Friday, 30 May 2014

WIP: Stitch Surfer Socks

I know,  I know. I have enough WIPs going on at the moment and wasn't going to start anything new, least of all yet another pair of socks. So, guess what. I am making now.

These Stitch Surfer socks were saved in my favourites for a long time and I only recently deleted them again, thinking I would never get around to making them. Then last week I listened to the Must Stash podcast where they mentioned the socks and I checked out #sskal14 on Instagram to see what others were doing. I very quickly got far too excited about Stitch Surfer and had a rummage through my stash despite all my good intentions of finishing up my existing projects first. Ah well.

Originally, the idea was to use yarn from my stash in the hope of using some more unloved balls of 4-ply. I quickly found a variegated green-blue yarn that I never knew what to do with, but failed to find a good match. Then, just by chance, The ball ended up on the table next to my latest red hexipuffs. The contrast was perfect and I knew that's the colour combo I wanted. Sadly, I had no red yarn anymore, so I did end up buying 50g of sock yarn online, which arrived the very next day.

Reading the pattern and ready to cast on, I was disappointed to find it's a toe-up pattern. I prefer cuff-down socks because it is less fiddly at the toe and I can knit my favourite heel. Still, it didn't stop me since one of the first things I ever knitted were toe-up socks. As expected, the toed was indeed very fiddly, especially with two circs and two colour yarns in use at the same time! Two inches in it became easier, though, and the pattern is also easily memorised by then. 
The only issue I had was with the heel whose description I misunderstood. Thanks to other knitters's project notes on Ravelry that contained links to videos, I figured out what I was doing wrong. I knitted that first heel four times before getting it right! Luckily, the fit is very good, which I wasn't sure it would be. On the whole I should have used smaller needles (I used 2.5 mm as always) or knitted the smaller size. As it is, the socks are roomy though it might be okay after a wash. I am definitely looking forward to wearing them! But first I have to finish this first sock. What are you knitting now?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What's in My Stash?

Recently, on Twitter's #knittinghour, the question of yarn stashes came up. Is two too many? What exactly is a stash? Does it count as one stash, no matter how many places or boxes you store your yarn in?

To me, all the yarn I own, no matter where I store it, is my stash. I have three 40 L storage boxes full of yarn and fibre that I have grouped as follows:

1. The top box contains almost all the yarn I bought and is on top because I have to look into it most often when I want to start a new project. Also, that's where all new yarn purchases go, of course. I don't distinguish between yarn weight or breed or colour here. So I have some really amazing yarn in there, but also some unloved yarn. 

2. The middle box is full of lovely spinning fibre and some spinning wheel accessories. It's my box of surprises because I offen forget what I bought at wool festivals a year or so ago. It is full of hand-dyed goodness from independent sellers and I love all of it.

3. At the bottom are my rare treasures that I seldom ever see - simply because I am usually too lazy to move the other boxes out of the way. Here I store all my own handspun and hand-dyed yarn that is waiting to be used for just the right project.

In general, you won't find much acrylic in my stash. I fear I am a yarn snob and dislike most manmade fibres because they just feel icky. When I started knitting, there was no decent yarn shop near me, so I made do with acrylic yarn and made a few pairs of socks from them. Not too long ago, I threw them away because I just couldn't bear how they felt. 

My stash is not particularly large. I tend not to buy yarn unless I am at a wool festival or I have a specific idea what to make with it. Still, I probably won't manage to knit all of my stash unless I deliberately plan to. 

I'd love to hear what's in your stash and whether you have a system to help organise it. Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Forced to Take a Break

Who would have thought that yoga, of all things, could put a stop to my knitting? Well, it's happened.

I am new to yoga and started it to strengthen my back. Since, like a lot of people, I am usually sitting all day, I wanted to try a form of exercise I could easily do anywhere. So yoga it was and I practiced it every day since mid-April. I had a bunch of very sore muscles at the start, but nothing terrible. Then one day during practice I gave my spine a lovely deep twist which always feels good. This time, for some reason, it didn't go as easily as usual and, stupidly, I forced it. Well, soon after, I was rewarded with painful spasms that put me to bed. Diagnosis: a torn muscle in my middle back!

Unable to even sit up at the moment, I am missing my knitting. I can't knit lying down although I've tried, so I am pretty much online all day. I will have to find a way to do something creative even while cooped up in bed. I have made some more stitch markers, including some sets for crochet by popular demand, so not all is lost.

The shops remain open, so please keep placing orders. All will be dispatched the next day as usual. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

By Popular Demand: Crochet Stitch Markers

You may have seen them in store already: after months of crocheters asking for my polymer clay stitch markers, I have remade some of the most popular ones and added lobster clasps that can be easily attached to crochet projects. The great thing is that knitters can also use them as row markers, so it's good all round. I intend to make more so that you have the same variety as a crocheter as someone who loves to knit.

The lobster clasps are 12 mm from end to end and the stitch markers range from 1 - 2 cm. As always, you will find all the details in the product description. Have a look and enjoy!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Wonderwool Video

I was very sad to have missed Wonderwool Wales for the second time in a row, but the organisers shared a 12-minute video that gives those of us who had to stay at home an idea of what went on. See if you can spot your favourite stall holders!

Direct link:

Monday, 5 May 2014

Progress: Beekeeper's Quilt

The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits is possibly my longest WIP. According to the pattern, you need nearly 400 hexipuffs (these puffy knitted hexagons) to complete it. The finished size looks to be about big enough to go on a single bed, so originally my idea was to make it twice as large to put on our double bed instead. 

That said, this has been taking ages! I've come to the conclusion that I don't really have a use for a quilt for the bed; instead, I am going to make just enough hexipuffs to cover my armchair. I expect just under 400 hexipuffs should suffice, so I am not that far off my target right now. At the moment, I have around 230 hexipuffs. I'm getting there!

Usually, I don't work on this quilt regularly. There are phases during which I knit loads of hexipuffs in one go, but there are also very long stretches during which I forget about them till next time. Right now I am knitting more of them because of knit club. These little things are easy to carry with you and you don't have to focus much on what you're doing. I am now on my second big bag of stuffing and I suspect I might need a third in order to finish!

At the end I will have to find a good way to sew all these hexipuffs together. Not looking forward to that! I started in December 2011. This may take another few years.