What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!

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Socks and a Blanket

This is all I have for you this morning, I am afraid.

Still doing less knitting and crochet than normal but have managed to do the small amount of knitting and crochet to finish the socks for my granddaughter and complete the main body of my Symmetrical Granny Ripple blanket.

I am going to add the pattern for the blanket to Ravelry when I have finished it but am not sure what to call it. My original Granny Ripple blanket is called “Soft Granny Ripple” though that name was not chosen by me but the lady who persuaded me to let her put it on Ravelry.

So here are the sock for my granddaughter. Short ones, as requested. socksThe yarn is Regia (One of my favourite makes of sock yarn). Nothing much on the ball band. Colour 0525 which I have found on-line called Papillion. I think I must have picked it up in Hobbycraft as my other sock yarns seemed a bit dingy for a teenager.

And here is the body of my “sea and sand” colour blanket body of blanketbased on the four times fourteen rows that form almost half of the blanket I made for my daughter. Completed sea and sand blanket

Stylecraft Special DK in the following fourteen colours:-

White, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

selection of yarnsAs with my other sea and sand blanket, I am not going to fill in the ripples, but have not finally decided on the edging.

A Sock addiction

Well I’m not really sure that I have a sock addiction 🙂 but I haven’t made any socks for a long time and from time to time I get a craving to make some more.

I normally force myself to resist this temptation because I have enough already but recently I discovered that both my daughter and granddaughter have the same size feet as myself and would both love me to knit them a pair of socks.

So!

I have a stash of sock wool because of some that has been passed on to me for free, Yay! so I offered my daughter a choice of yarn. Two balls of sock yarn

and she said that she preferred the one on the left.

Here are the pair I made her. A pair of socksIt’s hard to get socks to look good when lying flat which is why when I knit them for myself I also photograph them being worn!

I have actually bought some more sock wool to make a pair for my granddaughter New sock yarnand when I know how long she would like her socks to be, compared to her mother’s (her mother wanted fairly short ones!), I will start a pair for her.

I could have used the wool to the right in the picture at the top but I thought maybe it wasn’t quite her sort of colours.

I do like Regia sock yarn!

Photo Challenge – Socks

With a topic like socks (don’t think it was I who chose that one) what could I do but take a photograph of all the socks I have made. photo-challenge1646-socksSeven knitted pairs and one crocheted. The rainbowy pair at the top were the first that I made, in merino wool, and you can see they have got a bit bobbly but are still oh so comfy! The grey pair are my summer ones in cotton with a bit of lycra for stretch. The red, orange, green, blue ones (two pairs) have bamboo viscose as the synthetic component and are quite lightweight. The pair on the right I managed to make matching as with the green and red pair. The bluey grey ones were made from wool I was sent as a giveaway, the browny ones are my crochet socks and the blue, green, purple ones the only ones where I knitted in holes.

I do still have a few balls of sock wool (some given to me) and would love to make another pair but all the socks above are wearing really well and so I don’t feel I need any more at present.

Photo taken in my bedroom on an only moderately bright morning – 400 ISO, 3.5 aperture and 1/5 sec, hand held so I was pretty pleased with how it came out!!

Crochet socks – a sort of challenge!

Finished socksLast June when I posted about my latest knitted socks an interchange with Sharon of Creativity and Family about her desire to knit some socks and the fact that I had never crochetted any led to her saying “If you crochet some I’ll give knitting socks a go !! 😉 ”

We were relaxed about time scale and I fitted in crochetting a pair over the summer and Sharon knitted some in the Autumn.

Sharon wrote a blog about her socks here – https://creativityandfamily.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/yes-yes-yes-ive-done-it/ – Aren’t they lovely!

This is how I made mine.

I had a few balls of sock wool, some bought and some given to me that had been taken to a charity shop. I decided to chose this ball. Sock woolNo label but I think it might be Regia sock yarn.

I looked at patterns for crochet socks but in the end, in my normal impatient and self-opinionated way, I decided to work up my own, based on my normal toe-up method of making socks. (I kept notes so I can make the same again if I want to!) .

However I did learn a lot from here – http://quiltfixer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/step-by-step-crocheted-socks-crochet.html (I didn’t agree with the way she increased for the toe but I did copy the heel method fairly closely.)

I decided to do the toes and heel of the sock in simple dcs (US – scs) and started at the centre of the toe and I used a piece of red wool to keep track of where to make the increases. Sock toe increases I decided that making the whole sock in dcs would be just too boring! so I decided to use trebles (US – dcs) and after a bit of experimenting decided to use this for the main body of the sock. Sock patternI used plain trebles on the underside of the sock to keep the rows level and the bottom of the sock smoother.

For the heel I decreased until the width wanted, then increased joining in at the end of the row. This was the trickiest bit.Sock heel And then for the final row I decided to make more of a scalloped edge by using three treble instead of two.Top of sockSo here they are worn by me! Socks seen from aboveand Wearing socks

What do I think of Crochet socks compared to knitted?

  • Making them with the trebles meant they worked up more quickly maybe even twice as fast.
  • They are definitely thicker than knitted ones, that is really no surprise, so tighter in the shoes.
  • The basic fabric is stiffer than knitted ones so they are slightly less comfortable but are less likely to slip down or wrinkle. (Again, no surprise really.)
  • I really like the way they look and creating a patterned sock is much easier than knitting.

So will I make any more?

The jury is out on this one, as they say. Maybe one day, but the next pair of socks I make will be knitted.

I did start a pair in some wool I had that I had found impossible to knit with because it was such a dark colour and fluffy. Other sockI got this far, didn’t like the plain dcs (the difference between the blue and purple seems to show much less in real life (or my eyes)). I then tried a slight texture on the top but it didn’t gel with plains dcs on the bottom and so I have given up for now.

Matching socks finished!

Matching socksWell they almost match! If you look closely you can see that the fairisle imitation part has knitted up slightly differently in each sock.

These socks along with at least one other project have taken rather longer to reach completion than I envisaged originally. As far as the socks are concerned this is because at one point it hurt so much to knit them that I had to give up. Not sure why later it didn’t hurt any more but glad to discover that I don’t have to give up knitting socks! 😀

It is always hard to photograph one’s own feet but here are a couple of pictures of me wearing the socks.

This was the easier one to take!Socks from above
and holding the camera out in front.
Socks from frontHere are the ones I made earlier.Original socksThese were meant to match too which is why both pairs are shorter than I normally make socks. (I can now calculate that 100g of this particular yarn should contain eight repeats of the colour sequence.)

The reason the original socks don’t match can be shown in this photograph.Comparison of both pairsCan you see the arrows? I made the original sock (labelled – first sock) and when I got to a colour repeat I cast off.

You can see that the second sock starts with perhaps a little more of the dark blue (as I didn’t know exactly how far into the blue I was at the start of the ball – I knit toe up socks with short row toes so I start under the toe).

Then the bad bit! There was a join not long after the end of the blue. I have now worked out that there was quite a length of yarn missing from the colourway sequence as shown roughly by the piece between the two arrows. So of course that mucked things up!

Luckily there were no more joins so I was able to make a matching pair with the rest of the yarn.

This means that I have now managed to make four socks out of one 100g ball! At £6.39 a ball which is £3.20 a pair that isn’t too bad!

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For the geeks among you, you might like to know that I didn’t cast off the first of the matching socks before I finished the second one. I calculated that there should be enough to make the second sock by weighing the sock and comparing it to the weight of the remaining yarn but just to be safe I left them joined by a length of yarn so I could undo a bit if the second sock didn’t get to be as long.

However there was enough for the second sock with just a tiny bit of yarn left over!

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It is worth noting that these socks are made with Rico Design Superba Bamboo which has only 50% wool and then 25% viscose, which I have been told is where the bamboo comes in. This makes them lighter and cooler than the other wool socks I have made so they are quite good for summer along with the cotton ones I made.

Now the heels!

With the second pair I experimented with a new way of doing the heels as I showed you here. New style heel(Original post including link to pattern here:- https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/a-new-sort-of-heel/)

I am not likely to use this method in future because I don’t like the way it looks, at least when I use it, (The second heel was not much better,) though it does have one advantage which is that if you make a mess of the second part of the heel (as I did on the second sock) you only have to go back to half way instead of redoing the whole heel. (I normally make a short row heel.)

Well I suppose it’s no surprise really!

Friday morning over a week ago I was happily working on my rainbow cotton project and all my ‘Crafty Coffee’ friends were saying how much they like it. I was thinking that if I kept going at that rate I could maybe finish it in another three or four weeks. Now I had two other projects: my waistcoat where I wasn’t sure if I liked the way the neckline had worked out and whether I should undo it and my second sock with the new style heel which was pretty much on the back burner but hey three projects is plenty.

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But by Saturday evening, because of things I had thought and seen, I had two more crochet bookmarks ready to be stiffened, had worked up a pattern for a celtic knot bookmark and started on a trial of a method for making two socks at once!

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And by Sunday evening, I had got round the heel for the socks, made a trial of the celtic knot pattern in DK yarn and started one in #10 cotton.

I can see that this will not be my favourite bookmark though since it requires working into the back of such a long chain – twice!

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I started this post a week ago but since then I have completed a celtic knot bookmark in #10 cotton

0333-celticknotbookmarkand the trial two at once socks suitably truncated for speed.

0333-twoshortsocksNeither of these was a hard as I imagined they would be to complete though equally neither are up to my normal ‘perfect’ standard. I will be writing more about bookmarks and these socks in future weeks.

How are you getting on with your projects? Do you get distracted too?

February Montage

In February I shared some knitting, crochet and a recipe plus a couple of photographs. The light has not always been good for photographs this month.

For knitting I showed you my first attempt at a new way of knitting a short row heel with a chart and link in case anyone else wanted to try it.

For crochet: my bright spectrum coloured teacosy, with a bit of a teaser the day before.

I shared my recipe for an easy tea-time treat: a version of Bara Brith.

I also included a couple of photographs taken when we had – all too briefly – some snow. Snow rarely lasts long in Southapton which is a blessing in some ways but can also be a bit disappointing.

Although it is not included in the montage I also  welcomed the many new followers I have gained in recent months.

February montage

A New sort of Heel

Latest sockWhen I finished my last pair of socks I said that I had found a new way to knit short row heels and that I would report on it in due course.

Well I have now all but finished the first of another pair of socks in the same yarn. I am going to delay casting off as I think I can make the socks to match fairly closely but will use almost all the remaining yarn so I want to give myself the chance to easily modify the first sock if I am wrong and run out of yarn.

The wraps for this method are different to the way I have done them previously.

They are done at the beginning of the row and the yarn goes over the top of the stitch and needle as in this picture.

Wrapped stitches

I found the pattern on the Schachenmayr web site (They make Regia sock wool) and the link for the pattern is here:- http://us.schachenmayr.com/files/patterns/Sock%20Guide%20US-4-ply-final.pdf. The heel instructions are on the second page.

I found it hard to envisage the way the wraps and rows went so I drew myself a chart which proved to be accurate. So for those of you who like such things I include it here.

Heel chart

My Conclusions

As I suspected the heel looks less smooth than my previous method and I did have difficulty knitting the wrapped stitches but I think that was unfamiliarity, and that next time I will find them easier than the double wrapped stitches of my normal method, especially as there is only one wrap to deal with.

Heels compared
New heel on the left

Closer view

Previous style heel

Old style heel

Latest heel

New style heel

The holes along the side of the heel are bigger but that may just be that I did not pull the yarn hard enough. You don’t seem to see holes on the picture with the pattern.

The problem with correcting a biggish hole when you return to knitting in the round is eliminated. (As I think you can see.) Though I did have a bit of trouble one side as I dropped a stitch or two and had to pick them up. 😦 (So I won’t show you that side.)

You do get two rows of the same colour as the middle of the heel included in the front of the sock, so it wouldn’t be a good method if you were making the heel in a contrasting colour.

Heel front
They are the two white and purple rows in this picture. With this type of yarn it looks fine.

They are the two white and purple rows in this picture. With this type of yarn it looks fine.

I am not sure if this heel will become my method of choice but it has given me an idea of how I could amend my normal method to eliminate the problem holes in a different way. If I can get this to work I will report on it in due course. But I think that I have been spending too much time on knitting lately and, although I will finish the waistcoat, it is also time that I got back to some crochet.

But before I leave I will share a couple of photographs.

We don’t get snow very often in Southampton but when I woke up this morning it had snowed overnight so I grabbed my camera and took a couple of photographs through the window.

Snow today in colour

And one in black and white.

Snow today in black and white

By the end of the morning it had all gone.

Scintillating socks!

Patterned socks

Or should it be scintillating sock wool? I think this is the most exciting and clever sock wool I have knitted so far. Here it is on the right.

Sock yarn

Rico Design Superba Bamboo sock wool – 50% Merino Superwash, 25% Polyamide, 25% Viscose in ‘purple mix’. No it doesn’t contain bamboo though I did find bamboo listed as one component on one web site.

Conversely I have to say that the wool on the left is the most difficult to work with sock wool I have ever tried to use and I had to give up making a sock with it as I got in a mess when I tried to undo and redo a couple of stitches on the row below. It is fluffy and meshes together very strongly and part of the yarn is so dark it is almost black and so makes it very hard for my old eyes to see the stitches.

I had planned to make the socks to match and I very carefully noted where in the pattern I was at the beginning of the first sock and finished the first sock a little sooner than I normally would so as to start the second sock at the same point.

However

A few rows in there was a knot!!!! I hate knots in yarn. I did leave the knot still hoping the pattern would be the same but it wasn’t.

Only plus point is that by making slightly shorter socks I actually have only used half the ball so can make a second pair! Yay!

So here are the socks being worn.

Patterned socks being worn

And how they look to me.

Patterned socks as they look to me

I am now making another pair of socks, though these are a present, but I have realised, as I should have done before, that when using a single circular needle to make socks as I do, there is no need to put half the stitches on a holder and the other half on straight needles when working a short row heel.

As in the picture below. (Showing holder side.)

Stitches split between holder and straight needle

You can just do it all on the same needle thus saving time and effort. I have made one sock that way and will be doing the same for the second one.

I have also found a Rico pattern that has a slightly different way of doing a short row heel that doesn’t look quite as smooth as the method I use now but may make the problem of the yarn pulling or creating holes where the heel joins the front go away.

A bad version below where my attempt to avoid a hole made a mess.

Messy avoiding a hole

I am going to try this new pattern next time I make some socks for myself.