Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Latest FO - Comfort Slippers

My local yarn shop has a bargain section where they sell odd or discontinued balls of yarn very cheaply. My knitting/crocheting friends and I love it, because you can get amazing yarn for very little money; the downside is that there are usually only one or two balls, so you have to pick your projects carefully.

One visit, I found a gorgeous ball of variegated sock yarn for £1. It was only 50g, not enough to make a pair of socks, so I hung onto it for months wondering what to do with it.

Then one day I was browsing through Ravelry, and found the comfort slippers pattern. I immediately knew what my little odd ball of sock yarn was destined to be!

I'm really pleased with how they turned out - they'll be perfect for summer evenings, when I want my feet to be cosy but don't want to spoil my summery look with huge furry boots.

After a little bit of wear they became slightly loose, so I threaded clear sock elastic through the cuff and around the garter edge. This makes ALL the difference! The fit is nice and snug now, and they stay in place beautifully.

I would definitely recommend the pattern, especially as all the proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross. I'm sure I'll be making lots more of these. They would be nice/fast gifts, and a great way of using up those sock yarn remnants!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Quest for the Perfect Sock

I think starting a new blog broke my computer. Fortunately my significant other is a computer nerd, and managed to fix my desperately sick laptop in just a couple of days. If you're not lucky enough to have a computer nerd as your significant other, I highly recommend becoming very good friends with one.

This is what I'm working on at the moment:

The yarn is Hot Socks Circus, and it smells as delicious as it looks. (Yes, I like the smell of sheep. Don't judge me.)

If you already know me, you won't be at all surprised that I'm knitting a pair of socks. I almost always have at least one pair of socks on the go. I knit my first pair last August (during the World Cup), and have now made approximately 14 pairs - I say approximately, because I lost count after 11 or 12.

Knitting the perfect pair of socks has become an obsession of mine. I am determined that one day I will knit a sock that is SO neat, comfortable and well-fitting, that I will look at it and not be able to see anything that needs improvement. That will be the blueprint for every future sock that I knit. I'm still a long way from that point, but I'm sure having a lot of fun getting there.

Every time I knit a pair of socks, I do something a little differently. Try a new cast-on, turn the heel a bit differently, do a different toe. The current pair is a return to cuff-down after several months of trying to perfect toe-up with short-row heel and toe. I really wanted the short-rows to work because they mimick commercially made socks, but mine never look neat enough or match on both sides. Going back to cuff-down feels like coming home.

Here is my current sock formula:

  • 56 stitches, twisted German cast-on over a 3mm needle
  • 2.5mm needles for the rest of the sock
  • 1 x 1 twisted rib cuff, 2 inches deep (To make twisted rib, knit into the BACK of every knit stitch. It twists the stitch around, tightening it up and creating lovely neat, deep ribs.)
  • Stockinette stitch for leg and foot
  • 7 inch leg
  • Reinforced heel flap of 28 stitches (on WS row, slip every other purl stitch)
  • Pick up extra stitches in corners, knit through back loop to tighten up and minimise holes
  • Toe from Kim Goddard's beginner sock pattern
My next mission is to find a good way of disguising the "jog" at the cast-on join. It always looks fairly obvious with the Twisted German cast-on, no matter how clever I try to be about darning the end in.

Only 3.5 more pairs to make for other people, then I can make some for me again!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Birth of a blog

This afternoon I had a very interesting conversation with my lovely friend Gemma (over tea and a scone) about creative blogging. While I have a blog for my business, it never really seemed like the right place to share my knitting, crochet and other crafting endeavours. I realised I wanted a little creative nook. Somewhere to go when I make something awesome and want to do a happy dance, or when a project goes horribly wrong and I feel the need to have a very public tantrum.

And so this blog was born. It's like a brand new sketchbook - shiny and blank and kind of intimidating. I think it will primarily be a craft/project blog, but I'm sure a few other things will slip in too. Dog training. Tea enthusing. Maybe even CSI fangirl moments.

The dog silhouette on the right is my greyhound/whippet cross, Freya. Freya and porcelain are fairly incompatible, hence the blog name. Freya is the recipient of many of my knitting and crochet projects. She doesn't seem to mind.

Please be gentle with the noob!