Wednesday, 14 August 2019

WIP Wednesday: 14th August 2019: Cracker joke

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

What goes black, white, black, white, black, white? It’s either a penguin rolling down a hill, or it’s all my current knitting projects!


First up for black and white projects is my sock snake, which is nearing completion. At first I had predicted that I would need the snake to be about 34 inches long, but that was way off, and, having done some maths, I’m now aiming for a much more reasonable 26 inches. The marker is at 20 inches, so there really isn’t much more to go. Once I have a tube of the correct length, I’ll add a pink toe, then go back and add in the other toe, two cuffs and two heels and will have a pair of socks. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve really enjoyed this project, but it has been great summer holiday knitting as it requires precisely no thought once you’ve done the maths to work out how long to make the tube. I’m knitting these socks for my Marathon Sock KAL, which is ongoing in my Ravelry group and on Ravelry. Full details can be found here. The zebra-striped yarn is from Paintbox Yarns,* and was donated for review purposes. Paintbox Yarns have donated several balls of sock yarn as prizes for the KAL, so to be in with a chance of winning a ball, get knitting some socks!


My second black and white project isn’t one I can share, beyond this little peep of some black and white striped stocking stitch. Keep your eyes peeled later in the year to see what these stripes become.


What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: Update: August 2nd 2019

We are one month into the Marathon Sock KAL 2019, and, drumroll please, we have completed 13,504 m of the marathon!


There's still plenty of time to join in. By the next update I might even have managed to finish a pair of socks!

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Want to know more about the Marathon Sock KAL? Keep reading...

Aim
Knit a Marathon's worth of socks: 26.219 miles of sock yarn converted into socks.

Rules

  • Socks must be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • Socks can be knitted or crocheted in any yarn weight
  • All socks must have a proper heel (no yoga or tube socks)
  • The KAL will close once the full 26 miles of yarn have been knitted
  • You must post a photo of your pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread
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*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**26.219 miles = 42 195 m; each of my pairs of socks uses approximately 300 m of yarn (assuming sock weight yarn at 400 m per 100 g)

***Affiliate link

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: 31st July 2019: Was it the same dyelot?

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

This week is a two-project week: one garment and (inevitably) one pair of socks.

The garment is, as you would expect from last week's WIP Wednesday post, my Lush cardigan, and I have made excellent progress: I have completed the collar and yoke, and have separated for the sleeves. I have even sort-of tried it on and I think it fits! Hooray! I am really enjoying this pattern; the construction is very clever without being complicated, and the knitting is very satisfying. I'm not expecting to get the cardigan completed by Woolness this weekend (kids do tend to stop me from spending all my time knitting), but I am certain that I'll have it done by the end of August, just in time for autumn.


The socks are a new cast on (no, I have not finished my sock snake yet). I am knitting these for my aunt, and they were getting a little behind the ideal schedule, so I cast them on late last week and knitted on them all weekend. The first sock was completed by the end of Saturday, and I cast the second one on immediately. I did stall a little when it came to casting on the second sock: I stared at the second ball of yarn (the yarn is Bergere de France Goomy 50,* which comes in 50 g balls) for a good period of time before I realised that it had been wound in the opposite direction to the first. On realising this, I did try to find a centre-pull thread, but couldn't, so gave up and hand-wound the ball before casting on.


I'm working the heel of the second sock, and am a little disappointed that sock two is definitely coming out darker than sock one. I am certain the balls were from the same dyelot (but have lost one ball band, so there's a chance they may not be), so I'm not sure what's going on. Fingers crossed my aunt doesn't mind.

What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: 23rd July 2019: Lush-ious lace

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

This week the summer holidays are in full swing, and I have cast on an indulgent project that I have been meaning to knit for ages: a Lush cardigan. I have been eyeing this pattern by Tin Can Knits ever since it came out (in 2013!), but it's taken until now for it to get to the top of my queue.


The cardigan has a really interesting construction: the lace yoke panel is knitted first (lengthways), then the collar, sleeves and body are picked up and worked from the lace band. I'm knitting mine in West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK, which has been discontinued, so I got it for a bit of a bargain price a few weeks ago.


I cast on the yoke band on Saturday, and it worked up really quickly. So quickly that I finished it on Monday evening! The instructions have you block the band before you pick up the stitches, so I am currently waiting (impatiently) for the band to dry so I can pick up the collar stitches. The lace looks absolutely fabulous, and I cannot wait to get on with the rest of the cardigan.


I had anticipated this cardigan being my 'summer project', which I would knit over the course of the six-week summer holidays, but at the current rate, I'm suddenly optimistic that I might be able to have the cardigan finished in time for me to wear it to Woolness at the start of August. Do you think I can do it?!

What's currently on your needles?

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Tessellate baby blanket: now available on LoveCrafts!

The Tessellate baby blanket is available now in LoveCrafts store!* Haven't heard of LoveCrafts? It's the new combined home of LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet. You can find all my downloadable patterns in my LoveCrafts store.*

The Tessellate baby blanket* (originally published in Knit Now issue 86) is a bold, high contrast design, inspired by patchwork and quilting. The blanket features a strong geometric design created using simple two-colour squares that are knitted on the diagonal – this blanket makes excellent TV knitting, and is a great portable project. You could work the blanket in pastels, as shown, for a really pretty baby blanket, or you could use something brighter and bolder for a more contemporary look.


Unusually for me, this pattern is completely suitable for beginners. All you need to be able to do is knit garter stitch, work simple increases and decreases, and pick up stitches! The project is also perfect for those of you that want an easy project to take along on days out over the summer – as it's worked as individual squares, it'll fit perfectly in your bag among all the other stuff you need for a day out.

The pattern is written for the baby-sized blanket, as shown, but I've also included details on how to make a larger or smaller blanket, and provided diagrams for alternative seaming arrangements, so this blanket is fully customisable.


The original blanket is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection 100% Cotton Aran, which is spun in Lancashire by English Fine Cottons, but you can use any aran weight yarn that is suitable for babies (ideally chose something smooth and machine washable to make it easy for new parents to care for). LoveCrafts doesn't sell Three Bears Yarn, so I've suggested using Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran, which comes in a brilliant array of colours!


Happy knitting!

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Pattern details

Sizes
One size: 93 cm (36.5 in) square

Tension
17 sts and 34 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in garter stitch worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts (for the blanket as shown; options are included to make a larger or smaller blanket):
A (white): 285 m (310 yds)
B (light blue): 285 m (310 yds)
C (light purple): 160 m (175 yds)

Needles
5 mm (US 8) straight needles at least 25 cm (10 in) in length
5 mm (US 8) circular needle at least 60 cm (24 in) in length

Notions
Tapestry needle

Sample details
The sample is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection Aran (aran, 85 m per 50 g ball, 100% cotton) in Pure White (A), Baby Blue (B) and Purple Delight (C).

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: July 17th 2019: Sock snake

Hello, welcome to WIP Wednesday, my weekly look at what’s currently on my needles.

Sometimes I find that all my works in progress stall simultaneously: a swatch will need blocking, intarsia requires more attention than I have available, my vanilla sock needs a heel; and I end up with nothing easy to work on. This past weekend was busy, and all of my WIPs had reached points that require attention. Rather than go on a long car journey with no knitting, I cast on a simple tube, or a sock snake. I cast on 68 sts and knitted round and round as the miles passed by. No patterning, and no ribbing, heels or toes to get in the way (I can knit without looking, but doing anything more complex in the car makes me feel sick). Once I’ve knitted roughly 34 inches of sock snake, I’ll change to a contrast colour and work a toe, then go back and pick up stitches for the heels, toes and cuffs of both socks. I’m currently thinking a bright pink would look good, or maybe a turquoise - I’ll have a rummage in the stash when I get closer to the end.

Zebra-striped knitted sock-tube and ball of yarn surrounded by peach flowers

I’m really enjoying this sock snake, at least in part because of the yarn, which is dyed to knit as zebra stripes! The yarn is Paintbox Yarns Socks* in the colourway Zebra - Classic, and was gifted to me by LoveCrafts. This sock will be counted towards the totals for the Marathon Sock KAL once it’s done. The KAL started on July 1st and runs until we’ve knitted a full 26 miles of sock yarn! Full details can be found in my Ravelry group.** LoveCrafts have kindly sponsored some of the prizes, so I have lots of balls of Paintbox Yarns Socks to give away at the end of the KAL.

Zebra-striped knitted tube surrounded by peach flowers

What are you working on this week? Let me know in the comments below, or link to your blog

*Affiliate link.
**Ravelry link; you must be logged in to Ravelry to view this link.

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The yarn used in this sock snake was gifted to me by LoveCrafts.* All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: July 10th 2019: Watermelon wonders

I thought I’d change things up a little on the blog, so hello, and welcome to the first Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday post. Fingers crossed, this will be the first of a weekly series looking at whatever is on my needles on a Wednesday. Feel free to join in - if you write a post on your own blog, link to it in the comments and I’ll be sure to read it; alternatively, you can just tell me what you’re working on in the comments.

I seem to have a real thing for sock-knitting this year: I posted a few weeks ago about having finished ten pairs this year, and the sock-mojo is still strong. My current sock project is unusual for me in two ways: (1) the socks are made in a cotton yarn; and (2) they’re shortie socks.


I hadn’t planned on knitting shortie, cotton socks this summer (or ever!), but when I was with my friend Lynda a few weeks ago she came across some lovely-looking watermelon-striped sock yarn online and asked if I wanted some ordering as well. When the yarn arrived we were both a little surprised as we were expecting the yarn to be Regia’s standard 75% wool, 25% nylon blend, but this is a mix of cotton, polyamide and polynitrile. Rather than return the yarn, I decided to challenge myself to knitting some summer shortie socks to wear with my canvas shoes.


I did have a brief browse of shortie sock patterns on Ravelry, but got a little overwhelmed and decided to cast on 64 sts as usual and knit a cuff and just a few rounds for the legs before working the heel. I am really enjoying knitting these shortie socks. Obviously they’re quicker than standard socks as you get to the heel pretty much immediately. The yarn is knitting up really smoothly, so I keep stopping to admire the beautifully even stitches (a process that is slowing me down a little!), but I have almost completed one sock and I don’t think the other will be far behind.


I’m pretty certain I will have enough yarn for a second pair of shortie socks from this ball. Have you ever knitted shortie socks before? Are there any patterns you would recommend?

That’s me, now it’s your turn: what are you working on this Wednesday?