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.
Fresh off the needles, this has yet to be blocked, but I'll do that when the second one is finished. My French knots are a little uneven, but this was a quick and enjoyable knit, and I like the combination of colours, from the charcoal cuff through the iris section and on to the tweedy green ribbing.
The pattern is Cauchy from Cookie A's Sock Innovation - all perfectly straightforward except for the picking up of the stitches on the folded picot cuff which must be the most fiddly of fiddly manoeuvres (I cast on the second sock today and had just as much trouble with it as I did the first time, so if you want an easy life, do ribbing instead). Happily, I'm now on the leg section which is plainer sailing.
Wanting some mindless knitting too, I've also cast on the Simple Rib Hat in Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes, colour 'Midnight' - a very dark, inky blue with the subtlest of variegation. I got the yarn at Wool & Co., and I commend them for their speedy service and their competitive prices.
I'm determined to be more productive this year than I was last and I'm off to a good start, but what about everyone else? Are you making anything tricky/soothing/fun/ambitious? Have you made any craft-related resolutions for 2014?
I've 'turned the corner' on the scarf, meaning there is less to do than I have already done, and that brings fresh energy to the task.
One of the pleasures of making this piece is appreciating the subtle complexities of the colours of Alice Starmore's Hebridean Yarns - if I can capture them on the camera I'll show some of the more varied ones in future posts. Each shade is inspired by or represents some element of the natural world, and the blue shown above is called Mara, Gaelic for sea. If you click here and then on the 'story' tab, you'll see that it was a very particular sea mood that the designer had in mind, and you can read the eerie tale of Mara Macleod.