Friday, 25 July 2014

SKA Sockdown Update

In a change to the recent post, I have now been reclassified as a New Designer in the SKA Sockdown 8 voting thread which is good news.

The less good news is that if you have voted for me I'm afraid you need to vote again.

The link to the new thread is here

Thank you very much in advance for your support

Thursday, 24 July 2014

SKA Sockdown voting

I was very excited to discover that I have been included in the Sock Knitters Anonymous (SKA) Sockdown 8 voting - to determine which sock designers are featured in their next round of challenges. The group on Ravelry is a large one with over 18,000 members and is a hive of sock knitting activity.

There is a slight problem however in that I have been included by mistake in the 'previously featured' designer group and therefore I am up against serious competition from very well established names.

If you have ever knitted one of my designs or if you like my work I would be really thrilled if you could take the time to vote and include me as one of your 11 choices.

You can vote here.

Thank you

Friday, 18 July 2014

FO Friday: Sty Head Tarn socks

I'm very pleased to be able to whizz by this morning and show off my latest pattern.
The Sty Head Tarn socks were inspired by one of our favourite picnic spots when we are holidaying in the English Lake District. We have been there in snow, ice, sun and gales. Each time it is beautiful in a different way.
As with many of my patterns this can be worked toe-up up or cuff down - go on - I dare you to try a different way this time!
I am also experimenting with a different pricing structure on my Ravelry shop. Add any 4 of my patterns to your cart and receive an automatic 20% discount.
As the temperature reaches 32 F here, what better way to celebrate than with woolly socks.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thoughts on Baby Knitting

When it comes to baby knits I have a few essential criteria that have served me well in the past. I tend to knit items in advance and keep them ready for the inevitable 'surprise baby' from a co-workers spouse or when several new arrivals happen within weeks of each other.
I like to keep a well stocked baby box with enough choice so that I can match item to recipient, rather than gifting a handwash-only item to a dear friend who I know can shrink laundry just by looking at it.
I do knit the occasional girly cardigan on impulse such as Autumn Leaves if I have suitable yarn but mostly I tend to favour unisex knits in fairly neutral colours to maximise gift-giving potential. Otherwise it is bound to happen that there will be 4 baby boys born in a row and all I have in the gift box is a pastel pink Liesl.
One of the reasons that I prefer a plain and simple knit like my Fuss Free Baby cardigan is that it is endlessly adaptable. Short or long sleeves, plain or striped, frugal stashbuster or blow-the-budget cashmere it can be adapted to suit any requirements.
I tend to have several in the gift box in neutral colours and then when the gender is known I can add some cute and funky buttons. Gender stereotypes can be a social minefield but I do love adding pretty flower buttons to a plain cardigan for a girl, not least because (with having two boys) my opportunities for girly knitting are strictly limited.

For added ease and adaptability I knit both button bands plain and then, using small buttons (knitting police - look away now) sew them onto the appropriate side and then just poke them through the band on the other side to create little buttonholes. I'm sure the local WI would faint at the thought but I don't imagine that the baby or sleep-deprived mother for that matter would give it a second thought.
I have never been clear on which side buttons go for a boy or a girl and I'm not sure that it matters anymore but for the record the buttons for a girl traditionally go on the right of the garment.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Knitting and Minimalism: Part Two

So, last week I was all fired up with enthusiasm for some selective pruning of my stash and I happily set about reviewing my yarn stash (yes, all of it) and ensuring that it met one of 3 criteria:
a) beautiful
b) useful
c) intended for a purpose

So, how did I do?

Well, I'm pleased to report that my stash has now shrunk in size from 4 large storage crates and an under-bed drawer to 2.5 crates and the aftermentioned drawer. The latter holds my prized sock yarn and whilst none of it will be leaving my possession anytime soon it does need a tidy up and organisation - so that is my job for this week.

Overall I have sent 2 larger carrier bags to the charity shop and the kids play club - mainly acrylic and leftover skeins or part skeins from projects. It really helped to think of yarn in terms of 'Is this something I will enjoy using?' when deciding which category it fell into.

For some reason I had accummulated quite an array of aran weight yarn in shades of brown and grey. Not the most inspiring thing to look at - I must have been having a throwback to my 1970s childhood at some point. So, out it goes - and my stash is a happier, brighter place for it.

The yarn pictured is my 'good' unwanted yarn and so this is waiting to be photographed (if it isn't already) and listed on my Ravelry destash page.

I am undecided but I'm thinking that I might offer it up to anyone willing to make a contribution to my Just Giving fundraising page in aid of Bliss. I would have to make this available to UK people only, regretably, due to postage charges but I'm thinking that it would be a good way to put my unwanted stash to good use and raise some money into the bargain.

Next up, the book collection as my bookcase is officially FULL.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

FO Friday: Honey Cowl

You may have already seen photos of my latest FO but I am so pleased with it that I just wanted to share it again. It is too hot to wear it at the moment so I am keeping it as a pet and stroking it instead.

The pattern is the wonderful Honey Cowl - over 16,000 Ravelers can't be wrong - and it is teamed with a delicious yarn from Ginger Twist Studios - Sturdy Splendour. The yarn came from the most recent quarter from the Golden Skein and to say I was thrilled with it would be an understatement.

Even though it is labelled as a 4ply it is a very rounded, plump yarn which knits up more like a sport weight or light DK - making it perfect for this cowl pattern.

I cast on 200st and knit until it was approx 8" deep - giving me a cowl that I can wrap once around for a snug fit or leave loose and drapey. Absolutely perfect and just what I wanted. I won't wish away the hot summer days (we get so few of them) but my little knitterly heart secretly can't wait for autumn when I can proudly whip this little beauty from the drawer and wear it with joy!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

WIP: Sock Yarn Blankie

Just a quick update on my Sock Yarn blankie which is rumbling on quietly in the background.

Sometimes I don't pick it up for a few day or even a week, but that's fine.

It's always there and it's quite nice to greet it as an old friend and work on it for some peaceful, quiet knitting when I'm need of something calm.

I love looking at the blocks of colour and seeing how they play against each other - I am easily amused, clearly :)