Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Pretty Socks

I think I worked out recently that I have enough sock yarn to keep me going for at least two years, and quite possibly three.  Sock yarn is *so* tempting though, isn't it.  It sits there, looking colourful and pretty in yarn shops and then, someone at knitting group or on Ravelry shows off something pretty and new that you haven't tried ago and well, the weak of will succumb.

My latest pair of finished socks though, have been made with some yarn I bought at least five years ago.  I know I bought it on sale from Get Knitted and I also know I haven't bought from that yarn store for quite a while.

The yarn's Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino, which is a bit of a mouthful, so it's often referred to as KPPPM (not surprisingly).  The yarn looked pretty in the skein and was pretty once wound into balls (I know it's been around for a while because it was in two 50g skeins and these days skeins of sock yarn are usually a minimum of 100g).

I used the toe-up pattern that I came up with (rounded toe and with an elongated gusset on the bottom of the sole rather than at the sides).  This time, instead of doing a slip stitch heel, I did an Eye of Partridge pattern.  Eye of Partridge is like the slip stitch pattern, but staggered, so instead of doing slip 1, knit 1 on row 1 and purl on row 2, row 1 is slip 1, knit 1, row 3 is slip 1, knit 1 and rows 2 and 4 are plain purl.  I think the idea is that the resulting fabric looks a bit like a bird's eye.  Anyway, it makes a nice, harder-wearing fabric for the heel flap, so it doesn't wear out when it rubs against the back of the shoe.

There's not much else to say about them really.  I didn't block them (I never block socks; they adapt to fit my feet when I wear them), but I'm happy with them as the KPPPM is a higher-quality sock yarn that has a very nice feel to it and is high twist, so gives good stitch definition.

As well as being a sucker for a pretty skein of sock yarn, I also seem to have unwittingly started a collection of shopping-type bags.  I've been trying for several years now to remember to take bags with me when I go to the supermarket, even before the government bag charge came into force last year.  As a result, I do have a tendency to buy a new one when I spot something eye-catching.  Certain types also make good project bags, especially for larger projects.  If I'm going to be walking around the shops (or haven't driven), I do like a bag with longer handles that I can carry on my shoulder and these jute bags from Seasalt fit the bill nicely.  I did have one that DD2 commandeered for her Barbie clothes and accessories and I won't be getting that one back any time soon, so I bought these two a couple of weeks ago:

I find these bags to be good capacity-wise, as well as strong and durable and they're good value (I think) at £5 each or on offer at two bags for £8.  I love daffodils, so that was an easy choice to make, but the one on the left?  That was a no-brainer when I spotted it on the Seasalt website.  POLDARK!!!! (which seems to be pronounced Pol-daark in the new series).  I loved the television adaptation in the mid-1970s and I love the current series.  I've even got the books downloaded onto my Nook e-reader (but don't want to read them until Season 2 has finished airing).  Eleanor Tomlinson (who plays Demelza) had a hand in the design process and 50p of the proceeds from each bag sold gets donated to the Fishermen's Mission.  I'm not going to use that one for shopping though; I don't want to get it mucky, so it'll be a project bag.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Commission of sorts.....

Months ago, DD2 asked me to make her a cardigan.  Well, I was happy to go along with this and the next time we went to Colchester, I took her into Franklins (the haberdashery/fabric/yarn shop) and went upstairs with her to the yarn department.  I'd already decided that I'd use Stylecraft Special DK, simply because I knew that, the cardigan being for DD2, it would get put through the washing machine on a regular basis.

So.... we stood in front of the display of Stylecraft (according to the Wool Warehouse website, there are 82 colours in the range including the tweedy/mottled shades) and I waited for her to choose the colour she wanted, expecting on the pink or purple shades to be chosen.

Boy was I wrong!

She went for Mocha, which - as the name suggests - is a coffee colour.

I double checked that was the colour she wanted.  It was.  I triple checked because, well, it's DD2.  Yes, she definitely wanted "dark beige".

Four 100g balls were duly bought and brought home, plus some beige buttons.

Next came the task of choosing a pattern.  Again, she knew what she wanted.  V-neck.  Long sleeves.  Plain; no pattern, just stocking stitch.  Then she threw in the mix that she wanted a ruffle at the bottom (her navy blue school cardigans have a slight ruffle on the bottom).  Hmmmm.  I looked on Ravelry and found the Striped (Or Not) cardigan by Amy Herzog, which was a Rowan knitalong.  I then turned my thoughts to a ruffle and then remembered the Simple City Shawlette by Mimi Codd that I'd made a few years ago.  That has a foxglove-type ruffle edging.  Hurrah!

I read the pattern notes and watched the first video that Amy Herzog made to accompany the knitalong and got some tips on choosing which size to knit (I'd recommend that video as it was very useful), then I cast on.  I did change the pattern a bit, knitting the back and fronts in one piece up to the armholes.  I also knit the sleeves in the round up to the armholes as well.

I knitted and knitted and knitted, putting it down for a few days at a time before deciding that I really did need to just get on and get it done.  This was made much easier by DD2 handing me my knitting almost every time I sat down and telling me to "knit dark beige cardigan"!!!

Last week, it was finished.  The ruffle was a bit of a slog as I ended up with approx 580 stitches on my needles for the last couple of rows and then, of course, had to cast them all off.

A few days before I started the ruffle, DD2 then announced she didn't want beige buttons on it any more - she wanted red, so I nipped into Dunelm last Monday and was able to get some the right size.

Here it is:

The V-neck:

The ruffle and one of the red buttons:

What's especially nice is that she's actually worn it.  Twice!

I've got some other things on the go (of course!), plus another FO, which I'll show you tomorrow.