Awards and more

Hello hello, how are you doing?  It’s another weekend and I’m finally starting to get myself straight again after Yarndale … all the excitement, the preparation beforehand and then afterwards I’m in a disorganised heap for a few weeks.  You’d think by now I’d be better at this, wouldn’t you? 🙂

Right then, it’s time to do some catching up on what’s been going on around here, and I’ve got plenty to tell you – and something rather exciting to share too!

First up … this!

Woohoo!  I am beyond thrilled to tell you that More Super Socks was highly commended in the British Knitting and Crochet Awards so a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me – and also for everyone else who was nominated.   Whether you’re a blogger or designer working (mostly alone) at home, a yarn shop owner or a company that strives to provide the best in yarn and accessories, knowing that what you do is appreciated is a wonderful thing!

West Yorkshire Spinners won Best Sock Yarn as one of their awards and although I don’t like to say “I told you so”, I could have told them that! 🙂   I’m delighted for them, and it was really lovely to meet up with some of the team at Alexandra Palace in London last week for the awards ceremony, as well as some other friends who were also collecting their awards – this is Lucy and me with Fiona who owns Yarn Etc in Harrogate (incidentally, I’ll be going up to Yarn Etc on 7 December so put it in your diary if you can make it!).

I’ve been very fortunate that for the last couple of years I’ve been able to go to Alexandra Palace with Lucy (also a winner – Best Crochet Designer – woohoo!) and we enjoy our 24 hours in London very much.  We always take a look around the Knitting & Stitching Show before the awards ceremony begins and always say “hello” to Black Sheep Wools and Stylecraft who are regular exhibitors (and winners!), as well as looking out for a few other familiar faces.

I always forget to take photos of the show but I did manage a couple this year – this Kaffe Fassett scarf on the Rowan stand (I have a soft spot for Kaffe Fassett designs; knitting them as a teenager for my local yarn shop taught me to be a fearless knitter and I will be forever grateful) …

Some very realistic felted red squirrels on The Makerss stand – I kept expecting them to move!

Felted animals always remind me that section of The Generation Game TV show (ha! showing my age!) where an expert would show the contestants how to make something and then the contestants would have a go at doing it themselves in about 2 minutes with no prior experience.  Invariably, the results were always rather crude but enthusiastic, and that’s how I imagine my efforts at needle felting would be – so I admire the kits and leave them on the stand for others to buy!

I was fascinated by the pick n mix charms stand.  I’m sure they can be used for jewellery and a variety of other uses, but all I could see were stitch markers!  There were thousands of them, sold by weight as you would with pick n mix sweeties and so many different designs.  I picked up a handful of different ones – and then put them back down again as there were too many to choose from and I knew I would never find the time to actually make them into anything – and I’m really not short of stitch markers!  It was good fun to look at them, though!

Then on to the awards ceremony.  Firstly, there was an interview by actor and craft TV presenter Julie Peasgood who interviewed Joseph Ford and Nina Dodd about their new book, Invisible Jumpers.  Joseph Ford takes the photos and Nina Dodd knits the jumpers – and they really are spectacular!  This website shows you some of the photos that they created.  These jumpers are really a labour of love – apparently there may be patterns one day, but they seem more like artwork than an everyday jumper to me.  Unless, perhaps, you intend to get that particular bus! 😀

After that, it’s not so much of a ceremony as a get-together, really; a chance to chat to the people that you see on social media but not in real life.  Yarn shop owners, designers, writers and bloggers – I’m still quite awed that I get to be in the same room as them all – the list of winners will be on the Let’s Knit awards website next week and if you take a look, you’ll see what I mean!

🧦  Next up – fanfare please – I’ve finished one of the pairs of socks from my rather long WIP list that I showed you a couple of weeks ago.  I thought I’d go for this pair because I only needed to finish off the toes and then I’d be done.  I don’t know why I didn’t do it ages ago.  An evening’s work, I reckoned, and then I’d have a nice new pair of socks to wear.

Ahem.  It took me a short while to work it out, but I’ve got to the bottom of why I hadn’t finished the toes on these socks, and for reasons best know to myself at the time, I had knitted one sock on 48 sts and the other on 44 sts despite casting on for both with the same number of stitches.  Not an evening’s work to fix, after all.

I could have worn them as they were, I suppose, but I would always have known that one was tighter than the other, and although my original intention was to just take the smaller one back to the gusset and re-do it, I somehow found myself with both socks unravelled to the heel turn and knitting them together to make them both exactly the same length and size.

No doubt I should have been working on something else during the train journey down to London, but I think of train knitting time as gifted time that’s somehow outside of real life, so I knitted a pair of 6ply socks for my feet to tick at least one WIP off the list.

The yarn is Knitting Fever 6ply Indulgence Wool with Silk in shade 06.  I don’t know if this yarn is still in production so I’m not sure if you can still buy it, but I am very glad to have them off my needles!

6ply is a useful weight of yarn to knit socks in – as far as I can tell, it is mostly used for socks and accessories and is (I think) more common in Europe than elsewhere.  Regia, Opal and Katia – all European yarn brands – make it so it’s not that difficult to find, and the socks are thicker than 4ply but not as bulky as DK (8ply) so they’re a good boot-weight sock.  There’s a free pattern on the blog here, and you can use the Sockalong tutorials if you need them, just changing the numbers as you get to them to fit the pattern you’re using.

📚  There was a lovely treat for me in the post this week – a copy of this book and a sample of Uist Wool yarn sent to me from the publishers (thank you very much, Sam at Granta Books!), all packed up in a lovely box (no plastic here!).

The book is called “This Golden Fleece” and written as a history of knitting in Britain, it’s exactly the sort of book that the researcher in me wants to read!  I’ll be able to tell you more about it when I’ve finished it, but a quick dip in so far shows me that it’s written in the sort of engaging style that means I need more than five minutes to flick through!

🧶  I bought some more yarn too … I keep telling myself not to buy any more until I’ve knitted some of what I’ve got up (sound familiar?!) but I really can’t resist a no-nylon yarn and this one is called Athena from Shear Delight at Dodgson Wood.  It’s a Teeswater, Bluefaced Leicester and Gotland blend, named after a favourite sheep of Maria who owns Dodgson Wood, and also the goddess of handicrafts (and warfare – explain that one!).  My favourite no-nylon socks so far have been a Bluefaced Leicester and Gotland blend (er, no – you won’t find that on the review page yet because I am waaaaay behind with those!) so I have high hopes for this one!  I’ll just add it to the list of no-nylon yarns that I have to knit up – it’s getting longer than that list of WIPs I showed you! – and I’ll be able to tell you how it wears one day 😀

Maria also makes her own shampoo bars and soap so it would have been daft not to add one to the order, wouldn’t it, especially as I’m trying to avoid plastic!   I bought a lavender shampoo bar which made the yarn smell fantastic when I unwrapped it, and so far, I’m very impressed with it.  It lathers up really nicely which has always been my issue with shampoo bars, and apparently it lasts around a month which is fine by me!  She also very kindly sent me a sample of her Wool Wash bar to try out so I’ll definitely give that a go next time I need to wash something more carefully than in the washing machine.

🥀  I’ve been trying to get out into the garden when I can, lately, and there have been some lovely surprises when I’ve been looking around – plants still flowering long after I’d have expected them to – but I think this post has gone on for long enough and I have something else that I want to show you, so I’ll save the flowers for another day.

🧶  If you came to Yarndale this year, you might have spotted that I was wearing a cowl on both days knitted from my Winwick Mum yarns – Hidden Gem on Saturday …

Source: Janet Hatton

and Seascape on Sunday.

Source: Sarah Hardy

They’re knitted up in a super-simple pattern – as easy as A-B-C! – but I discovered very quickly that the yarn knits up into large stripes and I didn’t really want that; I wanted to try to replicate the effect of the yarn when it’s knitted up as socks which was actually easier than I expected – there’s a neat trick and I’m going to share that with you along with the pattern.

And the best thing?  It knits up very quickly and this particular size of cowl used less than 50g of yarn so you’d get two out of one 100g ball … ideal for gifts for a certain time of year coming up, perhaps?

I’m going to be posting the pattern for this A-B-C Cowl tomorrow so do come back and download your copy of the pattern if you think this might be something useful for you!

Until then, enjoy your Saturday!

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3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the award and a very interesting blog. Looking forward to cowl pattern and the trick to make it look like the socks as, like you, do not like long stripes.

  2. Mandy says:

    just went to amazon to look at the book This Golden Fleece it looks like a good read. I have put it on my wish list. Thanks.

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