Ten Day Challenge

I usually don’t knit many (if any) Christmas presents. A few things over the years for my immediate family, but never for the in laws. Until now.

As part of the complicated Kris Kringle type draw the in laws do, we got two of my sister in laws (there are 4 total) and their husbands. We quickly decided that dinner vouchers and baby sitting promises would be the best presents for both. And then I thought that maybe I should knit some hats, just so they have something nice on the day. That was on the 14th of December of course, so ten days to knit four hats. Nothing like a challenge.

I did the girls hats first, some Drops Alaska to knit some cabled, pompom hats.

cabled hatsI wasn’t sure if I’d have time to do boy hats as well, but it turns out if you knit constantly for a full day you can knit a hat, even in sock weight. Thankfully my work was very quiet Tibbs Eve, and my boss wasn’t bothered by a bit of last minute Christmas knitting.

plain boy hats

These two are Indigo Dragonfly sock yarn (green) and Malabrigo Finito (grey).

No patterns for any of these hats, that would have been just too easy. And that resulted in me knitting 5 hats in the 10 days… the first hat I started, in some left over Malabrigo Arroyo, was inadvertently child sized. But I finished it as well, and it’s gone to the little boy.

andrew cables

And finally, I cast on hat number six on Christmas Eve! I’m using some Malabrigo Finito that Jenbeardublin gave me last year for Knitmas. As soon as I started making hats I realised this yarn would make a perfect soft warm cabled at like the first two… but since the yarn was a gift the hat has to be for me. I can’t wait to wear it!

hat for me

I hope everyone else had a lovely Christmas with thoughtful presents, happy children playing quietly (as they are here, for the moment at least!), good food and lots of rest.

Stripes

My five year old is starting to prove herself useful for yarn photography. Her feet are too small to fit in my stripey socks, but if I set up a camera for her, she can press the shutter button over and over again 🙂

stripes behind

Not every photo is perfectly centred, mind you, but it adds some charm, right?

I finished my stripey test socks, and I really love them. I made them a small bit bigger than usual, and they’re just super cozy and comfortable. I know striped yarn should use an afterthough heel or something similar, which doesn’t disturb the stripes, but I really prefer a gusset so I went with that.

striped socks

A little more attention to detail and I could have started the heel a few rows earlier, and made the blue and green stripes on the front match better. But I still love the socks, I think they turned out beautifully.

I have to admit, after the Knitting and Stitching show (which went well by the way, thanks for asking, and thanks to all the many people who came by the stand) I’ve been in a dyeing slump. My mojo is just gone, so I dyed some yarn for This is Knit and now I’m taking a little time off. Nothing to serious, maybe just Christmas… I’ve got to get working on the Irish Yarn Club afterall. Speaking of, sign ups close next week, are you in?

But my knitting mojo, that’s alive and well. I’ve got two new projects on the go, I’ll share them with you soon!

Kaeling

My Painted Woolly Topper hat needed some matching mitts. And coincidentally, I was extremely curious about a new pattern from Ysolda (Kaerlig) which seemed like a perfect match. So I quickly gave in and bought Knitworthy 2.

gloves1

Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Malice

It’s the unique construction of these mitts that really got me. They’re knit side to side on the hand, and it wasn’t something I could quickly figure out on my own. Knitting them I did have some worries about the hand size, but I think that’s because I should have cast on for the large instead of the medium. To compensate, I knit the hand section bigger, and as a result the thumb smaller. But since I thought the thumb was bigger than I usually like, I was happy with this change. I ended up with what is (for me) the perfectly sized snug thumb.

glove2

I do love the palm and thumb gusset, it’s very comfortable.

It’s Monday, so another Knitworthy pattern is due in my inbox any minute now! Hopefully something pretty to cheer me up at the beginning of what looks like a windy and wet week.  and as I was writing a new Knitworthy pattern arrived! Saudade, it is indeed very pretty, and maybe someday I’ll conquer my fear of colourwork 🙂

Don’t forget the Knitting and Stitching Show starts this Thursday. I’ve been working away, getting everything sorted for what will hopefully be an amazing weekend. I hope to see you all there!

Painted Woolly Toppers

Earlier in the year I got a copy of Painted Woolly Toppers from the talented Woolly Wormhead. It’s a collection of hat patterns designed specifically for hand dyed yarn… what better book for a hand dyer to have on hand? It did sit for a while because the weather thankfully did not need hats! But with the cold autumnal weather upon us, I pulled out the book.

I had a hard time chosing, but really it was down to three Quoin, Risalire, and Vortice I even cast on. In the end I chose Vortice because I didn’t have any hand dyed aran weight for Quoin, and I didn’t want to knit garter stitch in the round for Risalire. I was looking for something not mentally taxing, and Vortice did that for me.

minion in a hatYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in colour Malice

I enticed a little (minion) human to put it on for me. It didn’t fit 🙂 This hat is knit side to side in short rows. I made my usual adjustments to the pattern, and it turned out to be a fatal mistake.

vortice topI staggered some of the rows at the top when I shouldn’t have, and it resulted in the hat losing the bias effect of the original. Of course I didn’t realise this until it was finished. Entirely my fault, and I may have to knit another one to do it properly. Still, it’s a lovely hat and garter stitch always looks great with a hand dye, it’s one of my favourite knitting things.

Once I finished, I promptly cast on some fingerless mitts with the remaining yarn which I think will match perfectly. But more on them later 🙂  I think I need to go back and knit Risalire as well, I think the style would suit me.

Experiment results

I’d been thinking about this one for a while, but earlier in the week this skein finally went into the dye pot. It looks pretty normal in the before picture.

experimentingBut with a little work, I’ve got some beautiful self striping yarn.

gradientIt goes from dark to light and back again, all in the same skein. And it wasn’t as hard as I worried it might be, although to do it again I’m going to have to work out the winding a bit better. My plan is to make toe up, two at a time socks. One from the outside and one from the middle. That should give me two exactly identical striped socks.

two at a timeBy plan, of course I mean I’ve cast on already. I think I’m in love.

When knitters travel

They (or at least, I, and Yarn Harlot, and others I’m sure) cast on socks. Preferably socks that don’t need a lot of thinking, so they can be knit on airplanes and airports and everywhere in between. So for my three weeks away, I cast on and knit socks. I finished these the day I got back home.

travel socks

Rarely do I want to wear knit socks in the middle of July do I want to wear knit socks. But a few times while I was knitting these I was hoping they’d be finished soon. But summer seems to have been poor on both sides of the North Atlantic this year. I got a few warm days in Ottawa, but not much else.

travel socks2Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Kaleidoscope

Back in Dublin, I may be wearing these this weekend! For now, the etsy shop is open again, and This is Knit got restocked. Next week I’ll be dyeing for online, keep an eye out for the update next weekend.

White is boring

I went outside on the back step to take sock photos, because it was too late in the day for inside photos. I brought a white board to put the socks on, while the cat watched. I think her expression tells you all you need to know:

bored catBored cat is bored. I then distracted myself with twitter where I realised it’s ‘Tarmac Tuesday‘. Well, the front of the house does get more light at this time of day.

tarmacAnd it gives a slightly more interesting background.These are for my mother (who’s foot is a good bit smaller than mine) so sock blocker photos are required. I borrowed the blockers from Cathyqtpi for the Yarn Festival in March, and they are quite nice. I must find out where she got them (or if you’ve come to visit Cathy, you can leave a comment!)

tarmac socks2Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Clear

I’ve knit a top down heel flap sock so often now that I no longer need a pattern. But I always credit them to Charlene Schurch, since her Sensational Knitted Socks is my go to basic sock resource. I think I got given the book by a friend who was moving back to the US, maybe 7 or 8 years ago? But it’s a really handy resource for sizes and standard patterns. Definitely one of my most frequently used knitting books. These are the Basic top down with a heel flap socks.

In dye news, there’s a new page over there on the left. Now that I’ve got more than one shop stocking my yarn, I can start a list 🙂  Dublin Bay Knitting in Oregon is now stocking Dublin Dye Swing Sock yarn, the first on the other side of the pond… Hopefully the first of many!

Not my colours

I’ve cast on two new things recently, for other people, and they aren’t colours I would usually choose. First, I recently knit a vest for my son, and now my daughter wants one as well. But she wants pink. Cotton Candy pink. daughterly vest

Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Cotton Candy

(the bag in the background is the one I bought in Edinburgh from KnitRunDig) I only cast on a few days ago but I am getting a bit bored of the pink. So I decided I should cast on some socks, since I’m sponsoring the Solid Socks group in Ravelry this month. But I don’t really want solid socks in any of the colours I have at the moment, so I cast on some socks for my mother.  I’ve never knit her socks before, and she’s spent the week minding my kids, so it’s only fair.

motherly socksYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Clear

Something in me is itching to cast on something dark and moody, but I need to finish these projects in the near future, so that will have to wait I think. And although these colours aren’t me, they suit the season and the day perfectly.

Happy Easter!

Follow Your Arrow 2

Once again this year I got sucked into the Follow Your Arrow KAL by Ysolda Teague. It was fun last year, even though I ended up giving the shawl to my mother. This time I went in with a strategy (knit the least lace), but of course it didn’t really work with the pattern. In the end I had to go with my gut, and that included ripping out clue 2B and knitting 2A instead when I realised I really liked it with clue 3A.

arrow2Yarn: Dublin Dye Merino Sock in Black Cherry

In the end I knit AAAAB. Before I saw the final clue I thought I might continue through with the A’s, but I really didn’t like the A border. i was going to run out of yarn for the last clue, so I used a second skein. But I decided I didn’t want that much Merino Sock left over, so I used a skein of Swing Sock from a different dye lot. The feel of the two yarns is the same, and the colour difference isn’t terrible. The rest of the skein might be a pair of socks for my daughter, she’s been asking for some!

One step forward

For a while it seemed like my knitting was taking two steps back every time I thought I was making progress. Mostly my own fault of course. But finally, I’m getting somewhere.

I decided on Black Cherry for my Follow your Arrow 2 shawl. I did clue 1A and 2B and then saw 3A and thought it I’d really like it with 2A. So I tore back 2B and tried again. I’ve spent all week working on clue 3A (the smocking takes forever!) and yesterday started on 4A finally. I’m nearly caught up!

arrow2Yarn: Dublin Dye Merino Sock in Black Cherry

And I’ve also been working on these little socks. When the first one was half done, I decided it should be a bit bigger. As in wider. Time to start over again. I’m supposedly working on these between arrow clues, but the shawl has taken all my knitting time.

howth smallYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Watersprite

I’m not even entirely sure I have enough yarn for these. They could end up with a contrast cuff yet 🙂  These are for the little boy, who is also very much one step forward two steps back at the moment. We’re potty training. All my patience is shot. But whenever I got him to try on his socks he tells me ‘keep knitting mummy’. I guess I have to follow directions, he is in control around here.