Knitting · Year of Socks

Year of Socks: April

Work in Progress

I had this mad idea that I would rush these and get them finished in March, but, between other WIPs and being ill, my BOB socks proceeded in fits and starts, mostly on bus and car journeys (socks are such a good travel project). This is a great pattern: simple, straightforward, but with options and suggestions that allow you to customise it a little. The short row heel instructions are easy to follow, and I think this might be my favourite kind of heel – I can knit it as I go, and don’t have to pick up stitches. I knit the first sock with bamboo circulars, and did struggle to pick up the wraps with the blunter tips, so I moved to metal sharps for the second socks, which made life much easier, and I think will be my sock needles of choice going forward.

Finished Object

Though you can’t tell from the photo, the second sock ended up noticeably bigger than the other – a pointed lesson in why not to change needle type partway through a project. I’m not going to reknit, however, because the socks are for me, both of them fit, and you can’t really tell once they’re on.

I enjoyed working with the Squirm Sock. It’s an 80/20 blend of merino and nylon, and I was surprised by how much softer that ratio was compared to 75/25 blends of sock weight I’ve used before. I adore this colourway, and am plotting what I might make with a sweater quantity of it.

Next Project

The plan was to knit my A Year of TechniquesAntirrhinum socks next, as I’ve had the yarn sat waiting for ages, but I was seduced away by the arrival of the first Nerd Sock Club parcel from easyknits. The theme was Jessica Jones:

I’ve chosen a pattern called Double Stripe Socks, which calls for 2 colours. I’m excited to get started on these, but have learned my lesson and won’t try to predict when I’ll finish 😂

Socks away!

Advertisements
Year of Socks

Year of Socks: March

Work in Progress

My second project was Katya Frankel’s Brixham sock pattern, which I snagged from an old copy of The Knitter magazine, designed in Eden Cottage Yarns Oakworth DK. I had the specified yarn in the Lichen colourway, and I used magic loop for the first sock, as I didn’t have small circulars in the right size, but caved and ordered them in time to knit sock two as I just find it a smoother and quicker method. Being DK, they sped along nicely, and I turned my full attention to sock two in the week running up to EYF, so that I could wear them to the festival (which turned out to be an excellent plan as it snowed on us). The cuff transitions from rib to a gansey-inspired knit and purl pattern, which I wasn’t too sure about, but looks great when the socks are worn. The pattern calls for a traditional turned heel (my first experience of that), and was clear enough that I didn’t feel the need to resort to my copy of A Year of Techniques. I stuffed up the slipped stitch heel flap on the first one, somehow, and I’m not picking up the stitches as neatly as I’d like when turning the heel, but I think I’ve done quite well for a first attempt.

The Oakworth DK was dreamy to knit with, and I really loved the luminosity of this particular green. This yarn has been in short supply on the Eden Cottage Yarns online shop, and hasn’t featured in an update for a while, so I did speak to Victoria at EYF to ask if it had been discontinued. I was assured that it is on the list to dye again, but they have a wide range of bases, and dye in small batches, so it can take time to get around them all. Certainly a yarn I’ll be keeping an eye out for in future updates from them.

Finished Object

The Brixham socks are a good fit, in terms of length and heel, but I dislike the pointed toe. I think when I knit these again (I do have another cheeky skein of Oakworth tucked away 😄), I’ll decrease at the sides and then graft the toe as I did with last month’s Dave Socks.

Next Project

I picked up a gorgeous skein of Undercover Otter‘s Squirm Sock at EYF, colourway Pieces, and will be casting on Louise Tilbrook’s BOB socks with it. The pattern uses the wrap and turn method for the heel, and is well suited to speckled colourways, so I’m looking forward to the result. I may even finish these before the end of March 😱

Socks away!

Knitting · Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & Week(ends) #21

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edition

The Marketplace

 

This year I made a plan for which stands to visit, and what to buy, and I’m pleased to say I largely stuck to it, so I have projects lined up for most of my purchases. The impulse buys: a fabulous skein of DyeNinja’s new High Merino Twist Aran in her Embers colourway, and Rusty Ferret’s blue-purple Space Muffin on her Doll base (she had me at “space”), would suit any number of patterns I own. I had a slightly panicked moment at the Martin’s Lab stand where my bank, confused by a sudden large payment in Polish Zloty, declined the transaction, and blocked my card. Luckily I had a back-up, but who knew I’d need to inform my bank I was going to my local Yarn Festival?!

Beyond the lovely yarns on offer, it was wonderful to spend time with my tribe: I had so many fun moments with fellow knitters, complimenting each other on knitwear, sharing advice on colour choices and potential patterns; and it was such a pleasure to meet so many of the dyers who I interact with on social media, and express my admiration (generally in an incoherent, slightly starstruck way, but I think they got it 😳).

The Darning Masterclass

In the afternoon I attended Tom van Deijnen’s Darning Masterclass. He covered both Swiss Darning, for reinforcement and embellishments, and Sock Darning, used when holes have already formed. My many years of embroidery experience meant that, once I understood how the stitching interacted with the knitted fabric, everything fell into place for me. I’m now eyeing up all fabrics I come into contact with as prospective mending projects. Tom also ran an Advanced Darning Masterclass this year, so I hope that he’ll be back next year as I’d like to learn more.

 

From the mailbag

My new knitting notebook arrived this week (and can be spotted above in my darning pics), and I dealt with my EYF fomo by setting up a section specially for my day at the festival.

Odds and Sods

  • I finished Anna Karenina. Finally!
  • The Darning Masterclass was held at the Water of Leith Conservation Centre. I had a few minutes to look around and will definitely be taking the Tiny Tyrant for a visit.
  • The Truly Myrtle Spring Shawl Autumn Wrap Up KAL cast-on was yesterday (the 17th). I cast my Windsinger on while travelling in to EYF. I’m using Old Maiden Aunt merino cashmere nylon 4ply in colours Cold Sheep and Pretty Floral Bonnet. img_8998The deadline is the 17th May, and you’ll find some beautiful WIPs under #springshawlautumnwrapupkal on social media.

Upcoming

We have a busy week ahead, including a day trip to Amble. I think there may be a Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society parcel to collect this week as well, because I spotted a new NSS pattern on Ravelry. And I want to make a push on my Lanes cardigan, as I’d quite like to wear it.

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Knitting · Year of Socks

Year of Socks: February

Work in Progress

I took the full month to work on these socks as I wanted to finish my Threipmuir sweater, and Rattan shawl. Then I was seduced into casting on my Lanes cardigan. With the 28th looming I set all other projects aside and pushed myself to finish, so that I could cast on my next pair of socks in February. The stop-start progress on the project means that stocking stitch of the first sock is a little scrappy, but I was aiming for my first finished pair of socks, so decided perfection could wait. I pressed on with the second sock so that I could do both heels together at the end. The second sock and heels took 2-3 days, which suggests I could have made these in the space of a week had I not been distracted earlier in the month. This was a lovely straightforward pattern, which I know I will knit again.

Finished Object:

It turns out that my sock blockers aren’t ideal for this particular heel (the decreases spiral in toward a central point, so the heel is pointier as a result), but I did try my finished socks on before blocking and the fit is excellent. I want to try a couple of other patterns, and heel constructions, but Dave is already a strong contender as my go-to plain sock pattern.

Next Project:

February’s sock (I’m casting on today; it counts) is a DK weight in the hope that they’ll knit up faster, and I can catch up to hit my target of knitting 12 pairs of socks in 2018. The wool is Eden Cottage Yarns Oakworth DK, in the Lichen colourway, bought from Gorgeous Yarns last autumn. This is a heel flap construction, so I’ll probably refer to A Year of Techniques when I come to turn my first heel. Results to follow in next month’s update.

Socks away!

Knitting · Year of Socks

2018 – Year of Socks: January

One of my knitting goals for 2017 was to knit my first pair of socks. As the year wore on, and the gift knitting began, it became increasingly unlikely that I’d succeed. So I began plotting to focus on socks in 2018: I prepared for my ‘Year of Socks’ by collecting patterns, sock yarn, and smaller sizes of needle. As it turns out, I did sneak in a pair of socks: my Christmas Eve cast on was a pair of slipper socks, made using Alafoss Lettlopi. It was a quick knit, but very satisfying, and definitely whet my appetite for more socks.

The plan was to cast on much earlier in the month, but I when realised that the first Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society parcel would be a sock pattern and yarn, I decided to wait and see whether it was something I thought I could tackle. It’s beautiful yarn, which I wound into balls and swatched with, but a couple of reads of the pattern, Blairdenon, convinced me that I didn’t have the required skills just yet.

Instead, I’ve decided to start with something simple: Rachel Coopey’s Dave socks, knit in 2 colours of her Socks Yeah! yarn, using an afterthought heel. Afterthought heels are covered in both A Year of Techniques, and Sock Anatomy (a Christmas gift) so I feel confident that I have plenty of reference material if I do get stuck.

I’ve only just snuck the cast-on into January, so most of the actual knitting will happen next month. I hope to have a finished object to show you in February’s update, and to be working on my next pair.

Socks Away!

Knitting

Good Intentions Club Q2

My good intentions knit for Quarter 2 of this challenge uses some of the oldest yarn in my stash. This Wendy Merino DK in the Spice colourway was originally intended for a different sweater, back in 2013, which I’ve since fallen out of love with. I still like the colour, and, since sweater quantities of yarn take up a lot of space, I wanted to make use of this.

The pattern, Tiptoe by Louisa Harding, was on sale, and probably bought to push my order total into free postage territory. I like the sleeveless style, but have been put off by the fact that it’s worked flat and requires seaming. When I realised that it would be a decent match for the Wendy Merino, I sat and spent some time figuring out how I would knit it in the round. Luckily, it’s a simple lace repeat, separated by stocking stitch panels, and the shaping works in the round. At the armholes I’ll separate and work the sweater according to the original pattern. I may look at options to bind off the shoulder seams that avoid sewing though.

I’ve cast on, knit the garter edging, and set up the lace pattern. I know I’m terrible at keeping count for lace, so I’ve gone a bit crazy with the stitch markers. I’d already cast on the Threipmuir sweater from the pattern I was gifted in the KnitBritish Small Gestures swap, so I’m expecting to work on this at a more leisurely pace than the Q1 knit. I do have 3 months after all. 😄

Knitting

Hat Month

November is Hat Month here at Casa Polymath. This isn’t something I planned, but rather something which fell together from unrelated hat needs.

None of my existing hats fit comfortably, so I wanted to knit a quick, simple hat for myself. I’d also promised the Technician a hat to go with the cowl I made him last winter. And, of course, the Tiny Tyrant demanded to get in on the action. 

The second group of hats I wanted to make were Christmas gifts, and the brief here was for a series of hats which were quick to make, and different from each other.

Inspired by Louise Tilbrooke’s #hatsforhumans KAL (mentioned in my last post) I decided that I would also use the oddments of wool left from my hat projects to make hats to donate to charity. 

I’m mostly working from free patterns: Tin Can Knits Barley, Emily Dormier’s Quick Ombré Hat, and Joannie Newsome’s Tall Celtic Knotwork Hat. I also have some Woolly Wormhead patterns up my sleeve, and invested in Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew pattern, which includes a swatch hat and a range of colourwork motifs – perfect for those oddments I mentioned.

Surely that’s enough hats to last a lifetime, I hear you ask. But wait, there’s more: I also joined Woolly Wormhead’s Mystery Hat-a-Long. I’m making Hat B, and am a little behind, having only just finished Clue 1. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to mention that there’s a lace element to Hat B and I’m very proud that I’ve managed not to screw it up (so far).

I’ve finished 5 hats so far this week, and am hoping to keep up that pace and end November with plenty of hats to gift.

More hat pics soon 😁

Knitting

Cast on: Wood Warbler Cowl

20170904_142054520_iOS The Wood Warbler cowl, designed by Martina Behm, was the September pattern for A Year of Techniques, and I originally planned to knit this in September. After multiple attempts to get gauge on the recommended 5mm needles, I had to resign myself to waiting for my single pair of 4.5mm needle tips (then being used to knit my lopapeysa) to become available. Then it was October and I moved on to the Good Intentions knit and the October A Year of Techniques pattern, and here we are nearly in November.

20171025_133144239_iOS

Since this is a DK-weight, garter cowl, with only a few increases and decreases to worry about, I’m fairly confident that I’ll finish this one in November too, which means I can add it to the Christmas gift pile. The Schoppel Wolle Gradient is a slightly felted 100% wool yarn, which gives it a somewhat stiff feel when knitting. I believe it will hold it’s shape well, and assume that that’s why it has been used for this particular pattern, which is knit straight, on the bias, and grafted to form the cowl. I ‘m enjoying the revelation of the gradient as I knit, and toying with the idea of knitting one for myself, but swapping the green-blue colourway for something with a touch of pink or orange. I think that decision will wait until I’ve finished this and try it on, however, as I think I may prefer something squooshier and softer round my neck.

Knitting

Cast on: Ruschia Hat

Last March Arnall-Culliford Knitwear launched A Year of Techniques: a book of patterns which each addressed a new knitting technique. The initial 6 patterns were released on a monthly basis as pdfs, with options for a hard copy or ebook of all the patterns to be delivered when it launched in September. Each pattern, designed by the likes of Bristol Ivy, Sarah Hatton, and Ella Gordon, is small enough to complete within a month (in theory 😂), and accompanied by step-by-step instructions; there are also online tutorials available at the Mason-Dixon Knitting website.

Although I signed up to A Year of Techniques in late March, and I have the yarn to knit 9 or 10 of the 12 patterns, I’ve yet to complete any of them. I’m hoping the Ruschia hat (designed by Woolly Wormhead) will prove different, and not only because I have a recipient in mind come Christmas.

The yarn I’m using is the recommended Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran (55% wool/45% silk) in the slate colourway. The technique in question is short-row shaping, but the pattern also draws on techniques from previous months: a provisional cast on, and garter stitch grafting. I have used short rows before (for the Studies in Ice pattern), but I didn’t feel confident about them, so it’s nice to have a reason to practice. I recently acquired Woolly Wormhead’s Elemental ebook, so I’m also seeing this as a bit of a test run for all those gorgeous sideways knitted hat patterns.

I’m not overly fussed by the yarn, but the pattern is excellent: easy to follow, requires a little attention to keep straight, but not so complicated that you can’t let your mind wander. I think I will definitely knit this again, just maybe in a different yarn.

Knitting

Cast on: Westknits MKAL 2017

Despite my extensive list of Christmas knits, I allowed myself to be seduced by the idea of a Westknits mystery knit-a-long (MKAL). As you may know, an MKAL is one in which the pattern is divided into clues, which are released over the period of the KAL. The knitter starts with the yarn requirements, and needle sizes, but no idea of how the finished piece will look.

Since I’ve never participated in an MKAL before, and the previous year’s Westknits shawls are so gorgeous, I decided I wanted to do this year’s Speckle and Pop Mystery Shawl. I was hoping to source most of the yarn from my stash, but I needed 3 main colours that fade (I’m not big on speckles so I dropped that requirement), and 5 pop colours, and nothing I had was really working together.

I decided to order some Old Maiden Aunt 4ply in Cold Sheep and Pretty Floral Bonnet, to go with my skein of To the Black. 20170928_121417759_iOSMy instinct that they would fade well was correct, but they didn’t work with the pink gradient set of mini-skeins I already owned (featured in the mailbag on Odds & (Week)ends #2). I felt that I needed some brighter yellows and greens against the cool blue-purples of the MCs, so ordered  some mini-skeins from Mothy And The Squid, and a yellow to blue gradient set, Toxic Spill, from Easyknits.

The winning combination ended up being a red (Dye Ninja‘s Mrs Ogg’s Bloomers, bought at EYF), a yellow-pink (Rosy Maple Moth from Mothy And The Squid), and the yellow and green shades from the Toxic Spill set.

All the colour deliberation, and waiting on orders, has put me about a week behind, but Clue 2 is apparently a shorter section, so I may be able to make the time up. I confess that I had a little look at people’s progress pics of Clue 1, because I couldn’t quite visualise how the colour pops would work, but now that I’ve started I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, and enjoy watching the shawl form as I knit. I won’t post any photos on here until I’m done, but check out #westknitsmkal2017 on Instagram if you want a peek at shawls in progress.