Yarn Along

M+EZbaPaTu2ueceTDe46Ow

Somehow we are back round to the first Wednesday in the month again.  Although I’m a bit shocked by how fast time seems to be passing I am pleased to be in September, it is definitely one of my favourite months of the year and I am really relishing the chill that’s now in the morning air here in Yorkshire.  I am also excited to see boots, tights and lovely knitwear in my very near future.

On my needles at the moment is a Magpie Tendency jumper in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply.  I saw this jumper on Instagram knitted by the lovely HazySummers and as well as loving the look of the garment I was intrigued by the idea of getting a jumper to fit a larger body from just two skeins of yarn.  So I’m having a go!

I’m loving the construction which is like nothing I’ve seen before and am also thrilled with the texture and drape that’s coming from knitting this 4 ply yarn on much bigger needles than usual.

I’m enjoying the physical feel of this book, The Wicked Cometh, which I borrowed from the library.  The cover has a tactile, fabric cover which is so unusual in modern books nowadays, they all tend to be shiny and smooth, I can’t stop stroking it!  The story inside is less compelling to me at the moment. It is well written and atmospheric but I’m yet to invest in the characters.  Hopefully that will change as I progress.

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

Award Winning Mandala!

When I saw a post on facebook advertising the handicraft competitions in my local village show I knew I had to enter.  The decision over what to enter was a bit harder to make.  The rules included the item having been made since January 2018 which ruled out all of my lovely wreaths.  All competition entries were to be displayed in the community centre over the bank holiday weekend and that made me nervous about entering something irreplaceable like my blankets containing countless hours of work or a shawl or socks made from limited edition yarn.

I decided to create something just for the show that I would not be heartbroken if I lost.  I decided on a crochet mandala on a hula hoop as they are quick to make with a small quantity of cheap yarn but are bold and eye-catching hopefully giving me a good chance at a prize.

I previously made a Starflower Mandala using a Zooty Owl pattern and I made this one in the exact same way.  All the pattern details are in my previous post.

I’m still crushing on my Stylecraft Sophie Blanket (and also had the yarn all in one place in bag that was easy to get to!) so I decided to use that to make this mandala.

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

mNaEQIHUQlSq8vC60+D3XA0eacNj4DTWy2%Bytqk9YAA

I know the title of the post has kind of ruined the suspense for you, but I was very trepidatious walking into the hall on Saturday morning, braced to see how I had done.

QVgOnZ6oRBubB1Fvhaiyfg

I was absolutely thrilled to see the rosette and learn I had won second place.  Yay!  Now to start planning how to win next year!

Yarn Along

On my needles this first Wednesday of the month is my first attempt at knitting a garment using linen yarn.

The pattern is Lena by Carrie Bostick Hoge and is a loose fitting sleeveless tee. It is primarily stocking stitch with some panels of garter stitch for interest so lots of easy tv knitting which is working well for me.

It feels like I’ve been working on this forever but it’s actually only been a month and I’m hopeful I’ll have it ready to wear before the weather becomes too chilly for bare arms.

I’m using DMC Natura Linen yarn in shade 8 which is a pretty green colour which reminds me of sea glass. When researching yarn I read a lot about linen not being much fun to handle but I’m finding this quite gentle on my hands. However it is quite splitty which is frustrating and it sheds fluff everywhere when I’m knitting which I’m not enjoying at all. Especially when I’m knitting in public and wearing black! I doubt I’d choose this yarn again but it was very affordable.

The book is fantastic. It is character driven and following 3 women with intersecting lives and very different circumstances. And it has such a beautiful cover which shouldn’t matter but is always lovely.

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

The Knitting Goddess Sock Club (2018)

As I have mentioned previously, 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 every other month.  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 blogged one of them.

I am ecstatic to share that I have now finished (and photographed!) all twelve of the socks and have finally completed my Sock Club knitting.

yvoU640LQt2TmDocaPhEUQ

Here they all are!  I love all of the colours very much and really enjoy the way the work together as a cohesive collection.  This is exactly what I hoped too achieve when signing up for a sock club.  All of the yarn is the same base, British Blue Faced Leicester with nylon added for strength and they are all so soft and squishy.  You can’t see them very well stacked up like this so I’ll share each pair on its own too.

spH4X%LQSZ2MsLhM7YLecw

First up, way back in January, was Bend & Fold.  As you can see the socks don’t match.  This is a key feature of these patterns, they are all similar but not the same and named by Clare Devine as The Correlative Sock Collection.  I did write a post about these ones last year with more photos and you can find it here.

pymtpnq2rpq8nqn92u0nq.jpg

In March there was a pretty lace pattern, that’s a horror to photograph, called Leaf & Bloom.  I love these socks and have worn them a lot but I am sorely tempted to use this pattern again on a paler, more pastel coloured yarn.

fullsizeoutput_113d

May’s socks were so much fun to knit.  No cables or lace just a clever combination of knit and purl stitches to create this really tactile textured pattern.  These ones are called Dots & Lines.  They were also instrumental in helping me to be able to knit from a chart as the written instructions are so lengthy it really benefitted me to learn how to read charted patterns.

ygsvfoaxsfalkcwdtkb1jg.jpg

It was back to the lace in July with this summery little ankle sock in a vibrant pinky purple.  The pattern is Ebb & Flow with waving patterns reminiscent of the sea.  This was the last pair I actually managed to complete last year and was the first toe-up pair of socks I ever made.

o7n0vkzst0otd1nfxuiyaa.jpg

The club pattern for September was Twist & Turn with it’s thick cables.  I only finished these very recently and they have a blog post of their own here.

fullsizeoutput_1ec0

The final pair, from November and knitted by me this summer is Short & Sweet with its eyelet pattern.  My pair of these socks have more than a couple of ‘unique design features’ where I went off pattern and made a mistake but you can’t see them when I arrange the socks just so!

1n5Ms6i0RJ2oFfX3RgRrNg

Twelve patterns, six pairs of socks, knit over a period of eighteen months.  I am thrilled by what this pile of yarny loveliness represents.  I learned new skills, improved at those I already had and have so much functional beauty to show for the journey.  I am so pleased that I decided to use a sock club to push me in this manner and the one I chose was just perfect.

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!

fullsizeoutput_1df7

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.

my+JDHv2SVe0ey8aJMAvxQt3vQszZoQC2T0lQZHPQqUw

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

IMG_6945

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

O7N0VkZST0OTd1nfxuIYaA

 

Yarn Along

fullsizeoutput_1dad

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!

ejDPf%n0Sz+pugJIRJzhKw

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.

wqj85V9XS1mutF7fQzfrKw

They just make me smile.

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

gd0ZNzM3SMabG37I97jl8g

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.

0cqcYmlNRsOSNtoxMqBGOw

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.

kTblWvkXSaOqopqX1MSRTg

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!

fullsizeoutput_1bc4

But did it fit?

fullsizeoutput_1bc8

Yeah it did!

IMG_9688

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

wlFSBmmnRDmgn%9uJh+txw

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

xKBqBL3JR3Ka+1k69qMIqA

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