Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rainy day hats

There's nothing like a change in weather to make you want to cast on a hat. Or maybe that's just me?
I test-knit the latest design by the inimitable Mel of SingleHandedKnits fame, Drizzle the hat, and it came out great, if I do say so myself.
It's a simple, straight foward hat with a flattering rolled brim and just enough lace to keep you occupied but not frustrated.
I knitted mine out of my beloved Tails DK base in a new colourway, Looks Like Rain.
The colour is inspired by dark, rain-bearing clouds and grey skies. Have you ever really looked at thse clouds? They're not a flat grey, there are heaps of colours swirling in there!
Looks Like Rain appears just grey on first glance, but when you look closer, you'll see pops of yellows and reds and pinks and blues throughout. It's still a tonal yarn, so lace and patterning will stand out cleanly.
I think it would make a very flattering garment colour, personally.

And guess what? There will be pre-orders of this very colourway, together with a coupon code for Mel's awesome Drizzle hat, going up in the shop very soon!

Do you have a favourite hat type? Do you have a hat on the needles right now?

Friday, March 29, 2013

WIP'ing Friday!

There's a long weekend coming up, and it's time to make a serious dent in some languishing WIPs!
My weekend will be split between epic all-day gaming sessions playing Ni No Kuni with Mr. Penguin and the cosy cat (well, he'll play, I'll knit, she'll lounge, it's the perfect trifecta of cosiness) and visiting family.
I expect to make some serious knitting progres.

Apart from taking hexipuffs on public transport with me, I also hope to get to the arm shaping on my Geodesic cardigan. I'd love to have it finished before next weekend, but we'll see how that goes.

I've also finally made it to the heels of my languishing Flaming Monkey socks (Monkey socks out of Another Crafty Girl's Strong Sock in Chimchar). I don't know why I neglected these. I love the yarn and I love the pattern. I blame lack of sock weather.

And then there's the Bayret. A twisted-stitch ebret out of Wollmeise in Himbeere. Every time I knit in Wollmeise, I want to drop everything else I'm working on and just knit that.
I love everything about Wollmeise yarn (as I've mentioned before), and I'm hoping this hat will be epic.

And I reeeeeaaaally want to cast on Pelotonner out of Tails DK in Poison Apple, but I'm holding off so I can  potentially count it for Nerd Wars.

My travel project-to-be, Pogona out of Wispy in Whedonistas is waiting for April for the same reason.

What's on your needles this week?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sock o'Clock!

I finished a pair of socks!
These are for my International Sock Swap partner, but I'm finding it hard to part with them!
These are truly international socks. I got the yarn as a present from my mum from Europe, they were knit here in Australia, and they're going to a different continent again. World Socks!
I wasn't madly in love with the colours in the skein. They looked a little dull. But just like the colours of Australia, you need to let them play with each other and they create something quite interesting and beautiful.

I picked the pattern, Pomatomus by Cookie A, deliberately to break up any unruly pooling, but the yarn spiral-pooled in a very consistent way. Look at how well the socks match! Love it.

Now I just have to gather some more goodies to go with the theme of my swap package, and then it will be off on its hopefully not-too-long trip.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sock Endurance Monday: first ever socks

I'm starting a new series called Sock Endurance Monday, where I look back at socks and see how they're holding up, whether I still like them, whatever.

And where better to start than with my very first ever pair of socks?

after 2 years
I knit these almost two years ago (May 2011), learning as I went along. I was still a newbie knitter in the extreme, but I managed, and I was so proud of these socks.
The yarn is Moda Vera Noir, which comes in a variety of self-patterning colours from our local big box craft store. Their recent colour selections has left me rather lukewarm, but I've enjoyed some of them in the past.

heel felting
These socks? Are indestructible. I wear them hiking in thick boots. I wear them in the rain. I wear them when I go for all-day walks along the muddy creek. I wear them in the house and I wear them while dyeing yarn and walking in just socks on concrete.

The heel felted pretty much straight away, but that only made them tougher.
I didn't do the toe decreases well and there are big ladders there. They're not going anywhere.
The ribbing was too loose, but the socks stay up in a loose way.

They've gone through the washing machine and the dryer.

No matter how hard I try to wear through them, they show no sign of giving.

How would I rate them?
  • Wear & tear: excellent
  • Colour fastness: perfect
  • Felting: some
  • Pilling: little
  • Fuzzing: some
  • Washing: invincible
  • Comfort: good
Do I still love them? Kinda.

And there you have it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hexipuffs of the week

I've been getting back into hexipuffs lately. I haven't knit them for most of the summer (which is silly, since they're *perfect* summer knitting!), but now I'm back.
Mainly, it's a matter of finding time to knit them. I can knit a puff in about 15-20 mins now, so I don't tend to take them if I'm going somewhere where I'll be idle for longer. I often carry them, but don't knit on them.

I found I get most of my puffs done while walking to and from the shops, which is about 45 minutes round trip. I knit slower while walking, of course, but just like drop spindling, it's slower by the minute, but faster by the week.

So here are my week's seven puffs.
They are (from centre, then top clockwise):

  1. Zauberball in Papagei
  2. Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Steam Age
  3. Woollen St Mills in Ron Weasley
  4. Lorna's Laces in an unnnamed color (from their minis set)
  5. Lorna's Laces Soulmate in Bigger on the Inside
  6. Another Crafty Girl in Chimchar
  7. Woollen St Mills in Doctor 10

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I'm not much of a clothes shopping person. And I don't get the extreme excitement some people have over shoes.
But my old Crocs had literally been walked through and it was time for replacements.
This time, i went online and went a bit nuts. I bought four pairs of shoes, all with handknit socks in mind!
They'll be perfect for transitional weather, and I expect them to be comfy while walking around town and while travelling. They're super light and squishy!

Do you wear handknit socks on display in your shoes? Do you wear them in shoes at all?
Have you ever bought shoes specifically to be a frame for your socks?

Friday, March 22, 2013

WIPs of the week

This week has been a week of slow progress.
I've been making rows and rows on the Geodesic cardigan over the weekend, and it's starting to look like, well, something.
I love the delicate fabric, and the colour is stunningly subtle.
I'm also making good progress on my swap partner's socks. I turned the heel!
While turning the heel may be my favourite part of the sock (Look! New direction!), the first few rounds of gusset are my least fave. I suck at picking up the stitches and always get unsightly holes, and the first two rounds are just awkward as the fabric pulls in funny ways and there isn't enough space on the needle.
Then it gets better and things are flying along.
I'm not there yet though.

I've also started a test knit for a friend. It's in my Tails DK base, so the pattern is positively flying off the needles! The gauge is a little denser than I prefer, but it makes for a warm, delightful fabric.
I came up with a new colourway especially for this project. In honour of the weather we currently have outside, I'm calling it Looks Like Rain. The colour reminds me of the bottoms of storm clouds rolling in.

And speaking of new colours, I've treated myself to a sweater's quantity of Tails in a new-to-me red, Poison Apple. It's going to be a pullover, possibly the Pelotonner. Something squishy to cosy up in when I need a woolly hug...

What's on your needles this week?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

For the love of tea

I love tea.
I mean loooooooooove tea. I have at least two pots of tea most days, and I feel incomplete if I don't get to brew at least a cup on any given day.
Depending on the brew, tea can uplift or soothe me, calm me or give me that burst of energy.
I have tea for dark, miserable days and for hot and languid ones. Tea I drink in the morning, and tea to drink at night.
In fact, if you look at my tea shelf, crammed full of goodies (it goes on three deep), you might think I have a bit of a problem.

But it's all for research, you see? After the popular Tea & Stripes club (scheduled to return at the end of the year), I had the upcoming Downton Abbey tea & yarn swap to think about! So I really had to sample a wide variety of teas and tisanes to make sure I picked something delicious and inspiring both for your cups and for your needles.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to brew a fresh pot of tea.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Product vs process knitting

I knit because I like it. I enjoy the simple, repetitive nature of making stitch after stitch, and I adore how with a little attention to detail, I can end up with a pleasing and interesting fabric.
The magic of lace, sculptural cables, texture, the relief of twisted stitches.

I also really love wearing my handmade goodies. My favourite hats are a combination of colour love, perfect fit, sensual yarn, and pleasing fabric. I have gloves and socks I adore, and most of my shawls see regular wear when it's cold enough.

But right now? Everything on the needles is not what I want to have, and what I want to knit is not an end product I want right now.

Aaah, knitter's choices. Does this ever happen to you?