knitting and the life I almost have around it

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

selling my soul on eBay

Hi all, long time no blog.
Had a lovely weekend with my yarn sister Othlon, and as luck (and insanity) would have it.. I dyed ALOT of yarn. HEAPS.
THIS MUCH ----->And after looking at all this beautiful yarn and sinking into hallucinations about giving myself RSI trying to knit it all ASAP... i caved in to peer pressure and have listed it all on eBay (well, i saved one skein of my pink grapefruit sock yarn for myself... but i was VERY restrained. VERY!)

so if anyone is interested in having a squiz, s'all here.

"Apricot Delight" Laceweight

"Apricot Delight" 8ply

"Wild Thyme" Laceweight

"Toy Box" 8ply

"Fruit Tingle" 8ply

"Pink Grapefruit" Self-striping Sock Yarn

"Kelp Forest" Self-striping Sock Yarn

see some of you on thursday day snb in civic? will be there with dpns raised in salute to the lovely Taph who has donated a ball of beautiful Opal so i can knit some socks for my boss' mother who has just been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. thanks Taph, you're a gem (an Opal..?).

the souless
Ms Spider xo

PS. cheers to kylie for buying my sock yarn! i am not a failure !! and my eBay virginity is well and truly stolen...

Thursday, June 22, 2006


seriously, if my head gets any bigger im going to have to get some longer circs for knitting hats... 80cm just wont cut it for much longer :p

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


...the proof of the sock yarn is in the feeting!


the painfully smug
Ms Spider ox

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tutorial: Dyeing Self-Striping Yarn

I have decided that as i am clearly a crazy person who overdoes it and gets psycho ideas... well if by trial and error i happen to hit apon a method that might work for a saner knitter then it is my duty to the fibre-world at large to 'publish' a nice easy free tutorial with photos. So, here is my first instalment (i think. i may have done this previously). im going to stick a link in my sidebar so people who are interested can locate it easily at a later date.

Self-Striping Yarn

You will need:
Some pure wool yarn in a light colour (I am using 2 x 100g of white 4ply bendigo wool)
Food dyes
White vinegar
lots of microwave proof glass dishes
lots of glass dishes for mixing colours
A paintbrush or two
2 chairs
An empty house or a friend who is fibre-mad
Some self-striping yarn you like (optional)

Step 1:
Pull out a section of self-striping yarn til you have the full section you want to repeat (I am using patonyle, so i pulled out one stripe of orange, a pink faux-fair-isle section, a yellow bit and another pink fair isle bit). Tie this section into a loop.

Step 2:
Stretch this loop over the backs of your two chairs (this is where a nice long corridoor helps). This is how long your skein has to be! Now you have to wrap your yarn around these two chairs (if you have one of those thingies that counts your steps you could pretend you are working out as you walk around and around those chairs). if you have a centre-pulling ball this is much easier. You may want to draw your curtains- your neighbours will NOT think this is normal behaviour. Make sure you tie your skein in lots of places -it will be a total bitch if it gets tangled.

Step 3: Look at your piece of original yarn. tie off the super-skein at the points where you want the stripes to start and end. as long as you give about two metres of yarn per colour you will get stripes so you can get a bit creative. Use a different coloured yarn to tie of for the stripes or you might get confused with the fastening ties. Step 4: Soak your super skein in white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. this is your mordant which sets the dye, so you want it to be really saturated to maintain the colour. Step 5: Assemble the usual suspects. At this point you can sort out the colours you want and dilute them in water accordingly. dripping a bit on a tissue will give a good indication of the sort of colour you will get. Step 6: Divy out your sections of tied off skein into different glass containers and dye. For the faux-fair-isle bits i've found a wash of a pale colour and then painting spots of darker colours on top. this bit can be as messy as you like. Step 7: trying to not corrupt the different colour sections, transfer your super-skein into another glass dish. Step 8: Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Step 9: cool. (fork is optional if you feel it looks like very bright spaghetti) Step 10: Microwave a further 5 minutes. Tip into the sink and rinse in cold water until cool. wring out excess water.

Step 11: dry. Step 12: sadly you must now spread super-skein across your chairs again to ball up/wind into a manageable skein. if you have a niddy-noddy this may be easier.

The finished product!:
The bottom one is a rainbow ('Lorikeet') and the top is dark pink and green stripes interspersed with a pale aqua faux-fair-isle section ('Peppermint Twist').


Have fun, knit on

the messy

Ms Spider xo

sock pow ka-bam!

thanks to kylie for a lovely title. and thanks for everyone who gave suggestions (some via email, thanks shane) i will use them all i promise :). i chose this one because i feel like a superhero to have finished the smegging pink socks!!!

So i have not posted for YONKS (technical term) and have so much to tell! so this will be huge and blabby and feel free to just look at the pictures. if you need a lie-down halfway through i quite understand.

firstly, Uni is over for the semester and i'm pretty sure i've enrolled correctly and all that malarky for semester 2 (if ever you didnt want to think about uni it would be in the holidays - exams arent even ocver yet!). First to admit i'm finding it somewhat difficult to care at the moment. Everyone who saw me leave the Lit 5 exam early and worried i'd screwed it up - fear not! i have a very quick creative process and i really really truly only take an hour for an in-class essay. i did fine and i hope you all did too.

spent the beginning of last week at the farm. hadnt been out for ages and had such a lovely time. Sherpa and i are reading our way through agatha christie, and finished the 13 problems and a murder is announced whilst out there. we're onto chapter 5 of the body in the library, but will probably read a Poirot next so as to conserve the worlds' limited supply of Miss Marple (who i want to BE!). Also while out at the farm, my 'Aunt' Anne hijacked me and deposited some of her late mother's stash upon my house! HURRAH!
22 balls of pure black wool 10 ply. i think this wants to be the rogue hoodie. i dont know if i can get guage though.20 balls of pure wool 8 ply crepe (its much more plummy than the flash admits).2 balls patons fireside in a lovely heathery blue, some various mohair-esque concoctions and a bit of 3 ply to be booties. some of this is headed for the swap basket (Taph is shuddering right now as she sees that awful knitting netting crap).

Now what else can i tell you all? it's been VERY cold.

Ooh as of this morning i have finished liv's socks! they are pressed (to look more sock-y) and wrapped and i shall post them tomorrow. THANK DOG. here they are reclining amongst my brothers ' bonzais.(note to self: do NOT offer to knit socks for people a) in colourways you have knit before, b) who's feet are bigger than yours or c) who will likely as not shrink or felt them.) But yes, done and good riddance. now i only have to finish leah's bobble socks and i think i can cast on some new sockies for MEEEE!!!!

SnB yesterday was lovely, despite a few missing personel. Nice to see so many new/newish faces and Taph rocked up with her lovely little travelling spinning wheel for an impromptu wheel check from leigh. i was very well behaved and knit only liv's socks. TRUE! im getting SO concientous its scary!
Taph and Monica, our two invalids both made it! glad to see you both up and about. and well done Taph for your excellent yarn remainder estimation (or luck perhaps?).Leigh and Karen debating seriously (someone must have said they prefered ack-rylic to cashmere or something).Margot and (mental-blank) doing what they do best).
Here is the lovely Sharon knitting some gorgeous hand-painted wool into a scarf for her niece. And of course there were some treats in the swap basket and i managed to end up with quite a bit!
4 skeins of some lovely twisty cotton in purples and yellows and blues (much more purple than shows up here). Reeny, i was planning to offer this to you when you got back from Lincraft so if it appeals let me know and i'll bring it for you next time. dont make noises about what about me because CLEARLY i am opperating around a massive stash explosion and.. you look like you're overdoing it anyway.9 balls of patons joy which Taph had a play with and then abandoned. im thinking a loose summer shawly thing to wear over summery frocks and an adoreable pink bikini i have yet to locate but looks good on me in my mind (useful that, and much more healthy for ones self-esteem to forgoe the mirror and assume you look delicious).And.. well i think its time for an update on my life. about 2 months ago, just before i went to vanuatu my life exploded. which basically means that the BFG and i broke up (which had been coming for a very long time but was still rather destroying for us both i think). however, to make matters more complicated and to paint myself the villain, VERY soon after the breakup, while i was still catching my breath i realised i was completely in love with ToD - who is pretty much my best friend next to Leah. this unfortunate realisation was rapidly made more complicated as it turned out to be mutual. luckily i got a weeks' holiday and got to get away to have a think... but for those of you who are not thick, ToD and Sherpa are one and the same. So yes. that is what has been happening. and i feel like a cow to try to explain how happy i am considering... well i didnt do anything wrong at all but there is such a thing as a mourning period and i do still feel guilty about that. but G and i are still on good terms ( i think) and i do believe one day we can all talk properly as friends (and G you never ever ever have to listen to me go on about turning a heel ever again! rejoice! and i wont interupt your watching of the world cup!!)

so yes, such is life. and rest assured, i am very happy and in the right place and anyone who has seen us together can see what it is i cant find words for. and i was trying so hard to keep this blog knit-only too! but i feel you are all my friends and have come out from behind my mothers skirt to tell you a secret.

knit on!

the hopelessly romantic
Ms Spider xo

PS thanks for everyone for your support. you know who you are and you've made all the difference to me.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Yes, another brilliant play on the word sock... sorry guys, i suspect i will soon cave in and be forced to post under 'socks 1' 'socks 2' etc. Or, more realistically; 'bear me with me, socks for the 19th time this month'.

Here are stealth socks as promised. I have been using my old cable rib pattern but the cuff, half of the heel and the last 7 pattern repeats on the foot are in colour. This is so my sherpa can wear handknit socks to work without Ms Spider going comatose from knitting black 4 ply around and around and around. Yes, it is rather pointless knitting a pattern stitch in black but it makes it easier to count rounds and stops me drooling too much.
Before:Tada!:Are we impressed? We should be. (not wearing work clothes, clearly. But they work just as well with the work shoes, i promise. not just a pretty face folks!)

We should also be impressed because... well, lets just say i didnt expect to finish these in 10 days but i did! and i really really enjoyed them. i may become a convert - pattern stitches are fiddley but they sure make you know where you're up to and they seem to go faster. not that i will ever give up on plain-jane socks (too much self-striping in the old stash). The sock that appears shorter is not.. it just hasnt been soaked and blocked like its twin. i think it also made the other one a bit brighter as a bit of purple came out in the water. And.. i dont want to boast or anything but... no errors. not ONE. well, one, but i frogged it. these socks are lace and immaculate! if i could kiss myself i would!
Also, I have finished Uni for the semester! hurrah! i handed in my last assignment on thursday and had my only exam on the same day. am somewhat sleep deprived but feeling good today. and its the long weekend! why must it always happen AFTER i have no more monday classes anyway?

feeling so prosperous i might even go have another dash at livs socks... or maybe leah's... eeewww and i just want to cast on some hot socks >.<

the strong
Ms Spider xo

PS. anyone with ideas for what to title a post about socks (that i havent already used to death) will be cuddled through the computerness. PLEASE! I NEED HELP!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

insert witty title here

well i am annoyed with blogger. this is take 2! and i had a saved draft and all.. but NO! stupid computers and their evilness.

as promised some WIPs. no, this is not all. i am suffering from acute startitis and hysterical take-on-too-much-alot. clearly i need help.. such as a bigger house with better storage space and unlimited cash.


Clapotis take 2: made skinny so i dont lose interest. very pretty yarn, cant wait to wear it though i rather suspect i will gift it out from under my own nose - i'm a bit like that.

Stealth sock the 3rd; cant help it, keep starting the little buggers. could be the enthusiasm with which they are received...

Liv's birthday socks... her birthday was 10th April people. but she knows i'm knitting them so i cant give up. they have been at the heel for, oh, a month now? i tell myself to keep it here as i have many sock-knitters-in-training who need to witness a heel being turned... but i see through myself. i'm sick of the yarn because i have knit with it before.

Lacey socks again: i'm allowed to show you as i have blocked the first one now and started the second so this counts as progress. excuse me while i flaunt.

Some handspun from yesterday: 'Solstice' i think. it is from the Tropical Twilight polwarth from the wool day. very nice. about 120 metres, goes well with midsummer nights dream. they may become a very glamorous (if that's possible) beanie for myself.

A sweater/jacket for my sherpa with some loverly Katia Kena from Taphophile. I'm going to pick up something similar for a constrast chest stripe so i dont run out of yarn. Thought i ought to cast on something nice and chunky to save my hands from tiny-sock cramps (you see how little excuses start to weave their way into everyday life?). and as per bloggers usual style, im not allowed to show you a picture... its very chunky, dark grey with flecks of other colours through it. subtle but not boring. just st st with a bit of 1x1 rib at the bottom. yup, excitement!

Am going to the woden SnB tonight with Irene and Othlon, so that shall be lovely. tis too long since i went to one and i havent seen the woden crowd previously. feel the need to be social. and i hope to resist the urge to start anything new before then, some of my german sock yarn is crying to me... calm down little sock stash! too many of your bothers have fallen!

ok, i had better be a good mummy and go cuddle the patonyle and break up the squabbles between the opal and the jawoll.

knit on and hopefully see a few of you this evening!

the obsessive Ms Spider xo

PS i AM reading all the blogs i usually do.. i'm just crummy at commenting at the moment :( but i am on track with everyone!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Socks to be me

I've been a very bad blogger... and a bad SnBer if it comes down to it. In my defense i have been very busy with Uni but i hesitate to use that as an excuse because it will soon be over for the semester and what if i dont get better then hmm?

i have however been a very good knitter :) I finished a pair of stealth socks (which were stealth-swiped and so a photo may be a while coming). One was the black with rainbow trim i posted before and the other was black with some green self-striping german sock yarn trim.. as they are designed for the colour to be hidden i figured they didnt need to match - does wonders for Second Sock Syndrome.

As for my books.. well. Knitting does indeed RULE. great book, i love you stephanie!! Knitting without tears is great too, though i havent been able to read it cover to cover yet (stupid Uni getting in the way of life). And.. Vintage Socks. OMG! love. it. to. death. finally i have some patterns worthy of my lorna's laces :) the start of the sock i showed you in the last post ended up being frogged as my guage was off, but the yarn is SO divine i didnt mind starting again on smaller dpns at all. no, really. yes, me. I KNOW! unbelievable!Anyway, for all of you playing at home, this is the Fancy Silk Sock from Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock yarn in Valentine, no modifications. i got guage on 2.25 dpns where the pattern calls for 2.5s.
I dont know if i can guarantee there will be a pair of these though ;) and i may need a new pair of shoes... mary-janes with a little dirty-dancing heel i think... mmm.


anyway, i have other things to show you all but might save them for tomorrow. i need to cast on the second sock asap or i might have second thoughts >.<

knit on!

Ms Spider xo