Tag Archives: knitting

The socks of incredible gaudiness

As the weather isn’t playing ball for pictures of Miss Button in her new mummy-made garments, I took advantage of the grey skies to tone down the incredible gaudiness of these socks.

It worked!  In this picture they look positively subdued!

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This is what they really look like.

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That pink makes your eyes water in bright light!

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We recently had an interesting conversation with Anne at our LYS, & Sew What, about men and colourful socks.  Her experience is that younger men prefer a more sober sock, sticking with plain or only slightly variegated yarns, whilst more mature men love the more colourful, wildly striped yarns.

The husband bucks this trend as he’s hardly an older chap but the more bold the colour combination of the yarn, the more it appeals to him.

Hence, these sunglasses-inducing lovelies.

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There is a small part of me that’s convinced he chooses such combinations as he knows I’ll be knitting as fast as my fingers allow, just to get them off the needles and onto his feet. But he’s such a sweetheart, so that couldn’t possible be the case.

Could it?


Lemongrass

I LOVE this sweater.

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I love the colour.  I love the yarn.  I love the pattern.  I love the fit.  I love every. single. thing. about it.

Lemongrass_2The pattern is Lemongrass by Joji Locatelli and it is a complete joy to knit. It’s a beautifully written pattern and I can’t recommend it enough.  I had no project fatigue with this at all.  I’d happily knit it again tomorrow!

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That cable!  Looks complex…is easy enough to knit in front of the TV!

I couldn’t find buttons to match this yarn.  It’s not quite blue and not quite purple. So I stitched up the buttonholes and the sides together.  Problem solved.

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The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the colourway Azul Bolita and the pictures do not do it justice at all.  It’s deeply saturated and gently variegated.  It’s soft and squishy and has beautiful drape. It’s a truly joyous yarn.

Be warned…it leaks colour like a mad thing whilst you’re knitting it.  I had blue hands every night I knitted this.

But it’s worth it.

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If only we weren’t heading into summer.  I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear this all the time.

 


Pairfect socks

 

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You might think that the title of this post slipped by the spellchecker, but no!  These latest socks are knitted in Regia Pairfect yarn, which was a Christmas gift from my lovely friend Linda.

She knows what I like!

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After the travesty that was the poor Herriot Socks, these were an absolute joy to knit. The yarn is robust but not harsh and a good stripe always makes me knit faster.

“Just one more stripe!”

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The yarn is actually designed to give perfectly matched stripes on toe up sock patterns, but these are my trusty Regia sock pattern, which is top down.  I just knitted some blue for the cuff, pulled the yarn through until I hit the stripes, rejoined and knit until I came back to the blue.  There were a couple of more ends to stitch in at the end, but I’m happy to do that.

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You could of course knit these top down and have striped feet, but The Hubby’s preference was for stripy legs and I was happy to oblige.

Although I have another pair of socks on the needles at the moment (of course), I promise the next finished project will be something different.


Good socks gone bad!

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So! I recently finished two pairs of socks for the Hubby knitted from blue and plum coloured Juniper Moon Herriot Fine.  I don’t mind admitting that I’ve never been so glad to see the back of a project as I was these.

The yarn, as you’d guess from the name, is a lightweight fingering.  It’s also fluffy. And I didn’t like the plum colour at all! It’s fair to say that I didn’t enjoy one single stitch of these socks.

Except perhaps for the last stitch of the grafting of the toes.  I definitely enjoyed that one!

But he was happy and that’s why I knit him socks.  And to be fair to the yarn, the problems I had with it were down to personal preference.  It’s beautifully spun, the colours are soft and heathery, and, I’m told, they are supremely comfortable to wear. The skeins are generous at 461 yards/100g.

It’s also a hand wash alpaca blend.

You know what’s coming don’t you.

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Yep….hand wash alpaca blends do not take kindly to the hand wash programme in your washing machine.

Ooooops!

Which isn’t exactly what I said when I took them out of said machine!

I’m not entirely sure why the plum shrank more than the blue.  Possibly to do with the dye?!

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Total user error.  Thankfully they are just about still wearable!  And there are more pairs to come.  Just not in the Herriot yarn 😉


Fan-shaped bobbles – made by Ma!

The weather continues in its unpredictable vein, with 4 seasons in one day being the norm. The school holidays are flying by and the house selling/purchasing saga continues.

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So when we were gifted a warmish and sunny day last week, we hit the park for fun and photos.

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This is another great workhorse of a sweater from Ma.  The pattern is an old Wendy/Peter Pan pattern number 747.  The yarn is a mystery acrylic blend, which is perfect for mudlarks as it can be thrown in the washing machine and tumble dried if necessary.

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Slightly oversized but not sloppy this is a great shape for layering for warmth, with plenty of room for climbing and playing.

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Cute fan shaped bobbles make the boxy shape more feminine.

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You can never tell with Miss Button if something you make for her will be worn to rags, or languish at the back of the wardrobe hardly worn.  This is one of the former. It’s her current go to sweater for playing out and park days and just generally keeping cosy.

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Longfellow Blue

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I do hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter.

Finished makes have been thin on the ground around these parts recently, but I’m finally pleased to share with you Longfellow by Michelle Wang for Brooklyn Tweed, which I finished for Hubby back in January.

Spring in the North of England is a contrary beast to say the least.  Today we’ve had sunshine, rain and wind.  So a lightweight cardigan like this is a great garment for a chap to have to keep the chill at bay whilst still maintaining his vaguely hipster credentials (I have my tongue firmly in my cheek at this point!).

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If you’ve a good memory, because this took an absolute age to finish, this is knitted in Garnstudio Drops Alpaca.  It’s a fine 4ply with a halo and a bit splitty, but it creates a lightweight yet warm fabric which keeps himself cosy.

The pattern itself is spot on in terms of measurements.  I’ll be honest and admit that I found the instructions for the armholes more than a little confusing, so defaulted to a simple k1, k2tog decrease (k2tbl at the end of the row) which worked perfectly fine. Knitted pockets are still new to me and these were a doddle.

Whilst simple 4ply cardigan patterns are hardly as rare as unicorns, I think the proportions of this one are just right. It fits great at the armhole and shoulders, and I’m particularly fond of the depth of the v-neck, which is perfect for wearing buttoned over a shirt.  Which is just how Hubby likes to wear it.

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All in all this cardi is a great success and I’d happily knit him another one, even with the miles of stocking stitch needed to cover those rugby player’s shoulders.  Next time, though, I’d use a different yarn because I’m not happy with how this one is wearing. You’ll clearly see on the above picture that it pobbles and bobbles quite easily. What you can’t see is that despite the most careful of hand washing and flat drying the fabric is flattening quite quickly.

Also the buttonholes don’t hold up to being buttoned, and I can assure you that this isn’t a tight fit.  There’s enough ease just not enough support in the buttonhole.

The yarn was very inexpensive as I bought it on sale so I’m not completely gutted by this…I just won’t use the leftovers to knit Button her Fleur Bleue.

Oh dear…that just means a visit to the yarn shop!


More socks

There is still little in the way of sewing going on here, due in part to accountancy exams, in part to refreshing the house yet again to go back on sale this weekend, in part to being busy with small folks and their activities, and in part to just wanting to sit on the sofa at the end of the day with my husband,  a stiff gin, a box set and the needles.

Nothing to complain about, just the sewing machine is gathering dust.  Next week will be a different story as I’m on a deadline to make a blouse for my friend Liz before she heads off to Australia on the 29th.

However the benefit of sitting and knitting is that the husband’s hand knit sock tally has increased by 3 pairs.  Obviously I’ve used my usual pattern by Regia, but it’s lovely to see how the same sock looks completely different when you change the yarn.

First up it’s Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Tannat (A6729).  This yarn is a joy to knit with. If I could only ever choose one yarn to knit with for the rest of my life I’m pretty sure I’d knit with this.  It’s just gorgeous.

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Next is Sirdar Heart & Sole in “Find Your Sea Legs”.  This yarn is more utilitarian but, funnily enough, hubby prefers this slightly.  I think it holds it’s shape a little more than the softer Manos.

And, of course, there’s the awesome stripes to consider too!  Just the most perfect stripes, no?

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You’ll notice that these socks are a little longer than I normally make.  That decision was driven by the stripes.  I really wanted to finish a full stripe repeat before turning the heel. And I must add that if you’re a beginner sock knitter this yarn makes it super easy to match the stripes.  Bonus!

Last up are the Happy Camper socks, again Sirdar Heart and Sole.  I’ll be honest that I wouldn’t have chosen this colour if it had been down to me.  But it wasn’t.  So I knit them. They turned out better than I’d anticipated and the mister is happy, which is what matters when it comes to socks!

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As you can imagine, by the time I’d finished with these I was finished with socks for the time being.  So I’m relieved pleased to say that the Longfellow cardigan is done, in the wardrobe and will probably be worn out before I get the chance to photograph it (I’m only joking…I just need a weekend day that isn’t dark and grey), and I’ve done the front and almost all of the back of Lemongrass.

So, that’s me for now.  Please bear with me if I’m a bit “missing in action”.  I’m hoping by Easter things will be a bit slower, but, knowing how life goes, probably not.

And whilst I’m not doing much sewing, I’ve been doing quite a bit of plotting.  Shall I put my thoughts down here, or would that bore you senseless.  Do let me know!


The Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate

Although the north of the UK has been battered by storms for the past week or so, last Saturday started off chill but calm as we headed off to Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show.  The ‘we’ comprised Ma, her best friend Pauline, Hubs, and The Boy.  We set off early as we were meeting our friends Sue and Dave who were up from Surrey for the week and whom we hadn’t seen since our wedding, 5 years ago.

Our rendezvous was an Italian cafe restaurant opposite Harrogate International Centre.

Stuzzi

Stuzzi is a complete find and highly recommended if you’re ever at a show at the HIC.  We had excellent coffee and pancetta or sausage on delicious bread rolls with homemade tomato sauce.  The Boy inhaled his doughnut and proclaimed it the best he’d ever had. Praise indeed as that boy loves his cakes!

Replete and happy, us womenfolk bade goodbye to the men and turned them loose on Harrogate whilst we headed off to the show.

It’s been 6 years since I last came here (I can’t believe how quickly time is flying) and things were very different to my last visit.

Whereas last time the queues for entry were halfway around the building, even for those of us who’d purchased our tickets in advance, this time we were in through the door in minutes.

Last time the halls had been jammed with folk and their wheelie trolleys, all anxious to get to the next stall and oblivious to who was on the receiving end of their sharp elbows.  This time the crowds were manageable and the whole atmosphere much more genteel.

Whilst this undoubtably makes the shopping experience much pleasanter, this can’t be good for the exhibitors.  Which might explain why there were fewer actual stalls than when we last visited.

Which has got me thinking.  Is the mega craft show (like Harrogate, Alexandra Palace, or the NEC in Birmingham) in decline?  Are the new specialist shows like Yarndale, Wool Fest or Wonder Wool Wales taking over?

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Click on any of these logos to go straight to each show website.

These boutique shows seem to be happily maintaining theirs crowds and exhibitors. Or could it just be a North/South divide thing?  And if that’s the case for yarn, will we ever have niche events here in the UK for fabric and sewing too?

I’d be happy to hear your take on this.  What do you think?


Overabundance!

Last weekend we finally found time for a little outing to Hebden Bridge to take the hexie quilt to The Quilt Cabin to be long arm quilted.  It’s my first time using a professional long arm quilter so I’ll report back on that in due course.  It was also our first visit to Hebden Bridge.

I wasn’t prepared for just how pretty HB is.  It’s a enchanting former mill town full of independent shops, quirky cafes and restaurants, and charming little streets.  A river runs through the centre of the town and as the day was overcast but dry we spent a happy few hours wandering in and out of the shops and taking a hearty and warming lunch at The Blitz 1940’s themed tea room.  Hubby had oxtail stew, I had a steak pie…both were delicious.  The meal was rounded off with a bowl of jam roly-poly and two spoons. Heavenly on a chill October afternoon.  And the staff are simply delightful.

Image courtesy of Feathegills Emporium, Hebden Bridge

Image courtesy of Feathegills Emporium, Hebden Bridge

On our meanderings we stumbled across Ribbon Circus yarn and sewing shop. Whilst I chatted happily with the owner and some of the other knitterly customers, Hubby prowled the shop with a sharp eye and the next thing I knew four new lots of sock yarn were being rung up on the till.  The man is a demon!

This is what we came home with:

Sirdar Heart & Sole in “Happy Camper”

This is a new yarn for me so I’m quite intrigued to give it a go and see how it wears. One of the other customers at Ribbon Circus was knitting another colourway of this and it stripes up beautifully.  If she hadn’t got the sock out we’d have escaped without these two purchases.  Damn you, lovely knitting lady!

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Sirdar Heart & Sole in “Find Your Sea Legs”

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Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Fine in “Lakeville”

Another new to me yarn and the one I’m most looking forward to knitting. Whisper soft alpaca with the gentlest of halos and 25% polyamide for strength.  Saturated, heathered colours.  What’s not to love?  I think these will be a joy to knit as well as wear!

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Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Fine in “Deep Plum Passion”

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With such an overabundance of lovely sock yarn, not to mention projects for Button and Me, I’m really rather pleased that I’m already on the second of the Tannat socks.

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Abundance

I finally finished knitting the husband’s Longfellow cardigan and handed it over to my friend Liz today for seaming.

If you ever wonder if you love someone, knit them a cardigan in 4ply.  If you finish it and can still look them in the eye, then they’re a keeper!

Knowing that I was on the home straight with that particular project I’ve recently spent some happy time online selecting my next projects and patterns.  Whilst Liz and I chatted today I borrowed her swift and ball-winder (mine are in storage) and spent a happy hour converting skeins  into jolly cakes of yarn ready and waiting to hit the needles.

Sadly it’s impossible to get a picture of them as it’s so heavily grey outside today.  A typically northern day, but I’m just glad it’s not raining!

Now, back to the knitting. In no particular order of what will be cast on first we have:

Fleur Bleue by Christal LK designs

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This will be knitted in the leftovers Drops Alpaca from Hubby’s cardigan.

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I do love my girl in a navy cardigan!

Lemongrass by Joji Locatelli

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I’ve been looking for something cosy to pull on over a tee or shirt for school runs and park date and this really fits the bill.  I love a good cable as you know and I’m enamoured with the unusual shaping of it.

I’ll admit it’s a bit of a risk shapewise…I’m not sure it will work for me.  But, if it doesn’t, I’ll frog the yarn and reknit it into something more conventional.

Speaking of the yarn, I’ll be knitting Lemongrass in this gorgeous Malabrigo Merino Worsted Azul Bolita.

Malabrigo Azul Bolita

The colour has slightly more purple in it than I’d anticipated online, but the colour is so saturated and luscious that I can’t be disappointed with it.  And the texture of the wool is sublime….slubby and soft and lofty.

It leaks colour like mad, so I’ll have blue hands whilst knitting it, but this is to be expected with kettle dyed yarn. It’s a price I’m very willing to pay!

And last but not least….

Socks by Regia

Winter is coming.

(GOTs pun entirely intended)

Recently over coffee Liz was knitting the most perfect pair of socks.  I loved the colour. I loved the feel of yarn.  Considering imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery, I quizzed her about the yarn and ordered a skein the same day.

It’s Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Tannat (A6729) and it is really quite lovely.

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Hub’s is thrilled!  He has quite bold taste in socks.

So…that should keep me in stitches for some time to come.  And who are we kidding…you know those socks will be cast on tonight! 😉