Geelong Fibre Forum

Bright and early (okay, after 9pm isn’t that early) Yarnivorous zoomed us across the city and south to the Geelong Fibre Forum Open Day.

In the ‘heathen market’, (which, ironically, was held in a church) we admired some lovely bookbinding, felting, glass beadwork, etc. I bought some wooden beads:

And a resin bead with either a flower or nut inside. It’s hard to tell – very mysterious! And very pretty.

Then we headed across to the Traders Rooms. First upstairs, where there was a Room With No Pricetags and a Room Full of Tempting Roving. I found myself really wanting to buy roving, even though I don’t have a spinning wheel and didn’t take well to drop spindling. I kept wondering if I separated the rowing into thinner lengths, could I weave with it without having to spin it first? I saw a woman weaving with untreated fleece, sticky with grease, in Orkney last year.

In the larger trader room on ground level, I bought some more buttons:

All in sizes and numbers that might suit knitted garments. Every time I look in my button stash the buttons are either too big, too small or there aren’t enough of them.

I also bought some dye:

And yes, I did buy yarn. Guess what it’s made of?

Banana! I’m a sucker for whacky stuff. I’m of two minds whether this would make a nice garment. It’s softish, but it has the weightiness of cotton, so I reckon it would have the same limitations.

(Pictured with it is some Japanese milk chocolate the beau found the other day. Inspecting the ingredients, I was relieved to see cocoa butter listed, and no yukky vegetable oil substitute. I’ll let you know what it’s like.)

All in all a pleasant morning. I showed Lynne the shop I’d found in Geelong a few weeks back, Web of Wool. Turns out it’s not the shop in Geelong that has Bendy wool in a back room. It was open, though closing up, so we got to have a look.

Then we headed home. Having told Lynne about my first attempt at drop spindling, I dragged out the spindle and roving. She showed me how to Andean ply, and left me happily plying my first bit of handspun. But that, I think, is a story for another day.

Pattern Knittification

I spent probably a bit more than just ‘break time’ today working on the Chocolate Sock pattern. Writing out the stitch pattern and adding it to my toe-up sock pattern was the easy and fast bit. After I’d done that I went to Knitty.com to see how much info their patterns contain, and how they are set out.

Knitty is on the top of my list of magazines to submit to, not just because it’s my favourite, online or in print, but because I think the method I use to make the chocolate squares might just be a bit too… unorthodox… for some other periodicals. I have huge doubts, as an unestablished ‘hobby’ designer, that I’d ever get a pattern into Interweave or Vogue. Yet while Creative Knitting appears to love creative looking patterns, I reckon they’d prefer the methods were straight forward. (Sure, we welcome wierd assymetrical legwarmers, just make sure you use normal knit and purl, increase and decrease stitches to make ‘em.) Which would probably also be true of any ‘simple’ knitting magazine.

Knitty seems open to interesting methods, demonstrated by all the different ways of casting on a toe that are included in tutorials on the site. If they don’t want the Chocolate Socks, I’ll try Magknits. If Magknits don’t want it, I’ll try the next on my list. The usual routine. One thing I’ve been wondering about and not finding answers for – does the knitting magazine world have the same ‘no simultaneous submissions’ rule that the fiction market has?

Anyway, once I’d gathered all the info I thought I needed, I compared my pattern to a Knitty one and their guidelines and realised I needed to provide a whole lot more info. So I proceeded to Knittify my pattern as far as I could within the time I had.

It doesn’t help that I want to provide five different sizings. I have the toe-up pattern worked out for me (a small lady’s) and Paul (medium male), so I figured I may as well just do the math to work out a few sizes in between. I’m 99% confident those between sizes will work … except where the heel ends and the leg starts. The only way to be sure is to knit a tube in each size (which I’ll have to do in order to provide circumference measurements anyway) then work a heel and a bit of leg.

I’ve got quite a bit of sample knitting to do.

But I’ll also have to do a photo shoot. And that should be fun. There’s got to be some way I can get actual chocolate in the picture.

White Chocolate

Here it is at last, the test Chocolate Sock. I’ve been calling this my White Chocolate Sock.

What do you think? Does it look convincingly like a chocolate block pattern? Does it make you want to break off a row and munch on it?

I only had one ball of cream Patonyle, so I’m going to have to wait until I can buy another before finishing the pair. Which is a bit frustrating, because I sooo don’t have second sock syndrome with this design. It knits up fast. It’s fun. It’s my own design! Wheeee!

But in the next week or two I’ll get my hands on some of that chocolate sock yarn from the Knittery and knit up a dark/milk chocolate version. Which gives me some time to write up the pattern in a form that people other than me will understand.

Last night, when I finished the white chocolate sock, I considered what to do next. I eyed the Zhivago top. I’ve started the collar, but it consists of miles and miles of ribbing. Best left for car/train/waiting room knitting, that one. Though I am using my Denise needles, so I could have put ends on the cable and transferred the needles to a new cable so I could start a sleeve, I decided not to. Starting the sleeve would require too much brain power.

I also considered the skein of roses Knittery sock yarn. I even got out the book of stitch patterns and examined the flower bud lace pattern, but though it looked easy I made myself put it down again.

Instead I decided that it would be wise to knit the second Snicket sock before I forgot what adjustments I’d done to the first. Even though I made notes, there’s always some change you forgot to record – or find you can’t understand later.

It’s a bit of a drag, but not because I don’t like the pattern. I’ve got all this wonderful pretty sock yarn calling to me and here I am knitting two pairs out of plain patonyle.

Scrub!

The beau and I have skin allergies, and recently he was advised to change from soap to a hypo-allergic liquid body wash. I used to use one, and found those scrunchy net thingys were great for getting body wash to foam and spread. But they’re plastic – not great on already irritated skin.

I thought about knitting up some cotton washcloths. Then I thought: “hey, what if I made a cotton version of one of those scrunchy net thingys?”. And then I thought: “that’ll be really hard on the hands to knit. What if I crochet it instead?”.

Behold the Scrub:

Which I tried this morning. It worked… okayish. If I make another one, I’ll try making it nettier and a bit bigger.

Chocolate socks are progressing. I knit a swatch in the round, then yesterday I started a sock. I’m almost at the heel. Not sure what I think yet. I’ll reserve my opinion until I finish one.

On Saturday I found a book of knitting stitch patterns in an op shop. Flicking through, I stopped at a lace one that looked like rose buds. And then I looked at the roses sock yarn colourway from the Knittery sitting on my coffee table. Then I muttered a curse under my breath, because it was the second sock design (other than the chocolate socks) that came to me over the weekend. The other one is a woodgrain texture idea I had for the Lisa Souza mahogany sock yarn (the one I first attempted Snicket in).

I wanna knit socks! But I wanna finish my Zhivago top, too! Argh! Too much knitting to do!

And it seems to take less and less time for my hands and wrists to start hurting. Sometimes only an hour. Does anyone else get knitting aches and pains? How do you treat it?

Knitting Porn

The newsagent where I have the highest success rate of finding magazines is the one at Brentford Square in (I think) Vermont South. Today I found Vogue Knitting (which I haven’t seen in months!) and the new Yarn magazine. I haven’t read VK yet, because I like to put our new Aussie mag first. So…. Yarn…

Oh. Dear.

Is it just me, or are all these garments incredibly frumpy?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining that they have catered only for the larger lady. But these designs – intense horizontal stripes, emphasis on the bust through lighter colours and clingy ribbing, and the sag-implying awfulness of chevron stripes – can only make the wearer look larger. And some of these would make a supermodel look enormous.

I’m so disappointed. I really, really wanted to like Yarn magazine. I wanted there to be a tasteful counterpoint to teenybopper trendy Crapacious Knitting. But this is seriously off-putting.

At least it’s cheaper than most knitting magazines. I can still justify buying it for the articles (which are pretty good so far) and the ads for local stores.

I figured if I waited…

… I’d have a couple of FOs to blog about.

I finished Dad’s toe-up re-soleable socks:

They’re more my sort of colour than his, but the yarn – Cleckheaton Country – was on special.

The chocolate is Kennedy and Wilson’s ‘Cinnamon Autumn Leaves’. They’re one of Australia’s high end chocolate makers. Expensive. Niiiice. Not for those whose tastes tend more toward the brown stuff Cadbury calls chocolate.

I also finished the first Snicket:

Which I love. But I was getting more than a little sick of the stitch pattern by the time I neared the end, so I’m going to take a break and work on my chocolate socks. I want to use those needles for the chocolate socks, too. I did more experimental swatching for them last night, too. I think I’m ready to make a whole sock now.

And look what appeared in the mailbox:

Sock yarn from The Knittery. The Roses colourway photographed well, but the Passionfruit looks a bit dull compared to how it looks in person. It’s purple and green with subtle and delicious blendings.

In the middle is the result of my first test run with Fishpond, an Australian Online book shop. (Thanks to Peeve for the recommendation.) Postage was free if I spent more than $50. The book on medieval medicine I ordered was $49.95, so I threw Knit Lit into my shopping basket to get the free postage. The two books had different shipping times, and to my surprise they have been shipped separately. Which mean I got to read about knitting on the train today.

If the medieval medicine book arrives in a timely, problem-free fashion… well, there’s a LOT of knitting books in my Fishpond wish list just waiting to become mine. Mine! All mine!

Chocolate?

A possible way to get a horizontal groove or line into the knitting hit me yesterday afternoon and I grabbed some leftover yarn and knit up this sample. Does this look like a chocolate block pattern to you?

Okay, the blue is kind of off-putting. It would be more convincing in brown. I hope.

The way I get that groove at the top of each square is a little unorthodox, and definitely more suited to a Knitty.com audience than a Creative Knitting one.

I haven’t abandoned the cabled bon-bons idea. I reckon I might put them around the top of the ankle. If it doesn’t make the design too busy. We’ll see.

In other news, I’ve ordered some handpainted sock yarn from new online yarn shop I discovered, The Knittery. (Sorry Peeve, my fingers slipped on the keyboard and somehow hit the numbers that are on my visa card, miraculously in the right order. I promise I’ll give you another opportunity to join me in the next order.) This is the first Australian handpainted sock yarn source I’ve found. I’ve ordered the passionfruit and roses colorways.

A weekend of knitting

When I got back from our week away my hands were sore from knitting. By Saturday they were fine again… but then I spent most of the weekend knitting. First I worked out the toe-up version of the Re-soleable Sock:

Looks wierd, doesn’t it? Like it has an elephant trunk.

Then I went to my sock yarn stash, considered my options, and chose plain blue patonyle to knit the Centred Snicket out of. It’s a thinker yarn than the Lisa Souza, so I was able to work up to 58 stitches for the foot, 26 for the pattern side and 30 for the sole.

I centred the lattice pattern. Suddenly it was breezy easy knit. No vagrant cable stitches going a needle swapping. But what would happen when I got to the leg part?

Nothing, it seems. I just picked up two extra stitches to increase to 60 and started knitting the lattice all the way around. Of course, it was now necessary to move stitches forward and back between needles for cabling. I expected that. It’s nowhere near as annoying now there’s a good reason for it.

They fit well and look great. While the pattern might not have worked well for me, I still love the design.

I also listened to a lot of podcasts over the weekend. I’ve been lazily entertaining the idea of creating my own sock pattern and seeing if I could get it published somewhere. The re-solable sock, or the toe-up heel flap sock. But the final product is still a plain sock. Perhaps I need to come up with a texture design. Then hearing Lime & Violet talking about their signature socks got me thinking about my own blog title: knitting and chocolate. Could I make a chocolate sock pattern?

A Series Of Unfortunate Gripes

Last night I knit the heel and started the ankle. My misgivings were growing, however, because Snicket had developed a bit of a slant.

This, I believe, was caused by having those nice neat cabled columns on one side, and none on the other. After knitting the lattice all around the ankle for ten or so rounds, I tried on the sock.

It was too big. Not just around the foot and ankle, but in length. I needed to frog back to a cm or so before the instep increases to fix the latter. But for the former I needed to go back to the toe.

I sat down and did some math, moving the lattice pattern so it was centred and reducing the stitches from 56 to 52. Then this morning the beau obligingly held the sock as I frogged. When I got to the toe… I just kept going.

All undone. After this I got out my ball winder and rewound the cake. It was a good task to do while considering my options. I could:

a) Restart Snicket with the same yarn.

b) Knit that lovely Diamante socks in the latest Knitty. I love the way this mahogany yarn looks on the knit side, but most of Snicket’s lattice pattern consists of purl stitches. Diamante is a soft, elegant cable pattern that is all knit stitches.

c) Restart Snicket in a different yarn.

d) Do b and then c

e) Do c and then b

f) Stop getting distracted and go work out that pattern for the toe-up version of the resolable socks.