Archive for September, 2009

Just one colour

The latest swap that I signed up for was a ‘colour’ swap. There were just a few rules to follow:


* that the items in the parcel were all one colour

*  that we followed a $20 price limit

I was a bit cheeky with this as I used some stash yarn I was given from a friend’s stash to make a pair of socks. I also dyed up some 4 ply yarn in an attempt at a semi-solid red (actually, it’s featured on here already), and included some red-wrapped chocolate and soap. I also made a wee pair of sock blockers from a plastic placemat – these cost me only $1 to make! All wrapped up in a bag I had recieved a gift in, I made it under the price limit.

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The socks are an adult size pair of Monkeys. So now I’ve done a set – baby sized, kid sized and adult sized. 

When I was borrowing my friend’s feet to try them on (thanks chook!) she asked me why they were called Monkeys. I had been wondering the same thing myself, but I think that if you look at the pattern picture, it gives you a bit of a clue.

Ever heard the saying about a  monkey on my back”?  In her introduction to the pattern on it sounds like Cookie A really struggled with this pattern, which is funny given what a great wee knit it is!  So, when they were done, the monkey was off her back. Or on it again for the photo shoot anyway 🙂

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These are my wee effort anyway – a solid red pair in 100% wool, and with woolly nylon in the heels to add extra strength.

So, here I sit, hoping that they have made it to their destination safely, and that they fit.



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 Did you hear that?

It was me falling off the wagon. Yep, my self-imposed yarn buying ban is well and truely broken.


So, first there was this:

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The kiwi dollar is so strong against the US at the moment that I just could not resist this delicious Colinette Jitterbug that I bought from JimmyBeans on special. It worked out about $22 NZ including postage per skein. I love all three colourways I bought, at the front is Ginger Cinnabar, and the middle is Velvet Bilberry, and Velvet Damson is at the back.  This is a lovely 4ply yarn, which is destined to be socks, or shawlettes.

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Next to arrive is this cone of undyed Vintage Purls sock yarn. My lovely knitting friends and I did a co-op, and it allowed me to get this cone at such a reasonable price. I am going to dye it up for this gorgeous cardigan from the latest Knitty magazine.  I figure once I’m done with my 12 knits,  I can do a slow 4 ply knit if I want 🙂

And then, well, I figured if I’ve fallen off the yarn wagon, I might as well enjoy it. So I bought these two cute limited edition skeins of Vintage Purls sock yarn.

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And I am pleased to say that’s all I’ve bought. This lot I swapped for…

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These wee lovelies were swapped with a friend for some sewing I did for her. Each is 100g of Aran weight hand dyed Organic Merino. Yum!! It is from Woolly Wumpkins in the UK, and while I have not a clue what it is destined to become, it was too lovely to resist.

So, there you have it. I console myself with this: since this is a knitting blog, my buying yarn is more exciting for you than my *not* buying yarn.

Oh, and I did promise to finish knitting up my sock club socks before buying more yarn. I have totally failed at this, only 3 of 8 socks done. However, I have done another 4 pairs in addition to this, plus my yarn stash is actually smaller than I was aiming to get it. Each of these beauties actually has a space to go in my yarn box. (Although I do tend to keep new yarn out for petting and admiration for a while…)  So, all in all, this is the kind of failure I can live with.

It’s finished!

The moment has come – finally – my Central Park Hoodie is finished!

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Snuggly, cosy, and comfortable, I am loving the hoodie now that it’s done.

Stupidly though, it hasn’t been an easy road, I seemed to keep hitting speed bumps along the way with this knit. It started off plain sailing: the two sleeves were done first, then the back. I had to rip back one of the sleeves about 30 rows when I realised I’d crossed a cable two rows early.  I abandoned keeping a record of my rows at that stage – I figured if I coudn’t get it right *with* a notebook, there was little point in relying on one. And, well, the girls kept stealing it to do scribbles in too. Miss 1 favoured the exact same page I was using for some reason.

Front #1 was done easily, and then you’ve probably heard about front #2 where I realised two rows from the end that I’d made the same cable mistake as on the sleeve – except 10 inches back. Despite my efforts at tinking, I had to rip it back and knit again. The hood went smoothly, and the band knit up well too. But the seaming – ahhhh, the seaming!

It’s been a long while since I knit a sweater in pieces. And I was reminded why when seaming this beauty. Why? Not only the time spent, but then the horrible realisation I’d sewn a sleeve in upside down. Oh no!  No wonder it didn’t fit so well. 

So, today was a new day, the sleeve repositioned is much more attractive, and I popped on two toggles  that are destined to be replaced with cuter ones I found online (and in slightly better and more even positions).  And thus it was time to steam block and try it on again.

Here ’tis.

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The yarn I used for the project was a total bargain – you might remember me saying I’d picked up extra skeins for extra length – I need not have bothered, I actually used way less than the requirements, 10 skeins of Naturally Sensation a divinely soft 70% Merino 30% Angora blend, which I paid $4 each for  – so a hoodie for $40 is great – and the extra 8 -yes 8 skeins – is more than enough for the gorgeous Rosamund’s Cardigan I’ve been drooling over from the latest Interweave Knits.  This yarn has a wee halo to it, but I think that the cables stand out well nevertheless.

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So, aside from my lessons in how to tink cables, and how to look twice before seaming, I did my first three needle bind off in this project and blocked something in pieces for the first time ever. 

And the pattern? It’s a popular pattern, and I can see why. The fit is good – it’s relatively close fitting without shaping, big enough to be cosy but not unflattering. The cables are simple, chunky and well placed.  The hood makes it a versatile piece, and I can see that it will get lots of wear. Well, it would if I hadn’t finished it in early spring  – but I’ll be pleased to see if in my drawer come autumn next year! I changed nothing about the pattern except the length, adding three inches in total. The sleeves are super long, and I will wear the cuffs folded up, except in super cold weather.

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So, 11 down, one to go and I’ll have my NaKniSweMoDo challenge complete.

Some little treasures

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Today Miss 3, Miss 1 and I are all wearing handknit socks. Even though I’ve got more than enough on my knitting ‘plate’, I just could not resist making Miss 1 a teensy pair of Mini Monkey socks. This pattern is the no-purl version, and so cute!

I used up some leftovers, this is Vintage Purls yarn, in a colourway called JOY, exclusive to Joy of Yarn in Greytown. A specialist sock yarn shop. I’m hoping to visit there in real life this month (!) but am not holding my breath – I need a few other things to fall into place first. But they are offering a sock knitting workshop I’d love to attend.  I have even a tiny bit more, so perhaps Miss 1 has some stripy socks in her future.

But these will do for now.

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And in sweater news, my CPH is making slow progress still. Sunday morning saw me attempting to tink the cable. Despite the helpful links, it was a wash.  The combination of slightly hairy yarn, and a massive column of stitches meant there were twists and bits where I could not see what was happening, so I had to frog the front back 10 inches to where the mistake was. That’s all fixed, and the body is seamed, hood knit, and I’ve got the stitches for one band cast on. It is waiting patiently for me while I knit away on a surprise for a swap I’m meant to be sending away on Friday. Eek, that’s tomorrow, and I have a feeling mine will not be ready on time.

On Tuesday I went button shopping for my CPH. I bought these, and love them, but I think I might use toggles on this hoodie instead, and put them away for another project.

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PS. It’s sooo much easier to photograph buttons than baby feet.

Little Monkeys

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After my post the other day about popular sock patterns, I came across a cute variation of Cookie A’s popular sock pattern, Monkey.  Instead of the regular 64 stitch pattern, I found this post on Ravelry where she posted a chart for a 12 stitch repeat, meaning a 48 stitch sock. Perfect for my little monkey.

I cast on 48 stitches and did k1p1 ribbing (instead of twisted rib, which I often have to work myself up to do),  for 8 rows. Then I worked 3 repeats of the pattern, before coming to the heel. What to do? I worked the heel flap and gusset as per my toddler sock pattern, allowing two more rows and two more stitches (as my pattern is 44 stitches).   Because it had more stitches than a pattern that already fit her well, I decreased to 22 stitches on the bottom of the foot and when I did toe decreases worked one extra set on the top of the foot. The toe decreases I worked every row as I was knitting the foot while Miss 3 was asleep and it was nearly too long. I decreased to 20 stitches and then grafted the toe. The end result is a good fit, somewhat roomy around the leg, as you can see by the baggy ankles but it stays on fine and is ultra cute.

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The yarn is some hand dyed Patonyle sock yarn which I dyed back in about April. Miss 3 loved it then, and she is delighted to finally have some socks from it!  It’s a semi solid with just small variations in colour, but it has knit up really sweetly, and I am really pleased with it.

And the pattern? I can see why Monkey is popular. Mostly when you hear me whinge on about the difficulties of lace knitting, it’s because it’s not intuitive. This pattern is. After reading the chart for half of the first repeat, that was it. No more pattern reading. Gotta love that! The original chart is an 11 row repeat.  This version is 9 rows, but freed from pattern reading, it’s a real pleasure to knit. And would I knit it again? Sure! I can see more monkeys, big and little, coming to join our sock family. And in fact, there is even a pattern adaptation on Raverly for micro-mini Monkeys.  So even Miss 1 might get a pair of teeny hand knit socks.

And speaking about monkeys, my wee monkeys have been keeping busy in the last wee while. I thought you might like to see some of what they have been crafting themselves.

Miss 3 “made” this bus for her “mannies” (aka Little People)

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And on Friday we played hookie from playgroup (too wet) and stayed home instead. Miss 1 enjoyed putting the pencils in and out of the container, while Miss 3 enjoyed some colouring, rubbing out, cutting, glueing and glitter. These were taken before all the messy fun – ‘cuse their slightly bohemian appearance – they are going thru a bead phase. Although note , Aunty D, the star set – she loves it so much she sleeps in it 🙂 Thanks!Picture 3020small

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And, if you ever needed proof playing dress up is exhausting…

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Pep Talk

I think I need to give myself a pep talk about why it’s a good idea to rip back my nearly finished CPH left front to the bit 10 inches back where I crossed a cable two rows too early.

Not happy.

Of course I know I’ll do it… it would annoy me forever if I didn’t.  But for now I will ignore it and knit a sock instead.


When it comes to chosing a knitting pattern, what are the things that attract you?

I often find myself looking at other people’s finished objects on Ravelry, especially those ones that are shared with groups I belong to (NaKniSweMoDo being the biggest influence right now), and looking at patterns afresh.  I have been enjoying Interweave Knits magazine and instantly find myself wanting to knit at least five patterns from each one. But of course, that’s what we buy it for! 

I also love the “Friends” function on Ravelry where you can see what your friends have been knitting, queueing and favouriting. My Multnomah shawlette came into being because of one of my friends favouriting the pattern first.

 But, when you are browing Ravelry or Knitty for a pattern, it’s easy to see the ‘most popular’ patterns as a good bet. If thousands of knitters have gone before you, it can’t be all bad, right!

Here is a list of the twenty most popular patterns on Ravelry right now:

Fetching *


 Baby Surprise Jacket

Calorimetry **

 Clapotis **

Saartje’s Booties

 February Lady Sweater

Noro Striped Scarf

Ballband dishcloth

Sock Recipe

 Swallowtail Shawl

Turn a Square *

Felted Clogs


Jaywalker *

Lace Ribbon Scarf

One Row Handspun Scarf

My So Called Scarf

Ishbel *

February Baby Sweater

I’ve asterisked the ones above that I have knit, with a double asterisk for those I’ve done more than one of.  That’s only six out of twenty – not too bad, I don’t think that it makes me a total sheep. (Yep, may as well have a sheep joke on a knitting blog).

Out of interest, 14 out of the top 20 patterns are freebies, 5 of them are from, and of the 20 next most popular patterns, a further 16 are freebies, with 5 more of them Knitty patterns.

Now, why all of these ramblings? Well, I have a confession – two of these patterns are ones I have finished recently. This is the first:

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Yep, the ever-popular Jaywalker socks 🙂 Currently there are 6599 pairs of these socks on Ravelry’s database- mine will make 6600 I guess. I chose to knit this pattern because I thought it would suit the yarn – Lion Brand Magic Stripes. I was able to look through the projects and find several pairs in the exact same colourway and know that I would like the finished product – a pretty good guarantee all things considered. I was also able to find out that previous knitters had discovered they ran out of yarn before the second sock was done. I knew I had two balls but figured if I shorted the length by an inch on each sock I’d be right. Wrong! I still ran out before the toe of the second sock. So I now have one slightly used ball back in my stash.

These are non-identical socks, which would drive some people batty – I think if I were to do them again, I’d do a contrasting heel and toe to stop the differences in the pattern over these areas. Well, to be honest I will have to if I do more, given the wool crisis 🙂

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So, why am I not modeling them for the pics? These aren’t for me. In fact, they are in a courier bag on the way to their destination as I type. They are a wee reward for my yarn-mule sister who lugged back my purchases with her when she went to the States a couple of months ago. Yes, I am slow. I ran into a problem with the pattern (like I did a single increase instead of a double, a couple of times over, was too slow to pick up on it and then wondered where I went wrong)… so they sat, ignored, waiting for me to pick them up again. I had to frog back from half way down the foot back to the start of the gusset, but it was plain sailing after that.

So, is this pattern all it’s cracked up to be? Yes – it’s fab! A two-row repeat, one of which is all knit, what can you complain about? Super simple, and it allows you to get away from pattern following and just enjoy the results.

As if that weren’t enough, here’s the other FO I have to share:

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It’s a super simple, really cute wee pattern, called Turn a Square. This pattern is ideal for using up leftovers. I had a half ball of Noro Kureyon which was calling to me from my scraps bag. And now it’s going to be DH’s new winter hat. Yes, I know it’s Spring, but I’ve been *meaning* to make him a hat all winter!

You see, last winter DH complained his hat was itchy. So I went and bought him so soft 12 ply yarn and knit a hat. He’s got a big head, but not as big as the hat I knit! I tried to shrink it in the drier, which worked a little, but every time I see him wearing it I cringe. Thus the new hat.

And what a cool way to take advantage of the colour changes of Noro.

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So, despite the 3005 other “Turn a Square” hats out there, I really like my one. I am looking forward to seeing it worn if the weather turns again. But for now, I am enjoying the sushine and blue skies, contemplating lighter summer knits, and procrastinating about finishing my Central Park Hoodie. ( Half way up front #2 – hood and bands to go after that 🙂 )

September 2009
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