Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ipod socks

    Its one of my sisters birthdays in a few days so will not have time to design my own Ipod sock, life would be easier if she hadn't changed her mind from the bookmark which I have finished. I've found a nice Ipod sock I plan to do. It looks simple enough and has cables to the back and purl cables both of which I've not done yet, and its done in the round too. Should be a good work out for my brain.

  My other sisters birthday is at the end of the month so will design one of my own for her.I did start a swatch last night from some magazines I picked up at the thrift store. The magazines are in a folder but there not the full editions but are full sections of a series. The pattern isn't what I'm after but will finish it and write up a post with pictures. There is another one I want to try and a cable pattern I want to try when I have the time.

  Weather is really nice today, after temps of 4c (39f) last night. Got the washing out and am planing on a bbq for my dinner so might not get as much knitting done as I'd like. Beer and bbq wins over knitting most of the time.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Scrub that, Ipod socks instead.

New birthday presents, glad I've only started one.

   Talked to one of my sisters before and she wants a Ipod sock thingy, so will need to find a pattern for that or I might design my own. I want to do a cabled one seeing as I can now do cables, yaaa me.

   Only a quick post today as I'm a wee bit busy, I see my scheduled post posted early. I'll have to figure that out another time.

Have a happy knitty day, back to regular postings tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Bookmarks & Birthdays.

    Well I didn't forget my sisters birthdays, there both next month. I only found out once I had started one of the bookmarks, the easy cable one. This is my first time doing cables and I can say this one is very easy. I didn't do a test run I just jumped in and started knitting the bookmark. 

  I'm knitting the bookmark in the cotton I used for the bib with 3mm needles(see side menu or top menu for needle conversions). Its knitting up really quickly but I think its too wide for a bookmark, more my fault really. I'm not sure of the weight of the cotton yarn and I'm using bigger needles than the pattern calls for. 

  I might keep this one for myself and knit two other types seeing as I think its too wide and I have plenty of time. Well not really plenty of time, its next month in a couple of days.

*Posted Sunday, scheduled to appear on Monday as I'm going to be busy today and might not be able to get to the computer till late.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Long Weekend Fun

   Well its started out with wind and rain. It does look like the sun is trying to break through, just needs to push those ominous black clouds out of the way. I got my Yarn maker magazine this morning, haven't had time to read it yet but had a quick flick through with my morning coffee and it looks good. I'll tell you more once I've read it.

  Had a look around on the net for cabled bookmarks and there doesn't really seem to be all that many. Only one bookmark that looks simple enough for me to attempt. My friend who encourages me told me to design my own, think its a bit much since I've never cabled before. I did find a couple of nice none cabled ones I could do. I might do the simple cabled one and another one, might include a quick poll on which one. I only have so many sisters and can't knit them all.

   My spinning is coming along slowly. I started the light grey* top but don't really like it, it feels a bit rough and the yarn looks fairly hairy. Its giving me the chance to concentrate more on how I wind the yarn onto the spindle though, getting a nice bump in the middle. I was planning on plying the sweater yarn this weekend but only have one spindle so will need to buy another one next week.

  My scarf is almost done, haven't touched it for two days though, Wanted to do an hour on it last night but had irc problems I had to address that took way longer than I had thought. Silly computers. I might finish it this weekend or at least do a little bit more on it. Going to miss this one once its done, even with the 10" mistake I had to rip out its been a real pleasure to knit.

   Last but not least, I haven't mentioned the backpack in awhile. I've pretty much finished the body of it, I knitted the sides up and attached the Icords. I need to sew the buckles to the bottom and finish the straps. The straps are turning into a nightmare. Easy to do but oh so boring. I also need to sew a button on, I had looked at buttons awhile back but totally forgot about them.

  So that's read yarn maker, do a bit of knitting on the straps and sew the bottom buckles. Maybe a bit of knitting for the scarf, or maybe even finish it off. Got to find and start two bookmarks, well at least start one. If anyone knows of a simple cabled bookmark let me know in comments or email. No dyeing this weekend but I will be doing some spinning, I want to get this grey* top out of the way so I can start on the white** one which feels really soft.

What are your long weekend plans???

* I think the light grey is Suffolk
**Bluefaced Leicester

Friday, 27 August 2010

It ain't cheap

    I remember my mom knitting aran sweaters and she was a wizz with the sewing machine doing wedding dresses and alterations. We grew up poor, were no longer poor nowadays but she no longer knits or sews. I think she hates too, not sure if it reminds her of the poor days or whether she always hated it but was forced to do it to make some cash and to save some money. Now that I'm knitting myself I'm not so sure about the saving cash part.

 Knitting is an expensive hobby. A pair of socks using good yarn Will cost me just under £5. Add in the 20 hours it takes me to knit them and it ain't cheap. Taking up spinning doesn't make it cheaper, tops and roving's can cost the same as wound balls or skeins.Dyeing doesn't make it cheaper either, undyed yarn costs the same as dyed yarn. Plus you have to pay for the dyes to dye with. The only way to really save cash is to start with a raw fleece, wash and card it into spinable amounts, dye it yourself then knit with it. A raw fleece can be had for as little as £1 and should get you at least 600g of yarn. Its a lot of work though. 

  I don't knit to save cash I knit because its a real pleasure to do so and as a doomer its also very handy to have the skills for when tshtf. The reason knitting seems expensive is what we produce can be bought ready made up extremely cheaply. Machines and slave labor with our throw away attitudes I don't think can last too much longer in this current climate. Well I can see more slave labor in our futures, you and me unless we plan for the future. Get out of debt, get out of the cities, get grub and get skills. Its a hard rain a-gonna fall.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Knitted bookmarks

No wrong side bookmark.
No wrong side knitted bookmark.
  I know I said we'd have a sock post today but I was talking to a friend last night about doing cables and bookmarks came up so here's a post on knitted bookmarks. My friend who pushed me into knitting in the round is pushing me into learning to knit cables, god bless her little cotton socks.

    We talked about simple cable projects when bookmarks were mentioned and I realised I had missed two of my sisters birthdays last month, oopsie. I had promised one I'd do her a bookmark so I'm now looking for two simple cabled bookmarks.
 knitted no wrong side bookmark

  This bookmark I did a short while ago everyone loved. Of all the presents I've knitted this bookmark seems to be the favorite so next time your thinking of knitting a present and umming and arrghing about which expensive yarn to buy to do that sweater sometimes the little things with a bit of left over yarn are best.
knitted bookmark

The bookmark was done from this pattern  . I did a couple of these in different yarns because I was having trouble with my knit to purls, the purls were leaving pretty big hole next to the knit stitches for some reason. A problem that crops up from time to time for me. I can do purls fine but sometimes going from a knit to a purl stitch will leave a big hole, most times it doesn't.
No wrong side knitted bookmark
   I did the pictured bookmark in the same cotton I used for the bib on 3mm needles, to see needle sizes either click on the drop down menu which will show you at a glance. You can also click on any size on the drop down menu and it will take you to the conversion page or you can just click the link at the top.
  The cotton produced a very nice weighted bookmark that's very good for keeping the pages open. I did this for my moms birthday present and she loved it. Have since knitted another one for a different sister but I used a lighter yarn and don't feel its as practical, still looks nice though. I'd suggest doing it in a heavyish yarn.
A pretty quick knit that isn't all that hard to do.

   I'll let you know what I'm doing with the next bookmarks once I find a couple of easy nice cables to do, looks like my weekends already planned.
Knitted bookmark

Click the images to enlarge, I'll get the sock post I promised up next week sometime.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

No dyeing today

Well after Tuesdays disaster even the calendar says WTF.
  The immerision method I was trying in the microwave hasn't worked, think this is to do with the red and the ph. It seems a lot of reds can be tricky to get right, red #3 no idea what it is though. I'm going to get a few packets of kool aid and try those, there well tried and tested and there lots of advice out there too. 

  I will also get some of the acid dyes. There are starter kits on ebay that include sock yarn so you can dye and knit your own socks, I'll just get the dyes though, still have plenty of the white sock yarn.

  I was thinking of plying the yellow/mustard sock yarn with my light brownish spun yarn. Would also like to ply my red left over sweater yarn to make a hat with. Wish I knew about plying befor I did the back pack, I knitted it with two strands of yarn and  think it would of been easier to ply the two though I've never plyed/plied(?) befor so don't yet know how hard it is. This will soon be corrected.

   I've bid on some multi coloured tops for spinning on ebay. 500g in all but you can't pick which colours though they will include at least one white top. There pretty cheap and will be good for practising with.

 Going to post about my very first knitted socks tomorrow, well the couple of baby socks I did and the ones I eventually managed to do for myself.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I need adult supervision.

     I put the dyed yarn into separate plastic bags to stop any colours running between skeins and for the steam to work. Didn't think I heated them up enough last time and that's maybe why the dye didn't set. This time I made sure I heated them enough, errr I mean too much. The plastic bags have melted into the yarn, I guess that's one way to set the colours, going to need a hammer and a 6 inch nail to knit with though.

  Next time I'm using kool aid and the stove top. I do have a bowl of the mustard yarn in the microwave at the moment with some red dye that I'm trying the immersion method. Keeping an eye on it so I don't burn the house down or something. Got the thermometer out and keeping it around 180. Not sure its working but will keep at it.

Coffee break

and I've not even started yet

I've earned this coffee break, you know how I hate shopping. Didn't maim anyone today, look they'll heal so its not classed as maiming. Even that shin compound fracture will heal ok. I did apologise about that, felt bad after I'd run over her with the trolley for the 6th time. Just kidding. Honest.
  I'll get started in a bit, going to unwind a ball using the back of the chair. Using the swift was a pain last time. I think its best to leave that for helping turn skeins into balls. I got some *red, blue and yellow liquid dyes*, I did look at the icing pastes but don't know about those, they all contained glucose. Guess I could try one in my home brew, a nice green beer for halloween maybe.
  Got a bottle of distilled/white vinegar, do have more in the house but thought I'd get one more for my prepping. Someone mentioned using lemon juice instead because of the smell which seems a good idea to me, even wearing gloves I couldn't get rid of the vinegar smell last time. Made my biscuits taste funny. Not sure if I could use the fake lemon stuff, jiff??? I could also use the invisible lemonade kool aid stuff, I think that serves the same purpose to add acid.
  Got some little plastic pots with lids, I know the food dyes are safe but would really like to keep all the dyeing stuff separate. Will be much safer for when I get around to using the acid dyes and more nasty stuff. Don't want to accidentally kill myself, contrary to popular opinion it would be a bad idea.

Colours are 

  • blue = spirulina.
  • red = anthocyanis, paprika extract, emulsifier(polysorbate 80).
  • yellow =ploysorbate 80, curcumrin.

Monday, 23 August 2010

More on my dyeing

    I love the folks at ravelry, there so helpful. Seems I made one mistake and also I found out the asda own brand food colouring is rubbish too.
   I will give it another crack because the dyes are easy to get and cheap but this time I'll add some of the distilled/white vinegar to the dye. I'll also only do a couple of small amounts of yarn too.
   I'm going to get some kool aid stuff as well, seems its pretty easy to get over here in the UK, can get it on eBay and a few folks sell it as well. Need to get a couple of spare pans too and have a go at acid dyes.

My dyeing died.

     Well that didn't start out too well. Did two 50g skeins, soaked in vinegar and water for 30+ mins then got the food colours out to play. Ended up with some nice muted colours which I was happy about. I had been worried the colours would of been too bright from using the food dyes.  
    So far so good. 
  When I picked them up to put in the bowl to heat I gave them a squeeze which I now realise is a big no no. All the colours ran together to form various shades of dirty orange, not great but not too bad either. Zapped them in the microwave for 2 minuets then let cool then zapped them again for another two minutes. Not too bad so far really,let them cool down and rinsed with water to remove excess dye. 
    Oh dear, I now have two 50g skeins of a lovely mustard colour. The colour is really nice but its not what I was after. At this point I'm not sure whats gone wrong, why one colour has taken and the rest just washed away.


   I soaked the mustard skeins in a vinegar solution again this time for about an hour then added the last of the red food dye I had. Red was the only colour I had left over and there really wasn't a lot left. 

  The result wasn't great looking but what the hay. I zapped the skeins in the microwave for a couple of mins, let cool then zapped them again for a bit longer. I let them cool them zapped them one last time and let cool ready for rinsing.  
   Grrrrrr all the red washed out leave me back with my lovely mustard coloured yarn.
   I really have no idea what I've done wrong, maybe its the food colour I used and only the yellow one is any good. It could also be the sock yarn too but I'd of thought if it was the yellow wouldn't of taken either. If all the dyes had washed out I'd understand better but having the yellow set and the red,blue and green dyes wash out leaves me a little puzzled.

   I really wish I had cut up one of the skeins into smaller pieces and experimented that way instead of jumping in head first, oh well you live
and learn. I'll get some more of the food dyes tomorrow and do some small pieces this time and see whats going on.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Scarfs back on track

Sort of...

    The scarf is sort of back on track, I seem to have lost my rhythm with it now though.I keep making silly counting mistakes and knitting one or two extra stitches before I catch them and unknit em. Not sure whats going on with it and I'm not sure where I made the original mistake. I think I might of even made the mistake halfway along a row and then ended up repeating that row.
   The reason I didn't spot the mistake earlier is because the scarfs over four feet long and I had it folded up to make it easier to work with. You could only see it when I unraveled it all to measure how far along I was.

    I've just unwound two 50g balls of the white sock yarn ready to soak in water and vinegar over night ready to dye tomorrow. I have an old metal thingie... errr I forget what there called now. Its got 3 arms that expand and spin around and you wrap the yarn around. Makes skeins. I need to plan it out better next time though. I did put the ball in a plastic bag with a hole for the yarn to go through but it still seemed to snag a lot and collect more hairs than the dog has on its back.

    No posts tomorrow as usual, unless Israel bombs Iran some time today. I'll be playing with dyes tomorrow, I'll let you all know what interesting colours I stain myself with for the next 3 months.
    Have a happy knitty, spinney, dyeie weekend.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Bloody scarfs and supermarkets...

    Still haven't looked at the scarf, will do so after this much needed cup of coffee and smoke. I hate food shopping. Well I hate any sort of shopping really. I'm not a crowd person and can react rather violently with my supermarket trolley. If you ever see a mad man rushing down the aisle with steam coming out of his ears, blood dripping entrails hanging from the front of the trolley and the wheels leaving a trail of gore across the floor, don't be afraid to say Hi.

   I'll get back to the scarf some time this afternoon, didn't want to have a crack at it last night because I wasn't in the mood. Sometimes its best to walk away from problems until a later time. Preferably when you've calmed down some.

  The hose pipe/garden pipe ban has been lifted in these parts, not that folks need to use a hosepipe with all this rain. Unfortunately the canal hasn't been refilled and theres no mention of when it will be refilled. Not sure what to do about my holidays, might just rent a small boat/barge at the end of the season or might save my cash.

Thursday, 19 August 2010



     What did I just post today about this scarf being a real pleasure to knit?

I jinxed myself. 
   Stood up to measure how much I'd done and found that the last 10 inches has been done the wrong way around. I've ripped back the 10" and am now looking to see which row I missed out, or repeated but can't see it. It might be best if I rip back this section as well but I'm pretty certain the mistake is somewhere near the top, might just rip back half way. Not really in the mood right now so I really should wait until tomorrow, though I probably wont.

Spinning and knitting

Knitting and spinning

     Been doing a fair bit of spinning the last few days, clockwise too. I only spend about 10 to 15 minutes at a time doing any. Still training the muscles memory. Finding spinning clockwise is much more stable, the spindle doesn't go flying around as much and there for doesn't try and eat my drafted yarn. Still need to watch where I'm sitting or put my feet as that's what causes me to snap the draft most of the time, though my heavy handiness has snapped the draft while I'm drawing out the fibers too.
   Still finding drawing out the hardest part though I'm now getting a more consistent width of yarn but it could be much thinner. I need to be brave and see how far I can push it to snapping point. 

Breaking stuff is the only way to learn how not to break stuff.

     The double basket weave scarf is coming along nicely and is a real pleasure to knit. Once its finished I might make everyone one for Christmas. Alas the backpack isn't as much fun, though it once was. Still on the straps, I had done one strap to about 4 inches then decided to do the other strap at the same time so did that last night(eta on the same needle). It will make my increases much easier to do in the right places.

    Not sure I've mentioned this but I've already decided on my next project and its another darn bag. This time I want a bag to hold my pegs(clothespins). Haven't looked for any patterns yet but have a good idea of what I want, just not sure on how to add the hanger thingy. I do have plenty of the cotton yarn I used in the bib pattern

Really I should be thinking of Christmas presents, I know its months away but I'm not a fast knitter.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Fingerless gloves, wrist warmers.

My very first knitted in the round project.
fingerless gloves, wrist warmers
   I knitted these very soon after I first ever knitted in the round as a Christmas present for one of my sisters. I used the magic loop method, don't remember practising it I just did it with these gloves. At the time I didn't know I was knitting in the round wrong. I was knitting off the wrong needle, wasn't a problem at the time because the wrist warmers were done all in rib stitch. Only realised I was doing it wrong on my next project, mittens done in mainly stocking stitch.(I'll do a post of those soon).
wrist warmers, fingerless gloves
   I used regia sock yarn, approx. 50g, the fingerless gloves do look tiny but stretch to fit amazingly well. I'm not 100% certain now as its been a long time but think I got the pattern from Berroco. Either way there pretty simple to do and make a great beginners project for knitting in the round, much easier than socks.
fingerless wrist gauntlets
    Think these turned out pretty well considering it was my first in the round project and I was knitting off the wrong needle. I did end up with a third one, I forgot about that. The very first one I did was a little larger than the second so I did a third one that more matched the second. Not a bad idea to knit 3 things when doing socks,gloves and mittens especially knitting for babies.
fingerless wrist gauntlets

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Darn backpack

    Getting really hacked off with this backpack now. What should of been a quick project seems to have dragged on and on. I'm doing the straps in garter stitch but slipping every other stitch over an even amount of stitches per row so on the next row I knit a slip stitch and slip a knit stitch. The results are a bit padded and are not stretchy but have a tiny amount of give. Plus its much quicker to knit so I can get this darn thing finished quicker.

  Got my white sock yarn today but will wait until I have the time to play with dyeing otherwise I'll end up ringing in sick, "hello, I can't come in today. I'm blue". 

   I really need a couple of pans, glass bowls to set the dyes in. Its not so important with food dyes but using other types seems much more deadly than I realised. Heck it ain't real fun unless its messy and deadly.

Monday, 16 August 2010

BBQ without rain.

BBQ and knitting

   It was lovely and sunny yesterday so I had a bbq, may as well make the most of this poor summer were having. Only had a couple of burgers, I messed the chicken up. The top of the jar of turmeric sort of fell off, tried to save it then just wrapped it in foil and let it cook mainly that way until near the end then let it char grill awhile. The dog seemed to enjoy it.
   Its nice and sunny today too so I may fire up the bbq again, got some rump steak*(top sirloin) in. Not 100% sure I'm going to have the time, oh well and it looks like rain again tomorrow(Tue).

  Having some trouble knitting the straps for the backpack. I'm doing heel stitch and was hoping there would be no curl but its curling. A friend told me about double knit that I'm looking into at the moment, its not exactly like she described but I think it will work great for the straps.
   Having looked into double knit more I don't think its what I'm after. It does look really interesting though for working two colours and making a thick piece. Would work well with hats or pot holders. I'll have to learn it another time, for now I need to figure another way to do the straps. At the moment its looking like moss stitch.

* English butchers its rump steak and sirloin, USA is top sirloin and sirloin.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Almost done.

knitting and spinning updates.

 Decided to have a finale push at the backpack and get it finished. I'm going to use the 25mm buckles I have, am knitting a bit now to hold the bottom buckle. Sort of two triangles with a thin bit in between that's knitted with 2 strands. Will fold over and sew the triangles to the bottom of the bag. Then I need to knit the straps and sew those to the top of the bag and thread the buckles onto the bottom part of the straps. Not sure if I'll do a straight strap or do some increases along the way. Am really flying blind with this whole back pack thing.
  Cracking on with the scarf, made a couple of mistakes but have caught them early and unknit them so its still looking good. Got about 3 feet done so am probably half way.

  Finished my first top but had trouble skeining it, turns out I spin counter clockwise. From all I've read it usually tells you to spin clockwise so am not sure if I'm doing it wrong, have asked on ravelry. Think it will be ok, would need to ply clockwise if I spin counter clockwise other than that I can't see it being a problem.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday the 13th...

   When I posted the last post I realised its Friday 13th. Personally I don't believe in such nonsense but if you do then stay safe folks.

Dyeing primary colours, colors.

    Walking around the supermarket today so I can get some food dyes for dyeing my yarns. For the life of me I couldn't remember my primary colours and was walking around singing red and yellow and green and blue I can sing a rainbow and thinking no no that's not right. *Richard of york??? Finely settled on red being one, just two more to go, blue or green or yellow??? Then it hit me, printer inks, pinky, odd blue and yellow. As you can see I'm not very good with colours, only really like two, black and dull. Is dull a colour??
   Ordered some more of that cheap sock yarn yesterday in white so I can play around with dyeing pretty cheaply, unless I spill some and have to replace the carpet, worktops, walls or ceiling. Ordered two packs of 200g for £2 + postage which worked out at £4 this time, still a very good offer and the yarn is good 75% super wash wool.

    Finished spinning the dark brown top so now need to wind it up and set the twists. Not to sure I can knit with it, its pretty bumpy in places. I'll start spinning either the white top or light brown top next and see if I can get the yarn all one thickness. I think aiming to be thinner will be the way to go. Am still having trouble joining the roves or any snapped off bits, they tend to be too thick.

Have a happy Friday.

*Richard of York gave battle in vain, not really much help with primary colours but good for remembering the rainbow.
  Found a couple more fun ones to teach your kids.

Read Only Your Good Books In Valhalla

Remember Only Young Girls Burn In Vanity

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Knitting and widget update

    Didn't get any knitting done yesterday, was too busy messing around with this silly widget. Its a really simple idea and should be easy to do but I guess you need more than a few hours of self taught javascript. 
    I'll take the buttons off the side after this post and tidy up the drop down menu. I might look around for a better drop down menu if I can be bothered, bit sick of the computer and stupid "Hello world" alert boxes.

Small knitting updates

 The double basket weave scarf is coming along nicely and looks pretty good. I think it might look even better in a thicker yarn. I'm still sewing up the backpack, nearly finished. Just need to sort out the Icord lengths and attach them and sew the hem over. Haven't started on the back straps, not sure if I want to buy small buckles instead of the 25mm ones I got.
  My spinning is slowly improving, getting much better at drawing the roving out but my yarn still isn't one thickness yet. I have plenty of fleece tops to keep practising on and have been looking into buying a full fleece straight off a sheep. It seems the way to go from a prepping point of view, who knows maybe I'll even learn to shear.
  I got a book on dyeing yarn this morning, haven't read it yet but I think that's what I'll be learning next. Its does look fun, probably because its gonna be messy.

    That's all for now, I'll keep playing with the silly widget when I have time, see if I can get it to work but until then I'll keep the needle sizes drop down menu and also the conversion chart page. If anyone can write simple jscripts and would like to help please drop me an email, thanks.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Knitting needle converter widget?

     I'm trying to write a knitting needle converter widget. Its been a heck of a long times since I did any code and I've never done any java so I'm hunting around the net to find sort of examples I can rewrite to suit. Of course it would be easier if a widget already existed. 

The best I've come up with so far is a drop down menu that needs a lot of work. What I want is a couple of boxes, one you but your needle size in and the second gives the conversions.


So far I've created a page to link too with the drop down menu, not the result I was looking for but I'll figure it out somehow.


If you see crazy stuff going on in the side menu don't worry its just me banging my head repeatedly on the keyboard.


I've sort of come up with a drop down menu listing the needle sizes, unfortunately its very untidy at this stage and I'm not sure what to do. Maybe 3 boxes??? Dunno and I'm fast running out of brain cells.

If you click on any of the needles sizes you will be taken to page with them all laid out in a neat table.

eta hmmm think I've broken the blog now, having to edit in all the line breaks on the posts for some odd reason, or maybe its just blogger being a pita.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cotton Bib

A cotton baby bib with a heart. 

Cotton baby heart bib

   This is a bib I did for my niece awhile back. Unfortunately it was too small for her by the time I got around to knitting it. It is good for dolls and little babies though.   
      I found this pretty easy to do though you can see my mistake at the left shoulder/neck line, little bit of ribbing instead of moss stitch, oopsie. I call it my signature or my own part of the design. Mistakes add character to your work, heh.
Heart Bib

 Here you see the opposite side with the ribbing mistake on the right shoulder. Looking at these two pictures I forget which side is the right side and wrong side. Think it works both sides but the second picture is the right side?? 

I got the pattern from PDF. Its the short row version, which I did. The sort rows make a much tidier bottom edging.

  The pattern comes from an amazing site down cloverlaine with some really wonderful bibs and washcloths. Its well worth a look around. I will be trying my hand at a few more.

Icords on heart bib

   Here's a picture showing the Icords for fastening the bib. I'll do an instructional post soon on Icords along with my knitted lamp wicks posts. Need some undyed cotton firsts.

Heart Bib
   Click images to enlarge.
 Thanks for looking, go to the site and have a look around there and give one of the bibs or washcloths ago, there not hard and the results are fun.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Bottling beer and determining the strength.

   Not a big post today as I'm bottling my beer. Its really simple to do but always takes me a couple of hours. Had a quick taste test and its seems pretty good at this stage, does get better with age. Will bottle about 20+ pints and put the rest in a pressure barrel. 4.5% isn't my strongest but is a little stronger than I normally brew, prefer to drink for taste not to see if I can split my head open.

There are 2 calculations to determine the strength as long as you have a hydrometer.

ABV= OG - FG / .00738

Original gravity minus final gravity divided by .00738

  • O.G 1.036 -
  • F.G 1.003
  •  =  4.5 % (once rounded up/down)
  • OG - FG * 131
  • .036 - .003 = .04 x 131 = 4.5
using the wiki numbers, it would be multiplied by 135 instead of 131.

Using 135 instead of 131 I think takes into account the priming sugars.

    Will be back tomorrow posting about knitting again, I'm also playing with the layout of the blog and stuff . It may appear broken at times but don't worry I've not fallen into the bucket of homebrew.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Zig Zag Scarf

A very easy scarf.
Click to enlarge
   This is a very simple scarf I did as one of my first Christmas presents. I did two, one in a different yarn but can't find the pictures anywhere. The yarn used in the pictures is.... I have no idea. My sister was clearing out an office and found a big box of yarns and gave it to me. Most of the yarns aren't great and not many have no bands on them either. The yarn could be a boucle yarn type, not 100% sure and is probably acrylic.

  The zig zag scarf is a great project for beginners and produces an interesting result. It is done all in garter stitch with the only hard ish part being increases and decreases and this is a good project to learn and work on those.

   I got the free pattern from free zigzag scarf pattern but made it slightly wider. Basically cast on a odd number of stitches, say about 15 and on odd rows 1 to 11 you want to increase at the beginning of the row and decrease at the end of the row. On all even rows 2 to 12 you just knit. Row 13 is a knit row as well then just repeat the 13 row pattern.

A very simple interesting looking scarf that's great for new knitters.

Click on images to enlarge.  

 Hope you all have a great knitty weekend.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Knitting & spinning

Small updates.

  Still struggling with my spinning, to be expected really seeing as its only been a day. Its the drafting part I'm having most trouble with. Its very hands on and you need a feel for it that can only come from experience.

  I got the buckles today for the backpack straps, got the 25mm ones but they look a little big, clunky. I did want the straps at 25mm but might change that now, might have too. Thinking double yarn at 15mm width then increase but with single yarn for the part that goes over the shoulder, so the adjustable part is thinner and the main strap part is wider offering some comfort. Does that make sense?
  Talking of the back back, its still drying. Got it laid out flat between 2 big bath towels that I keep moving around to dry spots so have no idea whats taking so long. I'm sure my cotton bibs dried faster than this.

  The double basket weave scarf I'm doing I messed up big time last night. Think I only messed up one stitch but while looking over the pattern and row I checked the wrong line in the pattern so it looked like I messed up the whole row. Unknit the whole row but have some weird loop thing going on, bit of yarn hanging there covering about 4 stitches. I'm going to unknit another row and see how it is, think if I need too I can undo one more row and I'll be back at a full purl row. Should be manageable from there. Fingers crossed otherwise I'll have to rip out the whole thing.
Think I promised you guys a post on one of my finished projects this week, guess I should do that for tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Top whorl drop spindle spinning

The beginning

   I got my drop spindle today with instructions. Got a book on hand spinning a few days ago so have been reading up on it and today before I started I watched a couple of videos. I have to say its a heck of a lot harder than it looks.  
  I know starting anything is hard but every part of this seems tricky. Having trouble drafting the yarn, think I my be a heavy handed klutz. Sitting on the draft/yarn while spinning is a good way to snap it, heh. Sort of spinning ok as long as I think and pay attention, not always easy for me. Do have to pay attention more, its like a black hole and will suck up the other end of the draft.
  Getting a lot of kinks in the yarn and the end result is kinda hairy. Oh well its a start and I'm sure I'll get better in a few days, weeks, months or maybe a year or two.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Double basket weave scarf

New project

   Found a nice double basket weave scarf I can do and I have plenty of yarn for it left over from the sweater. I seem to be obsessed  with double basket weave at the moment. I really need to learn to cable, I'm sure that will cure my obsession. I got the patten for free when I signed up to knitting daily emails. If you go there you can sign up and get the same pattern, theres 7 patterns for men included.

CO 28 sts. Work double basket pattern as follows:

  • Rows 1 and 5: (RS) K11, p2, k2, p2, k11 .
  • Rows 2 and 6: P1, k8, p2, [k2, p2] 2 times, k8, p1.
  • Rows 3 and 7: K1, p8, [k2, p2] 2 times, k2, p8, k1.
  • Rows 4 and 8: P11 , k2, p2, k2, p11 .
  • Row 9: Knit.
  • Rows 10 and 14: [P2, k2] 2 times, p12, [k2, p2] 2 times.
  • Rows 11 and 15: [K2, p2] 2 times, k2, p8, [k2, p2] 2 times, k2.
  • Rows 12 and 16: [P2, k2] 2 times, p2, k8, [p2, k2] 2 times, p2.
  • Rows 13 and 17: [K2, p2] 2 times, k12, [p2, k2] 2 times.
  • Row 18: Purl.
Rep Rows 1–18 until only enough yarn remains to BO,
ending with Row 8 or 17.

Finished width should be about 4.5", 11.5 cm.

  I've made a start using 4.5 mm needles(5" wide) but will do another one on 4mm and maybe another using two strands on 3mm needles and see which one looks the nicest. I'll take pictures once its finished, I think it will knit up very quickly once I decide on what size needles to use.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Itchy fingers.

   I got my hand spinning book today so will be reading that but am itching to knit something. Anything. I might do a wash cloth or look through my yarn and see what I have that I could knit a Christmas present with. I do have a pair of socks on the needles but for some reason am not in the mood for socks. Which is odd because I do enjoy knitting socks, plus there one of the few things I knit for me.

  Anyone else have this problem when there in between projects?? I do have lots of things and ideas to knit like the tartan scarf and I really do need to think of some other Christmas presents. Lacking the right yarn and money for the tartan scarf and lacking ideas on what else to do. 
  Oh well, I'm sure I'll find something to knit.I do have plenty of cotton for washcloths, loads of sock yarns and other yarns too. Hmmmm I do have a fair bit of the red silk and wool yarn left over from the jumper. 
 I can see a scarf coming.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Last backpack update for awhile, again.

  Ya, ya, ya I know I said there wouldn't be anymore backpack updates but this will be the last one until its finished, I think. Decided to buy buckles for adjusting the straps so want to wait until they arrive before I start knitting the straps. I've pretty much finished the Icords and will block the front and back today and sew it together when its dry.

  I ordered a top whorl drop spindle with 4 * 50g of fleece tops at the weekend and a book on hand spinning. I think there will be lots of posts on my learning as I go along. I also want to get into dyeing but that can wait until I can spin yarn.

  Started 5 gal, 40 pints, 25l, of bitter yesterday. That should be ready in about a week, judging from the original gravity I think this will be a stronger batch than I normally do. I've stopped using spray malt and just use 100% dextrose, the last batch of bitter was fine and the lager I did was fantastic, one of my best brews so far.

  I'll get a post up this week showing one of my older finished projects, think I've promised that before but this time I really mean it, honest.