Thursday, 19 February 2009

A Parade of Dad Socks

A parade of Dad socks is less colourful than most sock parades - but it is every bit as satisfying.

These are winging their way to my dad now and I hope they keep his toes toasty. Particularly because as far as I can tell it has snowed pretty much every day in New Brunswick since winter began (possibly before).

The grey socks are the Retro Rib socks from Favourite Socks. The yarn is a brand called St Ives which I've never used before. It knit up nicely and feels soft enough.

The blue socks are Regia yarn 4 ply, and a sort of faded denim blue colour in real life. They are a simplified variation of the Retro Rib.

The final pair are also Regia - but in this case the yarn is a 6ply (DK weight) self patterning one which is ideal for knitting up into a plain stockinette stitch pair of socks.

As I do with pretty much any knitted gift I finished the socks off with some custom labels before I sent them off.

I love these labels. They often get as many ooohs and ahhs as the knitting and I think they help make the socks look that little bit more special.

Labels are a great opportunity to pimp your knitting (I often use the back of the label to highlight the number of stitches, or the special qualities of the yarn or why I selected the pattern or...) and it's a great place to give some handy advice on care and washing.

I use postcard (4x6 inch) paper which works well folded over and tied to the socks with a thin ribbon. Rymans has A4 card paper that is perforated and separates into 3 postcards (they have a handy word template that helps with layout) and I use that, or if I only want a single label I use 6x4 inch photo paper/printing. I've also just seen some business card size paper that would be great for smaller labels.

6 Quirks of Soo

I was tagged by Sue to come up with 6 quirky but uninteresting facts about me. I have done this one once before -- but am pleased to report that my life is full of uninteresting things so an encore wasn't much of a stretch.

So here we go!

1) My name is Susan, and I have no problem at all with people shortening my name to 'Sue' when talking to or about me. But it makes me feel sort of ooky (for no reason that makes any sense) seeing my name written as 'Sue' (particularly when written with my last name). It's Susan (at work or on any document) or Soo (everywhere else).

Irrational and quirky. Does this count for 2?

2) I adopted Soo as the spelling of my shortened name when I was about 13 years old. Friends came up with it while writing epic poems about me which generally went something like this:
I have a friend named Soo
We went to the zoo
To watch cows go moo
Do yoo
Want to come too?

3) When I was in grade 3 I won 3rd prize (25 bucks! and a pen) in a short story competition at the Canadian National Exhibition. My short story was a feminist tale of a couple of boys who are shown up by a girl they tried to exclude from their tree house club.

4) I am annoyingly punctual. Even when I'm meeting someone who I KNOW will be late, I have to be there on time (generally a bit early)(just to be sure) in case they do turn up on time.

5) Conversely I have little patience for people who are habitually late. And I can get very cross when the start of a meeting or other event is held up while we wait for the people who couldn't be bothered to get there on time. (And it is always the same people.)

6) I like to knit. (I know I've shared this quirk with you before. But it's a biggie.)

I challenge you all to come up with 6 less interesting facts about yourself.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Myrtle Leaf Shawl

The snow has all melted and London has reverted to mostly rainy weather. Today however is gorgeous. Cold but oh so sunny with a clear blue sky. I'm not really a hot weather person -- but I love a sunny day.

So immediately after today's update I'm off to walk through the park. Greenwich Park is stunning on a sunny day (on any day really) and being able to stroll around it while the rest of the world is studying or working always feels a bit decadent!

Although the park has many trees, none are Myrtle trees so I won't be able to confirm whether this Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today is an accurate representation or not.

I knit this on 3.75mm needles using just over 1.5 skeins of Jaggerspun Zephy WoolSilk in Ebony (between 900 and 1000 yards).

It's a pretty straightforward knit (although do check out the errata if you decide to make it - there are a couple of errors in the chart). The body of the shawl is a 12 row pattern repeat - where each row is a pattern row (so no purling back).

The edging is knitted on. It is an 8 row repeat and works up reasonably quickly.

This wasn't one of my favourite projects knitting-wise. It wasn't challenging and the knitting got a little dull towards the end (40 repeats of the leaf pattern!) The shawl pre-blocking was particularly uninspiring.

Having said that, it's been very popular with the non-knitters who've seen it. In fact, it's been more popular with non-knitters than many of the complicated shawls I've knit.

And I'm sure there's a little lesson in that somewhere.

Unblocked the shawl was 18" x 50" and it blocked to an impressive 21" x 76".

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day in London!

London awoke to lots of snow this morning.

As a Canadian I tend to dismiss most attempts at snow in London -- but even I will concede this is real snow. Apparently it's the most snow London's seen in 18 years.

I'm not sure if it's the fact that it's a Monday in February, or the general economic doom and gloom (possibly both) but Londoners have almost unanimously declared a snow day!!

London Transport has decided not to run any buses today. None. Zippo.

Most trains are running a cut back service and 3 of the Underground lines have shut.

I just returned from a walk to the park (stopping off at the grocery store on the way back) and there's a definite day off from school feeling out there. The park is full of sledging kids and snowmen and of course continual snowball fights. The grocery store was PACKED with people stocking up on snow day essentials like hot chocolate, crisps and candy.

I love it! (I will not love it when because there is no snow removal programme here the snow compacts and becomes ice and a simple walk to the shops becomes treacherous. I HATE walking on ice.)(But I'm trying not to worry about that yet.)

(And it's just started snowing heavily again!)

Of course you didn't come here for a weather report. You came here expecting to see knitted things and I aim not to disappoint so here is Miralda's Triangle. (Photographed yesterday before the snow began. What a difference 24 hours makes!)

It is from Knitted Lace of Estonia (yes, again). (What can I say, when I find something I like....)

The scarf was knit on 3.75mm needles using Posh Yarn Eva 2ply in a purpley lilacy colourway. Finished size is 58 " across the top with a 26 " drop.

Like Ene's Scarf (also by Nancy Bush) this one starts with casting on a billion (or 331) stitches and decreases evenly every second row until you're almost out of stitches!

Being an Estonian pattern it does have the obligatory nupps - but they are a bit more subtle in this scarf. It includes two stitch patterns I hadn't come across before: the gathered stitch and the 3 stitch cross.

The gathered stitch provides a nice accent row - here it's used before and after the large diamond motifs. It's a simple stitch - you knit 3 together but don't slip the stitches from the needle, then YO, and then knit the same 3 stitches together again - this time slipping the stitches off the left hand needle. This leaves you with 3 stitches on the right hand needle.

The 3 stitch cross is an interesting stitch and I'm keen to try it in a variegated yarn where I think it might be quite interesting.

The cross is worked over 2 rows. On the first row you slip the first stitch purlwise, knit the next tow stitches together and then pass the slipped stitch over (so 3 stitches become 2). On the return row you insert a YO between the two stitches (so the 2 stitches become 3 again).