Summer knitting

Hi there how are you? It’s been two weeks or so since I last posted and I’m sorry about that. It’s actually been somewhat hectic and stressful here lately and so I lacked the energy and time to come chat with you.

I have been super busy at work and there are a number of changes going on there which have me rather stressed out and that just sort of drained all my energy out and I found myself just on autopilot to get through the indispensable every day chores.

I did of course knit but less than usual and just wasn’t feeling very inspired. Work is still very busy and I’ve been doing extra hours but I’m feeling somewhat more inspired these last few days so I’m taking advantage of that today and so I’m going to share some of my knitting with you.

It’s been super hot here in Normandy lately and today it is super hot! Yesterday we went to the beach in the afternoon, around 4:30 and there was some wind so it was wonderful. We stayed to 7:30 and I didn’t want to leave! I could have stayed till 8 at least! The beach is so wonderful late afternoon after a very hot day. It just feels so amazing.

I spent my time knitting on a pair of test knit socks that have been languishing but need to be finished as I’m getting very close to the deadline! And as I knit I listened to an audio book and looked out over the ocean! Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?

Today I won’t be able to go to the beach but I think I’ll do some knitting in the shade in my backyard late afternoon when the heat has gone down a bit.

The thing I don’t like about summer and hot weather is that my hands sweat when I knit and so knitting is not as enjoyable as it usually is. Socks are a great summer project because they are so small but I of course have 3 sweaters on the go and these do keep me super warm and so these last few days have been a little bit neglected and yet I really want to get them done because I have so many more sweaters that I want to make!

What about you, do you knit less in summer/warmer weather? Do you have a preferred type of project you find yourself knitting in the warm weather?

So onto knitting. First lets show you my sock that I’m test knitting for Dana of Dana Gervais Designs. The pattern is called Lerwick and will be for sale on Ravelry in the coming weeks I believe. This is an all over cable and texture pattern and so slow going and it also eats up a lot of yarn I think. The pattern is gorgeous and not complicated at all.

I chose to knit this with a variegated yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and I do like the results but should I knit this again, I would go for a solid or semi solid yarn. Its funny, or not, but as much as I love variegated and colorful yarns I still feel that solid or semi solid yarns are best suited for socks.

So I’m almost done with sock one, I’m at the toe decreases now so I’ll finish this one later today.

 

It’s not easy to show the patterning because of how busy the yarn is.

Next up is my Starting Point wrap by Joji. The last clue is out but I’m not quite done but very close. I do like the look of the wrap and the colors I chose but now that I know what the pattern actually looks like I have so many more ideas for color combinations.

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This is very big and I hesitate to block it or not. Maybe I’ll just block it out loosely just to get it smoother but I won’t be stretching it as it is already very big. I have enjoyed knitting this wrap but now that I’m so close to finishing I really want to get this off my needles.

And so of my sweaters I have mostly been working on two lately, the Sammal cardigan and my So  Faded sweater. Both have the body done and a beginning of one sleeve.

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I do like the look of my So Faded sweater. When looking at it like this I don’t see the fading so much as I see color blocks but that’s ok. I was a little nervous about the lime green at the bottom but I actually really like it. I feel it gives the sweater this nice energetic pop. I’m knitting the sleeves one at a time and trying to document how I organize the colors so that my second sleeve will look as identical as possible to the first one. And one thing, the body of this sweater knit up in no time. Now knitting the sleeve that is so much smaller in circumference it’s taking way more time – I feel. Funny how that is but I really feel this is the same problem every time I have a sweater or cardigan on the needles.  Maybe I should knit to the armholes; do the sleeves and then knit the body. Maybe that way I would finish quicker as I’d get the sleeves out of the way at the beginning. Do you feel the same way about sleeves?

And then there is my Sammal Cardigan. I really want to get this one off my needles asap. it feels like such a long time ago that I cast on. The fact that this is an all over patterned garment makes it that much more time consuming. I’m at the elbow of sleeve one and I’m going to try and knit at least an inch every day on the sleeves so that I will get this done before the end of summer. How amazing will it be to have this handspun; hand dyed cardigan ready to wear this autumn when the weather cools?

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I have alternated my skeins in this project and I really like how the color is showing up. What I did is that I divided each skein in half and then paired one half with another half of another skein so all my skeins are divided and mixed up and I really like that. As this is hand dyed mixing up the skeins is almost a must and makes the end result that much more nicer I think.

I really love this cardigan and I can’t wait to finish it and the wear this winter. I’m already planning on knitting another cardigan (not this pattern though) with handspun.

So these are my current wips. I have a ton of languishing wips, mostly single socks and I just learned that the Grocery Girls are doing Second Sock of Summer Kal again this year and I definitely need to join that to keep me motivated and focused if I want to clear my basket of wips and get some of these gorgeous socks a mate.

I have also purchased and printed a ton of sweater patterns lately and I have been either dyeing sweater quantities myself or going through my stash to put together yarns that would work in a sweater so as soon as I have at least 2 out of 3 sweaters/cardi done, I’ll be casting on for more.

What about you? What are you knitting on these days? Do you have a game plan for your knitting this summer? Any special objective or challenge? I’d love to hear what you’re up to.

It might be two weeks before I post again because my mom is coming to visit from Iceland so I will be extra busy in the coming couple of weeks but I always post on Instagram so you can follow me there and see what I’m up to in the meantime.

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for stopping by and spending your time with me. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and that maybe my knitting has inspired you and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Happy knitting/crocheting/spinning/weaving etc:)

The new to me way of sock knitting

Hi there, how are you doing today ? I hope you have had a great week since last time. Here in Normandy the weather has been strange. Some days it’s really wintery and others it’s actually quite warm. We are sort of in between two seasons and depending on the day it’s more winter or more spring.

I do admit that spring weather does feel good although I do always make good use of bad weather Sundays. My favorites actually because I can just spend the day in some “homely” clothes, bake a cake for and then spend my time knitting with the family in front of the tv.

But now on to knitting. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen pictures of my most recent FO, a pair of socks I knit on 9″ circulars.

I had this idea for a new way (to me at least) of knitting two at a time socks and so avoid Second Sock Syndrome which I sometimes fall victim to. I started to knit and got quite excited about the whole process and shared pictures on social media. I innocently called them my Siamese Socks but quickly stopped because I learned that to some people the word siamese is racist and degrading and so I was being called those too. What a shock! As you may or may not know, I’m not a native English speaker and so I’m not always fully aware of subtleties and maybe don’t always use the correct word or phrasing. To me the word was neither degrading nor racist. I just felt it was perfect for my pair of socks. But like I said, after being called **** I stopped using that and now just call them my “two in one 9″ circular socks” which is a lot longer and more boring name but hopefully that will not cause me problems. So if you were one of the offended people, I do apologize but I also insist on saying that my intention was only to use a word I thought perfect for my pair of socks.

So if you have not seen these famous socks yet, I’m sure you are anxious to!

So like I said above, the idea was to knit two socks at a time without doing them magic loop or one inside the other as I have already experimented with and shared here on the blog before. I have recently started using 9″ circular needles and quite enjoy them and so I was wondering if I could do this using those.

I had heard about a new pattern or recipe called “The Afterthought Everything Socks” on Ravelry where you basically knit a tube and put in waste yarn for the heel and toes and of course this can be knit either on a long circular, on dpns or even on a 9″ circular. I don’t own the pattern myself so I haven’t read it but my idea came from there.

Personally I don’t much like afterthought heels, mainly because I’m always unsure of when to start my toe. I like being able to either try the sock on or at least measure from the heel. So I wanted to build on the idea but only do afterthought toes which I feel is much easier. And so off I went.

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My method means that you knit the first sock cuff down and the second toe up. So I cast on 64 stitches for the cuff and knit a 2 x 2 rib for about 1 1/2 inch in contrast color yarn. Then I changed to my main yarn which is a self striping SOX yarn that I dyed myself. I knit the leg until the total length (from cast on) was 5 1/2″.

Then I picked up the contrast yarn again and knit a short row heel over 32 stitches. This is the heel that I use 90% of the time. I think it is just a regular short row heel but here’s how I do it. I knit 31 stitches and then wrap the last stitch and turn. I purl (or in my case knit backwards) 30 stitches and then wrap and turn. Each row you knit/purl one less stitch before the wrap and turn until only 10 stitches are left in the middle. Then I knit to the end of the row picking up the wraps along with each stitch. To be more precise I knit the 10 heel stitches and then I knit the next 11 stitches knitting the wrap along with each stitch. At the end of the row, I turn and purl those 11 stitches + the 10 heel stitches and then it’s time to purl the last 11 stitches being careful to pick up the wraps as well. At the end of the row turn around and knit 21 stitches ( 11 + 10 heel stitches) and then wrap and turn stitch 22. Purl  stitches and then wrap and turn.You are now halfway through your heel and as of this row you knit/purl one more stitch each row as you knit the previous wrap and turn stitch. So this first time you knit the 10 heel stitches + the 11th along with its wrap and then you do a wrap and turn. Next row you purl 11 stitches + the previous wrap and turn and then you do a wrap and turn. So on this second half of the sock you knit your middle stitches plus the previous wrapped stitch along with its wrap AND THEN you do a wrap and turn. I  hope you understand what I mean. I’m not really explaining this very well. I think that whatever short row heel would work fine. I knit my heels on my 9″ circulars.

Once the heel is done, I continue the foot in the main yarn until the sock is about 2″ shorter than the intended foot. At that time I insert a waste yarn for separation. In my case I used the contrasting yarn but I think I should have used something completely different because the main yarn also has black stripes. So if you are going to try this, I recommend you use a waste yarn in a totally different colour just for ease.

I knit two rounds in waste yarn but you could knit more if you prefer. I left the cast on and end tail long and sticking out as  a reminder for when picking up the toe stitches and also to be sure that when doing so I would be picking up the stitches at the right place (I was afraid I might otherwise end up with a wonky toe).  I did not cut my main yarn but you could if you prefer. I just pulled a bit on it to be sure that there were a few inches of yarn between the two socks for weaving in later.

And now it was time for the second sock. I switched back to my main yarn and knit to the heel. To be sure my socks would be identical I measured the first sock from end of heel to waste yarn and then knit the same for the other. I then knit a short row heel and so on until I cast off using a stretchy bind off.

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Then it was time for surgery! To separate the two socks, I threaded the stitches on to two circulars. Here you can see the first circular. I followed the waste yarn and threaded the needle on to the last live stitches of my main yarn.

When I had both needles in, one on each sock, I started to unravel my waste yarn and separating the socks.

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And here they are, two individual socks; one on each needle. I used a regular long circular for this as it is not possible to knit the toe on a small 9″ circular.  And then I knit 1 round before beginning the decreases. My regular toe, and you could use whatever toe you prefer, is 1 round knit all stitches, 1 decrease round until only 10 stitches are left.

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Round 1 and all uneven rounds: knit all stitches

Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit 1, SSK, knit to 2 stitches before end of needle, K2tog, knit 2, SSK, knit to 3 stitches before end of round, K2tog, knit 1.

I don’t know how to Kitchener so I cut my yarn and then turn the sock inside out and do a three needle bind off.

Voila!

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I don’t know if I was clear enough for you but basically you just knit one cuff down sock to the beginning of the toe, knit a few rounds of waste yarn and then go on to knit a toe up sock from the end of the toe. Once done, you separate the two socks and knit each toe individually. You can knit this on a long circular, a 9″ circular or even dpns.

I’m not inventing anything new here although I worked from an idea in my head. It’s just a new to me way of knitting a pair of socks and maybe you too would like to try this out.

 

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these socks and hopefully I did not get you all confused!

Until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

What’s on my needles? A LOT

Hi there, how are you ? I hope you are doing fine. I am just good and enjoying my knitting. I think I have rarely had so many projects going at the same time. It does feel ever so slightly overwhelming but… I’m just totally unable to resist the cast-on-itis. As soon as I get my hands on a new yarn I immediately need to cast on for something, no matter how many other projects I’ve got going at that time!

I hope you are like that too, it would make me feel less of a crazy person:)

So what exactly am I knitting on these days? So two shawls and a ton of socks. Shawl number one is the Cozy Shlanket by Mina Philipp and this is a mystery knit-a-long with clues being released each Sunday. I’m currently on clue 3 but clue 4 which is the last clue, just came out. I’m knitting the Aran version as I wanted a really huge shlanket and I imagine myself having this on my shoulders as I work my evening shifts. The yarn is my own of course and I dyed it specially for this project. I did go out of my comfort zone color wise but I think it will be fine. Here’s where I’m at now

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The rows are slowly getting bigger and bigger. This will be super cozy once done.

Then there is shawl number two which is also part of a kal and an Instagram challenge. This is the Brioche challenge launched by Louise Tilbrook designs and it encourages us to knit brioche during the month of January. Lots of people have joined and are knitting brioche of various levels of difficulty. I chose a pattern that I’ve had in my stash for a while. It is not all brioche but rather has sections of brioche and sections of garter stitch. It’s called Briochealicious and is a for sale pattern on Ravelry by Andrea Mowry. The pattern calls for 4 yarns/colors and I’m using two of mine and two store bought. Here is where I am now

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You can see that at the beginning of the second brioche section I messed up! But I decided not to tink back but leave it. Not sure that was the right decision but I’m too far into this now to tink back so I’m just going to convince myself that no one will notice 🙂

And then there are the socks! All the socks! I think I have become a sock knitting crazy lady. I have so many socks in my pile of wips that need their second sock done and then there are all the socks I’m currently working on.

Let’s begin this with three pairs of FINISHED socks! First of is a pair I knit for my daughter. The yarn is my own. I was playing with dyeing and unfortunately I did not write down the method so I won’t be able to replicate which is super silly because I really love how the yarn knits up. The stitch pattern is something I found on Ravelry and I adapted that to my own sock formula.

 

Then there is my pair of Christmas Eve Cast On socks. I joined the movement led by Dani of The Little Bobbins podcast and I cast on a pair of socks on Christmas Eve. I used the Simple Skyp pattern which is a free pattern on Ravelry and I dyed a skein of yarn just for this. I wanted a yarn that reminded me of fairy lights and I think I succeeded.

 

And then I finished a pair called London Skies. This is a twisted rib pattern and it took me forever to finish. I think it was a combination of the twisted stitches and the yarn that was a little wooly. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn. Boy was I happy when I cast off the second sock!

 

And then there are my socks in progress. Mostly they are knit using my own hand dyed yarns and  they are at various stages of completion. I have promised myself to finish them all asap and as soon as I finish one sock to cast on for the second to avoid the second sock syndrome.

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This is a one of a kind colorway I dyed and the pattern I’m using is the same as on the finished brown pair above.

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These will be for my youngest. This is also a one of a kind colorway I dyed and I’m again doing a Simple Skyp Sock. I love how it is working up.

 

 

This is a HO. This is a test knit that I’m doing for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. I have finished one sock and just begun the ribbing of sock number two. This is knit using two yarns and I thought I had chosen contrasting yarns. One green and one pink. Well it turns out that the mostly green yarn has some yellow and the mostly pink has some green so they actually mix and look a lot like it was just one yarn. Only when you look at the heels and toes can you really see the difference. Fortunately the stitch pattern on the front still stands out so it worked out good in the end. These are fun to knit and the pattern quickly becomes intuitive.

And speaking of Dana, I have just begun a new test knit for her. When this picture was taken I had only done one pattern repeat but I’m further along now. It’s a gorgeous cable pattern and the yarn is a new yarn base I just got. When I saw her picture of the socks on Instagram I just new I had to get in on this test knit and that I had to knit it in this particular yarn so I dyed a skein and wound it up and then waiting until she was ready to post a call for testers. Lucky for me I got to test for her again.

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You can’t see much but the yarn is a tweed yarn with colorful neps that add an extra pop of fun to the yarn.

And the last pair of socks is one I’m knitting using yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings. It’s the Shoreditch colorway that is gorgeous. I’m again doing a Simple Skyp sock (which seems to have become my go to pattern these days).

 

I also signed up for a kal with designer Rachel Gibbs and I’m going to knit a sock of course. Her pattern is called Time Stream Socks. My yarn is all caked up and ready, I just need to find a moment to cast on. I believe the kal is to the end of February so I think I’ll make it. In addition I think I only need to finish one sock to qualify:) Will you be joining?

That’s it for today. As you can see I have a lot of work ahead of me with all the knitting projects I’ve taken on. I’d love to hear from you, what you are working on and if you feel like sharing a picture that would be awesome.

Until next time, take care and have a wonderful week:)