Happy feet!

It’s been a while coming, but I have something off the needles again at long last. The anniversary socks are finally finished!
They got put down for several weeks, while I was occupied doing my most recent show, as well as reading more, but I took them on holiday with me and with the time to concentrate on it,  I managed to make a start on the heel. When I got back I knew I needed to get the heels finished, or I’d lose my place in the pattern and I’d have to rip back. Once the heels were done, I had the momentum to get them finished.

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I procrastinated a little over the bind off, but went with what was in the Earlybird sock pattern; Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I actually ran out of yarn on one sock, but had plenty left on the other, so I did a russian join using the end of the other ball and had enough to finish. It meant there’s a bit of a sharp colour change just at the end on one of them, but I don’t think it looks too bad, and won’t be seen much as trousers will cover the top anyway.

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They’re a little longer than I expected, and a little shorter than I’d like, but they’re a good fit and quite comfortable to wear.

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It was my first time using real sock yarn. I love the colour changes. I think doing two at a time using magic loop is the right way to do it, as I know I’d suffer badly from second sock syndrome if I tried knitting them separately. Toe-up was great as I could use every last bit of my yarn without panicking about running out or wasting lots. I liked the heel flap construction – it made sense and gives a nice fit, although I did end up with a teeny tiny hole in the corner, which I guess is just about experience with where to pick stitches up from. I’d go down a needle size in future as the fabric is a little looser than I’d like, but all in all, happy feet!

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Happy anniversary!

Yesterday marked my first blogiversary, here at Jack of all craft. A whole year occupying this little corner of the crafting world. I’m not sure I really thought I would get this far when I first started out, so it feels like quite an achievement.

Mr Jack thought it was an occasion worth celebrating, so he sweetly treated me to Chinese takeaway and some yummy wine last night, and chatted with me about the last year of blogging, and what the next year might hold. (I may or may not have shown him The Twisted Yarn’s amazing blogiversary celebration cake at some point in the past…)

Blogging encourages me to craft more, and crafting encourages me to blog. It’s great to document the process and be able to look back on everything I’ve created over the last year, and see the progress I’ve made with knitting especially. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on my posts – I love hearing from you, and I really enjoy reading and learning more from your blogs too – they inspire me and challenge me to try new things.

As it was a special occasion, I thought I would treat myself by casting on something new.

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These will hopefully become a pair of socks for me! I only have a small 50g ball of yarn, so I’m not sure how far it will go. I’m hoping for trainer-socks at least.There is a possibility they may have to be frogged and re-knit into a smaller pair of socks for one of the boys, but for now I’ll keep going and see where I get to.

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I’ve never worked with variegated yarn like this, so it’s exciting to see the different colours emerging as I knit.

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I’m kind of making the pattern up as I go along, using bits of patterns from different places. I started with a cast-on method I found at Silver’s Sock Class, which is what I’ve used previously. I wasn’t keen on the heel method I used before, so I wanted to have a go at the heel-flap construction I’ve heard Cassy talk about at knitthehellout. In fact, I’m using one of Cassy’s patterns, Earlybird, found over at Knitty.com for the toe and heel directions. I can’t do the cable pattern, as I’m pretty sure it’ll eat way too much of my yarn, so I’m doing my own thing on the instep, with a bit of 3×2 rib. I’ve never worn handknitted socks, so I’m excited to see how they turn out!

So, happy new year to you all! Let’s see what this one will bring.

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.