Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Leaving the Nest

zombie socks - the return by sheryl giles
in angels&elephants 4-ply sock wool in maisie

They're gone!  oh WOE is my orphanage!  But thanks to the WIPs Wresting tournament on Ravelry, I have 2 orphans homed with new siblings!  The first of which was made with the Zombie Sock pattern by Sheryl Giles - my second go at the pattern.  For some reason the second sock just didn't want to be cast on...  I suspect it was the acres of knit stitches through the back loop that threw me. 

scary dropped stitches everywhere

For some reason I wasn't bothered by this in the first pair, or, indeed, in the first sock, but I'd do one pattern repeat of 6 rows and put the second sock down for, well, a month at a time...  But that says more about my SSS than anything else! 

notice cunning use of home-made cardboard sock blockers,
artfully covered by a plastic bag!  does the job, though!

Anyhoo - eet ees done, and they are re-housed in the sock drawer!  HUZZAH!  I have to say, though, that these are insanely comfy socks - the yarn is lovely, of course, but the pattern just seems to be rather comfy all on its own! 

The second little orphan to leave the nest this week has been waiting on a sibling for, oh... five months now...  And boy, can you see that time lapse in my change of gauge...

cherry blossom sock or kaibashira by chrissy gardiner
in king cole zigzag, colourway heather

Holy Pooling, Batman.  Actually, the pooling is in the older sock - I managed to get some cool stripes with the second and my slightly tighter gauge.  But I do love how they have turned out!  The yarn is lovely, too, with the mainly pink and white colouring, but with tiny spots of peach, blue and green.
This is basically a feather-and-fan based pattern, with a really lovely  cuff cast-on.  Slightly tricky, but totally worth it:


This darling pair will soon be winging their way to the States, as I was part of a hand-knit socks swap - one person knits the socks for someone that is sadly not conversed in the art of sock making, and the happy knitter gets some goodies in return!  HUZZAH again!

:: sobs :: they grow up so fast...

And, bound wrist notwithstanding, (slight tendonitis, possibly due to too much knitting tbl... :: grins :: ) I should have one more pair finished by the end of the month...  Which is - ACK - only 3 and a half days away. 

Wish me luck!

Monday, 20 July 2009

N is for...

New Pattern (woohoo!)

irish ale socks 'murphy's red' version by yours truly
walker merino sock yarn by the yarn side
in red lentil evenings colourway

Yes indeedy!  Not only am I posting twice in two days, (shock, horror) I have a new pattern to pimp!  HUZZAH!

May I present RedScot's Irish Ale Socks...

After showing my Gin and Tonic socks to some friends, it was suggested that I continue the alcoholic beverage theme and make some Guinness-type socks.  I, of course, thought this was a marvellous idea until I realised that if I was to make a pattern for black yarn, then I'd need, at the very least, a very lacy and/or textured pattern...

irish ale socks (Guinness version)
phildar preface in

This feather-and-fan type stitch with a half-drop fits the bill very well, as it creates a great swirly 'just-poured' look, complete with more lacy eyelets than you can shake a ball of black yarn at!
Topped with a frothy lacy-ribbed, fold-over cuff to complete the look, these Irish Ale Socks look almost good enough to slurp!  Why not try them in green for St Patrick's Day?!

The cuff is knitted quite loosely with a frothy lace rib, then turned inside out and continued in an ordinary 2x2 rib for staying-put power!

some nameless white mostly acrylic white yarn
but it does the job quite nicely!

I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with this pattern, as it looks great with black wool, as well with lighter variegated types.  I have been very fortunate with my testers for this sock, and there has been a great range of yarns used - even a self-striping that looks very striking, too!

thirsty, anyone?

Using two contrasting yarns to symbolise the frothy head and swirling, settling ale-y goodness, these socks are knit from the cuff down, with written instructions for using dpns, although circ users will find it easy to follow, too. (My intrepid test knitters were of both types!)  

If you'd like to have a copy of this pattern you can buy it for only $3.50 (roughly €2.40 or £2.00) from the Ravelry download shop by clicking here:
Go on - you know you want to! =D Many thanks to G, C and H for all their help!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

M is for


chenonceau in typical visiting weather

I'm cheating a bit, as I'm up to my ears in WIPs that need wrestled for the July WIPs Wrestlemania on Ravelry.  (Basically a chance to have some support in trying to finish some of the many works in progress that we all, no doubt, have languishing in corners, under cushions, behind settees, under fridges, in old coffee cups, etc etc etc...) 

Where does the cheating come in?  Well, my DS was over for a holiday recently, and we visited some of our favourite châteaux... Châteaux that have already received their own abc-along post...  Do you think I'll get away with it?!

Well, best foot forward, and a stiff upper lip etc.  I'm starting with Chenonceau, because it is my absolute favourite.  The weather was (yet again) unkind to us while we were there, and we had also been warned that some of the walls were under scaffolding for cleaning and restoration.  Did we still want to go?  Well, duh, yes! In the end, the scaffolding was draped with very cleverly constructed gauze prints of what the walls looked like behind the scaffolding.  Genius, as, unless you looked closely, you didn't really notice it.

For some reason I finally got a shot of my favourite room, too - the black-clad room of Louise of Lorraine.  She turned the chateau almost into a nunnery following the assassination of her husband, Henri III.

the mourning bedroom of louise de lorraine

And I don't think I've ever taken such a clear shot of the bed and tapestries in the bedroom of Catherine de Medici, either:

richness abounds

Blois was also on our itinerary.  With an additional falling down some steps, for me.  I sprained my foot, but didn't really feel it until we got home, so I was a bit lucky.  Kind of.  In a falling-over-and-hurting-myself-but-not-so-badly-as-to-ruin-the-day type way.

blois - the first view when walking/hobbling from the station

It's really rather an impressive edifice!  You're presented with the François I (early 1500's) wing on the left, and at the right you see the edge of the Gaston d'Orléans wing (early 1600's).

You then find yourself in front of the oldest part, the Louis XII wing, and entrance to the château.

the grand front door

Then you get inside and arrive in a courtyard surrounded by 3 eras of architecture!  It's stunning!  Well, it was a little less stunning than normal, as most of the courtyard was cordoned off...  I think I'm right in saying they were setting up lights for the Sons et Lumière (Sound and light) evening spectacle.  A fourth era of architecture, perhaps?  But the overall impression of awe wasn't dented that much!

the other side of the françois i wing with the amazing spiral staircase

the louis xii wing and chapel taken from the top of the spiral staircase

The next chateau we visited was Villandry!  I was very happy to show my DS this wonderful place.  The only thing marring the day was that although it was VERY hot, it was mostly cloudy and threatening thunder-showers at any minute.

the 'love' garden

I am rather fond of Villandry!  Although the chateau was 'officially' completed in the mid 1500's, the interior has been set out in late 18th century and Edwardian styles (early 20th century) - the latter being of the last incumbent, a Spanish doctor by the name of Joachim Carvallo, who bought the château in 1906.  (The castle is still owned by the Carvallo family.)

Although the place is more famous for its gardens than the interior of the chateau, I am repeatedly charmed by the nurseries on the top floor, the sumptuous yet simple bedrooms, the rustic kitchen, the 18th century dining room and especially by the incredible 15th century painted Moorish wood-panel ceiling to be found in a room to the back of a gallery of religious paintings.

:: sighs at the prettiness ::

To finish up, I'll give you a wee photo of part of the love garden... There are many more shots of the gardens to be found in the 'G is for...' post of a few months ago.

oh, I so want to put something about perfectly clipped love garden bushes...

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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