Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

Posts tagged ‘knitting’

July/August goals

Gah!!! How did July fly by??? (Don’t answer that, I know the answer). Life got crazy busy then for a while, and it’s going to stay busy in August too. Blah. Anyway. July’s goals were (slightly optimistic)

(Yes, this is wildly late. Life has been throwing a ton of stuff my way. Unfortunately, none of it is going anywhere until September. Then normal service can resume!)

  1. Knit a pair of socks before my mother’s birthday (they’re interesting so this should be doable)
    Done! Not as early as I had hoped, but they were gifted to her on her birthday and she loves them (even though it’s far too hot to wear them…)
  2. Get cockatoo brae to the yoke (the pattern is the other side of the room, but given how much zoomies I had on this last month, should be doable!)
    Haha, nope. Probably won’t even happen in August, given the number of trains I’m going on (as well as the issue I might be having with the gauge…)
  3. Finish the plastic canvas ‘Let it snow’ cross stitch ornament (probably the best way to stave off burnout on the wedding sampler is to finish something else…)
    Doneeeeeeee!!!!!!
  4. Blog post about buttonbox mods (hopefully will start this after I finish cokcatoo brae, I need to be prepared!)
    Doneeeeeeeee!!!! How does the idea of starting buttonbox before I finish cockatoo brae sound? It might need frogging…
  5. Bonus: sew Kita’s pillowcase together…
    Nope. Blargh. I need to just sit down and do it at some point…
  6. Bonus: crochet the octopus
    Nope, and no motivation to do it either
  7. Bonus: Mildred’s socks
    Nearly! I just need to do the heel now, so naturally I’m procrastinating over it…

 

 

Ok, onto August goals. Easy, tame and relatively mindless are the words of this month. I have lots of train rides coming up, so yay for socks I guess!

  1. Finish Mildred’s socks. This is getting stupid now. They are also the last things (on the needles) to give other people, so double incentive to finish them!
  2. Sew Kita’s pillowcase together. The procrastination is wildly strong on this one…:/
  3. Work out what on Earth is going on with my cockatoo brae. If it is my gauge I’m going to be annoyed…
  4. Work out which socks have the most left to do that are mindless for all the train rides (4, or 5 if you count connections as separate trains) (If I finish the Mildred socks this is totally a good enough excuse to start new socks…)
  5. Bonus: get to the yoke of cockatoo brae, depending on what is going on with it.
  6. Bonus: work out what everyone’s getting for Christmas, and if it’s crafting work out a plan of attack for them…

Ok, hopefully they’re all easy enough to do. Unfortunately, I can’t take cockatoo brae on the train trips, I don’t have much space for yarny things in my luggage on each of them.

Ooh, remind me to do a blog post about my sponsored cycle ride…(preferably before I do the damn ride…)

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FO Friday- bird socks edition

More bird socks have been finished! And just in time too- they were finished last Sunday and given to my mother on..Wednesday, I think it was? I think I need a break from socks (oh wait, no I can’t, I have to finish the acrylic ones for my vegan friend…). Then I can have a break and concentrate on the cats cross stitch and my cardigans for a while. 🙂

Anyway, the latest bird socks!

 

Mostly made up pattern- 66 stitches, (German) short row heel,, purl the stitches when you’re about to use dark blue yarn (feel free ot fudge, it’s not supposed to be very precise, more of a bit of interest).  The mother likes them a lot, so score for that 🙂

And now I get to focus on meeeeeeee 🙂 I haven’t yet planned Christmas presents…so I get to have fun with what I want while I think up plans for that. It may well be that I buy things this year (shock horror!), and keep having fun myself with my projects for me 🙂 We shall see I guess.

June/July goals

Oh boy, we are now halfway through the year. Umm, yikes. It feels very strange to be writing that, but ok. Let’s ignore that bit for a second, and look through June’s goals.

  1. Knit another pair of bird socks. (This also involves choosing which pair to make, whcih I think will be the harder choice…)
    Haha, so nope. Different pattern chosen, let’s get this on the road this month!
  2. Finish Mildred’s second sock. It’s basically vanilla, with some striping. Easy peasy (And therefore I will totally procrastinate on it…)
    Umm, less nope, but still not done. I’m nearly at the cuff for this, so almost I guess!
  3. Crochet a flat preemie octopus to get the hang of it before I teach my aunt…That lesson will probably be happening on/around the 17th, so I should get a move on with this (when I go back to Salisbury and can get my crochet hooks…)
    Umm….well I crocheted enough of it to know what I was doing, but then my aunt was ill and so she didn’t turn up at the races, so I got the proverbial stay of execution. Next opportunity is probably Christmas
  4. Cross stitch Q-S of the wedding sampler (bonus: also start X)
    Nope (wow I failed at this this month!) I did Q, R and started S, but then came very close to burn out and so put it down. So a failure, but a deliberate one to make future months esaier on it…
  5. Do ‘some generic amount’ of cockatoo brae. Umm, I need a definite amount to knit, otherwise it won’t get done (it may not get done anyway, it’s just stocking stitch in the round now… Tedious much???) So…reach bust shaping? I’m knitting the third size, so that’s the set up round then 7 sets of 7 rows and the 9 lain rows between the waist shaping and the bust shaping. 59 rows. Hmm. Having had a very quick look at the other patterns, I don’t need to make it any longer. We shall see I guess…
    Well I blew this one out of the water. I did all this, and then started increasing for the bust.
  6. Bonus: Knit another 10 squares on my scrappy blanket. That will finish the complete ’round’
    I did 7 and a half, so not too shabby for a scrap project/bonus goal
  7. Bonus: blog posts about spinning, buttonbox mods and/or the afterthought pocket
    Well I did the one I planned to about spinning, so score for me!

Ok, and now we’re halfway through the year, let’s have another look at my yearly goals:

Still to do:

  1. 2 and a bit cardigans
    I’m on track for this, one is done and the current one is the sock yarn one which will take longer.
  2. Socks for the mother
    So I majorly scaled this plan back, rather than attempting to knit them all this year, it’s now three per gift-giving session. Hopefully I’ll hit this one, then I can work on building up a surpless of them (there’s a different present for Christmas)
  3. This wedding sampler
    It’s coming along slowly, and probably won’t get finished this year, but I currently have no deadline and I’d rather truck along slowly than risk burnout
  4. The pillow covers
    Kita’s *still* needs sewing onto her pillowcase… *whistles innocently*
  5. Blankets for me
    Umm, yeah….I bought the yarn for Persian Tiles, but I haven’t started it yet. I’m thinking that next year (or decade) will probably be the year/decade of blankets, so I’m not too fussed about ditching this goal

Ok, this doesn’t seem too bad. (Why is my life so on track rn????). So, with all this in mind, July’s goals:

  1. Knit a pair of socks before my mother’s birthday (they’re interesting so this should be doable)
  2. Get cockatoo brae to the yoke (the pattern is the other side of the room, but given how much zoomies I had on this last month, should be doable!)
  3. Finish the plastic canvas ‘Let it snow’ cross stitch ornament (probably the best way to stave off burnout on the wedding sampler is to finish something else…)
  4. Blog post about buttonbox mods (hopefully will start this after I finish cokcatoo brae, I need to be prepared!)
  5. Bonus: sew Kita’s pillowcase together…
  6. Bonus: crochet the octopus
  7. Bonus: Mildred’s socks

An update on project birdsocks

Project birdsocks, for people who are new to this blog, is my attempt to knit my mother socks so whe will stop borrowing mine… WestYorkshireSpinners released a range of 9 self-striping socks inspired by various birds, and for each one, they also suggested a solid colour which would work for (e.g) constrasting toes, heels and cuffs. So here I am knitting 18 pairs of socks for my mother.

Two pairs have already been finished and are awaiting her birthday, I aim to have a third pair finished (I figure three pairs of socks makes a good sized present).

The third pair of socks, I duly cast on at the start of June, and then prompty ignored them…*facepalm*. The problem was that I had chosen this wonderful entrelac pattern to really hightlight the colour changes, but I had forgotten how to knit backwards, and with 5 stitches a go the turning of the work was constant, and irritating. Anyway, having gotton around that problem by relearning how to knit backwads, after a few rows, another problem became evident. The thrice-cursed thing wouldn’t fit over my ankle, which was rather irritating, since I love the idea of this sock for scrap yarn. I may try again with an extra stitch in each square and see whether that solves the problem or not.

So, here I was with part of a sock done (uselessly)(it may or may not get frogged, more likely it’ll just go in the rubbish), and a time limit starting to breathe down my neck (my mum’s birthday is near the end of July). What is a person to do??? The answer: take a leaf from ym friend Jon’s book (he’s doing a pair of socks a month this year, in a bid to reduce his sock yarn stash), and knit something relatively vanilla, but with a bit more interest than that.

So here we have the main points about these socks:

toe up, short row heel, predominantly vanilla in a self-striping yarn. Looking at what other people have done with this yarn (very little), there is a narrow band of two colour yarn between all the other bands of colour. So I decided to purl the dark blue bits of that. I.e. when the yarn about to get wrapped around the needle is dark blue (intuitive rules about when it changes colour part way through the stitch), it will get purled rather than knitted. Having done a few sections, it might have been better to purl when the stitch on the left needle is dark blue, but it works perfectly well this way 🙂

WIP Thursday- blanket edition

Before we start- the answer to the question I previously posed about what the picture of Q is…broken plates! I asked on a cross stitch group I’m in, and someone came out with that. So there we go. Mystery solved 🙂

So, onto the knitting! One of my projects which has been getting more attention these days is my scrappy blanket. It’s a very nice mindless thing I can pick up without too much thought (even less thought than socks, which are currently at the increase stage of the toe, annoyingly…). Anyway, in this heat it’s too hard to think of anything else. So this easy project it is.

This is coming along well, although I doubt I’ll hit the goal I mentioned at the start of the month. It’s difficult to tell, but I am currently working on a square in the top left (left of the blue one which is left of the deep red one). After that I’ll have the three squares along the bottom half of the left edge to do to finish the round. But no rush, it’s a lovely little piece and still too small at the moment to cause me to overheat while I work on it 🙂

WIP…something day? Scatter brained edition

Ok, so, phew, I survived my three weeks of slight insanity. Umm. Crafting kinda fell by the wayside, with the result of it all wanting attention NOW. Unfortunately, my holiday is now over and therefore I have to do the work thing…

Anyway, what has been happening? Well, I was in York at the weekend for Pride, so much knitting was accomplished on cockatoo brae (long train trips are made longer by delays…amusingly, the train ticket I had was a complimentary one due to the delays I had coming back from York from my viva…this makes claiming compensation rather awkward…) Anyway, cockatoo brae is coming along well ahead of schedule! As well as all the rows I planned to do this month, I have started the increases as well 🙂

(Isn’t all the brown lovely. Find the sarcasm in the last sentence…)

This weekend I will be teaching my aunt how to crochet jellyfish for premature babies. Naturally, this means I a) need more yarn(and crochet hooks), and b) need to crochet one in the first instance so I know what’s going on. 4ply yarn and a 2mm crochet hook are fun! Fiddly, but fun.

My mother’s socks have been started…just. I really need to get on with these, but I can’t take them home this weekend, since I’m visiting her…These will become my priority when I finish Mildred’s socks.

Speaking of Mildred’s socks, I have one finished and the other one past the toe. Before Pride at the weekend there were three members of knitsoc in a cafe, all knitting socks, all from the toe up, (two on circular, one on DPNS), in various colours and patterns. It was rather surreal to be sat there, and have someone ask what we were knitting, and all three of us saying ‘socks’ in unison. Anyway, these socks need finishing soonish. 🙂 They’ll be coming with me at the weekend.

Finally, the cross stitch wedding sampler has been ignored. But you can have a picture on what was done before but not photographed. Hopefully I’ll come back to this after the weekend (it’s probably a little bit optimistic to think it might happen before the weekend, given how it’s all going!)

Right, that’s me pretty much caught up I think (except for what I’ve been spinning/knitting but that should end up being a blog post by itself sooner rather than later…)

May/June plans

May’s goals! I completely destroyed all of these, so either I’m being productive or I’m not challenging myself enough…

  1. Finish the cardamon bird socks. That’s less than one sock, should be doable…
    Done! This was harder than I anticipated, I just wasn’t interested in knitting them. Which is somewhat awkward since one of my June goals is to knit another pair…
  2. Finish the cockatoo brae sleeves and start the body. This involves a blog post about sleeve length because I need some advice on it…
    Donedid 😀 I didn’t write a blog post about it in the end, I just decided that I’d done enough (and if I haven’t then I can remove the cuffs and knit more down)
  3. Post the blog post about knitting left-handed. All it needs is a couple more pictures. (And finish knitting the main section of the pocket)
    Managed 🙂 And I started teaching my lefty friend how to knit. Now to find the time to teach him the purl stitch…
  4. Complete the middle square of the wedding sampler. By square I don’t mean the outside border, or the shading around it (that would be too awkward to count, and is best done with the boarder or square next to it).
    So far above and beyond this one I hid orbit 😉 I also managed the ‘I do’ square, the heart about the main square, the ‘Promise’ square, and started the ‘Quarrel’ square. Go me!
  5. Spin something pretty. I bought lots of lovely goodies at Woolfest yesterday, including 4 batts. I should spin something pretty, for funsies 🙂  I wonder how thin I can go on my lil turkish drop spindle, it was pretty fine when I tried it out.
    Managed, and it’s amazing 🙂 I’m currently blocking a small thing I knitted with a single, then there should be a blog post about spinning coming…
  6. Bonus: do some research for the best way to do something clever with the back shaping for Buttonbox. I think I have a good idea about the rest of it (note to self: do a blog post about it at some point…)
    Yes. No blog post about it because that particular thing doesnt need anything special doing. There is another blog post I should do about all the mods I want to do about it, but finding the time is always a challenge! Crafting is a bit more exciting than writing about crafting!

There were some other things getting done as well, such as the first sock for another pair for a friend…ok, maybe it was just that. So, what should I do next month???

 

  1. Knit another pair of bird socks. (This also involves choosing which pair to make, whcih I think will be the harder choice…)
  2. Finish Mildred’s second sock. It’s basically vanilla, with some striping. Easy peasy (And therefore I will totally procrastinate on it…)
  3. Crochet a flat preemie octopus to get the hang of it before I teach my aunt…That lesson will probably be happening on/around the 17th, so I should get a move on with this (when I go back to Salisbury and can get my crochet hooks…)
  4. Cross stitch Q-S of the wedding sampler (bonus: also start X)
  5. Do ‘some generic amount’ of cockatoo brae. Umm, I need a definite amount to knit, otherwise it won’t get done (it may not get done anyway, it’s just stocking stitch in the round now… Tedious much???) So…reach bust shaping? I’m knitting the third size, so that’s the set up round then 7 sets of 7 rows and the 9 lain rows between the waist shaping and the bust shaping. 59 rows. Hmm. Having had a very quick look at the other patterns, I don’t need to make it any longer. We shall see I guess…
  6. Bonus: Knit another 10 squares on my scrappy blanket. That will finish the complete ’round’
  7. Bonus: blog posts about spinning, buttonbox mods and/or the afterthought pocket

3 socks, a crochet project, a (probably) decent amount of cross stitch, a decent load on cockatoo brae and some bonus things. I can’t decide whether this is too much or too little (I have very little actual work to do and some long train rides coming up). We shall see I guess. And if I finish these all early, there’s no reason I can’t do new goals before July…

Flurry of finishes!

So, things have been busy here, and I have brief moment of calm in the eye of the proverbial storm! And I have some finishes to show off to you all. Firstly: the cross stitch stockings from…ooh, a while ago!

Finished! I’m really happy how these came out, although I have no intention whatsoever of replicating these ever again! Working with the felt was definitely a challenge, but now I’ve mastered it, (basically how to angle the needle to go through the hole cleanly), I don’t feel the need to try it again!

In other news (and another finish!), I finished the second pair of my mothers socks! I’ve had a quick look through my queue for which pair to start next, and I’m overwhelmed…*facepalm*. I’ll have another look tomorrow I think.

And the wedding sampler. I had no votes on which way to go, so I’m going around really! The ‘I do’ square (ignore the fact it’s a square out, it doesn’t matter that much…) was really fun to do

It’s finished now, and I’ve done most of the heart above the middle section. Busy busy busy 🙂

Left-handed knitting- an introduction

Please note: left handed knitting (where the knitting starts on the right hand needle and ends up on the left hand needle) is different to backwards knitting (done so you can avoid purling in stocking stitch, commonly used in mitred squares, entrlac etc). I’ve used backwards knitting quite a lot- I taught myself for entrelac, and (I think) it’s fairly intuitive. That being said, I’ve always held the yarn for it in my right hand, which definitely I find easier. Ahh, the glorious ease of long practice!

The main difference between left handed and backwards knitting: the way you wrap your yarn around your needle to make the stitches. In backwards knitting, you want the leading leg of the yarn to be facing you without turning the work, in left handed knitting, you turn the work and then want the leading leg to be facing you.

Question: what do I mean by leading leg? (Ok, I had to look this up- I had an intuitive idea, but wasn’t able to verbalise why). The general consensus is that the leading leg is the one which sits closer to the tip of the needle. (Disclaimer: I’m not pitching this at complete beginners).

 

Fig 1: left hand knitting after a row of knitting:

 

The important thing to note here is that the leading leg of the stitch is at the back of the work(the tip of the needle is on the right), rather than the front. If you were to knit right handed after this, all the stitches would be twisted- hardly a deal breaker, but something to bear in mind. Also, the yarn would be at the other end…

(Right hand knitting after a row or knitting looks exactly the same as after a right hand row of purling, and so I’m not going to provide a picture of that)

Fig 2: left hand knitting after a row of purling (knit side):

 

 

This now has the leading leg at the front on the knit side, ready for the next knit row. (Bear in mind that the tip of the needle is on the left here).

Note: in both these pictures, the yarn loops are facing the same direction. What is important here (but I couldn’t photgraph due to needing to be close enough to the yarn to see the direction of the loops) is where the tip of the needle is.

Either way, you ideally want the leading leg to be facing you, whichever end has the point of the knitting needle. Otherwise, all your stitches will be twisted. Second disclaimer: of course, you might be going for twisted stitches, and you can untwist them as you knit/purl, but that’s more awkward (most of the time).

Ok, so how to knit (and purl) left-handed? Flippant answer: copy someone knitting righthanded in a mirror. Everyone gives this advice when someone asks how to teach a left-handed person to knit. Either that, or to just teach them continental (as though putting the yarn in the left hand is all there is to it…)

Full disclosure: this is why I learnt to knit left-handed. I agreed to teach a left-hander to knit and want to do it properly. (Word of the year is still preparation 😉 )

So, knit stitch. Insert working needle (left needle) through the first stitch on the holder (right needle) away from you, wrap the yarn around the working needle by going under the needle towards the holder needle then over away from it (see picture). Pull the yarn through the stitch then push the stitch off the holder. Please note: this is exactly the same as the instructions for the knit stitch right-handed, just with the working needle and holder the other way around. This shouldn’t be a surprise to people, but I wanted to highlight it. Second note: the leading leg of the new stitch should be at the back of the work (the needle then gets turned around at the end of the row to bring the leading legs all to the front of the work).

 

And the purl stitch: insert the working needle towards you through the first stitch on the holder, wrap the yarn around the needle by going over the needle away from you then under the needle towards you (then over the needle away from you to get it back in place for the next stitch) (oh boy was that one hard to master!), pull the yarn through the stitch then pull the old stitch off the holder needle. Same tricks about this being the same as right handed purl and the trick about the leading leg still apply. As does the picture under this paragraph 🙂

So, now that I’ve talked about how to knit lefthanded- why? Well, for me it was originally so I could teach a lefty to knit. But I’m going to keep going with this technique- it’s fascinating to go back to being such a beginner! I had to go back to holding both needles in one hand to wrap the yarn in the beginning. I’m struggling with my purl gauge, and the idea of having to completely learn how to knit again, just because I’ve mixed my hands up is taking a bit of getting used to! However, I’ve recently been knitting so much (right handed) that my right arm is *very* unhappy with me, and learnign to knit lefthanded would be an excellent way to knit twice as much! On different projects- ooh, I wonder if my gauge left-handed will end up different to my gauge right-handed. That would be fascinating!!!! I also have this strange idea about knitting garter stitch with two colours, but one row of each colour. I’m not sure whether my idea will work, but I want to try 🙂 So many new ideas I have from doing this!

April/May goals

So, another month gone, where are they all going???? We’re a third of the way through the year already…So, let’s have a look at last month’s goals:

  1. Finish the sleeves on cockatoo brae.
    Not done- but nearly there, I think. I’ve finished all the increases, and only have a couple more inches to knit. I should measure this and work out how much more…
  2. Carry on with the wolf cross stitch (I’d like to finish but think it unlikely given that this final quarter is more complicated than the last and I only just hit 75%)
    Done! I completely blew this goal out of the water! Very happy about this 🙂
  3. Knit up and write a blog post about afterthought pockets. (I want to in the end do a series on different pockets, and I figure that an afterthought one is probably the easiest to start with…)
    Umm, nope? But I have a blog post about left-handed knitting *nearly* finished, so that should get done next month
  4. Knit another pair of the bird socks (or at least get the first one done. I’m planning on doing the socks in their pairs, so this next pair will be cardamon main colour and bluetit cuffs, heels and toes).
    Well, the first one is done, and the second one is started… Then I have another pair of socks started, and I feel like I haven’t been crafting so much this month…
  5. Bonus: start knitting something with my handspun… This one is slightly terrifying, because it’s my handspun…But I also know that knitting it will allow me to see what’s going on with the yarn a lot more clearly than just eyeballing it! Bring it on! (I reserve the right to not talk about how bad it is if it’s truely awful…)
    Yes! Although I need to frog it and restart, and that’s not going to happen for a while because I have other priorities right now, (such as more spinning).

Ok, I realised the other day that we’re also a third of the way through the year, and so I figured I should have another look at my plans for the year, and see how they are getting on.

One of the cardigans is done, the small cross stitch is done, one of the cards is done and one pair of socks are done (and I’ve mentally reduced the number from 9 to 6). That leaves:

3 cardigans, 2 blankets, a card, a large cross stitch and 4 pairs of socks. Totally doable…yeah right! I think I’ll drop the blankets, and add in a free-for-all spinning, just to remind me that it’s fun and I like it. And the pockets for the guides…

So, thinking about these yearly goals, May’s goals are:

  1. Finish the cardamon bird socks. That’s less than one sock, should be doable…
  2. Finish the cockatoo brae sleeves and start the body. This involves a blog post about sleeve length because I need some advice on it…
  3. Post the blog post about knitting left-handed. All it needs is a couple more pictures. (And finish knitting the main section of the pocket)
  4. Complete the middle square of the wedding sampler. By square I don’t mean the outside border, or the shading around it (that would be too awkward to count, and is best done with the boarder or square next to it).
  5. Spin something pretty. I bought lots of lovely goodies at Woolfest yesterday, including 4 batts. I should spin something pretty, for funsies 🙂  I wonder how thin I can go on my lil turkish drop spindle, it was pretty fine when I tried it out.
  6. Bonus: do some research for the best way to do something clever with the back shaping for Buttonbox. I think I have a good idea about the rest of it (note to self: do a blog post about it at some point…)

This might all be slightly over the top, but we shall see. I’m into the last week of teaching, but I’m still going to be busy afterwards, with teaching essays and job applications (oh my days, the job applications!)

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