Friday, February 23, 2007

sock swap!

finally, something that has (albeit briefly) lifted me out of the bleahs... my package from the knitty sock swap arrived today!!


my lovely pal bryghtrose sent me a parcel stuffed with goodies - roving from spunky eclectic (which i've always wanted to try), hand-dyed sock yarn, dark truffle chocolate, and of course the pair of socks she knitted especially for me. she even made up her own pattern for them based on a "lily-of-the-valley" lace, with sparkly beads!

the close-up picture on the left is a better representation of the yarn colourway - it's blue moon socks that rock lightweight in "pop rocks". & if pink & sparkly socks can't lift me out of the bleahs, i don't know what can...
& here's the socks i sent to bryghtrose in exchange - i've just found out she got them safely so i can post a picture now without ruining the surprise.


the pattern is monkey from knitty, and the yarn is cherry tree hill supersock in colourway "cabin fever". the socks were a great knit, & i liked the pattern so much i'm already planning a pair for myself - maybe with my new sock yarn?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

well, bleah.

i've had a hard time being inspired lately, not just to post here, but to do anything at all. there's a lot of reasons for that at the moment - my local knitting group seems to be having a nervous breakdown (but i'll spare you the specifics) which is causing me some stress; i'm having to finally deal with the official paperwork-y bit of closing down my business; it's been gray & rainy; i have some kind of weird stomach thing happening (again, i'll spare you the specifics!); & all my projects (knitting & spinning) seem to have stalled at a midpoint & i can't muster the energy to push them forward.....
and then there's the time of year. the couple of weeks around this time are hard for me; next week will be the sixth anniversary of my dad's death, and even though it's been a while now, i still find myself grinding to a halt at this time of year.
there have been a few things that are managing to break through the bleahs - i won parikha's "when bad things happen to good knitters" contest by sharing my past knitting traumas (yay!); i managed to find a couple of pairs of new jeans (finally!); and i've recently been given this interesting task:


winding huge long skeins of yarn for kerrie at hipknits to dye into self-striping sock yarn, which basically involves setting up two points (like two kitchen chairs, or in my case, two laundry racks, since my house is oddly chair-free) a certain distance apart, and walking repeatedly up & down the hallway between these two points, trailing a cone of yarn behind you until it winds into whatever size skein you need. fun! but also not without its own monotony...
it has, however, inspired me to order a big cone of undyed BFL sock yarn for myself, to try some sock-yarn-dyeing experiments that will possibly be sold on the old maiden aunt site, so that must be good.
check back later, when i've shrugged off the bleahs...

Monday, February 19, 2007

showing off


look what i can do! it's the revised attempt at the first endpaper mitt, a free pattern from eunny jang's blog. this was my first try at stranded knitting, and i was surprised at how easy it actually was. it's very slightly lumpy as i didn't get my tension completely right, and pulled my stitches rather too tightly in more than a few places. & the bind-off at the thumb is also fractionally too tight, as it was my first try doing a kitchener rib bind-off. but the mitt is soft, snug, & cozy, & 'm so impressed with myself!
the brown yarn is the rowanspun dk in "sludge" that i used when i initially tried the pattern, and the green is a skein of koigu kpm (although the ball band has disappeared & i can't remember the colourway). it's a much brighter contrast than the first attempt & i think it's a vast improvement. & now that i know what i did wrong on the first one (loosen up!) the second should be perfect...

Friday, February 16, 2007

sock contest winners!

phew - the contest is at an end. as it turned out, not one of you got the answers bang on, although a couple were pretty close. some were waaaay off - you people must think i'm a sock knitting machine!! here are the answers:
1. i've knitted (thus far) 41 individual socks - a couple of these were socks that were fully knitted & then frogged, one is embarrassingly languishing in my WIP basket (& has been there for about six months), a few pairs were gifts, & the rest belong to either myself or the RSA. mhairi at flavaknits guessed closest with 46, so she wins the opal hundertwasser silver spiral. she's knitting her very first sock so hopefully this will help keep her addicted...
2. & personally, i own 20 socks myself - some are gifts from other knitters, one is a fancy lace pair that i accidentally felted but couldn't bring myself to throw away, and the rest are ones i've made for myself. kelda (who appears to be blogless) guessed closest with 21, so she wins the lovely lorna's laces & the brittany dpns!
if both winners email me at the old maiden aunt email address with their mailing address details, i'll sent them their prizes.
thanks everyone for playing!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

sock addict contest!

hello my name is lilith, & i am a sock addict. and, surprisingly for someone who's so technophobic, i'm also a blog addict.
like sock knitting, i quickly becaome hooked on reading other people's blogs, much like i loved the idea of knitting socks & enjoyed looking at sock patterns & beautiful sock yarns. i was reluctant to start knitting socks (too hard! tiny needles! & look how thin that yarn is!) but once i started, it seemed i couldn't stop. & it's been the same with blogging - i was reluctant to start my own blog (who would want to read it? what would i even write about? & does anyone really care what i had for lunch?) but since i started blogging back in june, it seems that i've had quite a lot to say - this is my 100th post!!! and what better way to celebrate it with a contest about my other addiction - socks, of course!
first, the prizes:

on the left, opal sock yarn in a limited edition colourway "hundertwasser silver spiral", & on the right, lorna's laces shepherd sock in colourway "black purl".
now, how to win them: simply leave me a comment with your guess at answers to these questions (one comment per person so guess wisely!). the person with the closest guess wins the prize; if there is more than one person with the right answer i'll draw names from the people who got it right. & to keep it fair, one person won't be able to win both prizes, even if they got both answers right - i'll make sure two people win. make sense? ok, the questions:
  1. to win the opal, you need to tell me how many socks you think i've knitted so far (as of today, that is). some important things to note - this includes (but is not limited to) socks i've knitted for myself, for the RSA, & as gifts for other people; it might also include socks in progress (if i've finished one sock of a pair) and even socks that i've knitted & then frogged (if i knitted a full sock & then decided i didn't like it). this doesn't include partial, unfinished socks though. also, i'm talking about "socks" singular, not pairs of socks, so if you think i've knitted, say, 10 pairs, then you should post a guess of 20 socks.
  2. & to win the lorna's laces (& a bonus prize of a set of 2.5mm brittany birch dpns!) you need to tell me how many hand-knitted socks i currently own. this includes socks i've made for myself as well as socks i've received as gifts. it could also include socks in progress (if i've finished one of a pair for myself) but won't include frogged socks (since i can't "own" something that i've ripped out!).

clear as mud, eh? start guessing... i'll leave the contest open for guesses until the end of thursday this week, and will post the winners on friday 16th february.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

frozen toes

it's very, very cold here. not as cold as this, or even this, but pretty cold nonetheless. our flat is right on the sea front, so we get a lot of chilly sea breezes, which always manage to work their way into the building. our boiler has been playing up, and occasionally shuts itself (& the heating) off for no apparent reason, the RSA is away for a work thing & so i'm having to cuddle hot water bottles instead of a warm body, and i've got permanently cold feet. my natural cana'jun immunity to inclement weather has slowly dwindled in the years that i've been away, and i'm suffering. the solution?

layering. i knew there was a reason i'd been knitting so many pairs of socks - clearly, one pair at a time is no longer enough. & just to show you how chilly it's getting:


even those of us with naturally luxuriant fur coats are piling on the wooly layers.
i'm off to make more hot chocolate, and possibly put on more socks. but make sure you come back next time for a special sock-related contest to mark my 100th post!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

i want candy...

does this...

remind you of anything?
it's the merino/silk blend roving from the first icing dye experiment - the colours aren't as vivid as i had hoped they might be (especially the bundle of roving at the back, which was on the bottom of the dye pot when i applied the dyes - apparently the dye hadn't seeped through as much as i had thought!) but there was still something quite appealing about the result...

(i wonder what it could be?)
i couldn't wait, and spun up 50 grams of the lighter roving to see how it looked - presenting a new 70% merino/30% silk sockweight yarn, 50 grams & 160 yards, in colourway "creme egg".

just what i needed to chase away the gray winter! there's still 50 grams of the paler roving as well as 100 grams of the brighter roving, which will hopefully be spun up within the next week & added to my yarn for sale (go check out the site, i've revamped the whole thing!).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

heeeeere fishy fishy fishy!! *

look what i got! there's nothing like buying yourself a little present to chase away those january/february/it's too dark to function blues...

it's a fabulous knitting project pouch from, home of lovely hand-sewn crafty things in very funky fabrics. this pouch is printed with tiny, cute goldfish, so cute that some of them even have their own names (for better closeup shots than i can get with my little camera, go here & click on "more images"). it's the perfect size for a pair of socks (in fact, there's probably enough room to fit two pairs in) & has great little extra features like an inside pocket & elastic loops inside to hold extra needles, pens, scissors or whatever else you like to carry around in your knitting. & even better, there were extra gifts inside the pouch when it arrived, including some sweet hair clips, knitting sheep notecards, & some buttons from the moustache factory (check out this guy). i love the pouch, love the extra presents, and love the fact that they ship internationally (& for a very reasonable cost, too!) - it's definitely helped banish the winter blahs.
(& bryghtrose, in case you've been wondering, that's your socks for the knitty sock swap hiding in there - a little sneak preview for you!)

*for anyone who doesn't get the reference (or anyone who wants to relive their childhood) click here

Friday, February 02, 2007

poetry reading

e e cummings


my contribution to the second annual blogger (silent) poetry reading, via cara at january one. the first e.e. cummings poem i remember reading, and still my favourite.

candy luminous

inspired by today's poem in the above post, here's the first oven-dyeing-with-food-colouring experiment, in candy luminous sunset shades...


this batch of 70% merino/30% silk roving was dyed using vinegar & food colouring paste from a cake shop (normally used for colouring icing, i think) and then baked in the oven - and holy hannah, does it ever reek! this will undoubtedly be one of those days where the first words that come from the RSA's lips on entering the house are "what is that SMELL???" (sorry, sweetie, but it's not just me that has to suffer for my art).
oh well... at least i don't have unsightly nose hair anymore.