FO Friday: Socks and more socks

This week my FOs are all about socks it would seem.
A combination of a family holiday (we visited the Lake District and had a lovely time - thank you) and school holidays has meant a lot of busy days and brain-frying activity. Some days I didn't manage to knit a single stitch - and my DH rapidly realised that a 'mummy-day' was needed in order to preserve my sanity. 
The saintly man occupied the boys singlehandedly in wet woodland for over 6 hrs whilst I climbed my first solo Wainwright peak - Whin Rigg - and then spent a happy few hours by myself in front of a log fire, happily sock knitting.
(For the record, the males of the family erected a tarp for shelter, made hot soup and noodles on the camping stove, ate marshmallows and made a bow and arrow set)
Thankfully, before we went away I found my long-lost project bag and my one-and-a-half socks in the Golden Skein yarn  - from Desert Vista Dyeworks.
I opted for an afterthought heel (using this tutorial) in order to preserve the stripes and I love the way they turned out.
In addition I also packed a skein of The Knitting Goddess yarn in Ducks Ditty - a fabulously cheery colourway which was instantly claimed by my DS1. Indeed, so smitten was he with the yarn that he took to sleeping with it under his pillow at night hoping that the tooth fairy's sister would work her magic and leave him with a lovely pair of toe-up, mid-calf socks.

The sock knitting fairy took slightly longer to produce the socks than he would like, but she got there in the end.

FO Friday: Honey Cowl

You may have already seen photos of my latest FO but I am so pleased with it that I just wanted to share it again. It is too hot to wear it at the moment so I am keeping it as a pet and stroking it instead.

The pattern is the wonderful Honey Cowl - over 16,000 Ravelers can't be wrong - and it is teamed with a delicious yarn from Ginger Twist Studios - Sturdy Splendour. The yarn came from the most recent quarter from the Golden Skein and to say I was thrilled with it would be an understatement.

Even though it is labelled as a 4ply it is a very rounded, plump yarn which knits up more like a sport weight or light DK - making it perfect for this cowl pattern.

I cast on 200st and knit until it was approx 8" deep - giving me a cowl that I can wrap once around for a snug fit or leave loose and drapey. Absolutely perfect and just what I wanted. I won't wish away the hot summer days (we get so few of them) but my little knitterly heart secretly can't wait for autumn when I can proudly whip this little beauty from the drawer and wear it with joy!

Tour de Sock FO

Apologies for showing the same project twice in a row but I have been a little monogamous this week. Working on the Tour de Sock project left little time for anything else, but I am pleased to say that having cast on, on 1st June I finished at 10pm (GMT) on 4th June.

And very pleased I was too.

The legs were far longer than I normally knit (approx 8.5") and I begrudged every last row of the ribbing. The Y-heel turn I'm not crazy about and I don't think I would do again but overall they are a very handsome sock and I will wear them with pride.

At the time of writing there are 358 Wye projects in Ravelry with 87 finished. There are many others nearing completion though so it will be fun to cheer them on as they race to the finish.

The next stage starts on June 10th so I have time for a bit of non-sock knitting to give my hands a rest.

To use up some aran weight from stash - StashDash2014 - I am working on another Garter Ripple Squish blanket. We are going to be getting two new kittens tomorrow so in preparation (as well as storing all my yarn in sealable plastic bins) I am making a kitty blanket. Of course they will probably ignore it and make a beeline for my sock yarn blankie in progress, but it's worth a try and it helps me get towards my 5K Stash Dash target.

FO Friday: Velvet Rose

A really lovely pattern to share with you today - the new design by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade Podcast: Velvet Rose shawl.

I was lucky enough to be able to help out with test knitting this lovely shawl, especially as it meant that I was able to use almost every last inch of some wonderful Golden Skein Yarn. I used the Dye For Yarn merino/baby camel from the last Golden Skein package - Tornado over London.

It is a fingering weight yarn with a squooshy 480m per skein and so I wanted a project that would allow me to use up almost all of the yarn, without leaving too much in my 'leftovers' bag.

I haven't knit one of Helen's patterns before but I had heard from other knitters that she writes her patterns in a really lovely, clear way and I'm pleased to confirm that this is indeed so. In particular she includes stitch counts after increase rows along with the percentage of yarn used. I really loved this aspect as it meant I had the confidence in my remaining yarn and that I didn't have to play 'yarn chicken' - as mentioned by the Knitmore Girls - as I approached the bind-off.

The yarn knit up wonderfully, the pattern was fabulous and the whole thing was just a pleasure to knit, and in little under a week, amazingly quick too.

Isn't is great when yarn and pattern combine in perfect harmony?

FO Friday - More socks

I do love having a finished pair of socks ready for the weekend. I tried them on yesterday morning before work for a quick photo and I loved them so much that I really begrudged taking them off.

I have a professional working life away from the knitting (I'm not quite ready to give up the day job yet) and few, if any, of my colleagues know about my crafty life outside of work. There are times though when I wish the two could overlap a little and I could express my creative side at work a little more. Who knows, it might even be fun, and heaven forbid, liven up the day a little.

In winter I can be quietly subversive and wear my hand knit socks in my boots but in summer I just have to resign my hand knit socks to the sock drawer and just bring them out at weekends. I'd love to be able to wear the 'Mary-Janes with socks' look but I fear that might be a step too far for my colleagues.

Anyway, down to knitting business. The yarn is from the incomparable Sparkleduck in the aptly named Rainbow colourway. The colours change rapidly so that on average you get 2 colour changes per round of sock.

Knit on 2.5mm needles with 60st I found that this made for the perfect balance of striping and movement and didn't result in large blocks of colours as I first feared. Perfect, clever dying from a very talented indie - dyer. Not surprisingly I think the Sheep Shop has sold out but rumour has it that more will be in stock shortly.

Maybe we could all knit a pair and wear them to work with pride. Never mind Knit in Public day - we ought to be able to have a 'Wear your hand knit socks to work day'. Although, on reflection I think we need a catchier title.