I'm knitting two pairs of Cabin Socks (from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Wool), and the first pair is now finished, washed, blocked and - at least for photographic purposes - on my feet.
I am so pleased with them! The pattern is very clear and straightforward, and written for DK wool, so in this weight they are a quick knit. The yarn is huacaya alpaca from Spring Farm Alpacas and was bought for me by a kind friend who was visiting the farm - it doesn't appear to be for sale online, but if you follow that link you can contact them and ask about availability.
These are the softest and most snuggly socks I have (they beat the commercial cashmere ones), and wearing them will be a treat for my feet.
I'm knitting two pairs of socks using the same pattern (Cabin Socks from The Knitter's Book of Wool) but different weights of yarn, and I'm alternating back and forth between them so that half of each pair is now complete and both second socks are under way.
You can find the thick version here - it's in DK alpaca - while above is the finer one, Yarn Yard Clan, 100% merino, in a colour which the camera would not capture accurately but which is a warmer, greener green than the pictures seem to show.
The pattern is written for DK yarn, so for the finer pair I cast on 60 stitches instead of the 48 specified. N.B. conversion is straightforward except for one point: in row one of the heel flap I knit 15 stitches of the 60 (rather than 12 of the 48), leaving the remainder for the instep. That's the correct number, but as 15 is an odd number, it means that when you return to the instep stitches for the gussets you must begin the broken rib pattern 'purl one, knit one ...', not 'knit one, purl one...' as you would had you worked the 12 stitch, even-numbered version. I didn't discover my mistake until I was far past it, and then with heart in mouth I had to drop each of the 30 instep stitches in turn down several rows and, using a crochet hook, pull them up and set them right. It was fiddly.
Whether you're using thick yarn or thin, this is a very good pattern, and one I'll return to.
I'm thinking the secret to sock knitting is to work on two different ones at a time. I've finished the cabled pair, and while I carry on with the second of the alpaca Cabin Socks, I've cast on another in the same pattern but with a different yarn weight and gauge.
Above is The Yarn Yard 'Clan', 100% merino, which has wonderful stitch definition and is producing a fabric with excellent body (I have 60 stitches on 2.5mm needles).
Another secret to sock knitting is to work on it while watching knitting podcasts - the rows seem to fly by as you listen to people chatting about their projects. I'm trying out a few just now, but am especially enjoying Whatcha Swatchin' hosted by Emily with guest appearances by her very sweet beagle Whiskey!
Keeping up the productivity here, the first sock of this pair is finished, and the second underway. Not really my colours, I think these will go to one of the girls when they are done, but they are fun to knit.
Quite a while ago a friend who was visiting Spring Farm Alpacas very thoughtfully bought me some of their yarn. The gift included two balls of DK weight huacaya totalling 160g (I have no information as to yardage), and a bit of searching on Ravelry revealed that the Cabin Socks pattern from The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes might suit that amount - I hope I'm right!
The stitch pattern is the Broken Rib (the picture below shows the wrong side), and it's a simple knit but makes for a very squishy fabric.
The alpaca is so lovely to work with I'm taking my time over them and enjoying every stitch, but when they are done I anticipate they will be 'feet up in front of the fire' socks, or even bed socks - very soft and cosy and luxurious.
To remind me which handknits require hand washing and which can happily go into the machine: a sheet of A4 paper with holes punched down both sides, a snippet of yarn threaded through each hole, the name of the article to which the yarn pertains, and then the washing instructions.
I've slipped this into a polythene sleeve and put it with the laundry supplies.
I wound the yarn (80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon) in the summer of 2009, began a cabled sock, decided it didn't cut the mustard, unravelled it, and in March 2012 cast on the first Cauchy sock (from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.). I finished it last month, went straight on to the second one and cast off today.
I made a mistake on the top of the right foot, but a blind man running for his life wouldn't notice, so there it will stay.
If I were to make them again I'd do a ribbed cuff instead of the picot one, but otherwise they are fine, they fit well, and I'm glad to have them finished.
Edited to add: I've now blocked the socks (I gave them a good wash and eased them into shape), and the yarn has fairly bloomed.
"When did you last ...?" I asked myself when I picked up my spindle the other day and had another go at spinning.
These pages (very useful in that respect) tell me that I bought the spindle back in 2008, and I worked away for a while, improving my technique but not really getting very far. Determined to have a more productive year craft-wise (hence the 'roll' which Karoline astutely spotted I'm on just now), I took the spindle out of the cupboard, refreshed my memory with the help of some Youtube* videos, and set to. A helpful tip I picked up late yesterday was to pre-draft the fibre, so I'm trying that now and getting a more even, if still very beginner-ish, result.
How about you? When did you last knit/spin/sew/quilt/embroider/play a musical instrument/draw/paint/etc.? If it's been a while, why not pick it up again?
*In the olden days, a girl would have been taught to spin by a female relative; nowadays, you can learn from YouTube - or as Mr. C. quipped when I made that observation - 'ThouTube' ...
I love the very dark blue with its subtle shading, the yarn (bought here) has great stitch definition, as you can see, and the finished piece has body. The pattern is very simple, the hat was quick to make, but most importantly, the recipient is happy with it.