Sunday, 26 June 2016

Battenburg Ankle Socks

My latest knitted socks just make me smile every time I look at them. If you've seen my last two knitted socks, which were first yellow and then pink, I mentioned that the wool reminded me of Battenburg cake. Then I realised that I had enough left over for a pair of Battenburg ankle socks. 

I knitted these without a pattern. They are toe up (again because I was worried about my small supply of wool). The only tricky part was to make sure that the check pattern repeats the whole way around the foot. These socks definitely need blocking, as although they look great on my daughter's feet, the carried wool behind meant that they are very cosy, and they looked very puckered when I had first finished knitting them. This also means there is not much stretch in them, and in fact my first attempt had to be undone, because they wouldn't fit even on her little feet. I used a short row heel, and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off

I think they are the sort of socks to relax in with a slice of Battenburg cake.

Is Battenburg cake an English thing? I hadn't really thought about it. In case you have never seen one here is a photo. It is always made in pink and yellow, with a outer case of marzipan. Perhaps I will have a go at baking one from the recipe on this link? 

Friday, 10 June 2016

My Pretty Pink Socks

I continue my sock knitting saga with another pair, and I think the prettiest yet. (Perhaps I can't call myself a novice sock-knitter any more, since this is pair number four.) They are knitted from Stephanie Pollmeier's Double Lace Rib Toe-Up Socks, which I found on ravelry. The pattern appealed to me firstly because the socks remind me of the white school socks that my daughter used to wear to school. I thought that the pink wool that I was planning to use needed a lacey pattern, but with the pattern just containing four rows this did not look too difficult.

While knitting these socks I have learned some techniques that were new to me. The first of which was the provisional cast on. I wasn't even sure what this was, but youtube always comes to the rescue and I found a video that was easy to follow on iknits glossary. I'm sure seasoned sock knitters know all about this, but if you don't it is a method where you cast on using a piece of waste yarn, keeping your cast on stitches live so you can knit on them and also in the other direction. You then can use both sets of stitches to knit in the round, and have a lovely smooth toe to your sock.

My next new technique was the short row heel. Since I use short row turns a lot in my own patterns this was fairly simple, and I quite liked this method since you don't have to pick up stitches from a knitted edge always a bit of a worry whether you are doing it evenly or not.

Knitting from the toe up does seem a good idea, especially if you are a bit uncertain whether you have enough wool. I wanted these sock to be fairly long,.

I hit another problem when I came to casting off. I am not sure if I have chunky calves, but after my first cast off I realised that if they were to fit I would have to cast off much more loosely. With a combination of switching to larger needles for the penultimate row and cast off row, and using this loose cast off method, they now fit perfectly.   

What I love about these socks are that they fit my feet really well. I guess that is one of the advantages about knitting your own socks. Perhaps buying socks will be something I don't do any more. Though they did seem to take me a long time. I only used 84g of wool (which was My First Regia), but with fine wool it feels as if you are never going to get to the end of the ball. 

I am now pondering what to knit next. I still have a yearning (or should I say yarning? ha ha) for some spotty socks, but also have been thinking I may make some for Mr Ginx.  Though when I mentioned this to him, his colour choice seemed to be black, brown or grey. I don't think I will be sticking to that.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Little Teddy Bear

After knitting my big teddy pattern, I had in mind that it might be fun to knit some much smaller teddy bears, using the same techniques. So while all the ideas were still in my head, it seemed like a good idea to crack on with a small teddy pattern. 

These teddy bears are a much quicker knit, only taking 30g of double knit wool. The finished bears are 22cm or 8.5 inches tall when standing. I have used the same methods - knitting all pieces flat, with some short rows to get curves. I have also used toy makers joints (which are easily available), but if you didn't want to do this you could just sew on the head and limbs.
Teddy Family Portrait

I turned away and when I looked back the teddies were doing this ....

... and then this
and finally this ...

What are they like? 

With the joints your teddy can have all sorts of fun. I did consider making them little sweat bands, or even P.E. or ballet outfits.  

Teddy bears out by the strawberry patch.

The pattern is available in all the usual places, ravelry, Etsy, and Loveknitting. I have put a new link to my Loveknitting Shop in the sidebar.