Saturday, 28 February 2009

If the slipper fits...

Now all my buttons have arrived I have put the final touches to the crocheted slippers I was making. They are crocheted in Paton's marbled Symphony super chunky yarn so a quick couple of projects. I think it took as long to put all the decoration on as it did to make them! (well, nearly!)

The first pair are in the 'nougat' colourway and quite girly. As these are for a younger girl, I added lilac ribbon detail and a funky flower button to fasten them with. The pattern is my own from a few christmases ago but I did a short row heel instead of a square heel this time - legacy of all those socks!

Some of the buttons are so small!

I was going to use a bow for the front but they do have a habit of working loose and never going back just the way you want them - unless you stitch them in place or use the bought bows already tied. I did consider this but as I had some lovely buttons to choose from, I thought the ribbon would look nicer with the flower button detail instead. I do prefer it and if the slippers are too loose, the ribbon which is threaded all around the slipper top can be pulled in tighter and tied off for a perfect fit.

It was a little harder to get fancy buttons to match the heather colourway. They are for an adult so I needed something striking without being plain or too girly.

The stars work well for this theme but the fastening loop caught on the star edges and it was a little on the small side to hold the strap so I put a slightly larger contrasting circular red button underneath and kept the star on top for decoration. Tada!

I wanted to add some ribbon around the slipper and after wrapping, threading and crocheting the ribbon hundreds of ways that didn't look 'quite right', I decided to go with a crocheted chain stitch along the edge with some bead decoration to the front to add a more adult feel. I'm not 100% sold on the edging and is a little tighter than I would like but I'll live with it for a week before I send them off and think of some alternatives. It's not that it is bad per sae, it's just I think I've not tried the perfect edging yet.

I do like these beads though! They are tied close to the top so they don't swing aroung and thump on the front of your feet. I had a pair of slippers that did that and it really annoyed me after a while.

Any suggestions on binding or edging most welcome!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Roving eye...

Ah, knitting, do not despair! Although I still love to knit there has been a calling in me recently to spin. My spinning wheel is just sitting there saying, 'remember me?' And I slink past feeling guilty that I have spent the money on more sock yarn than buying some lovely fibre. But that is all to end! I finally resisted the yarn urge and went for fibre instead. And what lovely fibres they are. These are the online photos from each etsy shop as I couldn't wait for them to arrive before showing you them. But hopefully they will arrive soon.

This first one is from Fibreoptic's Etsy shop and is called 'Black Coffee' - a colour mixture of expresso, coffee, mocha, and a little caramel. Yum yum. She does roving and yarns in such gorgeous colourways that your hands start itching to spin just looking at them! I just love the subtlety of the colour palette and I'm excited to see how it spins up. Kimber at Fibreoptic was so helpful and friendly in helping me get what I needed. A big thank you!

This next one is from All the pretty fibres Etsy shop. Heike also sells her yarns and rovings on Ebay and her website needleworks pleasure, from whom I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn a while back. She has been ever so helpful in giving me advice about how much roving to buy etc. I haven't really spun seriously for a long time - read over ten years. It is maybe a tad more than that, but I'm trying not to think about where the time goes and how it's gone 'whoosh' all of a sudden.

I tend to have little bursts of carding and spinning and then drift away. But this time it is serious! I'll have to get some practicing in before touching the nice stuff but after that there are socks to be knitted with my own spun yarn! (well, that is if I can get an even enough's been a while)

So knitting, you are not being abandoned. Just think of it as a means to getting some lovely yarn to knit with. Knitting and spinning working in harmony:-) Of course, you realise this could start me experimenting with dyeing roving.....

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Blue tiger socks

The progress so far on the new tv watching socks! One down and one to go. This is the blue version of the sundae/tiger socks I knitted but instead of all stocking stitch, I used the 3x1 rib from the blue opal socks here as well. I'm not sure I like the rib as much on a larger scale of stitch and after knitting smaller, this a bit too chunky for my tastes now. But you can still see the pattern in the yarn and the rib is an added bit of interest and will make the sock stay up better. I must say though that the sundae/tiger socks don't fall down being in st st.

This is the toe-up, short row heeled pattern I used for both the others with the wrapped and concealed turns on the heel from the Cat Bordhi video on You Tube - there is a link in a previous sock post. The only problem I have is the first and last stitch which you aren't meant to knit. By the time I have decreased and then increased the heel again, these stitches have kind of stretched a bit and they create a hole just at the join where you don't want it. So next time, I'm going to knit them too and see if that solves the problem.

So now onto the second sock - notice I'm starting straight away! No procrastination and second sock syndrome today! I think I've decided to avoid zigzag yarns for socks. I like the more blended versions and they are more individual and subtle! Saying that, I can't wait to knit up the bright Tonks sock yarn but that is going to be stripey! And I love stripes. But the quality look and the professionalism of the final sock does seem to lie in the choice of yarn so if you are going to all that effort, you might as well indulge in a lovely yarn:-) And that is my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

So onwards with the last zigzag sock and mastering that heel.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Cabled beret

Progress for you on the cabled beret. When I said a lot of cables, I really did mean it! The whole thing is just full of cables end to end. I have knitted a bit more than this and will update the photos soon. But it looks so bunched up on the circular needle at the moment that the cables aren't really shown to their best advantage. Looking at the model in the picture, I have done the crown and am working my way towards the band - about 3 inches to go or maybe less, I hope.

As I said in an earlier post, the pattern is worked in five repeats and it uses 5 Dpn's to keep the pattern nice and clear. I moved onto the circular a bit quick and it was a bit tight to get the cables done. Note to self - don't do that again! It makes the knitting more of a chore and that isn't meant to be the point!! But as soon as I had done all the increases, it got a lot easier and the pattern was much easier to predict. Nice and logical.

Predictably, I think the cables complexities would look a lot crisper in a solid yarn, some cashmerino or alpaca silk maybe - mmm. Soft to the touch but holding the stitch definition well. (But I'm stash busting so that will have to wait:) I don't know if I like the pattern well enough to knit another - it's those lines inbetween the sections, they're too pronounced for me personally. And there are still more hat patterns out there to try. Brooklyn Tweed's Relm for one.

Also, par for the course, I've started another pair of socks. These are the bluey/green version of the sundae - now - tiger socks and I am about a third through the first one. They are Double knit so are knitting up quick. Well, I had to have something to knit whilst watching tv, didn't I? I will get around to working out Judy's magic cast on for the fingering weight socks as I want to to see what my dyed sock yarns knit up like.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Cat and mouse

Mouse? What do you mean mouse? I haven't seen any mouse in this house......

Oooh. That one. The-one-I-was-playing-with-early-this-morning-and-lost-under-the-bed mouse? The one you are frantically chasing all around the house and having to move every stick of furniture to find?

Aaah, errrm...... Sorry?

Friday, 20 February 2009


I was working away on my crocheted slippers and looked up to see this. Isn't it lovely? I spent the next half hour taking lots of photos watching the sun set and realising it is really hard to capture the actual intensity of the colours.

I managed to get some lovely colour palettes for dyeing and felting by blurring the colour sections. They look like smudged pastels! It's also making my fingers itch for some dyed fleece to felt with.....

But it was very wierd to look back at all the pictures and see these more subtle, wispy blue and yellow tones at the beginning. There's only a hint of the orangey reds here before the full blown fiery reds and oranges later on.

Maybe some amber/cinnamon dyed yarn mixes? Yum.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Cables, cables everywhere!

So the cabled Habitat is finished! And a grand knit it was too. I just realised today that the cabley mitts in the Vogue knitting Fall 2008 issue I wanted to knit before christmas - and ran out of time for - were designed by the same guy, Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed. I seem to be finding his patterns everywhere at the moment. I nearly started his beret pattern Relm in the new Knit 1 magazine last night too. But not quite yet. I'll have to save that for later.

I knitted up the larger size for this pattern and it does snuggly cover the ears but if you don't like not seeing any of your hair to soften the pull-on look then I'd go for the shorter version! It's a bit big on me but fine on a guy. If I were knitting this for an average female head then it would definitely be the smaller version I'd use. I'd also like to see how this knits up in a nearly solid yarn. I like the tweed - and it seemed apt (brooklyn tweed) - but I think this yarn is maybe slightly too busy and fights the cables a little. I want to see the cables all merging and twirling together a bit more!

I think I may have cables on the brain for as soon as I finished this lovely cable creation, I have started another. Not another Habitat, yet, but a lovely cabled beret I found in Vogue knitting's holiday issue 2008. It's called cabled tam, pattern no 9 by Jennifer Hagan. It's full of cables, just full of them! At least the pattern is easy enough to remember, it just repeats 5 times in the round. But more on that tomorrow!

For now, I'll leave you with a last look at the lovely tweedy habitat hat in 100% wool, very snuggly and warm while I get going on my cables - the cables are calling me!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Well, here are the Black opal socks all finished and on the feet. I do think the rib stands out well, don't you? The yarn is a lovely subtle mix so it balances the rib well. They also colour match jeans very well too! When I was knitting these I thought they were more of a purpley blue but they look a more pronounced blue now when they're on. I do like these subtle yarns. They can be nicely individual but not too garish as socks. I think I may try and dye up some subtle yarns to try and capture this effect.

I did try to start a pair of socks in the plum/green yarn I dyed but in a much finer guage, I found the figure of eight cast on too difficult. Easy when you have 8 or 10 stitches per needle but not so easy when there are 20+. There isn't enough give on the needle to stretch to the end. Maybe I'll try again or try the 'magic cast on' on I think Cat Bordhi has done a video for this too so that should be easy to follow. If I find it I'll keep the links for you for the next sock post.

The cabled habitat hat is finished and there will be more pics tomorrow for that. It did knit up quick! I'm thinking that socks take so long as there are always two and the hat was a much chunkier knit so moved a lot faster. And, yes, I did watch the Scarlet Pimpernel and the miss marple and actually managed to cable throughout! So I finished sewing in the ends just after midnight.

But now I have a few new projects to plan for. Some crocheted mary jane slippers, some snuggly mittens and 'Vivian' the cabled hoodie top by Ysolda. That will be a longer project though and will be worked on in-between everything else. So I'll keep you posted. Vivian does make me think I haven't watched Pretty Woman in a while....... :-)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cables and Costumes

New project on the go. This is the cable hat by Brooklyn Tweed called Habitat. It is a lovely complex mix of cables that is a joy to knit. The pattern is perfectly logical to follow and clearly laid out in charts so you can work away and see your progression. I'm not quite half way yet but that could be me trying to watch films whilst knitting. I don't really get much done as I have to keep referring to the chart, losing my place and waiting for a quiet bit in the film to count back and check my place.

It's aran weight, knitting up in Rowan tweed and the pattern comes in two sizes - basically you knit more length for a bigger head but the pattern has been designed to take both sizes into consideration - clever. This is a pull-on hat and although the pics show a man wearing it, this yarn isn't looking very masculine to me. Maybe it'll end up being for either.

For those of you interested, so far whilst knitting this hat I've watched Pride and Prejudice - 1940's version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. Aaah.

Moonstruck with Cher (this was because I was listening to Dean Martin's 'That's Amore' earlier this week),

and first two episodes of Torchwood - as I missed the beginning episodes and I'm catching up. So quite a mix. Next on the list is Beetlejuice - because I listened to Harry Belafonte's 'Day-o'. I found a clip on you tube for you to watch:-) Enjoy!

Also, An affair to Remember and probably The Scarlet Pimpernel. No reason for this, I always love it:-) But definitely the 1984 version with Anthony Andrews. Mmm, the costumes.... I found this pic here, and there are plenty more to peruse!

'Sink me, m'dear, ain't this snuff quite the thing, wat?'

But they may have to wait as Miss Marple is on this evening 'The 4.50 from Paddington' - the newer version with Geraline McEwan. I think I missed this the first time round so I'm looking forward to it. (The 1980's version with Joan Hickson is very good too.) But I don't expect to get much cable knitting done. Maybe I'll have to start another sock for some mindless knitting to keep me busy.
Yes, the opal socks are now finished!!! Just have to take some photos to show you. They fit well and look good on so - success:-)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Black Opal Socks

Well, at last I have some visual progress on the socks. I decided to knit the front of the foot and the full round after the heel in a 3x1 rib and I like how it looks. It will also keep a better grip and stop any sliding. I have done so much ripping back and altering that I've probably knitted several pairs but now I feel I'm maybe getting there.

After I knitted the first sock, I found the video on You Tube for Cat Bordhi's wrapped and concealed short row heel - thank you Grumperina! - and, of course tried this out on the second sock. So, pic 1 above is the original heel and pic below, is the wrapped version. Much more invisible. (note the video is one of two!! you can get the second link on the same page on the right.)

So of course I now have one finished sock with a more obvious heel. Yup, you can see where this is going. And one - now finished - with a more concealed one. Rip, rip, rip. So, I nearly had a whole pair but back the first sock went to the heel and is now reknitted to halfway up the leg and maybe finished by tomorrow, if I sit down and do a stint of pure knitting.

I automatically changed to a 1x1 rib for the top cuff of the sock but found it looser and decided to ditch it. The normal cast off was also a bit too tight to actually get the socks on. I was going to cast off with a crochet hook -worked well for the berets at christmas - but I found a recommended toe-up sock cast off, again on Grumperina's blog, which has worked a treat. (You can find it down the right hand side list.)

So, nearly there and then what? more socks or a change? I might get a few of my ufo's finished as my fetching mitts need finishing to match my pink gretel and I wanted to knit a Gretel in Rowan tweed. And there's a nice pair of long stripey socks in this months Yarn Forward that are calling me. Any suggestions for an interesting reasonably quick knit?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Sock yarn patterning

Now I'm a little more in the land of the living, I just wanted to show you the last of the yarn I ordered. It arrived with my niddy noddy just as the snow descended, and my photos couldn't get away from the white 'glare' from outside. But, they are okay for a little taster! This is the Trekking hand art range from Zitron. In the online shop picture it looked much redder so I wasn't expecting orangey/brown tones - but hey! (It does emphasise the importance of getting the colour right for my own yarns though.)

What I found the most interesting was the actual length of the hank. It measures in the round about 1.25 metres all told and you can clearly see how the colour has been distributed along the length. I like how some sections of colour are diagonal or striped or don't cover every thread - interesting. It will be even more interesting to see how it knits up. I read somewhere on a sock pattern that if you have short stretches of colour, it stops the pattern pooling or 'flashing' - thinking the sundae socks and zigzags!

Out of curiosity, I also unwound a bit of the green trekking yarn to find the length of the repeat in that. About an hour later, a pool of yarn on the floor and with a full page of measurements, I realised the repeat is just over 47 metres long. And there I was worried about 12 metres. Helps to put things in perspective! So, okay, I can't compete with a machine produced yarn but I can have a play and the longer the length, the more variety you can get in the colour variations. But I'm not busting a gut to get 47 metres :-)

So, now I've got all this yarn, I want to get knitting it! But I'll have to finish the black opals first. More on their progress tomorrow. But I have altered the heel construction on the second one so it might mean ripping back the first one to match. But I'm not being hasty, I'll wait and see first.

Friday, 6 February 2009


At the moment, my world consists of hot cups of tea, cough sweets, lemsips and lots of tissues. It's a real nasty one this and it has decided to hang around to stop me getting my black opal socks done. I have the concentration of a gnat so nothing doing. Hopefully I'll be back soon, so bear with me........

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

knitting mojo.....

The snow has decided to stay for a while after all. Yesterday, we had reports of heavy snow and much of the UK being at a standstill but we had glorious sunshine. So, I thought 'nah, we won't get any or if it flurries, it won't lie' . So I went out in the afternoon to pick up my new car and it started to flurry and flurry and flurry. I'm now thinking ' Will I get home in this? In my new car? Down backroads I'm not that familiar with?' Of course I will - with forced positivity.
Having missed the white roadsign on a increasingly white background - twice - I eventually got home just before the flurries decided to be really serious about flurrying. So instead of being able to show you a picture of the car, I can only offer you this.....

......... a car shaped snow mound but it is there somewhere, honest. It's only about 3-4 inches deep, so not that bad, but there are no deliveries, buses and the schools are all closed. So, I'll have to wait on my sock book from Amazon. It was recommended by Claudia on her blog and as she is pretty much a sock queen, I followed her recommendation. You can find the book 'Simple socks, Plain and Fancy' by Priscilla A.Gibson-Roberts here on Amazon. (UK).

Meanwhile, as the weather has decided to play cold and chilly, I'd better get on with the other chunky glove I was knitting early January. I fell into the trap of not starting the second one so it got kind of sidelined by the socks. I should have it finished by the time the snow melts:-)

The Opal socks are ongoing. One finished and the other nearly ready to turn the heel. This cold more-like-flu thing has made me lose my knitting mojo. No energy to knit for long stints. So sad, isn't it?! Let's hope I get back into the swing of things as I'll be needing woolly socks to keep my toes warm!


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