Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Socks.

I finnished my Falling Leaves socks last night.

I like them, but the experience of knitting them was a bit of a slog. Even the second sock got tinked back a few rows here and there. I did knit the it in just a few days though after stalling on it for several other days so obviously I'm getting faster at the pattern. Not in any great hurry to repeat them though. Incidentally, I made the leg of the sock a little shorter than the pattern suggested. I've got short legs and don't like socks coming up too high, nor do I like folding the tops over when wearing ankle boots. This leg length works for me.

However I learned quite a lot from knitting them. The toe up method, provisional cast on and short row toe I will definately use again. I'm less keen on the short row heel...even if it is the same process as the toe construction, I don't like the finish of the side, with all these holes. I did like the finished lace, but I didn't like having to watch the chart all the time. But all in all a good learning pair of socks, and they're pretty too.

Ten minutes after I had darned in the ends and put the above on my feet, I'd cast on my October socks....

These are Campfire socks, from Cider Moon. I'm knitting them in the Claudia yarn that I received from JadeDragon, as a lovely extra in a sock yarn swap. The colour is "Eat Your Veggies", and because of this I knitted a few rows of them on the allotment this afternoon. I do love this colourway, especially the flashes of acid green.

I wanted something quick and easy, after the trials of the Falling Leaves! These fit the bill...they're knitted on 3.25mm needles, top cast on of 44 stitches for a medium size and the two row broken rib pattern is a piece of cake. I'm already nearly at the heel, and that's taken a mere 55 rows of knitting. They're working up into nice cushy chunky socks. I don't think they're quite my colour though, but will be perfect for son Duncan. He LOVES green.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn fruitfulness.

I've got a very small town garden, but I was lucky enough to find four young fruit trees growing in it when we bought this house nine years back. Even from the first year we were here they produced some fruit, but this year they have totally surpassed themseves. They are groaning with fruit.....

Pear tree...still small, no idea of the variety, brutally cut back last year so that I could use it as a support for a Quadro "tree house". (The red bits.) Click on the pix and try to spot all the pears in one small section of this tree.

The biggest apple tree, a rather sprawling 15` high. (Still no idea of variety...sort of red Gala type.)

The very tall thin one I can see directly out from my study window, 25` up. Russett type, bit boring to eat. These branches are hanging downwards, btw, from the sheer weight of fruit.

Little shaggy apple tree in the corner. It looks horrible, but I don't want to take it out in case it's the main pollinator for the other two, or if they need to have a three-way orgy of pollination. (Some apple varieties do.) These are the sweetest apples of the lot, a sort of streaky yellow variety. The Iceberg climbing rose running through it cost me 10p in an end of season sale.

Belive me, we have tens of kilos of fruit here. None of the above store well as I've discovered in past years, and the kids get a bit sick of apples non stop alas. They don't even like pears. These varieties don't cook well either. I`ve given bags of fruit away and the local scrumpers are ever-eager, but there will still be literally hundreds of windfall apples and pears for the compost bins this year, sadly. What a waste!

Still on a foodie trend, I bought these for the allotment. My allotment neighbour and I have a friendly rivalry over the garlic we grow, but it's several years now since I "won". Time to buy in a little help, I thought.

I thought the presentation of this was brilliant...a sort of Thorntons Continental Selection Box of garlic, no? (That's a posh chocolate maker for the non-UK viewers.) And the contents of these bags are real sexpot vegetables too...look at these curves, and the lustre.

Lol....I must be getting a bit weird upstairs if I'm starting to think vegetables are sexy, no? I planted that whole box out today, btw. If they all come up, I should have nearly 150 assorted bulbs of garlic next summer. Hopefully, some of them will beat my neighbour's crop, no?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dangerous flirtations.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I've been looking at quilting blogs recently. Fabulous colours and inspirational stuff, but the sheer volume of work involved has been putting me off dipping my toe in the water. Yes, I can sew perfectly well, as in I used to make 90% of my own clothes in the long-ago life before children when I had that spare time stuff, but, you know, quilts are BIG things.

But I think I have encountered my nemesis. (Have a look round the rest of her blog too...the quilts are gorgeous, the photography stunning and if that isn't enough, she knits as well.)

Isn't it beautiful? The colours, the fun fabrics, the fact that it looks dead simple (and quick) to piece together and, of course, so appropriate for an allotment owning fishwife. And I'll be going to the Glasgow Hobbycrafts Show next's always stuffed with patchwork fabrics. I wonder if I can find some of that turnip print? obsession coming....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Comfy cat.

Gratuitous cute cat with knitting shot...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Falling Leaves.

There was frost on the cars this morning when Hubby left for work at 6.30am. However being a bad mummy, I'd just looked out the window at the bright sunlight and let my daughter wear her favourite school dress again. Standing outside the school waiting for bell she was moaning she was cold and I was clearly No1 Neglectful Mum on the Gate.... all the other girls were in wooly tights or winter trousers. She did have long socks, vest and fleece jacket on as well though....she'll live! (Better get the winter kit to the top of the drawers though, and retire the summer dresses to winter storage, though....)

Talking of autumn and Falling Leaves.......

Well, it's taken me slightly more than the allocated half month to knit this first sock, and I started before September began, come to think of it. So I'm not entirely on track for my One Pair of Socks Per Month personal challenge. Also, I can't recall hating knitting a sock more, unless it was my miserable encounter with some Regia silk last year. I like sock knitting because it's easy, portable and a bit mindless. This sock I had to knit with a row tally and the pattern on my lap. Bit more of a mind challenge than usual, hurumph.

However, I kept on reminding myself that this was the whole expand my sock knitting range and give myself a few challenges. I reminded myself of this as I reknitted the toe four times, ripped out the first two lace pattern repeats because I can't read the words "knit each alternate round plain", ripped back the first attempt at the heel because I'd made the foot too big...well, I think I may have already knitted this sock twice, come to think of it. and when I cast off this first sock last night, I was heartily sick of it. I wasn't even sure I liked it. Actually, I hated it. I didn't want to start the other one. I wanted to do something different socks.

However I think that once you give in to Second Sock Syndrome you may never knit a full pair of socks again, so I gritted my teeth and cast on the second one within an hour of casting off the first. Then I sat and watched an enthrallingly quirky documentary on the telly about this man with three wives and...knitted the toe perfectly, first time, with only about two glances at the pattern and no row tally at all. So somewhere, somehow, knitting the short row toe/heel six times over in total had actually worked as a learning experience. I now know how to do this. And it's easy.

Gosh. Who'd have thought, eh? Practice and perseverence produces results, as my old sewing teacher used to say. Maybe the cranky old bat (May she rest in peace, bless her wrinkly stockings) was right after all.

I quite like these socks now...and I'll be finished them by October, I promise myself.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colour challenge.

Yesterday was the first day of the new "term" at the Edinburgh Guild of Weavers, Dyers & spinners, and the theme was colour.

We did a little workshop on colour inspiration from images. First off, we had to chose a picture which appealed to us because of the colours. I chose this one...

Then we got to dig into the huge Guild "bits" box and find fibres to spin a yarn which reflected these tone, intensity, proportion and such. (This is where they lost me, alas, so I just concentrated on making it look like the picture.)

And with my titchy leftover skein.

I was actually quite pleased with my efforts, given that colour for me is a bit of a hit and miss affair. I brought it home and showed it proudly to my family...sum total of feedback here was that the two males of the household went "Umph" or words to that effect, and my daughter informed me that the purple was too dark in places......

Part 2 was to bring in 100g of fibre for another spinner to take away to spin over the next couple of months, preferably a good combination of colours, textures and fibes. So I made up this little heap, of dyed merino tops, silk tops, soy silk tops and Angelina fibres.

I liked the look of this combination so much that I tried running a matching pile through the drum carder......

...which just proves that if you get too enthusiastic and put your batt through the carder "just once more" you can blend it into bland streaky blue-green baby sick, with sparkles. I can barely belive Pile A turned into Batt B.

(It's actually not too bad, just not my cup of tea. I'll spin it up anyway, to see what it's like. Unless anyone would like to swap one of their own not so favourite batts for it? There's an ounce of fibre in that one, and it's all nice stuff.)

Edit: I tried again last night with the same combination of fibres plus a dose of advice from the Great Colour Guru Mr Fassett..."When it doesn't work, add at least three more colours". So I chucked in some stronger purples and a few shocking pink silk neps. Tadah!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Scottish Fibres' Autumn School 2007.

Scottish Fibres are running an Autumn School on the 13/14th October in Dalkeith near Edinburgh. It looks very interesting and these of you that know Doreen from Woolfest and other events around the country will know she's a very good organiser, so this should be an interesting event. Also there's not enough big fibre related events up here in the uttermost north, so it's great to see a new event and I feel it deserves support.

I'm not going to any of the Saturday workshops, but I may pop along just to have a nose around and (*ahem*) spend some money. I've signed up to attend the Sunday talks though, and am really looking forwards to it. Anyone else going?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thank you!

I got a nice parcel in the post today.

When I started knitting more socks, I developed a desire to try some of the legendary Socks that Rock. I'd read plenty about it, of course, but never actually set eyes on it. So after due thought I posted on the Seeking Yarn forum over at the Knittyboard coffee shop, asking if anyone would be interested in trading some with me. I got an answer from a member called JadeDragon, who is sadly blogless. We talked, we discussed the trade and we sent out parcels.

Well, mine arrived today and I'm totally thrilled...

One skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in Farmyard. feels great, the colours are FABULOUS and I'm already hunting down patterns for it on Ravelry. I'm a total convert and I haven't even knitted with it yet! I can feel the Blue Moon Rocking Sock Club somewhere in my future, lol.

But the wonderful JadeDragon also sent me this...a skein of hand-painted Sport Weight sock yarn from Claudia. Isn't it great? I love the colours and especially the name...."Eat your Veggies". I haven't knitted sport weight socks yet, so this yarn is going to be a real treat. Thank you so much, JadeDragon!

And if that wasn't enough, she also included this mini skein/keyring fob of Emergency Sock Yarn from the Rocking Sock Club. So cute, you could eat it, and certainly far to good to carry around in a crowded handbag.

What's the dark shadow at the top of the picture? Well, that's Missy girlcat who has never really been that interested in yarn, really, but was seduced over by STR. What excellent taste, no?

Thanks again, JadeDragon. I hope you like your Jitterbug as much as I enjoyed getting these lovely yarns.