Socks socks socks

tintern_abbey

My sock needles have been incredibly busy these last months. With so many tempting patterns out there and a reasonably sized sock yarn stash at my disposal, it sometimes is just too hard to control myself and not cast on yet another pair.

Usually it also doesn’t help that there is a sock knit along going on on Ravelry. So for the March challenge I cast on two pairs of socks. The first one is the gray pair of Tintern Abbey’s (pictured above, excuse my white pre-summer legs) in drops Fabel yarn. One of the challenge themes for the month March was architecture inspired socks, and as the name already gives away these socks are inspired by Tintern Abbey in Wales. This was actually my first time ever knitting socks toe-up. It was all a bit fiddly and I re-started the first sock a couple of times. The pattern called for Sherman toes and heels, and although I stuck to the toe I changed the heel to a fish lip kiss heel. I like that the sock looks so simple with only the lace part at the top, this way it really resembles the arches of the abbey.

storm

The second theme option for the knit along was nature inspired, so I went for the Storm pattern. I still had this yellow and gray Lana Grossa Meilenweit Bronx yarn lying around which is suited for a simple pattern. I aptly named my socks Thunderstorm and was happy to cast them on. Unfortunately the pattern gets very boring very fast (could’ve known that) and after finishing the first sock I realised I made a mistake in the pattern. Instead of two ribbed rounds after each cable round, I had only knit one, resulting in a different (less lovely) looking sock. But since the sock was already finished I decided to match the second sock. But it made me a lot less motivated to get these done and it was a lot of last minute work to still get them finished in time. In the end I am happy with how they turned out though, and the yellow is a nice addition to my hand knit sock drawer.

flockforyourfeet
Other than these two I still have three pairs that are currently in progress. First of all I’ve been working on these sheep socks (A Flock for your Feet pattern) for a long time now. The first time I cast these on was back in february but I ended up not liking the colour combinations. Quite happy with the colours now, but the progress is still a bit slow. Maybe May will see these finally finished (fingers crossed!).

lakeside
Also making some good progress with the Lakeside knee socks! And I’m really liking this yarn, it’s so soft! Finished the calf decreases on the first sock and the pattern is so easy and quick to knit, without it getting boring. I might end up with 10 pairs of these in all the colours of the rainbow.

araucania

And last but not least, for this months sock challenge I will knit a pair of The Scent of Lavender socks in this super pretty Araucania Ranco Multy yarn. Whenever I pick up this skein I just start squishing it instead of casting on. But I will cast on soon (I promise) and I’ll pretend that all these socks are the only WIPs I have lying around (subtly hides huge pile of other WIPs).

 

Yarn Shop Day!

wolwollewool4small
Twitter has been buzzing about it all week now and today the day finally arrived, yarn shop day! Although it seems more of a happening in the UK I wanted to try and also bring some of the joy of it to the Netherlands 🙂

Because I couldn’t say it any better myself, these are the three reasons posted on twitter for visiting your local yarn shop:
1. You get to squish & stroke the yarns in person!
2. The staff have a wealth of knowledge to share with you
3. You can meet other crafters – they are the best kind of ppl!

wolwollewoolsmall

Up until 6 months ago I was living in Copenhagen, which spoiled me yarn shop-wise. You could find a yarn shop literally on every corner, even in the desolated suburbs where I was living. Unfortunately the situation is a bit different in the Netherlands. Maybe it is because knitting is less popular over here, but there aren’t THAT many yarn shops, so it is often tempting and convenient to order yarn online.

wolwollewool2small
However, as mentioned in the reasons above, it is really nice to visit your local yarn shop! So today I headed out into the city of Maastricht and visited my LYS, Wol Wolle Wool (how cute is that big ball of pink yarn outside the shop?!) . A cosy little store in the heart of the city centre, with lots of lovely yarns ofcourse.

wolwollewool3small

And rest assured, I did not leave empty handed. I bought 2 skeins of lovely lace yarn from Lotus Yarns (Tibetan Cloud Fingering), made from 100% Tibetan Yak (also used in the beautiful shawl pictured above). And I know what I’m going to make with it, because it’s just in time to join the Game of Thrones Mystery Kal! First clue will be up tomorrow and I can’t wait to cast on.

tibetan cloud small tibetancloud2 small

So how about you, did you do anything special for yarn shop day? 🙂

Plants vs Zombies

Phew!! Finally finished this project! The plan was to knit this for a friend’s birthday and I ordered the yarn way in advance (almost 2 months). I figured that would be more than enough time to knit a couple of small plants but the project turned out to be a bit more elaborate than I anticipated. But here it finally is, all done (and still in time luckily)!

First of all I’d like go give major thanks to the designer of the Botanical Creatures vs. The Undead pattern and making it available for free. It is such a fun pattern 🙂 I highly recommend everyone to give it a try, especially if you’re a plants vs zombies enthousiast.

The yarn I used for this is Schachenmayr Catania which is 100% cotton and available in so many lovely colours. The plants do stay up by themselves but I thought it’d be a cute touch to put them in pots. So I bought some small pots, put in some foam (the kind you get for flower arrangements) and put a metal wire through the plants to keep them in place. As for the pattern, these guys are pretty easy to make! Leafs, stems and heads are knit separately and attached in the end. Required knitting skills are knitting in the round and some basic stitches (k, p, kfb, k2tog and yo).  Add some stuffing and eyes et voilà!

I’m always in for goofy amigurumi knits. It’s probably time to learn to crochet properly 😀 Now hopefully the recipient will be happy with them. I’m mostly happy that all this work is done and that it came out so cute.

One down.. 399 to go?

hexipuff3_small

Starting with the Beekeeper’s Quilt has been a goal for me for a while now, and I am proud to say that I’ve finally knit my first Hexipuff! Since my feet aren’t that big I usually end up with a lot of sock yarn leftovers. Some of it will be recombined and turned into a new sock, but most just ends up not being used. So I figured starting this quilt would be the perfect way to make good use of my leftovers.

But I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t use this as the perfect excuse to buy even more yarn. So a while ago I purchased these lovely, super squishy mini skeins on Etsy. It’s 31 mini skeins of 100% Merino and each is enough to make one hexipuff. I really fell in love with the colour palette and it should give me a great start to my very own Beekeeper’s Quilt.

Mini_Skeins_small

The pattern to make a hexipuff is wonderfully easy, so it’s a good project for on the go. My first puff is finished, now what? I’m not quite sure yet how big I want my quilt to end up or where it will end up (debating between living room and bedroom right now). I’ve set a goal of 400 puffs and then I’ll see if I think it’s big enough already. I’m not in a particular hurry to have this finished, but it would be nice if I could finish a couple of puffs each month. My main goal is to end up with a big and colourful quilt, but looking at my sock yarn stash that shouldn’t be a problem either.


hexipuff

For now I’ll be puffing away, one puff at a time. And big bonus, my cat seems to be happy with the first puff (doesn’t he look thrilled to have a puff on his head). I’m sure he will take many naps on the quilt once it’s done and in the meantime he might have to pose for pictures with a puff or two. 🙂


hexicat
 

Lakeside 2.0

In the beginning of the year I finished this pair of lace knee socks (lakeside pattern) as part of the Sock Knitters Anonymous January knit along on ravelry. I already fell in love with the pattern a while back but was too intimidated to start them. Surely socks this beautiful are wildly complicated to knit? Well luckily they aren’t.  The most complicated part for me turned out to be the hem. Which, just to be clear, is NOT complicated, but compared to the rest of the sock it took me a bit longer to figure out. It features a provisional cast on so that later on the hem can be closed and you can weave an elastic band in it if you wish. Even if you opt not to include the elastic band it still leaves you with a pretty looking cuff, so it is worth the little extra effort it takes, compared to a more boring ribbed cuff.

After seeing the finished result my sister also asked me to knit her a pair. Of course I couldn’t resist her request and it gives me a chance to make a small tutorial on how to get started with these socks. Also she asked if I could use wool-less sock yarn, since the yarn I originally used (Schoppel wolle admiral uni) was a bit itchy against bare legs. I usually don’t have any problems with this, but there are plenty wool-less sock yarn options out there so it is a nice chance for me to try something new as well. In the end I bought 2 skeins of Rico Design superba cotton stretch in colourway 002 (creme). It’ll be nice to see how this yarn knits up and how durable it turns out to be compared to the admiral uni.

I’m knitting these socks on 4 double pointed needles (my trusty Karbonz DPNs in this case). First you will need some contrast waste yarn (around 150 cm will do) and a crochet hook (any size should be fine, the first one I found in my material stash was a 3mm and that worked just fine).

We start with a provisional crochet cast on (click on the image for a larger view):
1.  Make a slipknot and place it on your crochet hook. Keep the long tail to your left
2. Place your double pointed needle over the long tail of the waste yarn
3. Move you crochet hook over the needle and grab the yarn
4. Pull the yarn through the loop on your crochet hook
5. Place the tail of the yarn behind the knitting needle again
6. Repeat until you have 76 stitches on your knitting needle

Once you’ve finished casting on be sure to leave a crochet chain at the end and pull the yarn through the last loop on the chain. This is to prevent the cast-on from already unraveling. Don’t worry about it looking messy, you will pull this yarn out again anyway. You should end up with something looking like this.

Now you will have to knit across all stitches, starting on the side of the crochet chain. Once you reach the end of the needle you cast on 4 stitches using the back loop method. This means that you make a loop as shown in image 3, place the loop on your needle(4) and then pull the yarn tight (5). Divide all 80 stitches over 4 needles and join in the round, being careful not to twist the knit work.

Once the work is joined in the round, knit 11 rounds, purl one round and then knit another 12 rounds. It is now times to close up the hem. Fold the provisional cast on inward (2) and pick up the first 20 stitches using an additional DPN (in my case the bamboo needle, picture 3). Now carefully unravel the waste yarn. To close the hem you need to knit together one stitch from the first needle together with on picked up stitch on the second needle. I did this by moving the stitches onto the same needle and then knitting them together (5). Repeat this for 18 stitches, the last 4 stitches are knit separately. Now there are a total of 22 stitches on needle 1. Repeat this for needles 2 and 3. When you get to needle 4 there are only 16 stitches to be picked up. Knit 2 stitches together 14 times and then again knit 4 stitches separately. All picked up stitches are knit and there are 4 stitches left to knit alone. This leaves a hole inside the hem, which is totally fine because this is were an elastic band can be weaved in!

And tadaa, the hem is all done! Isn’t it pretty? Give yourself a big round of applause!

Now you can start knitting from chart A. As I said before, it’s a bit more of a hassle than standard ribbed cuff, but in this case it really finishes of the sock. Happy knitting! 🙂