Category Archives: socks

its a thing!

i have had my knitting time seriously encroached on this week due to Other Things like work, and singing practice, and a little thing called ‘organising the fabulous fibres feature display at the Sydney Royal Easter Show’.  im really enjoying being the co-ordinator of the display (where the knitters guild will have a large area to display our work and run demos and chat to the public etc) for the two whole weeks of the show, but good lord, the organising. lots and lots of spreadsheets and emails, trying to keep track of all the different elements. im lucky, i roped in some good people to take on specific tasks, and theyve been great, but sometimes collectives are harder than just doing it yourself. so much consensus building, and in a group as diverse as the knitters guild, consensus is a nice ideal! (Turns out I would have made a good facist dictator). but mostly, its been a good experience in staying focused on the goal and not sweating the small stuff.

i did manage to get one thing finished, one single lonesome sock, the first tarty pea (recovered from its little surgery).

this fits really well now and i like it a lot. the madtosh sock yarn knits up a dream. im not going to start the second one straight away. i owe someone a new pair of socks. these are the current knitted man socks in the house (missing one patonyle gansey – who knows where that is?)

as you can see some of them are faded and semi felted. sigh. so im going to start the first of these

and make one before returning to the tarty peas. that way he might have new socks by june.

i was also distracted this weekend by a little unexpected BUNT knitting. we decided for the stall to have some knitted bunting. bunting is a THING, mostly in sewing circles, but knitted anything is better, and my own guild group have decided it will be the thing they contribute to the stall. there was a string of them already on display at saturdays meeting, and i couldnt resist, i had to come home and make one:

this is some left over yarntini self striping. i have some cherry tree hill left overs too, and maybe a bit of wollmeise lying around. it could only be more of a THING if you put a bird on it, right?

k xx


if in doubt…

probably the most important thing i’ve learnt as i’ve progressed in my knitting skills is to trust my instincts. it turns out i am usually right. for instance: happily knitting along on the wasabi pea socks, added a few extra stitches, figured out how to stick to the actual pattern, loving the madelinetosh sock yarn (its even better for socks than it is for shawls). fits great on the leg, do the heel and sort of gusset decreases as directed, try it on:

houston, we have a problem. you cant really tell from these pictures but its too tight across the instep

it fits great everywhere else, but its just too tight there. theres no real stretch in it, and the pattern is meant to go down the foot,

whereas mine stops about one centimetre after the instep.

i knew it wasnt right, and continued for a bit, but the little voice inside my head wouldnt shut up, and so, you know what i must do. if in doubt, rip it out. as they say.

so thats a bit of a bummer, and ive been putting it off, but i will do it today. hopefully it wont be too stressful, as i am a bit wobbly today. the change in eating pattern (i do not use that D word) is going really well. im really super surprised by some of the changes, including a noticeable increase in energy and mental clarity, let alone the lack of stomach pain. everything is, for the most part, functioning normally. yesterday tho, i was really busy at work and went well below what im meant to on the carb level, and pretty well started sliding into a quasi-coma from about 8pm. i was so tired, and a bit headachy and the strange taste in my mouth, and this morning i woke up tired and cranky and crying.

of course, that could just be a delayed shock reaction from the week i’ve had at work. there is lots of movement at the station because of the new BossMan and ive been given a number of new (some rather important) projects. im determined not to let them stress me out and just do what i can each day, and ignore the fact that my boss just SMSed me. at noon. on a saturday.

perhaps i’ll just make a nice cup of tea before i start on that sock!

k xx

fo1: unst redux

the first finished objects for 2012 are the lovely unst socks by nancy bush

this is my second attempt at these socks. i messed up the pattern AND sizing the first time and then messed up the yarn (spud and chloe fine in ‘shitake’) when trying to rip back. but i wanted to do them so much because i had initially started them as part of a KAL with alison and fiona, and they finished and i didnt. so i picked up this lovely koigu yarn from calico and ivy in perth, and started again.

im glad i did. this is a really easy pattern, with only 4 pattern rows, two of which are knit, and the actual stitch pattern easy to remember. its the ‘columns and arches’ stitch pattern and it comes up a treat in this tightly twisted yarn

(apart from where the knitter makes mistakes, but in socks for me i dont care). i did make one serious miscalculation however. i upped the stitch count by a whole pattern repeat (so from 56 stitches to 70). 56 stitches is way too small for me, especially on 2.25mm needles. i forgot however, that koigu skeins are a bit shorter than usual. so i ran out of yarn right near the end of the toe

i decided to just finish the toes with what i could reclaim from the aforementioned spud and chloe. it was a pretty good match, and i dont think you’d know if i didnt tell you. i will wear these a lot, they fit well and the colour goes with everything.

i would defintely recommend this pattern to start with if you’ve not knitted nancy bush socks before.

im enjoying knitting socks at the moment, and started another KAL with fee and al yesterday at lunch after knitters guild meeting. this time its wasabi peas from interweave knits

but i am not a green yarn lover, i dont own or wear a single green thing and dont intend to start anytime soon. so, in line with my ‘knit what you want with the yarn you want’ motto for 2012, i’ve started mine in madelinetosh sock in ‘tart’, which is my favourite colour of hers and will match my stripe study shawl. im calling them ‘tarty peas’

we’ve made a few mods to this pattern so far, including upping the stitch count, changing the cuff and modifying the actual stitch pattern! i’ll let you know how they work out, and hopefully there will be no mishaps with pattern or yarns this time.

k xx

toe fetish, with interruptions

these last two weeks before christmas at work have been crazy. im having most of january off and suddenly everyone wants me to finish everything. of course, its not happening. i have two more meetings today and then i go into serious wind down mode. my currently throbbing right wrist will thank me, if nothing else, although i suspect thats got more to do with knitting than work! and i think its from knitting furiously for at least a week on tiny 2.25mm needles.

first i had to fix that toe issue on those stripey socks. so i got everything set up for my sock surgery on thursday, turned the offending item inside out and set about trying to unpick a judy’s magic cast on.

not as easy as it sounds, and neither is unravelling a toe when there are decreases to be dealt with.

it got a bit messy at one point.

scissors were required.

right after i took this photo i decided to go cool off with some laps in the pool.

it hasnt even been hot here yet, just a bit humid and muggy, with so much rain and cloud, but the sun came out and i decided to just jump in there. i was pretty happy, my first swim in 8 months and i did a kilometre no problem, including 400 metres non stop (usually i break it up every 100m with a kickboard lap). it felt great to be in the water again. im not a fan of summer but i’d be happy for it be warmer OUTSIDE the pool than in (the water is warmed slightly so it was 27 in and 22 out!).

of course, swimming makes me ravenously hungry, so i made a little afternoon tea before getting back into the sock surgery,

which, once past the decreases,

proceeded without further problems!

i finished them up last night, and they are almost a perfect match.

the lengths are now even, but there is a slight difference in the actual shaping of each toe. i dont think the recipient will mind.

i had another toe issue this weekend as well, which involved the Unst socks ive been working on in that yummy koigu stuff. i forgot that koigu skeins are a bit sparse, and i went down a needle size PLUS added stitches, and forgot to adjust the length of the leg accordingly. i thought i might get away with it. people i had lunch with on sunday thought i might get away with it.

but i didnt. i ran out on the train on the way home.

so close! so i decided to risk it and join in some closely matching spud and chloe fine (the yarn i originally started these socks in!) i only had about 8 rounds to go, and im pretty happy with how it turned out.

you can really only tell if you look really closely, and who’s going to be looking really closely at the toes of my handknitted socks, especially when they’re inside my shoes?

so even though i should start the second unst straight away, i think i need a bit of a break from the tiny needles. there’s some madeline tosh prairie and a jared flood pattern calling my name.


stops and starts

at our knitters guild meeting this weekend, we did a round the room ‘what i learnt about knitting this year’. i said i learnt that if you work on one project it gets finished, and then lyn said something that really resonated with me – that i dont like knitting patterns i dont like. i’ve always struggled with KALs, and i was really disappointed with the socks that the majority voted for in a group i helped initiate on ravelry. they were good patterns, just not the ones i really wanted to knit, especially in a year where knitting time has been so hard to come by. so i started one or two of them, and then opted out.

this doesnt just apply to KALs though. this year i have also learnt if i’ve decided on something, and i start it, and im not feeling the love, frog it. it wont get finished and it will sit in the basket under my coffee table unfinished. for example, this jaywalker sock, which i discovered on sunday when i was cleaning out said basket.

it has no sibling, because as much as i love the yarn (its online supersocke bamboo blend and its so lovely and so soft on), i really loathe that jaywalker pattern. so even though the basket is now tidy,

and that sock is back in there, there probably wont be a second one. at least, not in the forseeable future.  while cleaning out said basket, and with lyn’s words ringing in my head, i looked at the lovely madli’s shawl in gold silky thread. i havent knit it for ages. why? it bores me. i opted for no nupps, and i hate to admit it but i was wrong (yes yes i said it, take a picture). it needs the nupps so it doesnt look so repetitive, and in that superfine yarn, it really needed the nupps to give it some definition. so it got frogged. because i do want to be knitting some lace, and because fiona is my own personal test knitter at the moment, i have started jared flood’s stonecrop instead.

missfee supplied me with the yarn, which is the beautiful madtosh prairie in thunderstorm (much bluer than it looks here). i wanted to do this because i have some of that colour in madtosh sock, and i love the idea of a shetland/orenburg construction with NO KNITTED ON BORDER. whats not to love about that?

i have been trying to practice what i preach in the monogomous knitting department as well, and concentrating on getting a pair of boy socks off the needles in time for christmas. i achieved that today with these lovely stripey creations.

then i noticed a little problem.

hmmm. i think i will rip that second toe back to the same length as the first (which fits the recipient) and then kitchener it.

so that would be something i obviously failed to learn about knitting this year: look at the first sock before you start the second!


k xx

going round in circles and stripes

oh what has happened to my life! i feel dizzy just thinking about it. the past month has seen me seriously distracted firstly by work (yes i know, what an annoying PEST that is!). but i managed to meet my deadline and produced a 55 page report on my major project for the senior deputy vice chancellor:

the implications of this project for the uni are massive. its a project outside of my own research interests, which have taken a bit of a back seat, but its potentially a career changing project. we have a meeting on thursday afternoon with said SDVC to get his feedback and will know more then about how much bigger its going to get and what my role will be. im in two minds, but open to where it takes me. life is too short, too unpredictable, to try and hang on to narrow ideas of what i thought i would be doing post phd. i have 3 vastly different projects running, this one which is on academic policy, the other big on on alcohol and young people, and a third in development on the use of history in health science curriculums. its interesting trying to keep my head in those three different spaces.  now that the policy one is nearly done, perhaps i can return to the others. although i really just feel like having a long lie down.

ive been really excessively tired lately, partly from work and the brain drain, but also from the emotional drain of starting a new relationship. oh the things we do to ourselves in the pursuit of ‘happiness’! i’ll spare you the details but its been an interesting journey, and i’ve learnt a lot about myself, my values, what i want, what i dont. again, its exhausting juggling the different voices in my head. the jury is still out on where its all going, and i dont feel any rush to hear a verdict right now, so thats growth for me at least! there has been some travelling involved, as the culprit lives about 3 hours north. i organised a little weekend away at a place ive visited once before, catherine hill bay.

this is a kind of special place for me, i came here in 1996 to direct a film i’d written for film school. it was called ‘sinking’, it was set all to music, and it was, unfortunately, never finished. but it did involve surfing and someone dying, so of course, like other great “surfing and someone dying” movies before it, it had to be filmed here. look at that pier:

what a backdrop. i had a memory that the pier had been longer than that, and indeed, a picture inside the house indicated that at least a section of it got washed away in the recent big weather up there.

it rained all weekend, and we didnt see much of the little village beyond the house and street

and i didnt get much knitting done either, but im hoping to remedy that in the next few weeks as i scale down the travelling and try and get life back on an even keel. the lovely miss fee gave me some of this lovely silk/wool holst garn for my birthday

and it immediately yelled ‘ different lines’ to me. i ordered two more balls from the extremely efficient suzy hausfrau just so i’d have enough to make a really big one, and cast on immediately. i know ive made the stripe study in colours very similar to this, but they’re colours i wear, and this time ive made the black the main colour instead of the red.

i love this mindless garter stitch short row knitting, although i did manage to screw it up recently and had to rip it. yes, i screwed up garter stitch. at least i can read sock charts. hmmm hermione?

i have also started new nancy bush socks, a second (or is it third?) attempt at unst

in lovely koigu i picked up at calico and ivy in perth.

my plan is that these will be part of the What Would Nancy Do? thread on the Southern Summer of Socks group on Ravelry. Wheels are in motion to get the group up and running again, including prizes in all sorts of categories.

and in the meantime, i’d better go catch up with everyone elses blogs. and take a long deep breath!

k xx

in between days

how can you tell i dont have any finished knitting things to show? you get odd rambling posts about my walks to work. or, in this case, my trip to sydney on saturday for this months knitters guild meeting. spring weather is always very unpredictable here, and the last few weeks we’ve had lots of rain and then bursts of warm sunshine. saturday was weirder again with lots of fog on the escarpment as i drove up

the dress code for guild appeared to be red, black and/or grey. there were a plethora of lovely new grey cardigans on display

and lots of busy hands, as usual.

there was lunch at the pub afterwards

and then a drive home in the rain.

i took my art frame project to guild with me because it needed some trouble shooting – i have reached the corner where you would normally just follow the pattern with double joins into the corner of the actual shawl pattern (as per the usual shetland type construction). my problem with this project is no inner shawl to knit into, so a few heads combined to try and work out an alternative (thanks donna, lyn and alison!)

it seems as though the mitred corner using short rows is the way to go, i practiced it just in stocking stitch to see if it would work.

it will, but the pattern won’t hold, because of the short rows.

i either have to work out a different pattern and chart it myself or find some way to do double joins into a corner that doesnt exist. something is telling me to try the latter, with some kind of provisional cast on, but i cant quite picture in my head how to do it. otherwise, i could just do a whole heap of faggotting (yo k2tog) around the short row mitred corner. i might try that first and see what happens. suggestions welcome.

i spent most of the rest of the weekend pottering around the house, talking to journalists about our research which the nsw police commissioner mentioned in the paper, and watching a whole heap of rugby. i nearly passed out during the wallabies game, but they won. just. i also finished the first sock of the ‘evening stockings’.

it is super long, right up to the top of my calf, and is hanging here in the cherry blossom, which is slow to flower this year. a bit more eager is the cherry tomato plant ive got in a pot. its going great guns, i think its the weekly seaweed drink i’ve been giving it (see DrG, i am tending!).

you will note i have actually cast on sock two of the evening stocking. they are a long and sometimes tedious knit, and i thought about starting something else in between, but im frightened i will get distracted and never come back.

best to get them done now before new shiny things arrive in the mail! more about that later in the week.

k xx