Saturday, March 27, 2010

laxton's superbs

As a child I was slightly overexposed to Pacman and underexposed to sunlight and fresh air and stuff, so I've always been entranced by glowing brightly coloured fruit. Long term blog readers may have already suspected this. The first thing I planted in the garden when we moved house a couple of years ago was an apple tree, followed closely by a pear tree, a cherry tree and a plum tree. Was strangely tempted to leave a trail of power pills between them all. Anyway, the apple tree was a Laxton's Superb, and I was very taken by the vivid colours of the fruit, with its bright swirls of green and pink. So when I saw the Red Delicious socks in last summer's Knotions I immediately queued them, then pondered about how I could personalise them a bit to pay tribute to my little tree. Tricky. Fortunately Kate from Green Eyed Monsters kindly indulged me in my appley fantasy with some custom dyed sock yarn. It's a 3-yarn stranded sock - the other plain white and dark green yarns were leftovers, Regia I think, from the bottom of the sock yarn drawer.

wigglytoessocks on tablestripy solegrassy
I loved knitting these, stranded colourwork is so satisfyingly intricate, and the variegated yarn gave it that little element of randomness to make each repeat of the apple pattern feel unique. The soles are particularly pleasing with their dense stripes, and with such a tiny colourwork unit they look relatively neat. My tension for the rest of the socks is all over the shop, even after blocking, because these socks have been my carry-around-everywhere project. I can see from here the bit I knitted in the Kings Arms, which is much more, er, 'relaxed' than the rest of the sock. I have been rather busy of late so have been trying to make the most of what knitting time I get. There are tiny bits that were knitted on buses and trains and platforms and waiting rooms and basically anywhere I got a spare minute, and to be honest it doesn't annoy me that it all looks different because I enjoyed the whole thing so much it pleases me to remember the creation of all its component parts. The dodgiest looking bit in my view is the toe, which is considerably baggier than the rest of the sock. It might just be me, but going back to one colour after the stranded section made the fabric much looser. So for other knitters, it might be an idea to go down a needle size for the toe, as the author suggests for the cuff. I'm not too bothered though as I'm a compulsive toe-wiggler, and this facilitates my irritating habit. And even though the socks are slightly silly it's not possible to put them on in the morning without grinning foolishly.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

fairy yarnmothers

Ok, so I'm a little behind on documenting my yarny adventures, so here's a slightly compressed and rather picture-heavy catchup post. About a month ago, I was invited to a destash party with the lovely Kate from Green Eyed Monsters and Kath from Six Swans. As they are both uberawesome yarn producers, this is the kind of event you would literally drop everything and pelt towards immediately. So I did! Leaving Mr. Rubbishknitter to sweep up the shards of crockery.
mmm lovely handspunmmm lovely handspuncheers Jemima

And here is the extremely lovely handspun that I managed to swap for some strawberry laces. The multicoloured skein is from Green eyed monsters, the white is from Six swans, and the brown is from an alpaca called Jemima at Black Mountain Alpacas. Good old Jemima. All so very pretty and squishy, and I had the cunning idea of combining all the mini-skeins together into a hat. Just a basic beanie, cast on 108 stitches in the round on 3mm needles, with a stripe pattern reflecting the relative amounts that I had of each colour (I had to double-strand the white, it was a bit thinner than the other two). It's a lot lighter in weight than most of my winter hats, and is probably what the posh knitting mags would call 'trans-seasonal' and I would call, er, not dead thick. Still very comfortable and pleasantly earwarming though, I love it and have worn it a lot. Thanks ladies! Also, I kind of hoped that casting on for a hat in March would speed up the arrival of Spring, a bit like sparking up a cigarette when you are waiting for a train. And it seems to have worked! Almost, if you squint out of the window and pretend it isn't chucking it down today.

In other news, imagine, if you will, how much opening this unexpected parcel would make you grin like an idiot. The answer, if you are in any doubt, is rather a lot! If the impossibly cheerful bright pillar box red colour isn't enough after the sensory deprivation of winter, it is incredibly squishy merino laceweight that you have to stroke against your face immediately, and a 100g skein, which in laceweight is probably enough metreage to knit a jumper for the moon. It also wins the Pleasing Packaging Award for the big smiley face on the label. It's from the incredibly generous Kate B. Hmm, and here on my table is the Winter/Spring issue of Knitscene, with the rather lovely laceweight Geodesic cardigan... *ponders*

So a massive thankyou, to er, Kate, Kate, and Kath! (And Jemima). Your gifts of awesome are very muchly appreciated!


Friday, March 05, 2010

shawly knot

shawl on the line
I've always really admired other people's handknitted shawls, and have quite fancied making one for a while. But I was put off for ages by the wearability factor. Being generally a fairly scruffy urban type dresser, no stranger to a trainer or a hooded top, I just couldn't see me wearing something that made me look like an extra from a tedious tv period drama.

Conversely, I have absolutely no desire to knit a scarf, but I love wearing them. They're so practical and warm, but I just get really bored with the whole always-knitting-in-a-straight-line thing. (I did make one once, for Mr. Rubbishknitter, but only because he asked me really nicely)

Then suddenly, *ding!* it dawned on me, that there could be a solution lurking here... what if I indulged myself in some fun shawl knitting, then just wore it as a scarf? Scrumpled up and tucked into a coat, it's not too rustic - no-one's going to force me to travel in a horse and cart or chase chickens around. And I can have a warm neck! So I went for Aestlight. It's a nice easy sort of Fisher Price My First Shawl, but still looks really pretty. The yarn is beautiful, really soft and cosy and dead warm in springy sproingy garter stitch. I used one skein of hand dyed 100% merino sock from Skeins. And I've worn this thing, like, nearly every day, far more than I thought I would. I'd have been a lot quicker finishing if I'd been able to bring myself to take it off for long enough to block it! I'm a bit of a wuss in cold weather.