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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

My Instagram Challenge Part 2

Hello again!

It's made me smile this morning knowing that I'm going to be sitting down to write a post sharing more Instagram photos after my Monthly Musing last week - if you want to take a quick look at it, it's here; I was talking about too much social media scrolling not being a positive thing for me 😀.  I loved reading all of your comments, thank you - it seems like you recognise that it's not always a positive thing for you too, and I've been looking at Instagram in particular in a new light recently.  I've also been keeping a close eye on how long I've been looking at Instagram and stopping the endless scroll has made me feel much better this week!

So, because I am thinking in our best interests - yours and mine - here's another week's worth of the photos that I took for the September YarnFriendsRock hashtag challenge - and you only get to look at 7 days' worth of them so that you're not endlessly scrolling!

Ready?  Here we go!


Day 8 :  Pretty stacks

Yarn cakes of various colours stacked on top of each other against a white background

One potato, two potato ... would you call them yarn potato cakes? 🤣

No, I don't think there's any relation between yarn and potatoes either ...! 

I tend to wind my yarn into cakes these days rather than balls, though, as they stack better if I'm going to be storing them.  I usually leave skeins as they are until I need them, but the cakes in the photo are either leftovers or were wound with the intention of being used - and sometimes the yarn just doesn't want to be what you thought it would, so they've gone back to the box until they're ready to be something else.  Do you find that with yarn as well?  It really does seem to have a mind of it's own!

I used to think that I would remember what all the yarns are but quite quickly realised that although I am a remembering sort of person and can usually remember the brand, I don't always recall the exact shade of the yarn and so I've started using luggage labels as tags.  Sometimes, I can squeeze the cake into the original ball band and that's even better, but for those where the ball band has been lost or the cake wouldn't fit, luggage labels do very nicely.

I do have quite a big box of cakes in my cupboard - but not the sort I could offer you with a mug of tea.  Ah well!


Day 9 :  Inspiration

A flatlay of a ball of purple Hidden Gem yarn, an amethyst tumblestone and an amethyst geode

Drop a pebble into a pond ... how far will the ripples spread?

I love this thought because it applies to so many things during our everyday life.  A random act of kindness, a handwritten letter sent to a friend instead of a text, a smile for someone you've never met (not quite so easy behind a mask these days!) ... any one of these things or a million other little moments can change the course of someone's life as those ripples spread far and wide.

Far more literally for me, a pebble was the inspiration behind my Hidden Gem yarn - an amethyst tumblestone pebble, to be exact - and the yarn is cleverly dyed in the same stripes as a chevron amethyst by the colour geniuses (genii?) at the West Yorkshire Spinners dye house.  (Did you like my nifty segue, there? 😀 )

I've carried that pebble around in my pocket for years but never imagined it would end up on the shelves of a yarn shop! 

How about you?  What's been your most unusual inspiration?


Day 10 : Favourite Make

Two pairs of adult socks rolled up against a white background.  The nearest pair is brown and blue stripes, the further pair is blue stripes


There's no better gift than the gift of cosy toes ...

in my totally biased opinion, anyway! 🤣

The prompt for today's #YarnFriendsRock is "Favourite Make" and mine was always going to be socks - but which socks?  I have so many favourites I couldn't choose just one, and then I remembered the very first socks that I made for my husband.

I've told the story before on the blog and in my first book, "Super Socks", about how the first socks I ever knitted were for my lovely Scottish uncle, but after that experience as a teenager, I vowed never to knit socks again until about 14 years ago when I happened to be in a yarn shop buying yarn for another project.  The sock yarn you can see in the photo was on the counter and I looked twice because it was designed by Kaffe Fassett for Regia - and when the shop assistant told me the pattern was free, I was sold!  I left the shop with more yarn than I had planned to buy and the rest, as they say, is history. 

My husband got his first two pairs of "proper" socks and many more pairs have followed.  I love that I've been able to gift him cosy toes for when he's out and about, and I love that I've been able to help other people do the same for their loved ones. 

If you're a new follower (hello to you!) and you have socks in mind for yourself or someone else, you can find everything you need to get started in the Sockalong tutorials.  You never know, a pair of socks might become one of your favourite makes too!


11  Exploded rainbow

A pair of multi-coloured and black socks on sock blockers

Rainbow zig zags, anyone?

Today's prompt for #YarnFriendsRock is "Exploded Rainbow" - I prefer to think of these socks as an Expanded Rainbow with the bright colours of West Yorkshire Spinners Rum Paradise separated with rows of Liquorice.  I adore these socks, they are absolutely one of my favourite designs - an exclusive in the book "More Super Socks" which is all about next-step techniques for adventurous beginner knitters.

It's really not as hard as it might look to knit - I'm all about encouraging beginner knitters to be fearless - and this colourwork pattern is a next step on from my Easy Colourwork Socks tutorial (which is available on the blog but also appears in "More Super Socks").  Even that sole which has had so many people asking me which particular stitch I've used and was it hard to learn, is much more simple than you would expect.  If you're ready to work with two yarns on one sock, you can knit these.

One of the things that I hear most from people is that they have been afraid to knit socks, and I am here to help.  My patterns and tutorials are always written with beginners in mind so that you can tame the rainbows of sock yarn and work your knitting magic to put them on your feet.  Socks of any pattern are only a construction made with yarn and pointy sticks, and the worst thing that ever happens is that you unravel and start again.  Perhaps that's the point where the "Exploded Rainbow" prompt really works - but nobody wants to see a photo of unravelled yarn!

And now, tell me your most fearless sock moment!


Day 12 : Saturday Share

A pair of cream knitted cable socks against a white background.  One of the socks is in a small basket.  There are two pink Gladioli flowers in the foreground

Hands holding Poll Dorset fleece to show the length and crimp of the fleece

Poll Dorset lamb
Source: www.northernyarn.co.uk

Five Poll Dorset sheep in a field
Source: @dorsetsheepuk

My favourite kind of cable is a woolly cable!

Today, for Saturday Share, I've chosen my Easy Cable Socks knitted in @northernyarn Poll Dorset 4ply Lambswool.  They were the first pattern that I created in a no-nylon yarn as I wanted to see how yarn that didn't contain any nylon would wear, and the first in my next-step tutorials for beginner knitters. 

After writing my Sockalong tutorials, I soon discovered that for some knitters there is still quite a learning curve in going from a basic sock to one which contains a pattern.  I never want anyone to feel that a pattern is beyond their reach - after all, I'm always telling people that "Once you can knit socks, you can do anything!" - so I created the Easy Cable Socks tutorial (with video help) to explain how to read charts, create simple cables and move from basic to not-so-basic in one pair of socks.  This pattern is in the "More Super Socks" book that I mentioned yesterday, but it's also available for free on the blog (link in my profile) so that it is available to everyone.
 
I first read about Kate Makin and Northern Yarn online when she created local yarn from local Poll Dorset sheep and I was fascinated by the process. The 4ply Lambswool is now called Jennett after a local lady who rode to London to rescue her orphaned grandchildren (you can read all about Kate's local yarns on her website), but it still retains its strong local roots and I am proud to be able to share Kate's and her story today.
 
You can find out how the yarn wore in the No-Nylon review on my blog (spoiler alert - I loved it!)

You can also see the fleece and the sheep that Kate's yarn comes from.  I've been lucky enough to meet these sheep first hand, coo over the lambs and sort through the fleeces with Kate before it was sent to the mill.  Yarn doesn't get closer to being from sheep to sock for me!

What's your connection to your favourite knitting project?


Day 13 : Flash your Stash

Multi-coloured yarns stored in a brown wicker hamper.  The hamper is open so that you can see the yarns


I think I'm quite rare amongst knitters in that I don't have a huge stash of yarns.  Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm certainly not short of it, but I do try to keep it to what I think I can reasonably knit at some point in my life!

A lot of my stash is leftovers which will get used at some point, and it won't be any surprise to know that I've amassed quite a collection of West Yorkshire Spinners yarns over the last few years!  I like having enough to colours to pick and choose from, to make toes or cuffs in a contrasting colour if I feel like it without needing a special trip to the yarn shop. 

I'm also going to admit that I am not the tidiest person in the world (much to my husband's despair) and so I am only going to show you my nice neat hamper rather than the shelves with the yarn not-quite-so-neatly stacked ... I do promise that I have a lot of it in plastic boxes in case of flying visitors, though.

What's your stash like?  Can you store it in a shoe box, or would you need a box the size of a small continent to contain it all?  😀


Day 14 : Reuse-recycle

A pile of multi-coloured socks waiting to be mended.  In the foreground are a wooden darning mushroom and a length of yarn on a needle.  All against a white background

How to make your hand-knitted socks last forever ...

Well, maybe not quite forever, but certainly for a bit longer than you might expect!

If you follow my blog, you'll know that it's no secret that I've got pokey toes and eventually, they'll appear through the ends of my socks whatever yarn they're knitted with.  The thing is, though, that all of my socks are in yarns that I love, they're made to fit me and they're comfy and warm.  I don't fling them into the bin without a second thought, especially not after the hours it has taken me to knit them, so every now and again I will sit down with my mending pile and do some good old fashioned darning.

Darning is quite a fashion in itself these days, but I just use the same yarn to mend the holes in the toes (never the heels, just the toes!) and the socks go back into my sock drawer to be worn and loved again.  I'm not an expert at it, it's certainly not invisible mending, and I'm not even sure that my technique is really any kind of technique at all (you'll find plenty of those on YouTube if you want to try darning for yourself), but I like to use my Mum's old darning mushroom and whatever I do, it does make my socks last, if not quite forever, then much longer than they might have done!

(And, following on from yesterday's post, it's a good reason to hang onto leftovers in your stash! 😉 )

So how about you?  To darn or not to darn, that is the question!

- - -

And that's another week done!  I hope you enjoyed the run through the photos - they're quite different to the ones that I usually post on my blog but it's been good fun getting to grips with flatlays and learning more about lighting and setting up a photo shot!

There are two more weeks of these (ha - forewarned is forearmed!) but the hashtag challenge has ended now so we'll be back to walks with the dog and more of the usual type of bloggy stuff.  Oh, and I'm going to run the Winter Haven KAL again next year in January - it came up in a couple of the Instagram photos and lots of people said they'd really enjoyed it.  I think we might be glad for some cosy hygge time in January, especially given the situation we're all living in at the moment, so I'll need to get thinking about a new sock pattern for that! 

Hope you are keeping well and safe, have a lovely week! xx


9 comments:

  1. I am loving these posts from your Instagram Challenge! Lovely photos! My stash is a lot less than it was this time last year - I knitted nothing but my stash all through the winter and most of lockdown! Very satisfaying. I rarely darn socks as I find it easier to reknit the offending part of the sock!! I do still have my great grandmother's darning mushroom though and use it on jumpers etc!

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  2. Thank you for your lovely compilation Christine. Made me relax and feel smiley all over.xx💚

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  3. This was so enjoyable! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and entertaining captions. Very inspiring!

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  4. If you have pokey toes, why don't you just unravel the toe & knit a new one?

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  5. loved the post & seeing what you are up to; i have a stash, it's all mostly wool of various plys & of cos there is a container full of sock yarn too! i have socks planned & i have many garments planned; i tend to buy my yarn when the mill has specials & i save money on my visa card for it; in the past i never had enough money to buy wool, only acrylic, it's used for my coathanger covers now & i have all my wool put away in 22 storage containers (about 54-60ltr size?) in my craft room; i love yarn & often can't help myself when they bring out new colours!
    love those socks, such lovely stripes! (not a stripes fan)
    atm i can't even get into my craft room, as my daughter emptied the spare room out into it >_< lol

    thanx for sharing

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  6. I enjoyed your post and look forward to the KAL. I love knitting socks and my yarn stash is only exceeded by my stash of sock pattern books and patterns.

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  7. My sock yarn stash is only exceeded by my sock books and patterns. Love knitting socks and sometimes wish I were a centipede

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  8. I ordered Silent Night Sparkle from Wool Warehouse and received the Comet pattern which you designed with my order. I have missed some blogs. Have you written about it? I am excited to start. So pretty.

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