So with the start of a new year it seemed appropriate to review last year, and think about next. I thought I had written some aims for 2019, but on checking the last were for 2018, there are a few others for earlier years back to my earlier blogging days in the 2000s. Life has changed since then with retirement and becoming a grandma.
I am continuing to try and record what I read, and while reading 50 books a year may be something to aspire to 25 is more realistic (I still have to record 2 I read last year).
I also try to keep fit – with walking and other exercise – I have had a Fitbit for several years and it does help me to ensure I walk a reasonable amount each week.
I enjoy making stuff – both crafting and cooking. I have tried to record my experiments in gluten free baking, and will continue to.
I am also do bits of academic work, however on retirement I did decide to say “No” to things that weren’t convenient or interesting.
Got some ideas for travel this year, got a guide book on the coffee table.
But a lot of what I will do will be family oriented, I enjoy spending time with all of them, and having the opportunity to spend time with the grandchildren each week is delightful – if exhausting!.
I have only made socks once before and they were not very successful – far too big. But sometime ago someone told me about Winwick Mum and showed me socks they were making. I had some sock yarn I had bought some three years ago in New Zealand. Eventually last month I got the right size circular knitting needle and started the socks.
I found the instructions in the book extremely clear and the socks I have produced actually fit me.
I have learnt a number of lessons:
The yarn I bought did not have tension (gauge) on the band but did recommend 2.5mm needles (and an Internet search didn’t reveal any details). I followed Winwick mum’s advice and made a swatch. I got 30 stitches in 13cms i.e. about 23 stitches in 10cm or 4″, or about 6 stitches per inch. I also measured my foot and the calculations suggested allowing for negative ease I needed about 50 stitches, but since the pattern needs multiples of 4 stitches I settled of 52 stitches. The finished sock fits well so I will round up next time.
I had bought an Addi 30cm 2.5mm circular knitting needle. I love the way I was able to just go round and round. BUT with 52 stitches it was a bit of a stretch especially with the rib. Next time I am going to get a longer needle and try something called a Magic Loop, I might also try getting shorter circular needle – there are 23cms one.
The pattern called for double pointed needles (DPNs) for casting on (3mm) and for the heel flap and toes (2.5mm) – as I had neither I used the 2.75mm I owned. In retrospect I could have used normal 3mm for the cast on.
I did 16 rows of rib – I might try more. I did 48 rounds of knit and the sock measured about 5.75″ before I started the heel flap – I definitely will do more next time.
Working the heel flap and gusset went well – although I did manage to lose a stitch and had to fudge round it.
The toe decrease was a bit tricky as I had to move to the DPNs and I do find them fiddly.
The socks are finished off using a grafting technique called the Kitchener stitch. Essentially sewing the yarn end through the stitches on alternate sides of the toe so they appear to be knitted together. I would have appreciated a diagram in the book here. But it made sense. I must have gone wrong on the first sock because it looked a bit gappy but the second worked well. I used some yarn and my darning needle to go over the join on sock one to ensure it didn’t come undone.
The colour change in the yarn is quite short and I am not sure it would be possible to colour match socks, but it might be fun to try with a different yarn. There is a knitting technique Two at a a Time (TaaT) that people use to make two socks simultaneously on longer circular needles, but I will postpone trying that for a while.
As part of a crochet project I am making flowers – that can be worn as brooches. I had found some patterns on the Internet, but thought it may be easier with a book, so I had a search of the local library catalogue and found there was two suitably titled books in stock locally. “Knit and Crochet Garden” by Arne & Carlos was one of these.
The projects are all pictured around their beautiful cottage garden in Norway. The projects are not mostly knitting, with some crochet, there is also embroidery and cross stitch. The book was easy to skim read with beautiful pictures, quotes, a bit of background information and patterns. The patterns range from a toy mouse with a full wardrobe to blankets that can be turned into tepee covers.
I wasn’t really inspired by any of the projects, but I did enjoy looking at the pictures.
I am currently using King Cole Riot DK in a very bright colour combination called Neon.
The colour combination is fantastic, there are long runs of each colour, changing gradually into the next colour, going from the darkest indigo through to a light green and then gradually back to the darkest. I reckon a full colour change must take about half of the 100g ball.
I know it is not unusual to find a small knot in a ball of yarn where the yarn had broken during the production process and someone has tied it together with a neat knot. Normally I find this a bit annoying but it is easy to work around. With Riot it is much more challenging; the first break tied indigo to bright green, I had to discard 15g of yarn before I could match it. On the plus side when I came to join the 2nd ball of yarn I had only to discard a couple of grams before I had a match.
But now I have found a knot in the second ball, it looks as almost a full length of orange is missing. I do want to keep the colours consistent so it looked as though I was going to have to discard almost half the ball to get a match. Neither of the sections of yarn I had previously discarded included orange, which would have helped. Fortunately I have more of this yarn, and one of the balls starts with orange, so I am planning to take that and graft it in to the current yarn so my colours remain consistent, there will be a few more ends to sew in …
So the lesson from this is to allow a lot of extra yarn if you are using yarn with a long colour change.
Previously I made the Sirdar Tank Top for both my elder grandsons, but they have both grown. So I have made new ones for both of them, and the new grandson. When I originally made then I used the recommended yarn (Sirdar Snuggly DK), this time I used Stylecraft Special DK. Each one is a different size: The Matador red one is 4-5 years, the larger Denim blue is 2-3 years, and smaller is 1-2 years. I’ve weighed each finished top and they weigh: 126g, 129g and 95g, respectively. Now I would have expected the red one to be heavier as there are a couple more stitches per row, and it is slightly longer. So I am now wondering if the Denim dye is heavier than the Matador? In which case I will need to revisit my earlier samples I crocheted.