Getting my knit on.

I’ve done what I promised I wouldn’t; cast on something new before finishing my cardigan. Oh no!

Cassy over at Knit the hell out keeps mentioning Socktober. A whole month dedicated to knitting socks. I have to admit, I’ve honestly never really seen the point of knitting socks. I’m really quite fussy when it comes to what I put on my feet – if they don’t feel comfortable and just, well, right, then they come straight off. And socks generally are so cheap that I don’t think it’s really worth spending however much on the amount of yarn you’d need to knit a pair. That said, I’ve seen some lovely patterns around, not to mention all the pretty pairs that Cassy knits up in a flash, and I found myself hankering after a bit more of a challenge after months of plain old stockinette on straights. Sock, two at a time, on circular needles you say? Well, why not give it a go!? But shhh! don’t let the cardigan know…

Since I don’t fancy wearing handknit socks myself, and hubby was equally disinterested in the very idea, and I wanted something fairly quick, Pickle is the intended recipient. Having never knitted in the round before, I trawled Ravelry for the simplest pattern I could find, and actually came across this fabulous tutorial. I started with the cast on for a pair, but got myself in a bit of a tangle at first, so I pulled off one and gave myself a chance to get to grips with the process on a single sock. I worked a simple pattern into the top of the sock, just using knits and purls and found it fairly straightforward. I knit just past the turn of the heel and then ran out of yarn, so I frogged the lot and began again with a pair in a different colour.

IMAG2047I’m working up the cuff now and I’m really quite pleased with how they’re turning out. I love working with the Knitpro Symphonie needles. They’re so much lighter and smoother than the straights I’ve been using. I’ll certainly be going back to Sconch’s online shop for more if I need other sizes etc. My knitting speed is gradually getting quicker, and I’m starting to understand a bit how knitting socks can become quite a therapeutic exercise. I don’t think I’m quite up to knitting whilst reading or something though. Pumpkin usually loves socks, collecting and depositing his own all over the house, so I’m hoping he’ll like these, and they’ll keep his little feet nice and cosy this winter.

This weekend saw an unexpected visitor in our household, as Hermes* the class mascot was entrusted into the care of my eldest Pumpkin. For anyone not familiar with this particular practice, the class mascot is a soft toy which every weekend is given to a different child, along with a record book, and the child (read: parents) is expected to take pictures and give an account of the weekend’s activities.

Thankfully Pumpkin’s classmates are not of the ilk to whisk off to Spain for the weekend purely to allow a toy to boast about adventures abroad (true story, according to a conversation hubby had on Sunday morning), but we did feel that our intended activities of ‘putting stuff in the loft’ and ‘tidying the house’ weren’t really note-worthy enough for Hermes’ diary, so a trip to the park was duly planned.

As the weather has recently turned decidedly more autumnal, we thought Hermes could really do with a scarf to keep warm. After conquering two at a time socks, I thought a scarf would be a great chance to have a crack at the next challenge on my knitting list; Cables. Again I trawled Ravelry for a simple pattern and found this which, though not brilliantly well written, was straightforward enough for me to follow and then adapt to fit the bill.

IMAG2022Hermes enjoyed the knitting and wanted in on it. I used part of a ball of James C. Brett Monsoon I had kicking around, which was a bit fluffy to work with, but I love the autumn colours, which looked just right on Hermes when we were out and about, and Pumpkin was delighted. I hope Hermes gets to keep his scarf now he’s back at school.

IMAG2030So, a successful Socktober, and cables accomplished. I think I’d better make finishing the cardigan my target for NaKniSweMo, or it will get pushed aside for more interesting projects for ever more! And I’ll have to work out what’s next on my list of knitting challenges.

* not his real name.

Paper Craft

October is a busy time in our house. There are birthdays galore, and I’m getting to the final stages of rehearsal for the musical I’m involved in, not to mention usual school activities and the rapid approach of the Half Term Holiday.

For ease of organisation, we’ve booked a party at a local Soft Play centre for my biggest Pumpkin’s 5th birthday. Not wanting to leave everything to an off-the-shelf feel though, I decided to hand make the invitations. The Soft Play centre has a castle theme, along with wizards, dragons and princesses, so I thought I could pick up on some of that for the invitations, and then hopefully later on, for the cake as well.

I wanted to keep things fairly simple, so it would be straightforward to produce around 15 invitations the same.

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I started by sketching out a basic castle shape onto some card from an old cereal packet, which I then cut out to make a template. I wanted them to still have a hand-drawn quality, so I traced round the template using a pencil and then went over the lines freehand using a broad black felt-tip.

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The stones were printed on using a small offcut of foam from some packaging material, which I cut to size. I used white paint, and then went over some of them again with black paint to give a bit of texture. When they were dry I outlined them using a fine black felt-tip.

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The drawbridge was made using a piece of brown card cut just big enough to cover the print out with the party information, and glued in place. The finishing touch was a flag flying from the ramparts. Pumpkin wanted both red and yellow, so I did some of each. I cut a narrow triangle of thin coloured paper with a flap at one end for attaching, which I curled one way and then the other by running an open scissor blade along the paper to make it look like it was fluttering. They will no doubt get squished in the envelopes, but they looked good when I put them together anyway! Most of the castles just got one colour flag, but I had some left over, so some got a double one.

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There were some other details that I considered adding – a number 5 on the flag, grass along the bottom of the walls, maybe a vine growing up a wall, but I ran out of time, and I was reluctant to do anything that might spoil them.

The other school mummies may think I’m nuts for going to so much effort for a party invitation, but I enjoyed the excuse to do a little design and crafting, and Pumpkin was delighted with them and so excited to give them out to his friends at school today, so I think it was worth it. Now I need to get thinking about his cake!