Purely by chance, all things Irish converged in these socks: the pattern is called Dublin Bay, the wool is Cork-based Hedgehog Fibres' Sock Yarn ('Wish'), and I finished them on St. Patrick's Day. In real life the colour is more peacock green than emerald, and it's richer than the picture suggests. That said, gallons of dye came out when I washed them and I fear there's more to come next time, so be aware of that should you choose this yarn.
This was a straightforward knit, and a good one to try if you're prone to getting little holes at the 'corners' when you pick up the heel stitches because you knit into the openwork section on both sides so any gap becomes a design feature! My project notes are here.
"In the lovely Estonian town of Viljandi there lives a young artist by the name of Kristi Jōeste who has knitted hundreds of pairs of exquisite gloves. [...]
Every knitter and every glove has a story to tell.
Museums have preserved many wondrous old gloves but very few stories. [...]
Kristi Jōeste invited her childhood friend, the well-known Estonian writer Kristiina Ehin, to write the stories.
And so this isn't by any means a typical handicraft book.
In this book art meets literature in two creative women, one who expresses herself by means of knitting and the other by means of words.
Kristi Jōeste's lively use of patterns from Estonian folk art, her carefully chosen colours and tight weave as it was done centuries ago are compelling in their perfection.
Kristiina Ehin's sensitive and imaginative stories about Estonian women who knitted invite us to travel with her in our thoughts to the times when a magical world of glove patterns was created in the grey day-to-day of nearly every farmhouse."
I'm reading Ornamented Journey by Kristi Jōeste and Kristiina Ehin, from which the above is the introduction. It's not a book of patterns, although there are instructions for some of the techniques involved in the designs, but you could adapt the designs to patterns you already have - should you not wish to knit at the gauge of some of the work shown: e.g. one-ply yarn on 0.7mm (US 000000) needles, 172 stitches around the hand!
The book tells us that gloves accompanied Estonian people throughout their lives, and patterned gloves were believed to increase good fortune and keep evil at bay, which is no doubt why such skill and artistry went into their making. The gloves, mittens and wrist warmers shown involve various techniques such as embroidery, appliqué, entrelac, Roositud inlay, beading, and colourwork, and all are beautiful. The stories - I'm in the midst of them now - complement them perfectly.
Lastly, a word on where to find the book. I put it in my basket at Loop's online shop and took it out again when I discovered how much the postage would be. You can get it from the publisher, Saara, via Amazon which is what I did; the postage was very reasonable and it took a week to get here. I've since discovered that you can order directly from Saara where the book is cheaper, but I can't speak to the cost of delivery. They also sell yarn, needles, kits, and other bits and pieces.
When Blacker Yarns released their limited edition Cornish Tin to mark their 10th. birthday, I managed to get some of the 4 ply in Botallack Blue. It's a blend of ten fibres: alpaca, mohair, Gotland, Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Texel, English Merino, Falklands Merino, and Gotland/Romney Cross, and teamed with some Blacker Classic for contrast heels and toes, it has made a sturdy, warm pair of socks. I like the woolliness of these socks, their dense fabric (56 stitches on a 2.25mm needle), and the way the mix of fibres takes the dye and adds depth to the colour.
The world's largest collection of blue wool* grows a little bigger.
Above is newly arrived Anzula Squishy from Meadow Yarn, while on its way to me is a little something from Miss Clack Clack whose wares I discovered just the other day; her inky, purpley blues especially are hard to resist.
As the snow falls, Isle Yarns' toothsome Poll Dorset DK is becoming a hat. It will be lined with soft-as-soft handspun alpaca from Wychwood Alpacas (via The Oxford Yarn Store). The project bag is from Jenna Rose.
"Do you have any tendencies when it comes to selecting fabrics? Are there any colours you find yourself buying all the time, even though your stash is overflowing with them? Do you gravitate to striped fabrics, or tiny checks, or florals? Do you seem to always have more solids than prints in your stash?
It's very helpful to know what your preferences are, so you can do a little 'corrective shopping' once in a while. Since my tendency is to load up on bright, saturated colours and prints, every few months I go on a fabric-shopping trip where I only allow myself to buy subtle prints and neutrals. That way, my stash stays more balanced, and I can build more effective palettes for my EPP projects."
That's Diane Gilleland writing in All Points Patchwork - English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts and Small Projects, but the 'corrective shopping' idea could equally well be applied to wool-buying: creative justification for a few acquisitions, don't you think?
As a supplement to this post and this one, here's another source of wool for you, and 'source' is the right word because this 100% Poll Dorset DK comes from the Isle Yarns family flocks on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.
The picture here captures the colour pretty well for it is the most lovely moss green (though I have my eye on the lavender and grey too); the wool is destined to be a hat for Mr. C.
Following on from yesterday's post, I drew 'painting' from the Advent hat today so I spent 20 minutes with my watercolours* - something I would not have done otherwise - and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Advent calendars containing chocolate seem commonplace these days compared to the exotic versions going around. You can get ones which hold beauty products from Liberty, tea from Harrods, candles from Diptyque, colognes and creams from Jo Malone, and even ... wool!
I know lots of knitters are making sock yarn blankets and similar and are going to use their advent mini skeins - whether from a calendar or other purposely acquired set - to knit a square a day from now until the 24th. The idea of it - a small, different, daily act of making - appealed to me, but I thought I'd approach it in a slightly different way. I haven't bought anything new, instead I've nominated a range of projects, some neglected, some long-term, some yet to be begun; each day I'll draw one at random*, and work on it for a short while. This could be 20 minutes on some embroidery or needlepoint (canvases-in-progress, but ones which tend not to see the light of day for long periods), a little bit of sewing, a Granny square, or something that's not textile-related at all.
Where the crochet is concerned, I have several Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails which I bought for the purpose a few months ago, so they will feature on six or seven days, but as I've assigned each colour a number they will be used when that number comes up. Today's was Mandala (as you see above), and the square has been finished, washed and blocked.
I'm keen to see not only which project is drawn from the hat each day, but what I'll manage to accomplish in terms of diversification in my 24 'creative breaks' by the time Christmas arrives. It should be fun.
*I've put corresponding pieces of paper into a hat.