Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Opal Yarn Sock

I thought I would share with you my current bus project. I travel on the bus to and from work every day and it can be rather a pain because of the interactions of other passengers. You never know when someone will insist on bellowing into their mobile phone allowing their conversation to be overheard by the entire bus, or share their music with the top deck as well as the lower deck of a double decker! In that situation knitting can be a great solace and a sock is a very suitable item as it is small and easily portable.

I like to knit all of my socks using long circulars and work mostly using toe up techniques, using the magic loop. The advantage of this method is that there are no double points to dig into the unwary passenger insisting on leaning against you, and if I were to use two circulars the same would be true. A single long circular is also much less likely to drop stitches.

The current sock is being knitted on 2 mm needles, which would at one time have been called wires. This is a little fine but creates a lovely firm fabric in 4 ply. I have very wide feet so I'm wondering if I'll have enough yarn to finish, although Opal is generous in its yardage. I'm using a very clever pattern from Wendy Johnson's latest sock book Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits which I purchased quite recently with my own money. It includes a traditional slip stitch heel, and as I'm having to use my own stitch count instead of that in the pattern it was quite tricky to work out the correct percentages. However I got there in the end and I'm now working my way up the second sock's toe.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Resolution and Outsize Yarn Stash

Oh dear. My yarn stash has grown alarmingly over the years to the point that it isn't funny any more. I no longer have ROOM for any more and yet every time I want to knit something I seem to buy more! I bet other knitters have similar problems with all the gorgeous yarns available these days, but they're so expensive that it's easy to get into financial trouble with all the wonderful books, patterns and other stuff that one just has to have.

Anyway, my resolution for 2011 is not to buy ANY MORE yarn for this year. I confess I did buy 5 skeins of Malabrigo laceweight on Friday 31st December - but that was still in 2010 before I made this resolution.

A look at the pictures below will help remind me of why I am not allowed to buy yarn!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bought more Rowan yarn to finish Knitting Nephew's Teddy

I've been quite good about my new year's resolutions in regards to not starting any more projects, and have been concentrating on the large teddy bear I am knitting for my 19 month old nephew. We were all visiting my parents at Christmas and Alexander once again played a great deal with the large knitted bear that his dad had when HE was a small boy. The original bear is a little fragile now because he was carried around all over the place, sat on in the car and so on as small children do with such beloved items, and of course Alexander doesn't realise this. In the middle of last year, after a quick search through my collection of toy patterns, I found I had kept the pull-out leaflet from Woman magazine of November 1965 which was where my mother found the original pattern for my brother's bear, ordered some yarn from Laughing Hens web site which was discontinued and on sale and in a very suitable colour for a teddy, and was all set to begin knitting the new bear.

Unfortunately it very quickly became clear that 10 balls of the Rowan RYC Chunky that I had wasn't going to be enough so last night I checked the web site and found - thank goodness - that they still had 11 balls left. I've ordered 5 more and should now have enough when it comes. I've knitted the body of the bear and am well on with the head now, but he's quite involved as the nose, ears, legs and arms are all knitted in two pieces each, and the paw pads are knitted separately in DK.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Knitting on Public Transport

For those of us who do a lot of daily commuting, travel can take up a lot of time especially if it is on buses or trains. If driving then obviously knitting is out of the question but a half hour to 40 minute train or bus journey in the morning and then another in the afternoon or evening - that is several hours of time per week that could be filled with knitting! Immersing oneself in a hobby is a great way to relax, especially during a stressful journey, but it is a good idea to think carefully what to take to do. Buses and trains can be very crowded during busy times and the last thing you want to do is to annoy fellow passengers by sticking elbows and needle points into them, or losing balls of wool onto the floor!

Learning to knit in the round is an excellent way of conserving space, and it's even better if you can learn to use the Magic Loop and Two Circular Needle methods. That way there will be no double pointed needles to slide out of the work, and circular needles in any event don't seem to lose their stitches so often. The knitting can be pushed well back from the tips of the needles when it is not being made, and it is easy to pick up again at a moment's notice.

A really great knitting site with full video tutorials for learning to use double pointed needles, and all the different methods of circular knitting, is

Small projects are really the best plan for knitting on public transport. Again fellow passengers' patience can be tested if a long scarf or larger sweater lands on their knees repeatedly. Aim to keep to small items such as socks which are easy to carry along and don't require a complicated pattern to follow. Simple hats are good too, as are mittens for small children if there are any in the family.

Last of all a bag should be used to keep the knitting in order. The ball of yarn must be managed so that it will stay within the bag and not pop out. One of the old fashioned knitting beehives can be an excellent way of resolving this - the wool goes inside the beehive and the yarn comes out the hole at the top. These can still be found in antique stores and on eBay. Alternatively, make a knitted drawstring bag to put your yarn into!

Knitting on public transport can be a great conversation starter and it's a great way of making those long journeys fly by. Just be careful, if knitting on international transport such as aeroplanes, to check the policy of the airports you will be flying through as some have tighter security around allowing knitting than others.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Knitterly Knitter's New Year Resolutions

  1. Don't buy new yarn this year as the house is already overflowing!
  2. Finish the socks, mittens, Sasha doll jumper and teddy bear which are on the needles before starting anything else.
  3. Go through all the heaps of old magazines. If there is a pattern I like, remove it and recycle the magazine. If there is nothing in a magazine which I want to keep, send it to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy.
  4. Make some new knitting needle rolls to store all my knitting needles in as the current storage is full.
  5. Re-publish my Sasha doll and Fashion doll pattern e-books for readers to enjoy.