I don’t know from days

Yup, it was me, the first one to drop the ball and fail to put up a post on time. What’s my punishment? No casting on for one month? Knit you something pretty in penance?

In my weak defence, it has been Christmas, with all the crazy that has been going on with that. I had no plans on Christmas Eve which gave me a false sense of security, but since then there have been friends and relatives to meet up with, and a lot of turkey to eat. (Tonight is leftover turkey curry, yum!) So this morning I’m enjoying a brief peace with my laptop and then the sudden realisation hits me like a brick.

Sorry!

Knittingwise, things have been progressing along. I brought two projects home with me to work on, the white silk never-ending shawl, and the sparkly purple socks. I also brought some sock yarn in case I finished that second sock because I’m dangerously optimistic. But some progress has been made. I’ve nearly finished the leg of the sock and am about to embark on the interesting part, which I will need to follow on the laptop.

In more important news, I have also finally reached the half way point of the shawl border. 19 points done, 20 to go, and then a wee little mitered corner and I’m done. I even managed to get three repeats done in a single day. Now if I do just one a day I’ll be finished before the end of January. I’m really looking forward to blocking this bad boy out. Now that half of it is off the restricting needles, I’m really starting to see the shape come out.

While in Dublin I also did a swing by This Is Knit, which was fun. There was a lot of temptation, some seriously pretty deep blue and deep purple laceweight, but I was good and just bought two balls of Katia Darling light fingering yarn. They have nylon which is a plus, since I just lost another pair of pure wool socks, but they’re just a single ply which I’m not sure I’d trust for socks. I reckon I’ll make some entangled gloves out of them instead.

How was your Christmas? Get any yummy yarn related presents? And do let me know when you decide my punishment for being late!

PS The nice thing about being home is having better light for photos. I’m still using my phone, so I’m limited, but it’s an improvement over the brief shaft of morning light I’m usually stuck with.

Blocking Blue Beauties

So I finally finished the Ardara from Carol Feller’s Contemporary Irish Knits. I love love love it! I can’t wait to wear it but it’s still soaking wet after it’s blocking bath last night. I have it in the window in the sun to help speed things up. At this rate I’ll be lucky if it’s dry by Christmas! It was on hold for November while I tried to get my Knitmas present together. Then when I picked it back up the needle tip snapped clean in two! After a few days of impatient waiting I managed to get in to This is Knit to get a replacement needle. Unfortunately they had no acrylics in the right size! I’d tried metal but the gauge/fabric was completely different. Thankfully the angel Lisa offered to lend me one from her own Spectra set – how amazing is that! I picked it up on Friday and now it’s finished in time for Christmas!

While Ardara languished waiting for a needle rescue I attempted to cast on Kate Davies’ OWLs jumper. Only to find I had no 6.5mm tips, so I’d have to wait til I visited This is Knit anyway! With that cast-on-attempt stymied, and desperate for some destressing knitting, I had no choice but to pick up the beaded lace shawl that had been gathering dust. I had only two or three repeats and the edging to go. Then blocking with my excellent blocking wires. It’s so much pretty in real life, much lighter than I thought it would be with the beads.

 

Sparkly Socks

So I still haven’t got much to show for my knitting recently, but I did manage to finish the first of a pair of socks.

 

Aragorn sock (which is, apparently, impossible to photograph in winter light using a camera phone. check out the rav pattern for the awesomeness.)

I like interesting sock constructions. I started making socks using the toe up, two at a time construction, with a big roundy short row heel. Then I tried two at a time, toe up, gusset and slipped stitch heel. Then I discovered DPNs, which I adore, and Cookie A, who I also adore, and became an aficionado of the one at a time, cuff down, slipped stitch heel construction. That’s what I use most of the time these days, sometimes playing around with cast ons.

Even though I tend to stick to the same constructions and just mess with the stitch patterns, I do love when a sock structure has something new. I love skew although when I tried to make it, it just didn’t work with my feets. But Aragorn, oh aragorn! It’s mostly a standard sock shape and construction, with some pretty twisted stitches, but the heel is a bit of an adventure.

On most of the socks I knit, I knit a tube for my leg, and then knit a heel flap on half the stitches. Then I pick up stitches along each side of the heel flap and decrease them to create a gusset that takes the shape of a triangle on each side of the foot.

Aragorn take a bit of a different approach. We still need the extra gusset stitches, but they appear on the top of the foot instead, splitting the centre cable into two parts. The big bonus of this is that the cables can now run down both sides of the foot, rather than the sides being plain stockinet. Yummy!

Now I just have to knit the second sock, which will be great, apart from the bazillion stitches of twisted ribbing.

In other news, I’ve been having some fun with my hair lately. I’ve been being lazy about getting it cut for the past couple of years, so by now it’s almost long enough to tuck into my jeans belt. I’ve been thinking of getting it cut short, but I’ve decided to take advantage of it being so long, and learn to work with it properly. My first adventure was finding a way of putting up a bun without any clips or ties. Very useful, particularly in the shower. But sometimes the ends would stick out and look untidy. Solution? Bun holder! I had some leftover worsted yarn, and some brand new hair bobbins, and voila!

And this morning I came across a youtube tutorial for braiding hair with yarn! Apparently this is called a paranda and it comes from India. Now, where could I find some yarn…

Knitmas Chez Cathy

Finally I can show you the knitting I’ve been getting up to in the last two months – for Knitmas! I had to keep it secret until my swap-pal got her package. These socks are from www.knitty.com called Longitudinal. It was a really interesting construction leading to the cool striping effect. I learned a new cast on and how to graft garter stitch. I also knit this little guy:

I saw him last year and have wanted to knit one since. With some handspun for a scarf I think he’s quite cute. Trying to find suitable buttons was tricky but I succeeded at last in Stitch. For stuffing I has to resort to buying a pillow – unfortunately the stuffing is slightly greenish but it didn’t show through too badly. I tried to make a hat but was unsuccessful. Greg loved him so I think I’ll have to make another.

The ‘present’ part was a sheepy WPI gauge and a needle&tension gauge made from bamboo that I found on etsy. I was very tempted to keep them! I added in some stash, some chocolate, a little cross stitch Christmas card and some other bits and bobs. The recipient seemed happy so I am too!

My Knitmas parcel arrived yesterday and I’m so thrilled with it! Here’s a picture of it before unwrapping – although you can see the ‘Folded’ pattern that’s included. I’ve wanted to make that for ages – but keep putting off buying the pattern. Now I don’t have to! I was very tempted to cast on then and there!

I unwrapped the presents to find a lovely card, some gorgeous sparkley lace yarn in tea rose pink, some snowflake charms:

Beautiful lace mitts in the softest snuggly warm yarn, that have been keeping my hands warm while typing, studying and writing my thesis in my drafty study:

And the little red box opened to reveal these gorgeous stitch markers, handmade by MweaG. They are something I really wanted (&needed) – large ring stitch markers. They are just so pretty too!

My Knitmas Elf really spoiled me and was really thoughtful and kind and I’m so very pleased with my gift! A huge thank you to my mystery gifter!