Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Granny update

The great granny rug construction project is moving along quite nicely. This is just a quick progress update. The granny rug story's first chapter can be found here: Granny wants a latte macchiato.

I have a plan of completing a square a day at least. Some days it works. Others it doesn't. Some days I get 3 or 4 done. However, at last count I had a total of 88 squares, so it seemed to be a good chance to see how they looked together and also to see how large it was and if my initial guess of how many squares I needed was going to be right. I randomly laid them out on the floor and I am amazed at how cool they look. In fact they look so cool, photos of them are currently also serving as the backgrounds on the i-pad and other tablet devices that live in my house.

Clearly it is also a satisfactorily, snugly blankie even in this semi-assembled  state as the cat decided it was worth curling up on. Usually you find the cat snoozing on the end of someone's bed - the messier the bed the better as far as the cat is concerned. It likes to burrow in hollows.

Do I have to have my photo taken?
{I would hereby like to acknowledge Mel for her awesome photography skills in photographing the cat. I have been informed that I should acknowledge her intellectual property and not attempt to exploit her. (Glad to see she is learning something useful in her University education). So once again thanks to Mel and the cat. Maybe I owe it a modelling fee?}

The future recipient of the granny rug likes it too. I have even been good and been sewing in the ends as I go. Nearly a third of the way there now. Yay! At his rate it will only take me about 6 more months (let's not think about that now)... How about one more cool photo of progress so far instead?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A sock story

This is the story of some very old socks: two pairs of hand-knit socks and one odd sock.

The odd sock that started it all
When I first started to knit competently, I thought it was time to learn some new techniques namely knitting in the round and stranded colour knitting particularly fairisle. The one odd sock, which is really a Christmas stocking, was the result. This is not a sock which would normally fit any foot I know. The leg part is OK, but the foot is very roomy. It does however fit over a tightly wrapped ankle I remember. The highlight of this sock's existence was being worn in public over a strapped ankle for about a month after a nasty incident involving a set of stairs and a race against an elevator when I was 18. The elevator won and I tore every ligament in my ankle.

I don't really remember there being a pattern as such for this though I did use a generic pattern to figure out how to turn the heel. The fairisle patterning is definitely experimental. This is one of the oldest pieces of knitting I still have. I knitted it in my late teens so its at the very least a veteran sock (on the grounds that cars are veteran if they are more than 25 years old).
Close up of the fairisle at the top of the sock

You can see this is an old sock - look at the hole

Blogging about random socks was prompted by me doing my mending over Easter. The Head of the Household is good at getting holes in just one sock of any pair and if the sock is still otherwise nearly new, I'll darn the holes. So on Easter Saturday, I was darning a sock....

One neat darn. Nearly new sock.
And I thought of the socks. After the Christmas stocking, I thought I would make a pair of fairisle socks sort of like slipper socks. These were knitted on 4 mm double pointed needles using a variety of mostly cheap and nasty 8 ply acrylic yarn (hey I was a poor teenager at the time). Does anyone in Australia remember Disco yarn? The soles haven't really stood up to hard wear and tear. Its a pity with all the intricacy of the knitting that I used such rubbish yarn. I did use a pattern for the foot part of these.
They are still warm snuggly socks

Well loved, battered socks
Developing holes in the band
Large hole evident in bottom of foot

Have been darned but darns are almost worn out
There is no excuse for these next socks except to say it was the eighties. This is what happens when leg warmers breed with socks. The really scary thing is that there used to be a matching jumper....
These socks are knitted in fisherman's rib which can be seen in detail above. This time around I used a variety of 8 ply wool and the foot part is knitted in a machine wash. These ones are great under hiking boots and ski boots. Or they make great slipper socks.
[When I was editing the photos for this blog I discovered my updated photo editor had some cool new photo manipulations built in. So here is one final photo of the one odd sock]

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Random Gift Giving

In my professional life, I often get the chance to collaborate closely with a number of other lecturers at lots of campuses and support staff. On our campus, we are blessed to have an amazing bunch of mainly ladies who run the HUB (Health, Well-being and Development Services). They do everything from help students with financial crises, teach inventive meditation students to stressed exam students, offer an ear to tales of woe, immunise us against flu epidemics, cater to our spiritual well being, and go above and beyond the call of duty to support our disabled students and help students effectively plan for their future careers after they finish their degrees.

One of my subjects includes a career planning component and so I get to team teach each semester with the Careers Advisor. She needs an enormous pat on the back for more than holding up her half of the bargain. I always know that it will run to plan and everything will come together on the day when I work with her. So this year (after a brilliant careers panel, lecture and tutorial) I felt it was time to tell her I noticed all the effort with a random gift.

When I first saw the pattern for these Little Kimono Ladies by Clare Scope-Farrell in Issue 86 Of Simply Knitting I knew I had to make some of them. I quite often make little random gift knits so I have something on hand as a small gift when I need one.
I decided to make the peachy coloured one first partly because it has such a cool pigtail. Here is the stuffed body and head piece. I made one slight change to this and used the lid of a juice bottle in the base of the body rather than a cardboard circle as suggested. I was really impressed with how well this worked. It makes a really stable, solid base.
Various members of my family made very rude comments about what this looked like at this stage. Use your imagination.
Here's the back seam
And the back of the finished doll

The finished figure is about 11 cm tall. The needles used are 3 mm and the yarn is assorted 8 ply (DK) acrylic and wool from the stash. I really want to make a few more now, but I am in granny rug mode at the moment. Square count as of 1st April is

65 squares