Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Weaving on April 30th, 2013
It would be difficult for socks to be a surprise to me because I would have needed to have knitted them with a bag over my head and that would make it very difficult to watch the TV at the same time. They are new to the blog though. I started them so that the leftovers could liven up the blah beige beachy baby jacket but after I ripped the jacket I didn’t have the need for the leftovers and as a result the socks were sidelined. I’m tired of seeing them hanging about so they are now finished and in the sock drawer. These are for me, it seems to have been a while since I got to keep a pair so I think I was long overdue a place in the sock knitting queue.
The scarf was a surprise even to me, it was a good four months since I saw the beginning of this so I was clueless as to what it looked like. As you weave you wind the bit you’ve completed around the front and then it vanishes, not to be seen again until you take it off the loom. I can’t remember when I started this but I’m pretty sure that it was before Christmas when I warped the rigid heddle loom. In theory I’d be able to find the details in my weaving project book and tell you the starting date but it was a complete surprise to the book too. Fortunately when I put the loom away (for Christmas?) I had packed all the yarns together in the same bag so it was a simple job to pick it up and finish it off even after it had been sitting around for four months. It’s not one of my favourites, it’s mostly commercial yarn so I don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling from looking at my handspun. Having said that I do like the grey, it’s an alpaca boucle and it’s ridiculously soft. I have issues with a lot of alpaca, it makes my eyes itch as commercial yarn, fleece or processed top, but I’m fine with DROPS alpaca boucle.
There are no surprises on the other loom and I’m really pleased about that because it’s a good thing. The general idea is that every inch is just like the previous inch without any dramatic knots or tangles or exciting changes in tension. This has been the perfect warp, I think I may have overcome my weak spot in warping which is beaming (rolling all that yarn onto the back of the loom). Weaving has been totally uneventful and without drama, I keep rolling fabric onto the front, unrolling yarn from the back and filling bobbins when I feel like it. I think another day or two will see the end of this, it’s about five yards long and that seems to be about the length of my attention span. I like it, I would have liked it more had it been an inch or so wider but seeing as I used all but a few yards of the purple that was never going to happen.
The really big surprise in my week was the two big (dog sized) bags of yarn that appeared unexpectedly in my porch. I didn’t see that one coming, neither did the dog as the yarn fairy managed to open the porch door, leave the bags, close the front door and nearly get back to her car before he got out of his basket to look out of the window and bark. Someone had a tidy up and for some reason thought of me when she asked herself “who could use this wool?”. Until I’ve got to the end of this warp I’m not letting myself think about the next project so I couldn’t possible have a page of notes on how much warp I need for a blanket 46″ wide and 72″ long (yes, there’s enough in those bags)
Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks on April 5th, 2013
I’ll put the knitting at the beginning for those of you that don’t want to look at the photos of this week’s bread products. These are my son’s feet in the newest pair of school socks, the red is the yarn left over from the Christmas stocking in the last post. This is part of my cunning plan to reduce the expansion of the bag of sock yarn bits by putting less into it. I knitted the black from both ends of the ball and have under two yards left from a 50g ball so I felt no remorse about throwing the scraps in the bin. It might look as if I messed up the pattern on the sock at the back but even I struggle to fail at counting to two. It has his name knitted across the foot (you’re looking at the A and the N) but it didn’t come out particularly well because of the variegation in the yarn and my refusal to carry one yarn across half a sock just to frame the letters. Now that both males have the same size feet there’s the potential for wash day being more challenging and I thought it might be useful to start marking the socks so I know whose is whose. There are much simpler ways to achieve this so I don’t think I’ll be doing this again.
That’s the end of the wool, now onto the yeast. I nearly blew it with the brioche, I’ve eaten it but never made it and the end result doesn’t really tell you much about the process. I’m going to put my wobbly first effort down to an attempt to combine two recipes, one with an overnight rise and one with chocolate chips. The first challenge was that the recipe I was using must have used ostrich eggs because 25ml of milk, two eggs and 250g of flour does not a dough make, it makes crumbs. I didn’t think that adding great lumps of butter would soften the dough that much so I put more milk in and it looked respectable when I’d finished with it so maybe I got it right. Sadly it looked exactly the same the next morning, the slow overnight rise was more of a no overnight rise. There are a number of things I’ll be doing differently next time, including taking them out of the oven sooner.
The croissants were more work than the brioche but the results were better even though I’d never made those before either. The first one I made was a Shrek croissant which clearly answered my question of “Have I rolled this out thin enough?”. The rest were fine and I made pain au chocolat out of the trimmings. My son is thirteen, has no interest in lamination and crumb structure and declared the chocolate ones to be awesome (and were there any more?). He is the only reason that I buy plastic bread, he has it for toast in the morning and sandwiches at night. I’d like to stop buying it but that means coming up with acceptable substitutes. Making bread rolls has eliminated the need for sandwich bread but that still leaves a gap on the breakfast plate. Having made both I can say now that if I’m making them on a regular basis then I’d rather be making brioche than croissants but I need another recipe, some more practise and milk chocolate chips rather than plain.
I have made naan bread once before, it was pretty poor and put me off making it again. I tried again this week and this time it was spot on. The dough last time had a lot of yoghurt in it and I think that’s what I didn’t like about it. I’d make them again (and again and again) but next time I’ll cook them on the griddle because getting the burnt flour off the base of my biggest Le Creuset pan has been a struggle. It seemed like a good idea at the time because the pan was big and round and the griddle is long and narrow but I didn’t really think it through. Burnt flour on the griddle is less of an issue seeing as the griddle is black to start with.
I’m not done with yeast yet, next on the list are bagels, oatcakes and pretzels. It’s been decades since I made bagels because the first time I made them I decided they weren’t worth the effort and I’ve never made oatcakes or pretzels. Flour is cheap and it’s never a dull day when you learn something new.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks, Weaving on March 6th, 2013
Here are the contents of the plastic bag shown last time – two 2lb tin loaves. I have the same attitude to arty bread as I do to arty yarn – unless you have a use for it there’s no point in making it unless you really enjoy the process. The whole product vs process discussion applies equally to breadmaking as it does to knitting or spinning except that you can’t stash bread particularly well. We eat all of the bread we buy as sandwiches or toast so it needs to be regular in size (so one round of sandwiches is about the same size as another) and small enough to fit into the toaster. I like the look of those monster domes of arty bread but I can’t see that they have much practical application (rather like supercoils). There isn’t a powerful incentive for me to make bread because we shop at a real bakers which is right next to the real butcher who sells beef from cows and has animal parts on hooks in the cold store at the back. Last weekend the timing of other stuff meant that there was no way of fitting in the bread run so I made my own. They were good loaves, I should have slashed the tops deeper and maybe dusted them with flour but they were as good as any I’ve ever made. The first two didn’t last very long so I had a chance to see what they would have looked like slashed and dusted because I remembered to do that with the second two. The second two were prettier but had a slight flying crust because I was pushed for time on the final rise. I think my next stop is croissants and to do that I need to clear the breakfast bar off to create some serious rolling out space. I used to buy my bread flour by the sack then junior came along with his preference for floppy bread. I am hoping that now is the time to wean him off plastic shop bread and if the trade off is chocolate croissants then so be it.
The scarf from last time also came out well. It needed some fixing because yet again I managed to do an outstanding job of threading (not), I had one threading error and three pairs of crossed threads. It would have come out better if I hadn’t woven a foot before finding the third pair. You can’t tell now and that’s what matters. As this is all sock yarn and machine washable it can go to a home where it may not be properly washed so as soon as I’ve written a thank you note it will be going off to school. This took about 120g of sock yarn bits, I have enough red scraps to make another without getting too inventive with the colours, I’m not sure if I have enough for a third without it being too striped.
The latest socks are finished. The black tops are so that he can wear them for band concerts and school, provided that they are visibly plain they’ll do. What happens in the shoe, stays in the shoe. They were too plain to be fun and another time I’ll know to show him a shortlist of yarns rather than letting him pick his own. I used all of one 50g ball of black, I knitted from both ends of the ball with two sets of dpns so I finished just past the gusset decreases with less than a yard left. I used all of the purple and there’s so little left of the blue after knitting the toe that I’ll keep that bit out for yarn ties. Even though it sounds like a big win over the scrap bag in reality I’ve used less than 30g out of it. I suppose that’s better than putting 30g into it but it’s the scarf that takes the win this week on using leftovers.
The thrummed hat is still in the bag, not one row longer than last time. I bet it wouldn’t take an hour of my time to finish it, even so my next project is going to be winding another warp from the scrap bag. I’m pushing myself to finish the hat, I have no other knitting (my inner knitter whispered something about a Victorian stocking but she’s wrong) and I’m not starting anything else until it’s finished. It has to be done because I can’t face the thought of attempting to frog thrums.
Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Non-fibre, socks on March 2nd, 2013
I have to admit that I’m not enjoying these latest socks all that much. I let the recipient have the full choice of colours from the scrap bag and he pulled out the first ball he came to and proclaimed it to be perfect. I moved from plain black to plain purple and it’s all so …. plain. I’m at the same point on both socks, just about to start the toe shaping and I think there is just not quite enough yarn to finish them. This wasn’t a problem because all I needed to do is poke about in the sock scrap bag and I already had three perfect (really perfect, not just first-out-of-the-bag perfect) not-plain yarns in mind. I had a good look in the bag but couldn’t find any of them, in fact there seemed to be a shortage of purple scraps which puzzled me because I was sure that I hadn’t knitted them.
This puzzle was solved when I sat at the loom. This is my first weaving this year, I wound this warp months ago and it’s been threaded and ready to start for weeks so it’s not surprising that I’d put it from my mind. All those missing purples and the rest of the turquoise are now accounted for. This is all sock yarn from the scrap bag, I’m confident that there is enough of the weft to actually finish it, I didn’t do anything radical like work it out but it was a pretty big ball so I was happy to wing it. This is all machine washable sock yarn and I think I already have a home for it.
The other reason that the plain and boring socks aren’t finished is that I have had two projects on the go. They say that a change is as good as a rest and there has been a world of difference between tiny yarn on tiny dpns and doubled yarn on pencil sized dpns. (Excuse the weird crusty fingers, it’s dough, not a gruesome skin condition) This is my first thrummed item, apart from when we have freak weather and it gets down to -17 we don’t really have it cold enough to need that extra trapped air. If I get to the end this will be something that looks like a trapper hat except that as soon as I started with the grey I immediately regretted my colour choices. I’m going to carry on and finish it because it will suit someone somewhere, I’ve learned from it (don’t use wool that matches your hair colour unless you are knitting a wool wig) and with needles that big there is not exactly a lot of work involved.
My other first is still proving and is the reason for the scabby fingers in the photo above. I’ve been making bread by the same method all my life and I thought it was time for a change. These are my first loaves made by the sponge method and it will be interesting to see whether they are actually noticeably different to ones made with a one stage mix. If the kitchen wasn’t north facing and cold then I might already know, as it is the bag is now sitting in the living room enjoying the sun.
If I knuckle down then there is a chance that everything here could be finished next week – unlikely but possible.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning on February 25th, 2013
My major achievements last week were the purchase of football boots, black trousers and white shirts. From that you can deduce that it has been half term for the growing school child. The week’s shopping turned out to be less stressful than my baking, which is usually not the case at all. I made some macarons which would have been better if I’d not explored the other functions on the oven and burnt them. The setting that the manual said was “especially good for baking” appears to really be “especially good for baking much hotter than the normal fan setting”. Apart from that they were not bad for a first attempt especially after they’d stood for three days and absorbed some of the liquid from the filling. I made a peach and blueberry dessert which looked lovely when I saw it on a repeat of Great British Bake Off but which failed to deliver. I lost faith in the recipe when the first layer (of three) overflowed from the two litre dish that the recipe specified. If I was ever making it again I’d halve everything and substitute a basic crumble topping seeing as mine was soggy rather than crumbly (I have a suspicion that there was too much butter in relation to the flour and sugar). I was on safe ground with the pasta, bread and pizza and they vanished so quickly that this is the only photo I have.
I finished the second pair of green and black socks for Daniel proving that you can get two pairs of socks from 100g of black. With a blatant disregard for my eyesight I cast on for a third pair of black and leftovers. The current black yarn comes in 50g balls so one ball will make a pair of socks. I’ve found out that I don’t have enough light at night to count rows or pick up stitches but the rest of the time plain round and round socks don’t need a lot of looking at and I get on well enough.
I took this photo two weeks ago and Ophidian is exactly the same size now. It turned out to be a non starter because of the yarn. It’s a very slick superwash and I know that it’s not going to hold a block for five minutes so although I like the colour and the beads I have to concede that it’s a waste of time knitting it into anything lacy. I will rip it and put it back into the sock yarn drawer for another day. It’s difficult when you can’t touch what you are buying because not all superwash merino is as slick as this, I’ve knitted this pattern twice before with sock yarn but that wasn’t the same super slippery sock yarn as I have now.
I had some fun with the carder, I made a couple of batts from natural coloured fibre and some more from wool that I’d dyed. I have the feeling with these that I’m making something from nothing because I take little bits of fibre and make them into a big lump of something (or sometimes into other little bits of fibre). I did manage to make a significant impact on the bag of wool this week because I looked in it rather than just pulling things from the top. In the bottom was 500g of undyed fibre that belonged in a totally different bag. As if by magic the carding bag immediately became big enough to hold its contents and stopped slithering lumps of silk onto the floor.
I have to go and root through the stash now, I’ve bought a pattern that knits to three stitches to the inch on huge needles and it’s a fair bet that I have no suitable yarn. I suspect that it’s going to be character building seeing as it’s so far away from what I usually knit, I also suspect that I’m going to be holding three strands of yarn together.
Posted by caroline in Family, Knitting, socks on February 16th, 2013
It’s been a funny week, more beef products unmasked as horsemeat, snow closures and the non-appearance of the school bus again. Mr WFB has been in Paris all week and my original plan was to open out the loom on Monday, bring the carder downstairs, ignore all the housework and play with wool until I was sick of the sight of it or until he came home on Friday. I still can’t see any flaws in that as a plan but it didn’t happen at all. I got as far as combing 20g of Oxford Down before it all went wrong
This is a photographic record of my achievements for the week. There’s no Ophidian, no Victorian Stocking, no carding, it is altogether a total failure when measured against my grand plan. What I do have is a pair of stealth socks and a freshly decorated dining room. I’d planned to redecorate the dining room after I did the kitchen in September but I kept putting it off until suddenly the Christmas tree went up. I never intended to be painting this week and I can’t work out now how it was that I came to fall into doing it. At least it is a chore that stays done, unlike dusting or ironing, so although it was a big job I can now forget all about it for another mumblemumble years. I managed to avoid painting the dog, it was a close thing and it took a volley of “nononoNO” repeated at least twice a day for him to get the message that there was nothing interesting to be found in the roller tray. I wouldn’t have minded him getting paint on his nose except that he would have immediately wiped it off on the carpet which would have been a bad thing. He seemed to think that I put the dust cloths down for him to hide his breakfast dog biscuit under, the hiding was fine but I could have done without him digging it back up again while I was above on the ladder.
I have enough black and green yarn (originally from the creeper mitts) to make another pair of band socks which is lucky because there was some serious begging being done and I have promised to make a similar pair for the junior bandsman before next Saturday. All I’m saying is that you need to love someone very much to be knitting black socks in February. I ordered some more black sock yarn (it was on sale, I was weak from the paint fumes) but I’ll be saving it for the summer when I can actually see it. This is not such a big purchase as it looks because they are 50g balls so you need two balls for a pair of socks. If you’re knitting stealth socks then you only need one ball for a pair and that’s what I’ll be doing with the black. I have a lot of leftover sock yarn to use up and I’m hoping that six pairs of socks with contrasting feet will make me feel like I’m winning the battle with the leftovers.
The sock yarn wasn’t my only reward for my week of being chained to a paint roller, I got a new sock knitting bag which came free with some very high class artisan macarons (being French they end with a ron rather than a roon). I believe that the macarons cost about the same as the sock yarn, the sock yarn will last longer but it’s nowhere near as indulgent. My favourite so far has been the white one in the right hand column, the filling was a chocolate and hazelnut paste that was unbelievably tasty. They are not something that I’ve ever made seeing as they fall under the heading of “too much messing about” but I’d be tempted to make plain ones and sandwich them together with Nutella and chopped nuts.
I have the carder out now, instead of having wool week I’m having a wool day. I’ll enjoy it much more now that I’m not looking at what needs to be done and feeling guilty.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on January 21st, 2013
I did intend to show a sweater update each time I finished a ball but I missed slightly with this one. The start of the third ball was about half an inch below the sleeve division, I’ve started the back first because it will be easier to decide how long to make the front opening once I have the back to look at. I’ve had a change of heart on the zip, I’m now thinking of having three clasps but I haven’t told the end user. I thought I’d tack them on and present them as a done deal, I can always take them off and sew in the zip if I need to. Dan has proved to be quick to train, whenever I walk towards him with my knitting in my hand he puts his arms straight up like a diver for the sweater body to be dropped over him. He’s taken to doing it when I don’t have knitting in my hand which is quite disconcerting. He’ s not needed for trying on for a while, I think he can stand down right until I’ve finished the sleeve cap shaping on the first sleeve. By my rough estimate that will be just around the start of the fourth ball.
I finished the last socks. They are sort of a pair in that one is knitted toe up with a Bosnian toe and one cuff down with similar toe decreases. The yarn fuzzed up while knitting (mohair in action), some sections of it were inconsistently spun and I’ll wait and see how it wears before deciding whether I like it or not. Mr Fluffy refused to budge despite taking up most of the best of the natural light, he’d had a very tiring afternoon watching us clear the snow off the drive. This required him to bounce all along the windowsill barking his head off. I suspect I’m going to wake up in the morning aching all through my arms and shoulders with absolutely no idea of what I’ve done to myself. I might also have a big bruise on my hip from where I fell walking to the shops but I’m pretty sure that I’ll remember that. I’ll remember that the essentials I set out for were in the fridge all along, just not in the salad drawer where they should have been. I’ll remember that I lost an hour’s knitting time fetching in something that I wouldn’t have needed if I’d looked all through the fridge. I’ll remember that after I finished grumbling about people not putting things away properly I worked out who the guilty party was, who it was that last took the bag of peppers out of the fridge and didn’t put them back in the right place, thereby losing me an hour of my valuable time and callously causing me to fall in the snow. Yes, it was me.
My gloves still have a hole, my hands are still cold but I haven’t cast on for any new gloves. I suspect that my inner knitter has something in mind that she’s not seen fit to share yet, for some reason all the yarns I’m considering aren’t right. They are all good enough but none of them is The One. Probably by the time I come to a conclusion all the white stuff will have gone away, I won’t see the point in all those fingers and I’ll forget about gloves until my fingers freeze next winter.
Posted by caroline in Family, Knitting, socks, sweaters on January 4th, 2013
I like starting the New Year with nothing on the needles and an empty loom, I don’t always manage it but this year I did. I made another pair of the Either/Or mitts, this pair I made a little smaller now that I can see which bit goes where. The first ones were a tiny bit long over my knuckles, once I’d knitted them I could see that it was the first part of the pattern which is knit in the round from the thumb that determines the length so I stopped that part a bit earlier. That affects the width as well so I added a few more rows in the middle garter section in the second pair because otherwise they’d have been shorter and narrower rather than just shorter. I could knit these from the scrap bag from now to the end of the world (whenever that falls this year) except that I need to refer to the pattern for establishing the increases and the set up rows when the knitting changes direction. I didn’t print it off because it was very long which means I’m faffing around turning the computer on and off and that’s not what I want in an evening’s knitting. I did try writing out the bits I needed, twice, but seeing as I immediately lost the directions (twice) that wasn’t particularly successful either.
This was the husband’s New Year’s Eve project. It had potential for disaster (first choux pastry, first day with hot sugar syrup) but he pulled it off. We bought him a croquembouche mould for his birthday because we’re subtle like that and this was the first opportunity he had to use it seeing as it needs more than three people to eat it. The small one is built inside the mould, so it ends up being worked top down, and that means that the caramel is at its best right at the top where you don’t need its structural properties quite so much. Next year he’ll making it on the outside of the mould, bottom up, which should make it more stable and also bigger which is good because there wasn’t quite enough of it to go around. It leaned a bit from the outset and that crack on the right hand side got progressively larger which meant that it was put in a bowl in case the whole lot went over. It was still standing when we came to eat it which counts as a win in my book.
The caramel used to hold the choux buns together was his second use of hot sugar, building on the experience gleaned from his first ever sugar project an hour earlier. I’m all for using leftovers and this marshmallow used the egg white that was left over from the creme anglais in the choux buns and the gelatine sheets left over from the packet I used to set the jelly in the pork pie. That was a reprise of the brown sock incident – I made the stock earlier in the year, strained it, reduced it until it stood up by itself, congratulated myself on planning ahead and then the smugness fairies spirited it away. Somewhere in the freezer was a bag labelled “pork pie stock” but I had two sessions looking for it without success. (I found it on January 3rd while looking for something for dinner) I am told that the marshmallow is perfect, I poked it with a finger and it is as fluffy and bouncy as shop bought but for me it ranks alongside candy floss under the heading “things I can’t bring myself to eat”.
I’m at the stage of planning to knit, this sketch is about as far as I’ve got. I weighed the fibre I had (it’s what I used to knit my Celtic Dreams) and there probably isn’t quite enough to make Dan a sweater so I’ve ordered more. I can’t start spinning the first lot until the second batch lands because it’s although it’s the same fibre from the same supplier there’s no guarantee that it will be exactly the same colour. The next step is to write the child’s measurements on the sketch, spin and knit a couple of yarn samples and then convert the sketch into something more resembling a pattern whilst at the same time making a pile of yarn. I’m hoping that the rib means that he’ll get some wear out of it, if he wears it at all of course because it could fit perfectly and not be right for some reason only discernible to a twelve year old.
In the meantime there are always socks. I’ve been looking at the overflowing sock scrap bag and feeling guilty even though I’ve recently made a pair of socks and two pairs of fingerless gloves out of it. I should have been knitting another pair of socks from the scraps but I wanted to play with the new shiny yarn that I found under the tree. The guilt lost out this time, these are Apple Laine Apple Pie in “Best Friends”. It’s 65% wool, 20% mohair, 10% nylon and 5% silk and I have the yarn for another two pairs of socks after these. The first pair is going to be toe up so I can see just how much less there is in a ball, after which I may revert to cuff down. The sock yarn bag will be meeting the loom just as soon as the tree comes out of the space where the loom should be, that way I get to knit the new stuff and still feel good about catching up with the scraps.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks on December 28th, 2012
Pebble the wonder dog had exactly two presents in his stocking. He was so taken with the first one that he never opened the second one which is probably just as well because I can’t see that he would have been terribly interested with one hundred black plastic bags. He was very excited about the Christmas Day sheep, which was promptly christened the baaa-rk sheep, and he didn’t put it down all day. I squeak test all potential dog toys to see how annoying they are because I know that I’ll be listening to them for six hours straight. This one has a low pitched squonk so he’s still playing with it, it’s the high squeaky ones that test my patience and have to be removed for the preservation of my good humour.
The Boxing Day sheep was on a different scale. I imagine there would have been much barking had Pebble been faced with the Derby tup but he stayed home in expectation of a big crowd. I smile every time I iron the son and heir’s PE kit because I think it’s funny that he has to wear sheep to school. He denies it of course, but the line “it’s not a sheep but a tup, mum” cuts no ice with me because I know that there’s no difference. It’s a sheep honey, it may have horns that touch the sky and eyeballs like footballs but it’s still a sheep. For those of you that don’t live close enough to catch a live performance on Boxing Day I found a video for you here of that very sheep in action. It is from last year and I’m in the crowd but you won’t see me because I was at the back. This year – front row.
Officially I had no Christmas knitting because I finished it in January with this pair of brown socks. That was the plan anyway but it went somewhat awry so you do get to laugh at the failure of my epic planning. The socks went into the top of my wardrobe with everything else that I make that has gift potential and they were there right through to the end of November when I dredged it all out to look for teacher gifts. I took the pair of socks out and stuffed them in a bag of presents that needed wrapping so I wouldn’t forget them later. When I came to wrap them I was a little surprised to find that there was no “them” only an “it”. I had hopes that the missing sock would reappear before Christmas Eve because I’d not long since had it and it couldn’t have gone far. I cracked on and finished the blue ones (seen here in action on the new piano pedals that Santa brought) so that I had a fall back which was just as well because the second sock didn’t turn up until the 28th when it surfaced from the middle of a pile of towels in the airing cupboard. I can’t work out how it got into the towels seeing as I am sure that I’d put it in the bag with the other so that will just have to stay as one of the great mysteries of our time.
I started these on Christmas Eve, they start with the thumb and are knitted all in one piece so they promised to be a quick and interesting knit with potential for using up left over sock yarn. The pattern is written for using any thickness of yarn, it’s just a question of matching the needles to the yarn and setting off. The first one was so interesting that I nearly didn’t make the second, it looked so deformed when it came off the needles that I didn’t think that it would be redeemed by blocking. By the time I made the second one I had got a grip on the arrangement of increases which made for much easier knitting (key tip – use all six markers rather than using the space between dpns as a marker. If you are me you will not remember that the needle change is an increase point). I’m toying with making a second pair entirely from the scrap bag now I know how the pattern works. The sharp eyed may notice that they don’t exactly match, this is because the section of the first one that was in progress during Dr Who on Christmas Day veered away from the pattern slightly. I’d forgotten about that when I came to make the second and I followed the pattern rather than copying the oops modification from the first one. They fit and a non knitter won’t notice so I’m leaving it.
Posted by caroline in Bohusish, Knitting, socks on December 16th, 2012
I know you didn’t see that coming and neither did I. It’s an adult bootee made with big needles and three strands of sock yarn held together. I don’t know what it is that I am looking for in a slipper but I know this is not it. It’s slightly not long enough in the foot, I don’t like the shaping and overall it’s just not right. I liked the colours though and seeing as the yarn is back in the scrap bag I get to knit them all again another day. This was (briefly) the Add-a-bootee from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knit One, Knit All.
I got past the heel and then the first of the yarns ran out on the sock. Now that there are three yarns doing the work of four the others will be eaten up faster but I think I have enough left to reach the toe. I’m about an inch past the heel on the first sock and just starting the heel flap on the second and from here on I’ll be trying to keep them both about the same length because I think the next yarn that will run out is the one that I’m knitting from both ends. There will be only me who will know if it runs out in different places in both socks but I will know and that’s reason enough to avoid it happening.
I decided that the new orange was perfectly acceptable, it works with the others and looks much less scary once knitted. I know from past experience the main ways that I can get a hat wrong. I can run out of yarn, make it too wide or not wide enough, make it too deep or not deep enough. This is not an exclusive list (I could leave the pattern on a tram) but hats are really simple and the number of ways you can get them to not fit is limited by the really simple shape of the average head. I’ll know whether I’ve run out of yarn when I’ve finished, I took the yarn I made and decided there was probably enough for a hat and divided it up between the colours. I could run out of all of them, some of them or none of them. The only one I’m confident about is the background because I had 100g of that. I can’t do anything about having enough so I’ll forget about it altogether which puts us back to sizing. I know that stranded knitting doesn’t stretch in the same way that single colour work does so providing I got the numbers right then the most likely failure is for it to come out narrower than I planned. I’m checking my tension every time I pick it up because I’ve been bitten so many times before and I’m happy that it will be head sized. After the first few rows I calculated my row gauge, divided it into the number of pattern rows and estimated that there might be too much pattern to fit on a plain beanie especially as I decided to start on row 1 rather than row 14 as directed. I had a look down the pattern, worked out where I could make an early exit and opted to look at the length later on when there was more of it knitted and less to estimate. I also had a look at some photos of completed hats on Ravelry even though there’s no point as I’m knitting at a different gauge and not following the directions in the pattern. They weren’t terribly reassuring though.
When I was half way through the chart I had more chance of working out with some certainty where the last colourwork row would fall. It was a simple job of measuring the knitting I’d done and then measuring that length down from where the needles were. I suspected that it was going to fall over my eyes even if I left off the ribbing and finished with a facing but I think I might just get away with it. My options now are:
carry on, hope for the best and have a back up plan for a beautiful angora tea cosy;
carry on to the end of the chart, add an inch or two of the background to make it even longer, stick a tassel on the top, earflaps on the bottom and make a chullo with its characteristic fold over top;
make a planned exit from the pattern somewhere well above my eyes and add extra background rows to bring it to the right length;
cut a few rows from the pattern here and there and hope for the best.
I don’t need a tea cosy so that’s out. The chullo style is tempting except that I already have one that I wear. This isn’t such a big deal because there’s a fair chance that I’ll never wear this, I wanted to knit it not necessarily to own it. The sensible option would be to carry on, try it on again when I get to the point where I can easily truncate the pattern and then decide how much length I need to lose. That’s what I’m going with for the moment, I’m not up to big decision making today and the only reason I’m posting this is because I wrote most of it yesterday. I had all of three hours sleep last night and I’m counting the minutes until bedtime. The cause of my upset night is having a nap in the sun on the windowsill, it’s a good job he’s cute because otherwise I’d be sending his squeaky sheep back to Santa.