Socks

I recently completed my third ever pair of hand knit socks and I am very pleased with them.

They are certainly an improvement on when I started knitting socks. My first attempt was a recommended pattern, Spice Man and some inherited plain blue sock yarn. I had double pointed needles, cast on and knit. So far so good … except it wasn’t good. I had a terrible ladder up each side of the socks. I bought a couple of circular needles and continued. Yes, there was an improvement, but I was still left with the original ugly ladders. I put the sock down and stopped. My heart wasn’t in this project. I went on to knit other things. I eventually frogged that sad little partial sock and was given a great tip – knit socks you really want to. I realised that I wasn’t fond of the yarn so had no desire to try and knit those socks again. I passed the yarn on to somebody else. The pattern is still useful in that it has good basic measurements for knitting socks that I’m told can be adapted to many sock patterns.

My next attempt was a wonderful match of pattern and yarn. I LOVED the yarn, the pattern was a delight to knit. Finally, I had a pair of socks. They are a little on the tight side, but nonetheless I am pleased.

My next sock attempt was a pattern test. My first ever pattern test. I powered through whilst on holiday. I faced constant distractions and made many mistakes. The yarn wasn’t quite right for the project – the socks were tight and the yarn had very little give.

The next pair of socks were made from a yarn I bought from a dyer in the US. I fell in love with its name – World Map. I went for a pattern that was the perfect match. Every colour change was to be purled. I purled the green so the socks became a topographical map.

image

The colour changes were quite subtle and so it was quite hard to sometimes see where I needed to switch stitch. I love the idea of the pattern and yarn, but if I were to do a project like this again I’d want more obvious colour changes and I’d probably use a different plain sock pattern and just adopt the purled colour change into that particular pattern.

This leads me to my latest finished socks.

image

They’re still not quite perfect, but I am still very pleased with the end result. I bought the yarn at the very first Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl. I loved the colours and they reminded me a little of those images of cherry blossom on a pale blue background. The colours are actually to represent Ginger Twist Studio, Be Inspired Fibres and Kathy’s Knits. I decided the yarn should become socks, and then I found a pattern for tabi socks. Yes, yarn and pattern are a fabulously pleasing combination.

This pattern had and easy to remember pattern repeat and they were quick to knit.

I’m almost too scared to wear the final result. They seem too pretty to wear or hide in shoes. I’ll get over that 😄

I’m now onto knitting pair of socks number four. I found a sweet little pattern specifically created for those 50g skeins of Koigu.

image

image

The pattern is easy enough to remember, the yarn is pretty, but I’m not sure any socks will ever be as great as my cute little tabis.

Advertisements

Elephants

I’ve always loved elephants, but since I got together with Rod they have become even more important to me,. Rod grew up in Kenya so to him, elephants are a little piece of home. He even used to run a bar in Nairobi called The Pink Elephant. Not long after we got together I asked my friend Mel if she would knit me a pink Elijah if I bought the pattern for her, followed shortly by a request to knit another in grey. I wanted to surprise Rod with a pink elephant,  his own little mascot. I fell in love with Elijah and wanted one of my own too. This was all before I had the ability to knit, and in exchange I sent Mel a box of goodies,  including some lovely yarns. Mel did a fabulous job on our elephants and Pink and Elijah often join us on our travels, sometimes posing for photos along the way.

More recently my Aunt and Uncle, seeing our elephants, asked if I would knit them each an elephant. Of course, now I can knit, but at the time of asking was still a bit scared of anything that looked vaguely complicated so gave a non-committal shrug. I stored the request for elephants, promised myself I’d make the elephants when I was able.

At the start of the year I decided to match as much of my stash with patterns as possible.  This was difficult but enjoyable all the same and in the matching process I decided that a small skein of Yarn Yard’s Clan in a lovely mottled purple would become an Elijah.  I worked my way through a few progjects and soon Elijah could no longer be resisted … I was ready to tackle Elijah. 

I had to look at the instructions to start Elijah,  a lighter circular cast on, but couldn’t work it out so resorted to a YouTube video for help. Once I got the cast on out of the way I was soon flying. I worked on the head whilst watching a film
image
image
And then before I knew it Elijah had formed a body
image
Legs
image
Arms
image
And ears
image
image
I even added a tail, even though the pattern doesn’t, by threading six 30cm strands of yarn at bottom level, plaiting them and tying in a knot.
image
I loved knitting this little elephant, even if he was a bit fiddly in places. I love this flump so much I want to keep him, I was even encouraged to by friends, but I stayed strong. I named the elephant Tembo, Swahili for elephant,  and decided that he would become Uncle Geoff’s. I have a pale blue sparkly yarn coming over from Australia in August, thanks to a lovely friend, which will become Aunty Anne’s Elijah,  although I think this one will be a girl. Maybe she should be renamed Elle and have a little flower over her ear just to make sure everybody knows she is a girl. Hmmm … maybe Tembo should have a little bow tie.

I have now acquired another couple of skeins of Yarn Yard’s Clan, in pale green and peach, from a fellow knitter and Elijah fan and have already decided that the green skein is going to become a surprise Elijah for a friend living in Martha’s Vineyard who sponsors an elephant at the DSWT. Rod then said he needed another elephant,  one for his desk, so I think little Peaches will go to Rod.

Ive never knit any project more than once,  but I now have three more Elijah’s lined up and I can’t wait to get on with them. However,  in an attempt to not tire myself of the project I didn’t rush straight into knitting another elephant and instead went for some socks … but I’m dreaming of Elijah. This really is a great project.

Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl

Jess, owner of one of my favourite local yarn stores, first let me into the secret of the Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl last year. She had the vision but not a name. Lots of words but nothing that pulled together so she asked for some suggestions. I can’t believe my title was chosen.

Of course I joined in the fun of IBYC 2014 with a few of my knitty friends. We had a great time and I wondered if the event might run again. I am pleased to say that the event was confirmed and expanded upon. IBYC 2015 spanned the whole weekend with yarn shops Ginger Twist, Be Inspired and Kathy’s Knits all participating again along with some workshops and a grand finale gathering at Safari Lounge.

Unfortunately I was working on the Saturday, but I had enough time to run up to GTS shortly after 11am. I couldn’t believe that there was already a queue of people outside waiting their turn very patiently to enter Jess’s little shop. GTS really is a little shop, but it is packed full of wonderful goodies to delight any knitter, especially her hand dyed yarn. Us knitters can be quite an orderly bunch when required. Every time one person squeezed out of the shop another squeezed in. I already had an idea about what I was after in GTS. Either her special dye lot for IBYC 2015 or another of her hand dyes. As I got to the front of the queue to enter the shop I spied the one-off colour, a lovely shade of purple. Decision made and as I entered the shop I picked up a skein, paid and had a brief chat with Jess and the wonderfully talented Claire Devine. I made my way out the shop and headed off to work for the day.

Sunday morning Rod had to finish off from yesterday’s work so I grabbed a lift from him up to Kathy’s Knits. I was rather surprised to see so few people in, but perhaps most people ran around yesterday or perhaps people were enjoying a bit of a lie in and would descend upon the shop a little later on. Kathy’s shop is quite local to me but must admit I’ve only been in a handful of times. Isn’t that terrible of me 😕 Kathy sells some really wonderful yarns, focusing primarily on British yarn. Her shop is full of temptation and I had no idea what would catch my eye. Temptation didn’t take too long to take hold. I thought Titus could be a contender, but then I spotted that Kathy had some Easy Knits in. Oh how I love the colours that Easy Knits produces. Right at the top of the pile were two skeins of a lovely denim blue. I picked them up, I squished them, Kathy told me they were new out. I just had to have them.

I walked up to Frederick Street to catch the bus up to Mei’s. I had just missed the bus and had half an hour to kill so stopped in to Hotel Chocolat to buy a hot chocolate. Maybe just missing that bus wasn’t so bad after all.

image

Mei’s shop, Be Inspired Fibres was my final stop, the least local of my local yarn stores. Mei specialises in more luxurious yarns. I always struggle to make a choice in Be Inspired as it’s all so enticing and my budget doesn’t allow me to buy everything. I entered the shop to find it also wasn’t crazy busy. Sunday was clearly the best day to yarn crawl. I was able to wander around the shop at leisure. I jumped from yarn to yarn, overwhelmed by the choice. I finally settled on a skein of Fyberspates, a small ball of Ito Gima and a Madelinetosh Unicorn Tail.

Working yesterday, I didn’t get much chance to be outside so I enjoyed a walk back down the road (including a side visit to the museum).

image

image

image

image

image

image

Although I’d already covered GTS on the crawl I stopped back in there. Business was steady but the place wasn’t packed so I was able to spend some time in the shop and chat.

Another successful Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl is over. I think it’s safe to say that this event is now firmly established in the knitting calendar. Gosh, we knitters are rather spoilt in Edinburgh.

image