Category Archives: Socks

Blue Baroque Socks

It has been a busy week and a half since we came back from France. First a few days with my Mum, dragging her along to a couple of spinning group meetings. Then we went to visit my uncle and auntie, and then to some friends.

After having dropped her off for her next holiday, we had a day to ourselves, and then went to help my parents in law move house. Or get in the way while they moved house 🙂

I had to have a day off after that! Then this week has been spent catching up on everything. There is still some way to go!

One of the things I have managed to catch up on is to photograph my latest finished pair of socks.


The pattern is Baroque (a free pattern from Knitty). The yarn is handspun merino 3ply, the fibre was bought from Wingham Woolwork, but I don’t think it is part of their standard range. It is actually made from two very similar shades of navy blended together which makes it look like one colour, but it has a bit more depth than a totally flat one colour fibre. I used 2.25mm needles and made the large size, and used 123g which is 300m.BlueBaroqueSocks2

These were good fun to knit and I am very pleased with them. The yarn shows the pattern well – it was quite firmly twisted so shows up the cables.

These did take me quite a while, I started them back in February. The pattern is quite dense with all the small twisted stitch cables, and so there are a lot of rows to the centimetre. Also knitting in navy in the winter wasn’t the world’s greatest plan 🙂

I nearly managed to shock you with two finished projects, but the other one is going back to the drawing board. I have been making the most simple Faroese shawl (just garter stitch with some eyelets round the edges) from Myrna Stahman’s Faroese Shawl book. I have been jiggling around with the shaping though to suit my yarn (a merino/tencel 4ply I dyed a few years ago), not entirely successfully. I widened the back panel which I think has worked, but made the shoulders wider and I think I have over-done it.


These pictures don’t show the worst of it, but it really looks like I should take up American Football or join the cast of Dynasty with shoulders like that.FaroeseShawl2

Because the shoulder shaping extends beyond my own shoulders by about an inch on each side it just emphasises that my shoulders are rather narrow and rounded. When I was doing my calculations I failed to take into account just how much the tencel would make the fabric drape once I had finished the whole shawl. I measured it all when it was only about 6 inches down (you knit this one from the top), and it seemed to be going fine, but of course at that point it didn’t have the weight of the other 250g of yarn pulling the shoulders down.

Anyway, the upshot is that I am going to undo it back to the shoulders and do some recalculations. The good news is that I really enjoyed knitting it the first time, it is a lovely slinky yarn but the merino adds enough elasticity to make it easy to knit with. I’m sure I shall enjoy it just as much the second time around (actually this is the third, but the first attempt had the shoulders far too small and didn’t actually get very far).

Escadaria socks

The Great Sort Out is still coming along. I am definitely making inroads, but there is a long way to go still. I am looking forward to getting to the City and Guilds work currently buried on the dining table and making another good stab at that, it has been on pause for too long.

In amongst the sorting I have managed a little bit of slow knitting, a couple of rows here and there. It is surprising what can be accomplished with a few sessions of waiting for appointments, the odd 20 bars rest at band, and a bit of skyping to my sister in New York – ah the delights of hands-free phoning – and with the web-cam I can bore her rigid with my knitting too 🙂 Their weather sounds even more horrid than ours, the hats I knitted for my niece and nephew for Christmas are getting a good work-out 🙂

Anyway, I have actually finished some socks (shock horror!). I am finding socks to be a conveniently achievable size of project at the moment, and have the added bonus of being very portable, hence I do actually work on them.


The pattern is called Escadaria (I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it), and came from Sockupied, Spring 2011, one of the eMags from Interweave. I made the middle size (9in circumference), used 2.25mm needles and the yarn is some 75% superwash merino, 25% seacell fibre dyed by Fluff n Stuff and spun into a 3ply by me. Conveniently I used almost exactly the whole skein – only a couple of metres were left at the end.


The pale flashes are bits of the seacell which I didn’t manage to distribute evenly when I was spinning.

The yarn has come out rather hard and somewhat inelastic, although it is mostly wool it feels and looks like a mercerized cotton. This is something I am keen to work on with my spinning in the coming months. I would like to be able to spin a more elastic, squashier yarn. I am looking forward to some practising!

Hopefully in this case the fact that the yarn is quite strong should be a help rather than a hinderance, and will hopefully make the socks wear better. Also the very smooth solid nature of the yarn shows up the lace pattern well. I enjoyed knitting these, although I wasn’t that keen on the little pretend-cable pattern on the leg, and I didn’t really like the way the heel was done – the joins seemed a bit messy. It is fun trying out some different patterns, and different ways of working heels and toes. I am getting a feel for which I like to work, and how well different shapes fit my feet.

Back to the sorting I think. This week hopefully should see me finish cataloguing the rest of my knitting books.

First finished projects of 2013

Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 has got off to a good start for everyone. I have been plodding along with the Great Sort Out. The pile of magazines and books on my arm of the settee is still large but is decreasing by the day. It is now less likely to spontaneously avalanche and bury one (or both) of us alive.

I have been knitting away in the background. More socks from my handspun. I seem to be having a purple phase at the moment.


These are my first toe-up socks, and it was great fun! The pattern is called Having Hope by Diane Mulholland.


I used 2.5mm needles and 96g / 272m of handspun Southdown wool, and made the medium size.


Southdown is one of the softest of the down breeds of sheep, but it isn’t nearly as soft as merino or blue-faced leicester. It is very springy though, which should hopefully make good socks, and which shows the pattern up well. Hopefully it should wear well too. I like the way the colours have come out, a bit of variation for interest, but not so much that it obscures the pattern, and not too pink 🙂


The next pair used a pattern called Nemesis by Susan Dittrich (named for the Agatha Christie book).


Again I used 2.5mm needles, and made the larger size. As you can see I ran out of yarn on the toe of the second sock. I used a total of 125g / 280m. Most of the yarn is a handspun blend of merino wool in purples and greens from Wingham. I used a bit of the purple Southdown for the second toe. The socks will be in my shoes most of the time so I am going to call the different coloured toe an interesting design feature 🙂

I am looking forward to wearing both of these pairs of socks. I suspect the merino pair will wear less well over time, but I am enjoying experimenting with spinning for socks and seeing how the results come out. I am also getting a better feel for how much yarn I need for a pair of socks for me, which is handy for the future.

Christmas knitting

In a moment of over-optimism at the end of November about the speed of my knitting I decided that I would knit a little something for both my parents for their Christmas presents. I had had the yarn for both for absolutely ages, and had been meaning to knit them for a while so this seemed the ideal moment!

For Mummy I made the Eleanor cowl from Knitty, in Posh Yarn Marguerite, which is a 4ply weight, 50% cashmere, 50% silk. The colour is called celery.


I orginally bought the yarn thinking I would make socks, but the mixture of cashmere and silk is completely inelastic and would have made not terribly good socks. However I think it does make lovely lace.

For Daddy I made Ann’s Go-To Socks from the Simply Socks eMag from Interweave Press. They are a fairly standard sock pattern. I had to create an extra size two sizes larger than the largest one written because Daddy (like me) has rather wide feet. I used some Schoppel-wolle sock yarn for these.


The picture was a rather rushed affair because I finished knitting these on the day before they left after their pre-Christmas visit, while they were out visiting my Nanny. The picture was taken in the 5 minutes between casting off and wrapping them up 🙂

Luckily both presents fit (whew!).

Ballet, Cycling, and Socks

It has been an action packed weekend! On Saturday we braved the crowds in London and went to the ballet to see Swan Lake. It has been more than 25 years since I last went to the ballet, and it was lovely. We had great seats, and the seats in front of us were unoccupied so we had a fantastic view.

We caught up watching the men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race in the evening, and then yesterday I braved the weather and went out to watch the ladie’s Olympic Cycling Road Race on the road.

At first it was sunny, this the direction the cyclists will arrive from:

and here are two lovely ladies I met while walking down to the race, Sue and her mum Win:

Sue is seen here in contact with base camp (her other half) giving us updates on where the race was on the telly.

We had about an hour to wait and then the cars and motorbikes leading the race started to arrive:

And then the heavens opened, and the lens cover on my camera got jammed. I am not going to win any prizes for my videographic skills, but here is the breakaway, with Lizzie Armitstead (GB, Silver medal), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia, Bronze medal), Marianne Vos (Netherlands, Gold medal), and Shelley Olds (USA, she had a mechanical later in the race and so wasn’t in the breakaway at the finish). Shortly followed by the peloton, lead by the German team:

Next came a Dutch rider, and a German, chasing the peloton:

And then another group of three riders:

Then the rain became really torrential, but I did manage to un-jam my lens cap, and the main chasing group came through, lead by the Australian team (I do like their yellow skin suits, very nice and easy to identify), followed by more support vehicles:

Then another smaller chasing group:

And then the final rider of the race, and the last of the support vehicles. I’m not sure if you can read it on the rainy video, but the last car helpfully says “End of Race” on it.

It hailed on us while we packed up and got ready to walk back to the car. Also it was the kind of bouncing rain that not only soaked you but also covered you in grit. All of my clothes went in the wash when I got home, my shoes and bag got a wipe and are now drying in the porch. Great fun though!

If you want to watch all seven videos in the right order (hopefully!) here is the playlist:

With the train journey into London and back for the ballet I finally finished my latest pair of socks:

The pattern is Guitar Man Socks, I used 2.5mm needles, and the yarn was some rather old and wobbly hand spun left over from my Cirque Socks. There were actually 4 small balls of yarn which varied a bit in colour, which explains why one sock is a bit darker than the other. Also as you can see I ran out of yarn on the second toe and so used some left-over mill-spun yarn I had hanging around. I think they are rather fun, and the variations in yarn give them character 🙂

The pattern was fun to do. I have altered it a bit, only doing 8 instead of 10 pattern repeats on the leg (although this still makes a long sock on me), and doing 5 1/2 pattern repeats on the foot. I also extended the patterning onto the toe. I think this heel is a bit pointy for my foot, but it has been fun experimenting with different heel and toe shapings.

A bit of knitting

I have had a bit of a break from the spinning since the end of the Tour de Fleece. It has been pretty hot here this week, and in hot weather I tend to get stuck to the fibre! I have started catching up on some of the bits and pieces which were urgently in need of sorting out round here. I have made a dent, but the pile of things on the arm of my side of the settee is still in imminent danger of causing an avalanche so I have still got a lot more to do! I think I had better sort out at least one of the filing boxes this afternoon too since it has got to the stage where I can’t stuff any more in it.

I have done a little bit of knitting. I started these socks back before I went to France, and have now finished the first one:

The pattern is a free one, called Guitar Man Socks, it is only written in one size, but that seems to be working out fine since I have wide feet. I am just making both the leg and the foot a bit shorter. The leg has actually come out quite long, even though I only did 8 pattern repeats instead of the 10 in the pattern. I think if I were to make these again I would probably only do around 6 or 7 pattern repeats on the leg.

I have started on the second sock, and was making fairly reasonable progress, but I think I was a bit distracted by everyone else’s lovely knitting at knitting group yesterday and discovered last night that I had bizarrely missed out a whole section. Luckily I had only knitted about 6 rows past the missed bit when i realised what I had done, so today I have undone it, and I shall hopefully pay better attention this time 🙂

The yarn is some rather early and wobbly handspun, dyed by me, the left-overs from my Cirque Socks.

Yet more socks in progress

I have been doing some more knitting with my hand spun. Although I enjoy the process of spinning I am primarily interested in creating yarns that I would like to knit with, so it is handy to knit up a bit of my hand spun and get the feedback. This is the yarn I made a couple of years ago with my first fleece I processed from scratch. I wasn’t terribly good at it (there were quite a few felted bits that I couldn’t use), so I ended up plying it with some super wash blue faced Leicester to make it go a bit further.

I had two fleeces, a white Dorset, which I processed first and did very badly, and a grey dorset cross which I did a little better with. So I ended up with two 3ply yarns, one with a strand of white Dorset, a strand of grey Dorset, and a strand of BFL, and the other with a strand of grey Dorset, and two strands of BFL. I then dyed the whole lot in shades of green.

For these socks I used the yarn with grey Dorset and BFL for the leg, and the yarn with grey and white Dorset and BFL for the foot. My rationale being that the one with more Dorset being coarser would hopefully wear better.


I have finished one sock so far and am on the second. The pattern is Cirque Socks from Knitty. I had a bit of difficulty shortening the pattern for my short wide feet. There are only certain points in the pattern repeat where the toe decreases can start, but then I needed to cast off before I managed very many decreases otherwise they would have been too long. They have ended up looking a little bit like a sock for one of Roald Dahl’s witches 🙂

Java Socks

I had so much yarn left over after finishing the Cathedral Socks, that there was at least enough for another pair. I thought I would try a different pattern. This is the Java pattern, also from Knitty, and also using 2.25mm needles. I used about 83g, 324m. There is still about 214m left of this yarn, so probably not enough for another pair of socks, but maybe enough for fingerless mittens or something.

Here is a close up of the pattern on the leg:

They were a really nice pattern to knit. A simple 4 row repeat that was easy to memorise and pleasant to knit. Since I finished these the weather has warmed up so I haven’t worn them yet. I am a little concerned that the toe might be a bit pointy but we shall see.

Cathedral Socks

Back to a spot more catching up 🙂

In the blog silence I have been doing a bit of knitting as well as being busy generally.

I fnished these socks back at the beginning of April and am now finally sorting out photographs of them.

The yarn is some 70% merino, 30% silk blend from Wingham Wool Works, that I handspun, I think it was last year.  The pattern is Cathedral socks from Knitty a few years ago. I used 2.25mm needles and about 92g, 350m ish of my yarn which meant I have plenty left over 🙂

I tinkered with the pattern a little bit, removing some of the internal ribs on the leg pattern:

And I fiddled with the toe pattern to make the cables flow into the stocking stitch:

I love the way the cables continue down the back of the heel:

They fit really well too:

Please excuse the slightly odd photo. This was taken by me standing on the windowsill of a B&B in mid-Wales while we were on holiday. The other half thought my antics were hilarious.

A really nicely thought out pattern which was fun to knit.

Circle socks

I actually finished these back in March while at Skip North, and have finally managed to take some photos of them.

The pattern is Circle Socks by Anne Campbell. The yarn is some of my first spinning (I dyed the fibre too), and was a bit variable, and also rather thicker than that specified in the pattern. However the pattern was also written for smaller feet than mine, so by changing the needle size to 2.75mm it all worked out fine.

It has really surprised me how much the knitting evens out the wobbly bits in the spinning. The socks are still noticeably different, but not nearly as different as I had feared given what the yarn looked like!