Foot candy

A few months ago I was exploring perfect, charming, magical Stoke Newington and came across a sweet knitting and stationery shop, Of Cabbages and Kings. I bought a skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock weight yarn in “zephyr”.

The yarn was just too pretty to knit an exciting sock. I think of this as vanilla with sprinkles. 

The pattern was self drafted (although socks of this type are all much alike). I started with a provisional cast on, knit in rib for about an inch then had a row of k2tog, yo, and then knit another inch. Folded over, this made a lovely picot cuff with enough elasticity to stay up. 

I just love them! 

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Christmas 2016 (part 1)

So now that it’s March 2017 I should probably have already posted about all the crafting that kept me occupied up to Christmas. Last year I did individual posts for each item (!). This year it’s too high a hurdle for me, as evidenced by my already infrequent blogging.

En bref, Christmas 2016:

  • 1 duffel bag
  • 2 baable hats
  • 8 zip pouches
  • 1 fleecy bonnet
  • 1 fleecy raccoon gilet
  • 2 eye patches
  • 2 scrunchies
  • 1 knitted scarf
  • 1 lavender sachet
  • 1 tote bag

Here are some pictures:

Boot socks

Note: WOW it’s been four months since I last posted, and this has been sitting in my drafts folder since November. I’ll publish this post and another from October (blushes), and then be free to move forwards into the third month of 2017!

It’s starting to get a bit chilly and that means it’s time for my dad’s birthday.

This year he got super warm, super practical boot socks.

I used the Hermione’s Everyday Socks free pattern on Ravelry, adapting it to the gauge and size I wanted. I like this pattern a lot – very easy to remember for commute knitting, and pleasing to look at and touch.

The main yarn is some old Rowan Purelife I found lying around and the cuffs, heels and toes are in a superwash  merino.

Baa-ble hat

After making Mr Donk  I had some yarn left over. I’ve admired Donna Smith’s Baa-ble Hat pattern for some time, so stocked up on extra colours of Rowan felted tweed DK and set to work. 

I adjusted the pattern for the thinner yarn by casting on 120 stitches in the first place, thereby neatly avoiding the increase at the top of the ribbing. 

I’m obsessed with these colours. My mum wants one too, but I’ll have to find new colour combinations. I think I’ll have a flock of these hats soon enough. 

Sockcess

To get me through the summer I’ve had a sort of project plan, or rather two: one for sewing and one for knitting. The sewing plan is so horribly behind schedule that I now need to abandon it, to make way for winter sewing and Christmas production. But even so, I’ve completed a couple of things on it that I’m really proud of and it’s helped to focus my mind and prioritise a bit. 

The knitting plan however, I have completed! Woohoo! On 30 August, one day early, I cast off and blocked my final piece. This was despite a major setback, namely, being distracted by other pretties… 

In Toronto in July I bought some gorgeous Koigu yarn at Ewe Knit with a voucher from my aunt. It was just too tempting to throw myself in, so I threw caution to the wind, sidestepped my carefully planned schedule, and cast on a pair of Thornfield Socks

I was initially worried that the yarn variegation and the cables wouldn’t get on very well, but I think these have turned out beautifully, particularly after blocking (with new sock blockers from the Wool Croft!). 

Probably everyone but me already knew about Rachel Coopey’s incredible sock patterns, but when I discovered her stall at Wonderwool this winter I was smitten. This is the first design of hers I’ve made, and I love them. 

So anyway, back to the project plan. The socks I completed on 30 August were these Arrow Socks by Makiho Negishi. 

I still don’t think my stranded knitting is perfect, and I wish I’d used the yellow as the top colour rather than the white when carrying floats, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with myself! Two Japanese patterns with no English help completed in one summer. Not bad. 

The forest

A few years ago I found out about Toshiyuki Shimada’s book, New Style of Heirloom Knitting

Although written in Japanese and out of print, I became determined to get my paws on a copy, and eventually tracked one down on Ravelry forums in Canada. 

Every single page of this book is brilliant, from the incomprehensible essays accompanied by shots of vintage boots and scenes of Scotland or Norway as seen through Japanese eyes, through to the patterns themselves, and even the technical instructions. 

In particular two patterns stood out to me: Poème (which was the pattern that led me to this book in the first place), and Herbstlied

Last summer the stars aligned in the Liberty sale, when I nabbed a whole  bag of discontinued Rowan yarn in an off-white colour, perfect for my oak forest sweater. 

After consultation with various sources (detailed on my Ravelry project page) plus a head-scratching and cake session with my lovely Japanese-speaking friend Heenali, I was ready to cast on. 

I started knitting in January, starting with a swatch for the central oak leaf design. When that was done to my satisfaction, I started on the actual sweater in February 

I knitted on trains, buses, Tubes, at lunchtime, on weekends, and slowly the sweater started to grow. There was a hiatus in April and May for my MSc exams, but by then front and back were completed. Over the summer the sleeves crept towards completion, and finally, over a few rainy and solitary evenings on an island in Canada, I finished it.

I’m in love with this sweater. OK there are a few errors in the construction, but I don’t care. It fits, it’s gorgeous, it’s the first proper sweater I’ve ever made myself. I’m just really proud of it. 

Wearing it brings me right back to the forest it was finished in, as a bonus it also smells of the lake, in which it was blocked. Forest associations for a forest sweater. 

This sweater has been a masterclass in the value of making what you want, not what’s easy. A lot of brain power went into this sweater, sometimes I had to unpick. I learned a lot. 

What next? Perhaps I have been swatching for Poème on the side throughout…