Thursday 21 February 2019

Fashionably late (Yarn Along February 2019)

Last weekend I went to visit my sister, and for a 60 hour weekend away, with a baby, I packed one sock project, a jumper project, a spare 150 g of yarn for the jumper and an extra 100 g of sock yarn *just in case*. I’m pretty sure that makes me an optimist, even if only about the amount I can knit while (1) driving, (2) feeding a baby, (3) sleeping, and (4) entertaining three babies and a preschooler. Perhaps predictably, I didn’t get that much knitting done. I did however, spend a lovely couple of evenings sat feeding my baby in a hotel room and getting into a good book, which was such a treat - I feel like it’s been ages since I last sat down with the specific intention of reading for an evening. With all that in mind, here’s this month’s Yarn Along post, better late than never!

So, what's on my needles? This month I've been joining in with the Lots of Socks KAL in aid of Down Syndrome International (full details can be found here,* but the prize list is amazing and you only have to knit one sock to enter) so have two pairs of socks on the needles. The first pair are three-quarters done and are fabulously pink! The yarn is King Cole Zig Zag, in the colourway Pinks. The colour is not one I would typically go for, but is so marvellously cheery that it's perfect for February.  I'm using a pattern from Kate Atherley's Custom Socks - Basic Ribbed Socks - and am planning on knitting several pairs of socks to this pattern over the next few months for a project I'll talk about once I have the first few pairs off the needles.

The second pair of socks is a bit slower as the pattern (Galiano Socks by Tracie Millar) is a tiny bit more complicated (though not that complicated in the scheme of things - there is some texture and a cable or lace round for two rounds out of eight). I'm knitting the socks in a sparkly brown sock yarn from a Knit Crate from November. Again, not my usual colour, but the shades and tones are so rich that I'm enjoying every stitch.

The jumper I mentioned is for the This One's for Me KAL* that I'm running in my Ravelry group, and is a Bright Above Me jumper in Drops Karisma. It's my first top-down colourwork-yoked jumper and I will confess to finding the pattern a challenge: the floats are looooooong, and that combined with the increases is hard work. I think that’s why I gave up at the weekend and opted for reading over knitting, but once the colourwork is done the rest of the jumper is rounds and rounds of stocking stitch, which I can do while feeding, so I’m quietly optimistic I might get this done in time to wear to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.**

The book that grabbed my attention at the weekend was Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher. Liz has been with Ian for 10 years, and is expecting him to propose while they're on holiday in Dubai. Instead he tells her the relationship is over, and she embarks on a quest to find out who she is now she is no longer 'Liz and Ian'. Yes, it's an easy read, but that seems to be what I need at the minute!

Are you favouring knitting or reading at the minute? Any recommendations for reading for tired eyes?

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

*Ravelry link. You need to be a member of Ravelry for this link to work. Membership is free.

**I’ll be there on the Saturday. I don’t have an advance ticket, so you might see me in the queue! If I’m not wearing a jumper with stars round the yoke, assume I didn’t finish it, and that sleep won over knitting...

Monday 11 February 2019

For one day only: all sock patterns have 50% off!

I hope you're all enjoying the Lots of Socks KAL! Today is my promotion day, and I'm offering 50% off all my self-published sock patterns on Ravelry, just add the patterns you'd like to the basket and use the code LOTSOFSOCKS. The code is valid from 12 midnight until 11.59pm on Monday 11th February 2019 Eastern Time (GMT -5, i.e. 5am Monday 11th February to 4.59am Tuesday 12th February UK time). As the KAL is in aid of Down Syndrome International, all profits* from any sock pattern sold during the sale period will be donated to Down Syndrome International.  

Amy socks

Haven't heard about the Lots of Socks KAL? Then read on... 

I'm very excited to announce that I am a participating designer in the Lots of Socks knitalong (KAL)** being organised by Lisa Ross of Paper Daisy Creations, and running from February 1st until March 21st 2019.  

Have you heard of the #lotsofsocks initiative? On March 21st every year, people are encouraged to wear two different brightly coloured socks to highlight the uniqueness of individuals with Down syndrome and to show their support for the Down syndrome community. Why March 21st? People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, so the date 3/21 was selected. Lisa designed the Lots of Socks KAL to create LOTS of socks, and at the same time generate support and awareness for a great cause!  

Lynda socks

What does the KAL involve?  
Starting on February 1st, cast-on ANY sock design from ANY of the participating designers (no works in progress, sorry! The list of desiogners can be found here.). For each single sock that gets knitted (this might be the perfect opportunity to finish up some lonely socks...), you will get an entry for prizes. If you use yarn from one of the sponsors (a list of sponsors can be found here**), you will get an extra entry. When you finish your sock, post a photo of it in the FO thread, remembering to include the pattern name, designer, and yarn used. If you used sponsor yarn, include a photo of the ball band or tag to get a bonus entry.  

Lisa will keep a running list of sock entries in the prize thread. After the KAL has ended (on March 21st), prizes will be drawn based on the entries listed (if you've finished some socks but they haven't been included on the list of entries, send a message to Lisa before the end of the KAL).  

On March 21, 2019 (World Down Syndrome Day), be sure to wear your socks and spread the word! You can post your socks on Instagram using the following three hashtags #lotsofsocksKAL, #lotsofsocks, and #WorldDownSyndromeDay AND tag @paperdaisycreations. You might also want to tag the designer and include hashtags #WDSD19 and #LeaveNoOneBehind.  

When you're knitting your socks for the KAL, feel free to make the socks your own: you're allowed to modify patterns from toe-up to cuff-down and vice versa, switch out heels and toes to your favourites, or to make modifications for fit. However, you must use the minimum stitch count listed in the pattern and at least 25g of sock yarn for a single sock.  

Sara Elin socks

What could I win? 
Lisa has done an amazing job of sourcing prizes for the KAL, and you could win all sorts of amazing yarn-related goodies and patterns, including a £100 gift card to Countess Ablaze, project bags and special skeins galore! The full list of prizes can be found here.**  

Siren song socks

Where should I head for more details and to join in?  
The KAL is being hosted in Lisa's Ravelry group,** so go there to join the chat and to show off your projects. Of course, it's always possible that you might already own all the sock patterns you want. If you'd like to donate directly to Down Syndrome International, you can do so via their website.  

Susurration socks
Click here to see all the designs on offer today!
Remember to use the code LOTSOFSOCKS

*Sale price minus fees and taxes.  

**Ravelry link; you need to be a member of Ravelry to open this link. Membership is free.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Yarnometer: December 2018

The final month of 2018, and time to see how I’ve done for the year. I managed to get a lot of gift knitting done, and received some beautiful Christmas gifts that I’m looking forward to casting on in 2019.

Projects finished
My friend Faye recently had to give up kitting folllowing a shoulder injury, so I was really pleased to be able to gift her some festive socks in December.

I’d been planning this project for over five years, and this December I finally got round to knitting them. A silly, fiddly project, but the finished jumpers were perfect.

My niece was already six months old by Christmas, so this was a little overdue, but both twins got given their blankets on Christmas Day. Hooray!

Another down to the wire project, this stocking was finished on Christmas Eve (now a tradition as the others got their stockings on the eve of their first Christmas too).

The ins and outs of yarn
Yarn in
  • 100 g of King Cole Zig Zag from a Secret Santa
  • 70 g festive sock set from Pixie Yarns
  • 100 g of stripey sock yarn from my December Sock Crate
  • 300 g Sincerely Louise Triceratops Head kit (they discontinued it, so I had to buy one of the last ones)
  • 900 g Drops Nepal for a Chuck (a Christmas present)
  • 700 g Knit Picks fade kit, destined to become a jumper (another Christmas present)

Yarn out 
  • 350 g Festive Cheer KAL prizes

  • 91 g for socks for Faye
  • 30 g for Harry Potter jumpers
  • 618 g for the bunny blanket
  • 115 g for the stocking 

Yarn in: 2170 g
Yarn out or used: 1204 g
Total: +966 g

Year to date
Yarn in: 29 127 g
Yarn out: 14 491 g
Yarn used: 7007 g
Total: +7629 g

I was really pleased with the projects I got finished in December, and relieved when Christmas arrived and I didn’t have to do any more gift knitting! I’m surprised at just how much yarn passed through my hands this year, and have been thinking about that over the first few weeks of the year - more on that soon.

Saturday 2 February 2019

Elmer the Elephant cushion cover

Once in a while a project opportunity comes up that is just too exciting to refuse! Last summer, while I was heavily pregnant, Kate from Knit Now contacted me asking if I would be interested in designing an Elmer the Elephant cushion cover. I have loved Elmer the Elephant for years: I used to read the books to my sister when she was younger, and I adored Elmer the Elephant's brightly coloured patchwork illustrations. The project wasn't ideally timed, but it really was something I really wanted to be involved with, so I said yes.

I love how the cushion cover turned out: the brightly coloured patches look fantastic in the shades of Patons Extrafine Merino DK* that the pattern is designed for. Of course this is a project that uses a lot of colours in very small amounts, so you could always go stash-diving and use up lots of little leftovers if you don't fancy buying a whole ball of each colour.

The cushion cover is knitted as a strip that is seamed at the end and fastened with buttons (I used a rainbow selection of buttons to tie-in with the colours in Elmer the Elephant). Elmer the Elephant is knitted into the strip using the intarsia technique. I'd encourage you to use intarsia for the project, but if you really don't enjoy intarsia, you could use duplicate stitch onto a plain background instead. The outline is adding at the end using very simple embroidery.

If you want to knit your own Elmer the Elephant cushion, the pattern can be found in issue 98 of Knit Now, which is available in UK shops now. The pattern is within the main magazine, so is available even in international and digital copies. If you can't find a copy locally, why not order a print copy online, or order a digital edition?

Want to add the pattern to your Ravelry queue? The Ravelry pattern page can be found here.

Happy knitting!

*Affiliate link.