The joy of sox

Bad title pun intended – sorry!

I have joined the pilgrimage that many others before me have travelled. What is it about knitting socks that is so addictive and inspiring. I am a complete babe in the woods – one pair of small child socks, three pairs of baby socks, and currently in the midst of the second sock of my first adult pair – but I already want to design my own sock patterns. Half the saved tabs in my browser window are sock knitting tips. So to add to the plethora out there here is my two cents worth on the joy of sox (my mother often wrote socks this way – think it may have been a shorthand trick).

eye of partridge stitchI have stumbled across Kate Atherley and highly recommend her Toe-Up versus Top-Down post. With my nascent sock knitting this is a great reminder that you need to try the various combinations to see what suits you. That is simple but stellar advice. My personal tip is to start with a pair of child or baby socks in a DK yarn. The socks knit very quickly as you are learning and practicing the techniques. I am going to do that for trialling toe-up, so far I have only knitted top-down.

I am totally in love with the eye of partridge stitch for the back of the heel (aka the heel flap). If you have not tried this stitch before here is a link. It creates a lattice effect.

alegria manos del uruguayI have already purchased the next yarn for my next pair of socks – yep mine, for me – I am knitting for me! I have always liked socks and buy fun, brightly coloured pairs. I do not wear through socks quickly so they can last for years. Even if I only make two pairs of socks for myself a year, over time I would end up with a fabulous collection. Anyway how gorgeous is this yarn? It is the Alegria range, from Manos del Uruguay which I purchased from the lovely Morris & Sons in Melbourne. I am also going to be trialling a different pair of needles. My first pair of adult socks are currently being knit on a set of Symfonie 2 mm bamboo DPNs , my second pair will be knit on a set of Karbonz 2.25 mm carbon fibre DPNs.

I have scanned lots of other posts and three others that I have read and found helpful are one about needles, one about avoiding ladders on DPNs, and one about socks in general. And will I be trying out my own pattern with the Alegria, you betcha! Something small to aid the time passing in the knitting of the foot.

In lieu of a post

A quote struck me the the other day,

“Don’t play hard to get, play hard to forget”

This really appeals to me, I am not sure why it does, maybe it is because I like to be memorable in general! Looked it up tonight and it is a quote from Drake.

I will be easy to forget if I do not get back to this blog, hopefully a real post to follow in the near future. Until then…

New from old blanket

In the kiwi vernacular I would say, “I suck the big kumara“, given the almighty gap between this post and my previous post. However I believe that for once the underlying cause is genuine. In about two months I will be relocating to Queenstown, New Zealand. (Do not get distracted, this is a post about about blankets, forget about Queenstown for now!)

Other than to be aware that at some point in the future we will have a large outdoor patio. To go with that patio I envisage we will need some hand knitted blankets for those days you want to be outside but there is a chill in the air. Given the speed of my knitting and that the number of blankets needed will be greater than one, I am starting the first blanket now; a Melbourne conception with what will ultimately be a NZ birth feels exactly right. For the first blanket I am copying inspired by one of The Twisted Yarn’s blog posts from 2014 (you can see why I am starting now!), an Arne and Carlos blanket. I love the idea of using up left over bits of wool. Way back when I used to sew I had the intention of making a quilt from everything I had sewn, a kind of memory of clothes and events. Great idea – never did it – though I did start. Quite fittingly I am starting this blanket with yarn I bought to knit a cardigan for my daughter. I went gang busters on the knitting doing a frill for the first time ever but never got around to finishing the cardigan (any bells ringing here?!). Of course I am hoping it is not an ill omen to use this wool to start the blanket. I am coupling it with the left over (yes you read that right!) gorgeous green yarn I bought in Hokitika last Christmas and my quickest ever completed project. I think that combo of never finished and finished the quickest balances out!

And for those of you still thinking about Queenstown, the photo at the end of this post is actually our land. There may be more written about this in the future!

arne carlos blanket

The first blanket is underway

Lemon honey in the city

Living in a big city naturally means you do not have an acre of land. We are lucky in that we have a courtyard, and it gets sun in the summer. You have heard me wax lyrical about basil pesto before. Well now it is the turn of some humble lemons. One of our first purchases was a lemon and lime tree – a graft obviously, though we only seem to get lemons. I had visions of limes for gin and tonic in the summer when we bought the tree! The last batch of lemons ended up as frozen lemon juice thanks to the mother-out-of-law. For some unknown reason I have always wanted to have a go at making Lemon Honey (which is known as lemon butter in the Australian vernacular as I found out) and for some random reason this late batch of lemons (code for I thought I had better take them off the tree as spring was here!) inspired me. While I was tempted to give them the same fate as their predecessors I went to every kiwi’s cooking bible (the Edmonds Cook Book) and the making of lemon honey appeared reasonably straightforward. What was quirky was a couple of day’s later I picked up the October Child magazine (a great freebie) and in there was an article on their tried and true cookbooks and there first was the good old Edmonds cook book. I could not have agreed more that day, fresh from my successful foray. And it made me smile, especially when we think of modern cook books full of fabulous colour photos – this cook book is the original real deal, the entire recipe for the the lemon honey stretches to about two centimetres, and there are four other recipes sharing the page. You know what though – the lemon honey turned out just so. I am even giving the small jar to a friend, not that she knows it yet, but she thought my first jam attempt was more than ok, so I am willing to risk her opinion again! If you have some lemons going spare, can I suggest a batch of lemon honey…

Current definition of old dog…

… new tricks!

I did my first ever crochet chain on the weekend – high fives, champagne, streamers! I have wanted to learn for years, and for some reason on the weekend I had the gumption to give it a go. I think this was fuelled by the fact that what I was making simply required a single chain. Not a perfect chain, but I think pretty good for a beginner. Yay me!

crochet north melbourne

Made in North Melbourne, still going strong

It has been a long time, perhaps two years, since I have made mention of my Etsy shop. To be fair there has been a lot happening, and the blog and the Etsy store are kind of separate identities, albeit with a passing reference to each other.

However there has been a flurry of activity this year. My sales are at an all time high – there has been three this year! A scarf and two recycled bracelets have sold. Of course insufficient to generate a living income but the excitement of someone buying something you have made is unbelievably rewarding. My new sock fetish has now made its way into my shop and I am in the process of knitting baby and toddler socks for my Made in North Melbourne brand.

Speaking of socks I have this week made the most fabulous purchase, the Sock Ruler®, the invention of one Denise in California. I am only a beginner sock knitter and so all you guns out there may laugh, but I find it a tad awkward when trying to accurately measure the length of my work in progress socks. No longer. My Sock Rulers arrived in the mail on Friday and were used today – utterly brilliant. If you live in Australia the place to get them is Kathys Fibres in Adelaide – she is very friendly by email; if you are in another part of the world the stockists can be found here. That gorgeous blue sock yarn below I purchased in April 2015 with the intent of making my first pair of socks. After two and a half years I am least pleased to say that I am knitting the very first pair of socks for me! And the afore mentioned first use of the Sock Ruler® was on the cuff of the first sock. I look forward to showing you the finished product.

 

 

 

In the words of another…

…as to why I have not written a blog post recently, and a much needed re-prompt to myself. I have mentioned in the past that I am a bit of a fan of Annabel Langbein, and earlier this year there was an article about her in the NZ Women’s Weekly. It resonated strongly, and I wanted to share some of that with you, it has only taken me five months – says it all really!

There were so many points she made, that made me go, yes, yes exactly, it is not just me. Of course I cannot copy them all here. The four highlights from the article for me, and words we can all heed are:

  • There have been many nights where she found herself still working at 3 am and thought, “What on earth am I doing?
  • “I am lucky that I am blessed with a lot of energy, but doesn’t mean I should work 16 hours a day.” 
  • “When I first had children I thought I had to be superwoman and keep going – I thought if I got off the bus for even a short time, my life would be over”
  • “Now I know that being flat-out busy shouldn’t be the rhythm of your life. I like to take analogies from nature… plants don’t flower all year round. You don’t have to be on G for Go all the time”

It has been a little crazy busy on the work front for me of late, part time work with more life balance.. humph! I have lots of energy and have worked to the silly time in the morning mentioned above more than once recently. Anyway this is my reminder to get back in balance. If you needed one, hope this helps you.

slow down north melbourne