Thursday, November 16

Finished objects

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Silver tuck scarf

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Pink beret - not an easy colour in artificial light

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Kilt hose mk I

Tuesday, November 14

Rainbow socks and a rant...

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Some lovely stripey socks I made for myself at the weekend. Yarn is from Fab Funky Fibres, picked up at a show in Birmingham last year.

I made a single kilt hose for a friend's partner in Sweden, and am anxiously waiting to see if it fits him. Legs are not perfect cylinders, and measuring ribbing is akin to nailing jelly to a wall.

Alas, I am kind of between smartphones, and having taken a shot of the kilt hose on the floor (it looked ridiculously long), I immediately mislaid the photo. Too many devices - it might be on the Nikon, the tablet, or one of two mobile 'phones. Yes, after I went all stampy on my poor old LG Nexus 4 last month, I thought I was getting an upgrade by moving to a 2nd hand well-known make. For £150 (not including a new case and SD card) I got a slightly better screen and a 'phone that complains it's full already. The fact it insists on installing programs I do not want or need (FB, Office etc) which cannot be deleted/moved elsewhere is just one of its many flaws. When I do take a photo with it, the picture goes to Onedrive, where I cannot download them. So I cannot download my own photos - and yes, I tried three browsers. Download button, nothing happens. The old phone just worked. Ack! The only advantage of the new phone is I get to choose a half-decent case, my previous phone had various knitted cases as it was almost impossible to get a decent one for it.

Yeah, it's gotta go - I think I'll probably return it and change it for something else. To add insult to injury, my sleep patterns have been all over the place lately, it's gradually been getting worse since September. I drop off just fine, but am either awoken by the cat singing the song of his people, drenched in sweat (himself has decided it's time for the winter duvet), or with a dead limb. I get 6 hours sleep if I'm lucky, and I'm not even catching up at weekends anymore. The back/shoulders/neck problems seem to have returned, so that is not helping as I cannot find a comfortable position. I prefer not to drive when I am getting audio / visual hallucinations. Yup, the anxiety / SAD is back. Hurrah. Not. It's ironic - I'm going to work in the dark, and driving home in the dark, you'd think it was perfect conditions for sleep, but alas not! I'm trying to go for walks at lunchtime but it's not always feasible (and I don't always feel like it). I'm also trying to keep my exercise levels up though time is not always on my side in that department. I avoid caffeine after 3, and go to bed the same time every night - although just lately I've been dozing on the sofa which is technically verboten. I've got nothing major to worry about - it's lots of stupid little things that come up around this time of the year as the silly season approaches. I should take on less stuff in the winter months, I guess.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. I made a lovely silver scarf on the Passap at the weekend, and have made a handknit pink beret with some handspun I was gifted. I'm hand-knitting one of those frou-frou scarves with the pink mesh tape yarn, and I've got lots of ideas for little knits - ie, not complex ones! It's more than my brain can handle at the moment, alas! They will have to wait for a photo shoot!

Current mood: exhausted

Monday, October 30

Yet more socks, and the Big Textile Show

Second attempt at some cashmere socks, these are with three ends:
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Drops Fabel blues:
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Drops Delight autumn shades - these were toe up and went really well!
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All now awaiting washing and blocking...

Picked up this really cool skirt from Muto at the Big Textile Show on Saturday:
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We made lots of poppies for a centenary event next year:
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The show was lovely and some of the exhibition stuff was amazing - I did miss the quilter's guild exhibition though. Got talking to a chap from the local knitting frame museum and that was interesting - showed them how to turn a heel on a Griswold, a machine I've not used before. Completely skint, hence only getting that skirt and some felted mistletoe. Well, got to get my kisses in somehow! It was a bit disorganized re informing exhibitors where they could get free tea/coffee though - luckily we knew where it was, as we were right by it last year, but this year it was quite a walk as we were in a different building and upstairs. A pity they don't have exhibitor's passes, it would make it easier.

Sunday was the day I made all the socks - I worked out it takes 2.5 - 3 hours for a pair, and that does not include the yarn preparation. Will be putting together a post about it at some point.

Current mood: busy

Tuesday, October 24

FO: Experimental cashmere bedsocks and ribbed socks

Made two pairs of socks this weekend, in a snatched 3-hour slot I had available Saturday afternoon. The red pair are a tube sock in Posh Sock Pamela yarn, colourway Secrets shiny and new, and the yellow pair are cashmere bedsocks for a friend. I think they are too thin, two ends together is not enough :(

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We've established that we need a new water tank, and that is being replaced tomorrow, to the tune of just under £1200. Currently it's like having a large leaky baby in the house, whose nappy (a rolled-up bath towel) needs changing twice daily. The irony being that I'd rather use the cheap towels (because of the dust/dirt etc that is also coming out) but our "good" towels are more absorbent and last longer. Washing machine usage has, of course, gone through the roof this week - and the weather's no longer settled enough to dry things outside. Bah.

Oh, and the office air con has been playing up again. So it's very cold at work!

Current mood: cold

Free pattern: CSM Adult Tube Sock

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This is only a very loose "pattern" as such - feel free to improvise! Short version is below.  These socks are ideal as they have no heel so one size fits all. This is based on MarytheKnit's heelless sock pattern - credit to her for developing this pattern (you will need to be in Ravelry to read that, there's a little history of the sock). My version is worked on a 72/36 combo and the toe is also worked on the machine. I didn't think they'd be very comfortable (with all the extra material at the ankle) but they are surprisingly good to wear. If using a variegated yarn it's a good idea to designate which colour toe you prefer when first wearing them, because over time they will wear in one place. 

Long version:
  1. CO in waste yarn and get knitting established on your CSM.
  2. Still in WY, remove the cylinder spring and transfer to 1x1 rib and knit a few rounds, stopping at the 3 o'clock hash mark.
  3. Break WY, tie on main yarn and pull the yarn through the yarn carrier until about 15cm of MY has emerged.
  4. Engage heel spring, if using
  5. Holding the yarn loop towards the front of the machine in such a way as to ensure all needles knit off, crank slowly to the 12 o'clock position.
  6. Using a hook, pull the yarn loop down between the ribber and cylinder so that it is out of the way.
  7. Crank around to just before the 3 o'clock mark, and disengage the slip lever (so that the ribber does not knit).
  8. Knit two rounds* carefully (you may need to pull down on the knitting to stop it riding up).
  9. Re-engage the slip lever, and disengage the heel spring if it is in work. Set row counter to 0.
  10. Crank 30 rnds 1x1 rib, stopping at the 9 o'clock mark on the last round.
  11. Starting at 3 o'clock, and working in a counterclockwise direction, transfer the setup to 3x1 or 5x1 rib as desired.
  12. Crank to R145** in desired rib, stopping at the 9 o'clock mark on the last round.
  13. Starting at 3 o'clock, and working in a counterclockwise direction, transfer any remaining ribber stitches to the cylinder and remove the ribber. Replace the cylinder spring.
  14. Crank to R150 in stocking stitch (pre-toe) and work your desired toe** - I tend to do an automatic wrap short row toe.
  15. Knit at least 12 rounds in WY and go back to step 2 for the other sock. 

* Selvedge - you need at least one round here to lock the cast on edge - finer yarns you can go up to 4 rounds. 

** Add or subtract more rounds here as desired

*** You can also scrap off here, pulling a large amount of MY between the needles at 3'clock, and handknit the toe later. 

Short version:


30 rounds 1x1 rib
Crank to R145** in 3x1 or 5x1 rib
Crank to R150 in stocking stitch
Work desired toe***, scrap off on WY. 
Repeat for other sock. 

Monday, October 23

Event: GMK Heart of England Meetup

My local Guild of Machine Knitter Area Reps and I are trying to organise our first GMK Heart of England Meet Up. It will be Saturday November 18th, 10-12.30pm, at Houlton - this is a new suburb on the A428 between Hillmorton (Rugby) and Crick. The nearest postcode is CV23 0AB, The Tuning Fork Cafe - the venue is actually The Barn, a community centre, right next door. It is easily accessible from the M1 J18 and there is free parking. We are planning on bringing some hands-on workshops, some machines to play with and hoping Wendy Piper of Knits n Bits can attend.

I appreciate this is possibly too far for some of you, but I would love to know if you are interested and to get an idea of numbers to see if this is viable. If this date does not suit you (I appreciate it's short notice!) then would you be interested in a similar event in the New Year? Email me if you are interested. There will be a small charge for refreshments, slightly more for non-Guild members.

Monday, October 16

FO: Colourwheel cowl

Wow, I knew I'd been busy, but I didn't realise it'd been almost a month since I last posted anything!

Work's been crazy busy since the end of September so it's all I can do to keep on top of the housework, which has left precious little "head space" for crafting. The only thing I've managed to finish is the colourwheel cowl.

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And a better picture of the cardigan with the woven inserts:

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We've had to turn the heating off because something is leaking in the airing cupboard - leading to sodden carpet and water dripping down the garage wall (the garage is beneath the airing cupboard). Luckily we discovered it now when it's still quite mild, not later. One of the windows in the living room (the one we use as a "cat exit") has got some sort of problem with it, and can only be closed from the outside. I managed to stamp on my mobile phone and break it (so I can no longer hang up on calls, or check my calendar whilst on the 'phone), and on Friday (13th, natch!) I ended up with my car jammed on the fuel pump and had to have two chaps extricate me so I could carry on to work. Luckily a work mate is handy with cars and put it back together for me. I'm on another weight loss kick so the insomnia has started up again. Oh joy! Yup, it's been one of those months, and we're only halfway through!

On the positive side, plans are afoot to organise a machine knitting social soon - let's see if there's any interest!

Current mood: annoyed

Monday, September 18

Some more finished objects...

...this time, slightly better photographs. Though, the light is surprisingly not great even at 4.30pm now! Ack, I'm not a winter person, and despite the Cog keep saying "well, we might have an indian summer!" the temperatures are definitely downwards already...

...and in no particular order:

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Purple socks begun some time ago and rose socks made as part of the demo during dream week.

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The neat wave blanket progresses - it's still at that twisty stage.

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Apols for the slightly odd angle, the finished midgauge sweater with woven details. Think I'd like to do this again but use a different colour for the woven sections, it's a little too subtle.

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Completed tam, blocking around a side plate. Yes, my ironing board cover probably DOES need a wash...

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Two shots of my beach bag design, which I might write up into a pattern to sell.

Went for a second game of badminton last night, and despite pre-booking a particular court, another group were already on it. I don't know how, because the evening peak slots are 40 minutes and all start at the same time, it is not possible for anyone to have a different slot - and they were there before us, and they were still there when we left. Someone's extracting the you-know-what I think. Next time I will stand my ground - I had a receipt, they didn't bother to show theirs. The game was good, but was nervous we were going to get kicked off court 5 at any moment. I like to do things by the book, utterly English, you know... :)

The staff don't "police" the courts (most of them have gone home I think) and the poor girl on the desk was overrun and not much help. Not a problem - court 5 was free - but we wasted five minutes queuing at the desk. Isn't it always the way, when there's a big queue, two people in front of you want to find out all about the gym joining options, or have some other, really complicated query. There's this thing called the internet, you know... you might try it?! Pretty sure there are leaflets, too.

Current mood: grumpy