Sunday, January 30, 2011

Retreat news

In May I will be teaching at the 13th Annual Okanagan Knitting Retreat in Sorrento, BC. The theme of the retreat this year is "Knock Your Socks Off", and there will be four instructors this year teaching separate sock workshops. You can download the brochure and register for the retreat here, at Janet Armstrong's website. She organizes the retreat and teaches one of the workshops. You can find Janet's blog here, and she will be posting about each of the instructors over the next while.

Here's a sock picture to whet your appetite for a sock retreat!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gratitude and booties

The instructor of the yoga class I go to on Wednesday morning sets an intention for each class and today's was gratitude. The idea, and the quotes she read to us, resonated with me today and I want to try to hang on to the idea of being grateful each day for what I have, and not to worry about what I don't have.

On my way home from the class I saw my first snowdrops of the season - something tangible to be grateful for! Over the last few days there have been some signs of west coast spring. The birds are starting to sing more and differently, the days are getting just that bit longer, and green things are starting to sprout from the earth. There has been a lot of rain recently, and the greyness gets to me, but I must remember things like snowdrops in January that help to make up for it.

Here is a bit of colour:

These booties are for a friend at work (well actually for her first grandbaby, who is expected soon). The pattern is an old classic, and can be found here. For a ravelry link click here. I knit them using leftover sock yarn, and I have to say that they are pretty quick to knit and completely adorable! There is another grandbaby coming, a cousin to the first, and so I'll be making up another pair of these using a different yarn.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The promised photo...

Here are the completed Very Pink Socks. The pattern is my own. The yarn is from Knitpicks - it's called Stroll Tonal and the colour is called Summer Blooms.

And as a bonus - a better photograph of my alpaca-themed Baby Surprise. The light was good outside this afternoon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise.

Knit from Rowan Purelife Organic Wool with Paton's Classic Wool trim. The buttons are from The Wool Station in Fairhaven. Once I sewed the buttons on I got inspired to do a crochet edging in brown and I really like how it pulled it all together. This is such a great pattern.

My only modifications were to leave out the increases in the back (modern babies don't have the bulky diapers they once did) and to shorten the body a bit.

I finished the Very Pink Socks today as well, but didn't get a picture before the sun disappeared behind black clouds - pretty picture to follow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A long-term project

Here is a project that I finally got around to photographing. I started it this winter, and work at it in bits and pieces, because I find it a bit hard on my hands to work heavy-weight garter stitch for too long at a time.

It's Elizabeth Zimmerman's Garter Stitch Blanket, and the pattern is in her book, The Opinionated Knitter. Brooklyn Tweed made an absolutely stunning one a few years ago, which you can see here, and his is the reason I wanted to make one.

The wool I am working with has a good story. My friend Astrid has a colleague whose uncle used to raise sheep organically, and then spin their wool. When the uncle died he left behind multiple garbage bags full of this lovely undyed handspun wool, which his niece is now trying to get into the hands of knitters. She is selling it at a very reasonable price, and the proceeds will go to her aunt, who is elderly and in care. The wool is quite soft, spun rather firmly, and has bits of straw in it periodically, which I find charming given its story. There are two different weights of it, and I am using the heavier one, which is knitting up well on 8 mm needles in garter stitch.

I'm working the blanket on 36 rather than 24 stitches in each section because I want a substantial finished item. I am just about finished the first of the two smaller sections. It's already big enough to be a lap-warmer while I'm working on it!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

About socks

I think that socks are my favourite thing to knit. I never get tired of them, and hardly ever suffer from second sock syndrome (or SSS). I love how portable a sock-in-progress is and I take one with me almost everywhere just in case I end up with time to knit a needle or two. I am currently working on my 45th pair of socks, which makes the half-finished sock in this picture my 90th sock, and I think that's pretty amazing, actually.

These socks are turning out to be rather fun to knit. I really like how the pattern is coming out, I love the picot cuff at the top, and the shades of pink in this yarn (Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Summer Blooms) are really pretty.

I knit most of my socks from the top down because that way I can work them without having to refer to a pattern, and I can vary them by playing with the patterning that I use on the leg and instep. My standard heel is the traditional one with a heel flap and gussets, and I have a standard toe I use as well.

When I need some socks to work on that require hardly any thought at all I use a self-patterning yarn, and a knit 3 purl 1 rib pattern and they just about knit themselves without much input from my brain, which is good on-the-go or I'm-too-tired-to-think-after-a-busy-day-at-school knitting.

These socks are for Joe in California, and they follow the above recipe. They're a men's size 11 so there was quite a bit of knitting involved, but I really enjoyed this yarn with its changing greens (Fortissima Socka Mexiko Color - I don't think you can get this colourway anymore) and so they didn't really get tedious.

I have had a sock list for some time of people I meant to knit socks for, and I've pretty much caught up on the list. I'm always on the lookout for worthy recipients... I think that Dave may be due for a new pair to add to his rotation - he hasn't had any in a while, and I also have some sock yarn I want to knit up for myself...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Very pink socks and a book

This is the sock I started yesterday. I tried a picot edge at the top, which I've wanted to do for a while, and I love it!

The patterning is from a book that my friend, Harry, found at a thrift shop and passed on to me the other day. The book is Japanese, and is called 1000 Knitting Patterns Book and can be seen here. As you can see, it retails for $85! Thank you, Harry! There are some amazing patterns in this book, and the charts are quite easy to read, despite all of the text being in Japanese. 300 of the patterns are actually for crochet - and I'm not so sure about reading the charts for those, but the 700 knitting ones are great!

The yarn for these socks is Stroll Tonal from Knitpicks, in Summer Blooms. I got it on sale in a 4-pack for a really good price.  The shades of pink in it are very pretty.