Wednesday 26 May 2021

Marathon Sock KAL 2021: We've done it!

A little under two months ago, I started the Marathon Sock KAL, a cummulative effort to turn a Marathon's worth of sock yarn into socks, and I am delighted to announce that WE'VE DONE IT! One marathon’s worth of sock yarn turned into 163 pairs of socks! Thank you to everyone who has taken part!

Previous Marathon's have varied hugely in length, but this one has been the quickest by far. It has been delightful looking at everyone's socks as they've come off the needles. I have been staggered by just how quickly some knitters have converted yarn into socks (there are several entrants who have contributed more than 5 pairs!).

If, like me, you've still got socks on the needles, don't worry. You can add them to the count until the end of May 31st, so keep on knitting. And yes, I do still have to finish my #SockSprint socks, so if you want me, I’ll be working on those… I’ll announce the winners at the start of June.

 Missed out on this year's Marathon? Don't worry, I fully intend running it again next year!

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Sock Yarn and Chocs

What have chocolates got to do with yarn? Well, Carrie at Peak District Yarns has started a yarn club with a difference: you get sock yarn and amazing artisan chocolates! 

The first packages for the Sock Yarn and Chocs club went out at the end of April, and Carrie chose me as the featured designer. Look how good my Three Sirens Socks look in the club yarn! Love this colourway, you can buy it now at Peak District Yarns via the ‘I hate surprises’ page. 

I was lucky enough to get to sample the chocolates, hand made in the Peak District by Yohan’s Chocolate Shop, and they were truly scrumptious (they didn’t last long!).

If Sock Yarn and Chocs sounds like your sort of thing, you can sign up via Peak District Yarns; you can sign up for a one off box, or three boxes, or six. Boxes are sent out every other month. This round of sign-ups closes on June 16th 2021, subject to availability.

If you find yourself in the Peak District, Carrie has a studio and shop where you can go and squish the yarn. Carrie also runs a full timetable of yarn-related workshops, where you can try your hand at yarn dyeing, sock knitting or needle felting.

Carrie’s is also one of the stops on the Peak District Yarn Trail, a self-guided tour round some of the finest yarn shops in the Peak District, a perfect weekend plan for knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers and fibre artists. The area is also perfect for walking, and you could even add a visit to Chatsworth, a truly impressive stately home in the heart of the Peak District.

 Images copyright Peak District Yarns.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Marathon Sock KAL 2021 prizes

I know you’re knitting socks for the Marathon Sock KAL because you love knitting socks, but do you need an extra incentive to push you to the finish line? I’ve pulled together five prize packages for the KAL; keep reading to find out what you could win.

Prize package one*

A copy of Second Drawer Down by Verity Castledine and two skeins of Coop Knits Socks Yeah 4ply, kindly donated by The Yarn Dispensary


Prize package two

One ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the colourway Rum Paradise and a set of 2mm addiCraSyTrio needles, kindly donated by The Yarn Dispensary


Prize package three

A hand-beaded sock stitch marker, kindly donated by Jens Crafty Charms, and a skein of DK sock yarn by Rainbow Fusions DK


Prize package four

A hand-beaded sock stitch marker, kindly donated by Jens Crafty Charms, and two balls of Stylecraft Head Over Heels 4ply


Prize package five

A hand-beaded sock stitch marker, kindly donated by Jens Crafty Charms, and two balls of Stylecraft Head Over Heels 4ply


The fun doesn’t stop there: all winners will also receive a sock pattern of their choice from Yarnesty’s** self-published designs (kindly donated by Anna Friberg of Yarnesty), a sock pattern of their choice from Vikki Bird Designs self-published designs, and an exclusive black and silver Marathon Sock KAL 2021 patch (designed and made by ErisApple).


Carl the Typographer** by Anna Friberg; image copyright Yarnesty

Three Sirens Socks** by Vikki Bird Designs

Want to find out more about the Marathon Sock KAL? All the details can be found here. All entries must be in by the end of May 31st 2021.

*This prize was assigned to the Sock Sprint at the start of the KAL and was won by aafke.

**Ravelry link.

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Don't forget your knitting!

Here in England, our lives are slowly returning to something closer to normality than we’ve been living through recently. Most adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine, we can now meet friends outside for a drink, pop to the shop to pick up some non-essential items, and my children are back at school.

Unfortunately, after such a long time being at home, I have forgotten how to prepare to leave the house! I no longer automatically pack a knitting project and a book, just in case, but an incident last week reminded me just how useful these things can be. The COVID-security rules at our local pool during my children’s swimming lessons are pretty comprehensive, and digital devices are not allowed poolside, so I was very relieved that I happened to have grabbed both a book and some knitting as I left the house! While a few of the other adults had a book to read, several were sat twiddling their thumbs, while I happily propped a book on my knee, and read while knitting my sock. Two half-hour sessions of uninterrupted knitting and reading time is my idea of heaven!


What projects make good out of the house knitting?


My go-to grab-and-go knitting project is socks. I always use magic loop, so I don’t have to worry about dropping a needle anywhere and not being able to retrieve it. I tend to limit myself to socks that are knitted from a single ball so there’s no risk of a second ball of yarn trying to escape from my bag!

Vanilla socks (socks with no patterning) are ideal, or simple socks that you’ve memorised the pattern for – I don’t have to look at my phone for the pattern, or wrestle a pile of paper on a too-small chair with no table. I can even knit at the cinema if I stick to afterthought heel socks! I can knit away without having to stop to add the heel – I usually have a pair of afterthought heel socks in self-striping yarn on the go for moments when I don’t want to have to concentrate.

Best of all, because socks don’t usually require more than one ball of yarn, I don’t have to take out a bigger bag just to fit my knitting in, and after many years of carrying a changing bag round with me, I am very grateful that I can now fit everything I need in a shoulder bag!


Sweater backs and sleeves

When I am knitting intarsia sweaters, I don’t ever take the intarsia portion out of the house with me. I love intarsia, but the bobbins don’t fit neatly in a bag, and one will always run out at the wrong moment. I do take the other parts of the sweaters out with me to work on when I’m out and about though. Sweater backs are the most straightforward part to work on, especially if they don’t have any shaping, but sleeves also work well. I do find that bits of sweaters fit better in my bag if I work them on circular needles – just use the tips to work back and forth as you would on straight needles. You can fold the cable in half when you pack up and the project will fit in your bag more easily. Using circular needles also avoids elbowing the person sitting next to you!

How can I keep my project safe?

I keep all my projects in individual project bags. I like bags that seal either with a drawstring or a zip so the project is kept clean while it’s in my bag. My favourite out and about bags are those where the top can be folded down so the yarn can sit in its makeshift yarn bowl without escaping across the floor, or into a swimming pool or sand pit. I have many project bags, and they are all distinct, so I know which project is in which bag and I can grab it at a moment’s notice. My family are used to me referring to projects in terms such as ‘the sloth one’, even if the project itself has nothing to do with sloths!

When you have to get up, always remember to seal the project into the bag, otherwise you may find that when you next come to work on it, it will have gained something sticky from the bottom of your bag, or snagged on your keys.

Have you had a chance to knit while out and about yet this year? What do you like to work on when you’re out of the house?

Want a new out of the house cast-on?

Need to cast on a new project for out and about knitting? Why not try my Siren Song socks? The pattern is easy to memorise, and only takes a single skein of yarn. Prefer intarsia? The Unicorn of the Sea Sweater (Ravelry link, also available on LoveCrafts – affiliate link) has a plain backs and sleeves that you can knit while you’re out, and you can concentrate on the intarsia portion when you’re home and can safely wrestle some bobbins!


Happy knitting!