Project Spectrum Red, Black and Metallics

I’ve had a busy pair of months, and even though I chose a small project incorporating all three colours into one, I still didn’t find time for it until the last moment.

Just as I expected, the calligraphy is a bit wobbly. It’s not a skill you can just pick up again after two decades without the penwork being a little shaky. I did it twice and had to settle on attempt #2 because my hand was getting cramped.

I found the quote in At Knits End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. It is attributed to Eugene Ionesco. Having no idea who this guy was, and an inclination to waste some time, I googled his name. He wrote a play called The Bald Soprano consisting of a conversation inspired by the meaningless phrases used in a textbook for teaching English. ‘The ceiling is above’. ‘The floor is below’. That sort of thing. Sounds wierd and amusing. He also painted. A writer who paints and has a wierd sense of humour? Hmm. Sounds familiar. I wonder if he could knit…

Next Project Spectrum colours are brown, orange and purple. I’m all set up with jute, beads and a book for my own macrame revival – that’ll be brown. Then there’s the teracotta air-drying clay to play with – that’ll do for orange. But I have no idea yet what craft I’ll revive for purple.

Sock #2 and the Harlot

Last night I started BOOTBSC #2, the Mosaic Sock from Yarn magazine.

When I photocopied the pattern so I could fold it up and cart it around without worrying that I might lose the whole mag, all of the squares on the chart turned black, so I carefully drew it on the margin on the page. Then I consulted the pattern corrections and realised the chart was wrong anyway.

I’ve reduced it down from the smallest size (which would fit the beau’s foot) by ten stitches. Even so, as I was knitting the toe it looked too big. I decided that I’d try it on after one repeat of the mosaic pattern, and if it was too big reduce the needle size. But it turned out that the stranding pulled the sock in enough that it did fit, though certainly not tightly.

While knitting this, I listened to an audio book. Yesterday I downloaded Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off from iTunes. My first downloaded audio book purchase. So far it’s chuckle-funny, not yet roll-on-the-floor-laughing-funny, but she has a clear and slightly husky voice that is very pleasant to knit along to.

I’m still matching sock types to pattern sources. Despite having all those lovely cable sock patterns to choose from in Favorite Socks, I think I may knit up the Flame Wave Socks as my non-wool sock. It calls for sportweight yarn, and I want to try Bendigo Harmony – their wool/cotton/lycra yarn. (Okay, it’s not entirely non-wool, but the blend is mostly cotton and if the yarn works for sock it’ll be a very cheap option.)

For the sideways socks I have a choice between Bakerloo on Magknits or Supreme Sideways Socks in Socks Socks Socks. I guess if I can’t work one out I can try the other.

There are so many nice lace patterns to choose from, I think I’ll wait until I’ve done most of the other kinds of socks and see which sources I have left to select from.

Sock Juggling

Here’s a pic of the sock in progress:

There’s actually a fair bit of unchallenging ribbing in these socks. I don’t mind – there’s always a place for unchallenging knitting in my life! But I’m thinking that maybe I’ll make the next sock my second project instead of casting on for a non-sock project. If I pace things right, there’s always be a bit of challenging knitting or easy knitting to pick up depending on what the situation requires.

I’ve been combing through back issue of and Magknits, trying to decide which pattern to try, but didn’t want to choose one until this arrived:

And it arrived yesterday. Oh my. This book doesn’t make deciding on patterns any easier. Which cable sock pattern to choose? Which lace sock pattern? Which textured stitch pattern sock? (And sometimes I wonder whether how to categorise some patterns – it’s not always obvious if they’re lace of cable or a stitch pattern.)

To make it even harder to choose, yesterday I discovered (thankyou kgirlknits) that Interweave Knits had put up pics of the patterns in the coming Fall 2007 issue. Scroll down to the staff projects. Five more cabled sock possibilities.

Expect more sock pattern decision-making posts in the coming weeks.

The Opposite of Startitis

Normally when I’m close to finishing a large project I start looking through the stash, thinking about what I’ll make next. This time I didn’t. Possibly this is because of the Sock Challenge. Right when I was finishing Sunrise Circle I was putting as thought and planning into socks as I normally do for new non-sock projects.

I did get the itch to dye some yarn, however, and as usual I forgot to take a ‘before’ shot, so here’s the next best thing:

Yep, the camel yarn from the adopted stash. Some of it was cream, some the shade of worn denim. Into a dyepot of blue it went:

The resulting colour varies a little because of the two original shades, but not as much as I’d feared. It’s a bit ‘almost solid’ in places.

The yarn is supposed to be 8ply/dk, but is more like 5ply/sport. I suspect if I doubled it, it would be equal to either a thick 8ply/dk or 10ply/aran. And by doubling it, the variation in colour can be evened out a little.

I’ve been eyeing the Provincial Waistcoat pattern yet again. Will have to do a swatch.


I’ve knit the heel of the first Simple Ribbed Sock last night. My first Dutch/Horseshoe Heel. Not at all hard. In fact, not too different from the usual flap heel method. I’m onto the instep decreases now, looking forward to learning a new toe.

Ladylike Lace Gloves Inspire Unladylike Language

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Sunrise Circle jacket. I wore it to the Bendy Show on Saturday, and every now and then someone would spot it under my coat and remark on it. (I’m sure I’m not the only person who was identifying people from the bus trip by their knitwear.)

Two nights ago I made myself knit up the second of the Ladylike Lace Gloves. I had lost all enthusiasm over them since encountering all the pattern mistakes and even worse corrections, but I knew if I left it too long I’d forget how and where I fudged to make it work.

The resulting gloves are a bit big, but that’s nobody’s fault. I have narrow hands (to match my feet).

A part of me would like to do another pair, this time making it up as I go so they fit better, but another, larger, part of me can’t be bothered.

Still, I did learn a few things about crochet. I wouldn’t recommend the pattern to a new crocheter, but maybe not even an intermediate crocheter like myself either, because while one could probably work through the mistakes as I have, only an experienced crocheter could do it without getting frustrated and annoyed with the pattern.

Bendy Show 2007 Part One – the Outing

In the early morning fog of the carpart, the knitters and spinners and weavers and crocheters and practitioners of varied mysterious fibre arts gathered. Huddling in cars or braving the cold, they waited. And their patience was rewarded. The Bus appeared out of the gloom, warm and ready to take them on their great quest.

Eagerly, all piled on board. Much magical and soothing clicking of needles was heard as the Bus carried us north. There was a stop at a reserve in a small down for tea, cake and exchange of secret knowledge while in the queue for the toilet:

Then raffle prizes of delight and amusement were drawn as the Bus continued on to its destination. Once there, the Companions were let loose to explore the delights and temptations of the Bendigo showgrounds. There were sheds big and small, and within could be found fibre and yarn and the various arcane instruments of many and varied fibre arts:

And prize-winning creations displayed for all to admire:

Craftmen laboured to produce artefacts of wonder and usefulness:

And the fantastic beasts from which enchanted fibre of many forms is harvested were judged and their guardians awarded prizes.

And when the weary travellers finally stopped to rest and compare the rewards of their efforts, some were priviledged to observe an even more ancient and mysterious practice:

Sheep Dog Trials. The speed, agility and will of lean canine contestants pitted against a flock of three flighty, foot-stompingly defiant sheep. Utterly, utterly gripping.

Bendy Show 2007 Part Two – the Haul

My shopping list for the day went like this:

1kg aran weight natural ‘white’ yarn for Starsky
Yarn magazine
A nice spindle
Bendy Harmony
Try out some double-treadle wheels

First up, I stopped at Virginia Farm Wool Works, where there were some Majacraft wheels to try. I discovered three things: when it’s been six months since I’ve spun on a wheel it’ll going to be embarrassing to try again in public, yet oddly enough it will hook in a passerby so thoroughly that by the end of half an hour she will be grinning with glee at having just learned to use a drop spindle (I should charge a commission), and a nice expensive wheel is nice to use.

Somewhere in among the teaching of drop spindle use, I discovered what a turkish spindle is and just had to buy one.

Later I found this cone of silver thread for plying for just $5! Cor!

After that I warmed my debit card up with some book buying. Flicking through some of the books that have caught my eye on the net lately, I was very grateful I hadn’t rushed out and bought them. A quick look told me that Fitted Knits and Yarn Play suffered from that malady of having the only interesting pattern on the cover. The former was full of bulky yarn patterns and the latter was all small, simple pattern for scarfs and homewares and such.

So in the spirit of not judging a book by it’s cover, I picked up two books I didn’t think I’d like: Knitting From the Top Down and Domiknitrix. The former looks to have the kind of technical info that I’m ready to take in now, and the latter… well, there are some amusingly silly patterns in there but also some with very interesting construction. The instructions are clear and I can’t help wanting to keep it on the coffee table to tantalize non-knitters.

Then I hopped over to the Yarn magazine stand. The editor was busy with a customer who was obviously going to demand a lot of her attention and time, so when she begged a moment to help me I just quietly bought the latest issue and continued on.

I almost passed by the Colinette stand because their usual yarn isn’t what I like to buy, but then the sock yarn caught my eye. Now, the Jitterbug hasn’t excited me in the past because it was all varigated, but what made me put my skids on was the skeins of ‘almost solid’ colours. Sarah told me that they were part of a new range coming out.

At one point I had five skeins in my hands, but I pared them down to two:

Shown with them is a skein of Opal sock yarn, in green. Green! If I picked up on any exciting new trend, it’s solid and almost solid sock yarns in yummy, happy colours.

I bought some roving from Glenora Weaving & Wool:

I want to spin a single in black and ply it with the multicoloured yarn here, and use it to finish the Glamour Vest.

I bought some natural ‘white’ 8ply from a woman at Wirraworra Wool, who swore it’s a bit thicker than usual, so might suit Starsky. I’d not heard of this company before, but the natural coloured yarn they produce… oooooh!

There were a lot of natural coloured wool product stalls there, which might also be a new trend, and one that I like a lot. Some of the colours produced when the natural wools was overdyed… only my stash manifesto stopped me coming home with little odd balls with no purpose but that they’re ‘preeeetty’.

At this point I’d covered the main sheds, had a break and some of those yummy mini pancakes with a cuppa and took stock while watching sheep dog trials. Out of the items on my shopping list, I’d bought only two – Yarn mag and a spindle. It had turned out we wouldn’t be visiting the Bendy Woollen Mill shop because of a lack of time. I had tried out two double treadle wheels, however, and bought some yarn to test for Starsky.

So with half an hour before the bus left, I did another walk through and found a stall I hadn’t noticed the previous time… with handmade drop spindles. The lovely lady at Ixchel Angora Rabit Stud also gave me some bunny fibre a few dollars cheaper to prove that once I’d spun a little, I’d never want to spin anything else. (And she has a stall at the Southbank market each week, so getting more bunny would not be hard.)

Mmm. Bunneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!

Sunrise Circle Jackety Goodness


It only took me an hour to finish the knitting. The sewing up, however… more than half the afternoon disappeared somewhere and now I feel guilty for losing those work hours.

But I love it. Love it. Love it. Love it.

And this is how much yarn was left over:

An Hour Before Sunrise

The Sunrise Circle jacket is nearly finished.

Yesterday I basted the back to the right front+sleeve.

And I tried it on. I discovered that the front was now a little on the big side. It was several rows longer than the bottom half of the back:

(Top line is the back fold line; bottom line is the front fold line.)

It was also a little big and close around the neck. By that I mean it had started curving up and fitting around the neck, which it isn’t supposed to do.

So I did some calculations and came up with this list of instructions for myself:

1) Frog outer curve of fronts back to row 65. Add the raglan decreases from row 65 to row 67. Knit ws row to form fold line. Knit 6 rows of grey to form facing.

2) Use frogged yarn to finish sleeves, extending by 10 rows (yes, that’s extending. I have long arms!), adding fold line and knitting facing in grey.

3) Frog top of back to match new raglan length of front+sleeve pieces, add fold line and knit facing in grey

4) Unpick cast on row of back, frog back to fold line, knit until length matches front+sleeve piece, knit new fold line and grey facing.

So far I’ve done item 2 and most of item 1. To avoid the sewing down of the facings, I’ve been picking up stitches and doing a three needle bind off. I love how neat it looks:

I’m so close to finishing, I can hardly think about anything else. (Well, except maybe the Bendy Show.)