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.

 

 

 

 

 



Send more day light

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on November 5th, 2015

Time got away from me there, I’ve been spending more time than usual on parenting duty as it’s the time of year for viewing sixth forms. So far we’re up to three visits, with one school kicked out sight unseen and one more visit to go. In the time that slipped away since my last post I spun, plied, soaked, dried and knitted up the superwash and nylon fibre that I was spinning last time. It made a pair of socks with a little bit left over. They were a good match for the pumpkins, I went for a minimalist effort this year which I liked but have no record of. For the second pair of socks I picked out a ball of Opal which I thought would match the leftovers from the first pair. In my defence I would say that I made the selection under artificial light because in daylight you can see that they have very little in common.

I gritted my teeth and plodded through the shoulders of the baby jacket, I didn’t enjoy it and there was a considerable amount of ripping back to correct wrong side mistakes. I didn’t like knitting the sleeve either, it’s my own fault because I should have more sense than to be knitting black in November. You can see that the sleeve increases start off in a black section of pattern and that was my problem. The increases should be every five rounds but I couldn’t work out how many rounds I’d knitted because I couldn’t see where I’d made the previous increase. Once I’d got far enough along so that the increases fell in the light yarn it was altogether more of a pleasant knit. I’ve started the second sleeve while the pattern is still fresh in my mind and I know that I just have to stick with it through the difficult part. I’ve found what I want to knit next so I have plenty of motivation to get me through the first few inches.

I have been tidying up, I have 400g of this wool and I decided that it has hung around for long enough and it is time for it to move along. It’s going to be hats unless I think of something else before I finish spinning it, I’m only on the second braid so there’s plenty of time yet. There might even be enough time for a better photo, daylight permitting.

 

 

 



Pumpkin season

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on October 16th, 2015

It’s turned cooler, not quite fire o’clock but running that way. This is my summer stick collection, I need to store them securely where they cannot be retrieved and cashed in again and the fireplace seemed as good a place as anyway. Pebble has never been a stick carrying dog, he comes from a long line of dogs bred for beauty and manual labour is beneath him. He also doesn’t really have the equipment for it – tiny teeth and next to no jaw. Over the summer when he was out for walks with WFB junior he started bringing in sticks, some no more than twigs and a few so long that I had to break them up to fit them in the fireplace. Some days he brought in three, other days he couldn’t find any that were worthy of his attention. The deal is that I get the stick and he gets the dog treat. At some point his hard work will pay off and he can laze on the rug warmed by his burning twigs.

The wool I thought I was going to spin turned out to be not at all what I was wanting right now. I kept looking at it and in the end I put away the rather boring lilac and blue and pulled out some colourful superwash merino and bright nylon instead. That was obviously the right project because it spun itself. This looks very like sock yarn, there’s just over 400 yards of chain plied yarn here with the colour repeats in the two smaller skeins being intentionally shorter than those in the big skein. That’s because this is not sock yarn and I’m planning on the small skeins becoming sleeves. This is probably going to be a little sweater rather than socks providing that there is enough of it, I can see it paired with a deep chocolate brown in something stranded that probably is going to look very like the black and grey one that I am still knitting.

That stopped being fun immediately after I took this photograph. You can see that I’ve cast off at the front neck so I now have to knit in rows rather than rounds which means purling in pattern. I’m telling myself that it’s only for a couple of inches and I have in the past knitted entire cardigans with patterned purl rows. The difference is that now I know that there’s an alternative to purl side rows and also my knit side rows are much more efficient because I can carry one colour of yarn in each hand. I have two hands that knit but I still only have one that’s smart enough to purl. I’m planning to weigh the body when it’s done and work out exactly how much yarn I used so I can see whether there is enough of  the handspun to make another of the same shape but with less pattern.

I enjoyed spinning the merino and nylon so much that I did it all over again, except that this is normal nylon rather than trilobal nylon so it’s not sparkly. I think I picked this braid of fibre because of the orange, it’s a very seasonal colour for the next week or two and in addition I had the idea that I could use it to stretch the kingfisher yarn just that little bit further in case there wasn’t enough for a sweater. That was the original plan anyway but as soon as the yarn was dry I cast on for a pair of socks. I regret nothing.



Roarbark

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, socks on July 14th, 2015

I’m popping in while I have a cup of tea, this is my break between phases three and four of tidying up in the spare bedroom. It’s needed doing for months but I really want to be able to get to the sewing cabinet so now is the right time. It’s coming up to the time of year when I have a week with no cooking and where the house stays tidy, where I’m nearly home alone all week. It would be a shame to have so much free time and not be able to use it to best advantage. The dog is happy with my progress, when I pulled the cabinet away from the wall to pick up all the many things that had fallen behind it I found what I remember as a puffalasauraus. It was one of my son’s toys some fourteen years ago. The dog is exactly the right age to enjoy it, it took him a while to find out how to make it roar but since then there has been nonstop roaring and barking. The lolling tongue indicates that he’s been working hard on subduing the dinosaur, at some point this afternoon I’ll confiscate it and he’ll collapse from exhaustion.

What have I been up to since I posted last? I drove Master WFB to an audition and out of desperation pulled off my best parking performance in years. It’s amazing what you can do when time and parking spaces are short, needs must when the devil drives (and parks). The results of the audition are not until mid December which is too long to be distracted with a diverting project (like last time) so I’m aiming to go with plan B which is to ignore it altogether. We also had a surprise! invitation which means he’s missing the last four days of school to go on a residential music course next week. The camera card reports that I have finished a pair of socks and made another bow tie. This one matched my son’s purple jacket, it’s a perfect match because I made it out of the trousers that I dyed at the same time as the jacket (really, it does match even though the two set of photos would say otherwise). It’s like the other one I made in that it’s hand tied (rather than folded and sewn) but opens at the back with a hook and eye and there’s a slider to make it adjustable. The socks are made from leftover sock yarn, there were still a lot of leftovers leftover so I immediately cast on for another pair. They will also be having an orange stripe because why not? He complained that he ended the day with striped feet but seeing as I didn’t dye any of the yarns in these I didn’t feel in the slightest bit guilty.

Duty calls, my next job is to sweep the floor now that I’ve uncovered it then there will be some packing away of wool, folding of fabric and admiring of progress. Next time I’ll probably be looking at What I Found In The Wardrobe (circa 1994)

 

 



Good from a distance

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, socks on June 23rd, 2015

I decided that the time was right for making that tree skirt that I never get around to making. One of the reasons that I’ve been putting it off for so long was that I needed to enlarge the pattern which is easy with squares and more of a challenge with diamonds. I suspected that it might need the use of GCSE trigonometry and I was right. Fortunately I have an occasional GCSE maths revision session when I have to attempt to explain the trickier questions of junior’s homework so it wasn’t as challenging as it would otherwise have been. I scaled up the pattern, dredged out the scrap boxes and then lurgy struck. All I wanted to do was to cough, sneeze and moan about my sore throat but when the dining table looks like the photo on the left then stopping is not really an option. I made some really stupid mistakes when I was feeling rough, including cutting off the piece I’d just sewn on, sewing wrong sides together and not making an allowance for a seam. It took far longer than it should have done and there was much unpicking and muttering.

The wrapping on the presents is made from leftovers from the scrap box pieced onto a foundation of paper, I mostly used the offcuts from the Pokemon quilt I made in 2006 (there’s a photo at the bottom of this post) with a few other random bits as the mood took me. I pulled out two possible whites for the background but when I looked at them I didn’t think that I had enough of either to make eight blocks so I decided not to risk it but to make four blocks from each of the white fabrics. I am not at home to Mr CloseUp today because I absentmindedly took the paper off the first set of boxes before I’d sewn the background fabric to the sides. Without the paper to stabilise them the bias edges run amuck and the first four boxes are bigger than they should have been. The second four boxes are smaller than they should have been as I managed to allow for a seam allowance on only two sides rather than four. I think I’ll get away with it because of the sashing, in addition anyone wanting to have a closer look is going to have to get on their hands and knees and do battle with the lowest branches of the Christmas tree. It needs quilting but for that I need the sewing machine to be in the cabinet which means I need to tidy up. It’s only June, there’s plenty of time yet.

This is the second pair of child socks, it wasn’t until I came to take the photo that I realised that I’d managed a perfect match without trying. I was going to keep them for when I needed a bribe but he smiled and asked nicely so I handed them over and off they went to school. Note to self – do not leave potential gift socks in plain sight. The leftovers have gone straight into another pair, they are the third stripe from the cast on in this weirdly coloured photo. These are a pair of scrap striped socks, I’m knitting both at once because I’m expecting to run out of yarn multiple times. When a ball gets really small I’ll rewind it into a centre pull ball and knit from both ends  so it will end in the same place in both socks. There may be a random orange stripe once I’m past the heel, I haven’t quite decided yet. What usually happens when I’m using scraps in a project like this is that I pull out lots of little balls of sock yarn and then when I’ve finished I find that there are enough leftover leftovers to make another. In my dreams it makes a big dint in the pile, the reality is a different thing.

These trees don’t look all that significant but they are to me (in case anyone is wondering, yes, they do have a seam allowance on all four sides). Back in 1998 I joined in a round robin swap and when the box of blocks and fabric came back from its world tour I didn’t really know how to tackle it. I could add as many blocks as I wanted and make it whatever size I wanted, seeing as I didn’t have a clue what it was that I wanted I packed it away for another day. I now know exactly what I want, I’ve worked out that I need to make five blocks and these are four of them.

(Elizabeth – if you’re reading this, brace yourself for the sight of your sixteen year old blocks)



Zipping along

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, socks, sweaters on June 7th, 2015

I finished the cardi before I got my hands on the zip. I didn’t remember that the local shop doesn’t sell long open ended zips until I was standing there and I had a flashback to my previous attempted cardigan zip purchase. They didn’t sell 25″ zips then and they don’t sell them now. I tried to buy one on line from a sewing shop and came away with a pattern for pajamas because they had long open ended zips but only in neutral colours. Had I been knitting a cardigan in white, grey, brown, navy or black I would have been laughing but I was rather committed to seafoam green at that stage. I sat with a cup of tea and went hunting on the internet to find a zip that was the right length or longer and something resembling the right colour. There were plenty in the right colour which turns out to be “mint” but only in dress zips and that is no good for a cardigan as it’s a basic requirement that it open at the bottom. I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist but I quickly ditched “picky” in favour of “desperate”. The answer turned out to be an Ebay vendor in Hong Kong, by the time I reached that listing I was quite prepared to wait for it to be shipped from Mars. The zip is the perfect colour, arrived in eight days and cost £1.35 including shipping. The alternative in the wrong colour from the UK retailer would have been £1.85 plus £1.50 postage. There’s something wrong somewhere. The zip was a few inches too long but seeing as the internet is full of pages showing you how to shorten a zip I didn’t anticipate this being a problem for long. I pulled off an inch of surplus teeth, moved the metal stopper from the previous top to the new top and cut off the spare bit.

This is Highlander knitted in whichever variant of Ethical Twist featured at Kemps a couple of years ago. I think it’s the 70/30 wool/alpaca rather than the 85/15 but I took all the labels off to dye it so I can’t be totally certain. I added some more shaping in the body, changed the collar to roll over rather than stand up, added afterthought pockets and ditched the buttons for the difficult to source zip. I bought a kilo of the yarn when it was on sale (it was cheap then, oh so cheap) and I now have 500g left. I was knitting with three balls at a time to even out any colour changes but I could have easily got away with not bothering, the whole ten skeins were very uniform. It’s light enough to overdye and that’s what I think I’ll be doing with the leftovers. I’ve been calling the colour seafoam so I was mildly amused to see that the name of the matching thread I pulled out of the suitcase  was “Lagoon Blue”. It still needs blocking, I steamed all the bits that I needed to sit flat to be able to stitch it together because we’ve not had what would be described as good drying weather. At some point it will be washed and blocking will follow.

I’m sure it’s perfectly normal to go looking for a zip and come away with a pattern for pajamas, I was trying to feel better about the fixed postage cost on the zip and added the pattern to the cart before realising that I’d chosen a dress zip. In hindsight the clue should have been that the zip was the right colour but that was early in my search when I still thought that buying a zip was simple. These are test pajamas to check that they fit the son and heir. They need an inch or two on the length and the legs are ridiculously wide but other than that they are good. He likes his pajamas thicker, it would need a heatwave to get him into these. I made a pair for me as well but they’re not finished until I’ve made the top to go with them so the blog will have to wait for photos.

This is sock three of four, the first pair were finished last week and are now hopefully in the pile to be washed. I can but dream. They look like these, uniform compliant at the top and Opal something or other in the shoe. I weighed the bright yarn after the first sock so now I know that the coloured section takes 20g of yarn. I knew that I got two pairs from a ball with a bit left over but I’d never bothered to see how big a bit it was. I think the transition on this one may be my favourite yet, this may become the new standard boysock. At some point I will need to knit more socks for me, I’ve gone through the toes of another pair recently. When I checked I found that they were seven years old so really I can’t complain. I certainly wouldn’t expect to get more than twelve months out of a shop bought pair and my seven year olds may reach ten after a retoe.