Monday, 23 February 2009


Leyburn Socks

My Socks That Rock Leyburn socks for the KAL are finished! Done, done, done. And on time, even ahead of time, no less, seeing as the KAL runs until 31 March. That alone is an extraordinary achievement for me.

You might remember from before that the socks had spontaneously generated a grey quilted lattice effect over a coloured background, on the foot. That didn't last on the legs, of course, due to the different stitch count and floats all the way round. It's still cool though. Looking at the socks (and other ones in this colourway on Ravelry) I think I would have disliked the pooling of these colours in a plain sock, but the Leyburn pattern breaks it up just enough. I think I need to be more careful in buying sock yarn as I have a few which are just too contrasty for me. At some point I'm going to convert some of my skein photos to greyscale to see if there's any way of telling by hue what I will and won't like. I have the KAL rules, in that we all had to pick a different colour of STR and this was the only one I had that hadn't been taken, for getting me to knit with it, otherwise it might have languished in my stash forever. Check out the KAL projects in all those STR colours, so much fun!

Details: BMFA STR mediumweight in "Tide Pool" on 2.75mm needles for a very tight fabric indeed. Pattern as written with short row toes and heels (and not many gaps actually) until the leg, where I only increased to 60 stitches not 72. They are a little hard to get on and off, but fit perfectly once on. I finished these off with a picot cuff as I just didn't fancy doing ribbing and wasn't sure it would work all that well with the busy pattern and pooling. I hadn't done a picot edge before but enjoyed the process, even though stitching down all the live stitches at the end was more time consuming than a regular cast off. I think here it gives a crown-like effect which goes with the regal quilting.

There is one slightly amusing mistake in these, though not easy to spot. They were almost entirely knitted whilst watching the Joss Whedon sci-fi series Firefly, and then the follow-on film, Serenity, all on DVD. Not wishing to give the plot away, there is a particularly tragic moment towards the end of the film, and on reflection that has to correspond to the plain row I missed out of one pattern repeat near the top of the second sock, leading to one slightly shallower V. Proves I enjoyed the film, right?

I will definitely make this pattern again and am pondering whether or not it would be possible to do the socks in black and the floats in another colour, but will have to figure out what I'd do across the soles to get the yarns back into the right places. Not a task for just now though. I have promised the boyfriend a pair of socks and so will be working with STR mediumweight again straight away, doing plain stocking stitch songs in man-size. Possibly dull, but I am going to challenge myself by learning to use two circulars instead of DPNs, just to see if I can. Vaguely considered trying magic loop but will have that as next on the list.

I also have some other FOs but these are old, I just failed to do the finishing on them for ages, then failed to blog them.

Oil Slick Triangular Shawl

From back in July, oh, the shame. Worse still, I finished it back at the very start of November and then didn't do all the ends until some time in January. Never mind, I wear it around the house with pleasure now, although it's a bit rustic and bulky to wear out on the streets of London where I have to preserve my gritty urban cool.

It is huge. I can't measure it because my tape measure is AWOL, but it's wider than my armspan and that's meant to correspond to my height of 5'8". So about six feet. It's six balls of Noro Iro which were in the John Lewis sale in the summer. As far as I'm concerned, Noro = KNoto which is why there were so many bloody ends to avoid dealing with. The result is very snuggly though, and I love the striping.

The pattern is my own, just garter stitch starting at the nape of the neck, then increasing in the middle and at the edges until I ran out of yarn and/or would have given my soul to be finished, on 7mm bamboo circular needles borrowed from Ting.

Feather & Fan Silk Scarf

Worse still, I started this back in June, finished it not that much later, and again it sat waiting for weaving in until after Christmas. Sheesh.

There are lots of photos of this one because I adore the combination of the ripples of the pattern stitch and the glowing orange and pink yarn. It's Skein Queen Kimono, a pure silk aran weight, in "Phoenix". I have subsequently bought the same stuff in another two colours for more of these, but nowhere near as vibrant.

Again the pattern, such as it is, is my own. It's just feather and fan over 36 stitches, plus two stitches either side for a garter border. I got to use my favourite vintage 4.5mm Inox metal needles, which always make me happy in my knitting.

The yarn was wonderful to knit with although did shed pink, slightly fluffy silk strands all over me during the process, and it continues to do so now over my black coat. Must get the lint roller out.

But I can forgive the prettiness anything.

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