Spot the difference

I’m knitting another pair of socks (amongst a million other projects) and they are taking ages. Way longer than any other pair of socks I have knitted.

Why? Well I wouldn’t recommend this whilst actually mid-project but I decided to use this pair to try new knitting methods. All in a bid to knit faster. 

I am normally a ‘thrower’ when I knit, which I understand to be a fairly inefficient method. I was knitting fairly quickly but when faced with a whole leg or foot of stocking stitch, I started wondering. Could I speed things up a bit?

I think most knitters ‘flick’, so I started with that. No faster, although if I persevered I’m sure I would master it. 

So I tried ‘continental’. This is the method recommend for crocheters and I immediately liked it for that reason. Way faster.

To give you an idea of the difference in time. I can knit a round in half the time continental style. I can’t purl continental so rib and heel sections take the same time but overall I’ve been able to knock some of the time off.

Great, faster knitting! Yes but now I have a whole new issue to contend with. Tension.

Look at the leg sections below.

The one on the left has been knitted using throwing and the right is continental. Can you see how much looser  (scruffy?) the one on the right is? 

Lay one on the other and it is really obvious. My gauge has completely changed.

Like I said, I changed methods half way through knitting a sock and had to frog it as the difference was so noticeable. Now I’ll have to reknit the one using my original method, so not so fast after all!

Other implications are that the stitches used to stay on my 23cm short circular needles, now they want to spring off all of the time. 

If I’m going to continue to knit continental for the stockinette section of my socks I’m going to have to reconsider the number if stitches I cast on or my needle size. Obvious to an experienced knitter I’m sure but not to a newbie like me!

What type of knitter are you and have you ever tried other methods? I’d be interested to hear.

Cute little project and a test

I thought I’d share this little crochet project that I made last night and at the same time test writing a post on my phone. Often I don’t end up sharing projects as I have to get the laptop out, get the photos from my camera and write the post. I use my phone for a lot of things, so why not posting? I’d be interested to hear what the rest of you do.

So here is what I made. It’s a little scissor keeper.

I used the green cotton I had left over from my doily and some scrap fabric. the pattern came from a book I bought when we arrived here called ‘Romantic Crochet’. It’s an English book, something I failed to realise until about half way through the flower thinking it was in US terms, doh.

This could be an easy project without this exact pattern, just using a granny square pattern, cotton and a small hook. The inside is just a fabric pouch filled with a bit of wadding.

I was just thinking that little projects like this probably end up on an Instagram feed and don’t have whole posts dedicated to them. Uhoh! I could see me losing a whole lot of craft time if I started an IG account. Ravelry is bad enough!

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DK socks and a spot of hand dyeing

I am supposed to be writing my CV (resume) but instead I thought I would share another pair of socks with you.

Can you believe that I have knitted these since my last post 3 days ago? No, me neither. Even more amazing is that I dyed the wool in that time too. Here is the dyed skein.

hand dyed yarn Kool Aid DK socks hand knitted

I already had this skein of West Yorkshire Spinners 100% Blue Faced Leicester Fleece wool DK (Ecru) that I brought with me from the UK. I always intended to dye it but never quite around to it before we left. So when I had a bit of time at the weekend, I googled ‘dyeing with Kool Aid’ and jumped right in. Actually, I used a cheap dollar store equivalent to Kool Aid so it will be interesting to see how the colours last. I used the microwave and didn’t stop to think about the colour application too much, I just made sure that I didn’t mix everything to make a yucky brown. Rather than making up liquid dye, I just sprinkled the powders on and mushed them into the yarn gently.

Here it is balled up  and ready to go.

hand dyed yarn Kool Aid DK socks hand knitted

And here it is knitted up as socks.

hand dyed yarn Kool Aid DK socks hand knitted Winwick Mum

The socks are knitted using Christine’s new DK sock pattern/tutorial over at Winwick Mum. This was an excellent use of one skein of DK yarn and I cannot believe how fast the DK knitted up.

As these are 100% wool they are super soft too but they might not be as hard wearing as socks with nylon so I shall look after them. As a caution I think I will set the colours with vinegar. The citric acid in the Kool Aid is supposed to avoid that but I’d be gutted if I washed them and they turned baby pink!

I’m glad I started knitting socks in 4ply then moved on to 6ply, then 8ply as I can appreciate the speed at which these knit up. I might not feel the same in reverse.

Quick sock and quick post.

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Sock update

I last shared my sock making here with you back in March and since then we have moved to a new country, found work, a house and started to settle into a new community. We cannot believe it is less than 4 months since we started our new life in Canada.

During that time my needles have been busy knitting socks. Maybe because they are a small portable project, maybe because my brain can’t focus on anything more complex, maybe because I actually think we will need these socks once the colder weather arrives.

The first pair I am going to share with you were actually knitted just before we left the UK. My last few knitting lessons with Jen at the Wool Stop, Thornbury, learning how to knit toe up, two at a time socks using a magic loop. I used HiyaHiya sharp 100cm (2.5mm) needles for these socks.

knitted socks fish lips kiss heel arne carlos 3655 toe up two at a time

The yarn is Arne & Carlos Regia colourway 3655 and I love how the pattern worked up on these socks.

To start these socks Jen showed me the Turkish cast on method which is the most amazing way to cast on toe up socks! Have a look, it really is magic. I also learnt a new heel, the Fish Lips Kiss Heel (the pattern is very reasonably priced on Ravelry). I will be interested to see how this heel wears compared to the Winwick Mum heel I normally do. The other difference with these socks was the bind off, I used Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off. I don’t like the frilly look that this bind off gave my socks but it is very comfortable.

In order to see if I could remember how to knit socks this way, I knitted another pair when we arrived in Canada. These were a gift for my Dad and were made with 6ply sock yarn and 3mm  100cm needles.

Boot socks Rellana 6ply 7045

The yarn is Rellana fancy sock 6ply colourway 7045. These socks weren’t supposed to match but they almost do.

As they were a gift I wanted to block them but didn’t have my blockers so I made one from a coat hanger, so easy.

DIY sock blocker coat hanger sock knitting

I also used one of the labels available on the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group page.

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My next socks were for my boys. They are very specific about what they want! For these I used the handy chart on the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook page (it’s in the files section) as I hadn’t knitted little socks before. I used the regular Winwick Mum 4ply sock pattern.

hand knitted socks child drops fabel 522 winwick mum

The yarn for this pair is Drops Fabel 522 with an unknown scrap cuff, heel and toe.

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These were made from Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Teal Blue (4ply). I used my 23cm 2.5mm HiyaHiya short circular needles for both of these pairs. Little socks are quick to knit!

Next up is another pair of boot socks using the Winwick Mum boot sock pattern for my husband.

Boot socks Rellana 6ply 7040

Made with 3mm 25cm KnitPro needles and Rellana Fancy Sock 6ply colourway 7040.

Nearly there… this time a pair of socks for me. Yay! These socks are just right for wearing with trainers.

Rose City Rollers knitted socks Sirdar Heart & Sole 0165

The pattern is Rose City Rollers on Ravelry and the yarn is Sirdar Heart & Sole colourway 0165.

And last but not least, I have these on the needles at the moment. Another pair for my husband!

winwick mum sock knitting regia 4ply 4491

The yarn is Regia 4ply colourway 4491

Did I mention, I like knitting socks?

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Vintage crochet

When we moved into our new home, just over a month ago, the very first thing I wanted to do was to crochet something for the house. I have been collecting vintage crochet and knitting patterns from garage sales and thrift shops, along with crochet cotton so a doily seemed a good start.

This doily pattern book is dated 1945 and is full of beautiful, finely detailed doilies.

vintage doily crochet pattern book

Here is the pattern I chose, the cotton (this is what I had left) and the hook (old size 10 or 1.25mm).

vintage doily crochet pattern book

And here is the completed doily.

vintage crochet cotton doily

I didn’t want to play ‘yarn chicken’ on the last round so stopped one row before the end. The whole thing only took a few hours to make and was a fun project. Blocking took a while, trying to avoid any pointy bits.

vintage crochet cotton doily

Oops, I can see a pointy bit, ignore that part😉

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So little time

Where does the time go? I have another day to myself and it’s nearly time to pick the boys up! Looks like this will be another 10 minute blog.

I shouldn’t complain as I have achieved what I set out to today. I’ve been caught by the sewing bug and today’s mission was to sew myself a simple top. The weather is warm here and I haven’t got many lightweight tops. The one I wear a lot has definitely seen better days but I like the shape of it so I have made a copy of it (of sorts).

Firstly, I would just like to apologise to anyone who knows anything about sewing. I don’t, so have probably gone about this in all of the possible wrong ways. The good thing is that I am learning as I go along. What do you think?

Handmade top

Basically, I drew around my existing top, straight onto the fabric I wanted to use. I marked the darts and left a seam allowance and just leapt in with the scissors. The fabric was only $1 from a thrift shop so I didn’t feel too worried about anything messing up. Once I had sewn the darts, I sewed up the seams and then added bias tape to the neckline. The tape was wider than it should be but we’ll call that a ‘design feature’. Because it was so wide I didn’t use it on the armholes and just made a folded over hem instead. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it’s wearable as I have tried to show below.

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So that was my morning.

As you know we have recently moved to British Columbia, Canada. We live in a small town called Chase. It is in a beautiful setting.

These are from the deck at the back of our house.

Some of you may have spotted the train track that we live very near to. You get used to the trains very quickly!

Here is the view from the front of the house.

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Lastly, this is the Little Shuswap Lake, about 10 minutes walk away.

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Like everything on your doorstep, we don’t use the lake as much as we should. Then again it has been raining here a lot. A reminder of English summers.

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Catching Up

It is hard to know where to start this post so I have given myself ten minutes to write it and that way I will actually post something! I have a new computer so bear with me, I appear to have set it to Canadian so have no apostrophes alas.

I have spent this morning looking through the photographs that have been taken since we arrived in Canada back in April and there are soooo many. So those will be shared over the next few weeks, but for now I shall share some from today!

This is my first day all to myself since we arrived. The boys are at a Summer programme day together and I have some precious time to catch up on the long list of things I want/need to do.

My main objective for today was to set up my sewing machine, a lovely birthday present in May. If all went well I wanted to make a peg bag too. The good news is everything is working and I made the peg bag as well. Hooray!

Here it is doing its stuff.

clothes peg bag clothespin handmade

I made it with some lovely fabric that I found in a thrift shop. There were lots of pieces so my sewing skills were put to the test piecing them together. I love that the fabric is faded in places already. The hanger is for trousers and has its original label, another lucky find.

clothes peg bag clothespin handmade

I have been busy knitting and crocheting since we arrived too but I will save that for another post.

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