We’re settling in nicely to our new home, we love this area, the people are so friendly and smiley – I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy anywhere I’ve lived.
Of course the house needs a few bits and bobs doing but nothing urgent and we’ve almost unpacked everything, I think there are about 18 boxes left, and most of that is stuff that really belongs in the loft or it’s my craft supplies that I need to buy new storage for. So now that we’re pretty much sorted I have been able to do some lovely relaxing Sunday knitting and what is better than a nice pair of socks?
These are my Shell Cottage Socks, they’re a design by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade and were the first socks in last year’s Sock Society. I love this pattern its so pretty and effective, I actually have two pairs of these on the needles but these grey ones are my favourite. I think they look just like those lovely cobblestone cottages you see driving through Hampshire.
I cast these on when the pattern was first released but because I like to cast on all the things and knit them all at once progress is painfully slow on with every single thing I make. I only recently finished the first sock – a good 18 months later.
This is absolutely no reflection on the pattern, I love Curious Handmade patterns, they’re so well written I’d happy knit nothing else but when I enjoy something I want it to last so here we are. I mean really, what is the rush? I’ll still have feet next week…
I’m knitting them on my lovely Knitpro wooden cubic out of Debbie Bliss Rialto Sock, which is very pretty but a bit too keen on unplying for my peace of mind.
I’m always very behind on knitting trends but I can remember when everyone was going mad for these socks and I have been meaning to knit a pair. Do you like my bright purple fishnets? I wear them to work sometimes when I feel like alarming some Greys.
Now I’m not usually a pink loving woman but when West Yorkshire Spinners brought out their floral range of sock yarn I had to have the pink. I’d really like the peach shade too but I haven’t seen that in stock anywhere for ages.
I feel like this yarn and pattern are just made for each other, I love how the texture works with the dye pattern to make a sort of spiral stripe. I have heard of people not enjoying that little phenomenon but I think it’s a delight.
I might do a contrast heel and toe next time I make these. Hark at me! Next pair? I haven’t even finished one sock yet.
I’m finding this yarn is going a bit thick and thin and there have been some fluffy patches but nothing too alarming so far. I’m really hoping that I have a nice amount leftover to use as a contrast heel and toe on other socks, I should do because I like to wear quite short socks so mine are much shorter in the leg than the pattern says.
I’m also still reading Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky which is very funny considering the story so I’m trying to eke it out a bit to make it last. It’s not at all what I thought it would be, I was worried it would be a hard nosed gangster book but it couldn’t be further from that.
Having said that I might end up finishing it tomorrow because I have no intention of leaving the house tomorrow, I went out twice today and it was cold and horrible. I’m not making that mistake again.
With the weather finally turning autumny in the UK its surely time to crack on with this scarf, except it’s not a scarf really is it, it’s a shawl. We don’t really make traditional long scarves anymore do we? I’m going to ditch shawl knitting and get back into scarves.
After this one though of course. This is the third project I’ve attempted with the ironically named Wendy Happy self-striping sock yarn. This yarn has not made me at all happy, its quite nice to knit with until you hit all the joins. Now I know its supposed to be acceptable to find knots in your yarn these days but it bloody isn’t when there are a ton of them and there has been no attempt to join the yarn with the right colour. Actually I don’t think it is acceptable to find joins in a ball of yarn at all let alone several of them.
Anyway I’m wandering off the track. I pulled back the socks because it was absolutely lousy as a sock yarn but I think it will be fine for a shawl. I went for a very forgiving easy shawl pattern – Knit Night by Louise Zass-Bangham. LZ-B is one of my favourite knitting designers because her patterns are so simple they’re great for showing off nice yarn.
Course that was went wrong, because this isn’t nice yarn is it? I think a self striping yarn worked against the pattern so I pulled this one back too. Its not been going well has it?
The longer the rows got the less well the garter stitch stripes worked. So I started again using the Knit Night pattern as a basis to do something a bit different. I’ve added purl to lessen the colour clash and when that got boring I started adding in some randomly placed eyelets. I am placing them randomly because I like the effect of a shawl looking a bit like a Victorian heirloom full of moth holes. Its quite hard to explain a random pattern but here goes…
I purl when I’m on a wrong side row and the row below is a different colour to the one I’m knitting with (otherwise its all garter stitch). Eyelets can only go in on a right side row (always garter stitch) and they can only go in when the row below was purl of the same colour as you’re currently knitting with and only when a car passes my flat if I’m 10sts or more into the row.
I really like it. I might try to make my own pattern with my random techniques. I might.
When I go on holiday I go for the classic fly and flop. All I want is good weather, lounging about, swimming in the sea and stuffing my guts with overly rich food. If you’re going to put in several hours a day just loafing about the pool or beach you need to take some entertainment, and I can’t do nothing but read for a fortnight so I always take some sort of craft project with me.
This year I took the sock knitting kit I bought at The Knitting and Stitching Show from the excellent Knit ‘n’ Caboodle the year before last I think; it might have been last year but I’ve got a guilty feeling it was longer ago than that. I know two years is a long time to get around to buying a kit but I buy a lot of things at craft shows and I go to a lot of craft shows. Plus a lot of my time is taken up crocheting 1940s style snoods for my Etsy shop, and oh I’m sounding defensive… Anyway it can be difficult to fit other things in.
I have fancied having a go at knitting socks ever since The Great Sock Knitting Craze started a few years ago but I got it into my head that it was really difficult to turn the heel and its frightened me off. I thought there would be all sorts of mathematical workings out that would be beyond me but it turns out I needn’t have worried. They’re a cinch.
I have been slowly slowly working on Frankie Brown’s 10st blanket pattern to use up some odds and ends, and its big feature is short row shaping which I thought all sock knitting involved. Turns out that’s no trouble either so that gave me the confidence to pack my Knit ‘n’ Caboodle Tiger Feet sock kit and fly off to Skiathos with it. I’m so glad I did. Turns out they don’t use short row shaping in the pattern, its really simple decreases so no trouble at all.
The kit itself is fantastic, you get a lot for just £10 (that’s how much mine was and I think the price is still the same), plus it comes in a clear plastic poolside friendly bag. In the kit is:
Two balls of 4-ply sock yarn, they do lots of yarn but I went for the one that comes out looking like a tiger, not only is it a gorgeous yarn but Tiger Feet was actually No.1 when I was born.
2 cute beaded stitch markers
5 x 2.5mm bamboo dpns that look worryingly like giant toothpicks but are actually tough little fellers.
The pattern which is really well written and super easy to follow. I think even a relatively new knitter would get on fine with this kit. It even explains Kitchener stitch really clearly which I think is a bit of a feat in itself.
So that was me, the odd woman at the pool and beach knitting socks. I don’t care, I had a great time with them. I’d had a minor operation to have a couple of moles removed from my knees shortly before our holiday and the stitches had only come out a few days before our flight so while I could sit by the pool, it wasn’t wise to actually get in or swim in the sea. That was a massive shame because swimming in the sea is the thing I enjoy most on holiday but I didn’t want to risk an infection 1,300 miles from home. Plus being a redhead I don’t really tan so I’m usually huddled under a parasol fairly covered up anyway.
So the upshot is the moles turned out to be nothing to worry about beyond their ugliness and I’ve fallen in love with sock knitting. I’m going to this year’s Knitting and Stitching show for three days this year and I know Knit ‘n’ Caboodle are going to be there on stand L36 so I’ll be visiting them with my heart set on buying a TON of sock yarn. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is putting on a sock you’ve knitted yourself. They feel amazing and they’re just the nicest thing to knit. Love them.