The days do pass quickly, don’t they? Not so small daughter’s school broke up for a week off yesterday – not sure that she’ll even want to get out of bed next week after two weeks of exams and more to come after the holidays – and it seemed to reach Friday remarkably quickly. Having said that, thinking that every day was Friday this last week hasn’t helped, but here are some things that I’ve noticed along the way!
💜 My first roses are out.
These are my “Emily Grey” and “Felicité Parmentier” roses which I adore seeing every year. I’m not a huge fan of roses but these ones are special because they were a gift from a good friend and they always make me smile.
💚 Green bow top caravans
It’s been the first time for a couple of years that I’ve seen the green caravans making their way along the A49, the main road that goes through Warrington which (mostly) follows the route of a Roman road up towards Hadrian’s Wall. The caravans are on their way to the Appleby Horse Fair, an annual gathering of Gypsies, Romany and travellers to buy, sell and wash their horses in the river there (it’s a traditional custom).
I caught a runaway caravan horse one year, which sounds far more exciting than it actually was – by the time I reached the horse, it had run out of steam in the middle of the road so there was no need for me to fling myself onto it’s back at speed and wrestle it to a halt, but there was every need to walk it out of the road because it was stopping the traffic. The owner arrived not long after as the horse and I were walking back towards where I’d seen it come from and he told me that he didn’t live in his caravan all year round because it’s too tiny (most of them are just a bed under canvas and not much else) but that he always went up to the Horse Fair and he kept his caravan for that reason. I felt as if I’d stepped into an Alison Uttley book of short stories called Magic in my Pocket that I’d had as a child (you might have read them too) and I really wanted to see the caravan but it felt rude to ask – a bit like someone you have never met wanting to come in and look around your house – so I didn’t. Anyway, the horse safely back with it’s owner, they headed off and I had a story to tell.
💙 Finished Emergency Socks!
Yes, my Winter Icicle socks are finally finished!
I’m very pleased to have another pair in my sock drawer in one of my Winwick Mum colourways – and yes, I have absolutely every intention of having a pair in every colour! The pattern is, of course, my Basic 4ply Socks pattern which you can find for free HERE.
I’ve got another blog post planned about these socks as something happened in the middle of knitting them and I hope it might be useful to show you what I did about it – I’ll be posting that very soon!
💜 My new Emergency Socks
Well, empty needles can’t stay empty for long, can they?! I got a message from Adelle at Veganyarn.co.uk asking if I’d be interested in trying out some vegan yarn. I have been asked before about vegan yarn – some people don’t want to use animal fibres and some people genuinely can’t – and I can’t honestly say that I know very much about it so I thought it would be interesting to find out what it was like, and here it is!
This beautiful colourway is called Purple Reign and it’s just my colour! 💜 The yarn is made from a bamboo/cotton/elastic blend and it’s not like woolly yarn at all! It’s quite stretchy which will help the cotton to retain its shape and the socks should be cool for the Summer being a bamboo/cotton blend, but I’m interested to see what they’re like in the Winter as well.
This was really difficult to photograph as the camera didn’t quite know where to focus, but I hope you can see that the elastic is wrapped around the other fibres – I’ve never knitted with anything quite like this!
And for that reason, I have started with a swatch! I was asked in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group the other day whether you were supposed to swatch every time you used a different yarn and my answer to that is on the whole no, I don’t think that you do. If you are using balls of yarn that generally knit to the same gauge (tension) and you know what your stitches per inch are, I really don’t think there’s going to be much difference between them, whether they’re commercially-produced balls or hand-dyed skeins. However, for a yarn without a gauge (tension) or if it’s significantly different to something that you’ve used before, then I would say to definitely do a swatch. This yarn knits to 28-32sts/4in depending on needle size so that’s in the range of what I’d expect – 7.5sts per inch on 2.5mm for me – but never having used it before, I wanted to be sure.
If you’ve not seen this style of swatching before, it’s a way of working out gauge (tension) in the round using two needles – you’ll find a tutorial on it in my Sockalong tutorials (along with a helpful video) here.
And yes, this yarn knits to my usual gauge so I cast on without delay!
So, what do I think? I think it feels different to wool, it’s got a sort of velvety feel about it, and the fabric feels quite dense compared to a woolly fabric, but these are just my first impressions. It’ll be interesting to see what I think as I get further down the sock and I can’t wait to wear them!
💙 Erm … more yarn
This bright, beautiful cake of yarn is Twilight Rainbow dyed by Caroline at Yarn Unique and it looks very like it’s about to be cast on. Should I be casting on a new sock when I’ve got umpteen WIPs, an Autumn Leaves sock to fix, a baby jacket to knit (yes, I decided that I would!) and an Emergency Sock in the car? No, of course I shouldn’t, but when did “shouldn’t” ever enter a knitter’s vocabulary unless it is “I shouldn’t leave this yarn shop without buying anything” or “I shouldn’t stop now, there’s only 57 rounds to go!”?
Sometimes, you just need to cast on ALL the things!
💚 School of Stitched Textiles interview
I forgot to mention that I was interviewed for the School of Stitched Textiles blog a short while ago and although you maybe know my sock story already, you can read it here if you’d like to (or click the photo below). They also produced a lovely video for their Instagram page which you can see here if you’re on Instagram.
And there we have it – my week in pictures! Now we’re at the weekend again … and I hope you have a good one!
See you soon! xx
PS I must say thank you for all of your thoughts on my last post when I was worrying about furry tiddlers setting paws out of doors – you’ve really helped me! 🙂 xx