Wednesday 23 June 2021

My also-ran Marathon Sock KAL project

At the start of April I cast on my first pair of Marathon Sock KAL socks, aiming to finish the pair in a week. I started with enthusiasm, but they fell by the wayside after a few days when I had knitted just under half a sock.

At the time, I couldn’t work out why I had abandoned my sock sprint socks, but there is always a reason. I was enjoying knitting the pattern, and it looked stunning in the yarn I had chosen (a bold variegated yarn by Felt Fusion). I picked up the socks again last week to work on them, and added a couple of repeats, the heel flap and half the gusset.

I got an odd feeling while I knitted the gusset, and kept staring at the socks, trying to work out what was wrong. I loved them, but there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on... I was knitting my usual stitch count, on my usual needles, but hadn’t checked gauge before I cast on, and certainly not in pattern, and the sock was coming out too small. I think I had known for a while, but I only acknowledged this after knitting the heel!

What were my options? I could finish them for someone with smaller feet, but the legs are too long, so I’d need to rip back, and that’s a bit of a pain in pattern. Also, this yarn is stunning, and I had chosen it especially to be turned into socks for me, rather than gift socks.

You can guess what I did: I ripped them back and rewound the yarn. I’m planning on casting them on again soon, and have made sure to leave myself a note to cast on the larger size!

What do you do when your socks turn out too small?

Pattern is Three Sirens Socks, you can find full details here.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Izzy, wizzy, let's get busy! Sooty cardigan and blanket

Did you know that Sooty has been on TV screens for over 70 years? I wonder whether any of the current children’s television programmes will be as recognisable in 70 years as they are today? If you have fond childhood memories of Sooty that you want to share with your children or grandchildren, I have a real treat for you: let me introduce, the Sooty cardigan and blanket set!

Both items in the set use intarsia to incorporate Sooty’s face and magic hat. I added a lot of the smaller details using duplicate stitch, which saved me quite a lot of tangles!

The cardigan is knitted flat and seamed, and is written for five sizes [0-3 (3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24) months]. The blanket is knitted flat on a long circular needle, and comes in three sizes [small (medium, large)].

Both items are knitted in King Cole Merino Blend DK,* which is a superwash pure wool yarn. I love using it for baby knits because it comes in lots of colours, blocks well, and is machine washable. The pattern is written to a standard DK gauge though, so if you prefer using acrylic, why not look at King Cole Pricewise DK* instead?

The patterns can be found in the Joyful Baby Knits with Sooty Supplement that comes with issue 130 of Knit Now magazine, which goes on sale today.**

Want to add the patterns to your Ravelry favourites or queue? You can find the patterns here:



Don’t want to hunt the shops for a copy? You can order a print copy online here (while stocks last).

*Affiliate link.

**Note that for copyright reasons, the supplement is only available with UK print editions of the magazine. If the patterns take your fancy, make sure you pick up a copy now!

***Ravelry link: may affect people with photosensitivity; proceed with caution.

All images copyright Practical Publishing, used with permission.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

My Marathon Socks 2021

How many pairs of socks did you knit during this year’sMarathon Sock KAL? The KAL only lasted under two months this year (technically only 49 days!), which is much quicker than in previous years, so I was pretty pleased to manage to get three pairs knitted (nothing compared to the person who knitted 16 pairs during the challenge!).


Pair one: Pretty in pink!

I cast this pair on during the first weekend of the sock KAL, using some very pretty Easter-themed yarn (the pale pink yarn) from Cuddlebums, with some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Sarsaparilla as the contrast (the darker pink). The Easter yarn was part of a sock set, with 50 g of the pale pink, and a 20 g contrast skein. I struggle a bit with sock sets as my feet are quite large, and I prefer my socks to be on the longer side, so generally need roughly 75-85 g of yarn for a pair of socks.

I did initially cast on the sock set to make a pair of vanilla socks, but I realised quite quickly that I would prefer adding some extra pink rather than the green that came in the set, so hunted through my stash and started again.

I was in the mood for knitting something a little bit different, had bought the Hygge socks pattern by Nordic Stitches* a while ago, and it fitted the bill with just the right level of interest. I didn’t really follow the pattern (it’s only written for one size), just used the slipped stitch panel from it on my standard vanilla socks. If I did them again, I would double wrap every other stitch on Row 2 to make the slipped stitches longer – the slipped stitch panel pulls in really badly vertically, so the socks look like bananas when you lie them flat! They are ok once on the feet though.

These socks added 337 m to the Marathon total.


Pair two: Dark Side

I love Knit Picks Felici yarn,** and cast on socks in it when I want a mindless treat knit. This batch of Felici came from a destash and I was so pleased to get my hands on it. I cast the socks on during a weekend in April when we had snow (!), and they made me feel all warm and cosy.

The rainbow in the yarn is not a complete rainbow, so I thought I’d jazz it up a bit with an extra contrast colour for the heels. I was torn between orange and pink, but chose the pink because it was already leftovers (from the first pair of Marathon socks; and I didn’t fancy getting the ball winder out!). I love how they turned out!). I used some Novita Venla in Charcoal because I wasn’t confident that I could get the whole toe out of the charcoal stripe in the Felici.

These socks are destined for Socks for WMAS, who are collecting socks for the ambulance staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service. You can read all about it and other charities collecting hand-knitted socks here.

Another 320 m added to the Marathon total!


Pair three: Giant socks!

I like to knit a couple of pairs of hand knitted socks for my husband every year, and he likes his socks to be on the thicker side, so I cast on these socks using some deep-stash West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK. I improvised the pattern (and will be releasing it later in the year), and these made for a very satisfying knit – the combination of thicker yarn and a simple pattern made it obvious that they were getting bigger, so I didn’t need to measure them repeatedly.

That’s the final 382 m from me for the year.

How many metres did you add? My total for this year was 1039 m.


*Ravelry link: may affect people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.

**Knit Picks Felci is released as limited-edition batches and is not available at the time of writing.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Introducing: Gráinne's Blanket

Something a little different from me this month: I love knitting socks and intarsia, but once in a while, I fancy something a little different. I knitted Grainne’s Blanket last summer, mostly sat in friends’ gardens chatting while the sun shone, filling the knitting with happy memories while getting ready for the arrival of a new family member.

I love to knit baby blankets. There is nothing quite so special as handing a blanket over to new parents, knowing that what you’ve knitted will go everywhere with that child, sharing love with them even when you cannot be near. My children still use their baby blankets, even now they are much bigger: they snuggle with them, make tents out of them, and trail them round the house.

Gráinne's (Grawn-ya) Blanket is simple to knit, featuring an easy textured pattern that uses only knit and purl stitches and is quite intuitive once you get going. I took the blanket project everywhere with me for a couple of weeks, and, as if by magic, a whole blanket had emerged. The pattern is easy to remember, and flows intuitively, making the knitting almost meditative.

The blanket is knitted from the bottom up with an integrated moss stitch border, so the only finishing this blanket needs is to have the ends woven in and a quick block!

I chose to knit the blanket in Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran,** a cost-effective wool/acrylic blend that is lovely to work with, and drapes beautifully when blocked. The yarn also comes in a huge range of colours, so you can choose something that will be perfect for the new person in your life. Don’t like working with wool yarns? You can choose to use any aran weight yarn for this blanket, from basic acrylic to something soft and luxurious. If you’re making Grainne’s Blanket for a baby, choose a yarn that is machine washable – even parents who how to look after handknits can get a little overwhelmed when a new baby arrives, so machine washable is the safest choice.

The pattern is written for two sizes. Instructions are also included on how to make a custom-size blanket – perfect if you don’t have a baby and want to make something for yourself.

Ready to buy the pattern? You can find it on:



Use the code SUNSHINE for 15% off until 11.59pm BST, Tuesday 22nd June 2021 (applies on Ravelry and PayHip only). The pattern will also be available on LoveCrafts soon.



·        Small: 58.5 x 56 cm (23.25 x 22.25 in)

·        Large: 78.5 x 72.5 cm (31.25 x 29 in)

Instructions are also included for you to make a custom-size blanket.



·        18 sts and 24 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch

·        18 sts and 27 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in Gráinne’s pattern

worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.


One pattern repeat (18 sts x 22 rows) measures 10 x 8 cm (4 x 3.25 in)



440 (760) m [485 (835) yds] of aran-weight yarn


This blanket is knitted using a wool-acrylic blend with the following characteristics:

  • Smooth for good pattern definition
  • Machine washable for easy care
  • Not too loosely spun to ensure it wears well

You can use any aran-weight yarn for this pattern.



5 mm (US 8) circular needle at least 40 (60) cm [16 (24) in] in length



7 (9) stitch markers (2 markers are for the border, so you may wish to use markers that are a different colour to the other markers)


Pattern notes

The instructions are for the smallest size, with larger sizes in parentheses Small (Large).

The blanket is knitted flat, but a circular needle is used to accommodate the large number of sts.

The sample is knitted in Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran (50% wool, 50% acrylic; 180 m per 100 g ball) in shade 821 Daffodil Yellow.

Instructions are also included for making a custom size blanket.


*Ravelry link: may cause issues for people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.

**Affiliate link.


Wednesday 9 June 2021

Marathon Sock KAL 2021: The round-up

The Marathon Sock KAL is over for another year, thank you so much to everyone who took part, especially to you if you knitted socks for it. This year the event completely surpassed all expectations, and over the course of 2 months, 59172 m of sock yarn was turned into 221 pairs of socks! That’s 268 m per pair of socks, and a lot of cosy feet! Special thanks go to all of you that knitted more than one pair of socks – Martina managed to add a whopping 16 pairs to the total!

Here’s the bit you’ve been waiting for: the winners! There were five prize packages this year (you can read all about them in detail here), and the first prize drawn went to Aafke van Dijken-Zuidema, who won the ‘The Second Drawer Down’ package. Toni Sweeney won the West Yorkshire Spinners package; the Rainbow Fusions package went to Jan Johnson. The first Head Over Heels package went to Rebecca Anderson, and the final package went to Nicole Simmons. I’ll be in touch with all the winners very soon.

Extra special thanks go to this year’s prize donators: The Yarn Dispensary, Jen’s Crafty Charms, Yarnesty;* and to ErisApple for creating the Marathon Sock KAL 2021 patches.

Enjoyed the Marathon Sock KAL? Maybe you missed out? Either way, it’ll be back next year! Make sure you don’t miss out on notifications by signing up to my newsletter (need an extra incentive? Subscribers get 10% off all my patterns on Ravelry and Payhip).

*Ravelry link. May cause issues for people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.