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Friday, 13 May 2016

Socks on and off the needles

We've got the sunshine again today after a few wet days this week - great for the plants as they've all shot up and some of the seeds that I'd all but given up on have finally started sprouting - but not so great for me as the grass now looks like a field and I'm pretty sure I saw a few sparrows with pith helmets and machetes heading through the undergrowth ... it's time to get the lawn mower out but before I do, I'm going to take a few minutes with my brew in the sunshine to show you what I've been up to.

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! 



36 comments:

  1. I agree with trying to support British yarn producers as much as possible. WYS produce some lovely yarns.

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    1. They really do! There's so much I don't know about the British yarn industry, but I'm planning to put that right! xx

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  2. Knitting black socks????? You're a braver woman than me! xxx

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    1. It's not so bad in the sunshine :-) xx

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  3. Lovely socks! I'd like to try and knit some but I think it is too difficult for me. Irune

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    1. Irune, if you can cast on, knit and purl you can knit socks. There's everything you need in the tutorials and you can ask me if you get stuck. If you're on Facebook there's our lovely group there too where there's always someone around to help xx

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  4. Ohhh Christine, all your socks are gorgeous - even the black ones! The WYS Rum Paradise is fabulous and will definitely go on the wish list. Being a West Yorkshire girl it is wonderful to see the woollen mills returning with high quality British products. Let's hope your sock revolution and all the sockettes will help them thrive.

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    1. It would be great if the Sockalong could help, wouldn't it? I'm really pleased to know that there are more British yarns too, so as I find out more, I'll be passing the information on! xx

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  5. I love all those socks you have been knitting. I love WYS yarns too! I always try to visit the yarn shop in the Shambles in York when we've been to the UK. The last time was 2014 and the WYS sock yarns' range was named after British birds...but I love the colours in the ball you've shown in this post.

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    1. The British bird range is still available and I've got my eye on a couple of those too! WYS have recently brought out a "cocktail" range and it was the rainbow yarn that I really couldn't resist! xx

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  6. My husband has some "Naughty" work socks- dull grey with VERY bright heels and toes. He loves them and I love him x

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    1. Secret socks! The best sort! :-) xx

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  7. I love that Doctor Higgins pattern, its gorgeous, Thank you for sharing. I also love WYS yarn, I haven't tried any of their sock yarn but I am sure a ball of it will fall into my shopping bag next time I visit my LYS ;).

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    1. It's certainly worth giving it a go, I'm very pleased with the WYS yarn and I think it would also work well with the other patterns too xx

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  8. Love, love , love your socks.... on and off the needles. I also have a ball of the Rum Paradise ready to go! The Professor Higgins pattern would look lovely in your purple Knitting Goddess yarn! Ros

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    1. Yes it would, wouldn't it? I'm veering towards that one at the moment - must finish my rainbow stripes first, though! xx

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  9. Just found your blog, and I intend to go read all of it.

    I really love your rainbow socks, and I was pleased to read I'm not the only one with sock-matching OCD! Like you, I don't mind if others knit and wear not equal socks, but mine HAVE to be an exact match. That's one of the reasons why I knit my socks 2aat (2 at a time), so that if there is any difference in the yarn (f.e. beause of a knot) I inmediately find out and can cut 1 of the yarns and make sure they match while working further on them.
    Love, Anja

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    1. That's a good idea, Anja, and I have done that before but I'm always disappointed that I can't knit two socks in the same time that it takes me to knit one! :-) xx

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  10. beautiful socks..i have done tube socks but i dont know how to do regular socks..the instructions are over head..
    take care,

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    1. If you fancy trying regular socks, you can find my tutorials at www.winwickmum.blogspot.com/p/sockalong.html or click on the yellow "Join the Sockalong" picture at the top right of this page. If you can knit tube socks, you should be able to knit other socks really easily! xx

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  11. All of your socks are fabulous! I like your new stitch markers too!

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    1. You can't beat a good stitch marker! ;-) xx

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  12. A lovely socky post and I look forward very much to the dk sock pattern. I have just finished knitting my Mind the Gap socks and have now started a pair of trainer socks, I seem to have the sock knitting bug at the moment (it's all your fault) Xx Joy xX

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    1. The Mind The Gap yarn is really lovely, it's not surprising that it's set you off on a sock spree!:-) xx

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  13. Oooh you matched the fruity markers perfectly! Very excited about a DK sock pattern, I've been asked for very cosy bedsocks for my best friend's birthday, so I'm thinking 2 strands of Opal to make DK will be just the ticket!

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    1. They certainly will be very cosy bed socks! I'll work on the pattern as fast as I can! xx

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  14. Such wonderful socky goodness! Especially the rainbow stripes....gotta get some of that!

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    1. You won't be sorry, they're lovely! :-) xx

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  15. Hi there Christine, I am currently working hard to master the art of knitting and purling so that I can attempt some socks soon! Do you think it might be easier to start by working with the 8 ply instead of 4 ply? X

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    1. Hi! Some people do like to start with thicker yarn when they first have a go at knitting socks but it's entirely personal preference. There are less stitches with a thicker yarn and your sock will grow more quickly so that's always a bonus! I only have the pattern for the thicker 6ply yarn on the blog at the moment so that's the one I would suggest you go for instead of 4ply as there are the pictures to accompany the pattern. You can also use the Sockalong tutorials as long as you remember that the stitch counts will be different (and you can ask me if you get stuck). Opal, Regia, Lana Grossa, and Zitron Trekking all have lovely 6ply yarns and there will be others that you'll be able to track down as well if you want to try that first xx

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    2. Thank you Christine! I am not quite at the stage where I am ready to start just yet but I will get there. I'm taking baby steps with my skills but am determined to be sock knitting as soon as I can...hopefully I'll be able to celebrate the annual packing away of my sandals with some toasty toes! ;-) x

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