Archive for March, 2009

A taste of Wellington

Babies and preschoolers don’t make the best companions for knitting shopping, it’s true. But while in Wellington, I did manage to squeeze in some lovely visits to a couple of knitting establishments.

First Nancy’s on Thorndon Quay. It is mostly a quilting shop, but has a corner devoted to yarn and knitting supplies. I was able to fondle lots and lots of Noro yarns – they have an excellent range, and the colours are so beautiful in real life. I cuddled the sock yarn a bit, but at $40 I could hardly justify a skein. I also saw some Debbie Bliss yarn, and other goodies too.  Meanwhile the two preschoolers were – shock- running inside, so I quickly purchased the needles I had wanted, and departed. The needles were Knitpicks, having decided to try a 2.5mm 80cm nickle needle for sock knitting as I’ve managed to break two 3mm tips recently, and I am just not sure if I could cope if I broke my sock needles!

Next stop was Knitworld in Cuba Mall.  This is the new home of the Knitworld Studio, which has a special range of yarns including Rowan yarns, Jo Sharp, and some other goodies. I enjoyed flicking through their selection of books and magazines (fairy quickly, while the little miss admired their button selection). And, shock, I managed to leave without purchasing anything!

Final stop of our quick tour was Minerva. Not far from DH’s favourite record shops on Cuba Street, I can imagine this becoming a favourite shop 🙂 Minerva opened late last year, and has an amazing selection of books on textiles of all types: quilting, sewing, knitting, felting and so on. I have to admit that I was less than impressed with some knitting books: the first sock book I picked up was put down again soon after I saw the second pattern with pompoms on it. ?!! Other books were just as lovely as they had appeared online. But, being a good budget conscious girl, I only bought one book: another stitch dictionary.

I am loving the way it is laid out, as well as the awesome creativity of the patterns in it. I have several ideas for using some in the near future, but first I have a few projects I must finish!

By the time we left the shop it was apparent my lovely helpers had more than enough of the grand yarn tour of Wellington.  It was fun while it lasted!

When in Rome…

We all know the saying.  You’ve got to do what the Romans do, right? Well, I didn’t take off for Rome – I went to Christine’s place.  So, what to do when staying with Christine?

The girls and I ran (actually flew)  away on Wednesday to enjoy the company of good friends, and of course good knitting!  Well, to tell the truth I think the girls were oblivious to the knitting.  They enjoyed the company and the toys though!

I had to decide what knitting to pack  for our wee sojourn in the Capital.  I packed my Garter Yoke Cardigan, and a couple of skeins of sock yarn.  I left the Slinky Ribs at home – one sleeve is done now!  I had been fairly determined that I should knit up my second lot of sock club yarn before the third installment arrived. So when I saw Christine had cast on a pair of socks, I decided it was time to cast on for Theodora.

And by the time we went to bed on Saturday night, C’s socks were done, and I just had to cast off the second sock – call me a wimp, but my eyeballs were nearly hanging out of my head by that stage! I had just enough time to cast them off on Sunday morning and we donned our socks for a photo shoot before we went to the airport.

And here they are: Left – my Theodora Socks, and Right, C’s Plain Jane socks in Kafe Fasset Regian 4 ply yarn.

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So – this is a finished object post despite the fact that I have only one sleeve between two sweaters currently on the needles 😀

Vital Statistics:
Yarn: Vintage Purls 4 ply sock yarn, Colourway Theodora, which is a limited edition yarn for the sock club. I used exactly 80 grams.

Needles: Knitpicks 80cm 2.5mm Harmony needles

Pattern: Theodora by Vintage Purls – knit toe up, with a more traditional construction than the previous sock club pattern.  The sock has a patterned panel down the front, but is stocking stitch behind – a really speedy knit. And cute too!

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 Simple to memorise, it has an 8 row repeat, and you get to drop a stitch which is always fun (me, reliving the Clapotis experience already!). A close up:

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There were some really cute details, such as the ribbing which flowed onto the front panel with some k2 p3 panels as well – a lovely touch.

And with the luck of the draw, I adore purples, so this colourway was great for me! Morag promised to post the third installment on the 30th, so I will have another gorgeous colourway and pattern to contemplate very soon.

 

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En-joy-ing Shopping

My super-secret yarn buying the other day was to get a hostess gift for my friend who we were staying with on our wee jaunt away. Thus I couldn’t share it until I’d given it to her! And what yarn buying expedition is complete without a little something for yourself?

This is what arrived in my mailbox:

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Left to right: Anna Gratton Heathered Yarn – a 4 ply that I think my hostess might like to dye, centre is a Vintage Purls colourway JOY which is exclusive to the place I purchased the yarn (all for me!) and left is a Vintage Purls standard colourway Into the Deep.  Both of these are sock yarn, and are sooo lovely to knit up.

And, thanks so much to James at Joy of Yarn – a total pleasure to deal with.  Imagine: a NZ based shop and website dedicated just to sock yarn! The website was easy to navigate, Paypal worked smoothly, delivery was prompt and beautifully presented. The wee gift (of GloHeart lollies) and hand written note were a  lovely touch. A very en-joy-able yarn shopping experience.

Knitter’s Weekend

Much as I’d like to, I can’t post about the yarn I got delivered in the mail today – it’s a secret for a gift.

And I can’t show you the swap I sent away either – yep, another secret!

Both can be revealed in good  time.

But I can tell you about the flights I booked today! I’m going off to a knitter’s weekend! Thanks to GrabbaSeat, I grabbed some seats to go to Christchurch for the Knitter’s Weekend on the 15-17th May 🙂  It will double as a visit to the Grandparents too. But it will be just me and the girls going, as it is in term time. 

My lovely friend Christine had suggested the weekend back in Febuary and the flights were just too expensive to justify, but thanks to cheap flights, I’m going to be on my way!  

There are going to be workshops (which at $45 a pop will mean my yarn loving bubba won’t be allowed anywhere near!) and I have to decide which I want to attend. Am I brave enough for steeks? I’ve read Eunny’s brilliant instructions, but  I’m just not sure if steeking is for me.  I’d hate to ruin a garment! Other classes include several different sock options, some dyeing, and lace knitting. So much to choose from 🙂 

So I’m quite excited about the prospect of a weekend away to look forward to, surrounded by yarny goodness.  I guess I’ll need to save my pennies between now and then so that I can afford to pad my suitcase with some new finds.

They are also having some competitions – sock knitting ones! I’m tempted to do the ‘socks to dye for’ category – hand dyed yarn knit in an original pattern. They have to be done by May 11. So I need to find some time and inspiration between now and then!

Retro Bag

My lovely friend Annie had a birthday this week. What Ic all a ’round birthday’ – the once a decade kind… And she chose to bring her family to celebrate in our neck of the woods – she lives about 4 hours away. So, I wanted to make her something special for her big day.  After a bit of thought, I figured she could probably do with a knitting bag – who doesn’t love a knitting bag!

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If the fabric looks familiar, that would be because I decided to try to make the present from stash.  Yep, that’s *more* leftover curtain fabric! Made entirely from curtain fabric, it’s huge – 14 inches high and wide, it’s got two big pockets inside, one lined with useful wee pockets to hold needles, yarn, scissors or whatever.  There is more than enough room for a big project as well as your purse, nappies or whatever else you need for a day out. It is all padded with my good old woollen blanket (again!) too.

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Now, I made this without a pattern – not something I would recommend! I hit a few hurdles along the way, but got there in the end. The biggest laugh a watcher would have had would be when I was trying to work out how to put the inside and outsides together – I swear I tried it about 8 different ways before deciding I had it right.  Thank goodness I did!!

When it came to wrapping it up, I had a bit more time, so made some wee stitch markers (also from stash) and added some scrummy bamboo yarn and a delicious hand-made soap (not made by me, from a craft fair).

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And then I discovered I had no birthday wrap and had to wrap the lot in Christmas paper. 

I had to laugh when we got together today and discovered her other pressie was also wrapped in Christmas wrap 🙂

We had an awesome lunch together, an afternoon chatting and playing with the kids, and then dinner together too. ‘Twas lovely to see you my friend. Happy Birthday 🙂

NaKniSweMoDo Progress…

After a marathon effort in January with three finished items, it’s been a dry couple of months for finished sweaters around here. I thought that I should show you the progress that I’ve been making  – the actual progress, rather than the items I’ve knit in my head!

Slinky Ribs

It’s still coming along, honest!  Once I scored some extra yarn, I made the decision to make the sleeves full length. And then after looking at Ravelry’s finished projects, I decided that 2×2 rib was the way to go. Soooo, slooooow progress on the 2×2 rib in the round! I am trying to pick it up each day and get an inch done at the least, and thus sleeve number one is slowly emerging.

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I think it’s just over half way there. So, sometime in the next two weeks, I should get this done.

Garter Yoke Cardigan

After having a good look at the Knit1 magazine, I fell for the Garter Yoke Cardigan.  And I have had some Purple Mystery Malabrigo in my stash just asking to be knit up. Seemed like the perfect match.

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I cast on for it two nights ago.  I am enjoying a mindless knit, and it makes a nice change from the 2×2 rib of the Slinky Rib.  And oh so cuddly!  You can’t buy Malabrigo here in New Zealand easily (or cheaply) so this is a special treat for me. My FIL was my yarn mule last year on his last trip to the States, just before the dollar dropped.  I think he’s planning another trip in May, but I don’t know if I will get anything this trip.  I certainly would not be able to justify it if I hadn’t knit up this before he went anyway! So, I am being a little self-serving in chosing this project now.

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Hopefully I will have one  more finished NaKniSweMoDo project by the end of this month. Maybe two. Just in time for the cooler weather.

Pattern: Moss and Lace Toddler Socks

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This is the pattern that I have been working on for socks suitable for a toddler – they fit my DD 2.5 beautifully, and are the same size as bought (cotton) socks she has in size 2-4 so should fit at least 2-3 year olds.  DD has a 16cm diameter ankle, and you knit the sock length to suit the individual child. 

The stitch pattern is adapted for use in the round from the Harmony Guide for Lace and Eyelet stitches.

I knit this pair from the leftover “Blue Skies Baby” Vintage Purls sock yarn.

Materials:

 2.5mm needles (DPNs or magic loop circular needles) using 4 ply sock yarn (less than 50g), one stitch marker, yarn needle for sewing up.

The pattern was tested using magic loop, however you may knit it using two circulars or DPNs.

Gauge 8 stitches per inch

 

Pattern A:

k6, moss stitch 9 sts , K to end of round.

 

Pattern B: 9 stitch pattern panel between asterisks is not repeated

Row 1: k6 * K1, yfon, sl 1, k1, psso, k3, k2tog, yfon, k1 * knit to end of round

Row 2 , 4, and 6 – knit

Row 3: K6 * k2, yfon, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog, yfon, k2*  knit to end of round

Row 5: k6 *k3, yfon, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yfon, k3*  knit to end of round

 

 

Abbreviations:

k – knit

p – purl

sl – slip

psso – pass slip stitch over

k2tog – knit two stitches together

yfon – yarn forward and over needle – this is essentially two times around the needle, but you only pick up one stitch from it next round, giving you a larger hole.

moss stitch – k1, p1

 

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Pattern:

Cast on 44 stitches and join in the round. Arrange so that you have two groups of 22 stitches. Knit 6 rows of k2 p2 rib

 

Start pattern:  Work 4 rows pattern A, then a 6 row repeat of pattern B. Work 8 rows pattern A

 

If you want a longer sock, continue to alternate 8 rows of pattern A with 6 rows of pattern B until desired length reached.

 

 

Divide for heel flap:

Work on the stitches on your second needle (non-patterned stitches).
Work back and forth in stocking stitch on the 22 stitches for the heel flap, slipping the first stitch of every row. Work 17 rows ending with a purl row.

 

Heel Decreases:

Work heel decreases as follows:
Row 1(= RS): Work row until 7 sts remain, slip next st as if to K, K1, psso, turn piece,
Row 2 (= WS): Work row until 7 sts remain, slip next st as if to P, P1, psso, turn piece,
Row 3 (= RS): Work row until 6 sts remain, slip next st as if to K, K1, psso, turn piece,
Row 4 (= WS): Work row until 6 sts remain, slip next st as if to P, P1, psso, turn piece.
Continue to decrease like this with 1 less st between each dec until there are 10 sts on row.

 

After the heel decreases knit across the stitches, pick up and knit 9 sts on the side of the heel, knit in pattern (B) across stitches from held needle, place a stitch marker, and pick up 9 sts on the other side of the heel.

 

(Make sure that you pick up both sides of the stitch for a nice smooth look)

 

 

Continuing to work in pattern for the upper foot, alternating an 8 row repeat of Pattern A with a 6 row repeat of Pattern B, work the following decreases for the heel gusset:

Knit across the stitches on the heel needle to last three stitches, k2tog, k1

Knit across the upper foot stitches, slip stitch marker, k1, ssk, knit to end of round.

 

Knit one round even

 

Repeat these two rounds until 42 stitches remain (3 decreases total). Remove  stitch marker, and rearrange stitches so first 22 stitches are on needle one (patterned stitches) and second 22 stitches are on needle two.

 

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Continue to knit sock, keeping upper foot in pattern, until the foot is 2cm less than desired length. Then work the toe decreases.

 

Toe decreases

Row 1, 3, 5: ssk, knit to final two stitches on needle, k2tog. Repeat for second needle

Row 2, 4 and 6: knit

Work decrease row 4 more times until 10 stitches remain on each needle.

 

Use kitchener grafting to join the live stitches on each needle.

 

Sew in ends.

 

Give to a cute toddler who will wear and enjoy.

 

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Thanks to my awesome test knitters for their ideas and feedback 😀 It was much appreciated.


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