I hadn’t realised it has been so long since I last posted here. My mother is out of hospital again, but things are not going smoothly, so I still don’t have the mental or physical energy to craft much. I did finish that pair of socks from the yarn I dyed, though I haven’t got around to photographing them yet, and I’ve nearly finished the first one of the yellow and orange pair, but I’m hungry to do a wider variety of crafting again. First I need to finish some things I owe other people, then I want to finish a shawl for myself which I started … um … I’m not going to admit how long ago. Most of all, though, I want to make more books and start journalling, which brings me to the new button which just appeared on my right sidebar …

For quite a while I’ve been following Roz Wound Up – a wonderful blog about book-binding, art journalling and art in general. I have learnt so much from that blog, and it has helped keep my urge to journal alive over the past few months, even though I know my journal(s) will only include my first baby steps at art, nothing like Roz’s sketches. I can still aspire to reaching something near to that level one day, though, with enough practice, and meantime it will, I hope, at least chart my progress.

Roz has embarked on a project to get herself sketched in as many other artist’s journals as possible. To that end, she has started a contest with her handmade books as prizes, which will run for over a year. You can read about it by clicking here or on that new sidebar button. For Phase 1, entrants have to sketch her from life, which rules out those of us who don’t expect to be in Minneapolis or any other place she might visit over the next year, so she has kindly created a secondary contest for us. Also, Phase 2 will give anyone who wants it an opportunity to sketch her from photographs she will post online. Check it out – even if you don’t enter the contests, you could probably learn a lot by browsing her archives and her pages.

I have done very little crafting since my mother came out of hospital, as she has been taking up a lot of my time and energy, though I did make a few books which I will post about soon. I still haven’t finished the second sock using the hand-dyed yarn which I posted about in May, but she is back in hospital again, so I expect my sock knitting to speed up again as I’ll be knitting while travelling and sitting with her. I already have my next pair planned, in a subtle (cough) sunshine yellow/orange space-dyed yarn. They are for my DH and it was his choice of yarn and colour. I’m not too happy about it, as 100% merino is not my first choice for socks, particularly for someone who is tough on socks.

I also want to get back to paper crafts and a friend pointed out an amazing giveaway on The Stamping Boutique blog, which includes 36 Copics. I love Copics! I don’t have enough of them, though. :-(

Filed Under (Dyeing, Fibre and textile crafts, Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 11-05-2010

I’ve been knitting socks while visiting my mother in hospital, and I continued while sitting with her after she went home, as I couldn’t do anything complicated.  I did the second sock of the blue pair (Opal yarn), and then I couldn’t resist starting on the yarn which I dyed at the workshop in February.  Both were knitted on 2.25mm Brittany dpns.  Here is a detail – click on the image to see the whole photo.


Stolen from a friend’s blog

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

My own knitting has been going well, though slowly. I have almost finished a pair of Regia socks, as they have been my mindless knitting while visiting my mother in hospital (mainly on the journeys to and fro). As she isn’t likely to go home for a while yet, I needed to set up my next ‘car knitting’ project, so I’ve started on the yarn from the dyed sock blank. I have finished one toe, but as I’ve not used this yarn before and I didn’t swatch (bad Jenny!), I may have to do a bit of ripping after a couple more inches to adjust the number of stitches. At least I’ll have something to keep my fingers busy, so I won’t mind too much if that happens.

Between still not feeling well myself and having to deal with the situation with my mother, I haven’t got much done over the past few weeks, but I have finally got around to unravelling the sock blank I dyed back in February at the Procion MX workshop. It had been knitted with 2 strands of yarn held together (one for each sock) so as I unravelled it, I made it into 2 loose piles. The yarn was very curly after being dyed and washed as knitted fabric, so I had to wind it into skeins and steam them before I could wind them into balls.

One re-wound, one to go ...

Filed Under (Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 26-02-2007

Just a quick entry to say that I have updated my sock page.  Some friends were discussing socks and sharing pictures and I found some old pictures that I didn’t have online, so I added them to the end of the page, with brief descriptions.

As for current craft work, I finally dug out my Icarus-in-progress, after putting it aside for Christmas and other gift knitting, and I’m still knitting the Opal socks for myself … more on those later.

Filed Under (Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 05-02-2007

My last entry showed a replaced toe and a patched heel.  On the other pair of Fortissima socks, there were larger thin areas on the heels so instead of duplicate stitching to strengthen them I decided to cut the affected areas right out and replace them.  As there was interest in the earlier post, I thought I’d show this process here.  It looks complicated, but as long as you are comfortable grafting two rows together, it is easier than it looks.

[Note:  these socks were knitted toe-up, so the gusset stitches were on needles and as I knit back and forth across the flap, I ‘ate up’ one gusset stitch at each turn, using ssk and p2tog.  This makes it easy to reknit the heel flap.  For top-down socks with the gusset stitches picked up from the side of the heel flap, it isn’t quite as simple.  If I were repairing that type of heel, I would probably cut the whole heel out, including the shaping at the bottom, repair as shown here but starting at the top of the flap, continue with the original heel shaping and graft across the bottom of the heel.]

So, the first (and possibly most difficult) step is to snip the yarn a few rows away from one edge of the area to be repaired and start unpicking the yarn.  It may be quite felted, so be careful.  When you get to the edge, store the freed gusset stitch on a dpn or waste yarn.  Continue doing this till you have only one row to go, then carefully tink the stitches one by one, putting them onto another dpn or piece of waste yarn.  As you cut off the reclaimed yarn, remember to leave a long enough end to sew in later.  The repair is slightly easier if you start and end at an edge, but I find that makes it bulkier where the ends are sewn in so I prefer to stop the unpicking mid-row. Repeat the process in the opposite direction.

heel ready for repair 

You now have a sock with a big hole, but no loose stitches.  I have left the top edge of the hole on waste yarn as I find it gets in the way less that way.  The next task is to knit the missing part of the flap, ending one row early ready for grafting.

replacement flap knitted 

Note the gusset stitch still on a needle (later replaced by waste yarn as the needle fell out) at the right of the picture.  The last stitch on the left side has already been used up.  The new stitch that did that is the slipped edge stitch, which needs to be linked to the row above.  Pull the free end out of the stitch below, and use it to graft to the slipped stitch on the row above, then back into its original stitch.  Now you can graft the flap to the row above.  If you are starting and stopping at an edge, that’s all you need to do – you can just sew in the ends. If you are starting and stopping in the middle of a row, you will get to a point where thre are two missing rows, not just one, so you have to stop grafting.

grafting the flap 

After completing the last full stitch on the bottom row, use the yarn end to continue knitting (or in my case purling) across the row, turn as you did at the other side and then graft back to fill the remaining gap.  Sew in the ends and you now have a fully repaired heel.

repair finished

Now I have a confession to make.  When I tried to do the final piece of grafting, I found I was one stitch short at the top.  After some close inspection, I realised I had aligned the stitches wrongly at the start of the grafted row.  Now any sensible knitter would say “It’s only a heel flap, no-one will see it, so just fudge it to make it work.”  I repeat that … NO ONE WILL SEE IT!!!!  But I couldn’t do that. I did try to convince myself, really I did, but I ended up grafting across the whole of that second row, unpicking the original yarn ahead of me, till I reached the other side and corrected the mistake, then turned the corner and did a few more stitches so I could join in mid-row again.  Yes, I’m crazy!!!  But at least I can look at my repaired heel and feel real satisfaction.      

Filed Under (Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 01-02-2007

I noticed yeserday that the top of the heel flap of one of my favourite socks had worn very thin, with only the nylon remaining in some places. I checked the other 3 similar socks (I’d knitted 2 identical pairs around the same time) and found 2 of them had the same problem.  I also checked the toes and found the two right socks were both badly worn over the top of the big toe nail. 

I checked my notes and realised they are over 10 years old. That’s not bad for socks which have been worn a lot, but as I said, these are my favourite socks, in Fortissima Cotton Colori, and I wasn’t ready to give up on them yet.

As the nylon was holding the shape of the stitches, I decided to duplicate stitch over the thin area, working from the inside of the flap so it wouldn’t show much on the outside:

 darned heel

 The patched area felt much thicker than the rest, quite lumpy, so I was afraid it might rub against my heel, but I wore the first sock yesterday when I visited my mother in hospital.  That was quite a bit of walking and I couldn’t feel any lumpiness at all, and it will soon flatten out with wear.  I’ll do the other thin heel areas over the next few days

This morning I tackled one of the toes.  It seemed easier to reknit the toe than to patch it.  I snipped just below the toe shaping, then ripped back to the first non-shaping round, putting the stitches onto dpns as I carefully tinked the final round.  These socks were knitted toe-up, but converting increases to decreases so I could knit the replacement toe top-down was no problem.  You can see the change in colour and texture of the yarn at the top of the shaping, but after a few washes the difference won’t show.

replaced toe


Filed Under (Dyeing, Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 16-11-2006

I decided to try some long-repeat dyeing for socks for a friend, and here it is ….


Bright, isn’t it?   Not my colours but I hope she will like it.

In case someone is curious as to how I did it, I wound the yarn into a long skein on my warping board (5 yard path, so 10 yard repeat), then dip dyed it.  Here is a picture of it in the first colour bath …

Long repeat dyeing

So, how did the stripes work out?   Well, like this …


Filed Under (Dyeing, Knitting, Shawls/Scarves, Socks) by jennyk on 30-06-2006

No pictures today, but I might get some taken over the weekend as I have a lot of things that need to be photographed. However, we have to go new-to-us car hunting urgently this weekend as our current one died this week.

My most urgent current project, other than the car, is to get at least two more pairs of slippers knitted for my mother by her birthday (less than 4 weeks). The old ones wore out too quickly, so I am going to use the same yarn I used for her socks, as that seems to be lasting better. It’s Paton’s Diploma Gold DK, and I picked up 4 balls each of navy and denim so I can make at least 3 pairs of slippers and one more pair of socks, maybe a second pair of socks too. That’s how many she requested for her birthday, but she doesn’t expect me to get them all done in time.

I’ve been swatching for other projects – the Mystery Stole 2 KAL and the Icarus shawl from the latest Interweave Knits. I haven’t joined the Icarus KAL yet but I might. The Icarus is for me, and I have a cone of 2/16 cashmere from ColourMart UK. I can’t stop fondling the swatches as they feel so wonderful.

I’m doing the Mystery Stole in Skacel Merino Lace, which is almost cobweb weight, so it will actually be a scarf. I’ll probably end up giving that one away, unless I totally fall in love with the pattern when I finally see it complete.

Before I start either of those, I’m trying to finish the edging on the fan stitch half circle shawl from Waterman’s shawl book.

I’ve also been washing and dyeing free (yes, free) BFL fleece. I got 4 fleeces for just a contribution to the petrol (gas) costs of the friend who collected them. They aren’t bad, even though they were sheared by the farmer’s neighbour and were going to be burnt as it wasn’t worth him sending them to the Wool Board. They have quite a bit of VM, but mostly straw and not too difficult to pick out,

Well, that’s all the fibre news from Chez Jenny for today. I hope I’ll manage to do the next update a bit more promptly than this one.