Tuesday, 23 September 2008


So, in one of my previous posts I mentioned that I had a problem with my Vinnland socks.

After wearing them only three times they got a hole in both heels. Not good. I guess this is proof that if you're going to make and wear hand knit socks in shoes you really need to make sure there's some nylon or equivalent in the yarn, although I didn't think it would be quite so quick. Maybe my shoes have extra friction heels or something?

I make a point of not mending socks. A certain person I know manages to go through socks at a tremendous rate, and if I said I was going to darn his socks that's probably all I would ever do! So no, I don't mend socks. Apart from if they're hand knit and have only been warn three times!

That said, I do have an inherited darning mushroom which I put to good use. I didn't use darning wool, but decided to use normal sock yarn with nylon in it. I've seen prettier, but hopefully that'll work.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

teach a young dog new tricks

One thing that I've been plugging away at and not blogged about, is the City and Guilds course in hand knit textiles that I've started.

I'm about half way through the first module - so far it's been a lot of swatches of "building blocks" for knitting - so different cast ons, cast offs, stitches, ribs, tension, gauge swatches, blocking etc etc.

Here are a few of the mounted swatches I've made so far - I've got an envelope of others that still need mounting and labelling. Soon I start doing stuff which is hopefully going to help develop the inspiration to design process. I'm really looking forward to that part.

One good thing about all the swatches that I've been making is that it's helping use up some of the not so nice yarn I seem to have in my stash, yarn that I wouldn't buy now, but that I have aquired through one way or another over the years.

The course is run from the UK - so far I haven't been able to attend any of the get-togethers of other students that happen, but maybe at some point one will coincide with a visit back to the UK.

Monday, 1 September 2008


It's a rare occasion when I get to post a finished project, and even rarer when I get to post about two (ignore the fact that my posting isn't exactly regular or frequent!)

First we have the Cable and Rib jacket by Debbie Bliss. I've been knitting this for what seems like ages (since February 2008) using wool from a herd of Jacob sheep kept at High Head Castle near Carlisle. They separate the wool into the three colours of natural wool found on a Jacob sheep, and this is the darkest. I have some more of this left and also some in the medium colour, so no doubt there will be more knitting of this wool to come. I think it's a really nice wool - I love that it's not dyed, but still has such a strong colour. I think it shows good stitch definition in the cables and ribs. I like the pattern, I found its formatting a bit of a problem during the cables, but a bit of copy, paste into word soon made that problem go away. I've heard people complain on blogs about putting zips in, and that they're difficult etc etc - I didn't have any problem. I guess my sewing skills come in handy.

Secondly we have Vinnland socks by Becca Compton. These were a bit of a technique experiment as these are the first pair of socks I've knit toe up, two at once, magic loop. Technique fine, although as I mentioned in the last posting I've got a bit of a ladder thing going on. I found the pattern a bit of a drag to knit, and not getting tangled up in either end of the same ball of yarn was a chore, but I really like the pattern now it's done, and the colour of the yarn is very me. I have a little bit of a problem with them, but I'll blog about that some other time once I've solved it.

The next project that I've cast on is Cyd by Martin Storey in Jaeger Handknits JB31. I'm using garnstudio's drops alpaca, which is lovely and soft and really nice to work with so far. It's a thinner yarn than the pattern calls for, so I've changed needles and the size pattern I'm knitting. I'm not convinced yet though that I'm going to continue as I'm getting quite a limp fabric. I'm thinking about re-swatching with a double thickness of yarn.