Saturday, June 30, 2007

Want to see something really really scary?

This, a mass (or is that a mess?) of yarn ends which have not been woven in! Imagine having that job awaiting at the end of a knitting project!
So in today's post, I'm back to knitting the baby blanket - and I show you the inside view, there is a Pomatomus update, and those slippers which distracted me? Well lets just say felting in a 'gentle action' washing machine is a very time consuming experience. For now those slippers are warming by a fire after a simmer in in a dye pot - and I promise photos soon.

So those yarn tails, I have been knotting the tails together. I had to, after discovering loose stitches for a few stitches either side of any yarn colour change. Using a steek 3 stitches wide means lots of loose stitches around the rounds 'join'. Knotting the yarn ends prevents that and in the final those knots will be cut away. Using knots is not a problem here - it is almost essential. If I was knitting this colour work pattern in a sweater - well I think I would use just one background colour, or one back and one foreground - and switch them to reduce this yarn ends problem.

And this is the inside of the fair isle baby blanket tube. Quite attractive with the floats forming a cool chevron pattern on their own.
I am pleased with progress, the blanket is growing still and no sign yet of project fatigue. You know, project fatigue - when you are board of knitting the same thing and just want to start something new. I'm up to 16 inches or40 cm , which is around 2/3rds of the way. Right now I am aiming at around a finished length of 60 cm of Fair Isle, and a 4-5 cm boarder around so it will be around 70 cm long. Thats to fit a 90 cm long baby bed. The geeky fact this time is that should be around 54 096 stitches - assuming I don't drop any! I have a weeks leave starting tomorrow so lots of knitting time to look forward to. And steam blocking relaxes the yarns, the narrowing of the tube is a result of crimping of the floats not any changes in tension, a relief.

And just in case you were wondering - this is what the 3 stitch steek looks like from the outside. in a just knit - not steam blocked section. I guess in a real sweater knitted in the round it would pass as ok under the arm at the side seam location, if you were not to fussy. Though you would have to weave in all those ends. Instead I would probably plan some design element to eliminate the loose stitches and jog between colour changes. Something like a narrow checkerboard or stripe to hide the jog.

and Pomatomas? well - I have put it down and picked it up without thinking a little to often of late, and got myself a little lost in the lace repeats. There has been some frogging - a half repeat or so to remedy some errors made earlier in the knitting. But for a novice lace knitter, I am surprised at how easily I have found it to frog, pick up stitches without a life line, and sort out where I am in the chart. I still think the ribbing lace is an ingeneous invention for socks.

And the felted clogs?, they were placed with care in an old pillow case, using a rubber band to close , and in the washing machine they went. Well after the first wash, there was not much evidence of felting, so I rounded up more jeans and sent them round the wash cycle again. More felting but again not a lot of shrinking. They still fitted like buckets, very large roomy buckets. Remembering how well the swatch had felted by hand, I resorted to trying to hand felt the clogs in the kitchen sink - and talked Bear into some active squeezing and twisting when my hands and arms ached. But unfortunately there was still not a lot of felting and shrinking to show for it.

So over the next 2 days the clogs joined every wash load we did. Then I gave up and dried them in front of the fire. They were still to far to big. I tried to give them away to my big footed Dad, but he needed indoor outdoor soles, and refused to take them away. So today I gave it one more try, I zipped the clogs into a lingerie wash bag, and sent them around another jeans wash - finally hooray, the clogs were near the size of my feet. So feeling on a high - I found more jeans (we now must have the cleanest examples of jeans in the city), and did another wash - more success - clogs the size of my feet. I celebrated by soaking the clogs in acid water, and boiling for 10 minutes in food dye. I was secretly hoping they would shrink a tiny bit more - the pattern says to fit them tight, as they do stretch some with wear. The felted, fitted and coloured clogs are now drying before the fire as we watch Mansfield Park. Photos next time, and you will just have to guess what colour.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I am easily distracted ...

Today, I confess the start and near finish of a new project (if it takes less than 3 days does it really count as interrupting my current WIP's?). I reverted back to a previous knit style, combination knitting, with a different wrap technique, but for very good reasons, and my LYS had a yarn for $2 sale - so I was tempted.

So first up, a knitted swatch using three strands of 8ply naturally coloured sheep yarn from Clifton wool'n'things, before and after felting. Felting you say, yes felting, I finally knit me a pair of them Fibre Trends Felted Clogs. I suspect I might just be almost the last knitter in the Knitterverse to make these slippers, just about all my favorite bloggers have posted clogs at some stage, and with the snow it did seem timely. Thats it - I'll blame it on the cold weather! And thanks for all the nice comments on snow from the much warmer climates - it is nice to know in the depths of winter that the sun shines warmly somewhere else.

And here is the reason I switched to using combined knitting purl for these clogs, rowing out - or a marked and visible difference in gauge between the purl and knit rows when knitting stocking stitch. First I discovered how hard knitting chunky yarns is, it is hard work for hands used to fingering and sock weight yarns and finner needles. I did not need to wrap the yarn around my first finger, it just created to much tension, pretty much stopping the yarn in its tracks. I also found that knitting in my usual style resulted in rowing out, a problem I had last encountered in knitting the first take on my cabled powder blue zippie cardie.

That was when I started investigating other forms of making a purl stitch. For some reason with the crepe yarn - the combined knitting method created rowing out in that cardie. The first two thirds of the pre-felted swatch were knit in my usual style, and the last third in combined knitting - and look so even. Still hard work to knit on size 9mm needles, but even. And so cute, white soft and thick when felted. Really thick, nearly 5mm thick - see?

So These clogs knit up fast, around a day and a half, Monday was another snow day, so I took annual leave and knit first one clog, and then another. I realized early on that knitting white clogs was not a very clever idea, Oh I'm house proud in a working mother with 2 kids kinda way, but you wouldn't wanna eat meals of my floors on a daily basis. And I shuddered to think what gunk they would collect on the soles and show up over a week or so. I toyed with the idea of dying, but in the end added a naturally brown sole. That was faster - as in I get my slippers faster that way. This last photo was just before I finished both soles and attached them. I know you are instructed to knit both sole layers in the contrast colour, but I decided not to go pure white to late to follow the instructions to the letter.

Adding on a dark brown sole resulted in a little row of mock stitches where the two layers were knit together - lets see if that lasts as a feature once felted. Sorry no pictures of that yet - but I will show finished clogs as soon as I can. So these are on the large size for my standard sized feet (25 cm or size 9), with a clog un-felted length of over 12", as you can see there is more than a little toe room to spare. The term buckets comes to mind. I knit the womans size medium, on one size needle smaller than instructed (9mm)- it was the largest I have. At present they are in the washer agitating themselves smaller. Quite exiting.

....and the new yarn, well as mentioned my local LYS had a sale, with some stock from $2 a ball, so i fell for this, a 14 ply bulky wool - labeled Hummingbird, and I bought enough for one more set of adult clogs, or 2 child sized sets. I know these clogs would be great in fun colours and here I am knitting all natural type yarns - I do have a graduate student who is doing a project on the enviro cost of wool yarn. We ran into one another in the yarn shop Monday, and discussed the pros and cons of superwash wools for babies kids clothing and the environmental cost of making it superwash. Sobering stuff, did you know they use chlorine to superwash the wool, and chlorine is a pretty nasty chemical. That much I remember from my swimming instructor days, we all had to have hazard certificates to deal with chlorine spills and leaks - it was clear the building stuff it if escaped. I'm not sure if her investigations are clouding my judgment - but it sure made me think.

Any way - I'm off to check the machine for felting progress. Knit night tomorrow, and Poppy has a school visit to the big school. Big day planned.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Snow day !

Thursday morning we had snow warnings, forcasts of snow down to 300 metres (we live around 95 metres above sea level), which just means bitterly cold winds and sleet or rain. Friday morning the forcast changed to snow to sea level and Queenstown and Wanaka in central Otago a few hours up the road were land locked by icy snow roads. Last night before bed we peeked out of the window and saw a light dusting of snow - so we we banked up the fire, checked the kids, made sure the car was down the side of the house not on the street, finished our wine and toddled off to bed.

Today, Saturday, we woke to 7-8 cm of powder snow, a thick white blanket over everything. Now for some of you this is part of winter, but for us here - we get a dusting of snow once or twice a year on the hills, and slush on the flat of dunedin. We get a decent snow fall that lasts once every 2-3 years, and today was it.

It has been snowing and sunning off an on today, but is not warm - so we have a good fire going. I think one or more of us might just need something like the hats Jussi knits. I've only just discovered Jussi's blog where she hand and machine knits, but those hats ...with the ears, I know they have been done before, but those are cute with a save the forests take out the possums good feeling really soft eco yarn cuteness. I've got little ones that would look so cute and warm in those.

This morning we unilaterally decided not to take the kids to swimming lessons, after all the Police had a request out on the local radio for all dunedin travel to be limited to essential only.

Poppy was amazed to find her swing thickly coated by snow, Toby couldn't wait to play in the snow - so much so, I almost thought he would run out there in his boxers and a tee shirt and naked feet had I not stopped him.

I could not believe the cat spent so much time outside in the cold.

and because this is in fact a knit blog - here is some of today's effort, Pomotomos, just starting the 3rd lace repeat before the heel flap. I am liking this Trekking bamboo mix very much, very very much.

I've also knitted one more repeat on the fair isle baby blanket. One repeat is about 10.2 cm, so I'm thinking it will be around about 6 repeats long. With a 5 cm border all around - the blanket will near 70 cm long, and fit nicely on a 90 cm long baby bed. That plan may change depending on how much yarn the blanket eats up. I am using up the pale blue faster than the other yarn colours - so will need to get more of that on monday, and will also pick up my much awaited copy of interweave knits. That was todays treat - but with the snow, no go. Don't get exited, its just the issue you all have had for months (or is that four months?). Thats international surface shipping for you. Really I should just take out a subscription. And I've got a copy of the adult fibre trends felted clog pattern to pick up, it was strangely cheaper at my LYS than on line - odd. I have been thinking of knitting some of those - for me, for family - just how many projects do I dare start when I have work and conferences and a baby blanket to finish before a baby arrives?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm knitting, I'm knitting, I'm knitting

well, after that four days of not knitting, I'm knitting again and really enjoying it so am making fine progress on the Fair isle baby blanket. Today I'll show you just how much progress, and report on how a new sock begins with the almost mandatory 'new project frog report' and lastly I've been shopping again, and in my defence I have so little stash. We are still in the depths of winter, so little natural light to photograph with outside work hours - and Bear was off work today, so made the majority of the photos in this post - Thank you very much Bear.

First up, this is where the blanket was on the 17th of June (12 cm), and then again today (23 cm). So 11 cm in 3 days, I say 3 as the photo made on the 17th would have been early in the day, and I would have knit that night, but I have not yet knit today - the 20th. And just so you know - the blanket is not narrowing, its just the photo angle and that the lower portion was steam blocked which relaxed it. At least that's what I am hoping .... otherwise ... no don't even think about tension changes.

I was so pleased with the speed at which the blanket is growing, that I have started a new sock. Which sock to do was a difficult decision, something by Cookie, or Diamante? Cookies socks are so clever with their use of lace in an intelligent way, I like stylised formal patterning so these appeal. And there are several free cookie socks to knit first at Knitty, to warm up on so to speak. Diamante - on the other hand this is a serious toe up gusset heel sock, suggested by Suzzane as an alternative worth considering and having improvements in fit over Widdershins. Widdershins is my current standard sock. So what did I choose?
Cookie A's Pomatomus! But Diamante is next, and then another cookie, and then ...

The yarn is Pronatura Trekking 75% superwash and 25% bamboo, which is marketed as a non synthetic viable alternative to the polymid and nylon reinforcing used in other sock yarns. And I bought it online, I try not to think about the cost of shipping internationally - its just part of the cost of this hobby. Its lovely to work with, not super soft, but has little memory when frogged as I have discovered. Its a little more variegated than I had hoped but not really stripy.

There was a small moment of confusion when I went and looked out 2mm and 2.75 mm and then couldn't work out when each was used. I'm not even going to let on how long it took for me to realise that the 2 was for size US 2 and the 2.75 was the metric equivalent. Not that I needed both US 2 and US 2.75! Duh!
I used the channel island cast on from Monste Stanley's knitting hand book, a sort of a combination of the thumb method and yarn overs. It produces a lovely twisted knot or small picot along the edge. This is one full repeat of the lace pattern, which is take 4 or so. Half way through the first repeat when the increases turn to decreases - I discovered I had mis-read the directions, so frogged the pattern section. Knitting it again a 2nd and 3rd time - simple errors in patterning occurred, I kind of lost the repeat - despite it being a very simple to remember repeat to knit. And somewhere I got confused between K2 tog and K2tbl and even introduced from who knows where ssk. So I frogged the 2nd and 3rd time. Just frogged back to the ribbing, not further. And the 4th try, I finally grew up and used silver jump rings to mark the repeats, and remind me to increase and decrease and sorted that I would use ssk.
So whats the genius of this pattern? What do I like appart from it is simple to remember and predict after a few lines are knitted. Well what the others don't seem to tell you is it is knitted ribbed lace, so super super stretchy! How cool is that? I am still a newbie to lace, so probably you have all already discovered the magic of lace which uses ribbing, but for me that is a revelation.

So there was some shopping, and as I am one without a large stash, please those of you on yarn diets and those knitting from just the stash - please ignore that I am buying yarn and you are not. On my last visit I noticed a new brand in my LYS, Sunbean St Ives, from West Yorkshire, reasonable yarn, and thinking of cables and lace rib which do seem to eat yarn, I got three 50g balls in this dark forest green tinged with brown shade. And the other yarn, well I've had my eye on this yarn for a while, it been in a large basket in the center of the shop for the last few months, but on my last visit it had moved. Named Rare Endare and made from Aplaca and superfine merino, this is one of the few yarns available locally made from luxury fibres. I had planned to acquire some so when it wasn't on show I did a mild panic. Luckily I asked and was pointed in the direction of the newly shelved stock, so selected off white or bone white and a pale blue to knit a hat based on this for Toby, black or dark grey would be better - but there was none. After I left I realized I could dye it darker. Toby is 7 going on 8, but like all kids exposed to media is also going on a kind of teenage awareness, and the idea of a hat with pirate bones appeals, I can knit that, and in bone white and pale blue it will be less punk.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tagged, me ? why I'm flattered

Today I do have some knitting progress to show you, on the fair isle baby blankie, and a new video, plus i've been tagged.
So the new video is in response to a request, gosh I'm feeling popular this week, video requests and tagged! Its enough to go to a gals head. Spinalpaca asked at utube if I would do a video of just the 'winding the yarn around my fingers' as the video clips of that bit were a tad fast to see what was happening. So here is it.

So the blanket is at 9cm, out of a possible 90 cm, but that was the bed size, and I need to check if Gill wants the blanket bed sized or shorter to allow 'breathing space'. Here is the outside and the inside, the floats are all flat and fairly short - but we will probably still line the blanket. Baby fingers are little and they have sharp nails to snag things with.

Tanya tagged me with 8 random things, which is is either the up side or down side of blogging. I love to read the answers to being tagged, so I guess I have to provide some.

The Rules:
1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Ok - here goes, stuff you never needed to know.
1, I began my work life as a civil engineering cadet in a govt organisation called the Ministry of Works, I was young, I took the first job they offered me, I was naive, I didn't realise that if you liked technical drawing at school it could get you 40 years of drawing cross sections of roads, I expected to draw cool houses. Naive or dumb - you decide.

2, I loath bananas, my Dad loves to point out I ate them with gusto (whatever that is!) as a baby, but not now. I used to nearly puke when my kids ate them mashed up, what does everyone else see in that slimey fruit?

3, I love my job, looove it, looooooove it except the very few days it drives me wild, and there are not many of them. I couldn't imagine doing anything quite so satisfying - and I never set out to have this kind of job. I studied what I enjoyed and here I am. This week was especially good, I got to visit and review another degree in fashion, My teaching team mate won an incredibly teaching award, and 2 of our final year degree students did well in international competions!

4, At 17 I took apart a 2-stroke engine, to draw for a technical drawing class, I drew all the components up to scale and with plans and elevations. We had to draw something and my dad is a mechanic so the engine it was. I'm not sure what I learned other than being careful, engines that have been used are full of black greasy oily stuff, and to measure things carefully. I never put it back together. The boys in the class were all in awe, I was the quite bookmouse type and they didn't expect that. I remember the boys drew stuff like a frisbee, a padlock, and a door handle (the outsides only), for some reason I always took the more complicated path.

5, My Nana's maiden name was Ricketts, and her first baby was still born shortly after the war, following a 2 day labour, she went on to have 5 more children. I can not imagine how strong a women she must have been to face labour again after that, way back then. She is now very frail, but still here, and a great nana to 8 great grand kids. She is at the other end of the country.

6, I spent the first 2 years of my life as a nomad around England, Scotland, Spain, Italy and the dirt bike motor circuit. A baby petrol head, in a tent, and a combi van, I've seen the photos and the ones taken of me and my little sister on the ship 'home' to new zealand, and my early memories seem to be of those photos.

7, I went to 2 primary schools, 3 intermediates, and 3 secondary schools between 5 and 17 as my dad moved around getting new jobs all the time, You are only at intermediate for 2 years in New Zealand. I even was bought a school uniform for one school and didn't even go, we were off before the year started. Down side, I have lots of quick friends but don't seem to develop the lasting ones .... guess I didn't get the practice in, or got wary of making and loosing them so often.

8, I loath wet paper, so no paper towels at my place. Wet paper makes my skin crawl. yuck.

and Tagging, with mass aplogies to anyone who has already been tagged and any one who feels I have invaded their space, Sorry ...
Well, all my fellow nz knit bloggers, Beverley, KathyR, Knitonlybutalso, Sharon, and I was going to include Bessie but sadly I can't. And a fellow fish blogger, Crankygirl, and Jane.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Baby blankie begins

So I'm back in town, but not yet knitting, thats for latter tonight. But here are the initial photos of the fair isle baby blankie, all 5cm or 2 inches of it. I've had to pin the edge flat to stop the stocking stitch curl. Remember the edge will be finished with a knitted two layer facing, so once thats in place it will stay flat.
... and the match between the kniting and the graph made in photoshop is pretty good. I'm going to have to adjust the proportions, I think the graph is a bit taller than the knitting. But overall I'm very happy with it. well worth the development time. And I do have to say my friend, Gill, who is my knit sponsor on this project, lives half the country away, so it was great to blog and show her how the colours were panning out and to get some email comments back from her. The internet, surely one of our modern wonders , makes this a very very small world.

so now I'm off to do some essay marking and then KNITTING ! I have not knit since saturday, this is the 4th knit free day and I don't like it one bit.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Temporary delay

Sorry, the next update will be wednesday or latter. I spend saturday on work stuff, and I'm away again on work stuff today and tomorrow. And my dads visited this past weekend, so more talking and cooking and less knitting. My flight gets in around 8pm tuesday, and with collecting luggage and the shuttle trip to home - there won't be much to blog about or time to blog in untill much latter in the week. Plus I need daylight to get good photos - thats not easy here the depths of a Dunedin southern winter once you fit work in. We have pretty short daylight hours in winter, any time outside of 8:30 am to arround 5pm, and you need the lights on - inside.

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.
And the Gansey workshop was canned :-(
due to snow :-)
which didn't last - bother!


Thursday, June 07, 2007

and another chart - less stripey this time

Today - A newer and improved chart, a plan for a 30% smaller Fair Isle baby blanket, and finally more than enough fish to enlarge the fish afghan blanket.

Off to the Frog pond we went with the baby blankie which was I think started perhaps a little prematurely, all 3 cm of it. Why did I frog?, it was a bit stipy, and not very subtle, as found in when knitted, and going to be far to big, so I'm still playing in Photoshop.

So how is this? Comments please, but first let me explain what I was trying to do. To reduce the appearance of stripes, sorry - that so sounds like a beauty commercial - "to reduce the appearance of fine lines ...", I used all the pale blue and purples in the background, then dotted the stronger and contrasty colours around. This evolved over an evenings play, so there is not a lot of depth yet, but given I've been playing for over a week - well it seems to be coming together quicker now. I'm liking this one. Already as I write this post I can see some errors, some little things to play further with.

And progress on the fish afghan, up to 97 fish, as a cricketer would say - nearing a century! This is one of the less attractive photos of my knitted fish, its dark out, and the halogen dining room light is not good, not good at all for photographing knitted fish at all. As we near mid winter in Dunedin, it is darkish until around 8:30 am, darkens back again from 5ish. Its only for a few months, but there is something cold and tiring about leaving for work in the dark and arriving home in the dusk. So 97 Fish, that makes my 12x6 fish blanket ready to get another row of 12 and a column of 7, using 19 fish, and leaving me 6 fish for the next round of additions - tonights project. There is very incremental the growth to this blanket, as mentioned before - a lot like slow food, or maybe it is organic in its original sense, growing naturally .....When I laid out these fish for the photo - I couldnt help imagining how to join them in this pattern, maybe into a hat. Imagine knitted in sea greens and blues, and with wave shapes knitted between? or crocheted, I've been listening to Brenda Dayne of course. Episode 48 I think, mixing crochet and knitting sucessfully.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I did it, I did it, I did it ....

I squeezed all 9 colours into a 6 colour graph!

This post, four new fish, I think I have the final version with all the nine colours for the fair isle blanket, I share some tips from KR about steeking, and discuss comments suggestions, and a large ball of wool.

So, some new fish, which makes 94 fish in total. When I sewed up the blanket a few months ago I had a more than a few fish left over, not enough for another row or colum of fish. So last week I took stock and worked out I needed five more white fish, and four more coloured to complete one more row and one more column. I've got a single regia sock yarn fish nearly complete on the knitting pins, so 3 and a half then time for another sewing session. This is very much a 'slow cook' project and there is nothing wrong with that.

It took some doing, but there it is. I worked in all the colours of the yarn Gill and I bought. All 9 of them, three purples, two blues, a green, a yellow, and a light and dark pink (which I called rust on the chart but it really is more of a dark pink). Not bad for a design designed for 6 colours!

I've cast on, and made a start, 3 cm so far. Knitasha from KR suggested an Anna Zilboorg steeking technqiue that needs only a 3 stitch steek and stabilises the opening to prevent stretching it when machine stitching. I want that book, I have Zilboorgs mittens one and the woman seems to know her stuff technically - which is what works for me.

Suzanne also made me think about how I was planing the blanket, by asking about why I didn't knit it in the round to construct the backing at the same time, and work in an i-cord to define and secure the edges. Gillian, my friend and sponsor of yarn for this project, and for who's baby it is intended, talked to me about other blankets her mum had made - with a cotton fleecy Winceyette (brushed pj and sheet cotton fabric) backing. Her experience was it was warm, easy to wash, felt soft and has some grip so the blanket didn't slide around. I wondered early on about knitting it in the round, or knitting a backing to hide the floats, but given the mid august 'needed by' date, the amount of knitting required for a blanket, I am going with the sewn on backing suggestion. I am still playing in my mind about knitting a backing and how it would need securing in place somewhat to prevent it looking like a baggy deflated pillow or cushion. If I can knit 3 cm a day, then it will be done and ready for a facing in a month - but I'm away for work quite a bit at present -- so no promises.

... and this wee beauty is my 6" 200g skein of off white dk wool all wound up ready for the 1st gansey workshop session saturday. just need the right size dpns (just between you and me I ordered some addi bamboo dpns in the right size from Kangaroo in the uk. They don't charge much for shipping small stuff, and automatically deduct tax. But they won't arive for the first workshop on saturday so I might do the magic loop thang ... )

Friday, June 01, 2007

Swatching a mini blanket

Today - I give in to reason and test a facing edge finish in preparation for steeking, and another pair of socks off the needles. I've also been shopping, to Clifton wool-n-things, home of economical naturally coloured wool for some new projects .

And this is where I am up to with the fair isle baby blanket, the pattern repeat in two colour ways, making 12 stitch 40 row total repeat. Knit the left side first then the right side of the chart. Again I've been playing in photoshop. This is the real knitted version below, some colours do seem a little brighter in the photo - some like the yellow brighter in the chart. The final version of the chart is knitted from the light blue garter row up, the bits below that were me playing with colourways.

Marina asked a really intelligent question, "... but why wouldn't you knit it in the round with a steek?". Well I wanted to, but this is super wash, superwash crepe, in a weight called 5ply in new zealand. Thats some where between fingering and sport. Being superwash the steek would need a facing or something. I did a steeked jersey for Poppy last year in this same yarn, and the arm hole steeks were thick, very thick.

I was worried about the bulk of a steek at the edges. I would need a knitted facing, plus the steek so three layers. Would that be be to thick and take to long to dry in a baby blanket. Any way with nothing to loose and faced with darning in so many yarn ends with every colour change I knited a facing over the edge of a swatch to see how it would go. It went well,
I picked up stitch for stitch across the ends, and 3 in 4 stitches along each side. At the corners I increased one either side of a central stitch every 2nd row, worked a purl row for the turn, and decreased one either side of a central stitch every 2nd row again. I tried a few methods of stitching the facing down, but kitchener was the best - and took the longest. No cast off, just sewing or weaving down the live stitches. At present the swatch is soaking in a little warm water, then I will towel dry and block. Then I just need to work out the gauge and calculate the number of stitches required for the blanket. Don't you love that 'just', this is just the begining, once I've done the steek and the maths, the real knitting begins.

Socks : So here in the south of the southern hemisphere, in our under insulated houses, with single glazing - it can be cold. We don't get much snow, but winter mornings usually bring a good frost. The best part is that by 10am, the same conditions that brought us ice, also bring wonderfully clear and sunny days.
But for those hours without strong sunlight it can be cold. Nacked feet need warm socks.

We have not had many or perhaps any frosts yet this year, but they will come, and when they do Toby is now ready - so here is Toby in his latest socks, a litte big, I knitted these nearly 1cm to long, knowing how boys feet grow.

Details : Regia stripe, knit on 2mm dpns, using a modified widdershins pattern, ribbed instep and leg, stst sole, slipped stitch heel. No idea what guage is, if I remember I will measure once washed. Started 26th April, finished sock one 13 May, and sock two on the 1st of June. 5 weeks for the pair, but were not my only project. I went to a lace weekend and knit the body of my Fana cardigan over the same time.

The new wool, well two skeins of white sport or DK yarn for a knitting workshop I'm off to next weekend. Following on from the lace workshop we are having a two session knit a mini Gansey workshop for which I need dk yarn. Not having any in my stash it was a good time to buy some, and I plan to dye the extra and knit some Fibre trends clogs. I also got an extra skein of the same batch of yarn for Chris's jersey - which seems to be even further down the 'to do' list. Total cost for the 3 200g skeins was $NZ25.5 or $US19, which must be good value in any currency. And I also went away with a small cone of singles yarn, to see how it knit up. A free trial as they usually sell it for weaving, and didn't know what it knits like, but won't be getting any more. I am thinking of buying what they have left as it might be as close to a shetland yarn as I am likely to get locally and the price is fabulous. Stash enhancement - just when the knitterverse is stash busting. But thats me - almost always out of step.