Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All Stockinette Socks All The Time: Christmas Wednesday WIPday 4/8

It's time for the weekly Christmas knitting update and really, it looks pretty much like last week.  The mens' socks were going well until Lucy got a bit antsy and pulled out the needle from the almost-finished heel flap:

Look at Herself here, all innocence.  "Who me?", she says.

Yes you, naughty kitty!

I finally bought the needles I needed yesterday, so I was able to turn the heel on Sock #1 for Friend S. I also completed the miraculous rare occurrence of going into a wool shop and buying only what I needed to get.  Amazing!

After I took the first bunch of photos it was too nice to go inside, so I picked up the live stitches and finished turning the heel on the Boring Brown Sock:

Turning a heel flap-and-gusset style while magic looping is a massive PITA and I wouldn't recommend it, but to get our Christmas knitting finished, sometimes we need to do things we don't want to do.

My handy spreadsheet tells me I am 48% finished if I stick to Plan Original and 39% finished if I aim for Plan CrazyPants with the two additional pairs of socks.  Not too bad, but not great after.  I have a quiet weekend coming up, so I hope for great things next Wednesday.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Luxe Boneyard: 2010 FO#15

Today I present you with a truly beautiful shawl photographed in a truly awful way:

It's another Boneyard, knitted out of yarn left over from my Abyssal and the yet-to-be-blocked-and-blogged Annis and a lone ball of alpaca from the stash.

This shawl is everything that's good about knitting.  The yarn it is made of is incredibly soft and gorgeous, and created a perfectly draping gorgeous scarf that's more a work of art than a practical object to wear.  I would never be able to afford a scarf made from these materials, especially not in a combination of colours that look gorgeous and that I totally adore.  I heart this scarf!

Pity about the crap photography, though.

This scarf is my fifth blocked and blocked this year.  I aimed to finish 11, and I'm not even halfway there yet!  Oh well, even if I don't make it to the the destination I have definitely enjoyed the journey.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For Sure: Christmas WIP Wednesday 3/8

The Christmas knitting continues.  Last week I needed a travel project and the blue-stripe Opal socks were at the non-portable heel stage, so I started one of the other projects that need to be completed.  They're socks for my friend S out of Cascade Heritage Handpaints.  I think the colour is gorgeous - like the sea, but not like the actual sea (which is often not that interesting), but like how the sea is represented in Disney movies that involve mermaids and girls with really big eyes and itty bitty waists.  It was going swimmingly (see what I did there?) until I stupidly dropped one of the DPNs and lost it.  The sock is stalled until I go to my favourite wool shop and by another set, which doesn't sound hard but I do not want to go to that shop on my own because I know if I do, I'll end up buying more stuff! So I'm waiting until a) my resolve is stronger or b) I have no choice due to the need to give the sock to its recipient. 

I've also been working on the socks.  Why yes, there are two socks there.  That's because last week's splurge made me think I was a superquick master-knitter (consumption = ability), and I decided that for sure I can knock out an extra two pairs of socks before Christmas.  For sure! So I started on one of them.  It's the damn wool fumes - they get to me every time!

My Christmas spreadsheet says:
Percentage complete without two extra pairs: 41%
Percentage complete with two extra pairs: 31%

I can do it.  For sure.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If this is wrong, I don't want to be right

One of my goals this year was to knit down my stash.  I hate the thought of all the unused yarns I have, sitting there waiting to be knit.  It makes me want to start All The Things right away so then the yarn won't be wasted...yes, I know it's silly. Yarn doesn't go off!

However, when I saw this bag of odds and ends of sock yarn on Ravelry destash, I just couldn't resist:

700g of assorted sock wool for $30! There's Opal, Regia, Tofutsies, random unidentified and unidentifiable skeins - wonderful and really great value for money.

I think I may have a sock-wool buying problem...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WIP Wednesday: 2/8

This week I thought for certain I'd have at least one thing more thing completed than I did last week, even if it was only one sock.  But the weekend was hot and I was feeling a bit alround blah, so I got nothing done knittingwise.  Instead, here is my experience of my first afterthought heel.

Step 1: Take a photo with my useless camera which washes out all colours. Realise that the washing-out of the picture means that the bit of the sock you want to illustrate is invisible.  Use iPhoto to 'enhance' the picture. Wince at how garish the photo is.  Dream of getting a new camera.

Step 2: Try to take a photo that shows the process of removing the knitted-in wool.  Try taking photos with your left hand. Swear at your useless left hand which apparently cannot operate a camera independentally. Try using the timer function while holding the camera in your left hand.  Sigh at the result and dream of a new camera with a little tripod.

Step 3. Take a photo with your right hand.  Realise that it is no better at taking photos.  Blame the terrible camera.

Step 3: Admire the freakish site sight of an 'opened' sock. Review post, go back and correct spelling of sight, noting that one's profession as an editor can be called into question if errors like that are made public.

It looks a bit like it wants to eat me! Attack of the killer sock! (okay, I'll stop now)

Step 4: Pick up the live stitches.  I'm doing the sock heel magic-loop style because all of my 2.25mm needles are being used by the other four socks I have going at the moment.  Is it wrong that tomorrow I am going to buy more? Because I think it's normal to have six socks on the go, especially when four of them are hidden so Sam can't see them and tease me about it.

At this point my erstwhile companion popped up to help me by leaning against my legs...

..but found that my legs weren't enough support after being overcome from the effort of walking the six metres from the back door to the bench, and needed a lie-down. (Yes, I am wearing a nightie. What can I say - I live to be comfortable, and what is more comfortable than sleepwear? Thank god no-one came to the door.)

I then knit the sock as I would a toe.  I'm not sure how may stitches to decrease down to, so I need Sam to try it on before I can graft the heel closed.

There are massive holes at either end of the heel which will need to be sewn shut.  Other than that, it's looking pretty good so far. I'm very happy with how the stripes look (Opal, how I love thee and thee's gorgeous striping sock yarn).  Afterthought heel = success. Progress on Christmas knitting, not so much.

If anyone ever needs proof why I should never have a day off: I entered all of the Christmas present knitting information into an Excel spreadsheet and have discovered that I have approximately 35% of my Christmas knitting done.  Ironically, if I'd, you know, actually knitted on stuff instead of typing about it, that percentage would be higher.  I just can't be trusted with computer, an Internet connection and a whole bunch of office software :(

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas WIP Wednesday 1/8 plus 2011 FOs#12-14

I was returning from my daily (well...almost daily) walk earlier when I noticed this in my garden:

Seriously, how pretty!  My garden is inherited from the previous resident, so these little surprises keep popping up as we head towards summer.  Unfortunately, it is also completely unmaintained by me, so this will probably be the last year this happens, as I imagine next year it will be replaced by a nice easy-to-look-after lawn.

I don't know what this says about me, but my second thought after 'Oh, pretty!' was 'Photograph knitting in garden'.  You see, I made a very public statement about the Christmas knitting I want to get done this year and I just realised that there are less than two months left before Christmas (!!).  In fact, this is the first of only EIGHT WIP WEDNESDAYS LEFT (!!!!).  So, like Stephen Fry with his twitter diet, I thought that if I recorded my progress, then I would have an impetus to, you know, actually make progress.  Therefore, here's my new knitting since last week, the first 30-ish% of my sister's Daybreak.  It's travelling along swimmingly, and I see no reason why I shouldn't have it finished and blocked for next week.  I might even have enough yarn left over from the scarf for a matching pair of fingerless gloves.  Which leads me to my next paragraph... 
My lovely friend Christian gave me a single hank of Koigu KPPM he bought while on a trip to the US.  There's not much you can do with only one skein of KPPM, but I scoured Ravelry and found Mitt Envy by Weezalana.  And voila, in approximately two minutes flat I had a pair of fingerless mitts that fit like a glove (ha ha, I'm so very funny) and used only 35g of the skein:

Not a bad segue, right?  But where is my index finger? Anyhoo, the knitting and wearing occurred while I was in hospital (it was very cold in my ward), and the lovely woman who lived opposite me asked me if I'd make her a pair.  She was a complete sweetheart and also very cold, so I got Sam to bring in some of the stash and I knitted her up a pair out of the useless-for-socks-but-great-for-mitts-and-shawls sock yarn Patonyle that has been in the stash for at least four years.

And then my friend Cara, who was a truly excellent friend for me in hospital, bringing me lots of food and good coffee and useful things like lip balm and facewash saw the stash yarn that wasn't chosen and the finished mitts and asked for a pair also.  So, wham bam thank you ma'am I knocked her up a pair also in Cleckheaton Merino Bambino that has been in the stash for two and a half years:

Okay, so that's the palm of my mitts, but I stupidly gifted the mitts without photographing them but I still want to count them on my 2011 FO list, so just imagine they look exactly like this but are white, purple and yellow. Very pretty.

I made a few mods - I lengthened the bottom ribbing by 24 rows and the top ribbing by 16 rows.  I omitted the cable because, well, I hate doing cables.  These mitts fit perfectly, they're warm, I got to use up pretty new yarn and pretty stash yarn and these mitts gave me the opportunity to share the love with those who have been lovely to me.  Win win all round.

Seven WIP Wednesday's to go...let the Christmas knitting continue!