5KBCWDAY7 – Back to the Future

Today’s blogging topic is to look back at your aims at the end of the last Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and see if you have achieved them, and then look forward to next year and write about what you hope to have achieved by then.

Obviously I’m *such* a good girl that I will have done exactly what I said last year.  *cough*

Unfortunately last year I said this:

So what do I want to do by this time next year?  My main aim (but please don’t judge me if I don’t manage it) is to try knitting socks.

Oh dear.

Well, if you’ve been a committed follower of my blog since then you’ve probably guessed that I haven’t managed this.  In fact I’ve not got further than this:

Socks in progress

Look, I tried!  I cast on two pairs, but I’ve not finished a single sock from either of them.

The dark purple yarn loses alarming amounts of colour, which has put me off.  After knitting just a few rounds I look like I’ve been working in a beetroot processing factory (if such a thing exists).  Also the sock is quite small and inelastic because of the cables.  The plan is to finish this sock and wash it to make sure it doesn’t shrink at all before I cast on the next one.  But I plan to re-skein the remaining yarn and wash it before casting on the second sock.

The green sock is a variation on Milfoil by Rachel Coopey (if you’ve not come across her designs before, you should check them out because they really are amazing).  You’re supposed to make two similar but non matching socks, but I really don’t think I can stand having non matching socks, so I’ve altered the pattern so that the socks will match (because I’m fussy like that).  but the small needles and fiddly pattern means that I’ve not yet managed to get into a good knitting rhythm with these, so they’ve gone on the back burner for now.  The yarn is such an amazing springy green though!

I’m still not really sold on the idea of knitting socks and hiding all that work on your feet, but I also think that there are some incredibly beautiful sock patterns available and I don’t want to miss out.  So overall my feelings are still mixed, just like last year.

Do I get points for effort?  Come on, I cast on two pairs…. please?  *looks hopeful*

On Day 2 of last year’s Blog Week, I also planned to cast on a shawl with this yarn:

Easyknits Sushi Shawl Roll

I was thinking about this:

But which pattern?

How about Lyrica Euterpe by Romi Hill? I like these sort of little shawls and wear them a lot as scarves, and this has an interesting construction, beginning with a semi-circle and then switching to a traditional central spine in the lace border. You can also add beads, although as the yarn is busy that might be a bit much!

But, predictably I haven’t cast it on.  I still like the shawl though, but I’m undecided about the yarn.

So, overall a miserable failure.  Hey ho.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  My knitting ambitions far outweigh the time I have to knit and it wasn’t as if I didn’t knit, I just knitted other things.  Since this time last year, I’ve done several new designs (which I’m proud of) and seen them published in magazines, pattern leaflet and books, so I can’t complain.  I still enjoy knitting, even though having your hobby as a career/job (hobby: knitting, day job: work in a yarn shop, self-employment: knitwear design) makes it difficult to switch off sometimes and manage your time effectively (self-employed people are their own worst bosses – you wouldn’t put up with having to work evenings, weekends and until 1am for anyone else, or expect someone else to do that for you, but I still expect that from myself).

What do I want to have done by next year?  Well judging by last year, mentioning anything specific seems to doom it to failure, so I think I’ll just settle for trying to improve my work/knit/life balance….. hahahahaha!

Did you achieve your goals from last year?

Lottie x

 

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A slow news day…..

…. or even a slow news week is common in Britain around this time of year.

Parliament doesn’t meet during this month, so on a domestic rather than international news front there is usually less in the way of important news.  As a result this time of the year is often known as silly season, the time of the year when every journalist desperate for a story digs out a report on someone finding a picture resembling Jesus in a piece of toast, or a new sighting of the Loch Ness monster (particularly useful as it is hard to either conclusively prove or disprove, so the speculation can go on for days), an egg with ten yolks, or perhaps the world’s oldest living chicken or fattest cat.

Well today I thought I should write a post, but the trouble is I don’t really have anything much to tell you about.  I’m working on a new design at the moment, but it has to remain secret (though I am really pleased with it and would love to tell you all about it!) and as a result I’m rather lacking in both news and time to write something entertaining.

So as I don’t have a blurry photo of Nessie to show you, I thought I’d better show you some fun knitterly stuff that I’ve acquired recently 😉

When I started the new design I’m currently working on I realised that all my project bags were full, so my Charm mittens (that are nearly finished and just need a thumb and seaming – shh! don’t mention the KAL!) were unceremoniously jettisoned from one of my project bags to make room.  Something had to be done.  So I went on the Nicsknots website to order a new project bag:

Nicknots project bag

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Pretty isn’t it?  The print is fun and makes me happy just to look at it.  I like bright cheerful colours 🙂

At this point it is important to note several things.

The project bag is already full.

The project bag does not contain the new design, but another idea I’m sort of swatching/testing out.

The Charm mittens are still languishing somewhere, not in a project bag.

All my project bags are still full.  (Yes, one of them has half a sock in it, but I won’t mention it if you don’t.)

*sigh*

While I was looking covetously at carefully choosing a project bag, I came across something else that was irresistible….. a crochet hook roll with sheep on!  Sheep!

Nicsknots hook roll

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m a sucker for anything knitting related with sheep on, so I just couldn’t resist it, especially when I realised that I don’t actually have a case for my crochet hooks, so buying this was completely justified (and it has sheep on – this is what I call a win-win situation).  😉

We also had this book arrive at work, ‘A Knitted Sock Society’ by Rachel Coopey:

A Knitted Sock Society

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So, in my continued quest to force myself to love sock knitting, I bought a copy, along with a skein of pretty Araucania Ranco Multy.  Rachel Coopey’s designs are amazingly detailed and well thought out, so if anything will make me love sock knitting, this book will (the yarn is probably too busy for any of these designs but I just loved the colours – stash busting FAIL – again).

That’s it for now I’m afraid!  Perhaps I’ll have more to tell you next week!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an egg with ten yolks laid by the world’s oldest chicken and put it on a piece of toast that resembles Jesus!

Lottie x

Going nowhere fast

……. at least when it comes to my socks……….

Sock-in-progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Why?  Well I’ve been finishing off knitting something else.  Something secret which I will be able to show you soon-ish, but not just yet.

Socks in progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So my socks have been neglected.  Poor neglected socks 😦  Luckily for the them I only have to cast off my top secret project, then I can start on them again.  Then again……..

Matching gloves?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

…………… I could knit some mittens to match my Wagtail hat!

Oh dear.  Can you tell I’m a bit bored of my socks?   Help!  Encouragement required!

Lottie x

Beetroot Feet!

I’ve started my socks!

What?  Really?

Bet you didn’t think I would!  Well, you’d better believe it……..

A half-knitted sock

Proof!
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’ve even turned the heel and (whisper it) I’m quite enjoying it… but shhh…. don’t tell anyone! 

I’ve chosen Beat Feet by Rachel Atkinson from Knit Now Issue 20 as they looked interesting enough, but not too taxing, so I could concentrate on the construction of the sock and getting a good fit, rather than worrying about complex stitch patterns.  It’s a nice pattern which has been well thought out so that you can knit mirrored socks and the cable pattern is nice and stretchy, so it should be comfortable to wear.

Beetroot Feet detail

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

There is one teensy little hitch though….. (no, not the fact that I will now want to knit all the socks)….. a week ago, gripped by the urge to get started, I grabbed this skein of dark purple yarn from my stash, where it has been hiding for some time.

I didn’t really think about just how dark the colour was, or the nature of dark hand dyed yarn (i.e. it will tend to have some loose dye).  So I didn’t consider before winding it into a ball and getting started that it would lose quite a bit of colour.  It was only after I had wound it (by hand – couldn’t be bothered to get the swift and ball winder out) that my fingers had a slight puce tinge about them.

I put it to the back of my mind and just started knitting.  I mean, I was concentrating on knitting magic loop (I don’t really like knitting small circumferences in the round), which I’d only done once before years ago (when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing) so I didn’t really stop to think about the loose dye.

The next time I looked my fingers were a colour that would suggest I had been preparing beetroot.  It does wash off eventually!  But if I’d realised earlier I would have washed the yarn before I started (note to self: next time don’t get so over-excited about a new project that you fail to notice anything else).  I will definitely rewind the yarn into a small skein and wash it before I start the next sock!

Wish me luck for the rest of the sock!

Lottie x

Decisions, decisions…..

…… so last week I said I was going to try knitting socks…… what on earth did I do that for?

Ever since I said that, pretty sock patterns keep jumping out at me.

First it was Anna Richardson’s Jump ‘n’ Jive socks in Knit Now Issue 21, then Rachel Atkinson’s Beat Feet from Knit Now Issue 20 and Fiona Morris’s Bilberry from The Knitter Issue 56…… and now the latest issue of The Knitter has arrived and there are some pretty leafy green toe-up socks by Jacqui Harding in it!   I want to make them all!  I’ve bought 2.5mm DPNs and a 2.5mm x 80cm Addi Premium circular needle (I;m not sure whether to try magic loop of DPNs) and now I’m desperate to get started.

But which to make first?  And which yarn to use?

Easyknits Twinkle 4ply

Yummy yarns

I have some lovely Easyknits Twinkle 4ply which would be perfect to use for socks, but I sort of want to make shawls with it, and those multi coloured skeins would hide the pretty pattern details of all the socks I like.  Even if I do use it for socks how would I choose which skein to knit with?

Easyknits Twinkle 4ply

Sometimes I am so intolerably indecisive, I even annoy myself.

Besides….these photos remind me that I need to finish my cosy bramble stitch throw/blanket/snuggly thingy (just, as someone keeps reminding me, in time for summer – they know who they are)!

Cozy Blanket

Snuggly!

I’ve knitted a log cabin-ish border along two of the sides and I’m just about to finish the third….. better go and get knitting!

Which socks do you think I should make first?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Lottie x

All photographs Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This time next year…..

….. what do I hope to be doing?  What do I want to have achieved?

This is the final topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog week 2013; to look forward to this time next year and set yourself goals, or decide what you hope to have done by then.

So what do I want to do by this time next year?  My main aim (but please don’t judge me if I don’t manage it) is to try knitting socks.

Socks are one of the few things I have never made.

Now I know that as some of you read this you will be practically jumping up and down saying something like:

‘Never made socks?  What?  WHY NOT??’

On the other hand, if you’re not a knitter (Never knitted?  What?  WHY NOT?) you’re probably wondering why anyone would do such a thing when there are things called shops that you can go into and hand over money in return for a five-pack of socks of pretty much any design from boring black socks right up to novelty Christmas socks (you know the sort of thing, the ones that say ‘Bah Humbug’ or try to give the Simpsons an inexplicable connection with the festive season).

Forget all that.

You have to understand that a knitter looks at every piece of clothing and thinks ‘Could I knit that?’

I have even had this thought about ball gowns.

I don’t need a ball gown.  I wouldn’t have an occasion to wear one.  I would never have the patience to knit one.  (But imagine how stunning it would be! :))

But this is how the brain of a knitter works.

If you are that person who doesn’t knit, it has probably escaped your notice that for knitters, knitted socks are something of a cult.  There are knitters who make only socks.  Knitters who look at every other pattern and think ‘That’s nice, but I think it would be better if that stitch detail was on a sock’ and many knitters knit socks regularly.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that I am not one of those people.  But lately I have been wavering.

Gorgeous yarns from 'Andyfest'

There is some sock yarn in here – but I might just make shawls with it 😮
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012 – 2013

And now I’m going to say something a bit controversial, so I’ll put my tin hat on and get my shield out.

I just don’t see the point of spending hours knitting something pretty (if I am knitting anything it will be pretty, because that is the sort of thing I like) only to hide it inside a pair of shoes.  I’d just be worried about spoiling them.  There I’ve said it.  But I’ve seen lots of pairs of socks that I like, that are works of art, and I feel a little left out.  So I think I might just try, even if I only wear them indoors (stop laughing).

I might start with these Jump ‘n’ Jive Socks by Anna Richardson but don’t hold me to that!

As it is the last day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (see Eskimimi Makes for full details) I ought to say thank you.

Firstly to Eskimimi for organising the whole thing and choosing fab topics to post on, and secondly to all of you who have taken the time to read, like, comment or follow my blog.  I have surprised myself by how much I’ve enjoyed Blog week.  Your responses have been really fun to read and now I feel a little less like I am just shouting to an empty room!

Lottie x