Friday, 16 March 2018


My late grandmother, at her 90th birthday party
Whilst my grandmother was alive, she knitted me a scarf of scraps of yarn - all long and multicoloured, with tassels at the end.  At the time, I didn't realise what happens with garter stitch when you change colours (ie, you can see where the change happens) and I got rid of it.  I cannot tell you how much I now regret that decision.  (I'd also love to be able to get my hands on the pattern for the sweaters she knit us as kids).

In my time off, I've started knitting a memories blanket/sock yarn scrap blanket.  After doing some swatching, I decided that 50 was too few stitches for each square; 60 was too many.  As a kid, I remember my grandmother drilling into us that 7 x 8 = 56, after she had problems remembering it when she was a kid.  It's about one of the only multiplications I can easily remember, so of course it had to be the number of stitches I cast on for each square!

27th February 2018
I've been ripping along with it, and really happy at how it's going - until today, when I realised just how little I've actually completed, percentage wise.  The whole thing is due to be 280 squares in total; I've done less than a quarter of it so far.  I've also decided that I want each square to be different - although repetition of the same yarn is allowed.

2nd March 2018

There are some minis I have which are too similar to the squares which have already been knitted, so they're wrapped up, waiting to be used in a different part of the blanket.  I have enough full balls of sock yarn to carry me through the next three or four years, the scraps of which will be used in the blanket.  Until I have knitted some more socks, or bought some more minis, I feel that I've slowed down somewhat.  

9th March 2018

I did email somebody via Ravelry to see if she wanted to swap skeins (she didn't, as she has enough) and one of my friends is going to pass on any scraps of sock yarn she has left over, and occasionally lots come up on ebay, so there are ways to get the blanket finished, it's just likely to take longer than I was expecting.  Until then I'm going to carry on being as imaginative as I can in creating as many different mini skeins as possible, with the yarn I currently have. 

Oh, and the leftovers of the leftovers?  They're going to become another randomly striped scarf. 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Once Upon a Sock - March 2018

This morning started like this: 

West Yorkshire Spinners signature 4 ply in colourway 'Bubblegum' from the sweet shop range

Actually, I lie.  The morning started with Mr Knitty asking if I was awake, then doing the 'pinch and a punch' thing that always happens on the first of the month.  The day improved with tea and knitting.  You will notice that this isn't a sock.  They are one of a pair of baby boots, which I'm knitting, so that I can find out how much yarn it weighs.  

I've started a sock yarn/scrap yarn blanket.  It's been on the radar for a while, but I didn't have enough spare yarn to start anything worthwhile.  Now I've got lots of scraps, I'm 13 squares into a 280 square project.  I'm finding it real fun to work out where the squares should go, so there's not too much of one colour at a time, or that all dark colours are kept together.  Add to that the mixture of plain squares, mottled squares and striped squares, and it's a lovely project to keep me occupied.  I'm even weaving my ends in as I go! 

The current socks are going to end up as a short pair, as I've not got that much yarn left.  They accompanied me to the theatre last night (for the journey there and back, not for the show itself) and are probably feeling a bit neglected. 

Red toes = West Yorkshire Spinners signature 4 ply in colourway Cayenne Pepper from the spice rack range
Foot = Regia 4 ply Brazil in colourway 5478

Since I knit my socks concurrently, I have lots of pairs of balls which may be useful for making baby boots.  However, I need to make one boot to find out how much yarn each boot takes, to make sure that I have enough yarn left for the boots and to use for squares for the blanket - hence the knitting in bed this morning.  It seems a pretty easy pattern to follow - but it does have the increases on the purl rows, which is unusual.  Yesterday, Mr Knitty was trying to nudge up to me on the increase rows; today he was helping untangle a massive yarn barf, leaving me to increase without distraction. 

Two other things happened today - Isla from Brit Yarn announced that she was closing her business and the Sock Yarn Shop sent me their March newsletter.  Not that I've been making online purchases from either website - oh no.  Nor have I been working out what colours are missing in my scrap blanket and buying new sock yarn accordingly.  That's not the kind of thing I'd do at all! 

There will be more sock knitting between now and 3rd April, and hopefully I'll remember to join in once upon a sock again!  I'm going to set a reminder, just in case. 

Joining in with: 

Kat at Felinity Knits
Steph at My Making Do Adventure
Kathy B at Compassionknit
Stephanie at Stefanie Crafts with Wool Paper Fabric
Katherine at Fiber and Sustenance
Paula at Spin a Yarn

Tuesday, 27 February 2018


My welly boot print.

There's been a bit of snow in the UK this week, which means that people have slightly lost their minds.  It happens every year.  Somehow we don't seem to be a country that's prepared for snow - even though it arrives most years. 

Our gate 

After a couple of days of icing-sugar type dandruff - today it actually settled.  (As far as I'm aware, it's still there now; it's too  dark to go and check).  I went into the garden to take some photos, just because I could.

Trains have been slightly disrupted.  At least one train company stopped trains early last night, in expectation of snow - which then didn't materialise.  I believe they apologised to commuters today. 


The one thing about snow, is the way it deadened all the sounds around.  Our garden is only small, and surrounded by other gardens - but it was so quiet this afternoon. 

And the sky was so blue......

Leaves coming through the snow is the best definition of optimism I can think of

Possibly daffodils

The overgrown ivy 

Mr Knitty set off early this morning in a taxi, expecting to have problems.  He didn't.  There were extra people on the rota as 'snow cover' - but everybody who was expected, turned up. 

Our little toolshed.  All the picture needs is a robin! 

Mr Knitty and I are off to the theatre tomorrow.  The last time I went to this particular theatre was in the middle of summer - and it was sweltering.  I'm not sure if I'll need extra layers tomorrow - or if we're going to have problems with the buses. 

The one thing I do know - it's times like this, that I'm glad to be a knitter! 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Unravel 2018

On Friday, Jane and I went to Unravel knitting festival and it was awesome!  Alright, so it started with me not getting the job I interviewed for on Monday, but it majorly improved after that!  As I was knitting my socks on the train, a lady walked past me, wearing the most amazing beaded shawl.  As she came back, she leaned over to ask which yarn I was using - at which point we both said in unison: "Are you going to Unravel?" You couldn't have written it!

The ticket machine in the carpark was not working properly.  We tried putting in £3; it didn't give us a ticket and refunded us £2.  We tried putting in £4; it didn't give us a ticket and refunded us £2.  We tried putting in £3; it didn't give us a ticket so we thumped it, and it refunded us back £6.  Apparently thumping it after putting in each coin was the way to go - but ouch, we ended up bruised!

We had decided to have a look round all the stalls first, before coming back to buy anything.  This was a good idea, although it did mean going back to nearly the first stall I saw!  I was also aiming to buy just one ball of sock yarn.  The crucial word in that sentence is aiming.

Part of the catalogue, showing the vendors
We went to a talk in the Long Kiln Gallery - which was decorated with artwork created by Kate Talbot.  There were too many to comment on, plus not all of them were good for photographing, due to the lighting.

Lemmy Kilmister - complete with bottle of Jack Daniels
Losing The Thread - a picture of Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley
The thread has been left loose and unravelling to depict the effect of Alzheimer's disease on the academic mind. 

Jane had left her knitting at home, and clearly had itchy fingers.  The socks I was knitting had suffered a major yarn barf, so she was helping to untangle that.  She even offered to weave in my ends!  I did feel a bit mean about knitting in front of her (a bit like eating in front of a starving child), but it's not often you're encouraged to knit whilst listening to somebody gives a talk!

The talk was given by Anna Maltz about the colourwork technique she has developed, called marlisle.  She comes from an art background, and wanted to be able to break the rules - but to do that, she needed to know what the rules are in the first place.  Whilst her peers were working with paper and paint, she decided to work with knitting, as she knew its rules.  From there, she developed marlisle, a way of creating colourwork using two strands of yarn held together.

Mittens made with the technique. 
One of the comments she made, was about knitters wanting to be breed specific, which isn't necessarily a good thing with people.  She said that Brexit was leading people to become more isolated from each other and instances of racism have increased.  Given that we were in Surrey, I thought that was pretty brave!  I was incredibly impressed at the thought that she has given to the yarns that she uses for her projects.  Most seem to be inspired by people she knows, or places connected to her or her family.

I've also found a new 'thing' for yarn shows - collecting business cards and making a note on them of any clothes, patterns or notions that you like the look of.  So, when I want to know who had the 'Industrial Kingfisher' colurway, or that pattern for the ball of yarn I'm trying to get rid of - I have all the contact details.

Of course, there was always the one that got away - for which I'm now cross with myself.  There was a stall who had a reduced ball of sparkly light brown sock yarn, which would have been brilliant for a shawl, and so different to anything in the stash at the moment.  Annoyingly, the guy running the stall was too busy chatting to somebody to serve me - despite somebody else pointing out that I was waiting.  So, I put it back and came back later - only to find that it had been bought by somebody else.

The big octopus. Not suitable for babies

Jane wanted to go and see the octopuses - so that was next on the list.  Octopus for a Preemie came from Denmark.  I can't remember exactly how the first octopus came to be in a baby's incubator, but it was noticed that the baby was playing with the tentacles instead of the wires (it's thought to remind them of the umbilical cord) and their heartbeat went down.  From there, more octopuses have been made and given to babies and the project has spread internationally.  The rules for knitting or crocheting an octopus are incredibly strict.  If the octopus isn't deemed suitable for a premature baby, it's given to an 'angel baby'.  We both got kits to knit our first octopus.

A tank full of smaller octopuses. 

Then it was time to hit the marketplace!  I thought the bags had sold out.  They hadn't.

The Unravel 2018 bag

I got a couple of books.  The one on Icelandic knitting is gorgeous.  As well as patterns, it's got a lot about the history of knitting in Iceland. 

Marisle, by Anna Maltz

Iclandic Hand Knits by Helene Magnusson
What can I say - it was reduced! 

And then there was the yarn - in this case, two skeins from Easyknits which was almost the first place I looked.

Two skeins of Deeply Wicked + sock yarn
L = Flicker and Flame, R = Cockatoo

All in all, it was a lovely chilled out, yarney kind of day.  It was the pick-er up-er that I needed and would definitely go back again next year, if I had the opportunity. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


0300 on 6th February.  Insomnia. 

I think I've been knitting so much this last week, that I've managed to give myself a blister on my middle finger.  That hasn't stopped me in the least.

Current socks - Opal Funny with Silver in colourway Droll

I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles; one was cast on a couple of days ago, the others are waiting for a heel turn.  There was a third pair, but they were too loose, so have been frogged.  The purple and green pair have already been frogged once, and when I realised that 64 stitches was too many, one of them got frogged a second time.  My logic is, that if I knit a lot of socks now whilst I've got time, I'll be well underway for twelve socks by the end of the year.  In all honesty, I'm longing for some lace!

Other current socks - Opal Mein Sockendesign in colourway Over the Rainbow
Since I've had so much time at home, I've been watching random videos on Youtube - some more random than others.  I think I've bored Mr Knitty slightly with the amount of blooper reels I've played for him.  However, I'm having a lot of fun with the knitting tutorials.  At the moment, I'm trying to educate myself on different ways of doing short row heels. 

On the left - what happens if you don't follow instructions
On the right - what happens when you do! 
I've also been swatching for a sock yarn scrap blanket.  I've not quite got enough spare sock yarn to get going, but I've got enough to think about it.  I'm going to have to duplicate some colours, but I want them as far apart from each other as possible. 

A proper mitred square - 50 stitches
The two free patterns I've found on Ravelry are the Knitted Patchwork recipe by Martine Ellis and Memory Blanket by Georgie Nicholson.  Between the two of them, I'll work something out.  I've decided that I want each square to start with 60 stitches; the next step is to knit a square of that size to work out how much each one weighs.

Indy yarn dyer - colourway Bonfire
I've also invested in a yarn swift and ball winder.  Now I know how to use them properly, I'm smitten - as is Mr Knitty.  He even asked what I would do if I came home, and found that all my skeins had been turned into balls.  Hey, if I can't get him knitting, at least I can get him involved in the gadget side of things!  The above is the first ball that was wound from a skein, and I can't wait to turn it into something luscious.  I think it actually looks better in a ball than it did in a skein. 

And finally, because I'm a bit bored of photos of yarn, have a photo of me looking slightly vampiric at The London Transport Museum ten days ago:

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Oh to Heel With It!

I've turned the heel on the first of the current pair of socks.  I've used the fish lips kiss heel and, in an attempt at being clever, have actually ended up being quite the opposite:

One of the two holes at each end of the heel rows
There is part of me who wants the socks finished on target, so is happy to fudge it (either by making new stitches to close the gap, or by sewing up the holes) and part of me knows that this will always bug me, so it's worth ripping it out and starting again. 

Next time, I will use a different heel construction.

Meanwhile, I've been chatting with friends about going to Unravel next months and discussing the possibilities of going to Dublin with Mr Knitty for Woollinn, combined with a weekend away, in May. 

To blow away the cobwebs, Mr Knitty and I have spent this afternoon feeding the ducks.  And the coots, and the moorhens and the gulls, and the swans and the geese.  

I never realised quite how big a coot's feet really are

The other visitors to the park were mostly families with small children or dogs, or both.  Mr Knitty was heard to comment: "There's a very happy boy dog with a big bit of wood" and he wasn't talking about the stick in the dog's mouth. 
A mute swan - just after it was trying to assert its authority
Feeding the birds took the ultimate in diplomacy, given how territorial some of them were getting.  The Egyptian geese in particular did not like the Canada geese, so he fed the Egyptian geese at one end of the inlet and I fed the Canada geese at the other.  We've got another half bag of bird food, so we can do it all again in a couple of weekends time. 

Egyptian geese - who always have better eye make-up than I do.

I have three more days at work - and I've already planned which hand knit socks I will be wearing on those days.  I just need to work out what clothes are going to go with them. 

What is on the horizon for you this week? 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

All Day I Dream About Socks

Sometimes I have odd dreams.  At the moment, is one of those times.  

I've only got a few days left at work before my contract runs out.  I pretty much don't care any more.  I've let go a little bit, but I'm still upset at the lack of acknowledgement from my consultants. 

My current socks at the beginning of my journey to work 

I decided that I would be happier if I had something to knit, so that I could do job applications using  voice recognition software, so I cast on a pair of socks. 

My current socks at the end of my journey into work
I wasn't quite sure to start with about the single row of red, immediately after the toes - but I think it works quite well to delineate the toe from the rest of the sock.  The yarn is Regia Brazil, in colourway Multi (the only one which hasn't been discontinued, it would seem) 

My current socks at the beginning of my journey home

Last night I dreamed about them; that I had knit all the way up to the foot, ready to turn the heel - and that I had decided to turn the heel in red, rather than orange.  This is the first time that I've done the toe in a different colour to the rest of the sock.  

My current socks a the end of my journey home

I've decided to try the Box O Socks challenge again this year - the aim being to knit at least twelve pairs of socks for me, between January 1st and December 31st.  I tried last year, but only managed eight pairs.  Maybe I'll do better this year by starting in January rather than March! 

My socks just before bedtime
What have you been dreaming about this week?

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

I Totally Messed up a Hat

So, after knitting the hat for Mr Knitty, I then blocked it on a balloon. 

"But won't that stretch it" said a concerned Mr Knitty.
"Oh no, of course not" said I

It's not been stretched too big, honestly it hasn't. 

On the plus side, at least I found that dropped stitch. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Of Pussies and Presidents

Job hunting sucks.  Job hunting when you're unemployed through no fault of your own, sucks even more.  I've managed my first week back after being signed off with work related stress.  I emailed all five of my consultants to let them know that I wasn't coming back to the department.  At the time of writing, not one of them has acknowledged the email.  Not.  One.  

On the plus side, this was waiting for me in my old desk drawer - a Christmas gift from one of my colleagues: 

She didn't realise that I read the Yarn Harlot's blog nor that I'm a little gutted not to have met her when she came to London last year.  The book is perfect; easy to read and was completed within a couple of days.  That's it's written by somebody I admire is a bit fat bonus.  

The book buying is carrying on unchallenged, as the book Protest Knits arrived this week.  (A gallery of some of the items can be seen here)  We live in strange times.  There are lots of things that I feel angry about, and if my knitting is a creative way of expressing that anger, then so be it.  Craftivism (craft + activism) is becoming more prevalent - and I can only see that being for the good. 

Craftivism in action - yarn-bombed trees protesting HS2, near Euston Station

Arguably, one of the more well known symbols of craftivism is the pink pussy hat.  I missed all the marches last year, as they happened just as Mr Knitty was in hospital; I was emotionally and physically wiped out, and my poor, poorly husband needed me more than the protesters did.  (Interestingly, there is now a move away from pink pussy hats, as they're not seen to encompass all women.  The Blaze has an article as does National Review

Protest Knits has a pattern for a pussy hat, so I could easily make up for lost time - especially as Donald Trump was reportedly coming to visit London in February this year (after my contract ended and I had time for protesting).  Pussy hat, here I come! 

Only, that's not the way it turned out. 

Twitter did what Twitter did best, and royally took the mickey, with the #IcancelledmytriptoLondon hashtag.  Sadly there were also anti-Islamic comments mixed in with the comedy.  As a result, my list of blocked users now has more people on it. 

So, no pussy hat after all.  Now where did I put my pink uterus yarn?


My late grandmother, at her 90th birthday party Whilst my grandmother was alive, she knitted me a scarf of scraps of yarn - all long a...