Monday, November 30, 2009

2ply manly socks?

I'd love to make some manly socks in Touch Yarn 2ply in 190 It'd be brave to make 2ply man socks but the socks would be so dense and lovely I'm sure I could do it. I'd probably do a basic rib.


I'd love to try freeform knitting one day, if I did I'd love to try  a kit to get me inspired, I like this Freeform Knitting Yarn Packs from Fab fibres:

I've never tried freeform but I have this work on my wall at work to remind me of my knittyness in the middle of the crazy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blendy's NZ Yarn Sampler

I've never bought a knitting sampler but I'm keen to try this one: Blendy's NZ Yarn Sampler. The box will have 15 samples of yarn and embellishments. It has some of my faves in it Needlefood and Vintage Purls. Other ones I haven't heard of sound fun, like the Nut & Bee illustrations.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grrrl Shaped Yarns

My friend Brooklynne has been working away at her online yarn shop for a while now. Creating her own yarn line, thinking about different options for selling other yarns and knitting items like needles. She's launched the shop today as Grrrl Shaped Yarns (GSY) with three fingering weight yarns and eight different Knit Picks fixed needles in sock sizes

In the top left we have Fire Island - 50/50 Merino Silk for NZ $25, top right Life On Mars - Superwash Merino $20 and Theresa - 50/50 Merino Silk $20 of which 50% of all proceed will be donated to UC Davis Cancer Research.

I love these yarns, they are well priced for hand dyed quality yarns which would look great in socks or shawls. I think Theresa would look gorgeous as soft colour changes in silk, lovely.

I wish Brooklynne good luck with her business and look forward to seeing the new yarns she dyes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Needlefood Sock club shipment 1 [Spoiler]

Here's the first shipment of Needlefood's second sock club:

I really love the thematic colours of this sock club pack, very clever. Items included are a 100g skein in the club colour 'For the Girls', a semi-solid pink, chocolate fudge, floral Soak, a 2.5mm crochet hook for picking up dropped sts, a floral brooch and four st markers.

Here's the yarn 'For the Girls', 100g of 80% merino, 20% nylon fingering weight yarn with 352m per skein. It's a semi sold with quite a strong contrast between the dark pink and the light pink.

I couldn't decide what to make with this yarn, I considered Monkey, Pomatomus, Love Struck Hearts and Oblique Openwork before deciding on Nanners.

I think Love Struck Hearts looked really nice but I decided I wanted a repeating pattern with distorting angling sts like Monkey.

So here's the Nanners:

I really like the fish scale like look of these, one day I'm hoping to do Pomatomus which is sort of an advanced version of this.

I'm glad to be doing a Wendy Johnson pattern, her blog is great and I'd love to buy her book Socks from the Toe Up. I love toe ups so Wendy patterns are perfect for me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rationally knitting socks for the toe up

I've learnt a painful lesson, cutting a 100g skein of yarn in half does not equal two balls of the same yardage. I knitted on yarn over cable sock doing 39 repeats of the 4rw pattern from the heel and cast off. I knit the second to 36 repeats of the 4rw pattern and didn't have enough to cast off. I attempted to spit splice with the small amount of yarn left from the other sock but it didn't work, perhaps because the yarn is superwash. So then I tried a knot and kept knitting and it looked ugly. So I gave up and undid both, ended up with 33 repeats of the 4rw pattern which are still lovely long socks and actually fit better too.

& So I am left with a nub of yarn. Now I used to think that avoiding this was the whole point of knitting from the toe up. However the stress of trying to get equally long right to the last tiny bit of yarn socks is just too much. Next time I should just pick a length, know I'll end up with two nubs of yarn. Pick something from 653 patterns to knit with 1-285 yards and have fun. Long live the nubs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No hole Monkey or No Yarn Over Monkey

I love the Los Monos Locos version of the classic and much loved Monkey pattern by Cookie A. I have done one pair in a beautiful 'Odd Ball' (limited edition) variegated yarn called Martinborough Vines by New Zealand dyer Needle Food. I did a twisted rib cuff for only a few rounds and should probably do more next time as they fall done a bit.

I would love to try the pattern without yarn overs, to make a moving rib but not lacey sock. The options I've seen are:

She removed holes by replacing YOs with M1L/M1R (as appropriate) increases in the following round, for similar reasons

She eliminated the lacy holes by knitting the yarn overs through the back loop

She used a “lifted increase”…for each pattern repeat, using a right lifted increase (knitting the right leg of the stitch, then the stitch) in place of the first yarn over and a left lifted increase in place of the second yarn over (knitting the stitch, then the left leg of that original stitch). [Thanks to Jauping for messaging me this detail]

I know that M1L and M1R would drive me crazy, I'm using M1 for Vinnland and I don't love it. I quite like the idea of knitting through the back loops of yarn overs and using the right and left lifted increases. From the description it sounds like Jauping used LLinc LRinc which I use for toe increases, I think I'll try both out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Socks: Needlefood Martinborough Vines in Crazy Monkeys

Here's my beautiful Needlefood Martinborough Vines yarn balled up using my new wool winder (looks a bit grubby here but I gave it a clean). I'm so glad I bought the winder, saves me the main thing that frustrates me about knitting from hand dyed yarn, balling it up by hand.

I got the idea to knit Monkey socks using this yarn from KiwiRaven's wonderful Plumberry Ambrosia No Purl Monkeys. I don't like to purl and always knit tow up so I was really pleased to find the Los Monos Locos pattern. Here's how my Crazy Berry Socks are knitting up:

I think they look great, and so did kitty, after this cute photo was taken (below) she un-wound and messed up all the yarn which resulted in a very frustrating two hours getting all the knots out.

I've since turned the heel and here's where I deviated from the pattern. I had tried with the toe to reinforce it using the Eye of Patridge stitch which didn't work so I was not going to try it on the heel. I absolutely adore the short row no wraps heel from the Lifestyle Toe Up Socks so that's what I did, holding 12 sts on each side with 8 active sts left in the middle. I turned after row 1 so started again using row 2 from the back and front. It's going to look really cool with the triangles lining up the side of the ankle.

The yarn itself is wonderful. It doesn't split and wasn't damaged by the numerous test knitting of the toe and the hammering that the cat gave it. The resulting fabric has lovely stitch definition and quite a stiff hard wearing feeling that I'm sure will soften beautifully with wear. It feels so soft on my feet when I try them on with a nice feeling of elasticity. I love how the colours are playing around in the sock pattern, especially the yellow against purple.

The next Needlefood yarn I'd love to have is Black Forest:
I love the new pictures: skeined on the left (how it comes) and re-skeined on the right (how it knits up).

Update: Hats

I've been very remiss in blogging about crafting lately, not because I haven't done any but mostly because I've been using Ravelry instead. But here I am with an update on hats. I've knitted two spiral hats which was really fun with cheap but nice Warehouse single ply variegated wool. Here's the first one (with my cat & without).

For some weird reason the pattern didn't result in the spiral working evenly but I fixed that in the second hat which was blue & grey. Amazingly my second one was a commission! I was paid $20 for it with yarn coming to about $6 and labour of about five hours it certainly wasn't living wage but I really enjoyed making it and gives me confidence with hats that I didn't have before.

I've almost made two hats hisotrically with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. I completely mal-sized the first one for a baby so frogged it, it was also ugly because I didn't know how to knit in the round (left). I then reknit the yarn as a ribbed beanie once I learnt how to knit in the round and I gave it to my dad (right).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Needlefood review: First impressions

With much kindness Michelle of Needlefood sent me a skein of her lovely yarn to review, I requested an Oddball called 'Martinborough Vines'.

I really love the packing of the yarn, the cellophane seems like that used to wrap flowers, so its like a yarn bouquet. The cellophane is tied with a ribbon which also carriers a seller label for needlefood as well as five split ring stitch markers and a seller label for the markers.

The yarn itself is in skein form and is surrounded by a yarn band which notes composition, weight in grams and 'type'-fingering, needle size and washing instructions. The yarn is 80% merino and 20% nylon, 100g, ≈353m, fingering weight for 2-2.75 needles and machine washable. In other words the yarn is perfect for socks. The yarn feels slightly thicker than Vintage Purls however I'll have to see whether that is reflected in the gauge when I knit it up. The yarn smells slightly of vinegar, testament to its hand dyed nature and which I must admit I quite like.

A note on the colour, what I had imagined was a deep blue purple but as you can see from my picture above and that in the middle here, it is in fact a maroon. If you compare the website picture on the left from one I took on the left with a flash you'll see they are very similar. I don't mind hugely and maroon is far more grapish than blue-purple however its something to note that colours do not exactly match photos.

In terms of the labels, I have a few comments. I really like the label with yarn on it, gives a great idea of the other colors and is in a sturdy card. The yarn band and stitch markers label are however just on paper, I think they would be better on a light card. When I opened up the skein to look at the colour changes and made it into a skein again, it was impossible to put the ball band back on. A ball band that is slightly looser and stiffer would allow for reusability of the band.

It's lovely that Michelle includes a single use amount of delicate wool wash called Soak and five stitch markers from Memarcierenee. Overall a wonderful first impression, I can't wait to start knitting myself a lovely pair of socks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I've been watching yarns by Michelle on TradeMe but today she has announced her online shop opening called Needlefood and I love it! In the pic I've got, clockwise from top left,  Martinborough Vines, Rosehips in Autumn, Lavendar Infusion and Plumberry Ambrosia. These are all NZD $26, pretty good price compared to USD $20 from international competitors.

I also really love the Scotty Sunflower which has a beautiful-tragic back story.

I also like the free shipping for orders over $75 and the free sock yarn draw. I hope that Michelle and Mike do well in their business and I hope to order from them soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Judy's Magic Cast On

The only toe-up cast on I can do is Judy's Magic Cast On. The best description with pictures I have found is on Persistent Illusion however Cat Bordhi's Knitty article and videos are also useful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Family + Knitting = Happiness and a sock

Often muggles (non-knitters) think that knitting is something that old ladies do while waiting for their grandkids to come round. [For a great explanation of the phenomena see Episode 96 of Sticks & String 'I'm busy'] My in-laws joke about this, claiming that Ravelry is one of the few places where people would pretend to be older than they are. They do however happily let me knit while I talk to them. To keep a flow of conversation going I'm still needing to just do stockinette socks, and more than appropriate seeing I am doing a gorgeous pair of man socks for their son in marine yarn. You can easily have a lovely time with your family while knitting and then you end up with an item as well as a lovely time.

Equally I spent a great afternoon with my father knitting my first pair of socks in a friendly cafe which let us spend hours over our coffee post lunch so much that we ordered another pair of coffees. It's wonderful to wear knitted items you remember making with while talking to your loved one. I'd love to get a headset and use Skype to talk to my mum so I can knit while talking to her.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sock club love!

I'm part of the Vintage Purls Summer Sock Club 2009 and I'm loving it! I received the second package yesterday and the first last month. The first come with a wonderful bag, pattern and yarn, the second with a gift you knit for yourself, pattern and yarn. They both came with some yummy lollies which is such fun. The cost was $95 so with each skein of yarn being usually $23 for Limited Edition and patterns usually being about $5 and the with gifts I think its very good value. Its also the fun of our own ravelry group and the joy of having unique yarn and patterns. I also love communicating with the purveyor Morag who taught me to Magic Loop. She is also the only online yarn shop in New Zealand to stock Knit Pro so I love being able to order more neeldes that Morag pops in my sock club packages for free shipping.

Here's Vintage Purl's picture of the first yarn and pattern called Bluesky Baby which I haven't started - I'm scared of lace but I hope to do it one day, or failing that I'll make lots of blue booties.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Knitting marine man socks

Wow, stockinette socks are still really really fun but going so much faster. I'm speeding along with a lovely hand dyed 100% wool sock yarn that was a gift from maude & me's miss tracee.

This photo was taken two days ago and I'm already 4" into the leg. Still got heaps of yarn to go, these will be quite long. I'm glad I put in the negative ease as its created an almost ribbed look around the instep which looks really cool without all the tedious work of rib knitting. I really love the slight scratchiness of the yarn, feels really appropriate for man socks. I might have to do some calf shaping to fit as they could be quite long from what yarn I have left. I really love the no wrap short row heel, still a few holes as it joins the instep but none along the heel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No wrap short rows

Can you say hurrah! I love the look of the short row but I don't like the wrap and turn business. So we have these brilliant instructions as part of the Charisa Martin Cairn's Lifestyle toe up socks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Arohaina Socks

Here's the second sock I've made, started in late October last year. I've only got a few inches beyond the heel so I've probably got about 3 or 4 to go. I'm using a Seaweed Sock pattern but I'm finding it really tedious. The beautiful Arohaina sock yarn by NanacindyNZ is quite thin, about 9 sts per inch so with all the changing between K and P means it takes ages.

These socks are toe up, it took me a whole night to find a cast on I could do but ended up with the Double Knitting Cast On from Let's Knit2gether, Thanx Cat! I agree it's cool and easy.

I've taken the sock off my needles to start a completely different simple pair using a different yarn. I think at this stage being new to knitting socks mean I just enjoy stockinette in the round from the top down. I hope to get back to knitting these later but I'm not into it right now.

Finished socks - Balrog Socks

I've been meaning to post this for yonks but for some reason I haven't, here are my first pair of knitted socks - First Socks.

The yarn for these was supplied by unionmaid a lady I meet through Ravelry who taught me how to knit socks by giving me yarn, needles, a pattern and lessons!

These socks taught me a lot about knitting with four dpns, turning a heel and Kitchener. I really enjoyed them because they were quick to knit, 18 days and the alpaca in the wool is so cuddly. I followed the pattern exactly so I've got a golf ball of yarn left over and I wish they were a bit longer. I've thought about cutting the cast on and knitting up to make them longer but I enjoy wearing them too much.