Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year :o)

The New Year is nearly upon us and it is time to consider some resolutions . . . . well, got that over and done with quickly – now I can party :o) OK, OK, I resolve to use up my yarn stash and to sell on Etsy my surplus (as if there ever could be such a thing!) hand-dyed yarn and project bags – which lead me very nicely into a few items that I have just put in my Etsy store – go and take a look, you know you want to :o)

The project bags are my favorite design and came about because when I knitting my socks, this is the size and shape that I go to. I can fit one project per bag - they are lightweight, easy to carry and store, and look so cute. They follow my philosophy of sock knitting as well - let me explain. I love hand-knit socks. once you have tried them, you won't go back to shop bought ones again. But more than that, you can buy some very luxurious yarn - you only need 100gms, and that is pretty much it. No dozens of matching balls of yarn, worrying about dye colors, getting bored part way through a project etc. The same is true of these project bags, I am like a magpie with pretty fabrics and I only need small amounts to make one. And of course hubby is happy as my fabric is now moving out of my craft room and into the hands of a deserving owner!

Having segued into nicely into knitting socks, I have now finished my Dolly Mixtures Socks, using up leftover yarn. Love, love, love them :o)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to One and All!

Well, Christmas was all I could have hoped for. Great food, company and pressies - all wrapped up in one very special bundle!

I was very spoiled with LOTS of yarn from Knit Picks and a fantastic kit from Simply Socks (see pic below). I plan to knit a pair of plain stocking stitch socks that will show off the colors beautifully.

So - how was Christmas for you??!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And Re-Skeined . . . .

This is how my Neon Punch looks after re-skeining it to a more acceptable length to fit my swift - pretty neat huh? I'll need to wind it into a cake before starting to knit, but I'm getting there!

Now I just need to choose a pattern! I suspect there will be some pooling, so I'm thinking a nice simple rib pattern.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For the Love of Dyeing . . .

To me, yarn is manna from heaven. I love the touch, the smell but most of all . . . . the color. I'm like a magpie when it comes to collecting the colors - I'm particularly fond of a green/yellow/lilac combination, and have one or two skeins in my stash that meet that criteria. I also see combinations day-to-day; you know the type, a beautiful sunrise, waves and sand on a beach, a wildflower blooming in a grassy field and those are just the obvious ones! So, I thought it would be fun to try out some yarn dyeing - and oh boy, I'm hooked! My first two experiments involved the use of Kool Aid. There have been many tutorials written on the subject, so I'm just going to give you the links! This Knitty article was very useful, as is this article from KnittyOtter.

So, after a trip to the supermarket, I was armed with some Kool Aid in Cherry, Orange and Lemon/Lime. I had some Patons Kroys sock yarn in Ecru sitting by, waiting for an opportunity to show how lovely it could be! I re-skeined the yarn and then soaked it in mild soapy water for 30 mins, meanwhile I dissolved one sachet of Kool Aid in two cups of water - three bowls, one color in each. After squeezing out the yarn and rolling it in a towel to dry a little more, I dipped a third of the yarn in each of the bowls, being careful not to mix the colors. I left a bare patch between each of the color joins and carefully squeezed the dye to fill the gaps. The yarn was then coiled into one of the baskets of my steamer, and left to steam for 30 minutes.

Once cooled, it was given a good rinse and left to dye. A quick twist . . . and it looked like this!Pretty cool huh? I need to re-skein it, but I proudly present to you, Neon Punch (1201).

I loved the effect the cherry had, so I mixed a second packet with the dissolved dye and dropped two more prepared skeins in to get Cherry Love (1202).

It must be love, love, love . . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peppermill Exchange

It all started with me wearing a pair of hand knitted socks on a training course at work . . . I was wearing my September Mockery Socks and my colleagues commented favorably on them. They are rather cute - lovely fresh green lacy socks with cute silver lined crystal beads . . .

So, my colleague was looking for a Christmas pressie for his wife . . . . and he is a wood turner . . . so I now have a lovely handturned wooden peppermill, and he has . . . .

Hope she likes them :o) And on the subject of Christmas Gifts, we take our recycling to a small local dump where an old boy by the name of Willy always gives us a hand. Hubby got talking to him during the last visit and they got onto the subject of cold feet, hand-knitted socks, you get the picture? Well, it had to be done, and I knit a pair of chunky socks for Willy - and the name (well really, what else would you call them??) Willy's Warmers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Prairie Skies & Yoga

I cast on on Monday for the mystery socks by the very talented picnicknits on Ravelry. A clue is released each by the designer in the form of a portion of the pattern. The clues run for four and at the end . . . . you will have completed a pair of gorgeous hand-knit socks. I chose some lovely lilac Tonal yarn from Knit Picks, and called my project Prairie Skies - the yarn just reminded me of one of the stunning skies that we get to see over the prairies. So, at the end of clue one . . . here is my sock so far . . . .

The yarn is actually more pinky lilac that the bluey lilac in the photo.

I've also recently taken up yoga. It is something that I have thought about for some time, and after one of my colleagues mentioned that she was going at lunchtime from work - I thought that I would join. I have been for three sessions so far - it looks as though twice a week will work well, and it is great. I certainly feel better for it - more stretched and relaxed. I have muscles where I did not realize muscles existed - and I only know that as I am so sore! Having lost 37lbs with Weight Watchers, I am hoping that this will tone me up, and help me lose the last 30lbs :o) It has certainly opened up a whole new world and I look forward to finding out more about this past time!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trossocks & Somewhere Down the Lazy River

I've finally got round to releasing two more free patterns - Trossocks and Somewhere Down the Lazy River. They were both test knit on Ravelry, and here is the info on them:


In my head, where quite frankly this is plenty of space, I have this vision of Mr. D’Arcy striding across the moors with a kilt swinging in the breeze (hey, it’s my vision!) wearing a handsome pair of cream hand-knitted socks with cables and textured stitches. Sigh . . . ! I, of course, am waiting for him in front of a burning log fire in my matching socks (lilac for me please) – the perfect unisex footwear!

This lovely pattern, which suits all Mr. D’Arcy’s and his ladies alike, is made up of a pair of cables that run down the side of the sock and then split with two following the top of the foot and the other two bordering the heel flap. The centre front and back panels have a simple but effective textured pattern that keeps your attention without detracting from the Mr. D’Arcy vision. This is a cuff-down heel-flap sock with a wedge toe using the beautiful and economical Knit Picks Palette. Enjoy!

Somewhere Down the Lazy River

You believe that dropping stitches could be a design feature? Check!

Well, these socks could be for you! The drop stitch pattern reminds me of water running down a slow moving stream, meandering around rocks that are in the way. The yarn works really well with this pattern, but don’t restrict yourself to blues and greens :o)

The pattern is a fun, quick to knit, 20 row repeat. It is quite a loose fitting sock as extra stitches are used and dropped. Stitches should only be counted after rounds 9, 10, 19 or 20. It is a top down/heel flap design.

Both pattern can be downloaded for free if you are a Ravelry member, or for just $1.99 from my Etsy site. All proceeds from the sales of patterns on Etsy will be donated to my local greyhound rescue organization, SAGAA, and MacMillan Nurses.


Friday, October 29, 2010


A common problem for many sock knitters is SSS (second sock syndrome) - in other words, they have completed one sock and for some reason they loose their mojo and the sock sits in the knitting basket all lonely . . . . . well, I thought that it was time for me to check out my own WIPs (work in progress) and see how things were looking. Oh goodness - 11 pairs waiting for a partner. To be fair for some of them I've only knit the cuff and one or two pattern repeats, so I guess that's really FSS (first sock syndrome!), but I have 11 pairs started that I would like to complete :o) A couple of pairs relate to patterns that I was going to sell on Knit Picks, but either I was not too enamored, or they weren't. I actually have three patterns for sale:

Ramage Socks

Funny Valentine Socks

3rd Dog Socks

So, dear readers, my commitment to you is to complete one SSS project per month. For October I'll be finishing off the socks for Sharon that I mentioned in my previous post, and November, hmmm, not sure yet but I will announce the 'winner' on November 1st!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Socks, socks, socks!

I just love this time of the month . . . . finishing off socks for one project on Ravelry and time to start planning the ones for the next month. This month I completed the SKA mystery socks - which should have been knit in black or white yarn . . . . . . what do you mean . . . . . . . these socks are not black or white??? I think you need to adjust your monitor :o) I called them my Mockery Socks (mystery-socks, geddit?!)
The pattern was a lovely one that included dainty beads and was a joy to knit.

I'm also about 75% of the way through some socks for my lovely sister-in-law - they will be winging their way to her for Christmas xx

Of course, this means that I have been using up my stash, and it needs to be replenished, so I have an order with Knitpicks that should be here in a couple of weeks. Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A new begining . . .

I've started blogs a few times - in fact, I have a couple floating around with about 10 or 15 posts on them. But in the end I kind of get bored. Well, not really bored, it's just that so far they have been about one particular subject - knitting, sewing, losing weight. Of course, the upkeep and maintenance takes time and they begin to fall by the wayside along with my enthusiasm. So, I had this idea . . . . why not just have the one blog and talk about everything in the one place. Clever huh! Bet you didn't think of that did you!