Sunday, March 30, 2014

Yummy yarn!

Friday, I spent some time at my LYS.

Friday, I bought yarn (surprise, surprise) and forgot to buy more circular needles (once again!) but after having a great time looking at yarn, in a display shelf facing the sock yarn wall, I saw, touched and fell in love with Regia Angora Merino sock yarn!

A picture cannot do it justice, it's so soft, so perfect! As a matter of fact, it's much too delicious to be hidden in a pair of shoes or boots, it's just much too gorgeous for socks, it should be used to knit sweaters, shawls, hats, mittens or anything else my heart desires!

Well, this soft-as-a-bunny yarn is more than perfect for Jen's very pretty Penny Candy Tee! That's what it will become!!! Some turquoise and lilac Step will also be used...

I also have some very pretty pink yarn for another version of the Penny Candy Tee and even some ecru, charcoal and red yarn for a long sleeved version, because it's still winter outside (even though april is right around the corner)!

Come on already spring! I'm really looking forward to wearing lighter clothes!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sticky yarn...

Last year, while I was hoping and dreaming of spring, I made this crochet scarf. It was a bad decision, it used a few skeins of some yarn that was earmarked for a sweater, it looked flimsy, I didn't like it and never wore it.

Since I have some Filatura di Crosa Mille yarn left in the same colour, as well as in a slightly darker very yummy shade, I need to unravel the Sweet Eleanor scarf to have enough yarn to make myself a light spring cardigan.

Well, this mohair doesn't want to be unraveled!!! It's fighting me every step of the way, it sticks to itself like velcro. I have to cut through tiny mohair fibres to unravel every single crochet stitch...

I have to do this a few minutes at a time. If I try to go any faster, I'll probably cut the scarf up in tiny little pieces and throw it in the garbage. It's that aggravating! ;-)

I'm searching the web to see if there's someone out there who knows a way to tame sticky yarn, Pam, olive oil, silicone??? I'm willing to try anything, that yarn is discontinued and I really need what's in the scarf to have enough for a cardigan.

Meanwhile, the endless stockinette body of the blue peacock eyes cardigan has grown 6 inches. Slowly but surely!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March blues...

I've been entertaining myself by knitting a lot of swatches on the Passap, supposedly for spring tops. Yeah, a whole lot of swatches that turned out to be perfect for summer clothes or for borders or even accessories, but nothing that turned into an idea for a top. I really should stop fooling around and concentrate on knitting myself a few light sweaters. Yeah, right after I try a few summer fair isle patterns and continue to try to find a way to do corrugated rib on the machine... ;-)

Meanwhile, I'm still hand knitting socks.

To be absolutely truthful, when I'm in front of the sock yarn wall at my LYS, my choices are only dictated by the colour combinations that make me giddy. Last time, I went in to buy more circular  needles ( you can never have too many in the different lengths and sizes you use most) and came out with sock yarn. As always, I was so impressed with the sheer amount of yarn, by all those possibilities, that the knitting needles completely slipped my mind... Well, now I have to go back for needles and you know where I'm going with this, more yarn will more than probably come home with me. Listen, I only have enough self-striping yarn left for three measly pairs and very little self-control!!!

The holy grail of sock knitting is the perfect heel! After trying a whole lot of different ways of turning a heel during my rather long knitting life, I've come to the conclusion that, for me, there are a few non negotiable points that the best heel has to meet. First and foremost, it has to fit perfectly! Then, it has to be quick and easy to knit, not have any holes or uncomfortable bumps and look good!

After turning, unravelling, starting and frogging a lot of heels, trying many unsatisfactory, partly satisfactory and a few satisfactory but fiddly techniques, I now have a new favourite!

It's the Lifestyle Toe up socks' no-wrap, no-muss, no-fuss short row heel. There's a Youtube video that explains it perfectly.

It's really hard to take a picture of your own heel...

These are the latest socks that came off my needles. The yarn is Hot Socks New Jacquard.

I seem to be in a blue mood, I even unearthed a blue WIP that had been lingering in limbo for too long and started working on it! Again!

It's a modified version of the Peacock eyes cardigan that I vow to finish, once and for all!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Completely fed up with winter clothes...

This winter has been hard. It's been very hard. Now, it's snowing, again... I have to shovel, again and I'm so bored with winter and with my winter clothes! It seems as if I've been wearing them for ever. When I get dressed in the morning, I don't see anything I want to wear. I pick the first thing I see, just to get it over with. How pathetic is that for someone who loves clothes?

The only fun I have is deciding which socks I'm going to wear and which sock yarn I'm going to knit next!

Look at those colours, they're happy and pretty. That's what I want the rest of my clothes to feel like right now!

In the winter, everything becomes black and white. Now, I really need some colourful new stuff to help me make it until spring, until the first little leaf, the first blades of grass, the first flower. I need joy, I need fun!!!

Since it's still cold, I have to think about lighter clothes I can layer, because I just can't face knitting winter sweaters, not now, not in the middle of march!!! Come on!!!

I feel like making springtime stuff!

Let's see, I've collected a whole lot of inspirational pictures on Pinterest and I have a lot of "favorites" on Ravelry that would be perfect. It's time to stop procrastinating, climb out of those march blues, choose  something, anything, pick a yarn and sit down at the knitting machine!!!

Well, right after I shovel a bit and go out to buy cat food... Sigh...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hostess gifts!

When I'm invited somewhere, along with the traditional bottle of wine, I always like to bring a special hand made gift. The host or hostess is happy and I end up being invited over and over again! ;-)

It can be something I've canned (my blueberry-chocolate jam is a big favorite), or something I knit or crochet.

On the crochet front, for the past couple of years, one of my go-to choices as been a crochet grocery bag, the famous "filet à provisions". They're really practical, easy to clean (just toss them into the washer and dryer), my friends love them and use them a lot!

I make them in various colours.

Those two are the only ones that are left at the moment... I'd better make a few more...

But, since variety is the spice of life, I thought I should have more crochet choices. So, before I started my sock knitting marathon, I made crochet washcloths in 100% coton to put in my hostess gift stash. Naturally, I also kept a few for myself. ;-)

 Although I don't always use the same crochet stitch, I always put a scalloped edge all around, just to make them look more "finished".

 Hum... There seems to be a photobomb in the making...

One of my cats always tries to be in the picture and since he can't manage to take a selfie (paws are notoriously bad with fine motor skills) he follows me everywhere in the hope that he'll end up being photographed. ;-)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sock it to me!!!

I love wearing wool socks. Luckily, I love to knit wool socks!

I usually knit socks on my Passap knitting machine, it does a great job, it goes really fast and they're just as cute and cuddly as hand knit socks. The problem is that I can't put the knitting machine in my knitting bag when I go out and about... 

So, I usually have fair isle mittens or hats (or another small and portable knit) in my bag for those inevitable times when I knit somewhere else than home.

And, even at home, I sometimes feel like hand knitting very simple socks, just for the pleasure of a little mindless knitting in front of the TV!

I started making large socks in Kroy to fit the very large feet of my very tall son. I made a heel flap for a change. ;-)

I have a nagging feeling that they might be a bit too large... My normal sized feet are floating in them! I really have to ask my son to measure his feet... I can't believe they're that huge!!!

Knitting brown socks during a long hard winter isn't good for moral, so I've also knit colourful cheery socks while watching the Olympic games. I almost only hand knit self striping yarn because I love to see the colours change, plus it's a lot more fun!

The green sock (the other one is in progress) and the pink & blue ones are in Step. The blue socks are knit with Drops Fabel.

Don't you love it when the stripes are a perfect match! These socks are in Smile Opal. I love that yarn!!!

I've been trying different ways of turning heels. Above is the after thought heel.

Below is the Fish Lips Kiss heel (I love her cardboard foot model, check it out!).

O.K. I have to come clean about something: I don't like knitting with 4 double pointed needles! I find it cumbersome. I've tried, I swear I have. I love the nostalgia, the feeling of knitting socks the same way my grandmother did, but I just don't find it pleasurable or comfortable... What I prefer is doing it with 2 short circular needles. No more sharp pain as a needle pokes me repeatedly, no more dropped stitches when I have to quickly shove the sock in my knitting bag, no more lost needles in the sofa cushions and (for me) a quicker knit all around.

Since I'm coming clean, let me also admit that, try as I might, I cannot knit in the dark or without  looking at what I'm doing every few stitches. I know, after so many years I should be able to manage it, well I simply can't. I first tried years ago while reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac in which she said anyone could do it... After many unsuccessful attempts, which made me feel like a complete failure, I gave up and went on happily knitting with the lights on. Then, one fateful day, knitting bloggers appeared on my computer. I was, once again, faced with my shortcomings. Blogger after blogger commented about knitting at the movies!!!!! What!!!! How on earth can they knit in the dark without splitting the yarn, dropping stitches and generally messing things up??? There's a Youtube video of the Yarn Harlot knitting a sock on double pointed needles while giving an interview. She never looks at her sock!!! To paraphrase Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy"... I'm sooooo not worthy...