Thursday, 27 September 2012

my creative space . . . sock progress :)

Ta dah!!!   We now have one completed sock - I was so proud of my efforts that I almost made a Hollywood Oscar speech to my kids . . . "I would like to thank my family,  my director, blah, blah . . . ." and almost shed a tear LOL :)  Anyway, as I suspected, it does look a little cartoon-like, funnily enough.  

It's  fallen between two camps  - a little too bulky to wear inside my walking boot and perhaps not bulky enough as a slipper sock, although I predict it (they!) will  get used as the latter.  Anyway I felt very euphoric when it was completed on Monday night - I ran out of yarn and had to use another colour to make the toe but I think that was a 'happy accident' as it looks quite nice with a bit of variation . . . 

(It looks a little like a knitted snow- boot, hehe!!)

I think me and my sock will be very happy together, but I must make it a 'friend' as soon as my yarn supplies arrive :)  I must say that this  has got me fired up to attempt more 'knitting in the round' projects such as mittens, etc.  Ravelry has been an absolute treasure trove of ideas!  I've also found You Tube to be excellent when it comes to any knitting terminology and unfamiliar instructions - I'll never be lost for knitting/crochet resources and tutorials again - just great!

On the 'tweedie' front,  I'm finishing off an iPad sleeve today for a customer . . .   

This will be the last custom order I'll  be undertaking for a couple of months so that I can get down to some stock making.  I've been busy the last few weeks making or sending gadget sleeves, so I'm looking forward to some more creative 'tweedie' work.  Hopefully I'll  be able to show some new 'tweedie' items next week - that's if I can tear myself away from my compulsive sock-knitting :) :)

More creative peeps here - Byeee!
Alison x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sock Fetish :)

Whooooop!  Yesterday I got my 'Knitting Socks - Getting Started' book from Amazon and amazingly the double pointed needles I'd ordered from E-bay came at the same time - well what's a girl to do??, it didn't take long before I couldn't resist playing with my new 'toys' :) :) . . . 

First of all, I'd never tried knitting with bamboo needles before - they're lovely!  No clickedy-clack noise and  very smooth and lightweight - me likey!   Secondly, I've never tried using double pointed needles and have never knitted in the round before either - all very exciting, hehe!  I was a bit concerned that I'd forget how to cast on as it's been ages since I've done any knitting - funnily enough on my new needles I was having a bit of trouble and had to go back to my old metal ones briefly to trigger my memory, and it came flooding back to me.   It was back to the new bamboo ones then though, once I got started :)

At home, we have an array of handknitted socks called 'bobban' socks handed down through the generations, made from locally spun yarn which is the same used to make Harris  Tweed.  These would have been knitted I think by some family member or other, probably an Aunt or grandparent at a time when most women could turn their hands at knitting socks, mostly made for male relatives who would wear them while undertaking various outdoor occupations eg. fishing, cutting peats, etc.   It's probably a dying art now unfortunately . . . 

These two are well worn and very old!!  (My Other Half wears them inside wellie boots for fishing trips - just the job and very warm and thick!)  They  are probably antiques!

I like the cultural significance of being able to knit socks as it's something my own grandmothers would have been able to do, so it would be nice to learn the skill  myself (they would be highly amused that I buy all these 'how to' books to teach myself though - they didn't have the luxury of Amazon!)

The Knitting Socks book is  fantastic and really well illustrated - it is an American publication, but that doesn't cause too many problems (I believe they use four needles in the US to knit in the round while we in Europe use five - I've decide to take up dual nationality and adopt the American method, hehe!).

The heel shaping was well explained and I was surprised that it all seemed to come together (after a couple of attempts at some points!).

So far, it's all looking quite good and I've got beyond the heel-shaping bit which I believe is the tricky bit, but this book takes you through every step and explains why the sock is shaped the way it is.  I'm really impressed at how well it is laid out - I could never have learnt from an ordinary pattern so it's been invaluable.  I've tried the sock on so far and it does fit - even if it looks quick funny as it's quite chunky and bulky - perfect for wearing inside my walking boots though, perhaps?

It's beginning to look like a sock - hurray!

I've really enjoyed knitting in the round, and much prefer it to working rows back and forth which I sometimes find a bit monotonous.  I've used 4.5 mm needles and an aran type yarn (50% wool and 50% acrylic) which I bought last year.  It's lovely to work with.  Would be quite fun to try other garments in the round eg. mittens, etc.  Whoaaaa, better not get ahead of myself though - gotta finish this sock first!

The heel flap is done in a knit-one, slip-one stitch which I was unfamilar with and threw me a little, but it's to add bulk apparently - who was I to argue, it looked about right, but was difficult to count the rows intitially.

I'm now at the stage of knitting the length of the foot, having completed the shaping of the side gussets - I'm almost out of wool and have had to order more as I only had a small amount left - hope it comes quickly so I can finish the sock!

Here, I'm comparing the old bobban sock with my knitted one (in progress) . . . 

Not sure what my Hebridean grandmothers (whom I never met as both grandparents passed away before I was born) would think of my Americanised sock version, hehe!  Hope to show you a  finished sock at the end of the week, even if it might look a bit quirky! (I might need two though LOL) 
Alison x

P.S.  Sunday dinner was very delayed today due to the 'sock in progress' work being undertaken!
P.P.S. 'Tweedie' work will continue as normal throughout the week, socks or not :) :)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Retail therapy and other stuff

I've fallen off the wagon again in blogging terms, mostly because last week I had a bit of a stomach flu/cold, and just had to succumb to it and process whatever 'tweedie' orders came my way - 'creative' work came to a halt and I decided just to take the time out and recover - all better now tho! :)

I must have felt in need of some retail therapy though, because I had an appointment on Tuesday in Stornoway which meant I had to hang around for over an hour beforehand - this proved to be a very dangerous exercise - ooops!  I was just killing time so I popped into 'Wee W's' (our alternative to Woolworths which we all loved here in the Western Isles, boo hoo - RIP!) and came  across some lovely storage jars.  They leapt into my shopping basket, whooooosh! . . . 

They're Kilner jars - aren't they pretty?  Lovely clunky clasp lids - they make me feel like making jams and preserves, although I never  have (yet!!) :D  (but I just had to have them and they were very cheap!)  I now must learn to make, jam, or chutney or marmalade (I eat a lot of marmalade, so that might be a good idea!!)

On my way to my hairdresser's appointment I passed the newsagent (this was to become my most expensive  hair appointment ever and I don't spend much money at the hairdressers being a kinda DIY gal, hehe)

Now I don't usually buy craft magazines as I find I can sometimes buy craft books for the same price, but . . . 

I couldn't decide which one to buy . . . . . . . so, guess what happened - Oh Dear!  (I will really be treasuring both mags, because heck, they cost enough!!!!)  Both very inspiring tho - so worth it for that alone :D

Eventually, I reached the hairdressers . . . . but it was a very precarious, costly journey through Cromwell Street - I must have really needed some retail therapy, pheeeeew :)

One outcome of  buying the craft magazines is that I have  decided I MUST LEARN TO KNIT SOCKS - this has become a compulsion over the last two days, but I have to do it - there's  a voice inside my head telling me LOL.  Mostly because there was a  lovely pattern in Mollie Makes for a pretty pair - yet another crafty addiction to add to my list.  I've now ordered double pointed needles  and  a 'how to' book on knitting socks - I'm very excited to start a new crafty project!  Hope I haven't forgotten my knitting skills - it's been a while???  :) :)  Have you ever tried to knit socks?  Is it difficult?

'Speak' soon :)
Alison  xx

P.S.  Here's the latest granny square I've crocheted (last month sometime) - I've now run out of cotton yarn,  which I loved  using.  This square is from the Granny Square book (200 Crochet Blocks) I bought in the Summer . . . 

 . . . easy to follow the pattern, but, I think - a really pretty outcome!
(I WILL find some use for all these random crochet squares, flowers etc. -sometime!) x

Monday, 10 September 2012

Oooops - AWOL Blogger Returns!

Sorry, I have been AWOL for the last week or so - things went a  bit wobbly on the blogging front!

I think I spent half the week worrying about 'teenage son' who was embarking on a solo trip to the mainland to view a possible prospective University campus in the Big Smoke (Glasgow) - worrying is a very time consuming activity, takes a lot of dedication, commitment, time, etc - hence the entire sum of the week's crafting was a crochet facecloth LOL :)  Here's a bit of it in progress, I was using up some remnants of cotton yarn . . . 

Anyway, it took my mind  of the notion that he might take a wrong turning in the Big City and find himself in some horrible back-street somewhere - these fears were completely unfounded of course and he returned safe and well, full of the joys of prospective University life - gulp, what a thought!  

No sooner was he back on dry land, and we were celebrating 'Little S's' birthday - it's been that kind of week. I let him and his school pals have the run of the house on Saturday - I have no idea  what they  were up to here, but they were having a laugh anyway! . . . 

It was nice to see his school pals altogether - they will all be going to the Big School next year in Stornoway, so they will be a bit more dispersed - and future birthday parties will probably be a bit more sedate - more  change, Oh Dear :)

Just to wind up proceedings, we enjoyed some lovely fresh wild salmon last weekend, courtesy of my Other Half who caught it in the local  river - it was very yummy!  Wild salmon is a rare treat - even the boys noticed the difference in taste from farmed Salmon - a very different fish altogether . . . 

Well, must dash as I have some orders to make up and post today - back to 'tweedie' work in earnest!
Bye for now :)
Alison x