It’s cold. It’s cold enough for me to be cursing the fact that that I haven’t been knitting and hooking warm winter woollies in the warmer months so that I could be safely cocooned in finished projects by now. The thing is, for most of the year I’m too hot or on the verge of over-heating, so when winter does roll around I’m a bit shocked to feel the cold at all.
I do have multiple crochet blankets to wrap myself in at home (which I do on a daily basis) but now winter is really here I want more. I want hand-knitted socks, cardigans, hats, jumpers, leg warmers, scarves… basically everything I spend most of the year convinced I won’t really need!
Actually, the exception is socks. I started on my travelling socks in October, and they went everywhere with me as my on-the-go WIP until I finally finished them around New Year.
For such a simple sock, I made a bit of a hash of it, but as you can see, it all turned out okay in the end! I was keen to try a toe-up pattern, and I found Denise Bell’s DVD Simple Toe-Up socks on Ravelry and decided to give it a try. It’s a great pattern, very easy to use and customise, and I love the afterthought heel (the easiest heel I’ve ever knitted – and what Mr BAM calls a sneaky heel!). Sadly no pattern is 100% idiot-proof, and I got in a bit of a muddle with my measurements. When I cast off the first sock I could see I had put the waste yarn for the afterthought heel in an inch or two too early,
I had two choices: either frog over half the sock, including all the ribbed cuff (hell, no!), or chop off the toe, rejoin the yarn, knit the extra bit of foot and re-do the toe top-down fashion.
I chose the second option, and it turned out fine.Only the glitch in the colour sequence of the self-striping yarn gives it away.
But now I was faced with a dilema for the second sock: top down or toe-up? Reluctantly I decided on doing the second one top down so the toes would match, and fortunately the afterthought heel is the same whatever direction you start from. I did end up with a nice pair of socks, but not quite the toe-up ones I was planning!
The thing that really saved these socks was the beautiful, self-striping yarn I used: Rico Design Superba Bamboo in Green Mix.Not only are the colours gorgeous, but the composition of the yarn (50% superwash merino wool, 25% bamboo viscose, 25% polymide) makes it incredibly soft and warm, as well as machine washable.
I have quite wide feet, and I may have over-compensated a bit by using 64 stitches on 3mm needles. I could easily go down to 60 stitches for the next pair, and I’d be interested to see how using fewer stitches per round would affect the patterns in the self striping yarn.
Although I got some beautiful books full of sock patterns for my birthday in November, they are quite complicated and will require more concentration than I could probably give them at the moment. Besides, I still haven’t really pulled off the DVD sock pattern properly yet!
So I cast on another simple pair of toe-up socks, this time for my husband, in Regia Highland Tweed.
Also pictured are my secret weapon when it comes to knitting socks on-the-go: HIya Hiya 30cm circular needles. I still need to use DPNs to cast on the toe, but then I can knit the rest on these without having to faff about with multiple, easily lost or snapped needles. They make knitting socks so much easier! I picked up my first 3mm pair at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally, but I’ve since ordered them in 2.25mm 2.5mm,and 2.75mm too!
After Mr BAM’s socks are finished, I’ll cast on another pair of travelling socks for myself, but they’ll take a while because I mostly work on them on the bus or in waiting rooms!
Impatient as always, I wanted some snugglesome knitting to wear now! This cowl WIP caught my eye on bonnyknits.com, and a quick raid of my stash produced some Stylecraft Carnival Chunky in the colourway Venice that would do the job. I downloaded the pattern from Ravelry (it’s the Clairiere Cowl by Tricoquelicot) and a couple of days later… voilà!
Not a great photo, I know. Bonnyknits’ finished version is far superior, and the pure merino wool she used shows off the twisted stitch pattern much better than slubby acrylic I used! I had to use yarn from my stash, that wouldn’t make me itch that I could chuck in the washing machine though, so when you look at that way, the Stylecraft Carnival wan’t too bad a choice for me! And it did keep me warm in the park yesterday!