Just a little something I did this morning…

Also known as ‘apologies to Roo for not being quick enough’. I rushed the post off yesterday because I was about to set off for a curry 🙂 Sorry Roo 😀

Before I start, I would like to say thanks for all the birthday wishes 🙂 You are all lovely people and deserve lots of choccy/wine/whatever your vice or desire happens to be at this precise moment in time.

Anyway, here we are. The argyle socks are done, after at least 5 attempts at knitting them, in 3 different yarns, but only a couple of minor revisions for the pattern. Leah has finished a sock and has given it her seal of approval, so go look at her beautiful yarn, and see some sexy sock/yarn/foot action 😀 She also kisses my arse quite a bit in the post, so gains extra Brownie points for that 😉 But really you are waiting for some pics…

As usual I had great difficulty capturing the colour and the stitches properly together, so I had to do some playing in Photoshop, but hopefully you can see well enough to be able to tell whether you like them and want to knit them…

argyle final 1b.jpg

argyle final 2.jpg

argyle final 31.jpg

argyle np detail1.jpg

Specs: I used Hand Jive Yarns Nature’s Palette in Indian Paintbrush. Lovely lovely yarn 🙂 Roo has been very trusting of my review and ordered some from Pure Knits, so I can’t wait to see what she thinks of it and how she gets on knitting it up. Roo – when it arrives, you have to update me! The pattern is reasonably easy to adapt for foot length and personal taste, but requires a little maths to alter widthwise (I recommend going up a needle size first, then adding 4 stitches to the sole of the sock to make it 64 instead of 60 sts).

The pattern is available as a PDF here: Fair Isle Free Argyle Socks.pdf, but is also listed in the right-hand toolbar under ‘Free patterns’ for latecomers. If you have any problems downloading/opening the pattern, queries about the instructions, or anything like that, you can email me at bryonyramsden AT hotmail DOT com. Make sure you make the header obviously about the pattern otherwise I’ll miss it in my junkmail folder.


Cath and I went to Texere today and bought things. We were mostly good. Mostly. That is probably appalling grammar, but I like it for its Aliens/South Park memories 😉 Cath bought yummy alpaca stuff on cones, and is, I believe, now converted to the joy of knitting with alpaca yarn. She also got some very squishy cushy pencil roving to dye and knit up into a scarf, and some merino yarn to make a scarf from (with some ribbon/fibre packs in greeny colours to weave in to make it pretty). She probably got something else too, but I forget what… I got some merino and stuffing to make the bunny pattern in LMKG, 2 cones of 4 ply and one of 2 ply Lambswool, some needles and a corsage kit. And I knit socks on the bus each way, which makes me a good girl. I’m about 15 rows from turning the heel on the 2nd argyle sock. Apparently this is very good thing, given the interest in the sock pattern so far – woohoo! Before it is published, I want to make it prettier (the pattern), and finish it (the sock).
Then tomorrow, I go with a friend to Manchester Art Gallery to see the Miffy exhibition. How cool is that?! 😀 We’ve been planning it for ages, so we are both a tad giddy. Then we’ll have sushi in Selfridges at Yo Sushi, and may shop a little (most likely Primark given my spending the past few days). And knit on the train (if she’ll let me).
Then, on Thursday it is my 29th birthday. It is a bit scary – but only because it signifies that I am older after a pretty crappy year, with not much positive to show for it. But things will move on and change if I prod them a bit. I’ve been told that your 30s are better than your 20s. When you hit your 20s, you are suddenly expected to be grown up, plan, become something. I don’t believe you can do that unless you know where to grow, how to plan, what you want to become, and that even if you do know, it takes lots of time to get there. Hence, my 20s have been spent hunting for what I want, and I’m only just reaching a point where I can make a few plans to add to the ones I made a few years ago. I think it will take quite a while longer for me to be settled, but that’s ok. And I’ll never grow up – just mature. I’m still 18 in my head, with a bit more knowledge, and a little more confidence. When I get to my 30s, those will hopefully be a little more substantial, if nothing else is. And I’ll have knitted more things than I have now too. And read more good books. And listened to/seen funky music. Your 30s seem to have less implication for what you should be doing/aiming for, and more the assumption that you have got to that point, so less questions are asked… Ooooh, I hope less questions are asked, as the answers, if I choose to answer, might be the wrong ones! 😉
Speaking of music, how cool is Bernard Hermann? I love his style – you can sense and visualise everything in it, regardless of whether you know the source or inspiration. Where did that come from? A programme on telly about architecture and architectural advances (and a bit of town planning – sounds boring, but apparently this one guy thought it would be a good idea to have buildings shaped to represent what went on in them, including a phallus shaped brothel…), using a ton of fabby soundtracks (The Shining, lots of Bond stuff, The Terminator, etc etc etc).
I’m waffling. I’ll go hide in a corner now.

Something to get your mouth watering…

At least I hope so 😉 Here is what I’ve been doing with the Nature’s Palette. Well, actually, let me just fill you in on how the yarn is. I don’t think the camera can do it justice. The colour is just stunning. The yarns are dyed with natural dyes, rather than chemical ones, so each dyelot is unique, and even the solid colours have a little varigation. This one, being redish, is really difficult to capture properly on camera, and I have one picture of about 15 that actually came close to how it looks in daylight :/ But it is a beautiful cranberry cerise red, which moves between raspberry and strawberry. Mmmmm, berries. The yarn is 100% merino, so it is supersoft, but, according to Pure Knits, it doesn’t pill because it is very tightly spun. I think the spin also has something to do with the stitch definition – it is superbly clear, yet remains soft. I love this stuff. And for the UK shoppers 😉 it is much cheaper, even with US shipping, than a lot of the sock yarns you can get here. I much prefer it to LL, if only because of the natural element, but it does feel much softer than LL, and doesn’t have that sometimes annoying twist in the yarn (I don’t know about anyone else, but I have found LL to sometimes get a bit over twisted while knitting up, and caught up on my needles). Go buy it.

Anyway, here is some chewing gum for the eyes 🙂

argyle NP 1.jpg

This first one kind of gives you an idea of how the pattern looks in the yarn in general. Can you guess what the pattern is? 😉 As I said earlier, this yarn is difficult to capture, especially in the crappy light we have in the crappy rain at the moment… DB very kindly took pics, as I couldn’t manage to get anything approximating usable myself 🙁

Here is another pic, without flash. Not sure if it helps to see the pattern a little more, but again,you can see the fit of the sock with the pattern…
argyle NP 2.jpg
Finally, this one is the closest to the true colour I can get – there is no orange in this colourway. It is definitely a cool, pinky red. I could just eat it all up. Yum. And you get a nice flat view of the pattern and stitch definition 😉
argyle np detail.jpg
If you hadn’t guessed, this is the pattern I’ve been working on, that Leah has been testing for me, bless her (go and see the amazing felted bag she’s just finished!) 🙂 I’ve only just cast on for the second sock after all the hand pain rubbish delayed me 🙁 but I see a pattern being completed formally in the very, very near future. I just want to hear from Leah about how she feels about it first, but so far things are looking good 😀 Hopefully people will be interested in it, and it isn’t as if I’m going to charge for this, but the sense of achievement is wonderful. It may not be much in the grand scheme of pattern design, but for me, it is a first, and I like that 🙂
Ok, in other news, I finally got some new needles for the Amazing Lace knitalong 😀 They are much much better than all the other ones I have, so at last I can start working on one of the patterns, to see how I feel about them… Yay!

Interesting stuff.

Yeah, yeah, another Futurama quote… I couldn’t help it 🙂 Anyway, I have a few things to show you today, and some updating on why I’ve not been blogging. After the evil weekend of coding, I ended up with an RSI related injury 🙁 Apparently I rest on my little finger a lot when I use the mouse pad on the laptop. It made it difficult to type (which I would have rested from totally had it not been for work and the need to surf/purchase 😉 ), and I got tired from knitting very easily. I’m now on leave for a week, so I’m going to do a small amount of work, a little resting and a LOT of knitting 😀

So what has happened while I’ve not been blogging? First of all, I ordered some goodies from Yahaira’s shop, Pure Knits. Yahaira’s is the only US shop I’m aware of who take Paypal payments so that I don’t have to worry about paying by credit card, AND ship to the UK. She also puts a hell of a lot of effort into her packaging, advice and support. I ordered on a Weds night, and the package arrived on the Saturday! In one piece! With no customs charge! Here is some eye candy to make you all jealous and run to order from her 😉

pureknits packaging.jpg

What did I order? Two hanks of Hand Jive Yarns Nature’s Palette in Indian Paintbrush, and 2 balls of Habu Textiles Mohair Silk Kusa in Onion. I also got a Shibui Knits pattern for a wrap top, which might be nice to wear at work. Gorgeous stuff.

habu and natures palette.jpg

The Habu I got just to try – it doesn’t have a pattern to go to yet, but it feels yummy 🙂

Habu mohair silk kusa.jpg

And the other yarn?

Natures palette.jpg

You’ll see soon enough in this post 😉

Yesterday, I went shopping with my mum in Holmfirth. We went to Up Country. We both spent money, but I got invited into the store room at the back to find an appropriate yarn for my OS secret pal 😀 Ooooh, it was heaven in there. And we met a woman and her daughter who’d come to visit the Guild open day and had come shopping for funky beginner patterns for the daughter, so we spent quite a lot of time offering advice and help. Mum persuaded me to buy the more expensive of the yarns I was looking at to knit up a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern for a raglan top down cardi.

So what did I buy? How about this yummy stuff 😀

debbie bliss alpaca silk dk 08.jpg

Mmmmm alpaca silk dk… Tasty.

Ok, so how about what I’ve been managing to knit?

I think I’ll leave that till tomorrow… 😉

One Skein SP questions, and a little pre-news

It is a long time (for me anyway) since I last posted, and there are a few reasons for that. I won’t tell you right now – I’m going to save it because I have some cool things to post, with pictures and everything, so I might as well bore you and then make up for it with the goodies 😀 The main point of this post is to get my OS questions out and published before I forget and it gets to August without me posting…
1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)?
That is a very tough question to start with. I suppose Alpaca represents me quite well – sturdy yet soft, a jack of all trades (but master of none), and willing to work with whoever you put me with (although I might complain a little later on).
2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with?
With socks, anything goes, but no neons or ‘fashion’ yarns. Overall I like colours from nature – sky blue, rose pink, olive or moss green. Most of my stuff at the moment seems to be in greens or purples. One of my fave sock yarns is a blend of heather purples, with mossy green, and a little brown.
3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns?
I’ve used both, but I’ve gone off magic yarns (along the lines of Opal or Regia sock yarns). Variegated are good in the right pattern, and I usually would only use them for socks, scarves and other smaller accessories.
4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns?
I seem to be buying a lot of Alpaca at the moment! I don’t have a particular preference for fibre, but I veer away from 100% acrylics unless they have a good soft texture.
5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn?
Ooooh I don’t care 😀 If it is nice yarn and it knits up ok, then it is fine by me!
6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them?
I haven’t tried them before, and to be honest I wasn’t aware they existed, but I certainly wouldn’t mind trying them out 😀 I’m always open to trying new stuff in the knitting world.
7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year?
That’s a bit tough. This year has been a bit odd because of the studying I’ve been doing. I’ve worked mostly on socks this year because of that. Lots of socks. Elfines, River Rapids, plain ones in Diakeito Diamusee, some chunky slipper socks from Knit Scene and Jaywalkers in Fyberspates Foxglove sock yarn. I’ve also made Clapotis, some arm warmers from Alterknits in DB Alpaca Silk, and a few scarves. In terms of proper garments, I made the Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-d-loop, which I loved, but hated the yarn, so I’ll be reknitting it in something else for next winter. I’ve done Angelica by Glampyre, which I also loved, but was short on yarn. I’ll be making it with full length sleeves in contrast to the short sleeved one in the first version! I also made Bloom from Rowan 36. Loooved that one – it is the most wearable thing I’ve made, in terms of proper clothing (if I ignore all the accessories!). That surprised me! I never realised I’d made that many things!
8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year?
Depends! I don’t have many people who would appreciate knitted gifts I’m afraid 🙁 I decided that I would only knit for people who knit themselves, or who actually ask for something because I knew they would appreciate it, so I’ve been making socks for friends’ birthdays (easy to size, quick to make if studying takes over my time). I’ll have to consider something a little more time consuming now that I’ve received my first handmade jumper from a friend though 😀 I’ll see how things go, but I do like gift knitting – I just need more people to knit for who appreciate it.
9. What is your favorite one skein project?
Weeell, if you hadn’t guessed, socks are a good one 😀 I also love hats and skinny scarves for using small amounts of yarn up. Otherwise, I’ve never really thought about one skein projects very much for a couple of reasons. I order most of my yarn online, which means ordering one skein isn’t all that practical in terms of postal costs. I also prefer to know what I’m going to make in advance of buying yarns, so that I can give it a reason to be in my stash. Taking part in this will help me think a lot more about what I can do with yarns, and how to be creative in using them.
10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it?
Ermm, a bit. I have two plastic crates, one large leatherette storage box (which holds sewing projects, and some superchunky black yarn), and one small one that holds WIPs. I’ve got enough yarn in the stash to make LOTS of socks, at least 7 pullovers/cardis, and quite a few scarves/mittens/accessories…
11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it?
I currently feel that way about some 100% cashmere sock yarn from Hip Knits. It is truely stunning in a very simple kind of way. I want to find the perfect sock pattern for it, but it is pretty difficult to decide which would be best, so I always set it to one side and wait.
12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer?
I am trying to be more strategic in my knitting. I’ll always have socks on the needles, just for something quick and portable, but I want to aim to knit something in summer yarns for summer. It sounds obvious, but at the moment, my studying means that I still have scarves on the needles, so it is my big aim to match what I knit to the weather to come.
13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)?
I’ve signed up to a few knitalongs, but I’m not part of any groups. There is one in town, but again, the studying scuppers my ability to attend (or just triggers my guilt off!).
So there you go. Pal, if you have anything else you need to know, let me know 🙂
More news later, but first I have to get ready, vac the house, and then go shopping with my mum (at Up Country with a bit of luck…).

Needle trauma

Poo. I cast on for some hot sexy summer evening lace knitting last night, with new 2mm needles and the yummy unknown cone of yarn. The needles were evil. They were cheap things from the market in town, and the only ones I can get within bus travel distance of where I live in that size. The tips looked ok in the packet, but the evil buggers were far from sharp enough to go through the loop of yarn on the needle. That sounds like a bloke I used to go out with actually… Anyway, I now have to buy some new needles online, which I wanted to avoid in case they were rubbish. Shows how good that plan was! Thankfully, the Heirloom Knitting website sells needles they recommend for lace knitting, for not much money, so I’ll have to buy a few pairs from them before I can start seriously considering a teammate for the Amazing Lace knitalong. That kind of scuppers my plans a bit, but I’ll just have to cast on for the Rowan River stole thingy tonight instead of knitting the lovely shetland style patterns I have.
I’m allowing myself to cast on for the lace because the Argyle socks have been set aside. Don’t worry – all is well! I’ve stopped because the pattern is prepared, and being tested 😀 I’ve also ordered some yarny goodies to knit up a fancy, mistake-free version of them, all going well. I won’t spoil the surprise of what I’m making them in just yet… Teehee! Aileen – you will be the first person to receive the pattern when I’ve fixed some chart issues (Excel, Word, and a last minute rush of typing up the pattern before the late shift at work doesn’t make a good piece of display material). I still have to post the parcel to you, so I might sneak a pretty version in there for you if it is ready 🙂
I’m feeling kind of antsy with the knitting at the moment. I feel the need to use some yarn, something that hasn’t been touched for a while, or at all. Something from the stash that I haven’t really discovered the advantages of yet. Or maybe I need a new technique, and that’s why the lace is calling – I’ve knit lace patterns before, but the concept of knitting lace for the love of lace and the glory of it being the main construction feature of the pattern is still quite new. I need to find a direction tonight, and enjoy the yarn for what it is. Which will be quite nice after the nasty weekend rubbish.
Lastly, I got my email this morning about who I’m going to spoil for the One Skein SP. I hope she isn’t as nosy as P was ;D

Why am I doing this again?

Blimey, there have been a glut of posts on here the past few days. The coding is complete (for now – I still need to check for more responses and revise what I’ve coded). I swear if I ever see another incorrect spelling (and we are talking really basic stuff here. I dare not demonstrate it for fear of breaking the rules, but trust me on this one!) or inappropriate use of apostrophes, I will scream. I will scream so loudly you guys across the water will hear me. Then I’ll get stabby. Do they still teach grammar in school? Probably not, given my memories, but still, these are university students, and not all 102 of them can claim that they have dyslexia or similar! Appalling. No wonder the world is coming to an end and the chavs are taking over. BlueADT – this is the group of people who are supposed to save us from those people who complained about your dogs (and the link you had up too)!
Ok, now I’m getting too bitter, but you would too if you had spent a good 36 hours looking at the same thing over and over again over the weekend – that’s enough to make anyone go potty. But now I get to knit/slob the afternoon away! Yay!

Mmmmmmmmm lace.

Well, after reading Leah’s comment on Cath’s blog about a lace knitalong, I decided to join in. I have piles of lace weight yarn to use up, including lots of Kidsilk Haze leftover from projects, some Kaalund Yarns Expressions, and that lovely stuff I got from the Knitting and Crochet Guild, plus a few patterns. I haven’t decided which pattern to use, but I’m currently considering the Rowan River shawl, Eunny’s Print O’ the Wave, the Baltic Sea Stole, and I just this very morning purchased Heartstring’s Lead or Follow scarf pattern (my very first US paypal payment 😀 I’m so impressed I can finally buy in the States!). I am deeply in love with the last 3, and the first would be a good way to use some of the KSH. Would KSH work for any of the others? It might be a bit fluffy/scary/slippy for some of them, especially considering that my needles aren’t really all that sharp pointed, and I don’t have a shop that sells good ones. I’d have to buy online, without being able to check them, which could be expensive if they don’t do the job properly when they arrive… Besides, I may yet despise the scarf knitting! I am drawn to it though, for the technical aspect, and for the opportunity of using that lightweight yarn, so the knitalong is a good way to discover whether my K&CG stuff is destined for scarves or for a veeery fine knit jumper.
DB ordered some t-shirts for us today from Threadless.com. I really wanted the girly sizes to just do one size bigger, but I’ve heard they are on the small size anyway, and while my t-shirts match the girly XL, most of them are forgivingly stretchy, and don’t have waist shaping to the degree that threadless has. So I had to go for the guy L. What a bummer. But the images on them are worth it 😀 Thank goodness for DB and his yearly clothes shopping binges. I’ve asked him to get me Water, Moby and Mourning Girl (for the bit of punk/grunge in me that is restrained by library work wear). The UK really needs sites like this 😀
Ok, that’s it for now. I need to do the last batch of coding, and I want to finish by lunchtime, for an afternoon of laziness, Deal or No Deal, and swatching/sock knitting. Now that Yahaira has demanded the pattern, I have to complete it 😉 And it would be nice to turn the heel today if I can, so that I can start writing a draft for Leah to test/scrutinise/completely pull apart. Woohoo!

Another attempt at writing a really long page

Well, I had spent some time writing a very lovely page full of pictures, but crappy IE closed it at the same time as me closing the picture upload page, and now I am miserable. So here is a very poor attempt to recreate it quickly, seeing as I already spent close to half an hour writing it.
Firstly, I want to say that you are all very cool for submitting so many lovely comments and advice to Cath’s blog. She seems to be supermotivated in posting, but less so in revising, which is kind of a good sign 😉 And I didn’t even make you post to her ;D
Secondly, I posted about a visit Sue made the other week. She’s made me a fantastic jumper, but it is currently being washed, so you will have to wait to see it. We did some yarn dyeing with some Kool Aid and Opal yarn I got from the K&CG (I’ve already used the first hank just playing with the colours, and got a result that I will call Crayon, for reasons you might discover in the future!), and here is what we came up with. Sue picked the colours – Lemon Lime, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Changing Cherry.

The colours aren’t as glary as they are in the hank piccie, and are sometimes more subtle than in the swatch pic, but you get the idea (the light in here never lets me get an accurate picture 🙁 ). I love it, and need a good pattern to use to knit it up – either Pomotamous, or one of the Amelia Raitte patterns. Suggestions are welcome!
Next up, a pic of THE sock. I’ve had to frog and re knit several times, purely because sizing has been difficult. The yarn is RYC Cashcotton 4 ply, which may prove to be terrible sock yarn, but for demo and practice purposes is fantastic, and it was on cheap.

The stitch definition, as you can see, is good, and the yarn produces soft, cosy and comfortable fabric, while maintaining a firmness that you need for socks and this pattern. I’ll have to let you know how it wears, but I hope it stays as good as it is now! But I suppose the fact that it has already been frogged a few times and doesn’t really look any worse for it bodes well. And I wasn’t even too put off when Amelia Raitte had her argyle pattern published in Magknits – hers is different to mine, so I’m glad of that, but I know that my skills and techniques aren’t exactly up to her level, and that made me balk a little at continuing. But, I threw that off and became more determined to do it! So, what I need now is some feedback. Looking at the pics as they are now, would you think of knitting these? Is the argyle patterning of a quality to interest you? It isn’t as if I’d charge for this, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance if I end up posting it! Honest thoughts are welcomed – if you can see something that looks wonky or nasty in the pattern design, please say! I admit that it currently looks a bit squishy, and I think I need an extra row in the middle of the knit diamonds to make the widest point more obvious, but that kind of change is negligable, especially compared to the ones I though I might need to make for the width sizing… I’ll try adding that extra row on the leg to compare results and avoid reknitting the foot a 5th time, seeing as it won’t make any difference to the way the foot is knit up in terms of sizing the length.
Anyway, that’s another half hour where I haven’t had breakfast, showered, and started coding again yet. I have lots of pics from a walk I took yesterday while it was still good weather, but they will wait till a day when I have not much knitting to show 😉 I like posting piccies 😀 And I’d rather save the time I’ll have free later for knitting some more goodies up, like the Vogue Knitting Astrakhan cardi (which is knitting up rather speedily and I might even have some to show you this week).