Wednesday, 28 March 2007


I finished my Broadripple socks.

Broadripples 02

The yarn is Cascade Fixation in the Harlequin colourway. Purchased from Yarns Online. I used Clover 3mm bamboo dpns.
When C first saw me working on these socks she cried "Collywobbles!" in reference to the black & white strip of the Collingwood Football Club - a very Melbourne-esque response. But now that the socks are finished, the first thing I thought of when I put them this morning to photograph (and then wear the rest of the day) was a zebra.

Broadripple yoga

This is the first time that I have knitted with Fixation. Working on the first sock, (the one on my left foot) I was a little freaked out by the stretch in the yarn and wasn't quite sure how to deal with it. I stopped worrying after a while and the sock seemed to turn out just fine. There was a little bit of colour pooling on the heel turn and gusset, but that is generally to be expected and I wasn't bothered by it. I was intrigued then, whilst working on the second sock, at how different and more pronounced the pooling on the gusset was - again, it was more intriguing than bothersome. Why would the pooling be so different?

Broadripple detail

It wasn't until I tried on the finished pair last night that the most likely answer revealed itself. The second sock felt significantly tighter than the first so I suspect that I knitted the second one at a tighter gauge since I wasn't worrying so much about the stretch in the yarn. Different gauge means the yarn gets used up at a different rate, therefore the pooling variation.
Walking around in the socks with shoes on, the difference is minimal and I only notice it if I think about it really hard and start imagining the sock on the right foot feels tighter.

Broadripples in Campfire shoes

This is the obligatory fetishistic shot - Posing with the shoes for which I keep having to sew the buttons (which you can't see in this shot) back on.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Craft night

I'm still here....

A few years ago, when Y still lived in the 'burbs, our little group of friends used to gather together one evening a week for craft night (the whole "stitch and bitch" thing was never really on our radar). Once Y and T1 moved out to the country to build their little house in the big woods, craft night kind of fell by the wayside. Now C, S and I are making an effort to resurrect the tradition. Last night we gathered at my place.
C worked on some crochet.

See C crochet

S worked on a bed sock

S knits

I worked on a sock.

Sock in progress

You might remember that I made a pair of socks for S' hubby T2 (the blue ones with the cables down the sides). These are apparently the most comfortable socks that he has ever worn, so now he wants more. S is planning to learn how to knit socks herself, but in the meantime, I have been presented with this gorgeously soft brown baby alpaca yarn and the request of "more socks" for T2.

baby alpaca yarn

We crafters certainly like to make rods for our backs. ;-)

Monday, 12 March 2007

short row bonnet

short row bonnet, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I realised a few days ago that I was due to go to a three-year-old's birthday party and I didn't have a present. I prefer to give clothes rather than toys (I get too worried and anxious about toy politics and appropriateness) and so decided to whip up a quick bonnet after being inspired by the shaping of one I saw over at Brooklyn Tweed. I had a look at the Hello pattern that he used, but I don't like the dpn wrangling that goes on at the start when there's hardly any stitches on the needles. So I decided to replicate the shaping using the short-row technique that usually gets combined with a provisional cast on to start a pair of toe-up socks. I like the rhythm of the short-row toe.
The main disadvantage that my approach had was that I had to get the starting number of stitches right at the beginning rathern that being able to just knit from the top down until it was the right size. Still, I got the size right on attempt number two. It's quite a challenge trying to guess how-big-i-the-head-of-a-three-year-old-you-haven't-seen-for-a-few-months.
The eagle-eyed amongst you might recognise that this is the multi-print yarn that I got as a free gift with my purchase of the last issue of Yarn when I bought it at the MagNation knit-in. I can report that it nice and soft to knit with and toned perfectly with some pink-ish baby wool 3 ply that I had in my stash. I used the baby wool held double for the brim.
The hat fit and was universally admired. Present crisis averted.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

v. quick Knitty review

As we move imperceptibly into our Autumn, the Spring Knitty issue appears.

I'm tempted by Ester, bmp and Tahoe.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

what I did on my weekend.

I finished knitting the Gumleaf Lace Shawl.
gumleaf unblocked

I blocked the aforementioned shawl.
gumleaf blocking

Since I had finished a project, I allowed myself to cast on a new one. Making a little dent in the sock queue, I cast on for a pair of Broadripples. (Yarn is Cascade Fixation in Harlequin)
harlequin broadripple 01

I cast around for some ideas on what to do with the 2 charm square packs of Kaffe Fassett fabrics that I bought last week at the quilt convention.
kaffe quilt idea

I also did a bit of gardening - potted up some cuttings and new hanging baskets and planted out a new Sedum and a new Chinese Star Jasmine (fingers crossed it does ok in this spot). We're close enough to the end of the hot weather now that I figure I can keep these new plants going..... I hope.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Catching up...

Yikes. Over a week since my last post. There has been craft-related activity going on, but there hasn't really been the yen to write about it.

I'm working away on the Gumleaf Shawl for my train knitting at the moment. I'm up to pattern repeat 22 of 25. Although I'm not sure if I will do all 25 - depends on how confident I'm feeling that the single skein of SeaSilk will last the distance. I'm making a re-assessment of this after each 6 row repeat trying to bear in mind that each repeat is a little bit longer than the one before and that the cast-off will take a lot more yarn than a regular one as its got all these little wiggly bits that gobble up yardage. The SeaSilk has been really lovely to knit with. It's very very very soft and gentle on my hands and once I got the Addi Turbo circs in the right size, the knitting went pretty smoothly (the joints on the Aero (?) circs were pretty horrible).

I think next time (and I think there will definitely be a next time) that I knit something with SeaSilk, I will choose a pattern that has a stocking stitch base rather than a garter stitch base. The one drawback with the Gumleaf pattern is that garter stitch isn't as smooth as stocking stitch and so I think that the shine and sheen of the SeaSilk is perhaps not shown to its ultimate advantage.

The ripple gets pulled out late in the evenings at the moment - when I can't really concentrate on anything else properly, so it's growing slowly. I don't know that I really have enough of a stash of 8 ply to go very far, but it's good excuse to buy just the one ball here and there of those really nice yarns (like Zara and Merino Soie) that I'm too ikey to buy in bulk for one big project.

I'm making good progress on the leg of the second Ladies Useful Stockings - just going round and round and round in plain stocking stitch, remembering to do a couple of decreases every 6 rounds. The Lorna's Laces shepherd sock is lovely to knit with, but I'm really starting to wish that S had chosen a pattern with a little more interesting knitting in it - rather than just plain plain and really long. Never mind. T2 apparently really loves his socks and is making noises about wanting more pairs since they're so comfy. Oh dear.

I spent a couple of hours at the Australasian Quilt Convention last Saturday. The marketplace was waayyy too busy. Most stalls were at least two women deep all the way across. Not fun. But downstairs at the quilt exhibition it wasn't so bad. There were two quilts that stuck in my mind. One for good and one for bad reasons.

The good one was made from old men's ties. I've had a few ideas kicking round about using the wedge shaped ends of ties to create circular motifs for a quilt, but this quilter took a different angle and focused on the labels. Each patch was a small rectangle of the tie fabric (I'm guessing maybe 2" x 3") and then the label was appliqued to the centre of the patch - everything from Hardy Amies, Dior, Lacroix, Pierre Cardin - this quilter had managed to collect a pretty big collection of "prestigious" ties and the overall effect was fun and engaging.

The bad one was not a bad quilt in and of itself. It was styled to be a bookshelf with a collection of her "favourite" books which looked pleasant enough. But she included a book by Jane Austin (sic) and one by Virginia Woolfe (sic). I try to be tolerant of "alternative" or international spellings. I am aware that Shakespeare himself spelt his own name several different ways depending on mood or whim. But AUSTIN is a CAR not a writer. And I am struggling to find any evidence of Leonard and Virginia spelling their surname with an appended "e". To me it ruined any image that she was trying to create of being well-read and intellectual. I'm such a snob. Sigh.

I did manage to buy a few bits of fabric and got a set of hexagonal plastic templates in various sizes. On Sunday I cut out some 5" hexagons to do some paper-piecing when I feel so inclined. I'm planning that it might be a companion piece to another small quilt that I already have hanging in the sewing room.