Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Deja Vu All Over Again & 2011 FO# 11

There is one more thing I should have mentioned in this post that I do every year without fail.  No matter how many times I repeatedly tell myself that this year I won't do it, this year will be different, this year will be all about me, on the 1st of October I start making Christmas presents for my nearest and dearest.

I think it's an illness...

This year I am Keeping It Real or, at least as realistic as I can be once the wool fumes go to my head. From top to bottom clockwise in the picture above, there's a pair of socks for my friend Seona, a Daybreak for my sister, a Baby Surprise Jacket for my friend Jess and another pair of socks for Sam's brother.  That is eminently doable, especially when you consider I just borrowed four Hitchcock movies and Season 1 of Dowton Abbey from the library.  Completely doable. See, I've almost convinced myself!

It's pretty sad that I had almost all of the yarn for all of those presents already neatly bagged up in various bins in my house.  I may not have shared this, because I am a really crap blogger, but this year one of my  major goals was to use up my stash.  I don't want a lot of stash - I want to be the kind of person who buys wool only for immediate use.  My (too extensive for me) stash guilts me every time I think of it.  I don't want to die with unused wool or unrealised yarn dreams!  I have bought yarn this year, but all of it was cast on immediately and not added to the stash. The wool I bought today was the black Patonyle in the back, and it's one of those ironic instances where buying more yarn decreases the overall stash.  The grey Patonyle I've had for about three/four years - it's just a nothing colour that I never got excited about.  However, when paired with the black it has the potential to become a modern, classy, classic scarf.  It was hard to be in a yarn store and only buy one thing, but I knew I was doing the right thing.

The Christmas Knitathon 2011 is also contributing to my Growth As A Knitter (a very useful phrase I saw on a blog a few days ago.  I wish I could remember who's blog it was...).  I love the striping of the Opal and I didn't want the heel to screw it up, so I'm doing an afterthought heel for the first time.  Wish me luck!  Although, if it doesn't look very good, these can be Sam's Christmas socks.

How's for impressive though - one pair of socks are already done!  They're Opal Magic colourway 1043, and they're my friend Lisa's Christmas present.  It's my standard 64-stitch top-down heel-flap-and-gusset sock recipe, and the colours are those of her football team.  It's my first completed Christmas present of the year, and I am so excited to be one present down with just under two months to go! Yay me! (too many exclamation points? I suspect so.)

This is what they'll look like wrapped up in their pretty paper.   I hope she likes them!

 Wish me luck with Christmas Knitathon 2012.  I think I'll need it...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crappy photos and finished socks (2011 FOs #9 & #10)

I mainly read knitting and cooking blogs.  I don't know what it says about me that I'd rather read about what Internet people create and how they do it than what bloggers feel and do...I suspect it just confirms how antisocial and introverted I am! Anyway, with these subject-specific blogs that I read, the good ones improve over time - the photos look better, the writing is more interesting and often the knitting/cooking improves.  This makes sense, because clearly if you do something often you're going to get better at it.

Well, unless you're me.  I've been sharing random thoughts and knitting projects on the Internet for over five years, and look at the best I can do:

I can't even figure out how to make them sit next to each other!  I am the worst blogger ever.

These are two pairs of socks  knitted for my big-footed boyfriend.  The first ones are knitted in Opal Rainforest in Raupe (Caterpillar).  Opal, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways - you're a wonderful hardwearing sock yarn that knits up nicely, tells stories with your colourways and also looks pretty.  You're the bomb. Incidentally, these were his birthday socks that I started knitting while in hospital.  His birthday is in May, I finished them last week...near enough is good enough, right?

The second pair are my annual footy finals pair.  Interestingly, two years ago I struggled to get a pair of short socks finished for Sam in the three weeks between the qualifying and the grand final.  These ones were longer with a deeper heel and I knocked them off in 10 days.  I'm definitely knitting faster, which is good to know.  These socks are knitted with Moda Vera Noir in Laguna that I got from Spotties on sale for $4. Cheapest sock yarn evah!  Not bad but definitely an inferior yarn to the Opal.  It'll be interesting to see how these hold up over time.

As I have mentioned numerous times, Sam has massive feet.  I recently realised that not only are his feet massive, the volume of his heel is huge also.  I don't know how to explain it well - he's got a high instep and his socks always strained around the heel area.  Following the advice of the great Elizabeth Zimmermann, I designed a heel that would accommodate that greater volume.  I knit the heel flap 1.5 times as long as the normal heel flap, which means I pick up more stitches from the side which leads to longer gussets and a better-fitting sock.  However, it uses a crapload more yarn - about 10-15% (maths is not my strong suit). But it's worth the extra sock-knitting for a sock that fits like a dream.

Because even though I suck at photography it doesn't mean I don't care, I broke out the iPhoto special effects:

I try!