Monday, November 29, 2010


The icicles I wrote about yesterday have pretty much all gone now, but it’s still snowing so I’m hoping some new ones might form! Last night and this morning, we even had thundersnow – snowfall with thunder and lightning! Apparently it’s rather rare, but it was so exciting! It’s like all my favourite things are happening at once :)


Anyway, I hinted at my latest project in my last post, and here it is again.



‘Tis a surprise hat for my other half, and also my first foray into double knitting. The two white lines are life lines, as I’m making things up as I go along, and don’t entirely know what I’m doing!

Double knitting is essentially knitting two layers of fabric simultaneously, and is almost like working a 1x1 rib, as you work the front and then the back layer. In normal circumstances, the idea of knitting inch upon inch of 1x1 rib would be like knitting hell to me, but I’m actually finding it quite meditative in double knitting, and am enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. P1070645

I’m attempting to knit a lattice design on the outside and a check pattern on the inside, and it did take me quite a while to get my head around the concept of how it worked, but as with most things, now that I’ve started it’s actually relatively straight forward.

I didn’t start out to make a double knitted hat. I was swatching away trying to find a nice manly colourwork pattern that wasn’t stripes and wasn’t too fussy, when I came across the stitch pattern that I’m now using, and decided to try and give it a try. In fact I frogged and reknit my poor little swatch a few times before I gave up, threw caution to the wind, and decided to cast on anyway (I did the old Norwegian/twisted German cast on for this – love it!) and deal with it when I came to it.


After a little false start that thankfully only involved a couple of stitches, I got the hang of it. I think what was confusing me slightly is that there are two different methods of double knitting:

Single pass, where both strands of yarn have to be carried together at the same time; and

Double pass, where you knit one round with one colour, slipping the stitches that you want to work in the other colour, and then knit the second round, knitting the slipped stitches in the new colour and slipping the stitches that you worked in the previous round.

Sounds confusing, but it's much easier to actually do and the resulting fabric is double layered, satisfyingly thick and squishy, and should be extra warm!

I’ve actually used both methods in this hat so far. I started off with a few rounds of single pass and then moved on to the double.

I’m considering writing up the pattern when I’m done, but I’ve never really written a pattern before and this seems like a tricky one to start with. I guess I’ll just wait and see. P1070664

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow days.

It’s been snowing since Wednesday night in the north east, and I couldn’t be happier!

I also love icicles. They always looks so pure and pretty, and they remind me of my favourite joke as a child:

How does Jack Frost get around? By icicle.

Ho ho. I vividly remember walking up the school path aged about six, with my black and white panda ear muffs (I wish I still had them!) and my hands thrust inside the pockets of my school duffel coat, reciting that joke to myself and giggling.

I was a strange child.

You can imagine my excitement then, when I woke up on Friday morning to find this outside my bedroom window:


It fell to the ground and shattered after I’d opened the window to take this picture, but fast forward to this morning and I find this:


A whole family of icicles! So pretty, especially in morning sunlight!

And then I went down to breakfast and found these beauties in the garden:



These textured ones are stunning, wish my amateur photography skills could have captured them better!

I love snow, it gives me an excuse to bundle up and pile on my cosy woolly hand knits. I’m really hoping this snow lasts til Christmas, or at least until my birthday in 2 weeks! It’d be such a shame to have all this snow and then not have a white Christmas.

And just to keep things knitting related, here’s a sneaky peak of my latest project:


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Completing the set

P1070432 The postman brought me a lovely little surprise from Amazon this afternoon: the latest in the Stitch ‘n Bitch series, Superstar Knitting. I’d actually forgotten that I’d pre-ordered this a few months ago when it seemed like November would never arrive!

I think the Stitch ‘n Bitch series has now been established as a knitting cult favourite. I was taught to knit as a child, but soon tired of creating a tangled mess of multi-coloured knots. I was only just starting to get myself back into knitting not long after the first book came out, and it was indispensable in helping me to relearn the basics. Even now, I still refer back to it every so often!

I really can’t remember what piqued my interest in knitting again, but I do remember ordering the book an Amazon and poring through the pages with renewed vigour when it arrived. I feel like this book has been a friendly companion to me throughout my knitting journey, and every time a new one is published I feel compelled to add it to my collection. I always like to have complete sets of things.

Ok, so strictly speaking this isn’t the whole set since I never bothered with Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch, but that’s a mere foible. P1070438
I’ve only managed to flick through it so far, but it does look as fun and informative as the previous volumes. It has the same format, with the “theory” and information at the front of the book, and the patterns at the back. I am however, somewhat peeved and perplexed that whilst they have chosen to retain so much of the style and layout of the previous books, they’ve made this one bigger/taller. This annoys the OCD in me as it means that it’s going to look weird on my shelf, sticking up an inch or so above the others.

On a different subject altogether, I did a little blog layout rejigging this weekend. I’ve been contemplating moving across to Wordpress for some time now, because as straight forward as blogger is, and for all its merits, I hate hate hate the blogger commenting system and am sick of waiting for them to introduce nested comments.

Moving blog hosts is a bit of a hassle though, so after a bit of google searching I installed IntenseDebate so I can finally have the nested comments that I’ve been coveting. I’ve been trialling it on a test blog for a couple of days and haven’t had any problems. I think it’s pretty self explanatory, you don’t have to sign up to anything to leave a comment unless you really want to, but if anyone does have any problems with it or wants to know more then please let me know!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Socktoberfest FO 2

They are f i n a l l y off the needles! I’m so glad they’re finished, they were becoming a complete albatross. They weren’t started during socktoberfest, they weren’t finished during socktoerfest, but they did consume an awful lot of socktoberfest knitting time, ergo I classify them as socktoberfest socks.

Sliding Leaves by Jeannie Cartmel

Yarn: Woolcraft Superwash Sock Yarn, hand dyed

Ravelled here

My first finished toe up socks. And just to complicate matters I also decided to make them 2 at a time. It was a little faff-tastic, especially to start with, but to be honest I don’t know how long it would have taken me finish these if I hadn’t done them 2 at a time. I have a feeling that a fatal case of Second Sock Syndrome would have struck them down.

I mirrored the pattern because otherwise it would have just annoyed me. It’s not a particularly difficult pattern, it just takes a lot of concentration. More than I generally like to give! I managed to knit 2 full repeats of the chart up the leg before I finished the cuff off with 2x2 rib and a picot edge (one row of YO, k2tog followed by several rows of knit using a smaller needle, folded over and tacked the live stitches to the inside of the cuff). I wish I’d used a picot cast off instead because this is far too bulky, but I was so desperate to have these socks done with that I just ploughed on. I might try and find the end one day to rip back and redo, but not in the forseeable future. Overall, these are just OK. They look quite nice, but I never want to make them again!

Verdicts on toe up: I’m glad I’ve finished a pair this way. I love how the toe is constructed, and I love the way you can use up as much yarn as you have on hand, but I would hands down prefer to knit top down. That may be because I’m not as familiar with the toe up construction, so I’m willing to give it a few more chances before I categorically decide that it’s top down for me all the way, but at the very least I’m glad to be mastering another technique. In fact, I’ve already cast on for another pair of toe up socks which I mentioned here, but that’s for another day and another post!

Verdicts on 2 at a time: Again, glad I’ve tried it, but goodness it’s fiddly. Great for the fact that you know your 2 socks/sleeves/whatever will be an identical length etc and when you’re done, you’re done, but I feel like to much knitting time is wasted untangling balls of yarn and moving stitches around the needles. My preferred method of knitting simultaneous socks is having each on its own needle and working each one in chunks. Having said that, I am knitting my current mystery socks 2 at a time because I didn’t have 2 sets of 2mm needles. If this tells me anything, it’s that I need more circulars! It’s handy to know, but not my preferred method.

More FOs over at Tami's Amis blog :)
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Socktoberfest FO 1

I’m really missing socktoberfest! It went faaar too quickly. I made better progress than last year, but think I need to get organised so that I can do even better next year!

I did manage to finish one pair within the socktoberfest month…


TTL Mystery Sock 2010 by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: Zettl Valbella

Ravelled here

I knit last years TTL Mystery Sock, but it took me about 6 months to finish the pair, so I’m pretty chuffed that I managed to finish these within the month this time! Of course, I didn’t have hours of all consuming uni work holding me back this year, but still…

I’m sure most of you have guessed by now, but I love the process of knitting mystery socks. The textures in this sock are lovely. The little squiggly cables in the cuff are adorable, and the pattern is so easy to remember which makes it great mindless knitting without the monotony.


If I was going to knit these again, the only mods I would make would be to the heel. ©

To be honest, I find it a little dull after all the textures in the rest of the sock. Someone on Ravelry did a great heel mod that I reeeeally wished I’d seen before starting my heel. I’m far too lazy to rip and knit unless it’s absolutely essential, so I let it go for this one but I would definitely use it if I was to make these socks again. If anyone is interested, the mod details are linked in my project page.

As far as the yarn goes, I’m so pleased with it! It was incredibly cheap 75% wool 25% nylon sock yarn from Lidl (£2.99 for 200g – bargain!), and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it at first, but now I think it’s fantastic. It’s quite thin 4ply, but it feels so silky and is absolutely lovely to knit with. It’s certainly soft enough to use for scarves and shawls as well as socks, so it’s a good job I hoarded several packs of it! Lidl brought out some sock wool last year as well, so I’m hoping that this is yearly regular for them and I will definitely be looking out for it next year. I’ve only worn these twice so far and they felt gorgeous and but there was some pilling! Still, so far I’m liking this yarn so much better than the Woolcraft Superwash Sock Yarn.

If you really want some it does pop up on ebay here and there for around the retail price, or slightly over. Be careful though, because I did see someone selling it for £9.99 plus postage a few weeks ago! Blatant rip off!!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WIP Wednesday AKA my new favourite sock cuff

The latest on the needles for WIP Wednesday is yet another mystery sock from the Solid Socks Ravelry group… what can I say. It’s addictive.

©http://elephantjuice-allmadeup.blogspot.comI’m a week behind on the clues though, so I’m slacking slightly at the moment. This is halfway through Clue 1.

I have to say, I’m loving the cuff. It’s nothing particularly special, just a 2x1 rib, but it is suuuper squishy and s t r e t c h y .

And in case anyone is in any doubt – photographic proof:


From 3 inches to 6 and back again.

The Montse Stanley book calls this a two stranded thumb cast on, or something to that effect, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a good old basic long tail cast on. I went through a phase where I loved long tail cast on, but for some reason it faded from my repertoire. I say “for some reason” but I know that it’s probably because I’m always too lazy to figure out the correct length to leave for the tail. Too short, infuriating. Too long, equally infuriating. I think I think I may consider myself re-converted to this cast on though, it’s worth the bit of extra effort. My standard cable cast on just doesn’t cut it in comparison!

I keep hearing good things about the Estonian cast on so I might have to investigate that for my next pair…

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday again and guess what’s still on the needles…


I’m thinking that if I really push myself with these today, they’ll finally be off the needles by bedtime. I seriously hope so, because I am getting sick.of.this.chart. I’ve only got about 5 more rows of the chart and then a ribbed cuff to do – that can’t be that hard, right?!

I also finally cast on for some Christmas gift socks (they have been in mental motion for weeks)


I’m making the pattern up as I go… so far it’s just a short row toe, but I promise it’ll get more interesting! As soon as I get those blasted orange socks finished!

51 sleeps til Christmas, and I’m only just realising how much knitting I have to do!

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