Owls!

Ahh apologies for my grumpy post…i was just in one of those moods. Thankfully the sunshine has vaporised the mini-grump. Also my FO Owls has cheered me up to no end.

This was rather an exciting knit as I knit it in the round, and cut it up the middle! My first steeking project.

DSC_0034

You see the column between the owls? That is where I cut.

First I crocheted a line on either side of the steek.
DSC_0038

DSC_0039

Then it was time to cut.

Out came the scissors and away I went. Pretty liberating feeling, cutting through those stitches.
DSC_0048

Then I picked up for the band, knit the band, then added the collar. Now to find the perfect wee button eyes!

DSC_0051

DSC_0058

DSC_0053

Hoppy Easter

Edited to add: I am walking the Race for Life this year with the iKnit team of fabulous knitters. The fundraising is for Cancer Research UK. It is so easy to donate. Try pledging a week of your coffee change.  Or your Friday night beer money, your afternoon chocolate allowance.  Think of all the things that you enjoy and pledge one of those to Cancer Research.  One yoga class.  One pedicure. A bikini wax.  That bottle of wine.  The latest paperback.  A skein of yarn.  Whatever it is you indulge in, that makes you feel good – take one week of that and pledge to Cancer Research.  Every little helps. Every little brings us closer to never having to watch a loved one suffer through the pain and heartache of the disease, be so weak as to not even be able to swallow medication, so tired that speaking is beyond them, in so much pain from cancer eating their insides that the pain, nausea and black scorch of radiation burns are preferable. Every little helps. Please please donate.

*****************************
You know that feeling, like you’re always running to catch up, and always just that much behind? Being the person who does the books, places the orders and tracks them, traces the incoming shipments and chases up customs payments, checks inventory, receives parcels and unpacks them, photographs them and then uploads same to website, prices them, checks prices against the market, tidies the shop and cleans the floors, keeps the tea drawer stocked up, keeps up with what’s happening in the knitworld, checks out the new designs, writes the newsletters, organises events, manages logistics, pays the rent, checks the bills, thinks up display and storage, mans the shop, tests new yarns, yedda yedda yedda, I feel like it all the time. I love many bits of what I do, the people bits and the yarn bits especially. I’m really not so into the admin bits, particularly as they cut seriously into my knitting time, but as these are generally the nuts and bolts that keep the rest of it together they are pretty important and I just have to suck it up and do them too. But I do get incredibly annoyed when people give me that ahhh, ‘you’re your own boss’ look and assume I do nothing but sit on my butt and knit (which I do alot of too but that isn’t the point!).

Before I started Socktopus I didn’t really appreciate the amount of work people put into small businesses. But man, I have a huge HUGE respect for those people now – people who worked hard and built something for themselves. They do everything – from being the tea lady to the office gopher to the person who cleans the floors, as well as being buyer, accounts payable, PR, marketing, and front of house. I can understand now how some people sometimes can’t hack it and do a zombie (rumours of fake deaths to escape obligations seem to abound in the knitosphere), or become grumpy-stiltskins. I don’t agree with this kind of head in the sand approach to problem solving, but I can certainly empathise.

Anyways what started all this navel gazing? Hmmm.

Moving quickly away from an impending rant (sorry I get like this from time to time), I had a lovely 4 day Easter break. We got some things done around the house, went to Romain’s for dinner on Friday night, meeting yet more fascinating people (Matilde who hand paints hand made chocolate! Must visit Paris to try them out..), Saturday we had a BBQ at home, with corn on the cob, lamb kofte, grilled peppers and baked potatos with sour cream and chives. Mmm haven’t had that in yonks. I did manage to explode a potato though – apparently they need to be pierced? It was rather exciting…. Sunday we had a delicious Sunday lunch chez the Howes. Carrots with cumin and orange and butternut squash with chilli cloves and cinnamon – totally delicous! and of course roast and yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. And dessert! Chocolate mousse and cheesecake. Needless to say David and I totally skipped dinner we were so full. Monday David & I caught Let the Right One In – another vampire movie with Kaurismaki overtones (much staring at each other without dialogue). Very sweet in a gruesome kind of way.

I have photos of classes to share, but they are on my main computer which is suffering a set back… some cleaning up today seemed to help the startup disk function properly, but there are still a few blips. I think I can iron them out tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Doubled Long Tail Cast-on

Repost from last year’s Socktopus Club:

For the cast on edge of Fiori di Zucca.

You’ll need to be familiar with the long tail cast on, aka double cast on, continental cast on, sling shot, two-strand, Y cast on, german cast on. Knittinghelp has a great video tutorial for it.

A doubled tail long tail long tail cast on basically takes the tail, doubles it, and continues as normal. I learned this from JC Briar, an absolutely amazing teacher. Lucy Neatby also refers to this in her knitting videos. The doubled tail strand, which sits like scarves around the base of the stitches on the needle, gives a lovely rolled cast on edge, and also helps give a good elasticity to the cast on. Don’t pull tight on the tail strand, just pull it so that it sits cleanly under the stitches. Too tight, you’ll lose your nice elastic edge, too loose and it’ll look sloppy. Experiment to find just the right tension for you.

I start with yellow and blue spitpliced yarn to help you see which bit of yarn does what. Blue for the yarn that comes from the ball, and yellow for the tail end.

spitsplice.JPG

So take the tail end, fold it in half like so, and place over the needle.
DSC_0006.JPG

DSC_0007.JPG

Take your finger, and place it over the yarn and the tail end to keep it from moving around.
DSC_0010.JPG

Then continue on your way with a normal long tail cast on, bringing your needle towards you, then under the loop on your thumb.
DSC_0011.JPG

DSC_0012.JPG

Then snag the ball yarn
DSC_0013.JPG

DSC_0014.JPG

and bring it through the tail loop towards you to create a new stitch.
DSC_0016.JPG

Take your thumb out of the tail loop, and pull it (not too tight, just so that it sits cleanly under the new stitch on the right needle)
DSC_0017.JPG

Stretching your thumb and finger apart, whilst holding on to the tail and ball yarns in the rest of your fingers, will help tighten up loose stitches.
DSC_0019.JPG

Repeat process for more stitches.
DSC_0020.JPG

DSC_0021.JPG

By the third new cast on stitch you’ll be able to take your right index finger off the tail end and first cast on loop, and it’ll hang there nice and obedient until weaving in time!
DSC_0022.JPG