On the Subject of Emergency Knitting...

Isn’t it funny how things sometimes happen in an order such that it feels like it was somehow pre-destined? Last week I blogged about how much I had missed having a simple sock project in my handbag, and how important it is for me to always have some knitting to hand.

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The unignored projects...

I didn’t get completely side-tracked over the Easter holidays! I worked on the projects that most needed my attention, and stayed pretty faithful to my Sterlyn Shawl and Briochevron Wrap. I cast off my Sterlyn not long after we got back from Wales, and the Briochevron is one of those projects that I just need to pick up and do regularly. It will get there eventually! There were heaps of photos of Sterlyns in yesterday’s post, and mine looks much like those – if you’d like to see mine, click the link above to head over to my Ravelry project page.

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Some knitting for fun, and a hiccup

It was probably inevitable, but because I finally have time to knit for me, I've got over-excited and my RSI has flared up. It has left me feeling rather glum, as knitting is my main self-care activity, and I'm a bit at sea as to how to recharge myself without it. I haven't had any significant RSI since we became parents (mostly because my knitting time was cut so drastically), so I think I shall have to find some complex, subtitled, Scandinavian dramas on Netflix that I would normally struggle to knit and watch at the same time!

In the meantime, here's what I got up to...

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Book review: Coop Knits Socks Yeah! Volume One

There is no way that I can claim to write an unbiased review of this book! I edited the patterns, am very good friends with Rachel, and the book is stocked in our online shop. Unbiased just isn't possible. That said, I still think I would be jumping around shouting about this book, even if I hadn't worked on it, and didn't know Rachel. You'll just have to trust me on that...

This lovely book was released back in October 2016 when we were deep in editing work and kids adjusting to being back at school. Much to my regret I didn't get around to shouting about it at the time, so I'm making up for it now. Clicking on any of the photos in this post will open larger versions in a lightbox so that you can see all the details of these pretty designs.

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The state of the WIPs

My period of monogamous knitting appears to have ended. I blame the lure of the knitalong! I thought I would lay out the situation, and hope that in doing so, I'm inspired to work down a few of these projects. The fact is that I am looking forward to the finished product of each and every one of them, and when I work a few rows on this and a few rows on that across too many, it ends up feeling as if I will never finish any of them. So with this in mind, I set off on the half term holidays with 6 works in progress (WIPs) in my bag. And after a week of quite good knitting time, I finished one of them. Not terribly impressive! But I did go on to finish another shortly after my return home, and another isn't far off. So here is The State of the WIPS:

WIPs update - 3

A pair of Dave socks (by Rachel Coopey), knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Country Birds in the Bullfinch colourway (although to my eye it is far more Greater Spotted Woodpecker-like). These are FINISHED! They've been my handbag knitting project since the start of the year, and eluded discovery when Jim did a project round up a few weeks back, but some concentrated effort in the car resulted in a finished pair. They are a little shorter than they should have been, but I think that Jim's loss will be someone else's gain! More on my Ravelry page here: Woodpecker Daves

Breezy - 4

I FINISHED my Breezy cardigan (by Hannah Fettig)! This is a project which went much faster than I anticipated. I wasn't sure that I had the knitting time for a drape-front 4ply cardigan at the moment, but here I am wearing it. (And it's lovely and cosy today too - our office gets chilly as it faces north.)

Breezy - 5

I used some Merino Cashmere Nylon that Jeni at Fyberspates dyed for me many moons ago. It's a lovely variegated blue and green - right up my colour palette street! The pattern is really straightforward, and as a result I worked on it a lot on car journeys and in front of the TV. Even the final rib around the neckband didn't take nearly as long as I had feared. In fact it was the fear of how long it would take that stopped me from working on it over half term. I AM DAFT! More details can be found over on my Ravelry page: Breezy for Me

WIPs update - 1

My Theme and Variation hap (by Veera Välimäki) is coming along nicely (still a WIP though). The final edging is slow going as the number of stitches increases dramatically, and there are two slipped stitch rows (for the secret stripes) that don't contribute to the depth of the hap. So it feels like it's not much bigger than when I last photographed it. But that's an illusion, and I mustn't lose momentum! I'm well on track to finish this before the end of term, which is great as it's a present for a very special teacher who deserves each and every stitch of this. I'm using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Raspberry Cordial and Logwood colourways. Anj at Meadow Yarn was particularly helpful when I was choosing shades, and I've really enjoyed knitting it up. I'm coming to the end of the first skein of Raspberry Cordial, but won't need very much of the second to complete the edging. More details on my Ravelry page here: Whoops I cast on a hap!

WIPs update - 6

I've made more progress than I anticipated on my Islay cardigan (by Gudrun Johnston - last time it was on the blog I had only done the ribbing). Hurrah! I'm about to start work on the charts, which should help me to plough through the rest of the body. The KAL for this ends on the 1st July, so I'm not sure that I will be finished by then, but my attempt won't be too bad. I should be onto sleeves I would imagine (well, that's unless I get distracted by other things...). I'm using some beautiful Buachaille in Between Weathers that Kate generously gave me for my birthday, and it is such a joy to work with - all the best bits about proper wool (bounce! spring!) and soft too. I'm knitting this to go with the summer dress I sewed earlier in the year, and I'm so looking forward to wearing them together. Full details on my Ravelry page: Islay

Alfrick - 1 Pawkie - 1 Unfinished Golden Wheat

I've made no progress at all on my Alfrick socks, Pawkie (it needs a pair!) or my Golden Wheat shawl (ahem!). But that's actually probably a good thing. If I'm going to finish things, I need to focus and make progress on one or two projects, rather than trying to do all of them at the same time.

WIPs update - 4

Having cast off two projects, it seemed perfectly reasonable to cast on a new one! I recently started to help Martina Behm as a moderator in her new International Strickmich group on Ravelry, so it seemed only right that I should cast on one of her designs to celebrate this! I'm making Fractal Danger out of a deep-stash Sushi Roll from EasyKnits. The colours are gorgeous, and I'm going to work from light to dark, and back out to light again. This is one of those brilliant designs where it's simple enough to memorise, and I can (more or less) work safely on it while chatting at knitting group, without fear of having to unknit everything when I get home again. This is what I'm working on when I'm too tired to do anything else - it's the ideal soothing project. More information here: Fractal Danger

So that is The State of the WIPs! I don't think I have anything else lurking in a project bag anywhere... I know that by many people's standards, I've not got that much on the go, but I do like to take stock and simplify from time to time. Hopefully I'll be back in a few weeks to report that I've finished my Theme and Variation hap and my Islay cardigan. Then perhaps I can cast on another project from The Book of Haps...

Do you have lots of projects on the go? Or do you prefer monogamy in your knitting?

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Images © Jen Arnall-Culliford

FO: Another pair of Daves

Apologies for the radio silence... Work got busy and home has been busy too. There simply aren't enough hours in the day sometimes! Anyway, I figured it was better to knit and have something to blog about when my time was less limited, than to try to write, but have no material!

Here are the next pair of Daves:

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This is a pair of Dave socks, from Rachel Coopey's latest book, Coop Knits Socks volume 2. I've made them from a lovely skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, which Rachel gifted to me a while back. They are the most incredible shade of zingy lime green, with shots of blue, teal and purple. I may never take them off.

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This truly may well be the year of the Daves... I already have yarn wound ready for the next pair! This time it's some beautiful Lorna's Laces that another friend gave me for Christmas last year.

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There's something about the gentle simplicity of Daves - the perfect soothing project. Thanks Rachel!

WIP: Everybody needs a Dave

I believe that I've written a few times about how much I love knitting plain socks. They are the perfect portable project, and don't require too much concentration when you're low on energy. Rachel Coopey's new book, CoopKnits Socks Volume 2 contains a plain sock pattern called Dave. I love the name Dave. One day I'd like to have a cat called Dave!

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I'm really enjoying my second pair of Dave socks. They have a lovely deep ribbed cuff, and a slipstitch heel flap. I'm using a skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in a great zingy lime green, with flashes of teal and purple. It's a mill ends skein and there are a couple of broken sections - perfect for contrast toes on another sock perhaps...

I'm trying hard to maintain my monogamy on this project, but another POP! Cardigan is biting hard on its heels as I need to have it done before a week on Friday. There's probably time to finish the socks first, but the little voice in my head would like to get going on the cardigan just in case!

FOs: Snawheid and Dave socks (and notes on knitworthiness)

When you just knit on one thing, it's amazing how much more quickly you finish it! I managed to churn out the plain socks in just over 3 weeks. That's far more impressive than the 6 months it took me to make my Betula socks - simply down to polygamy of projects...

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Here they are, blocking on my steel sock blockers (I got mine from Loop), and hanging on the curtain rail in the living room. I used the Dave sock pattern from Rachel Coopey's new book, Coop Knits Socks vol 2. I will tell you more about the book in a future post, as I had the pleasure of editing it, hence the head start on knitting from the pattern.

You may remember that I was knitting these for a very special teacher. And actually, they aren't the only thing I've knitted for this teacher. Just before Christmas I knitted up a Snawheid (by Kate Davies) for her as well. Here's a picture of it blocking, before I added a fluffy TOFT alpaca pompom to it:

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I regularly get asked to knit things for people, and I almost always say no. I tend to explain that knitting is like sex - if I love you it's free, but if I don't there's no amount you could pay me to do it!

So how is it that this teacher has ended up with two lovely projects in such a short space of time? Well, she has gone above and beyond, and repeatedly proved herself to be thoroughly knitworthy. How did she do that? First up, she didn't ask. I wanted to make something for her, and we chatted about what she might like (I threatened to knit something hideous if she didn't provide some pointers!!). She was very respectful of the amount of time it takes to knit a gift. Many people assume that it's quick. It really isn't (as I'm sure most of you know!). She has been a very important person to our family. She helped me to grow in confidence as a parent, and she goes above and beyond to ensure that our kids are as happy as possible at school. We really couldn't have asked for a better teacher, and as such I wanted to thank her in the most meaningful way I could. I don't know of a better way that this. As a knit recipient she has also aced it on all levels - I see her wearing them. Daft I know, but I get a sense of loss when I give away a project I've enjoyed making. I don't expect people to wear things I've made when we're meeting up, just to prove they wear them, but it is lovely to see those projects again, and to know they are being enjoyed (and not languishing in a drawer waiting for BEST).

So there we go. Two projects in just a few months for a really special teacher. Who do you knit for? And why?

The monotony of monogamy

It's not very interesting to blog about really. I'm being monogamous. I'm talking about my relationship with my knitting of course... I've cleared the decks and I'm focussing on one thing at a time.

Just now I'm working on the plain vanilla socks for the most knitworthy teacher I've ever met. And I'm just knitting on the socks.

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It makes for deathly dull blogging, but really, it's exactly what I need. Nothing too exciting. Just churning through the sections. Cuff done. Tick. Leg done. Tick. Heel flap done. Tick.

I'm on to the second sock now, and working through the gusset decreases. It won't be long before I catch a glimpse of the end. The grafting together of the toe stitches. The sweet joy of another finished project, and then the delight of the next one.

Like I said. Not very interesting, but it's providing me with the soothing rhythm I need right now.

WIP: Blue tit socks

Twitter, twitter... My socks are chirruping just like the birds in the garden!

Blue tits

I can't remember exactly when I cast on these socks, but this picture was taken last week on 4th June. And look how quickly they are knitting up...

Blue tits1

That sock was finished yesterday afternoon at the park, and sock two is already on my needles! There's something about stripes that keeps me just knitting a few more rounds. It's unstoppable!

This yarn (West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in Country Birds) hasn't even been sitting in my stash for very long, as a quick trawl back through the blog reveals that I bought it in April. I'm doing really well this year at knitting more yardage than I'm buying. I talked about doing the Knit the Queue challenge last year, and in the end I don't think I really knitted anything from my queue. However, this year, it just seems to be working! I finished a few projects, and finally got around to casting on a few that I had been meaning to make for ages. I should really head over to the Ravelry group and post about it... Or I could just knit a few more rounds on those socks...