Monday, 20 December 2010

Choices, choices


1. Red squares, 2. Yellow squares, 3. Blue squares

I have finally swatched, washed, and lightly blocked my testing yarns. Only three of them, in the end: I think I got carried away when I picked the bamboo and cotton yarn, they really won't be suitable for the blanket.

I have worked with 4 different types of squares, two crochet, and two knitting. From the top:
Square selection

1st row: plain stockinette squares
2nd row: plain garter stitch square
3rd row: square granny square, from Eskimimi
4rd row: circle to square granny square, from the Circles to Squares afhan

Each type of square has its own advantages and disadvantages, of course. The stockinette square is very soft on the one side, but doesn't look nice on the wrong size. The garter stitch square is very square and looks smooth, but takes forever to knit. The square granny square is very quick, but doesn't look as smooth (the circlese square is just simply inferior, but I did that one before I found Eskimimi's guidelines).

As for softness, they all definitely softened in the wash (standard wash -although at reduced spin- and drying). The red yarn is still the softest, but all of them are much softer now.

Currently, my line-up for yarn is Red, Blue, Yellow, but red and blue are very close (you see, red is missing one colour!).
My line-up for the pattern is garter stitch, then Eskimimi's square. Neither of them is perfect, but I suspect that "perfect" may not even be knitted, so this are pretty damn good anyway.

However, I still need to do a quick test on embroidering/duplicating the elements on them. I'm not too sure how the garter will like the added embellishment.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Late contender!

As I thought we had our line-up closed, a late contender arrives!

Yesterday I went to Bath, to check out their new LYS, Wool. It took me a bit to find it, because I forgot the paper in which I had written the address. Thankfully, I had looked on the map where it was, so I just wandered around the area until I finally found it. Wool is a nice cozy little shop, although sadly it has too much sheep for me, and not enough sheepless yarn (which I'm aware is a problem with me, not the shop!).

However, they had a yarn that looks like it could be a strong contender for the Periodic Blanket! I bought a ball, and I will try it soon.

Late contender!
Late contender!
Patons Fab! DK (rav)
100& acrylic, dk weight, 274 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours, immense yardage
Cons: only available in Bath, yarn a little thinner than wanted

I also found today a new square pattern that looks really good, so I need to go back and rework with some of the other yarns. I've never put so much effort into the prep of a pattern!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Periodic Yarn

Most of the time, when I make a project, I go down to my LYS, and just pick up some yarn. A couple of times, I have bought "a sweater's worth of yarn" online, and then found a project. But that is not something I can do now. I need to think, and plan, and then my loads of yarn appropriately. Welcome to the Yarn-Offs!

Requisites for the yarn:
- no animal hair.
Ideally acrylic, or an acrylic blend, for durability and ease and care.
- wide range of colours.
With my current colour-scheme, I would need: red, a more different red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, black (outlines and names) and grey (most likely background colour).
- easily available.
Ideally with some certainty that it's not going to disappear of the market (I haven decided yet whether to buy it all at once or in stages).
- not ridiculously expensive.
While my brother has both his kidneys if I need one in the future, I shouldn't just throw away mine.

I had a perfect yarn picked for it, Rowan All Seasons Cotton. I love this yarn. However, while the 2009 colours will fit my blanket just perfectly, the 2010 colours are very few, and not in the right ranges. I could wait until next year to see if they change them again, but I won't hold my breath for them. I shall play a sad tune, and move on to current yarns.

I scouted the local yarn shops, and brought home 4 candidates for my yarn. In the order I selected them, I bring you my candidates. All the yarns are satisfactory, but have extra pros and cons.

Candidate number 1
Test yarns
Rico Kids Classic Aran
50-50 acrylic poliamide, aran weight, 115 m/ball
Pros: has most of the colours I need, acrylic blend, machine wash & dry, preferred thickness
Cons: doesn't have all the colours

Candidate number 2
Test yarns
Rowan Handknit Cotton (rav)
100 cotton, worsted weight, 85 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours
Cons: I'm a bit weary or using pure cotton for a blanket, not a lot of yardage per ball

Candidate number 3
Test yarns
King Cole Bamboo Cotton (rav)
50-50 bamboo cotton, dk weight, 230 m/ball
Pros: has most of the colours I need, it's a blend
Cons: a bit too splitty and thin, doesn't have all the colours, delicate machine wash

Candidate number 4
Test yarns
Hayfield/Sidar Bonus DK (rav)
100 acrylic, dk weight, 280 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours, immense yardage
Cons: some of the colorus I need are so bright as to be radioactive, a bit thinner than wanted

Over the next couple of weeks/months, I shall be swatching with each of the yarns. Testing the yarn for such a big project is important. This will also allow me to decide which pattern to use for the squares, as well as know how much yarn I will need for each one, helping me determine how much yarn to buy. My initial preferences are towards Rico and Hayfield, but I won't really know until I work with and wash all the yarns.

Will keep you posted with some swatches soon!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My crazy, let me show you it

It is no secret that I am somewhat mad. However, there is normal crazy, and then there is, well, doing-aeronautics crazy. I think my next project falls into the last category but, much like doing Aero, I'm elated and excited and crazy and I don't care.

You see, I've been wanting to make a blanket for me. A geeky blanket, ideally somewhat modular, so I can travel with it. I initially thought of a Settlers of Catan blanket, and then Alex had the best idea ever.

A Periodic Table blanket!

I've already sketched the colours, scouted for a square pattern, and bought a couple of different yarns to test which one I want to use for the whole thing. I'll be updating the progress, because this is going to be too awesome not to share! It's going to be the best blanket.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

FO: Milo Socks

Milo socks

Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Milo Socks, from Sock Innovation, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Yarn d'Amour Rhea, in the colourway Silverado, dyed specifically for me! Yarn is Cotton & Tencel, sheepless sock yarn.
Needles: 2.75 mm
Notes: I love cables. I love love love cables.
Socks went really fast, and I didn't have too much trouble memorising the cable pattern. Will knit again once these ones wear off (I haven't worn them yet, though).

Milo socks

Milo socks

Milo socks

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Pirate code monkey

Pirate code monkey!

The code monkey is a valuable member of our team. I'm not kidding: only one user can run a particular set of tests at a time, so only the person that has the monkey is allowed to use the simulator. Code monkey don't like testing.
Because the monkey is passed around quite often, one of the eyes was coming loose. We could have, of course, reglued it. But we didn't have glue, we had duct-tape. Cue Pirate Code Monkey!

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Some new yarn

Quo Vadis Dark Howl
Quo Vadis handyed yarn,
using Berroco Comfort sock as a base

Some current spinning
Getting more even
My spinning is getting more and more even

Some future spinning
Silk top
Tussah silk top in Copper from Wildcraft

Some delicious!
A chilli!
My chilli plant has a chilli!

Monday, 14 June 2010

One more!


I have spun 80 m of fingering/sport weight. Frustrated by the low yield of my previous batch, I decided to try to spin quite thin, which did in fact gave me a higher yield.


The yarn is one single plied unto itself using a centre pull ball, guaranteeing no left-over yarn from two singles. I spun the single as long as I could, until it got too unwieldy. I could only spin about half of that the first time I tried (the yarn kept slipping off the hook), but I learned a little trick to secure it so that it doesn't spin around the whorl as I'm spindling, which has doubled the output of one spindle-full.


The yarn is a lot more constant in thickness: it doesn't deviate from mean thickness for too long, and it doesn't deviate too much. It should be mostly good to knit with!


It is not easy to gauge the thickness of the yarn in these pictures. While I knew why people put pennies in their pictures, I never really realised their importance until now! The yarn is very similar in thickness to the grey tie in the first picture (which is a fingering weight).


I still have some more of the carbonised bamboo, and plan to spin another skein of about the same thickness, hopefully using it all up. If I can get the same yield, I should be able to do something with 160 m of bamboo, maybe a little bag or some little wristlets. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

FO: Tuscany


I began knitting through the internet. A bit after I did, with a couple of FOs under my wing, I decided to invest more into it, and bought a book, No Sheep for You (rav). No Sheep seemed like a great choice, because I can't wear animal hair either. It has proven an invaluable resource over the years, and has helped me find suitable yarn substitutions.

Ever since I got it, I have wanted to make Tuscany. However, it is very difficult to find DK silk, and more so if you are attached to both your kidneys, as I am! Having discovered the wonderful yarns of Colourmart, I could finally do it!


Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Tuscany, by Amy Singer
Yarn: ColourMart Silk 20/60NM DK Weight, in Mid Brown
Needles: 3.75 mm
Notes: I am unbelievably glad I took the shawl out of my bag the day my lunch box, full of Thai curry, spilled inside it. I could have cried.


I found the pattern really easy to memorise. While I still carried the chart with me, I barely needed it, and had no problem knitting in the bus.
The shawl used about 1 1/4 cones (exact yardage still TBD, but about 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cones), so I still have plenty of delicious silk to make something else. This makes me happy.


Monday, 10 May 2010


I've been getting some more spam recently, so I've decided to enable word verification for comments. Sorry about that, I know it's a pain.
If you are having any trouble with it, please contact me at knitmeatherapy AT googlemail DOT com.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

On different levels of socialisation

I have been trying to make sense in my head of the fact that I have both become more sociable, and more anti-social, and I think I have managed to reach a conclusion on what I have been doing. Aren't you lucky, dear audience, that you get to read it? ;)

I realised there are two socialising modes: active, and background. By "active" socialising I mean big things, events. I've done loads of those recently! I've gone out to drinks with my co-workers (back home much before anybody else, but still out), dinner with friends, games evenings, going to the cinema or the market... I've been out!

Ah, but the background socialising... This is where I have become even more antisocial. I barely talk at lunch at work, and I barely even write/post online, in any social media (blog, forums, FB, etc). I read, at least. I have not stopped keeping up with blogs and posts and friends, but I don't comment back, I don't complete any kind of communication circle.

Being sociable takes a lot of energy (it always has for me, even at my best). I can manage big events because I know they are happening, so I can prepare and arrange things. But the low-level socialising is proving too much for me. It is leeching only a little bit of energy at the time, but it is constant, and I just can't really handle that loss.

I think this means my fatigue is getting slowly worse, but by cutting down the social leech, I am able to retain enough energy to be functional in other areas. I've redirected it so that I don't feel that energy loss outside the social area. It's not ideal, but on the other hand I feel a bit better most of the time, so that is my current trade-off.

So I've bee knitting, reading, spinning, playing games, just not reporting any of it. The other day, I even found myself with "free" time, time that I didn't have to plan detailed to be able to do everything, just extra time, because I wasn't too tired. I have a wonderful silk shawl finished, only pending pictures.

Low level socialising is not for me at the moment, although I'm quite happy I still have some to do "big" social events. So, does anybody have a plan? Any direct Questions, which are really like plans? Those I can do!

Monday, 26 April 2010

First handspun!

From this

First spindle kit

to, sadly, this
That doesn't look very good

to, with a long break in the middle, this
Ah, that's better

to this!
My first handspun!

With much trial and even more error, and plenty of swearing, I am now the proud owner of my own handspun.
It is only a little bit discouraging that my weeks of effort have yielded so little, but I'm assure it will get better.

Fibre: carbonised bamboo, from silversunalpacas
Spindle: top whorl spindle, also from silversunalpacas

Yarn: 26 meters of roughly worsted weight (9-10 wpi), all mine!

Learning thanks to: sheet from silversunalpacas, tutorials from Megan, and having seen a friend spin at Eastercon.

My first handspun!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Yarn review: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton

Crystal Palace Panda Cotton
59% bamboo - 25% cotton - 16% elastic nylon; 182 yds/50 gr.
7-8 sts/inch. Note: I got 32 st/4 in
The bamboo gives a great feel and a luster, the cotton adds a soft core and the elastic nylon retains the shape and makes it wear well for socks.
(These previous details from the Crystal Palace website)
Panda Cotton at Crystal Palace | Panda Cotton at Ravelry

Initial impression

Yay! Sheepless sock yarn! *dances around happy*
Diamond socks

The yarn

The fibres are quite squishy and loosely plied together (see picture below, yarn is a bit unravelled in this one on purpose). I didn't find it *too* splitty, although it occasionally happened. Because of this loose plying, what happened the most was some of the strands being knitted at a different tension than others, which can lead to "bunching" of the individual plies. This is very easy to fix by gently tugging at the yarn. This difference in tensions meant that the yarn requires a little bit of attention when knitting. It doesn't super-coil on itself when knitting, which is a problem I often have.
Pand Cotton

Length: One ball of sock yarn made one Wanida sock on a UK ladies 5 1/2, but only just about. It will make that length for plain-ish socks, but not if you want to do anything more complicated (especially cables). I didn't know this, and only bought two balls thinking it would be enough. It was, but unless your feet is smaller than a size 5, I would recommend buying 3 balls to make two socks, especially if you want to swatch properly.
Pand Cotton

Colour: The colour is much more vibrant than other sock yarns I've found, but it is still not a super-bright colour. Not too bad, though! I plan to make something soon with one of the variegated yarns, but until then I can't comment on pooling or variegation.

The knitted fabric

The knitted fabric is highly textured, which shows in the knitting. I think it will look better with simpler styles, otherwise you risk this texture fighting too much against the pattern for attention. I am happy with it, but I can see how it wouldn't fit all styles of people and socks.
The fabric is quite elastic, and I have had no problems stretching the sock to put it on, and then it bounces back to its original size.

Wearing and care

I've only worn the socks (Diamond socks) once for now, but they held up well. I don't know how the warmth compares to wool socks, but they are certainly warmer than store-bought cotton socks, which is what I normally wear. Reports from the web will have me believe that the yarns holds up well to wear.
I hand washed them using tepid water and Soak. The label says that they can be machine washed, but I wanted to check the bleed: it didn't bleed, and there was no hint at pilling when squeezing them out and drying (I have some other sheepless socks that start to pill if you so much as look at them when damp).
I'll throw them in the wash next time, as the label assures me I can, and will try to remember to take them out before the drier cycles kicks in (although I may throw in my swatch for the drying cycle as well, to report).

Final comments

Me like!
I was certainly thinking on getting some of the variegated yarn to make a pair of Skew socks: I love the socks and I think they will look better in non-solid yarn. Plus they don't have a complicated pattern, which will work well with the yarn texture.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Crystal Palace and no direct connection (the yarn was my personal purchase). This review just represents my personal opinion and impressions on the yarn

Sunday, 28 March 2010



I won a Bobby (Best Captioned Picture)! With my tiny whale! Squee!

I'm so excited! I can't help jumping up and down on the chair. This is what Oscar winners must feel like, and it's awesome.

Monday, 8 March 2010

FO: Diamond socks

The second pair of socks of the year is finished!
(The first pair was another pair of boyfriend socks, which I planned to tell you all about, but didn't. It's easier to take pictures of my own feet than coordinate to take pictures of somebody else's. Maybe one day. If you are good. And send me cookies)

Diamond socks

Diamond socks Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Wanida Socks, from Cookie A's Sock innovation
Yarn: 2 balls of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in the Lacquer Red colourway (discontinued)
Needles: 2.25mm for the ribbing and 2.5mm for the sock, both bamboo dpns
Notes: I did 13 rounds for the ribbing. The heel flat was 16 groups of purl-knit repeats. For the foot, I completed the chart twice, and then did until row 6. Because I was so close to close the diamond pattern, I did the centre YOs and double-decrease from row 7 in the 1st row of the toe set-up, which I think really helps closing the pattern.

Diamond socks

Fluff: I love my socks!
The pattern caught my eye every since I bought the book. I knew I had to pair it with a solid yarn, and that gave me the best excuse to actually buy some Panda Cotton, after which I had been lusting for a while. I was lucky to find a UK supplier, Cafe Knit. I have a little review of the yarn nearly written up, so I will post that when I have had a change to actually wear it. The socks/yarn feel really warm, so I am hoping it will keep my toes from falling off.

Diamond socks

The socks were fun to knit, and very quick. I can't help thinking they look like ballet slippers, with the criss-crossing of the diamonds. The pattern is not terribly difficult, but not too easy either. The general feel for the diamond pattern is not difficult to get hold of, although you still need to keep an eye on the chart regularly, so it's not mindless knitting.
One thing that is not so much an errata as a less straight forward instruction is in the change from the leg to the heel flap: the way the instructions are written, it doesn't make a lot of sense. But if you start the heel flap on Row 2 (purl) of the two row repeat, everything suddenly falls fine into place.

I really enjoyed knitting the socks, and am very pleased with the final product.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Little yarn pile

This weekend, I finished rewinding my frogged yarn into balls, finally completing my 1st Ravelympics project, part of the Aerial Unwind.

When I planned this in my head, I envisioned myself ripping the t-shirt on Saturday, washing it on Saturday evening, and winding it back into balls Sunday/Monday, depending on how the drying process went.
Of course, there were several things I forgot to take into account when planning this, such as my optician appointment, the piles and piles of ironing, baking brownies, and my current obsession with knitting socks.

Ripping the yarn took a lot more effort than I thought was going to, but the curliness kept me amused for hours! It was quite impressive the change submerging them in warm water made (warm water and Soak). Excitingly, the yarn seems to have leaked most of its dye already, and the water was barely blue-ish.

All the unravelled yarn


All the winding was achieved this weekend, while watching Alex play Mario Kart Wii. It's ready to use!
Wound and ready to use

I will try to cast on for the next incarnation of the t-shirt before the Olympics finish. It would have been a stretch to finish it before the end at the best of times, but having a cast-on will make me feel just as successful, as I mainly wanted to use this opportunity to get it going. If only socks weren't so interesting!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Ravelympics prep!

Official ravelympics logo
These Olympic Games, I will be taking part in the Ravelympics1!

I will be participating in two events: Aerial Unwind (frogging2 a project and reclaiming the yarn) and Sweaterboard Cross (knitting a full sweater, although what I will be knitting is more of a t-shirt).

The project to rip is the Green Tea. Although I liked it at the time (denial ain't just a river, baby), Alex correctly identified that it was much to big. After having worn it a couple of times, I had to agree with that, and it has been sitting in the frog pile for a while. This is it's opportunity.

This is all the extra material
It's just so wide!

I will be reknitting the same t-shirt, but this time so that it fits me. I have the gauge, and my measurements, and hopefully a better understanding on how ease works, and I really hope it will be wearable this time round! Knitting it smaller will also allow me to make it a tad longer, which won't be a bad thing.

I will not be awake at cast-on time (2 am!), so I will start my adventure with some hours of delay over other people. At least the ripping shouldn't be too difficult!

See you at the other side of the finish line!

1: In parallel with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, knitters over at Ravelry are doing their own knitting Olympics. There are teams formed by affiliation (instead of country) and different events you can compete in.
2: Ripping it apart, frogging comes from "rip it, rip it"

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Alex's socks were finished last night, and they are already been worn (pictures when he brings them back from his work trip).
The most important thing is that it freed the 2.75mm, so yesterday I cast on for my socks as soon as I bound his off. Yay for socks!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Books and socks

On the first weekend of the new year, I bravely went into town, to the shopping area (I needed to buy a humidifier!). I went into the bookstore, and left with two books under my arm: The Stainless Steel Rat omnibus (amazon|wiki), and Sock Innovation (amazon|rav).

Of course, after buying Sock Innovation, I spent several days searching the web looking for sheep-less sock yarn. I should have thought about this little problem before buying the book and becoming obsessed with socks, but I could not resist its lure.

I have now found some yarn that works for me, and that is shipped from the UK: Cafe Knit sells some Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, and Martin at yarndamour is dying for me some of his cotton-tencel sock yarn!

The Panda Cotton is here already, and I just need to finish Alex's socks so I can free my 2.75mm needles, and cast on for Wanida!

Only missing needles

Then when the new yarn arrives, I can do Milo and Kai-Mei. And Cauchy for Alex. I suddenly love socks.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Reality and fiction

It amuses me to be sewing at the same time as watching Coraline. At least I'm only fixing trouser seams, nothing that involves buttons!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Two finished projects with a side of snow

As you probably all know, the UK is under quite a lot of snow at the moment. It hasn't snowed over here since Wednesday, but given that the temperatures have not been above zero for the last week and a half, everything is still as white as it was on Wednesday.

The snow on Wednesday completely halted a lot of the country. Public transport wasn't running (no buses or taxis) and, as I wasn't going to walk to work (although some people did), I had a quiet snow day at home. I spent most of it knitting, and managed to finish not one, but two projects! They are the first projects I finish since October, so I am doubly pleased with them. I have tried not to flaunt my knitting too much: after going off knitting when I was so tired, I have tried to preserve what knitting mojo I have so it doesn't disappear, like preparing a fire.

Damn, it's cold!

The first finished project is the already-mentioned Peaks Island Hood. I selected the yarn when Ysolda was visiting Get Knitted, and it was a monogamous project: I didn't knit anything else while working on it (preserving the sparks). I took it with me during the holiday break, and finished it on Boxing day (the knitting part). I finally wove in the ends and blocked it on the Wednesday, to make sure that I had something to protect me from the weather on Thursday! (you may be able to see that I don't have buttons for it yet, but I'm holding it with a shawl pin)

Peaks Island Hood

It was a simple knit, but with the right amount of exciting to keep me entertained. I discovered I really like seed stitch! The only problem is in my choice of yarn, at least for now: Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton. It is absolutely lovely and soft, buy oh my Bob does it shed! My black winter coat as a subtle orange fuzz to it, and the entire house is covered in orange fluff!


The second finished project was cast-on, knit, bound-off, and finished off all on Wednesday! Now I have moustache! I have been wanting to knit Incognito since the latest Knitty came out, and it was the perfect opportunity. I used bits of yarn I had laying around: the blue-grey is my last ball from Wisteria (I have gotten a lot of mileage out of that yarn), the orange is left-over from above, and the black is from a jumper's worth of yarn I bought last year, for which I've not found a proper use for yet (it's Debbie Bliss Stella, suggestions welcomed).

My insides, let me show you them

Incognito was a very fun and quick knit, and I am very proud with the way the duplicate stitch came out.

Double layer

I can wear both things together when it's really cold, and I have been keeping my moustache on at work (I have a cold and it's nice to have a warm throat). Sadly, my co-workers don't find it nearly as funny as I do. I love my 'tache!

Twiddling my moustache