g of black sock yarn and carry on as before unless I accidentally press the wrong button and order grey or navy, either of which would be an improvement over black.

Next time – maybe a finished cardigan?

 



New Year starts and finishes

Posted by Caroline in Celtic Dreams, Family, Knitting, socks, sweaters on January 27th, 2017

Happy New Year, 2017 may be a bit dusty now but I managed to get a post into the first month although it was a close run thing.

Doesn’t time just fly by? It’s been nearly ten years since I wrote this post in praise of the slow cooker. It is still going strong except that it’s now moved out to have a quieter life with my mother. I decided that the time had come to replace it with something larger and multifunctional so now I have a slow cooker that is also a steamer and a pressure cooker. I did have a stove top pressure cooker decades ago but I was always wary of it because of the hissing and spluttering and it didn’t justify the cupboard space so out it went. Technology has moved on, an electric pressure cooker gives off a plume of steam for a few seconds just before it reaches pressure and after that it sits there silently, no steam, no sound, no worries. It has been a good purchase and has saved me even more time as I now cook perfect brown rice in bulk, freeze it and zap it in the microwave as needed. I am saving tens of minutes every time I make risotto because I don’t have to stir it (we are eating more risotto now just because I don’t have to stir it). I’d love to know what I’ve been doing with all this extra time I’ve saved, it’s certainly not gone into blogging.

I’m calling these my Christmas socks as the yarn was under the tree. Both pairs of socks are twinkly, they are so finished that they’ve been through the wash twice and they are mine. One has a heel with a flap and gusset and the one I’m wearing has a short row heel as I was feeling particularly indecisive and hedged my bets with one of each heel. I don’t think that I needed more socks but everyone else had a pair for Christmas so it seemed only fair that these should be for me.

I keep attempting to make myself slippers, I’ve finished several pairs over the years and none of them have gone well. These (or rather “this”) have not bucked the trend. The soles are from Joes Toes, they are thick felted wool and have the sewing holes already punched around the edges. I joined the inner and outer soles together with a crochet hook and the two lined up perfectly. I picked up some stitches around the edge to make a strip running around the sole and then sewed that to my knitted bootee (Himalaya by DROPS). It was a bit big so I threw it in the washer and it came out exactly the right size. I ripped back the second bootee that I’d knitted but not sewed up because I know that I’m not going to wear this one, I’ll cut the top off and reclaim the sole for another attempt some time in the future. I can’t tell you why I don’t like it, I think it’s that the top (even after fulling) has less structure than the bottom, it just doesn’t feel right.

I know that this will pass the wear test because I’ve been wearing it even though it doesn’t have the buttons that it needs. The photo of the flat thing would have been better if I’d taken it after blocking and before I’d started wearing it but I have been wearing it with the ends dangling because it’s turned cold and all my neck things have gone to ground. This is Shapeshifter, I made one some time ago in bulky yarn, this version is much finer and took a lot more knitting. I can live with the weird colour thing it has going on because once it’s wrapped around the neck you don’t see enough of it to notice the flashing. It has buttons at the three points of the chevron and then you button it through whichever hole you fancy. There are holes all the way around the edges and up the middle so there is bound to be one of them in the right place for the look that you want. It doesn’t pull over your head so doesn’t upset your hair, not that mine would be upset even if I was dragged through a hedge backwards. I didn’t entirely follow the pattern, there are new episodes of Sherlock and a series of a swedish crime drama knitted into this but again, once it’s on you won’t see where I messed up the hole sequence through inattention. I picked up and knitted a garter border because I had yarn left over and the edge was wanting to roll.

The fact that I have two swatches, one of which is on two sizes of needle, tells you that I have a tension issue. That I went to so much trouble to get it right tells you that it is something where tension really matters and the size of the cone is a giveaway that it’s a big thing. I am cold, the short term solution is to put the heating on but the longer term solution is a cardigan. I am still wearing my Celtic Dreams but since I’ve lost nine inches off my hips it has become a bit on the big size. I could fix it by sewing a dart at each side and chopping out the excess fabric or I could wear it as it is while I knit myself something new. There’s so much more fun to be had in knitting a new thing, the agonizing over button choices alone could take me weeks. Fortunately I skipped all the yarn decisions by buying something that was very cheap otherwise I could still be faffing about come summer. Hopefully by the next post I will have sorted out my yarn issues and have a chunk of brown knitting to show. If I keep on with being a slacker blogger it could be a whole garment (although probably not with buttons as that’s usually a three week decision)

 



Tidying up and a resolution of sorts

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks on December 29th, 2016

I’ve been busy doing a lot of that thing where you keep moving stuff about and eventually it ends up as a smaller pile of stuff. The marmalade came from this week’s intensive sessions of freezer tetris which was kicked off by me making pasties on Boxing Day. There doesn’t seem to be a logical connection between using up leftovers from the Christmas dinner and marmalade but if I hadn’t have done one I wouldn’t have needed to do the other. I ran out of flour after making the pasties so I went grocery shopping on Boxing Day and as well as the flour I came home with a boneless rolled turkey joint, a beef rib joint and a huge free range turkey. In future I may go shopping again on Boxing Day because it seems that the bigger the piece of meat, the bigger the discount after Christmas. I’ve spent all week moving things around in the freezer to make space for the turkey, I could get the rest of the meat in without a problem but the turkey would only fit in the one extra-deep drawer and that was already full. Fortunately my mother did have freezer space so the turkey had somewhere to live whilst I shuffled things about in my freezer. The three bags of frozen oranges took up as much space as a third of a turkey and were the thing that tipped the balance. Once the oranges were out the turkey could go in.

I’ve been doing a similar thing in the wool room, moving things about in the hope that when the music stops I’ll end up with less stuff than when I started. This bag made four hats before I put it away again. I would have carried on knitting if I could have found a circular needle in the right size but I’d had enough of fighting dpns after four hats. I remember now why it was that the last time I had a major hat session I stuck with a variant of Tychus – I knitted it on straight needles with a three needle cast off to finish. It would have been helpful if I’d thought about that before I packed the bag of random yarn away but then I probably wouldn’t have had time to finish my Christmas knitting so maybe it was for the best.

I decided very late in the day that the sock yarn blanket was going to be a present for my mother so I got that finished, dealt with all the ends, blocked it and wrapped it. I still had time so I started knitting a pair of socks for my son and as if that wasn’t enough, cast on a pair for my mother as well. I’ll come clean and say that I intended making two pairs for my son but I’d had enough after the first pair. His feet go on forever as you can see in comparison to the neat little 64 stitch sock that fits my mother’s foot. The coloured sock yarn pools and I thought it might be less objectionable if I knitted it in stripes and of course I’d get more socks out of the expensive yarn from the big name dyer if part of the sock was plain black. The result is a sock that still spirals horribly, as I knew it would because I’ve been down this road before. I don’t know why I keep on doing this to myself when I can have my sock yarn in whatever colour(s) I like and have it stripe nicely (or not at all) rather than flash randomly. All I have to do is wind a very long skein of plain white yarn and add water to some dye. I am done with buying sock yarn in two yard skeins because I know that it doesn’t knit into socks that I like to see. A pretty skein does not always make a pretty sock – I know this but I still buy pretty skeins even though I know that they are going to give me the same results as the last pretty skein. I am now officially over pretty skeins – I’m not buying another one.

 

 

 

 



The calendar does not lie but swatches do

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on November 28th, 2016

I have lost a week again, maybe two. How did it get to the end of November when it feels as if the start of the month was only last week? I have managed to find all of the presents I bought, no mean feat as two have them have been missing since I bought them. You would think that by now I would have stopped hiding presents where I can’t find them because I go through this every year.

This is the current state of the blanket which is starting to look as if it is a good size to cover knees. It weighs just over 400g so that’s the equivalent of four full balls of sock yarn. I know what space that occupies and so I have an idea of how much space I should have made in the bag of sock scraps but I’m not seeing it. Yet again I have managed to knit something out of thin air because the sock scrap bag looks to be as full as it was when I started. This is the stage at which the blanket is going to be sidelined in favour of new knitting, there’s still plenty of variety in the scrap bag but I have a pattern and yarn and an urge for something different. I’m not finished with this one but I will say that I would make another because it makes for mindless tv knitting. This is a ten stitch spiral but with twenty stitches, another time I might go for thirty stitches wide because the wider the stripes are the less stopandturn there is in the piece.

This is what the blanket was dumped for. It may have the appearance of a sweater back but it has turned out to be an oversized swatch. I should have known better, I really should because I have never knitted anything that came out too big but have many examples of things being too small. I should know by now that if the tension square tells me to use the same needles as in the pattern it is tricking me or I’m using the wrong yarn. I would usually have started with a sleeve but the pattern helpfully has the tension measured over stockinette rather than in pattern and then doesn’t give you many measurements on the schematic. The sleeve width is a mystery so I decided to ignore the accumulated wisdom of decades and leap straight in with the back on the needles suggested by my swatch and the pattern. I could have got lucky I suppose but what I’ve got is what I should have expected – something that will be way too small. It’s tricky to tell with rib because it stretches which is why patterns usually say measured “when slightly stretched”. There was no “slightly” about what I needed to do with this to get it close to the measurement on the schematic. I’ll start again with my usual guess of using needles one size thicker than the pattern suggests and this time I’ll have a stab at a front.

My socks are now on my feet and the leftovers are in the blanket. This is the reason that the blanket didn’t eat into the bag of sock yarn bits, many of the balls of yarn were never in the bag in the first place. The added blue stripes meant that the part ball of yarn was enough to make a pair of matching socks so it was worth those extra few ends. More socks are on the needles, as many as I finish will be wrapped and under the tree and those that aren’t finished will be given in January. It’s no pressure Christmas knitting again here this year.



Now with a slightly bigger blanket

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning on November 8th, 2016

The painting stopped last week but that was fair enough because everything else stopped too. It’s been a long time since I had proper bone-aching ‘flu and I hope it will be a long time until I have it again. Time has passed, as it does, and I’m better again.

The blue Portland needed brain work, the choosing of appropriate needles, the knitting and measuring of a tension square and then the matching of pattern to yarn. There are no prizes for guessing that I was not capable of that last week and I didn’t progress further than looking at the yarn. There’s always a new week just around the corner and perhaps it will get done then.

I had days where I did nothing but sleep but then I started to get my act together and I was grateful to find that I had a big lump of brainless knitting to get on with. This was supposed to be rectangular and it is, just not quite as rectangular as I’d imagined. This is my own fault because I didn’t do anything so dangerously radical as plan it, sketch it out or even think very hard, I just started knitting. It’s bigger than it was last time but the bag of scraps doesn’t seem to be any smaller. It is possible that it isn’t any smaller because every bag I open has sock yarn scraps in it and I keep throwing them in the project bag. I hope that at some point I will finish clearing out the remains of other projects and I might then start to gain on the bag. My corners aren’t all they could be but that’s what you get from knitting at night when you can’t see exactly where they are.

I’ll have to knit quickly because the next additions to the scrap bag will probably be from these socks. I found the pinkish yarn a while ago, started knitting and then weighed the ball to find that it was 70g rather than 100g. I know that I can get a pair of socks from 70g but I’m not entirely sure that I can do that and match the pattern as well. It was far easier to pick out a ball of yarn from the scrap bag and add a stripe or two When I’ve knitted the second sock as far as the first I’ll see how many pattern repeats are left in the ball and work out how many more stripes I need to add to be able to have toes. I did try to see how many repeats were in the ball but the ball of yarn was more than a match for me and it won hands down. I sorted out the tangled mess and I’m waiting for the rematch when there will be less of it to fight with.

I have no idea what this will be, it’s superwash bfl and nylon and I have it in purple, blue and olive. Originally it was going to be socks but once I saw the yarn I thought that it was too pretty to be stuck in shoes. Gloves or mittens would be the wrong colour for my coat which leaves me with gift knitting. Something will come to me, hopefully before I’ve finished spinning the rest of it.

 



Dyeing is faster than painting

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, socks on October 25th, 2016

The decorating remains an ongoing project. Last week I passed milestone one which was the hall side of the double doors into the living room. This week I’ve already ticked off milestone two which was the living room side of the double doors. I am kidding myself that I am now past the big stuff and into the home straight but this is a lie because the doors need a second coat. Once I’m past milestone three (meter cupboard, shelf and windowframe) I can stop whenever I like because no-one is going to poke about behind furniture looking at skirting boards. I had promised myself that I would finish at the end of the tin of paint and do the second coat after Christmas except that I got to the bottom of the tin before I got to the meter cupboard. This means another tin of paint and another week of painting.

The socks from last time are finished and on feet. Rather unexpectedly the feet they are on are mine, I counted the rows from one of David’s socks but they have ended up fitting me better than they fit him. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. The black border at the top is to force a match, they are Opal self patterning yarn that I dyed green because I didn’t like the base colours. When I started knitting them I didn’t know how much of a pattern repeat would still be apparent and I thought that it would be easier to make them match by adding a cuff detail rather than shedding tears trying to match the repeat in the yarn. Matching socks after washday is not one of my most favourite jobs and the days where I could pay 50p to have it completed by child labour are long gone. Anything that makes pairing socks easier is a good thing in my book especially when I have to do the job myself.

The white Portland from last time has progressed to being blue Portland. The camera is not entirely truthful here, the true colour being more denim than electric blue. It didn’t look to bloom much in the process, it still looks to be a double knit and so I could probably get away with knitting Highlander all over again. I’m pleased with it, there are a couple of darker spots resulting from me not doing a good enough job of dissolving the dye but I can live with that. I rushed for the dye pan on Saturday morning with zero preparation or planning because the sun came out and I realised that if I got a move on I had a chance of getting the dyed yarn dried outside. I would have got away with it too if it hadn’t been for the shower in the afternoon.

While I was pondering pattern choices for the Portland I fell down the rabbit hole of a sock yarn blanket. I’m not sure how it was that I started with patterns for cardigans in double knitting weight and ended up with a sock scrap eating monster. The scrap bag was getting out of hand (and out of bag) again and I have a space in my life for plain boring tv knitting which this is apart from a bit of paying attention at the corners. The only challenge was that I’m knitting at night and the light wasn’t really good enough to see where to pick up  along the edge of navy yarn so I had a bright idea and picked up all the stitches in daylight by running a cotton thread through them (the pink one). This is a good idea and I can recommend it but I would suggest not moving your knitting whilst standing on the end of the cotton thread which is what I did yesterday. It’s a lovely smooth yarn and the stitches slip from it very easily, whether you want them to or not.



Now we are ten

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, socks, sweaters on October 12th, 2016

I should have made a cake or something but I didn’t really feel much like celebrating. Sorry blog, maybe next year I’ll make a big fuss about you being eleven. Yes, the blog is now ten; it’s ten years since the little boy broke his leg on his second day back at school. This space was created to gave me something else to think about other than hospital appointments and wheelchair loans and it gave me a perfect little bubble where I could ignore the reality of living with an eight year old with twelve weeks off school. It was not a good time for us but we lived through it and now it’s just a distant memory.

This is the time of year when I rediscover my love of knitting. It is beginning to be glove and hat weather and I would usually start off with an intensive search for this year’s perfect dog walking hat/gloves/scarf which would improve in some way on the specimens that were last year’s perfect solution to the British winter. That’s obviously not going to be happening this year. Sweaters for me are on hold after the great Wensleysweater ripfest which (as always) leaves socks but there are only so many socks that I can knit. This is another pair of socks which the recipient doesn’t need but he’s getting them anyway because they are occupying me while I think about what I can knit next. I even mended three pairs of socks by making new toes, it’s not my favourite thing to do but I was pretty desperate for both the socks and knitting. I did make six toes because otherwise they wouldn’t match and you know what I’m like for matchy matchy socks.

This is probably the Next Big Thing, or at least I hope it is. If it isn’t the next big thing then I don’t know what is. This is 1600 yards of three ply Portland dating back to 2011. I didn’t finish it at the time because I knew that I’d be dyeing it and I thought that it might as well be finished in the dye bath and only dried the once. It’s still early enough in the year for line drying to be an option if I keep an eye on the forecast and pick the right day, in another month it’s more likely to be all rain all of the time. The plan for this is to dye it some colour as yet to be determined and knit a cardigan for my mother. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet because I won’t be able to knit a tension square until after the yarn has been wet and dry. The yarn probably won’t bloom much but it would be really risky to try to second guess the tension based on the unfinished yarn. (Anyone who thinks this post will end with a photo of a tension square is going to be disappointed, I’ve enough experience to know where to take a shortcut and believe me, it’s not here)

While I’ve not been knitting I have been painting the porch and starting my Christmas shopping. No, it is not too early, the butcher has opened his Christmas order book and we have ordered the turkey so I am now officially into Christmas preparation. I have bought two presents so far and they are probably doomed. What usually happens is that I tuck the early ones away in some random location then put the later purchases in a sensible place when I’ve had more time to think about it. When it comes to getting out the wrapping paper I will have forgotten about the things that I bought early on or have no clue where I put them. I need a better system, possibly involving a zipped sports bag and a small padlock. Better planning would eliminate the need for me turning the house upside down in December, although that might not be such a bad thing as I might then find my spare pair of glasses.

I have now glossed everything there is to gloss in the porch which means the door frame is now really white on the outside and a more cream shade of white on the inside. I keep looking at it and trying to ignore it but I know what will happen next. I will paint the door frame which will lead to the skirting boards which will lead to the next door frame, the door itself, the other side of the door and then a run all the way around the edges of the living room to where it will meet the fresh paint in the dining room (the blog says that I painted in there in 2013, so it’s not all that fresh really). By then I’ll have had enough and I’m counting on it being dark enough in the hall at this time of year to be able to ignore the transition to the cream paintwork going up the stairs especially as the join will be at skirting board level.

 

 

 



Keep on keeping on

Posted by Caroline in Family, Knitting, socks on September 30th, 2016

Right then, let’s be upbeat and positive and model appropriate adult behaviour in the face of adversity. I shall start with a quick backtrack to May which is when the train of my life started to jump the rails. I was knitting a white baby jacket back then, it finished up really quickly and was immediately out of the house so these are all the photos you are getting because it’s probably been outgrown by now (as always, click on the little photo to see the bigger one). This is DROPS 17-14, it’s a free pattern and I liked it well enough to be able to say that I might knit it again, possibly even with the matching bonnet and bootees. It is supposed to have a single row of the contrast colour on the inside facing and I’m sure that would be a lovely touch but in my view it wasn’t worth sewing in the extra two ends on each facing so I took the decision to omit that.

I would like to say that I took the decision to replace the buttonholes with snaps but that’s not what happened. I knitted the front facings to the accompaniment of some good evening tv and I’d cast off before I realised that while my hands had been on full autopilot I’d forgotten to make the buttonholes. As it was a facing there should have been two sets of buttonholes, one set before the turning row and a matching set on the underneath of the facing so I would have needed to have ripped back almost to the start to correct it. I briefly considered reknitting it but thought it was better to press on and get it finished. I was glad that I did, the snaps were easy to fasten and it meant that I could choose buttons based only on appearance rather than also having to make sure that they matched the size of the buttonholes.

This was my holiday knitting, it should have grown up to be mittens and a matching hat but I was not altogether sold on it from the outset. I couldn’t tell you why really, between the middle of July and now I haven’t touched it and that’s usually a sign that my inner knitter thinks that there’s something wrong. On this particular occasion she’s not giving me any clues as to what that might be. The last thing I did was to pull back four rounds because I misread the chart and I must have decided at that point that it was worth keeping because I put it back onto the needles. I’ve picked it up this week and I just don’t want to be bothered with finishing this mitten, never mind starting a second one. What I need now are things that bring me joy and this was not cutting it so it’s now back in the yarn bag.

When all else fails, there is always sock knitting to fall back on. The pink leftovers on the left are from the socks that I knitted for my aunt. They are the same size as each other but might not be the same size as her feet because I was not exactly thinking about what I was doing at the time. They got me through a difficult week and have left the house so I don’t have to see them again and remember how bad I felt when I was knitting them. I will dye the remnants navy so that they become unrecognisable, it’s either that or throw them in the bin. The ball in the middle started off as another pair of socks but after the rib of the first one my inner knitter managed to communicate her misgivings and I weighed the ball. It will make a pair of socks if I add stripes so that’s on hold while I think about delving into the bag of leftover sock yarn. So far there’s nothing wrong with the third pair of socks other than a run of knots in the second ball of sock yarn. I hate knots in self patterning yarn because unless you are prepared to lose a pattern repeat they won’t match. These are for me and so they will match, I’m hoping that there will be enough yarn in the smaller ball to reach the toe but if there isn’t then the scrap bag will be coming into play for a pair of contrast toes.

What else has happened? The child finished his GCSEs without major incident, the results were in line with what he was predicted and he took up his college place three weeks ago. For those of us who are oldies he’s now in the lower sixth or Y12 as it is these days. I’m back to doing a school run of sorts in that I drop him at the bus stop in the mornings and collect him in the afternoon which is not as wonderful as waving him off to catch the school bus that passes the window because it means that I have to be fully dressed with shoes on by 7.20. On the positive side this means that my mornings have the potential to be much more productive than they have been for the last five years.

I’ve been back through the last eight years of the blog which ran to twenty six pages of post titles. I can’t now be tripped up by an unexpected dog photo because I’ve been and looked at all of them. Originally I thought that eight years was no time at all, a life cut short but now I see it differently. We’ve covered a lot of ground in eight years as can be seen by the fact that the primary school student is now starting his A levels and is much, much taller than me. We’ve done so much as a family and Pebble did it all with us. He had a rich and full life well lived and that is all that any of us can hope for.