Happy? I will be if I finish this

With the weather finally turning autumny in the UK its surely time to crack on with this scarf, except it’s not a scarf really is it, it’s a shawl. We don’t really make traditional long scarves anymore do we? I’m going to ditch shawl knitting and get back into scarves.

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After this one though of course. This is the third project I’ve attempted with the ironically named Wendy Happy self-striping sock yarn.  This yarn has not made me at all happy, its quite nice to knit with until you hit all the joins.  Now I know its supposed to be acceptable to find knots in your yarn these days but it bloody isn’t when there are a ton of them and there has been no attempt to join the yarn with the right colour.  Actually I don’t think it is acceptable to find joins in a ball of yarn at all let alone several of them.

Anyway I’m wandering off the track.  I pulled back the socks because it was absolutely lousy as a sock yarn but I think it will be fine for a shawl.  I went for a very forgiving easy shawl pattern – Knit Night by Louise Zass-Bangham.  LZ-B is one of my favourite knitting designers because her patterns are so simple they’re great for showing off nice yarn.  img_0989

Course that was went wrong, because this isn’t nice yarn is it? I think a self striping yarn worked against the pattern so I pulled this one back too.  Its not been going well has it?

The longer the rows got the less well the garter stitch stripes worked. So I started again using the Knit Night pattern as a basis to do something a bit different.  I’ve added purl to lessen the colour clash and when that got boring I started adding in some randomly placed eyelets.  I am placing them randomly because I like the effect of a shawl looking a bit like a Victorian heirloom full of moth holes.  Its quite hard to explain a random pattern but here goes…img_0990

I purl when I’m on a wrong side row and the row below is a different colour to the one I’m knitting with (otherwise its all garter stitch).  Eyelets can only go in on a right side row (always garter stitch) and they can only go in when the row below was purl of the same colour as you’re currently knitting with and only when a car passes my flat if I’m 10sts or more into the row.

I really like it. I might try to make my own pattern with my random techniques. I might.

Knitting Socks in Skiathos

When I go on holiday I go for the classic fly and flop. All I want is good weather, lounging about, swimming in the sea and stuffing my guts with overly rich food.  If you’re going to put in several hours a day just loafing about the pool or beach you need to take some entertainment, and I can’t do nothing but read for a fortnight so I always take some sort of craft project with me.

This year I took the sock knitting kit I bought at The Knitting and Stitching Show from the excellent Knit ‘n’ Caboodle the year before last I think; it might have been last year but I’ve got a guilty feeling it was longer ago than that.  I know two years is a long time to get around to buying a kit but I buy a lot of things at craft shows and I go to a lot of craft shows. Plus a lot of my time is taken up crocheting 1940s style snoods for my Etsy shop, and oh I’m sounding defensive… Anyway it can be difficult to fit other things in.

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I have fancied having a go at knitting socks ever since The Great Sock Knitting Craze started a few years ago but I got it into my head that it was really difficult to turn the heel and its frightened me off.  I thought there would be all sorts of mathematical workings out that would be beyond me but it turns out I needn’t have worried. They’re a cinch.

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I have been slowly slowly working on Frankie Brown’s 10st blanket pattern to use up some odds and ends, and its big feature is short row shaping which I thought all sock knitting involved.  Turns out that’s no trouble either so that gave me the confidence to pack my Knit ‘n’ Caboodle Tiger Feet sock kit and fly off to Skiathos with it.  I’m so glad I did.  Turns out they don’t use short row shaping in the pattern, its really simple decreases so no trouble at all.

The kit itself is fantastic, you get a lot for just £10 (that’s how much mine was and I think the price is still the same), plus it comes in a clear plastic poolside friendly bag.  In the kit is:

  • Two balls of 4-ply sock yarn, they do lots of yarn but I went for the one that comes out looking like a tiger, not only is it a gorgeous yarn but Tiger Feet was actually No.1 when I was born.
  • 2 cute beaded stitch markers
  • 5 x 2.5mm bamboo dpns that look worryingly like giant toothpicks but are actually tough little fellers.
  • The pattern which is really well written and super easy to follow.  I think even a relatively new knitter would get on fine with this kit. It even explains Kitchener stitch really clearly which I think is a bit of a feat in itself.

So that was me, the odd woman at the pool and beach knitting socks.  I don’t care, I had a great time with them. I’d had a minor operation to have a couple of moles removed from my knees shortly before our holiday and the stitches had only come out a few days before our flight so while I could sit by the pool, it wasn’t  wise to actually get in or swim in the sea. That was a massive shame because swimming in the sea is the thing I enjoy most on holiday but I didn’t want to risk an infection 1,300 miles from home. Plus being a redhead I don’t really tan so I’m usually huddled under a parasol fairly covered up anyway.

So the upshot is the moles turned out to be nothing to worry about beyond their ugliness and I’ve fallen in love with sock knitting.  I’m going to this year’s Knitting and Stitching show for three days this year and I know Knit ‘n’ Caboodle are going to be there on stand L36 so I’ll be visiting them with my heart set on buying a TON of sock yarn.  I can’t tell you how satisfying it is putting on a sock you’ve knitted yourself. They feel amazing and they’re just the nicest thing to knit. Love them.