Monday, 22 August 2011

My lovely American Ravelry and twitter friend @mostcurious came to stay last weekend. We visited the British Museum and Eastbourne and Mostcurious did her own exploring too. As a thank you gift she gave me a brilliantly retro tea towel (I have a thing for touristy tea towels) from her home state of Minnesota, which apparently is the Gopher State (Caddyshack anyone?) and a couple of things I have been coveting for a while.


Check out the Pirate DPN holder which will stop my yaaaarn slipping off my needles and the pickle stitch markers. They are made by our fellow internet friend peanutga11ery1 who makes a quirky range of stitch markers, DPN holders and beautiful hand carved lazy kates.

So I have new stitch markers and a DPN holder. You know what this means don't you? More socks! 

Yarn been tangoed

When I was at KnitNation last month I was chatting to Andie from Renaissance Dyeing (who make gorgeous yarn) and mentioned I'd experimented with dyeing with carrot tops. When she exclaimed "oh you get such a gorgeous silver green with carrot tops" I looked puzzled and a little disappointed and told her about my dayglo yellow yarn. Andie recommended adding Cream of Tartar and more vinegar which I dutifully did the next time I had a bundle of carrot tops from my allotment. Here is the yarn I got. The yarn on the left is Bluefaced Leicester and the right is superwash merino.

Carrot top yarn

It has a greenish tinge but lets face it, this is still yellow yarn. I like yellow, I don't want loads of it in my stash. On our day to to Eastbourne @Goldenblades91 and I were talking about dyeing and she mentioned Kool Aid dyeing. I have a stash of Kool Aid so decided to experiment over the yellow yarn.

 People drink this?

I figured I couldn't go wrong if I stuck with colours that blended with yellow so I picked out oranges, mixed up solutions with just orange Kool Aid, orange + a smidgen of purple and orange + red. 

Kool Aid yarn

I split the skein of superwash yarn into thirds and did a third in each colour allowing the middle portion to take up less dye. Superwash is incredible and sucked up the dye within seconds. Here is the result unwound...

Kool Aid yarn

.... twisted into a nest...

  Kool Aid yarn

and reskeined.

  Kool Aid yarn

I love it and am now decided which sock pattern to make with it. I also dyed the Bluefaced Leicester yarn but need to take some decent photos of it before I show you.

While I'm happy with my new yarn my flat smells like it's been Tangoed!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I do like to be beside the seaside

On Monday I had a marvellous day out at the seaside with some other twitter knitters at Eastbourne and Beachy Head.

It was very easy to get around with a great bus service. 13x runs hourly and stops off at points all the way from Eastbourne to Brighton. The timetable is here. There's another more frequent service, the 12x which you can look up on the same website, though this doesn't get you as close to the sea.

We had ice cream, a pub lunch, walked up and down rolling cliffs, scared ourselves with the huge drop (x1.5 the height of St Paul's cathedral) down to the sea and poked about in rock pools. Sadly the shops were closed by the time we got back to Eastbourne so we didn't get any rock but it was a fab day out with fantastic weather and scenery. I could go on and on but instead I'll show you my photos...

Eastbourne Pier

The view from Beachy Head
Beachy Head

Beachy Head

Finding knitters in rock pools

Beachy Head

Birling Gap beach
Beachy Head

Beachy Head

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Frakking socks - Episode VI - The Finale

Is this where we all go camping?

Sorry, BSG reference for those of you who haven't seen it.

Here are the finished socks:

Frakking socks


  • Knit on 2.25mm needles

  • Cast on 68 stitches, by accident but it worked out OK

  • Increased to 70, removing some of the purl stitches from the ribbing to accommodate my skinny feet. 

  • Only knit one pattern repeat on the cuff as I have short legs, ended on row 2 before starting heel. 

  • Adapted the toe pattern to create a V of ribbing when starting the toe.

Things I learnt:

  • I don't need to dither so much. I understand sock construction and can make stuff up as I go.

  • I can do tricky cables without a cable needle if I pause for a few minutes and think about where the stitches need to go. 

  • Changing the type of needle I use cuts down on wrist and finger strain. I used a mix of Addi circulars and bamboo DPNs. I find metal a bit slippery for cables so drop my stitches more than I do with wood or bamboo but find metal faster for stocking stitch. 

  • When your parents suggest the stitch pattern would make a lovely jumper, especially one knit in sock yarn, know that they are joking.
Viper Pilots is a great, well written pattern, though it is fiddly and maybe not best suited to a three and a half day sock challenge. Unless you are frakking stupid. :D

My next socks will be plain old stocking stitch socks.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Frakking Socks - Episode V - Larkin around

I finished the frakking socks on the way to my Uncle's funeral, kitchener stitch and everything!

The funeral went well and on my way back to London I spied this Phillip Larkin statue in Hull Station. I managed to squeeze out one more photo of me with it as I love Larkin's poetry. I tried to persuade my parents to be in the photo so I could quote his most famous work but they weren't having any of it.

Phillip Larkin

I picked up a copy of Caitlin Moran's new book, How to be a Woman, which I started on the train home. It is magnificent and made me guffaw out loud in places, mostly going under the Humber Bridge. You should read it.