Sock Club – Twist and Turn

Last year I signed up to a sock club with one of my favourite yarn dyers, The Knitting Goddess.  Joy is based in Yorkshire, not far from me, and I just love what she does with local wool.  By signing up to the sock club I received a skein of yarn in the colour theme of rocks and a sock pattern written by Clare Devine at Knit Share Love.  My intention was to knit one sock per month and have six pairs of gorgeous socks at the end of the year.

But then last year happened!  2018 was a bit of a year for me personally and while I did do some knitting, things were all over the place and I also sorely neglected this blog.  I did manage to knit four of the six pairs last year but only wrote one of them up.  You can find that post here (Sock Club – Bend & Fold).

I am happy to say that this year has been far less turbulent and so I am working hard to catch up.  I finished the pair of socks I’m about to share with you a couple of weeks ago and am now close to the end of sock one from the last pair.  I am hopeful I’ll be able to pull together all of the sock club loveliness into one mammoth post before too long.

On to this pair!  These were the September 2018 instalment of The Knitting Goddess Sock Club.  The pattern is Twist and Turn by Clare Devine and like all the socks from this particular club is for a non matching pair.  A pair of fraternal twins, similar but not the same, which is brilliant for people,  like me, who suffer from second sock syndrome!

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The yarn is a blend of lovely sheepy Blue Faced Leicester and nylon and the colour is called Chert and is a sort of greyish, purple tinged brownish rock colour.  With all of the yarn colours from this club I’ve found it difficult to be able to articulate the palette but have really enjoyed the colours.

Both socks have the same foot design but the cables on the legs vary from sock one to sock two.

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I also love the way that the heel construction forms a shape on the back of the sock.

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Very lovely socks.  Its just a shame that its cool enough to wear them in June!

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Yarn Along

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At about 9pm yesterday I finished knitting a pair of socks (Twist and Turn by Clare Devine from the 2018 The Knitting Goddess Sock Club), I’ll blog them soon.  Shortly after midnight I finished reading my book.  And so I find myself sitting here, on Yarn Along day, with empty needles and no book on the go!

The book choice is easy to make, I’m going to read The Other Americans by Laila Lalami because its top of my library pile.  I can’t remember why I added it to my library reserve list anymore, I prefer to go into books entirely blind without knowing anything at all about them, but I suspect I saw that it was garnering positive press somewhere.

The knitting on the other hand is a whole different struggle!  The sensible part of me feels that I should definitely cast on the final pair of socks from last year’s Sock Club and see if I can get them done before we are halfway through this year.  I’ve even balled the yarn, it’s the lovely sea green on the far right of the photograph and is a blend of Blue Faced Leicester and Nylon.  I’ve also printed the pattern, Short and Sweet by Clare Devine, but I’ve knit a lot of socks recently and quite fancy a change.

The balled blue at the bottom of the image has been in my stash since I first started knitting and visited Yarndale for my first time way back in 2015.  I started something with it years ago but it was above my skill level and ended up unwound.  I really should make something with this yarn but its not speaking to me.

The other yarn in the photo, the blue with rainbow flash dyed by Arwen Makes; the navy and pink toned variegated a souvenir from my trip to Cambridge in 2016 and dyed by Sparkleduck; and the purple and contrast which is from Malabrigo and I think is desperate to be a Toph hat by Woolly Wormhead; all these yarns jumped off the shelf and in to my arms when I asked myself what should I knit next.

The answer, I still don’t know! I also want to learn brioche but I suspect none of these yarns are what I’d use to try out a new skill.  What a fabulous, first world problem to have, to be so spoiled for choice.  Please wish me luck as I try to figure it out!

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on.

Rainbow Socks

A few months ago I made my first pair of colour work socks using an amazing skein of self striping rainbow yarn from Fab Funky Fibres with a contrast of a plain grey from Somerset Yarns.  They are happy happy socks and I love them very much but as I was knitting them I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful the self striping would look all by itself.  Luckily I had enough left over to find out!

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I’m not sure I could imagine a lovelier rainbow.

As I’d made my Zig Zag socks matching I didn’t quite have enough yarn to make these ones match and at one point I was a bit concerned that I was going to have to interrupt the sequence and join in a new bit of leftover yarn but luckily it didn’t come to that.

I used the trusty Sockalong Pattern by Winwick Mum but with my leftover grey for contrast cuffs, heels and toes to help the rainbow to stretch just that little bit further.

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They just make me smile.

Of course I couldn’t resist photographing them next to their sister socks.

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Two skeins of gorgeousness, now four very happy socks!

 

Owl Jumper

I am so excited to be able to write this post and triumphantly claim that I have knitted my first jumper!

My creative goal for this year was to make myself garments.  I have been knitting myself socks, shawls and hats for several years now and have made a couple of baby cardigans but the step up to a properly fitted, me sized garment seemed like a massive and daunting leap.

You may have seen that I started with crochet as it is the craft I find easier to understand and in March I finished my Isla Top.  I have been wearing and wearing it and it really boosted my confidence to have a go at knitting a jumper.

I made the decision about which jumper to choose when I was reading Handywoman by Kate Davies.  In the book Kate describes knitting a jumper, with cabled owls around the yoke and then writing it down in what was her first pattern.  I felt like it had a chance of being within my skill level and I loved the idea of owls giving a bit of interest rather than a plain jumper.

The pattern calls for bulky weight yarn knit in the round, from the bottom up and can be found here.

I prefer to knit with indie dyed yarn from small UK based producers and am in the privileged position of being able to afford to do so for socks and shawls but when I started crunching the numbers for a jumper I became very anxious about sinking that much cash into my first attempt at anything.  I opted for Cascade Ecological Wool in Antique which is a more affordable option and a warm grey colour.

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I was deeply invested in making this work out and so not only did I knit a gauge swatch, I blocked it too! And then felt like a proper, responsible grown up rather than my usual seat of the pants winging it style.  It’s a good job I did too as I discovered I needed to go up a needle size in order to make gauge and I’m sure I would have been devastated if I had made a jumper that didn’t fit.

Then it was a case of casting on, a little bit of rib and then acres and acres of stocking stitch.  Mile after mile of the stuff.  It made for wonderfully relaxing evenings in front of the TV but wasn’t very instagrammable!  One of the problems I have with ready to wear clothing is finding items with long enough sleeves and so I hoped to remedy that with this jumper.  I measured and tried on and measured again, all the while continuing on with my stocking stitch and was really hopeful  but it turns out in the finished jumper they still aren’t quite long enough.  Maybe they’ll lengthen a bit with blocking (which I still haven’t gotten round to) but its a definite lesson learned for next time.

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Once I reached the point of joining the sleeves to the body of the jumper, with the help of multiple, bright pink lifelines, the whole thing flew along and the cabled owls I’d been so excited about took shape in just one evening.  The neck shaping was another evening and all of a sudden I had a jumper!

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But did it fit?

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Yeah it did!

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I’m chuffed to bits and so proud of myself.  I knitted a jumper for me and it fits!

Next step, a jumper in finer wool.  But maybe more socks first.

Yarn Along

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Not a very photogenic book for this month’s yarn along, in fact if I’m perfectly honest, the art on this book cover makes me feel uncomfortable and creeped out!  Luckily the socks are pretty enough to draw the eye away from the book.

The sock yarn may look familiar if you are a regular here as its the same self striping dyed by the amazing Fab Funky Fibres and contrasting grey that I used on my Rainbow Zig Zig Socks.

The scales tell me that I have enough left over for a pair of non-matching socks with contrast cuffs, heels and toes but I have to say I’m a bit concerned about the size of my yarn balls regardless of the reassuring maths, I suppose only time will tell.  I’m using my absolute favourite, go to, basic sock pattern from the fabulous Christine at Winwick Mum although this is my first time with the contrasting colours.

I am reading Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan for challenge number 2 – an alternate history novel from Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.  That and because its a new book by Ian McEwan and I’ve enjoyed everything I read of his in the past.

The book is set in 1980s Britain but not the 80s Britain I grew up in.  This one is far more technologically advanced and the protagonist has just purchased a lifelike humanoid robot.  So far I’m interested in how this novel is going to play out,  I’m loving the writing but also I don’t find myself reaching for it that often and so it has yet to fully hold my attention.

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on this month.

Yarn Along

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Not much colour in my contribution to this month’s Yarn Along!  On my needles are what feels like acres and acres of stockinette in grey which will hopefully, should the stars align correctly, may, one day, become my first knitted jumper.

Although it is not especially exciting to look at I really enjoy just knitting round and round without much thought.  I love to knit in the evenings to keep my hands busy while I watch television and while I do like more of a challenge occasionally, the repetition of just knitting every stitch without any counting or thought is relaxing to the point of meditative.  The yarn is Cascade Ecological in Antique, a bulky 100% wool.

I am finding the book very difficult to put down.  I don’t read a lot of non-fiction as I prefer my journey in to books to be one of escapism from the real world but Hallie Rubenhold manages to spin meticulously researched facts into a spellbinding narrative and I’m hooked.  It is also an important tale to be told.  The man who committed a horrific crime spree over 100 years ago gained infamy and notoriety while these women were consigned to being “just prostitutes” in the annals of history.  Of course they were nothing of the sort.  They were human beings, complex people with real and detailed lives and their stories should not be forgotten nor simplified.  I would definitely recommend the book as well worth a read.

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on

Isla Top

This year, I am determined, will be the year that I make myself actual fitted garments rather than just socks and shawls.  I will definitely be making socks and shawls too, but now feels like the right time to move on to more complex items as well.

I bought On The Hook from Verity Castledine on her Truly Hooked stall at Yarndale 2017 and had a chat with the lovely woman herself about adapting the patterns to fit a bigger body and she reassured me that it would be easy and yet it has taken me another year and half to take the plunge.

I have a terrible habit of just buying single skeins of beautiful, hand dyed yarn and so I had to make a purchase especially to make a new top!  Again, Yarndale to the rescue and this time in 2018 I found myself at the EasyKnits stand, drawn the the richness and vibrancy of the semisolids.  I chose 2 skeins of Deeply Wicked, a super wash merino, 4ply yarn in a deep purple called Queenie

Armed with my yarn and my book I set out to make the Isla Top, modelled here by my garden chair!

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The pattern is written for a UK size 10/12 and I wear a size 18/20 so I knew that changes would need to be made.  The pattern says where more stitches will be needed to increase the size but does not give suggestions for how many and so it was guesswork and oh so many tryings on to work it out.  My exact stitch counts are on my Ravelry project page and would be useful as a starting point for anyone of a similar size wanting to make this top but trying it on, especially when adding the armholes, was invaluable to make the top fit my body.

Once the solid top bit was complete with the band fitting across my back nicely and armholes in place it was smooth sailing down the lace pattern from there on in.  I took a photo of how far I’d reached with my first skein of yarn, a nice crop top but not what I was looking for!

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And so I joined skein two and kept on going.  I had originally hoped to get some sleeves onto the top as well but from this point in it was clear that I would need a third skein to manage that and I wasn’t prepared to try and source one of the same dyelot.  But look how well it fits, all that trying on was well worth it!

Once I had reached a length I was happy with I had some yarn left and so I added little cap sleeves rather than keeping it as a vest top.  By the time the top was finished I had just 15g remaining from my 200g of yarn.

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These indoor photos really don’t show the lovely colour as well as the outdoor ones do.

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In the end I am absolutely thrilled with my finished top and the experience of making it was quite enjoyable.  I am pleased that I started with crochet which I am much more comfortable bodging adapting as I go along and it has given me the confidence to try a knitted garment next.  Watch this space to see how I get on!