Sunday, December 30, 2007

The reality of Southern Summer of Socks

For me, Southern Summer of Socks started with grandiose plans of knee socks. Theres something quite sexy about knee socks - the possibilities of lace, delicate ankle definition and the accentuation of that vulnerable area behind the knee. I collected a whole bunch of knee sock patterns, sourced the ideal yarns, and then got pregnant. Knee socks did not play a part in this, but morning sickness and fatigue meant that every time I looked down to read a pattern and then knit, I felt queasy.

Recently though I managed to turn out a pair of these for a friend.

Debbie Bliss Beaded Fair Isle Shoes from The Baby Knits Book. The mods are pretty obvious - no beading or Fair isle. They are made from medium weight Socks That Rock, In the Navy.

Inspired by the uber-quick knitting time, and first ultrasound pictures, I then whipped up this little number.

Debbie Bliss again, Hat with Topknot in some left over Jo Sharp DK from a lapsed felting experiment.

Finally - I've got my knitting mojo back!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The miracle that is waxed dental floss

Theres been competing priorities in my home this week. De-flea Squeak, de-mould the bathroom, relocate the colony of Daddy Long Legs that have been drive inside because of the wet weather. Instead my time was spent threading tiny, tiny beads onto thin, thin hairy yarn to make the edging for Flourish. Sanity was saved, and household hygiene brought that one step closer by the discovery that the beads threaded smoothly when the yarn was trapped between a piece of doubled up waxed dental floss. Behold the power of the floss!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The return of Australia's leading sock model

Back, by popular request, is Equ! Famous for saying "I dont get out of bed for less than $10 000", Equ made herself available for an impromptu modelling session for this half of a finished object.

One Spiral Boot Sock in Cherry Tree Hill's Foxy Lady colourway. (Actually I think it was the name of colourway that persuaded Equ to waive her fees and her policy of not wearing one sock at once.)

A word from Australian voters

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dabbling in the Dark Arts

Its true that I've lost some of my knitting mo-jo recently. While I still maintain that socks are a symphony of design and practicality, I've been finding that I've fallen for the siren song of the darks arts. Yes. Crochet.

I blame Kim Hargraves. More specifically I blame Flourish.

So you can imagine the excitement, not to mention the rush of creativeness and the challenge of new craft territory, when this package arrived yesterday.

Four balls of Kidsilk Haze in Pearl. 1000 shiny, shiny beads which are added in the final, flouncing layer of the scarf. How will I ever finish my Spiral Boot Socks for Southern Summer of Socks now??

Monday, November 5, 2007

Satan's stitchmarker

Remember the troubled beginning of my Twinnings stole? Four times I cast on and four times I frogged. I'm the first to admit my counting skills have never been that great, but on my fifth attempt I noticed a pattern to my counting failure.

The pattern is six sets of a 16 stitch pattern. I'd put in a stitch marker at every repeat, and regularly at the fifth repeat, marked by a little green heart, I'd get either 15 stitches or 17 stitches no matter how careful I was. Hmmmm. On closer examination of the seemingly innocent green heart, I noticed that the ring on the marker wasnt completely closed. Yup, there was just enough room for a stitch or two to wiggle through as I worked the row.

I'm taking the view that those four previous attempts were good practice at the pattern, and now I'm making reasonable progress. Heres a shot of where things are at, with Satan's stitchmarker in situ towards the top left.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's in a name?

Rose Red has blogged about the name of my blog! Wow - blogosphere recognition!

The name of my blog is a play on the name of the 1970s sex manual 'The Joy of Sex'. Any one who is 30-mumble has probably seen a copy of this at some stage. I remember being about 8 and finding a well thumbed copy in a book case at my aunt's house. I was struck by the rather delicate line drawings and the fact that the people illustrated still had their underpants on. But the one thing from 'The Joy of Sex' that has stuck with me all these years is the drawing captioned 'The armpit - a classic site for a kiss'.

Anyway - there has been knitting progress to report this week. The spiral boot sock spirals on. From my optimistic beginnings of whipping this up in no time, I've been forced to concede that maybe its going to take me a little longer than anticipated. Still, I'm hoping to finish it this weekend and depending on the amount of yarn I have left, I might put a red toe on it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brought to you by the letter V

Progress on all knitting has been slow so far this week. So instead of posting some photos showing minute amounts of progress, I thought you might be interested in these couple of shots from our honeymoon in Vietnam in August 06.

A lantern maker in Hoi An

Masks in Hanoi

We rode a tiny motorbike for over 1000 kilometres through the Central Highlands. Just to clarify, that is two people on one 100cc motorbike. While it might not have been the most traditional approach to honeymoon romance, the scenery was spectacular and it really took us off the tourist track.

Dusk at Buon Ma Thuot

The traffic was occasionally alarming, but it moved slowly enough to allow photos. That's our guide, Mr Thong, in the blue helmet just up ahead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First of the summer socks

I've just signed up for the Southern Summer of Socks. I've yet to set myself a target, but am thinking it might be to do with knee socks. I've started with the Spiral Boot Socks from Interweave Summer 07, using Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in Foxy Lady. (Why does the name instantly make me think of Kath, from Kath and Kim??) Its knitting up quickly, I started this Sunday afternoon and reckon I'll be doing the heel flap by Friday. They are also going to double as a Christmas present, but to preserve the surprise the recipient shall remain nameless.....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Forbidden Lie$

In 2001 Norma Khoury's book Forbidden Love was published. Its the profoundly shocking true story of Dalia, her Muslim best friend in Amman, Jordan, who was murdered by her father for falling in love with a Christian man. Norma fled Jordan and spent two years living in Greece in fear for her life. During this time she learnt English and wrote Dalia's story so that the world would know the truth.

The only problem was that it was all a whopping big fat lie.

I saw the doco about Norma Khoury, Forbidden Lie$ last night. Norma was by turns breathtaking, shameless and hilarious. Watching Norma reveal her many selves in front of the camera reminded me of peeling an onion, one layer simply stripped back to reveal another which stripped back again. See this movie if you can, and learn how a married mother of two on the run from the FBI for multiple counts of fraud managed to flee the States with a letter of recommendation from Dick Cheney's daughter, settle in Australia and pass herself off as a virgin refugee fearing for her life but bravely fighting for an extremely important cause. Its mesmerising.

Forbidden Lie$

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Waving Lace done....

...unlike my thesis. Here is Hilary modelling her new socks. The yarn is Naturally Haven, 100% New Zealand Merino 4 ply.

Received my invitation to join Ravelry today! After joining the waiting list in July, I'm in. Hurrah!

Adventures in lace

I've never knit lace before (or should that be knitted lace?). Then I got a rush of blood and before I knew it I owned two lace stole patterns, hanks of lovely silky yarn and even some beads to do beaded edging. After that, I thought I should approach things a bit more sensibly and cast on the stole that was marked beginner/intermediate. So, how many times do you think I cast on and knit the first 8 rows?

Four times! I thought I'd cracked it at the third, but a sneaky extra stitch suddenly appeared in the fourth panel repeat. How? How? So, I'm back to gentle beginnings.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yarn modelling

What better thing to do on a lovely, sunny October long weekend than rummage through the stash and take some photos?

In the wooden bowl is a skein of medium weight Sunstone from Blue Moon Fiber Arts along with a silk and merino two ply in Lime Delight from The Knittery.

In the blue bowl we have merino 4 ply in Roses from The Knittery. I've had this yarn for a while, and love the subtle colour variation, but still havent found quite the right project for it.

And finally in the silver bowl, once again its the Sunstone with the beautiful 4 ply Roses. Any suggestions about what I could make with the Roses?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Socks from the vault

These three (in theory) pairs of socks were the first socks I made, back in '05. I was particularly inspired by self-patterning yarn at the time, and the Squeeze's large feet were just the thing to show off the self-patterning Opal elemente yarn and the ringels Regia yarn to perfection. Given the hard wear and machine washing they have endured over the last few years, they've held their shape and colour remarkably well. The pattern for the Opal elemente sock was a freeby from The Wool Shack that came with the yarn. The pattern for the two Regia ringels is Patons Town and Country sock pattern.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Kittens and flowers and yarn

And some pretty pictures to look at to recover from the zombie shots below. First up is Squeak inspecting some beautiful silk and merino 2 ply that Daphne from The Knittery dyed specially. Its called Lime Delight and I'm planning on making my Mum this stole.

And heres a variation on theme. Its two skeins of Sea Silk in Ebony from Purl Yarns nestled up with the Lime Delight. This is destined to become a hamani stole inspired by the beautiful one made by Split Yarn.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Down amongst the undead

It was grey and gloomy Spring morning, a constitutional law essay to write, my archaeology thesis to edit, the house to clean and the garden to garden, so what better moment could there be to spontaneously decide that we must go and join a Zombie Lurch! I must confess, I've never lurched before. But with the promise of make up provided, my Squeeze and I rummaged in the dress-up cupboard and found in no particular order, an old safari suit, and a djellabah and a kuffiyeh. I became a Steve Iwrin zombie and the Squeeze became variously Sheikh ya Zombie or a beardless version of Osama bin Zombie. We were also joined by Nicole Zombie-Kidman, who strenuously maintained that she wasnt really a zombie but was still recovering from a big night at the Golden Globes, and the famous Victorian era African explorer zombie, Stanley Kerbab.

And what better way to wind down after a morning of lurching and moaning and (fuitlessly) seeking bbbbraaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnnnnssssssssssssssss?

Despite thorough showering, I can still smell the raspberry topping used as the base for the fake blood.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Socks and ponies

As it happens, there is a link for me between socks and ponies. I'm in the final stages of writing my Hons thesis on the origins of horseback riding, and its weighing in at about 46 000 words. A beloved colleague offered to edit it for me, and for payment we settled on socks of her choice.

She decided on Waving Lace socks from Favourite Socks. She has nearly finished the last chapter, and I'm about one third through one the foot. Heres a shot of my progress modelled on the only appropriately circumferenced object to hand, a bottle of Stolly.

I know this site has been short on pony content to date, so if you've ever wondered what the difference is between a zorse, a zonkey and a zony, wonder no more.....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

At home with Australia's leading sock model

Euq says: "When I'm at home I like to lounge in my Jo Sharp stockings. Hand knitted from Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette in Pebble, these stockings feature a delicate lace panel and lace edging. Hmmmm, so soft, so luxurious......."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The source of sock infidelity

Yes, there is a reason behind my recent spate of sock infidelity. A friend lent me Lucinda Guy's book And so to bed. This little top said "knit me, I'm small and involve lots of mildly interesting patterning", and being a fickle wench, I replied "sure thing!".

As summer is approaching, I whipped this little number up out of Lincraft's Bamboozle, a 70% bamboo 30% cotton blend. The yarn tends to separate into strands very easily, so I'm not sure how this top will hold up to a frolicsome two year old.

Still its turned out real pretty.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Importance of Dental Hygiene

Hey kids, remember to clean those teeth! Otherwise you could go from being a stunt-ridin' cool cat...

to this...

Squeak now has an extra expensive smile with less teeth and the added indignity of an unfashionable face-hair cut.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Socks of shame and funky monkeys

Uh oh, look at these three socks, socks of shame. Yep, I've turned the heels, and my fancy has turned to other things. The lonely jaywalker in Socks That Rock Fire on the Mountain has been stalled at this stage since May. The snicket sock in Socks That Rock Rose Quartz, such a delicate shade, has stalled since July. The winding cable sock, in Darks Reds from The Knittery, wound to halt last week. What is it about turning a heel?

There is some respite from all this sock loneliness though - a pair of monkeys in STR Luna Sea.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The joy of a newly rediscovered old finished object

I was in a colleague's office today and there was this little beauty I made sitting on his tea pot! Gorgeous huh? He wanted "the gayest tea cosy ever" and when presented with this said it was "the gayest thing I've ever seen"! High praise indeed.

The idea came from a similar cosy on Yarnstorm. The pattern is from Rowan Classic Home book five and I crafted it from some cheapo five ply cotton from Lincraft and then sewed on rows and rows of glass fake pearls. I went with glass because I was worried the hot tea could potentially cause melting and lead to loss of shine.

Here's another shot. Isn't she photogenic?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Black Sheep and exotic (almost) socks

Saw the independent New Zealand movie Black Sheep last night. It was hilarious, as you'd expect a zombie sheep movie to be. There was a nod and wink to the pioneers of the genre, as soon as the prop plane whirred on to the screen, you just knew that there'd be some zombie mulching at sooner or later. There were some lovely farming in-jokes involving drenching guns and the inevitable joke about how much a man can love a ewe. Eeeuuuuwwwweee indeed! Oh, and it has a happy ending.

Not much sock action this week, so I thought I'd post some pictures of some crafty footwear I bought in Uzbekistan a couple of years ago. The navy and red slippers I bought in Khiva, an oasis town near(ish) the Caspian Sea, and below the now almost completely dry Aral Sea. Some of the local Turkomen women in Khiva sell knit wear on the streets around the old town.

These socks, featuring an anchor motif on the toe picked out with white embroidery, are just one of many designs. A lot of the designs appear on carpets and in embroideries as well. They also have exquisite shawls made from hair taken from the neck of the Bactrian camel, which they say makes the finest and warmest garments.

These little slippers came from Bukhara, another oasis town. They are of felt made from the neck hair of Bactrian camels. They are embroidered with silk from local silkworms and are corded with twisted silks around the edges of the sole. Their laces are also made of twisted silk cord.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why socks? Why not?

The short question - why socks? The short answer - why not.
Here is my current wip. Winding cable socks in dark reds from The Knittery.