Friday, December 21, 2007

Smokin' Socks

I finished grandmothers socks in good time for Christmas. Yay!

Pattern: Smokin' Socks by Knitspot
Yarn: J. Knits Sperwash Me Sock in Boston, from The Loopy Ewe of course :-)
Needles: 2.25 mm Knitpicks circ
Mods: I made an in-between size, 66 sts instad of 60 or 72 as the pattern suggests. In hindsight I think that 60 sts would have been ok, but as I don't have grandmother's foot measurements just her shoe size I didn't want to make them too tight. I did the heel over 34 sts using Cat Bordhi's wrapped stitches.
Verdict: The yarn, hmm. I love the colour and the variation, and the knitted fabric looks and feel very nice. But the yarn is a bit splitty, it is tricky to pick up a dropped stitch. At one point I ripped a few rounds at the toe and it was No Fun to pick up the stitches again.

I love the stitch pattern. I will certainly use it again, for me. It is easy to knit, yet it looks and feels really nice.

Monday, December 10, 2007


...eeeel! As in spinning wheel. As in I got one. Ooops.

It's a used Louet S10, with a skein winder. It looks like a windmill with the skein winder on... Kind of fitting for a Dutch wheel maybe. I got it off ebay, from a Dutch seller that seems to buy ands refurbish old wheels and put them up for sale one by one. I was a bit nervous about making my first ebay purchase. I mean, you hear so much about being tricked into buying a box of bricks or whatever... But I checked the seller as best as I could and all went well. So I have a nice little wheel and I'm making yarn!

These are my first skeins of yarn from the wheel. BFL top (or roving? I'm not sure about the difference) from Spunky Eclectic. I bought a spindle kit from her ages ago with a nice little Cascade spindle and this and one other roving. I have spun a bit on the spindle but I find it very difficult to do anything but park and draft, and very little drafting at that! Maybe if I learn to draft properly on the wheel the spindle may be easier. I find it difficult to keep the spindle spinning for very long, but treadling the wheel is easy. We have an old spinning wheel at the cottage, and as kids we used to play with it and treadle, treadly, treadle. Seems like my foot remembers how to keep the wheel turning!

I managed to spin 66 grams (2,3 oz) into 19 meters (20 yards) of rather fat yarn, 5 or 6 wpi. The smaller skein is 13 grams (0,5 oz) and 3,5 meters (3,8 yards) . It's a start...
My current yarn is turning out thinner.

But drafting is still very difficult for me. This is a Corriedale top from Funky Carolina. I have split it in thin strips and predrafted before spinning but of course I would like to be able to do the drafting on the fly. I have two more rovings (4 oz each) after this one, and a few more on order from etsy sellers. I think I want a fleece for Christmas... Cleaned and carded, please, even though I got a pair of hand carders with the wheel, and I know how to use them. Or indeed any larger amount of wool to practice on. It would be nice to be able to have enough yarn of one kind to actually knit something! I have no idea where to get good wool here in Sweden though. Anyone know?

Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning arrived in the mail today. It seems to be a very good beginner's book. Especially if you, like me, have no one to show you.

Christmas knitting (dare I say the word?)
I'm not doing much of that actually. Knitting deadlines stresses me out and then it's no fun to knit, it turns into a chore. I much prefer to dole things out as I finish them.
Still, I am knitting a couple of items for Christmas presents. A pair of socks for my grandmother. She is 87 and fell and broke her leg in June, had surgery which didn't take and now had her hip joint replaced instead the other day. So she needs cosy socks.

The first one is done and the second one is at the heel. It's a fairly quick pattern (Smokin' socks by Anne at Knitspot) so I'm confident that I will finish them on time.

The Fire & Ice socks are on hiatus until Grandmother's socks are done. First one is done and looks like this:

The second sock is almost at the start of the gusset increases. They are sooo comfy, I'm really happy with them!

The second (and last!) Christmas item is a Pirate hat for H. She immediately wanted one when she saw the one that E got for his birthday, and I was planning on knitting her one anyway. So two knit presents this year. If I don't spin to much... Though I *may* knit an iPod sock for M... This pattern (that I found through the Daily Chum) is so cute :-)

I am 8 rows in on the bee swarm section of the Bee Fields shawl (also by Anne at Knitspot). So I have one neat row of bees :-) Or is it one and a half? Not sure yet.

Anyway, I love this shawl. And the yarn (The Plucky Knitter Merino laceweight) And it's not that difficult to knit either. Granted, this section has patterning on both right and wrong side rows and I haven't done that before, but I'm learning to read the pattern from the back too.

For some strange reason I haven't worked on it since the wheel arrived though. Hmm.

BTW, I just had to start an Obstacles shawl as well. I am in some sort of Knitspot period I think.

Lovely pattern! I'm using two skeins of Dream in Color Smooshy sock yarn in Ruby River. Yum!