Sunday, 12 January 2020

Happy 2020

This blog seems somewhat neglected, but I promise I've not forgotten it.  Both life and knitting have happened, and plans are being made. 

Please have a photo of a man drinking tea.

(There is a reason to this, I promise....)

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Once Upon a Sock: October

Goodness me, is it a Thursday again?

I had a plan for last month, but then didn't have time to post anything, because I was off to Oslo Strikkefestival.  My post last month was a recap of all the socks I knit for the Summer of Socks, hosted by Nikki from the Tea and Possibilities podcast.

These are the socks I knit in June, July and August:

Currently on my needles are:

This pair was started in August, as part of the UK sock knitters periodic table KAL (Ravelry link), for the element neon.

This pair was started for my trip to Oslo:

I thought I'd got the colour repeat started in the same place on both socks, but clearly I hadn't.  I had it in my mind that I was going to put pine trees on the top & have them as a winter/Christmas pair of socks.  I'm still undecided if this is what I'm going to do.

Both pairs are using the Sockmatician toe-up recipe. I've got quite good at the fish lips kiss heel and want to use different patterns to extend my skills.  Yes, I'm aware of his recent behaviour both online and and in person.  Yes, I have an opinion on everything I've read.  No, I won't be expanding on that right now.  Yes, I need to find an alternative toe-up pattern.

The final pair on the needles, is these:

I'm knitting these as part of the Little Drops of Wonderful Strictly Sockalong.  This is the first time I've taken part in this KAL.  From what I understand, part of the KAL is the fun of cheating, and have I tried to be imaginative with my cheating.

Over the summer (as I may have mentioned), I was at the World Scout Jamboree in the USA.  One of our visitors at the skateboard park was Mike Bushell.  He was talking to my boss; I asked if I could tag along.  My boss replied, 'depends if you know anything about the BBC' and that was that.  Outwards, I was calm and professional.  Inside my brain was screaming, 'ohmygod I've seen him on the telly'.  It was a pretty exciting morning!

So, my cheat is as simple as I can make it.  I have a camp blanket with the badges I bought in the US, including the skateboarding badges.  I'm just going to knit my socks whilst tucked under that blanket.

Do you like knitting or crocheting socks?  You are more than welcome to join us on the first Thursday of each month.  It's pretty simple; each month Paula hosts a link-up party.  All you need to do to take part is write a blog post, link to Paula's blog and then add the link of your blog to the link party for that month.  

Now to tuck into bed.  Mr Knitty and I are going away for the weekend, and we will have a very energetic three year old to keep us on our toes! 

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Once Upon a Sock August

A week ago, I was at the closing ceremony of the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, USA. It's possibly easier to do a separate post on that, otherwise this is going to get looong!

Our team colour was orange.  I had all sorts of ideas on how best to express that creatively.  In the end, the scrunchies didn't have enough material in them and kept pinging off, the earrings got stuck to the paper on which they were drying and I ran out of time to make the sunhat.  Still, it's the thought that counts, right?

Quick summary: 

  • I was deputy of the skateboard park. I think I was pretty supportive.


  • I have a bucketload more badges left to sew on to my camp blanket.
  • I'm part of a leadership team talking Guides to the European Jamboree Jamboree next year. Thinking about all the things we need to keep the girls safe scares the £@$& out of me.

  • Our IST (international service team) who staffed the event were awesome. 

Mr Knitty and I are now in NYC, where I have a lot more time (and air con) to knit.  I want my current pair to be completed before the flight home, as I've got yarn for at least one more pair with me.  Yesterday I found another knitter on the subway.  He didn't seem in the mood for a lengthy chat, so I didn't ask if I could take a photo of the socks he was knitting.  They were long and stripy and being knit continental style.

We're almost at the end of the Summer of Socks KAL run by Nikki of the Tea and Possibilities podcast.  It's been pretty good for my sock knitting; I'm almost up to 7 pairs of socks this year, five of which have been knit over the summer.  I want to do a round up post next month.  These are the current pair on the subway yesterday:

Yesterday was also Knitty City day, the only yarn shop I visited when I was in New York last year. (It's not the only shop I plan to visit this year!)  I was after a small Knitty City project bag, some darning needles (I left mine at home) and green sock yarn.

Whilst Mr Knitty may not agree, I was pretty restrained.  I got the bag like I wanted, some green sock yarn like I wanted and some Christmas sock yarn that was an impulse buy.  I've got some white yarn with me, left over from the socks I finished on my journey to America, so that's the backup yarn, if I knit all the rest up.

Today I went to String Thing Studio, and joined in the men's knit night.  It's a very small shop and only open a few days a week.  Because it was so small, there wasn't a large amount of sock yarn that I couldn't get back in the UK.  Luckily, there was a few skeins of yarn from a recent Lola Bean Yarn Company trunk show. 

I also found out some incredibly cute stitch markers from a maker in Brooklyn, going by the name of One Geek Craft - although I can't currently find their Etsy shop. 

Later this trip, I want to visit Brooklyn General Store and possibly Purl Soho.  Tomorrow, String Thing Studio has a bigger knit night; the socks and I have both been invited! 

If you like knitting socks, there is a group of us who blog about socks on the first Thursday of each month.  If you want to join us, head over to Paula's blog where she hosts a link-up for everybody's blog.  We would love you to join us and see what you're knitting! 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Once Upon a Sock - July

I fly to the USA in just under a fortnight, and I am both massively excited and also slightly scared about what awaits.

I'm sure that you are aware of Ravelry's recent decision to ban overt support for Donald Trump.  The response from some right wing knitters has been eye opening.  I am cautious about knitting during my time in the US and having people feel they have the right to tell me how wrong and discriminating Ravelry's decision was. Yes, the risk is probably small, but, given how loudly certain people have been behaving on social media, I would be naive to think there was no risk.

The first part of the trip is at the 24th World Scout Jamboree.  This is an event held every four years for teenagers aged between 14 and 17.  The idea is that every young person will only ever be eligible for one World Scout jamboree, making it a once in a lifetime opportunity.  When I was a Brownie (or possibly a Guide), I remember reading about the World Scout Jamboree and thought it was the only jamboree that existed in the world.  I thought it sounded so fantastic that when I got older I wanted to go to a World Scout Jamboree.  This will be my third! 

The picture shows a man and a woman in the evening sun, with a gorge and bridge in the background.
Larry and I overlooking the New River Gorge WV, last year.

My friend Larry, who will also be my boss, has agreed to be a yarn mule.  There are several companies in North America, from whom I want buy stuff.  However, sending stuff to the UK incurs a higher postage fee and a customs charge.  I thought I could get round this by sending stuff to Larry.  For some reason, his ZIP Code has not been recognised by any website. I've tried to buy from.  It didn't bother me much, until I couldn't get my hands on the last skein of  Dark Side of the Moon, by Must Stash yarns. Now, I'm taking it personally. 

Instead, let's share some finished socks - actually quite a few this month. 

The first pair were actually finished in May, for my husband's birthday last month. However, I wasn't going to share them here before giving them to him.  Frustratingly, despite me putting ribs on both the front and the back, they still don't really fit.  I think I may have to find a better heel.

The picture shows a pair of denim blue socks, on a blue pair of sock blockers, on a yellow background.
Vanilla ribbed socks, with fish lips kiss heel.
Main yarn is Regia Denim, with Regia Colour as a contrast. 

The next two pairs were both cast on and cast off in July, almost unheard of for me! They are being knit as part of the Summer of Socks KAL, run by Nikki from the Tea and Possibilities podcast. 

The next pair was the first pair I knit last month, and were in progress at the beginning of last month:

Picture shows a pair of striped socks on an orange background. The stripes are teal, orange, green and red.
Ribbed vanilla socks. Main colour West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply
 in colourway Pheasant.  Contrast Colour is Nutmeg

The second pair was also completed last month:

Vanilla socks with fishlips kiss heel. Yarn is Christmas Grinch by The Yarn Jar. 

There was something rather subversive about using black yarn on a Christmas pair of socks. I think I need to find an excuse to do it again.  Whilst knitting this pair, I made a new-to-me mistake, namely putting in a random YO when knitting the toes.  I can sew it up when I weave in the ends, so it's not a massive issue. Fun fact, if you're weaving in the ends of black yarn, you need really good light! 

The current socks on my needles are also Christmas socks. Sock one only needs a cuff; sock two needs a leg and a cuff.  I'm hoping to have these finished by the end of the week. 

Vanilla ribbed socks, with fishlips kiss heel. Main yarn is Vintage
by The Yarn Jar. Contrast heels are JaWool. 

I'm going to be in the US for a month in total; this will include two trans-Atlantic flights, a four hour journey from the airport to the campsite (I may well be asleep on the return journey) and an internal flight between Charlotte SC and New York (plus shuttle buses to and from the hotel).  I'm wondering if yarn for two projects is going to be enough.  As well as the Summer of Socks KAL, I also want to try and complete the Box o' Socks KAL challenge and pick up with the Periodic Table KAL, being run by The UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry.  If the worst comes to the worst, I'll prep some yarn and ask my husband to bring it with him, when he flies over in in August. 

This is the next yarn to be knit into socks:

One (or both of these) are for July (nitrogen).  Whilst I love rainbow coloured socks, knitting two pairs in a row feels like a total indulgence. 

One (or both of these) are for August (neon):

So, in two months time, I'll be able to share what I've managed to complete with all the yarn above.  I'll attempt to blog next month, but it'll mostly be written before leaving the UK.  Trying to blog on my phone on a campsite where several thousand people are trying to use the wi-fi has a higher frustration risk that I'm prepared to allow! (And it also makes the assumption that I'll have any battery left). 

If you like knitting socks, there is a group of us who blog about socks on the first Thursday of each month.  If you want to join us, head over to Paul's Blog where she hosts a link-up for everybody's blog.  We would love you to join us and see what you're knitting! 

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Once Upon a Sock - June (AKA, the birds)

Since last month:

I've woven in the ends on at least one pair of socks:

(I think I managed two pairs, but as I didn't take photos, it doesn't count) 

And started to sort out the toe of the second of the Seaweed Socks:

I met up with Once Upon a Sock friends

From left to right: Meg, Kat, Me, Paula

I've finished the pigeon socks I was working on last month, ready in time for Christmas 2019 rather than Christmas 2018.  I promise I'll do better next time.  Mr Knitty tried them on, decided they were too small (I should have done ribbing on the back of the leg as well), and then I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch, somewhere before casting off. 

Toe up vanilla socks, West Yorkshire Spinners signature 4 ply in colourway pigeon

Then again, immediately after trying on the hand-knit socks, he put on a pair of commercial socks and put a hole through the heel, so I'm not taking it personally! 

Background fabric hand dyed by my aunt 

Once I've dealt with the errant stitch, I'm going to wash and block properly and see where we go from there.  If all else fails, I'll keep these socks and knit Mr Knitty a new pair.  I chose this colourway as a joke, as pigeons are almost the only bird that he can recognise. 

Excluding the seaweed socks, the current pair on the needles are also country birds yarn - this time in the colourway pheasant

I worked on sock one during the Guides meeting on Monday; I'm fairly new to the unit, so have no idea who the other leaders are talking about.  Since a Guide makes good use of her time, I spent the time knitting.  I managed about four and a half centimetres.

On Tuesday, I went to the anti-Trump demo.  I thought I took a video of the East London Knitters' banner; seems I only took a photo:

I started off with the knitters, then met up with a friend and lost the knitters.  Said friend is a birdwatcher; it was only after we parted ways that I realised I should have got him to guess which bird was represented in the yarn!  With the journeys in and out of London, the trying to listen to the speeches and a fair bit of sofa knitting on Tuesday afternoon, sock two is ready for a heel turn.  

I cast these on, on 1st June - and am knitting them as part of the Summer of Socks KAL by Nikki from the Tea and Possibilities podcast.  I had tried to do the Box of Socks KAL but have fallen way behind, so thought this would be a good KAL to join instead.  I'm working on a secret project, using another of the West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply; there may well be enough for another pair of bird socks! 

If you like knitting socks, there is a group of us who blog about socks on the first Thursday of each month.  If you want to join us, head over to Paula's blog where she hosts a link-up for everybody's blog.  We would love you to join us and see what you're knitting! 

Once Upon a Sock goes analogue.

Yes, today is sock day.  I've had this post brewing for a while; I'm going to post it separately to the regular sock post, as I think it deserves an entry of its own. 

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet up with KatPaula and Meg - all from once upon a sock.  I'd had a couple of days previously feeling bad, so nearly flaked out on this, but I'm so pleased that I didn't.

Saturdays in my part of London are usually troubled with rail replacement services, and this Saturday was no different.  Combined with me over sleeping, I ended up running slightly late.  We were all meeting at Loop in Islington; Meg reassured me that they were going to be there for some time because "the yarn isn't going to squish itself"

I on the plus side, the bus turned up quite quickly, and I didn't have to wait too long for a train.  On the downside, the girl in front of me was sick all over the floor of the bus and I had to move so that I wasn't paddling in it.

I've heard lots about Loop, but I've never been there before.  I've lost count of the number of times I've walked down the street, but I've never, ever gone down Camden passage.  It's a beautiful little road, and in some ways doesn't even feel like London.  I have no idea why I didn't take a photo of the front, but hey ho - it gives me an excuse to go back at some point. 

The yarn that won't squish itself - upstairs

The yarn that won't squish itself - downstairs

The yarn that won't squish itself - in the window 
We met upstairs, chatted and then went to lunch at Wagamama.  We explained to Paula the concept of a 'cheeky Nando's' and then went to find Nando's on Upper Street, so that she could take a picture.  I found out that Meg is also a leader with Guiding, we discussed the differences in attitudes to tipping and we may have tried to persuade Paula to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. 

I don't normally Instagram my lunch - but this was delicious! 

After lunch, we went back to Loop for purchases.  I managed to be fairly restrained.  I started off with 'I'm not buying anything' and compromised with 'I'm not buying everything'.  

More yarn that just won't squish itself! 

In the end, I bought a skein of Tosh Merino Light  in the colourway Rainbow.  It's 100% merino wool, so won't be used for socks.  Initially, I thought it was red and green sock yarn, but once Kat had got it out of its cubby, it turned out to be far better!  In light of the recent discussions about diversity and inclusion in the knitting community, I know concerns have been raised about Madelinetosh.  In the beauty of the yarn, I will admit that these didn't cross my mind.  I'll try to remember next time. 

I also got a copy of the Mini Yarn Guide London mostly for the Skeindeer mittens.  The bag was complementary. 

As the till was busy, I took my yarn upstairs and nearly lost it!  I'd put it on a stool whilst we waited for the till to become free - and another lady picked it up without realising.  I felt a little bad, as that was the last skein in the shop, but not bad enough to let her take it home with her! 

Once we left Loop for the second time, we went for a coffee.  Whilst we were there, Paula's husband texted her to say he was having a beer.  We explained that, actually, he was having a cheeky pint! 

Meg and I went to London Bridge train station together, and ended up on platforms next to each other.  I started browsing through my book ..... 

... and when I looked up ...

... she'd gone! 

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Once Upon a Sock: May (not a lotta socks!)

In all honesty, I haven't done much (if any) sock knitting over the last few months.  I haven't forgotten to post for the last couple of months - I just didn't have any real sock progress to share.

In March, I took my sock with me to London to knit on - so that I had something to write about.  The sock was in the same bag as a water bottle which leaked.  On one hand, sock yarn is great at soaking up the liquid.  On the other hand, I can't knit with soggy sock yarn.

You may not be able to see from the photo - but this sock was soaking wet

The dark patch at the bottom, shows the extent of the water leak

In April, I even went as far as taking some photos.  However, we were a couple of days before a flat inspection, and cleaning and clearing up took priority over knitting and blogging.

Instead of knitting, over the last couple of months, I've been sewing badges on to a blanket.  Withing Guiding and Scouting, there is a tradition that old badges get sewn on to a blanket, which then gets taken to camp.  I have an old grey blanket with all my Brownie, Guide and Ranger badges - as well as badges relating to places I've visited and events I've been to.  This year, I've been working on a blanket which is dedicated to all the foreign travel I've been lucky enough to do.

Slovenia/Croatia in 2016 and Iceland in 2017

Some of the badges from Japan in 2015

Badges to be sew on, after my trip to the US this summer

There has been such joy in watching the project grow, accompanied with a lovely feeling of accomplishment.  I keep think that I'm close to sewing on the last badge - and then I find one or two more that need to be added on!  

However, I'm at the point of getting a but bored of sewing, so I've reverted back to knitting!  The current socks that I want to get finished are the ones for Mr Knitty's Christmas present, then Valentine's Day present, then wedding anniversary present. Given that our anniversary was ten days ago, I'm not doing very well at this wifely business! 

Vanilla toe-up socks, with Fish Lips Kiss heels

The front is ribbed; the back isn't.  I've made that decision, partly to stop the socks being too loose and baggy, and partly because plain stocking stitch is much quicker to do than ribbing.  If I'd really thought about it, I'd have done a 4 x 4 rib, rather than an irregular rib pattern. 

Yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners; can't remember which company did the contrast yarn
Hopefully, this is going to give me the push I need to get some more socks finished, which will give me something to post about next month.  I'm off with friends for lunch on Saturday, which will give me some knitting time.  My aim is to get them finished by the end of the Bank Holiday weekend, and to get at least one more pair finished, before I cast on something new.  That's the plan.....

If you're a sock knitter, or sock crochet-er, you're more than welcome to join us in blogging about socks on the first Thursday of each month.  Paula from Spin a Yarn hosts a link each month.  All you need to do is pop over to Paula's blog, add your blog post to the link and join in.  I've made new internet friends, and found more people who love knitting as much as I do.  There's always room for more people to join the party! 

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Once Upon a Sock: February

Each month I come here to write about socks and think 'I really must blog more' - and then put that thought to bed, until the following month.

However, this month - I have socks to share.

The candy cane socks got completed:

Yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners, in colourway Candy Cane.

I've completed my first pair of socks for 2019:

My plan was to alternate 'normal' socks with Christmas socks throughout the year, so I would end up with at least six Christmas pairs, come December.  With that in mind, I started my second pair of socks for 2019:

Yarn is from London House Yarns, in the colourway Baubles

It was only when I came to turn the heel, that I realised I'd dropped a stitch - which I found about three rows above the end of the toe.  I'm too much of a perfectionist to leave it is or try and fudge a repair - so out came eighty-something rows!  At the moment, I can't bring myself to pick it back up and sort out a repair - but I think I need to, before I forget what I did on the first sock. 

I'm taking part in the UK Sock Knitters' periodic table KAL this year, so a couple of days ago, I started my socks for February.  The chosen element for this month is iodine - so I've decided to knit the seaweed socks by Wendy D Johnson.  It's the first pair of lace socks I've ever knit, and at the beginning of today, they looked like this:

It's times like this, that stitch markers are your friend!  I've already made at least three mistakes, which have been easy (if fiddly) to repair.  The pattern is starting to show a bit better after a couple of repeats.  I think it's going to look good, but will be slow.  I'm knitting it in dark red, with white contrasting heels, toes and cuff - to look like a Christmas stocking.  I still want a simple vanilla, self-striping sock that I don't need to think about, which is a motivation to sort out the Baubles socks.

If you knit or crochet socks and would like to join in our sock-knitting chat, it would be lovely to have you join us.  On the first Thursday of each month, we all blog about our sock knitting progress (even if that's only a couple of rows since the previous month) and then share them on a link, hosted by Paula at Spin a Yarn.  The link up for February is here - please come and join us! 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Once Upon a Sock - January 2019

Well hello!  Not only is it a new month, it is a New Year.  I missed Once Upon a Sock in December, because I was attempting Vlogmas and did not have enough hours in the day , or mental energy to blog as well.  It was a project worth doing, but it took up more time than I was expecting.

For those who do not know, a group of us who knit socks all meet up and blog about socks on the first Thursday of every month.  If you wish to join us, you are more than welcome.  All you need to do is add a link to your blog at the link up found here, hosted by Paula of Spin a Yarn

Since I last posted, we had a new member of the family join us; my sister's second son.  Of course, proud auntie that I am, I knit him some hats - which was an excellent way of getting rid of spare scraps of sock yarn.

Three hand knitted hats - one in blue and turquoise stripes, one with an orange brim blue hat and the third is mottled red, yellow and blue stripes.
Baby hats for my nephew

So, casting a brief eye over 2018 and looking forward to 2019:

I attempted the box of socks challenge, hosted by Voolenvine and didn't complete it.  (The challenge was to knit at least 12 pairs of socks over the year, ready to be worn this year).  On New Year's Eve, I had three pairs of socks (which would have completed my 12) yet to be completed.  What was waiting for a pair of afterthought heels, one had a dropped stitch which needed dealing with and the last needed its heels turned.

My incomplete Box o' Socks - with only nine pairs of the twelve finished

In my eagerness to get everything finished by midnight (and after messing up the heel three times from not properly concentrating), I ripped back one of this pair with the aim of doing a fish lips kiss heel instead.  I then realised that would mean knitting with kinked wool, which I would only do if my life depended on it.  So, in an attempt to get everything finished on time, I actually made more work for myself by messing up what had already done.

Messing up was a theme with my December socks, after inadvertently increasing a stitch, then dropping the stitch back to where the error was, so that I could pick it back up again.

A hand knit sock in red, white and green stripes, with a very wide ladder down one side.  At the bottom of the ladder is a crochet hook, holding one stitch.  The ladder is wider than the one stitch on the crochet hook.

At the beginning of today, that sock looked liked this:

Two pairs of socks, with red, white and greens stripes.  The toes at the bottom and cuffs at the top are red.
Add caption

I ended up sorting out the unintentional increase by ripping back 17 rows, then somehow managed to drop a stitch just before the ribbing!

A hand knit sock in red, green and white, still on the needles.  To the left of the photo is a hand holding a loop of red yarn from behind the top of the sock.
And again, oops!

So, that was that.  I accepted the challenge; whilst I did not complete it, I still have some lovely socks to show for it.  I had decided this year, but I was not going to do the box of socks challenge again.  There are more things that I want to knit than socks, and socks I would like to knit for more people than me.  

Then I saw Amy Florence's video on 25 Days of Christmas Socks (and the associated discussion on her Ravelry group), and then somebody pointed me towards the UK sock knitters group on Ravelry, who are doing a year long KAL based on the periodic table of the elements - and suddenly I want to knit all the socks again!

Some of the socks I knit this year

To help me on my way, I have some very nice yarn for Christmas.

The first is some red and white striped yarn from Twinkly Knits on Etsy.  I bought this before seeing Amy's video, but after seeing a pair of red and white socks with a contrasting green toes, heels and cuffs.

The next was a gift from Mr Knitty; London House YarnsLondon House Yarns in the colourway Baubles

The last one was bought in the sales from Giddy Yarns in the colourway Christmas Tree Fairy.  The suggested contrast colour was pink, however, I preferred a more vibrant red.

Whatever happens, I will be knitting Christmas socks at some point before December this year.

At the moment, I don't have any socks on the needles.  Well OK, I have a pair for Mr Knitty, which are a belated Christmas present/ very early birthday present and the mosaic socks which need some work.  Apart from that, I don't have any socks on the needles and have a mass of yarns to choose for socks to get on the train when I visit my dad and his wife tomorrow.

And the candy cane socks?  I finished them whilst watching a film this evening .....

They may be The Wrong Trousers - but Gromit has certainly chosen the right craft! 

Happy 2020

This blog seems somewhat neglected, but I promise I've not forgotten it.  Both life and knitting have happened, and plans are being made...