Knit all the socks!

And here we are at another weekend.  Not many to go now before Christmas, I have been reliably informed by small daughter who keeps waving her wish list at me.  It’s different every time I see it, so I’m hoping that she makes a decision as to what she’d like soon!  I’m doing my best not to think about Christmas just yet although I will have to make a start, especially as it’s our turn to host the family dinner!  Anyway … on the 11th of November, I will talk to you about other things for now …

First of all, thanks to everyone who came along to Winwick Church Hall last Saturday for the knit n natter.  There were 25 of us which is a pretty big group, and it was lovely to spend time with so many crafty people!  There was also some fabulous cake which people had brought along and it was all very sociable and I am definitely going to organise another one in the New Year – probably February as that can be a rather dismal month and we could all do with some knitting and cake to cheer ourselves up 🙂

On the subject of knitting, I couldn’t find a particular circular needle the other day and I wanted to cast on a new pair of socks from some lovely new yarn that I’ve bought.  Convinced that I’d managed to lose it, I turned the house upside down (ignoring comments from my husband about this not happening if I was a bit tidier) and eventually realised that all my needles were in WIPs.  Oh dear.  It turns out that I have an embarrassing number of half-finished sock pairs – no, I’m not going to tell you how many but let’s just say it’s in double figures (actually, it was quite a revelation as I didn’t know I even had that many sock needles!) – and I really need to do something about it.

This is the yarn that I wanted to cast on …

It’s a blend of Alpaca, Blue-face Leicester and Teeswater from a new Scottish yarn company called New Leaf Yarns – and it feels gorgeous.  And the alpaca fibre comes from an alpaca called Nicky.  How could I resist?  Wouldn’t you want to cast on immediately?  Even with an embarrassing number of half-finished sock pairs on all of your needles?  Of course you would!  And you would probably do what I did as well, which was to transfer one of the socks off the needle I wanted and onto stitch holders so that I could make a start.  Well, wouldn’t you?!

This is how it’s looking at the moment.  It’s a soft rose-grey colour, a bit slubby in places but it feels very natural.  I’ve had a conversation with my colour-obsessed friend Lucy about this and it’s unlikely she’ll be casting on with this yarn any time soon, but yarns like this make me feel very connected to the places they have come from and I never wish that they’re a bright colour.  It’s a no-nylon yarn so there’ll be a review coming up later in the year next year (blimey, is it really the time when I have to start thinking like that?)  In the photo, I think it looks like it might be a bit woolly and scratchy but it isn’t at all – it feels as lovely knitted up as I hoped it would and I think these are going to be gorgeous socks.

I’ve finished the first of big daughter’s boyfriend’s ginormous size 14 socks too.  It actually wasn’t as much of an ordeal to knit as I worried it might be, probably because I’ve had to do it in bursts so that he can keep trying it on.  I’ve got a different number of stitches at the cuff compared to the foot but the end result is a sock that fits him perfectly.  He’s very excited about being able to wear them – the first pair of socks that are the right size he’s ever had, he says!

It’s really easy to adjust a sock to fit if you’re knitting for feet that aren’t a “standard” size (is anybody’s foot a standard size?  That’s what’s great about handknits because they can be your size!) as you just use the Sock Stitch Calculation for every part of the foot and adjust the stitches by increasing or decreasing at that point.

I’ve also just about finished my Magic Mirror socks that I knitted in no-nylon Cuthbert’s Sock from Whistlebare.  I bought the yarn last year at Woolfest and since then, Alice at Whistlebare has made the skeins longer which means that anyone with a recent Cuthbert’s Sock purchase shouldn’t have the problem which happened to me – I ran out at the toes on both socks!  Oh no!

Luckily, Whistlebare have mini skeins of their Cuthbert’s Sock colours and when I contacted Alice to ask her about them, she immediately and very kindly offered to put one in the post to me so that I could finish my socks.

I decided not to go for the same colour because the colour probably wouldn’t match, so I’ve chosen something completely different.  The original turquoise shade is Kirk Yelthom and the new pink one is Grubbit Law.  Pink and turquoise together?  Not some people’s ideal colour combination but I like it!

There’s going to be a review of this yarn next year too – so far I can tell you that I think it’s the silkiest, shiniest yarn I’ve ever knitted with and I’m really looking forward to wearing the socks.  There’s a large mohair content in the yarn which replaces the nylon and I did wonder if it would shed (in a way reminiscent of those 1980s mohair jumpers – they make me itch just to think of them!) but it hasn’t at all and has been a pleasure to knit with.  The socks have knitted up slightly bigger than “ordinary” sock yarn too, which means that the yarn will go a bit further – even better now that the skeins are bigger too!

The Yarndale Sock Line socks are on their way to new homes now.  The first couple of parcels went a week or so ago …

and more went out this week.

I’ve got some more to pack up today – this has to be the best bit! – and I will probably still have some left over so I need your suggestions for places for them to go!  They don’t have to go to big organisations – they just need to go to places where people can put them straight on their feet (such as local care homes, family centres, community projects) and the socks won’t be sold.  I’ll put the places that the socks have gone to up on the blog when they’ve all gone out so that you can see where they’ve gone this year.

Have a lovely weekend – the wind is whistling around the house again here so I hope that you are warm wherever you are!

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12 Responses

  1. selina says:

    your sock wools/yarns are gorgeous.
    stitch calculator? where is that? i just finished a pair of socks only to find that they are too small, i even tried it on as i went & it's still too small??? will have to undo the toes on both socks & make them a little longer i guess, maybe i'm getting too impatient at the end of it; the toes do me in every pair!
    what about sending some socks to the homeless?
    love that they're donated after the yarn fest, brilliant idea
    thanx for sharing

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The stitch calculation is in the tension tutorial, there's a link to it in the post or you can find it in the Sockalong tutorials (purple picture at the top right of the home page). Do you try your socks on when you're standing up before you start the toes? That will make a big difference as your feet will spread out to their full size. I usually add an extra couple of rounds just to be sure before I start the toes xx

  2. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    I feel so much better now I know you have lots of WIP's too Christine! The Whistlebare socks look so soft, cosy and as light as downy feathers. It is very exciting to see the parcels of socks going off to their new owners.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'm not sure that I feel better knowing how many WIPs I've got! 🙂 It is great to see the socks leaving for their new homes, I love handing them over at the post office! xx

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just finishing up a pair of socks knit from left overs and I finished up y Norwegian sweater knit from an actual Norwegian language pattern that I am very pleased with. I would add a photo but cant seem to but its on my blog post today. most of my WIP are quilting stuff. I hear my mothers voice in my head about finishing one project before starting another.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      There is something about finishing one project, but there's also something about having choices too. I went to a Betsan Corkhill workshop last year and she recommends having about seven projects on the needles – you can find the blog post here if you want to read it: xx

  4. Lisa Holmes says:

    I am a huge fan of the Emmaus charity for the homeless. They are fantastic non-judgemental folks, who help people to put their lives back together. They have a hand-up not hand-out sort of vibe and I'm sure some cosy socks would be very welcome x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I will give them a ring, thank you! The name does ring a bell so it's possible that I've contacted them before although they're not on my list for having sent socks to them … I can't remember why that would be if I have spoken to them but I'll speak to them again anyway! xx

  5. Rosemary says:

    Perhaps the excess socks could be donated to returned soldiers – or given out to homeless people at random?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's best if they're sent to an organisation so that they can distribute the socks to the people that they work with; it's not realistically possible for me to walk round handing out pairs of socks but I have been able to send a few parcels to places that work with homeless and rough sleepers this year which is great xx

  6. Julie says:

    1980's mohair jumpers … I remember them well, I had a part time job in a local wool shop and we had to knit ourselves a mohair jumper and wear it so the customers could see (and feel) it…. itch, itch, itch… it was awful to wear.

  7. Unknown says:

    I am having serious wool envy at the moment (must not buy anymore wool or divorce may be the option).
    By the way here in Sydney it is in the high 20's today which was lovely but I would like a bit of rain and stormy weather sent our way to justify sitting inside and crafting. It is the end of spring and summer is on the way and the temps will sky rocket. Thank goodness for air conditioning. Julie H

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