Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Third time lucky

Smaug the dragon was wonderful inspiration for Claire Ellen’s design.  She did a great job emulating a dragon’s scales and tail.

Smaug socksI happily bound these off this morning.

SmaugAnd was very happily admiring them, when I noticed…

An oopsAaarrgh!!!  Nooooo!!!!  What is this!?  Can you see the left foot toe is not quite right?

I looked at it for a few minutes and considered letting it go… but they are such pretty socks that I knew this kind of error would stare me in the face and bug me for the rest of the life of these socks.  Sigh. Nothing to do but take them back down and start again at the toe…

Several hours, much swearing and a couple more rip-backs later…

Better.

Haaa…. yes, much better.

The socks are by no means perfect, and if you want to see some really stunning examples, you must go see Audry’s socks and others on the pattern page.

However, I am happy with them now, and most pleased with my pretty Smaugs!  Sorry about the quality of the pics though.  The lighting today is crap for taking photos, especially of this red.

Finished socksI made a minor modification to the pattern for the foot.  You’ve probably noticed that the scale pattern is a bit different.  I thought I’d be a smarty pants and mimic the different sized scales that reptiles have, plus I wanted to make the gauge a tiny bit smaller so that the tail stretched right to the end of the toes.

I’m not sure that was the best idea, but never mind, I can live with it.

As I was taking this picture, we had another big quake.  6.2 on the Richter scale!!! You can imagine I got lickety split under the door frame!  Hopefully there won’t be any more… Reminded me of Smaug shaking the mountain when he awoke! 😀

Yarn:  Hand Maiden Casbah Sock

Needles:  2.25mm (mostly.  except for a tiny bit on the heel when my tension went weird)

Pattern:  Smaug, by Claire Ellen.

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Smaug and the chevron poncho

I suddenly realised this weekend that we’d past the middle of January, and my Smaug socks were languishing on the WIP pile and only a quarter done!

Some concentrated knitting time later… nearly there!

Smaug socks

After I finished the first sock yesterday, I tried it on, and I have to say I am extremely excited about finishing them!  They are very, very cool socks!

I don’t know what it is about this project.  I think it’s a combination of shiny tip needles and the colour red, but I cannot spend too long knitting them without my eyes going funny. To break things up, I’m also alternately knitting this:

Chevron poncho

It’s the Amalfi Poncho, an unashamed nod to my ’70s childhood. Covered in cat hair already, as one small animal insists on sitting on my lap when I’m knitting.  I’m knitting the large size as I want it to cover me properly.  The yarn is Corriedale from The Wool Company, and it’s in a colourway called Autumn.  I got this colour a while ago and it doesn’t appear to currently be in stock.  I suspect any of the multi-dyes will come out similarly sequenced though.

I am doing it all in one variegated colour, as opposed to alternately striping it with another colour.  I’m looking forward to snuggling under this come winter.

More sock pattern drooling on Ravelry has been happening at this end… there are so many pretty sock patterns out there, it’s hard to know which one to knit next!!  I also discovered an extremely cool feature of the Ravelry queue system, which I thought I’d share with you.  Many of you will probably already know this… but here goes.

If you tag your queued pattern (eg “socks”), and then create a new set in your queue (click “organise” to do this – I’ve called my new set “socks”), then type in the tab that you’d like to appear in that set, all the queued patterns that you have tagged with the specified tag (eg. “socks”) will magically appear there!  (I have always wondered what the purpose of a tag was…)  Ravelry does have a Wiki topic on this feature here, which I have of course, never read… but looking at it now I see it explains it all nicely.  Have a look at the link in case you’re not sure what I’m going on about.

As a result of my latest discovery, I now have a yummy “sock” set in my Ravelry queue that allows me to keep tabs on all the socks I would like to knit, and I don’t have to scroll through my entire queue to find a pattern I want to select!  Hoorah!

This is a most useful concept which I might have to start applying to my projects as well…

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.


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Enter the dragon. And the berry.

Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 has started well for you.

Personally, 2014 is going to be a year where things can start changing.  I may be able to move to a location that is much more to my liking later in the year.   This is an extremely exciting prospect for me, and I’m trying hard not to get too excited, in case it doesn’t work out.

On the knitting front, I have to admit clock watching the end of 2013 just so I could start these pretties…

Smaug socks

I was so excited about starting them that I had the yarn wound and all ready to go beside my knitting chair in readiness!

I felt that knitting Smaug as the first sock of 2014 would be a good thing.  For one, it’s Chinese New Year at the end of this month, and it’s traditional to wear red and new clothing during Chinese New Year.  I think these socks fulfil both criteria!  Plus, it’s a dragon, which is a Chinese symbol of good fortune.   (Does this betray an intense hope for better fortune in 2014 to you!?)

The yarn was a very generous Christmas gift from Audry – the same yarn that she used to knit her Smaugs, Handmaiden Casbah Sock!  I felt very spoilt to get this luxurious yarn from her.  Thanks again Audry!

Also, a lesser reason, but I suppose still a mitigating factor in my choice of sock for this month was the release of the latest Hobbit installation, The Desolation of Smaug. Watching it made me want to knit something Hobbit-related.  Just for fun. 🙂

The socks got put down for a day to do some guilty conscience knitting.

It was the young man’s birthday a few days after Christmas.  As he’d already had his official party a little earlier, I took him to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. This particular film really caught the young man’s imagination, and he’s spent the past few months stalking every trailer he could find, as well as the website for the movie. Going to the movie was a must-do.

He came out of the cinema positively foaming at the mouth for a ‘Barry’ (it seems to be spelt this way, although it sounds like ‘Berry’ in the movie), and was so inspired that when we got home, he promptly transformed his room into a jungle, appropriating items from around the house to use as props (hanging vines from the ceiling, using his pom poms as cute ‘jungly’ things around the room…), and even put up the tent on the floor, and got me to insert his mattress into it, where he still sleeps at night… he’s funny.  Click on the link above for the website to see images of what I’m talking about if you’re interested.

We had a look online to see how much a Barry would cost. Hmm.  Something in the region of NZ$60 for a mass-produced, not-very-well-done plushie, plus postage!!! Absolutely no way was I going to spend that sort of cash on a stupid toy.

I had been feeling guilty about not knitting him anything much last year.  I knew that he’d really appreciate it if I did knit him Barry the Strawberry.  So I did, and this is it:

The boy with Barry the Strawberry

It’s based on a fabulous free pattern I found on Ravelry for a giant strawberry.  I improvised the arms and legs.  I’m totally useless at embroidery, so we cut out felt eyes and I stitched them on.  The entire project was directed by the young man: he picked out the yarn colours and the felt colours.  He told me whether my designs for the arms and legs were ok (that was several tries to get it right), and how big to make the strawberry and the eyes and the length of the arms and legs. In the end, he got the exact size, shape, colour and look that he wanted.

It is entirely knitted in wool, which appears to make the best medium for good quality soft toys!  (At first I tried cotton for the legs and arms, but it looked awful).  Even the stuffing is clean fleece offcuts that have been rejected for yarn spinning.

Barry the Strawberry

And all that for a total monetary cost of $6 for the felt and embroidery thread. Everything else was already in my stash.  Thank goodness for the ability to make one’s own, I say!

One happy boy and one guilt-assuaged mother later, back to my socks. It’s a good day for knitting.  There’s a wind storm outside, and now it has started pouring with rain… 😀