yarn

I’ve been so lazy

Posted on Sunday, 20th January, 2008. Filed under: crafts (not knitting), knitting, yarn |

When it comes to updating this blog. Well, I have been ill, and then busy, and then ill again, but mostly it’s just down to laziness.

I have been knitting in the meantime, though! There are many, many projects on the go. I’ve finished some, too. I made a pair of socks for mum, which I’m quite proud of, as they were different sizes for her different-sized feet. Just plain stocking stitch to make it easy to get the size absolutely right, with a little shell insert down the outside of each leg to show which is left and right.

I hit the jackpot in the Liberty sale when I was down in London over Christmas and New Year, I got about a dozen balls (50g each) of Jaeger Merino, some 4-ply and some DK, at £1.60 each! I would’ve come away with even more if I could’ve. I also picked up some 3mm bamboo dpns so I could start on a nice thick pair of socks while I was there, and this is the result:

Jaeger Baby Merino socks

Jaeger Baby Merino DK, I think the colour is called Petal? 7sts/9rows/inch, 48 stitches. They’re so thick and cushy and snuggly! I didn’t do anything fancy with them because my feet had been cold lately so I just wanted some warm socks as quickly as possible.

Last autumn I was pleased to find Crystal Palace bamboo dpns available in the UK at Socktopus, as I’ve heard so many good things about them. I’m currently in the last stretch of foot of of the second of a pair of socks I’m knitting on them (Regia on 2mm) and I’m afraid I have to say I’m not that impressed. I can’t really tell any difference between them and Clover, except that the Crystal Palace are a lot bendier, which is not something I like at all. Clover remain my favourite bamboo, definitely in the smaller sizes up to 2.5mm anyway, which is all I’ve used.

I was, however, more than impressed with Socktopus. When the package arrived it was like getting a gift!

Socktopus package

There was even a Socktopus stitch marker with it, as you can see in the picture. What a treat! I’m definitely planning to buy from them again, I’ve got my eye on some of the unbelievably gorgeous yarns, once my bank balance recovers somewhat from my trip to London.

More recently, I’ve been putting together some phone charms and stuff again:

Pretty, sparkly!

And this time there are row counters! Mine is attached to my Chibi, which I find incredibly handy

Row counter & Chibi

except not so much right now as I’ve somehow managed to mislay the pair of them. Gah! I’m really hoping they have to turn up sometime when I’m well enough to clear up this pigsty (I’ve been so ill with a virus that turned into an infection that I haven’t even got my Christmas tree down yet) as I’m sure I can’t have lost them while I was out without noticing. This row-counter arrangement is incredibly useful when knitting away from home, actually, as I take it off and it hangs nicely out of the way yet accessible on the little finger of my left hand. Anyway, this little lot of goodies in the photos will be up in my Etsy shop soon, I hope. The only thing delaying me is that I haven’t had enough light to get some decent photos, so cross your fingers for some sunshine soon! I have tried it with lots of lights on in here and the flash, but that’s just not suited to crystals.

I think that’s most of the major catching-up done. Next up: a pattern!

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Merino socks

Posted on Tuesday, 12th June, 2007. Filed under: knitting, yarn |

Knitted on 2mm Clover bamboo dpns with Socrates hand-dyed merino in Genevieve (I used 68g.). It’s the first time I’ve knitted with merino, and I can’t believe how soft and springy it is! Gorgeous stuff, although I did find this yarn a little splitty, and they feel wonderful on my feet.

I love the way the colours work with the slip-stitch pattern on the heel:

I slightly messed up the heel turn on the second one, I wasn’t giving it my full attention and it ended up a few stitches off centre, but I left it as is, it doesn’t bother me, I can’t see it in the finished sock, probably I could if I looked carefully enough knowing it was there, but the kind of mistake you have to do that to find is that kind that really can be left.

I did the longest heel flap I’ve done on any socks so far with this pair, and it’s perfect, they fit so well. With the 2mm needles I had to cast on 72 stitches to start rather than the 56 on 2.5mm, so the going was a lot slower and sometimes it seemed to take forever to get to the end of the instep needle compared to what I’m used to, but it was definitely worth it, I love the fabric.

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Ask and ye shall receive

Posted on Monday, 7th May, 2007. Filed under: yarn |

From the clearing out of my grandparents’ house since my grandad died, one yarn swift: (Apologies for the quality of these photos, they were taken at my mum’s – so no choice in the backgrounds – and in very artificial light, which my camera really doesn’t like.)

Yarn Swift

Yarn Swift

At least we assume that’s what it is, anyway, it certainly does the job. I don’t think it’s actually any quicker than winding it off my knees, but it’s a whole lot more comfortable! And the thing folds up to such a dinky size:Yarn Swift folded

I’m so pleased with it!!

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Seed cake recipe and sock yarn stash

Posted on Wednesday, 2nd May, 2007. Filed under: baking, recipes, yarn |

I always wanted to try seed cake as it was mentioned in so many old novels I read, but I didn’t even really have any clue what it was until last year sometime. After finally trying it, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, both the flavour (liquorice-y) and the texture of the caraway seeds are very strange to find in a cake when you’re not used to it. However, a slice or two further in and I was definitely a fan. Unusual but delicious, and knowing it’s so old-fashioned just makes it more fun!

As usual, I’ve ended up coming up with my own recipe adapted from a combination of others in my collection of books and my own favourite ways of doing things.

100g butter
100g + 2tspn caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
2 eggs
3tspn brandy
2 1/2 tspn caraway seeds

Cream the butter and sugar (apart from the extra two teaspoons) until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each. Add the brandy, and fold in the rest of the flour and two teaspoons of caraway seeds. Put into a 1lb loaf tin, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and half teaspoon of seeds. Bake at 160C/Gas Mark 3 for 50 minutes – 1 hour, until firm and springy and a skewer comes out clean.

Seed cake

And now on to the knitting. I finally got my yarn I’ve been waiting for! The first parcel ended up officially lost, I hate stupid Royal Mail!! And by the time this had been established, they (Violet Green) had run out of the yarn that made me order in the first place, as it reminded me of parrots. 😦 They were very nice and helpful, though, and I chose some reasonably similar replacements.

yarnskeins.jpg

It’s such gorgeous stuff! I actually squealed and said “oh wow!” when I put my hand in the bag because it felt so soft and lovely. The ones on the left and in the middle (OK, I only bought an undyed skein because it was cheap) are merino, the one on the right is pure silk, so I’m still trying to decide how best to proceed with it for use in socks without falling down round my ankles. Although the fact that I like them not much above my ankles to start with will no doubt help. This is the first time I’ve bought yarn in skeins, and after winding that silk into a ball, I’ve decided I need a yarn swift. It took me over an hour! And my shoulder was so achey by the end. I actually enjoy winding balls of yarn and often rewind ones I’m using anyway, but it’s all the reaching to uncoil it from around my knees/feet (I haven’t decided which works best) that did me in.

I’ve knitted the first of a pair of Hedera in white On-Line (or whatever it’s called) yarn, also because it’s cheap. I don’t know when the other one’s going to get done though, as right now I’m starting on a pair in Regia cotton that I hope will be my first attempt at writing out a pattern properly! *I* know what I’m doing when I start experimenting, but getting it into a format that makes sense to other people is another matter. I’m very pleased with how they’re looking so far, hope I don’t mess anything up as they progress.

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