How is this happening?! I blink and a whole week has gone past! I don’t know about you, but I thought I would have so much time once we were all at home, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. And no, I am not losing half of my day watching Netflix! (Although small daughter and I are working our way through a series of Marvel films together and they go on and on and on …) Anyway, enough of me being bewitched by the speed of the passing days!
Thank you SO MUCH to you all for your kind comments and your purchases of the LikeMinded Socks pattern. I really was very nervous about putting a pattern out for sale rather than my usual free download, but you have all made it a very easy process and I am very grateful. I’ve promised to donate money from the sales for the rest of this month, but already I can tell you that thanks to you, I’m going to be able to donate a very generous amount!
If you’ve not seen the post on these socks, you can read all about them and the story behind them here.
Thank you also to everyone who got involved in the Sockalong 5th Birthday – Ann and Pam have been in touch and their prizes from the giveaway are on their way to them.
What else? Oh, earlier this week (last week? It depends if your week starts on Sunday or Monday!), I released a new video on YouTube. This is the first of what’s going to be a series of them to go along with the Sockalong tutorials; lots of people tell me that they would appreciate video as well as the photos in the tutorials so I am veeerrry slowly getting my act together and creating those. They’re designed to work in conjunction with the online tutorials, not instead of them, so hopefully you’ll get a better picture of how it all works when you put the two together if you have questions as you go along.
The first video is here:
I chose this one to start with as the question that is asked most often in the Facebook group is “How many stitches should I cast on for a size [whatever] sock?” The answer of course, is that it depends on the width of the foot, not the length, but for someone who is new to knitting socks, this is a big concept to get your head around! Once you’ve worked out your own gauge, however, then that’s you done for pretty much every sock you’ll knit in that particular weight so the 10 or 20 minutes it might take you is, in the scheme of things, no time at all. Yes, yes, I’m as impatient as the next person and want to just get stuck in without messing about with tension swatches, but I can tell you that I’ve knitted hundreds of pairs of socks now, and they all fit. And it takes 20 minutes to work that out? It’s really worth the effort!
I’ve been taken a break from my commission knitting this week and I’ve been having a lovely time catching up with my own projects.
I’ve finally turned the heel on my husband’s sock and I’m making good progress down the foot. The yarn is WYS Signature 4ply in Violet with the leftovers from my Hey Jay yarn socks as the heel and I’ll use that on the toes as well. My husband likes short row heels as they look more like “bought” socks and they fit him quite well (they can be a bit narrow for some people) so I don’t mind doing an alternative heel to my usual heel flap for him.
I’ve also been knitting a pair of Aran socks …
The yarn is Novita 7 Brothers Polaris in shade 875 Frosty Night, which I bought from Snufflebean Yarn not long after the lockdown started, along with a ball of Majakkasaari (Lighthouse Island) DK yarn which is part of Novita’s Moomin range. The Moomins are storybook characters and I have to admit that I was never the biggest fan of the stories when I was a child, but they are a big part of Finnish culture and as Novita is Finnish yarn, you’d expect the two to be connected!
I chose the Polaris as it is named after the Northern Lights and I do love those magical dancing lights in the sky, and I chose the Lighthouse Island yarn partly because it’s a yarn that donates to a cause (conservation the Baltic Sea) but also because it’s definite stripes and as you can see, the Polaris isn’t – I didn’t know that my stripe OCD could cope with two potentially non-matching sort-of-striping pairs of socks! 😀
I’ve been itching to cast it on but needed to wait until I had a free moment … and I found one! You’ll be pleased to know that I used my own Sock Stitch Calculation to work out the gauge as I’ve not knitted socks in Aran yarn before. I started off with 4mm needles as I expected it to knit up bigger than DK (8ply), but I got a better fabric from 3.5mm needles, and even the ball band recommends using 3.5mm so I’ve gone with that. (The ball band also says that you can get a women’s size pair of socks from one ball, but it doesn’t say what size it thinks a woman’s feet should be. I’ll let you know how much is left from my pair!) It meant that I could use my DK (8ply) boot sock pattern and I was able to cast on the same number of stitches too. I’m not entirely happy with the toes – they’re a bit bulky as I’ve knitted them (although they might be OK for someone with wider toes than mine) so I’m going to go back and make some adjustments. It’s good for me to experiment like this, it keeps me on my toes (ha!).
I’ve spent this weekend playing with another new-to-me technique – helical knitting. This is where you create stripes without carrying the yarn up the side of your sock and without creating a jog when you change colours. I’d heard quite a lot about it but had never tried it – until now. And oh boy, is it addictive! It’s also very easy – I used Jen Arnall-Culliford’s video tutorial for single helical stripes to blend a hand-dyed purple Knitting Goddess sock yarn that I bought at an early visit to Yarndale back in 2014 and have never quite found the right pattern for, with a ball of Regia Mosaik Color and I have loved every stitch of this sock! I took this photo yesterday morning and I’m already way down the foot because I just couldn’t put it down! The colours have come out a little brighter in the photo than in real life for some reason, but the variegated yarn goes so well with the purple that they could have been made for each other.
It’s nice to discover something new, isn’t it, and there’s always something new to learn. I don’t think that we ever stop learning, and thinking that you know it all is a sure way to miss out on something exciting.
I was going to show you lots of photos of my veg garden but I will save those for another day. Instead, let me show you what I found blooming the other day …
my Emily Grey climbing rose …
It’s so lovely to see this out already – it feels like it’s earlier than usual this year but looking back over previous years’ blog posts tell me that it’s just about right.
The first of the Oriental poppies are out too. This variety is Coral Reef, one that I grew from seed many years ago now, and it’s always a joy to see that it’s still blooming.
That sooty pollen on the petals …
and those fuzzy buds … I absolutely love these plants. I did mean to replace my “Mrs Perry” poppy this year but forgot to order one in time (I think I’ve said this for the last three or four years!). I’ve got some other varieties growing on in pots ready to plant out later, but I don’t think they’ll flower this year unless I’m really lucky and get a late flowering at the end of the summer.
The lilac is in full bloom too. Oh, I wish you could smell it through your screen, it’s an incredible scent. Light, delicate, fresh … it’s Spring in a smell!
And just before I go – I can’t resist showing you yet more robin pictures!
This is a young robin – I didn’t think they got their red feathers when they were young, but this one was with another robin that was feeding it worms, and it was constantly calling to it so I assumed that this was Baby Robin with Mrs Robin. It’s no wonder I don’t get much done sometimes when I’m out in the garden, is it? I’m too busy photographing the wildlife!
Just in case you’re also finding time doing strange things to you, I’m going to stop here rather than go on and on in my usual epic style! I hope you are still keeping well this week and are not too confused by the latest Government guidelines … stay in, go out … I’ll see you next time! 😀