First up - the brown socks are finished! Hooray! And thank goodness for that! Could you hear me cheering from where you are as I finally grafted the last stitches on the second sock?
These have not been my favourite pair of socks to knit. Gradient yarn is not the best choice for people with sock-matching OCD like me, but I'm happy with how these have finally turned out. "Ah, get over it!" - I can hear you from here - but it's not going to happen. I have no problem at all with other people wearing non-matching socks but for me, having my socks exactly the same is part of the joy of knitting them. It's a bit of a trial sometimes, but for the most part I enjoy the process of searching through the yarn to find the colour repeats and matching them up. It's not always so easy with gradient yarn and yes, there were a few tantrums on the way with these socks, scissors were wielded, more than a few rude words were muttered and there was even a period of a few weeks when they were banished to the bottom of the project bag. However, they were always intended for my favourite uncle and having a deadline for seeing him spurred me on. They are now keeping his feet cosy and warm so it was worth the effort!
By the way, the yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock in shade 06, and the pattern is Bleaberry Tarn.
It was nice to knit a pair of socks with a pattern in them again - I haven't done that for a while - and it's got me planning for my next pair of patterned socks. I love knitting basic plain socks as they're so quick and easy, and self-patterning yarn doesn't always need anything to liven it up, but a complicated pattern is good for your brain. It makes you slow down and think what you're doing, sometimes learn a new technique, sometimes revisit old ones, and leaves you with a massive sense of achievement.
These socks are high on my list - they're called Rectify by Rich Ensor and I've been fancying knitting a few of his patterns for quite some time. I've got a skein of purple yarn from The Knitting Goddess which is shouting pretty loudly to be used at the moment, so I think that will be the next skein that I go for ...
as long as I can decide on the pattern! I was pretty much set on the Rich Ensor one when I remembered that I had some by Caoua Coffee in my Ravelry library which I also think the purple yarn would like (www.ravelry.com is such a wonderful resource for knitters if you don't already use it. Do go and take a look!). I feel like tackling something that's not necessarily a quick knit but will stretch me a bit (hopefully not too much!) which is always good to do every now and again. This is my other possible choice - I do love a nice cable! This pattern is Professor Higgins.
In the meantime, whilst I am still deciding on which pattern I'm going to knit, I've cast on with this ball of Rum Paradise, one of the new cocktail shades by West Yorkshire Spinners. Oh, I just love these rainbow shades! This is a very happy sock to knit. The yarn is soft and smooth and the rounds are just flying by - I think having short colour changes helps with that as you're always only a few rounds from a new colour so you want to keep going!
Oh, and what I really like about this yarn is that it's British. The company strapline is "Reared, Sheared and Spun in Britain" and I think that's brilliant. With many of our mills having closed, it's really important for us to support the mills that we still have and our farmers so that we've got British options amongst all the beautiful sock yarns that we can choose to knit with.
This yarn contains a percentage of Blue Faced Leicester wool, which is an English longwool breed of sheep, almost as soft as merino, strong and easy to spin, which makes it ideal for including in a sock yarn. There are lots of yarns that combine different wools (some of them from rare breed sheep) and they all have different properties. I don't know too much yet about British sheep breeds and how their different wools work but it's something that I'm working on. It's really quite exciting!
Oh, and I have a fruity new stitch marker too, which goes very well with the cocktail theme!
Also on the needles ... have you ever seen the book Guess How Much I Love You? Little Nut Brown Hare tells Big Nut Brown Hare he loves him right up to the moon. I love my husband right to the toes of his black socks - and sometimes that seems very far! Luckily, he has coloured heels and toes which break up the endless blackness, and as he calls them him "proper socks" and prefers to wear these over any others, I don't really mind knitting them too much.
I've used another fruity stitch marker on this one - this one's a strawberry slice!
Finally, my 8ply (DK) sock which is going to be my next tutorial. I'm just on the toes of my first sock now and then I'll be photographing the second one as I'm making it. It takes me a while with everything else that goes on in our lives, but I hope to have it done before the end of next month.
I've really enjoyed knitting with this 8ply yarn - it's Regia Iglu Color in the shade Lappland. 8ply yarn knits up very quickly so it feels as if you have a sock ready in no time, and it's about time that there was an 8ply pattern to go with the others (it will work with the Sockalong tutorials too) so I'll be getting on with it - just as soon as I can put my rainbow cocktail sock down!