Knitting (and crocheting and weaving) Adventures of 2008


I started the year in the midst of Sockless Summer, during which I knit and crocheted things other than socks (for me) out of my sock yarn.

I participated in my first Ravelry swap, the Aussie Bag Lady Swap, and had a lot of fun making a bag for my recipient, and received two lovely bags (one which is almost constantly in use as a sock project bag).

My blog turned two! And I decided I was going to take social and ecological issues on board and buy local where possible.

I reviewed all my accessories, gave away some, and knit or crocheted new items to fill in the ‘gaps’.

We went to New Zealand, where I bought so much yarn I filled 2/3 of my suitcase!

I joined the new Eastern Suburbs s’n’b. Met a great bunch of knitters, crocheters, dyers, spinners, an all round friendly, funny, fantastic crowd!

The second swap, We’ve Got You Covered, finished. The mittens I made got me seriously hooked on fair isle. And the wristwarmers and champagne cosy I received are beautiful.

A mixed bag: I made lots of cookies, I test knit a sock pattern, I thought about knitting fads.

I bought my Ashford 4-shaft table loom. And finished…

… the Knit From Your Books challenge.

The third swap of the year, a dish/washcloth swap, finished. The s’n’b girls (and guys) held a dyeing day. I wove my first piece on the 4-shaft loom.

I did LOTS of weaving.

I did even more weaving. And changed the name of my blog from “Knitting and Chocolate” to “chocolatetrudi’s arty-crafty blog” to reflect the direction I want to go in (basically, a broader range of craft and some art as well). I also decided to start…

Knit From Your Stash 2009

FOs of 2008

My knitting resolution for this year was to knit less! I’m not sure I have. Let’s see…

I’ve made:
5 full size garments
3 vests
9 hats
10 scarves/neckwarmers
4 gloves/mittens
11 pairs of socks
7 blankets/rugs
5 baby bibs
6 washcloths
1 set placemats
4 bags
2 wrist rests
pieces of fabric
1 evil builder voodoo doll
68 items

Which looks like a lot. But 20 of those items were woven. Still, it amazes me to realise I knit as many garments and vests as last year, when I’d thought I wouldn’t have the time. There are less socks but more accessories in this year’s list, which is an interesting but not unexpected shift. After all, I lost my sock knitting mojo last last year, and so invented Sockless Summer, in which I endeavoured to use up sock yarn on anything but socks for me. And I had a review of my accessories early in the year and indulged myself filling the gaps.

Garments: Starsky, Ribbed Wrap Jacket, Swizzle, and Lime & Violet were all successful knits. Summer Nights knit up well, though it took ages, but I’m yet to see if I get much use out of it. The Mitre Vest was fun to design and knit, despite taking a long time. The Glamour Vest doesn’t hold it’s shape too well – the ruffles are a touch too heavy, but I do like it.

Accessories: The Stone Path Hat had me learning to crochet cables. I also discovered how much fun fair isle was when knitting Corazon for a swap recipient, which led to the Pirate Mittens and Endpaper Mitts and Tam. And with Le Slouch I found a love for slouchy tam/beret hats.

Socks:After Sockless Summer was over I did return to sock knitting, and still managed to churn out another ten pairs of socks. But that was helped along by a growing dislike of complicated sock patterns. I just want something simple and portable, and patterns like that tend to be fast.

Homewares/baby stuff: 2008 saw me knitting for babies for the first time, thanks to a whole lot of friends doin’ the breeding thing. I managed to keep to my vow of not knitting children’s clothing or toys, though, by sticking to blankets and bibs. The Lullaby Baby Blanket earned me a bit of what the beau calls ‘micro-fame’ – favourited in Ravelry more than any other project I’ve put up.

The Kiwi Knee Rug is a favourite, knit as a souvenir of our trip from yarn I bought along the way. I love my Really Red Teapot Cosy, too. And the Green Fair Bag came out amazingly well.

Weaving: It’s been a big year for weaving, and not just because I bought a larger 4-shaft loom. I was also inspired by Weavecast, Weavezine and all the weaving bloggers I found to try new methods on the Ashford Knitter’s Loom as well: painted warps for the Painted Warp Scarf, warping and beating for a drapey fabric with the Drapey Scarf, clasped weft for the Wavy Scarf, log cabin for the Log Cabin Cloths, leno for the Charcoal Scarf, weaving with fibre for the Woven Roving Rug, and danish medallions for the Medallion Scarf. In fact, I think I’ve learned more weaving structures for the rigid heddle loom since I got the table loom!

Of all the weaving projects, I use the Drapey Scarf the most, and like the Eucalyptus Placemats best. Both plain weave, but with lovely texture. Still, the interaction of colour and structure in the Medallions Scarf, and the possibilities in the Sampler Scarf also excite me. I can see lots of interesting weaving experiments in my future.

Favourite fo: Swizzle. Wearable and fabulous. The Ribbed Wrap Jacket is a close second – it’s my most worn FO.

Least favourite fo: Swirled Pentagon Pullover. Would fit someone with freakish proportions. Frogged it.

Favourite yarns: The Knittery Chubby Sock, followed by Cleckheaton Country Silk. I also loved Cleckheaton Bamboo for its construction, but won’t use it again unless it comes out in 8ply.

Least favourite yarns: Jitterbug for felting on me!

Favourite patterns: Swizzle, closely followed by Starsky.

Most successful design effort: Chocolate Cashmere Gloves

Biggest stuff up: Swirled Pentagon Pullover.

Best recycling effort: Scrappy Socks!

Finally, my crafty resolutions for next year:

1) Knit and crochet from stash, focussing on those garments I have yarn and pattern for like Alex, Forestry and Top Down Fitted Jumper. Knit less socks and accessories.

2) Weave more, especially on the table loom.

3) Start painting and making artworks again. Try those ‘projects’ I’ve been thinking about for ages. Resin work. Miniatures. Collage. Printing. Get things framed. Get things hanging on walls. And blog about it!

For the records, and to clear the sidebar for next year, here are the links to my FOs of 2008:

  • Glamour Vest
  • Socks for the Beau
  • Chocolate Cashmere Gloves
  • Sock Yarn Sunhat
  • Bag in a Bag
  • Painted Warp Scarf
  • Mitre Vest
  • Rainbow Baby Blanket
  • Green Fair Bag
  • The Backup Bag
  • Evil Builder Voodoo Doll
  • Blue Jean Baby Blanket
  • Shadow Tweed Snake Scarf
  • Neon Hat
  • Stone Path Hat
  • Red Koolhaas
  • Sunflower Tam
  • Tilty Socks
  • Instant Gratification Socks
  • Ribbed Wrap Jacket
  • Charade Socks
  • Mildford Sound Hat
  • Le Slouch
  • Smooshy Socks
  • Kiwi Knee Rug
  • iTouch Cosy
  • Drapey Scarf
  • Pirate Mittens
  • Swirled Pentagon Pullover
  • Purple Table Runner
  • Corazon
  • Neck Cosy
  • Crosswalker Socks
  • Musical Baby Bib
  • Endpaper Mitts
  • Starsky
  • I Love Patonyle Socks
  • Endpaper Tam
  • Eucalyptus Placemats
  • Spiral Socks
  • Manly Scarf
  • Swizzle
  • Froot Loop Socks
  • Modern Cabled Baby Bibs
  • Cotton Neckwarmer
  • Lullaby Baby Blanket
  • Big Honking Button Hat
  • Pirate Washcloth
  • Really Red Teapot Cosy
  • Sampler Scarf
  • Wavy Scarf
  • Peri Peri Floor Rug
  • Log Cabin Cloths
  • Rainforest Socks
  • Charcoal Scarf
  • Woven Roving Rug
  • Baby Baby Blankets
  • Summer Nights
  • Wigglesworth Blanket
  • Lime & Violet
  • Scrappy Socks #4
  • Medallions Scarf
  • Tablet & Keyboard Wrist Rest
  • The Last FO of the Year

    Yesterday morning I sat down and wove, wove, wove until the Medallions Scarf was done:

    As you can see, I removed the wraps at the start. I decided to wash the scarf before finishing the ends, so I tied them loosely to prevent the fabric unravelling… and found I liked the look of it so much that, after trying and discarding a twisted fringe, decided to keep it like that.

    It was supposed to be my last FO of the year, but in the morning I saw this pattern on Ravelry. It occurred to me that a) I could do with one of those AND a keyboard rest, b) I had some Washed Haze in off white left from the Wigglesworth Blanket that would be perfect, and c) I needed something simple and cool to knit at the s’n’b in the afternoon, which is exactly what Sylvi is not!

    The wrist rest was fast and easy, so I went on to knit an extended version to use as a keyboard rest. I decided to fill them with whole wheat, so they conform to the shape of my wrist, and can be heated up if I’m experiencing hand pain. The only trouble is the wheat does tend to work its way out between the stitches. I’m going to sew cloth inserts if this gets annoying enough to overcome my dislike of sewing.

    Actually, I have a sewing project to do that I can’t put off for much longer, so I might tackle this and a few others while the machine and overlocker are set up.

    S’n’b was lovely, as always. Good company and some fun plans for next year. I found homes for nearly all the yarn, books and magazines I’d culled. I offered Caroline the Charcoal Scarf woven from the yarn she gave me and it found an appreciative home (turns out the yarn was alpaca, not mohair!).

    I spent some time yesterday morning making composite images of my FOs for 2008, and I intend to photograph the stash ready for Knit For Your Stash 2009 soon, so there are a few big posts coming up.

    Lime & Violet

    Pattern: loosely based on Cardigan to the Stars by Wendy Knight published in Yarn Magazine issue 10

    Yarn: Cleckheaton Country Silk 8ply

    Needles: 3.75 and 4.00 mm

    Modifications: I knit the rib in the larger needles to prevent jumper muffin-top, knit in the round to make it a jumper rather than a cardy, and added waist shaping. Once I got to the point where the yoke is knit in one piece, I cast on stitches for the sleeves with waste yarn rather than knitting the sleeves cuff-up and joining them at that point.

    I reduced the yoke at the smaller pattern section, knitting one round of crosses rather than two. Picking up stitches around the sleeve-yoke part, I reduced by 6 stitches to narrow the sleeve and shoulders a bit. Then I reduced every 8 rows 10 times. After that I knit straight to the cuff, for which I added two stitches for the 2×2 rib. I left off the fair isle pattern after I realised I didn’t have enough yarn (just as well I knit the sleeves top down!) and was getting hand pain.

    I added a finishing row of plain and then a cast off row in purple yarn at the neckline and cuffs.

    Conclusion: I love it. Pity it’s too hot to wear it!

    Scrappy Socks #4

    This time I used a heel flap pattern. I love knitting scrappy socks, though if a recent pair that wore through are any indication, they’re only as long-lasting as the least robust yarn you use.

    I’m tempted to start another pair. I have sock yarn scraps gathered together ready, in a range of either blues or browns, but there’s something I need to start first. For Christmas this year (among other presents) I gave the beau some yarn and the Extermiknit pattern. He looked a little worried, and very amused, so I explained I was going to knit it for him. I hadn’t been able to knit it before Christmas because of the trouble I was having with muscle pain. I’ve decided to make the dalek out of sock yarn, which means using 2.00 mm needles to get the fabric nice and tight, and that’s going to be rather hard on the hands.

    I started it last night, and it did make my hands ache and burn a little, so I think I’ll be pacing myself carefully. Which means I still need a simple WIP for travel and waiting rooms. Maybe I’ll start another scrappy sock after all…

    But It’s For Weaving…

    A friend has started a small business, Konstant Kaos, making the most adorable little shoes for kids, plus very cool money purses, pouches and such. So, as happens, a helpful relative of the older generation started picking up fabric from op shops for her.

    A LOT of fabric.

    Most of it was totally unsuitable for the items my friend is making, but when she said she had some fabric to get rid I offered to take it off her hands and see if any was suitable to rag rug weaving before putting the rest back in the op shop system.

    She was right: ‘unsuitable’ was the kindest description. There is so much synthetic in there I could have run a power station from the static. Thick fabric that makes you sweat just looking at it. And thin nylony stuff that I suspect would be like weaving with oily curtains.

    But there were some pieces worth experimenting on. Blue corduroy, navy and beigey brown cotton, and some stretchy knit stuff including a wierd herringbone check print. I’m sure I’ve seen instructions on weaving with old t-shirts, so I figure knit material must be okay.

    There was also a white 100% cotton Sheridan sheet. Fine for rag rug weaving, but almost a shame to be cutting it up.

    These aren’t the only recent fabric aquisitions, too. After seeing another weaver’s work using velour as weft, I’ve been keeping my eye out for some. I found some red velour in Kelli’s garage sale, along with some velour-ish black material.

    Should make a very gothy something. Not sure what yet. Shawl? Couch rug?

    So there’s a pile of fabric growing in the corner of the room, and it isn’t lost on me the irony that I savagely culled my enormous post-sewing obsession stash last year. I feel like I should cut it all up into strips straight away, to make sure there’s absolutely no chance I’ll be tempted to put any aside to sew something out of ‘one day’ when I miraculously lose my dislike of sewing.

    Actually, I don’t think there’s any danger of that. I’m more in danger of digging out the fabric stash to see if anything in it could be cut up to make rag rugs with. And I only kept the ‘good’ stuff.

    (Of course, the ultimate irony is that weaving produces fabric, but let’s not go there…)

    Lime and Vio…Let It Be!

    Having decided to finish the jumper, I spent Sunday afternoon knitting only to discover that the fair isle section of the sleeve was too tight. So I frogged most of it and reknit it last night with no decreases. Then I realised the sleeve was getting a bit long despite my calculations, so I reduced the second section of the pattern from two rows of crosses to one. It still came out a smidge longer than I’d normally make it, but not so much I’d worry about redoing it. However, the fair isle section was still a smidge tight – mainly because my tension with fair isle is still a little tight. And it was starting to look like I didn’t have enough purple yarn for the second sleeve.

    I wasn’t ready to decide what to do – or face reknitting a second time – I turned my attention to the neckline. Instead of just reducing the ribbing, I decided to reduce the crosses to one row to match the sleeve. That way I could knit it in the right sized needle. So I frogged and reknit…

    I’m happier with the neckline, though not 100% sure I like the fit, but I’ll reserve judgment until the jumper has been washed and blocked. But I’m really not happy with the sleeve. It looks odd when I try it on. It’s a bit too grippy for comfort. And this is how much yarn I have left:

    I could hunt down another ball, but I don’t think I will. Why not?

    1) I don’t fancy venturing out into the mad Christmas rush.

    2) I’m thinking I might have to frog the sleeve and reknit it yet again. But colourwork knit in the round on such small rounds left me with a pulled muscle/strained wrist on Sunday. The thought of knitting the sleeve pattern two more times makes me wince. I’m considering just having the cross pattern, or no pattern at all on the sleeves.

    3) I really want to finish this before the end of the year. It’s been a fun experiment, but I’m a over it. If I decide I really want the fair isle pattern on the sleeves later on, I’ll hunt down some yarn and duplicate stitch it on. Which will have the added benefit of avoiding my tension problems!

    Newspaper Floor

    As requested, here are some photos of the paper mache floor in my old house:

    When I lived there my aim was to fix and decorate one room per year. First I did the bedroom, which only required a paint and the making of a roman blind with 100% blockout because the street light was right outside my window.

    Then I did the hall, painting it in bright yellow to remind me of a writer’s retreat I’d stayed in. Such a cheerful colour, especially when the sun came in of a morning. I had the hall here painted in a similar colour.

    When it came to the floor I had to rip up two different kinds of carpet, and then I found that only half of the house had floor boards, while most of the hall was masonite, so I was going to have to put down some sort of covering. I had vinyl in mind because I was broke and it was cheap. But then my car broke down and my budget was gone.

    So I googled ‘paper mache floor’ and came up with these instructions:

    Clean floor and hammer in any protruding nails. Mix a solution of 50/50 pva glue and water in a large flat container (a cat tray is perfect). Take sheets of newspaper by two corners, lay in solution and wet both sides, then gently place on floor. Smooth out any air bubbles very gently or the paper will tear.

    I happened to have a great stack of newspapers I was intending to use under mulch on the garden beds to suppress weeds, so I was able to go through them beforehand and select articles that amused me, like a review of the last season of Buffy, the plans for the Queen Vic Building, and predictions of the future design of cars. I also added pages from the local paper. Anything I thought would be interesting to read in the future. On top of the newspapers I also stuck down movie tickets, postcards and the wrapper from my favourite sort of chocolate.

    Then I sealed it all with varnish, mixing in some tinted varnish to give it all a golden, aged look.

    Unfortunately, five years later it had begun to lift and peel a little. The masonite sheets tended to shrink and swell depending on the season, which had caused the newspaper to split along the seams, and the paper was a bit brittle there. Maybe another coat of varnish would have helped stick it down again, but I suspect the new owner will just put down new flooring… if he doesn’t bulldoze the place and build a mansion.

    Another little project that the beau and I did was this:

    The cat door, which went through several evolutions because the cat kept finding ways to force his way out. The sliding doors did the trick, and had the added bonus of keeping out the wind. And boy did we get a lot of wind up there on the hillside!


    I resisted the temptation to try out my new “crochet lite” yesterday. (You know, I’ve always winced at deliberate misspellings of words in advertising and product names, but this takes it a step further. You’ll find ‘lite’ in online dictionaries with the definition of being low in fat or calories. It’s is a deliberate misspelling of ‘light’ that’s used commonly enough that it’s generally understood. Now we have a deliberate use of ‘lite’ for the other meaning of ‘light’. Which is either clever or extra-wanky, depending on your viewpoint.)

    The beau obligingly finished off my new dpns by polishing them up with fine-grade sandpaper, and I got stuck into Lime & Violet. By bedtime I had knit both sleeves to the end of one ball of yarn.

    I’ve tried it on and it fits perfectly so far. Now there’s just two forearms to go, and reducing the neck band, and I’m seriously thinking of curling up in my armchair with some podcasts and knitting until it’s done.

    I slept in a little this morning. After I had finally got up, had a shower and breakfast, and came upstairs to turn on my computer I found this:

    “Open the blinds, already, will you? It hasn’t been sunny in over a week.”

    That bag beside him is full of destash yarn I bought from the lovely Char, and picked up at the garage-sale-alt-s’n’b-meet yesterday morning at the lovely Kelli’s house. Some of it is for weaving and some of it matched some yarn I bought at the ACS Mill Shop earlier this year but didn’t have enough for the project I’d pegged for it. So they’re both permissable under my Knit From Your Stash rules.

    What isn’t is the ten skeins of undyed The Knittery Chubby Sock yarn I ordered on Friday, after a notice went up on Ravelry that Daphne will be closing down her business, which is very sad news. But I’m going to squirrel the skeins away so I have my own supply of my favourite sock yarn to dip into in the future. It’s not as good as having Daphne’s wonderful colourways at my fingertips, but at least this way I can dye them the colour I want when I come to knit a pair. Or try to, anyway. So the yarn is more like a yarn term deposit rather than available funds.

    And besides, the yarn diet doesn’t start until January 1st.