Thursday, 29 March 2012

Read the pattern!!!

Simple, yes? Apparently not. I have two very good examples of my complete failure to do this. The first is the round two socks for Sock Madness. I knit three full pattern repeats before somebody kindly alerted me to the fact that the moss stitch I was doing down the sides of the sock were the wrong moss stitch. You see, moss stitch and seed stitch, to some people (like myself) is the same thing. To others, seed stitch is k1, p1 on one row, then p1, k1 on the next row. Or that could be moss stitch. The other seed stitch is k1, p1 for two rows, then p1, k1 for the next two rows. Of course, depending on who you are, that could be moss stitch. You see how this could be confusing?

To clarify exactly what moss stitch we were supposed to be using for the socks in Sock Madness, the designer kindly wrote exact instructions on the first page of the pattern. Did I read this? No. Nor, it appears, did a number of other people competing in SM - there was much frogging, and tinking back, and dropping and reknitting of stitches to be done.

This wasn't the end of the matter for me. You see, this (rather ingenius and utterly fantastic) pattern had us knit one sock (named Frick) from the toe up, and the other sock (named Frack) from the cuff down. The end result is the same - both have afterthought heels. I knit Frack first, as I was starting my sock at knitting group and figured 19 rows of k1, p1 rib would be mindless enough that I could do it without thinking. After the aforementioned hiccup with the moss stitch, the knitting of the sock was quite straightforward and went without a hitch. I even managed to learn a new technique - the afterthought heel - thanks to this rather useful and very informative youtube video by The KnitGirllls.

I was confident enough to think that I could pretty much knit Frick without having to refer to the pattern overmuch. So I cast on the toe and knit happily away. It wasn't until I'd got to the last row in the first repeat that I realised that, of course, the pattern is reverse, and it should be p1, k1 rib, not k1, p1 as it was for Frack. So I had to frog again :-( There were no further problems, and I am very, very pleased with the resulting pair of Frick n Frack socks:


(The picture isn't the flashest, nor does it show the colour as accurately as it could since it was taken at night, but I don't really care. They still look awesome.)

If you pay attention (or rather, if you're not in a rush to get the socks knit because you're competing against fast people) the pattern is very easy to follow, and the resulting socks are really quite fantastic. Last year, if I was presented with this pattern, I would've been horrified. Thankfully though, I have been practicing my continental knitting with norwegian purl quite a bit and no longer detest 1x1 ribbing (which this sock is in its entirety (except the toes and heels of course)). I think I love them more because they are knit with the most awesomest of sock yarns - Wollmeise!!! I was given two skeins by a friend (who is conveniently located in Germany) last year. I wanted to save them for something extra special, but was dying to knit with them, and finally caved. This colour is blaue Tinte on Sockenwolle 80/20 twin, and I love it. The cool thing is, since the skeins are 150g/311m, there's actually enough left to make a pair of socks for one of the boys. Fabulous! The yarn is very soft and lovely to knit with - it can be a bit splitty, but I didn't find it to be too much of a problem. Let's face it, most yarn is splitty to a degree.

So anyway, failure to read the pattern correctly wasn't really a big deal for the socks, as it was easily fixed, and I have made it through to the next round with plenty of time to spare. The real problem is the Gemini tee I've been knitting.

I measured my bust, found the corresponding size, and got to knitting. I got the gauge recommended in the pattern, and I was away. It was nice simple knitting that I could do while reading study materials (of which there is a lot) and watching TV. I just this afternoon cast off the bottom ribbing, and have only the sleeves to knit. The problem? It's too big. And I checked the gauge several times to be sure I was getting it right. Wanna know why it's too big? Because I completely missed the bit in the pattern notes that says "To achieve the same fit as the sample modeled in the photographs choose a size with a finished measurement that is approximately 4 inches smaller than your actual bust size". Where is this pattern note located? Directly under the gauge. Idiot...

I'm going to finish it as it is - the yarn was cheap, and I don't care about it enough to rip it all and reknit it to the correct size. So, anybody got a 38-39" bust that wants a hand knit Gemini tee? Free to a good home! If there are no takers, I may one day rip and reknit, but don't hold your breath ;-)

Lesson learned: Read the pattern. The whole pattern. Properly.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Bug ID

I was walking home from town this afternoon, when this most unusual bug scuttled across the footpath in front of me. I'd never seen it before, and the thing was bloody quick, so I couldn't grab my phone out quickly enough to snap a pic before it stopped on the side of a rock. I got the best picture I could, and decided to look it up on the net:



It is a house centipede. Has anybody else ever seen one? It makes you think, doesn't it? The sheer number of different creatures on this planet is just astounding. One could never see them all in a lifetime. The universe is truly an amazing place.

Now for a complete change of subject, I finished spinning a skein of yarn today:



Royal Orleans, on 100% polwarth from maude & me. I divided the braid into two, then I split (as best I could, which was a pretty poor attempt to be honest) the green and the purple, so they'd be separate, and wouldn't muddy together too much.



I was pleasantly surprised to discover, after plying the two singles together, that I had actually managed to spin almost exactly the same length singles. There was less than half a metre of one single left. That is the best I've ever done to get two matching-length singles. I've often been frustrated by the large amount of one single left over after two-plying, when I've tried my absolute best to get them to match. This time? The singles were spun sporadically over months, with no real consistency at all. So yay! The resulting yarn is about a DK/worsted weight, about 316.5m, 123g. As usual, I have no idea what I'll make with it. Winter's coming, anybody want some mittens?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Can I get a 'hell yeah'!?

I ran my first sub-one-hour 10k this morning!! Woot woot!!! Perhaps it was the music I was listening to. Started out with The Prodigy's Firestarter, and it kinda went from there. I set up a 'running' playlist on my iPod before heading out this morning - all relatively fast-paced, upbeat music. Much as I like listening to classical and other types of slower music, it's not the kind of stuff that keeps you moving, y'know? Either way, I was rather chuffed, and danced around like an idiot to Heya by Outkast when I got home, before having my shower. Probably annoyed Deane, who was still in bed... That's what you get for sleeping in until nearly 10 o'clock! ;-P

Also, finally finished reading A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. It's a really good book, but I thought it would never end!!! See, I have the first four books on my Kindle, and they're all lumped together, so the little progress bar at the bottom creeps along incredibly slowly. You can read a whole chapter, and the percentage count won't even change! Makes you feel like you're getting nowhere. And the second book's longer, and the third one longer again! Still, as I said, they're really good. I think I'll wait a while before starting the second one though - I have a truckload of reading to do for my studies now, and light reading would be better for recreational purposes, methinks.

Ooh, speaking of studies, I'll be submitting my first assignment next week. OMG, I'm so nervous!! What if it's no good? What if I get an E? (Yes, they do actually have those, it's for a score of 0-39%). This assignment counts for 30% of my total mark. Gosh, I hope it's okay...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I be a student

Gosh, the last several days has been busy! My course materials arrived on Friday, and I've been studying every day (except Sunday, which is knitting day). Unfortunately, it took a while for the enrolment process to go through, so I was nearly two weeks behind, but I think I've managed to catch up already. My first assignment is due on the 29th March!! OMG!! It's already proving to be a bit of a challenge, but I think a good chunk of that is due to my being out of practice. I also need to get the hang of referencing. Once I get into the swing of things, I think it will go a lot smoother. Some of the difficulty is also due to still learning my way around the online campus. This will get easier, I'm sure of it :-)

I'm enjoying myself so far, getting anxious to start in the mornings. I have to be disciplined and get the kids organised and out the door, finish up any essential house chores, think about what I'm doing for dinner later, and (some days) go for a run before getting stuck in. Most of that time, I'm thinking about my assignment. Crazy.

I'm only working on one paper this trimester, which apparently requires an average of 12 hours per week of study. Considering the two weeks of catch-up, and the two-three weeks we'll be away in April, I think I can manage it quite easily. I hope to be able to do two papers next trimester - I'll see how I got this time around. Fingers crossed!!

My knitting is going well now too - Sock Madness Round 1 is still in progress, but my pair is finished:



'No Dice', using the exclusive (for now) SM Dicey pattern, knit in Cascade Heritage Silk yarn. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the yarn was! Depending on how they hold up to wear, I could see myself knitting with this again in the future.

I knit another pair of socks over the weekend too:



Simply Ginny socks, knit in Knitsch Grape, which has been in my stash forevaaaaaaahhh.

Last night, after finishing the Ginnys, I cast on a Gemini tee - I got some DK cotton yarn really cheap late last year from Crafty Knitwits ($2 a ball - can't beat that!), and I wasn't sure what to do with it. When this pattern popped up in the new issue of Knitty... perfect!! I'll let you know how I get on. Sometimes my study involves a lot of reading (both online and on paper), so once I get to the main body of this tee, which is all stockinette, I'll have something to keep my hands busy while I'm reading. Yay!

Well, my week is set. I hope yours is too! Have a good one :-)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Madness has returned

Yes, Sock Madness 6 has begun! The first pattern was released to us crazy sock knitters on Saturday, and it's an easy, but rather fun pattern. Involving dice. Intrigued? I was. The sock is knit from the toe up, and the main part of the sock is split up into cable columns. Every fourth row is a 'cable' row, but in order to find out if you need to cable or not, you have to roll the dice. I've got an app on my phone which rolls six dice at once (very handy, as there are six cables across the top of the sock) - if you roll an even number, you cable. If you roll an odd number, you don't. I've knit just past the heel of one sock (I would've done two at a time, but I accidentally buried the centre strand in the yarn cake while winding, and decided against hunting it out):



Cool, huh? I love the complete randomness of it. Keeps you interested :-) I'm knitting these in some yarn I was given in trade - it's Cascade Heritage - 85% wool, 15% mulberry silk. Very soft and snuggly!!

I finished the pair of socks I was knitting last week:



Catherine, knit with Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Botanical. These ended up going to my sister for her birthday, along with this hat I knit her over the weekend:


(This photo makes me think of grumpy dwarf...)

This is a sock yarn version of the Felicity hat, knit with Knitsch Merino Sock yarn in Mystery Machine. Such an awesome colour! As usual, I had a bit of trouble getting a decent photo of the hat on myself, but I thought this one was kinda cool:



So basically I got my knitting mojo back, and managed to get quite a bit done over the last few days, although I didn't have any time to pick up the knitting yesterday. Instead I got to enjoy a dinner out with a friend from Wellington. It was nice to catch up and share news.

Life at casa de kreachr is back to normal - I'm managing about three runs a week, and am back up to 10km (yay!), Deane's busy with work and T is 'accidentally' leaving his workbook at school in order to avoid homework. Cheeky bugger. X asked me yesterday what 'managing your impulsivity' meant, so I explained as best I could, and wondered where that question came from (he comes up with some real doozies sometimes). I discovered this morning, while packing his lunch, that he had filled out a 'job application' for the AV team at school. Awwww, how cute! His first job application! I wonder if he'll have to go through a series of rigorous interviews? Does this mean that he will become even more nerdy than he is now? Is that even possible?? I suppose worse things could happen...

Righto, must dash, I have some socks to knit!! Have a good week people :-)