Saturday, 14 January 2017

warm, toasty, easy-peasy socks

Pattern: Totally Mint by Katya Frankel (Knit Today 123)
Yarn: Artesano Superwash Merino (DK; 2 balls in cream)
Ravelry project page: here

Another project that I completed before Christmas was this warm, cosy pair of socks. I actually knitted 4 pairs of socks between September and December, having never knitted socks before and man do I have the bug now! If you do too, make sure you check out Christine's blog - Winwick Mum. Back to the point I was making; so I've actually made 4 pairs of socks now in recent months, 2 pairs of which were Christmas presents so I am unable to show you pictures, and the first pair the heel turn went horribly wrong, so I plan to frog and knit a different pair. 

But these socks are the most recent pair off my needles (just for interest, I am a circular needles gal, canNOT be doing with those DPNs!!) and they are a great, snuggly pair of socks that are really ideal for those who are new to sock knitting.
Knit in DK yarn rather that the normal 4ply, the pattern from Katya Frankel is an easy knit and purl repeat stitch the circles round the calf/upper section of the sock in a way that is quite pleasing to the eye. I have actually knit some Hermione Everyday Socks (Christmas present for Katy, but I will be knitting myself a pair soon!) which has a very similar repeating pattern going round. I will admit that the pattern works better on the 4ply as it gives more definition, but there isn't much you can do with a DK weight sock in terms of detail, and this is always preferable to just knit knit knit.

I never check tension on smaller project (shh) and I really ought to have this time. The socks are a little more snug than I would have liked, but having said this they do fit: they just don't look as slouchy as they do in the pictures of the finished pattern. My own fault I know I know - I do know I have tight tension so I always go up a needle size, but one more 0.5mm would have helped this time. I will know for the next pair!

The socks are just long enough to peep over my ankle boots nicely, which is really what I wanted to achieve with my socks. I hope to have lots of pairs like this this year, including some red socks and stripey purple ones; be sure to watch this space as per! But I do prefer knitting socks in 4ply so this pattern might not emerge again soon - though it is perfect for a gift pattern I think! Saving it for next Christmas for sure. 

My overriding negative for this pattern is that the heel is worked in short rows, rather than picking up stitches on a heel turn. This is good for new sock knitters, but the finished effect is a little messy for my liking (thought my wrap and turn leaves much to be desired as well) and the resulting heel doesn't fit the contour of a foot as nicely as a usual heel turn does. 

Apart from this however I am really pleased with the socks and I am glad I was able to find a yummy use for my leftover DK merino wool. I am eager to cast on the next pair as soon as possible, but first I really really need to finish a cardigan that I've had my heart set on for months. If only there were just more hours in the day ...

Sunday, 8 January 2017

say hello to willow!

Pattern: taken from Edward's Imaginarium, by Kerry Lord
Yarn: various from stash, acrylic based
Ravelry project page: here
A belated welcome and a very Happy New Year to you, me, and 2017!! Here's to a brighter year, with fewer world-changing events if possible, and on a smaller scale, more blogs from the geeky knitter while I finally get back into the swing of regular blogging. I am still getting that balance between my new job, new house, and just day-to-day, plus with welcoming the New Year with the flu it's been a little quiet this side of the internet, but no more!
But enough about me, I am delighted to introduce you to Willow, the newest* member to the Conduit-Riley household! Willow is a giant Imagimarium monster, and we love her.
(*Willow was actually finished in November 16, and since then we may have bought some new toys, but this is beside the point...)
When I visited Yarndale in September, the TOFT stand had one of their giant monsters on show and I instantly fell in love. I did, there and then, enquire after the cost of the yarn to crochet my own but it was in the £95 price range and I couldn't quite justify that, even though I absolutely covet TOFT alpaca yarn, so beautiful and soft - one day ... But they were wonderful enough to tell me how to make one for myself, and also Edward's Imaginarium also includes the instructions on how to make a larger version of any of the creatures, and once I knew that I could do it, there was no getting that idea out of my head. 

Simply follow the instructions for a small creature, but instead of a 3.5mm hook, crack out the 8mm hook and chunky yarn! It does use up a lot of chunky yarn, and I am all about using my stash up so I didn't want to buy extra chunky yarn in. I did however have several balls of blue chunky weight which wasn't enough for a whole toy, but enough for striping with another colour. The brown stripes you see in Willow is actually a brown Aran weight yarn that I held double (boom!), the very same that I used in the Totoro jumper. I love knowing (roughly) how much yarn I need for a project now just be weight and sight, definitely a perk of constantly knitting!
I originally intended to crochet a little pouch on Willow's back, to hold a mini hot water bottle that we own, so that we can hug her for warmth when needed. I haven't done this yet, 2 month's later, but it's still a pretty good idea if I ever get round to it! If I don't however, Willow really is the perfect cuddling size when watching a film or TV and you want to just have something on your lap, like a comforting cushion but so much more fun.
During the day, while we are at work Willow will happily sit on the sofa and play a little Playstation until we come home and hog the TV ourselves that is. Willow stands a satisfying 84cm tall, and I look forward to making her a friend (or perhaps a few) because she is just so droopy and cuddly! 

Monday, 12 December 2016

super chunky santa hat - free knitting pattern

Everyone needs a good Santa Claus hat at Christmas, and what's better than a hand-knitted one? We are so close to Christmas now, so there isn't a lot of time, but if you need a quick break from gift knitting to finish something quick and satisfying, this is the perfect hat for you. It takes just 150g of super chunky wool so can knit in 2 hours, and a great way to use some of your stash. If you need to buy wool it won't break the bank either.

This hat is knit in the round - suitable for knitters comfortable knitting in the round.

One size - adult

Tension - 9 sts x 13 rows = 10 x 10 cm / 4 x 4 inches in st st 


9mm dpns or circular needles
10mm dpns or circular needles 
100g super chunky yarn - red (pictured, Cygnet Seriously Chunky Mixes - Red)
60-70g super chunky yarn - white (pictured, Cygnet Seriously Chunky - White
Tapestry needle
Large pom pom maker

Finished size - apprx.  42 cm to fit a 56/58cm head (adult)


with 9mm dpns or circular needle, cast on 44 sts in white super chunky wool

Rnds 1 - 8: k1, p1 round

change to red super chunky wool and 10mm dpns or circular needle

Rnds 9 - 18: knit

Rnd 19: K1, *k5, k2tog; rep from * 6 times, k1 (38)

Rnds 20 - 21: knit

Rnd 22: K1, *k4, k2tog; rep from * 6 times, k1 (32)

Rnds 23 - 24: knit

Rnd 25: K1 *k3, k2tog; rep from * 6 times, k1 (26)

Rnds 26 - 27: knit

Rnd 28: K1, *k2, k2tog; rep from * 6 times, k1 (20)

Rnds 29 - 30: knit

Rnd 31: K1, *k1, k2tog; rep from 8 6 times, k1 (14)

Rnds 32 - 33: knit

Rnd 33: k2tog round (7)

cut wool and thread through remaining stitches

pull tightly and fasten off

weave in any ends

with large pom pom maker and white wool, make a pom pom and attach to the top of the hat.