Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Lovely lace

I am currently without my camera which has been at a wedding in Pisa, seems entirely unfair that the camera should be invited when I wasn’t! I do hope my mum finds her camera soon though as she’s that into taking photographs I may suggest she buys mine (which is in perfect working condition, I’m just not happy with the colours in the pictures though it would be just fine for her) and then I could use the money towards a new compact digital camera. I have no intention of getting an SLR, I do like taking photographs but I’m not a photographer and it’s a huge expense for pictures to go on my blog and my Ravelry project page!

In the absence of my usual camera and my inability to find the spare digital camera (we have a lot of gadgetry around our house as Mr.Northernmonkey is a techie type) I must apologise that this picture was taken on my camera phone. To be fair I think the camera on my phone takes a reasonable enough picture, not so great you’d print them off but they are generally OK. It’s a good enough picture to give a glimpse of what I am up to at the moment anyway.

Lace…lovely, lightweight, doesn’t make my knee sweaty when knitting lace! The pattern is called Candace and is in the current Let’s Knit magazine. It is designed by the incredibly talented Anni of www.yarnaddict.co.uk and I love it already. I finished the set up chart and have knit the first repeat of the main chart which needs repeating six times before moving into a border chart. So far I am happy. The yarn is not that recommended with the pattern but some merino/silk laceweight from Violet Green. I do intend to buy some yarn from Anni’s website for my Christmas (argh that C word again!) knitting projects but for this one I knew I had some laceweight in my stash and that it really should be used as I am supposed to be saving money and stashing down.
I can’t decide whether or not to take this project with me when I go on holiday in just under two weeks (eek so excited!) I know I will still be knitting on it and it is so beautiful and such an enjoyable knit which makes me think I should. We are going with our friends who have a four year old and a nearly two year old makes me think I shouldn’t. If they got their sticky hands on my laceweight I would NOT be a happy monkey!! Perhaps I’ll be better taking socks, I have two pairs OTN and both are with robust and machine washable yarns and both are simple enough that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they fell prey to sticky fingers. Obviously I will be attempting to keep my knitting out of reach, particularly as I use rather pointy, metal needles BUT it’s children, what can you do? They get into everything whether you want them to or not. They are lovely children though, I'm looking forward to the holiday with four of our friends and the two children.
I must check for yarn shops in the Carmarthenshire area before I go!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

It's not easy being green

I finished the lime green mystery socks at the weekend and felt a huge black lime green cloud lift from my shoulders. I do love these socks, I think the pattern looks good (particularly the way the diagonals go in opposite directions so when I stand with my feet together they point in towards each other) and the twisted stitches and little cables were interesting to knit. I adore the yarn, it’s soft and squishy and such a beautiful, vibrant shade BUT oh my goodness they took a lot of knitting. They also took a lot of yarn! I haven’t weighed them but I did have to use my third skein of Claudia Handpainted Yarn (the colourway is Limeade) to knit the last few repeats of pattern on the foot and the toes. I am glad they are finished and I will wear them with pride.

The picture of them hanging on the sock blockers does not give an entirely accurate colour, nor does this one though it’s closer to the reality of these lovely limey socks. I understand there are colours that the naked eye can see which cannot be picked up by a camera but my camera really doesn’t do colour very well. It always looks a bit washed out. I have tried different backgrounds, I always use natural light, I’ve taken pictures inside and out with the light from all directions using every mode on the camera…it just isn’t great. I expect I’ll replace it at some point but not any time soon, for now I shall just do my best.

When I was getting ready to graft the toes of my beautiful lime socks I made myself a cup of tea using this cup:

I put it on this lovely coaster purchased at the Black Sheep Brewery:

I went in this case to retrieve a darning needle:

I thought wow…that’s a lot of green!

I do love green so, it is my most favourite colour. I am not sure exactly when this transition occurred as whilst I’ve never had anything against green as a colour it certainly wasn’t my favourite as a child. I loved pinks and reds and purples but over the last couple of years I have moved away from that and settled myself into a love affair with the colour green. There is hardly a shade of it I don’t like from pale, minty greens to more brown olive greens and even the school uniform coloured bottle green…I love them all. I am wearing a green dress today with a green beaded bracelet, a necklace with a green pendant and green sparkly nail polish on my toenails. Green, green, green. Strangely perhaps green is my mother’s favourite colour and my great aunt’s favourite colour. Maybe it’s a family thing. I don’t know. I just love it.

I decided I needed a new project, I do have a cardigan on the go but it’s in an aran weight wool blend and the sleeves lay quite heavily on my lap in the current hot weather, I wanted something light and airy. I do have other socks on the go but I wanted something that is not socks. Something pretty…not pretty…something with the potential to be beautiful, classy, proper grown up knitting. I went to my stash and pulled out some laceweight yarn, spent an hour carefully hand winding it with the skein wrapped across my knees to prevent an awful tangle (I'm not good at winding balls of yarn and usually enlist the help of my mother who winds whilst I hold the skein between outstretched hands). I cast on just before bed but only knit the first row.

The colour? Well what else…

Merino and mulberry silk laceweight in "Gooseberry" from Violet Green

Friday, 18 June 2010

Mystery socks

So I am at home recovering from a minor surgical procedure and what can I do to fill my time? Try to finish the May SKA mystery socks by Cookie A! This has been slow going, I feel like I have been knitting on them forever. In reality I have been knitting on them since the beginning of May but the leg portion has 80 stitches per round with twisted, travelling stitches on every round apart from the toe decreases and the heel flap! I calculated that the leg portion alone took 6030 stitches PER SOCK, that's 12060 stitches before I've even knit the heels. I don't have the patience to do the calculations to work out the stitch count for the pair but it's in excess of 13000 per sock or 26000 stitches for the pair. I could have knit a cardigan for that sort of stitch count. I normally do a 64 stitch sock for myself if I'm working in stockinette and other sock patterns I've knit have been over 64 stitches (Monkey and Circles) so there you're more in the region of 8000 - 9000 for a pair and goodness me have I felt those extra 4000 stitches in each sock!

That said I love them. I think the pattern looks fabulous, the fit is absolutely great and whilst this has nothing to do with the pattern I love the yarn as well, it's soft and the colour is fantastic if impossible to capture accurately with my camera. I can honestly say I am keen to knit more pairs of intricately cabled and patterned socks in future, why not?! I am on the heel flap of the right sock and do intend to have it finished this weekend so I can have my 6th pair of finished socks in 2010 putting me on target to finish 12 pairs. OK so one pair was not for me and one pair was only little footie socks BUT a pair is a pair and I am counting them!

When I have finished these I must return to my husband's socks. I am nearly at the toe of the first of the pair and it did knit up quickly so I must get on with the second. I have other socks planned (and started a second pair of circle socks whilst in Dortmund) but what I really need to do is go back to the cardigan I started months ago. I believe it was dropped in favour of knitting Ishbel but I want to get it finished. I may still only be on the sleeves (I started with the sleeves) but frankly after thousands of stitches on 2.25mm needles I imagine the cardigan on 6.5mm needles will feel like it's flying along! I must finish it as I am determined to have some knitted items that are not hidden in my shoes! I also want to knit a second baby garment for the family baby due in September.

I'd better get back to my little lime green friend now, it's begging to be finished!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Oh blog, I did not mean to desert you

I have been oh so very absent from my blog at late as life got busy busy busy. Life continues to be busy busy busy but I have managed to squeeze in the tiniest moment to visit my blog and put together a little post.

What have I been knitting? Well...not much. As I said life has been busy busy busy and my knitting time has been hit hard, it's always my knitting time that gets hit hard when everything else decides to get going. There was the visit from the in-laws then a weekend of chores and tidying and getting the everything done before last week when I spent a week away in Germany with my choir.

These are the latest pictures I have. My camera is on death's door and takes only washed out and dreary photographs which makes me very sad. I have another digital camera and I suspect I need to be using that and not my little compact one. I must start saving for a replacement for the little one.

These are just little footie type socks I decided to knit for my trip to Germany (where I did not need wool socks as the temperature soared to 30 degrees! I used yarn left over from the socks I knit for my mum's birthday but I did not have quite enough. When they were finished they had little purple toes, I must get a picture and get them on ravelry.

I continue to work on my Cookie A Mystery Socks though they have not been knit on since before I went away (though have progressed slightly beyond this picture) the colour here is wildly inaccurate which is a shame as the true colour really is the colour of limeade, the stuff of childhood. It's just fabulous.

And here in a jumbled pile of pointy sticks and yarn...socks.

I am knitting on another sock but do not have a photo. Whilst in Germany I did not really have time to work on socks with travelling stitches and charts BUT I did have time to start a second pair of circle socks. It's a fun, easy, memorable pattern which looks great in self striping yarn which I just so happen to have masses of. Fantastic! I believe my friend took a photo of me knitting in the sunshine so I shall ask for a copy and get that on here.

I do hope that now the preparations for my choir trip are over I can settle back into a good knitterly routine. Whilst it is an unfortunate reason to have the free time I am having a minor surgical procedure on Monday and will have the week off to knit. I intend to get the lovely Cookie A socks finished. I also need to finish the socks I was making for Mr.Northernmonkey which I stopped knitting on a few rounds from starting the toe of sock 1. Oops. I also still have a cardigan which is really just almost finished sleeves, that requires attention.

A terrible thought which keeps popping into my mind is the C word...the big one that comes around every year towards the end of December. So as not to drive myself insane with knitting I want to make a head start on my gifts. I don't intend to make many but both my mother and my mother in law have requested lace scarves (an Ishbel for my mum, a rectangular scarf for MiL) which is not the quickest knitterly project. I don't know what else I might knit for that time of year but these projects need starting and my approach I think is to finish the things I am currently working on (1 cardigan, 3 pairs of socks) by the end of July so I can get yarn hunting and crack on with the projects.

So many things to knit, so little time. As ever. I just hope I can get back on track with blogging, try to aim for at least once a week. Also try to finish some projects! I am about on track with a pair of socks per month but I want to keep it up and get some more done.

Busy busy busy.