Ready, aim, fire!

Tomorrow is one of my favourite times of the knitting year. Sock Sniper begins and I (hopefully, if all goes to plan) get to kill someone with a pair of socks.

I didn’t get the orange cabled socks done in time, but one of them is finished, so the needles are free. I was getting impatient to start, so I did some swatching. It got a little out of hand.

swatch

I’ve tried every size of sock needle I have from 3.25m down to 1.5mm. The weapons this year need to adhere strictly to gauge and there are a variety of gauges to match. I will probably not be going for the 9.5 stitches to the inch socks.

I’m off to get a good night’s sleep (children permitting) ready to cast on after work tomorrow afternoon.

In other news, I have got a ticket to Yarndale at the end of September, and a day’s knitting course with Amy Singer of Knitty. Woo hoo!

P.S. If my sniper is stalking me, welcome to my blog. Please do leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you (in a while).

All a-swirl

There is an essay by the Yarn Harlot where she talks about how being a process knitter means that, when you spot a huge mistake that requires ripping back a big load of knitting, it is strange that it doesn’t make you happy to have to do all the knitting again.

Yesterday, I was puzzled by an instruction in the pattern for my Swirl, so I went looking for enlightenment online. I looked on the Knit Swirl website, then wandered over to the Ravelry group. As with so many rav groups, there are a number of interesting conversations, so I started browsing through, picking out the interesting threads. There were quite a few threads started by people bemoaning the loss of swirls in progress due to many different types of user error. With such a long cast-on, there is the stress of whether the stitches are joined without a twist. Some had fallen prey to this.

The author of Knit Swirl, Sandra McGuiver, chips in with heartening comments and encouragement every so often. She finished one comment with something along the lines of, “swirls are much better with 8 segments. 7, or even 9 will not work so well”. There’s an understatement. The swirls are all designed around beautiful octagonal structures. 7 or 9 sections would be a serious problem. I recall reading this comment and snorting with derision (I’m alone in the house with the kids this week – I can snort aloud if I want to). Who wouldn’t check the number of sections? Who can’t count to 8?

Nine

There are no words (at least not printable ones). At least it shouldn’t take this long to knit back to this point, since I have knitted 1590 extra stitches. Yes, I just worked that out. I thought it might help.

There are two good points to take away from this lesson.

  1. There is no twist in the cast-on
  2. I absolutely love the fabric this is making and it is going to look amazing when it is finished. See how the colours are looking? Isn’t it fabulous?

swirling colours
Two not so good points

  1. It is going to be a little while longer before it is ready because I have to frog it right back to nothing.
  2. I’ve got to do that sodding cast-on again.

The cat is shut in the kitchen, I’m going to rip it back. Good night.

Knitting to plan

A progress report of my attempt to be more focussed.

Here is the plan, with updates:

  1. Finish the cabled orange socks – deadline 1st September. Still on the first sock
  2. Frog the fair-isle hat
    Done. Yarn is reskeined and ready for a bath
  3. Knit socks for sock sniper
  4. Make gradual progress on the cotton blanket and the mitred square scarf, while at the same time…
  5. Knit on the swirl. I’ve realised this makes good tv knitting, so I’ve been knitting this instead of the socks. I’m on welt 5 of 64.
  6. Mid-September (maybe) start the Catkin KAL. Probably later than mid-September, since neither Beth nor I have the yarn yet.
  7. Make knee-length socks

I had a go at plying some of my spindle-spun handspun the other day. It looks like real yarn (and I even added it to my ravelry stash).

Yarn

Let’s be honest, this is heirloom yarn and will never be knitted. I’ve been watching my spinning dvd, which has lots of good tricks about plying well and managing a wheel, but doesn’t start early enough in the process for me to feel much more confident about using the wheel. Still, I’m learning more.

Here’s my current travelling project.

Trillian
Trillian by Strickmitt

Just enough pattern to keep me interested, but simple enough to memorise the pattern.

I rather like the york stone paving slabs in the garden as background to knitting photos. What do you think?

Here’s a plan

Looking back at the year so far, my knitting has been rather below par in terms of volume. I think I need to be more focused in choosing what to knit and when to knit it. So, let’s have a round-up of WIPS and queued yarn and patterns. My ravelry project list is pretty honest. I don’t think I have projects that aren’t listed.

  • Trillian – easy knitting scarf. Keep for knitting in meetings or during tv that needs concentration.
  • Orange cabled socks – Stage 5 of Tour de Sock. Good pattern, but slow going. Just knuckle down.
  • Amigurumi – this was started on a whim a couple of months ago. After swift progress with the first creature, I’ve stalled somewhat. Action: rediscover some desire to crochet
  • Swirl – this has been on hiatus in summer, while it is too warm to be covered in wool, and just needs time pouring into it. I would like to wear the swirl this winter.
  • Cotton blanket made of squares. I had a go at this in July, gathered all the patterns together and got organised. The original KAL had an extra, optional, square each month in addition to the main square. I’ve been knitting them so far, but I think what made me stop knitting in July was that I didn’t like the square I was knitting. Action: frog or finish the current square, push on with a square each month between now and Christmas.
  • Mitred square scarf – I’ve reached the mid-way point on this and need to decide whether to continue with random colours, or try for some measure of symmetry. I’m thinking rotational symmetry would work best. On the other hand, if I keep to a random pattern, I might actually use up some of the scraps, instead of just making them scrappier.
  • (this one has been hibernating) – another fairisle hat. I bought the yarn to make a hat, then discovered that I had used less than half of it, so thought I would make another hat. Let’s be honest, the first hat didn’t really fit in a way that kept my head warm (although it is beautiful), so there is no reason to knit a second one. The yarn is lovely (Rowan) and can be used again. Action: This is one for the frog pond. Use yarn to make a better hat.

So, what’s coming up in the knitting calendar?

  • First up we have Sock Sniper, which starts at the beginning of September. I will knit a pair of socks very quickly, then possibly have a WIP to finish for another sniper. I will almost certainly need to buy yarn for this.
  • The knitting and stitching show at Harrogate is in late November. I can’t help feeling that I really should at least cast-on the projects I planned to make last year before going to the show again. I’ve started the malabrigo shawl (item 1 in the list, above). I need to schedule in some knee-high socks and a laceweight shawl.
  • Christmas. The orange socks may be for someone’s present. Otherwise, I don’t have plans.

What do I want to knit?

  • Beth of Sanday Spinners has suggested a KAL of Catkin and very kindly gifted the pattern to me. I need to decide on a contrasting colour to the deep purple I have in mind for it.
  • I want a Color Affection scarf and I have the yarn for it: cashmere from the sale.
  • I want to be warmly covered in knitting before winter sets in

Bearing all this in mind, I think this is the plan.

  1. Finish the cabled orange socks – deadline 1st September
  2. Frog the fair-isle hat
  3. Knit socks for sock sniper
  4. Make gradual progress on the cotton blanket and the mitred square scarf, while at the same time…
  5. Knit on the swirl.
  6. Mid-September (maybe) start the Catkin KAL
  7. Make knee-length socks