Under your nose.. .

Sometimes the thing you are looking for is right under your nose the whole time.

For the past week or so you may have seen that I have been enjoying working on my corner to corner crochet blanket - some may say this has bordered on obsession - but as I am powering through my sock yarn stash it has to be a good thing.

I have decreed that this blanket shall be full of light, bright colours - think spring garden flowers. Colours that make me think happy seasonal thoughts. Especially if I can eat happy, seasonal chocolate at the same time. The only problem is that my sock yarn stash contains rather a lot of grey. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of grey - just not in this particular blanket.

And so I have spent a rather embarrassing amount of time online this week looking for pretty, pink speckled yarns. Not my usual choice for my design work but yarn which is just the ticket for this ridiculously addictive blanket.

Imagine my surprise then, when a chance rootle through my stash drawers came up with this perfect pink speckled yarn from last years The Golden Skein. At the time I didn’t know what to do with it (other than pet it) and so it was tucked away lovingly into my stash.

And now it’s time has come. The stash has revealed it at just the right time and so within 5 minutes the yarn was wound and I was gleefully adding it into my blanket.


DH has taken to referring to me working on my blanket as my ‘feeding the monster’ - so quickly does yarn disappear into the thing. And I think he is quite heartened at the rate my sock yarn scraps are dwindling. Although he doesn’t realise that the drawers where I keep my stash are a far bigger monster and empty space within it is not to be tolerated - more yarn will need to be purchased and soon, to feed it.

The Fuss Free Festival Shawl

For this new shawl design I was lucky enough to be able to collaborate with Leona of Rusty Ferret yarns and Gem of The Little Grey Girl. Leona created an exclusive Edinburgh colourway of Rusty Ferret and Gem had her exclusive project bag to go with it.

I have created a shawl design especially to compliment this spectacular yarn and with yarn that's such fun garter stitch is the only way to go. The pattern is now available to purchase on Revelry or it is free for a limited time to my newsletter subscribers. 

The Fuss Free Festival Shawl is designed to be the perfect shawl to cast on at a knitting festival. You've snagged that perfect skein of yarn and some obliging soul has wound it into a cake for you. All you want to do is cast on, rest your aching feet and knit on a nice soothing project. Lots of garter stitch and easy to remember increases make this project for festival times. The slipped stitch border gives great structure and drape to the shawl and the finished item has a fabulous, relaxed crescent shape which is eminently wrappable and easy to wear. A picot bind off adds a touch of interest but is easily omitted if you would prefer to leave it plain.

It is easily customisable to suit the yarn you have. I am making a larger size right now by adding a contrast colour as stripes and I'm excited to see how big it can go.

I'd love to see your yarn choices for this. If you do cast it on please let me know or tag me on sick media.

 

If Knitters Ruled the World

A casual conversation online the other day sparked the idea for this blog post. We were casually chatting about politics, and putting the world to rights in general and one of us commented that "If knitters ruled the world they would make a much better job of it".

That thought has been buzzing around in my head for several days now and I can't help but think that there are many things we take for granted in the knitting community, that if they were routinely practiced in the everyday world, would make it a much better place to be.

For example, with tongue ever so slightly in cheek and in no particular order I give you

  1. Posting a picture online of something you had accomplished or were proud of (analogous to posting an FO picture) would elicit supportive comments and genuine praise from those around you. It would be generally accepted by the community you were part of that if they couldn't say anything nice about something, then they would simply refrain from comment. There would be no snarkiness, no attempts to outdo your post with something fabulous they had done and no suggestions about how they would have done it better.
  2. The accepted response to someone being in difficulties, depressed or generally feeling down would be to give them a hug, a cup of tea and some cake. Yarn would also be nice. There would be no attempts to solve their problems for them, to tell them how to 'pull themselves together' or to make them feel worse about their situation. There would be tea, sympathy and no judging.
  3. It would be perfectly acceptable, indeed positively expected for you to whip out your needles and knit at every available opportunity. There would be no assumptions that simply because your hands were moderately occupied your ears, eyes and brain were not capable of being fully focussed on the task or conversation in hand. This type of multi-skilling would merely be recognised for the efficient use of time that it is.
  4. All telephones would automatically have a hands-free option and saucepans would be self-stirring. It would really help if cars were self steering too but having seen some of the news coverage of driverless cars I'm reserving judgement on this.
  5. Ice cream vans would be replaced by Yarn on Wheels. Little mobile LYS's on wheels who would regularly rock up in your neighbourhood and have a permanent and inexhaustable supply of needle tips, buttons, tape measures and stitch markers - all the things that you seem to run out of on a regular basis. They could keep the jaunty jingle though.

In general I think that more cake, more tea and more yarn is the solution to more problems that we admit. If we just extended the tolerance, support and friendship of our online community into the wider world I am firmly convinced that knitters really could make the world a better place.

Maths fail

I know it would ordinarily be obvious to anyone who was thinking straight but in my defence I was overcome by yarn fumes and the strong urge of spring startitis.

Crochet, as we all know uses up more yarn than knitting. Which makes it ideal for stashbusting purposes - although careful planning can be needed to ensure you don’t run out of yarn.

When starting my corner to corner crochet blanket I thought briefly about joining up all my scraps into a large magic ball and just letting the colours change as they fell naturally. That was far too easy of course and didn’t quite suit the way my brain works so, after a bit of experimentation I decided to go for two rows of each colour to produce a striped effect.

So far, so good.

The problem is of course, I’m sure you following at the back have already picked this up, is that as the rows get longer I am going to need a lot more yarn. And I mean A Lot more. The average mini skein has 20g yarn (approx 80m) and much of my scrap yarn doesn’t weigh more than this either. My blanket is currently measuring 50cm along the two long sides and I am already using up about 15g yarn per stripe.

It doesn’t take a maths genius to figure this out, but it has taken me two days. Draw your own conclusions. But, as the loveable Baldrick of Blackadder fame would say “I have a cunning plan”.

Short of abandoning my perfectionist scruples and switching to a magic ball philosophy, the next best thing is to make my blanket from 4 panels. I will work the first panel until the stripe takes up 20g yarn and then start the decreases. Based on where I am now I estimate that each panel will be 60cm (24") square - giving me a decent sized lap blanket of 120 x 120cm (47 x 47"). I will end up with lots of small bits of yarn which will be ideal for adding into the other 3 squares - ensuring that the blanket still has a cohesive feel.

This also has the happy accident of keeping the project high on the portability stakes. Rendering a project perfect for ‘sofa knitting only’ is the kiss of death for many of my long term projects, and this way I can still carry it along with me (and it can come on holiday with me too).

Vernal equinox

The weather today hasn't quite got the memo, as today starts off grey and gloomy but today marks the official 1st day of spring. The Vernal Equinox when night and day are of equal length and from here on in the nights will be getting noticeably shorter.

Extra daylight is always a boon for the busy knitter who wants to actually photograph their knits in something approximating natural light. Even if it does mean crouching in the hallway with the front door wide open trying to get enough light onto your project. Perfectly normal behaviour as far as I'm concerned although I did startle the postman the other week. Fortunately he has delivered enough squishy parcels to be well aware that I'm a knitter and thus, given to activities that non knitters might find be musing. 

I'm fairly certain that being greeted by the sight of me sitting in the open hallway with my feet in the air falls into this category. The knitters amongst us would know instantly that I was attempting to take photos of my finished socks and that the 'feet in the air' technique is a well established means of achieving this. It also helps to have everything abs of steel for this maneuver which I definitely don't. The non knitters might think I had fallen over or be attempting a weird yoga position maybe.

My postman just smiled, said 'Morning love' and deposited the latest squishy parcel on the doorstep.

Big plans

Blossom has big plans for the day. And by big I mean mainly sleeping, grooming and a little light napping. She was thrilled to bits to discover a snazzy new blanket on the bed this morning. The fact that it is only a small blanket corner is neither here nor there it is clearly worthy of further inspection. 

I would dearly love to stay here too. A second cup of coffee has been consumed and the house is just starting to wake up around me. Time to move and get my jobs done for the day but despite Blossom's best attempts the blanket will be rolled away and will come with me. There will be enough cat hair integrated into this project during its lifetime without adding any more at this stage.

I know full well that by the time I come back to this spot later this afternoon Blossom will have barely moved- except for the aforementioned light grooming. In my next life I'd like to come back as a cat please. Or maybe I'll wait until cats have evolved opposable thumbs first. Not sure I could deal with all that napping without a little knitting to break it up.

Stolen moments

As much as I'd love to have a peaceful and relaxing weekend this is definitely one of those times when the Knitting will have to take a back seat. A busy programme of family events and general 'stuff' means that the Knitting 'du jour' needs to be simple, portable and with absolutely no counting needed. I have events to take the kids to, shopping and the usual weekend stuff but the saving grace is several hours of rugby watching time.

I've learnt the hard way that I can't do complicated stuff and even hope to follow the pitch side action but this version of my Fuss Free Festival Shawl is perfect for that. I'm thinking I might make this larger than the original single-skein version by adding in some grey stripes at the end. I just need to dig through my stash for a suitably darkish grey and see if I have anything that will work. If not, I may just have to do a little online shop later - never exactly a hardship.

Whatever you are doing today I hope you manage to squeeze in a little knitting too. I'm going to pop a progress marker in my shawl now and see how much I can add to it in the odd minutes that I get to pick it up. Will report back...

Spring Startitis

Spring is definitely in full swing here with noticeably lighter mornings and beautiful spring flowers popping out everywhere you look. The lighter mornings are an absolute godsend for the knitter and photographer. The luxury of being able to take photographs almost whenever you like - as opposed to having to hustle like mad to get your photographs done in the 10 minutes of daylight you have available to you.

Spring does also bring a bit of a problem too. I refer of course to Spring Startitis. A well recognised event which goes hand in hand with the Autumn version currently afflicting our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. A change of season brings about a restlessness in the seasoned knitter. Suddenly the current projects on the needles look dull and staid in contrast to the glorious colours we are seeing in nature. We want to scamper freely in colour, to cast off our dull, woolly projects and cast on something pretty, fresh and brand spanking new.

This year I have decided to just go with the flow and cast on whatever the heck I feel like. Some projects may end up becoming finished and some may not make the cut after my initial enthusiasm wanes. But regardless, I am enjoying the change of season and Spring Startitis is just one way to welcome spring with open arms. 

In praise of the unexpected

I can assure you that I'm surprised as you are to see a crochet blanket popping up here. I had absolutely no intention to start one and I certainly didn't wake up yesterday morning with that that in mind. If anything, on my day off yesterday I was sneakily planning to start another Mitered Square sock yarn blanket but this one to be in seasonal 'panels'. A more portable version to use up some of my more colourful sock yarn and one which could come out and about with me.

Then, two things happened. The first was that I managed to twinge my back quite badly - getting out of the car. As a consequence I found myself trying to distract myself from the pain with a bit of pattern surfing and I came across the Spring into Summer crochet pattern. This is a crochet blanket using the 'corner to corner' method of construction. A way of knitting a blanket without the super long and super fiddly foundation row which I detest with a passion and whigh I never fail to rip out at least three times before getting it right.

You just start off at one corner and increase as you go. The pattern I found is beautifully simple and most importantly has good clear pictures. 

My only rule for this blanket is no grey or dark colours. This is going to be light, bright and fun. I might do 1 large square or break it up into 4 square panels - I'll see how I go as the square gets bigger. For now I am just content to work away on my new found obsession. 

A knitters day off

If I'm slightly giddy with excitement this morning I'm afraid you will have to forgive me. The reason is simpless- for the first time since before half term - 5 weeks ago - I get to have the house to myself. The boys will be in school and immobile DH is starting back at work with his crutches and ice packs at the ready. Once I've done the necessary drop offs and grocery shopping I have a whole 5 hours to myself.

Let joy be unconfined.

Now in the true style of an introvert I plan to spend the time by myself, alone. I might read a little, I might go for a walk but mostly I plan to just sit and knit. Time alone is how I recharge my batteries, deal with problems and cope with whatever life throws at me. Having absolutely no time to myself over the last few weeks has been one of the hardest things about DH's  surgery when the only time I've had to myself is when I'm driving- and that doesn't really count.

So I'm out of bed at the crack of dawn this morning. Hustling everyone to get ready for school and work - the sooner I get them despatched the sooner the 'me time' can commence.

What's your favourite way to relax and recuperate? Are you a classic introvert like me or do you seek the company and stimulation of other people?

Don't be a flat squirrel

As knitting blogs go - you’ve got to admit that the title is a bit of a strange one.

A favourite saying of an old college lecturer of mine - this one has stuck with me over the years and never has it been more apt than now. Whether it is deciding on which new sweater pattern to buy from Ravelry to picking a new logo for the web site I can be guilty of the most horrible procrastination and over thinking.

The end result is predictable of course, I don’t do anything.

The worst thing that can happen to a knitting project is that it stalls at a point where a decision is needed. Do I have enough yarn to make 2 full length sleeves or should I cut them short? Should I stop and turn the heel now or turn them into afterthought heels?

A quick inventory of my WIP basket(s) shows that all of them - apart from an interminable grey sweater for DH - are stalled pending a decision from me. And the daft thing is that in most cases a quick 10 or 15 minutes of quality time with that particular WIP is enough for me to assess it, work out what needs to be done and to make a decision.

Indecision struck again this weekend during my #bedinburghyarnfest. I was determined to cast on a new sweater for myself and my task was simple. Pop on to Ravelry and find a suitable pattern. Predictably though, the more patterns I looked at the more indecisive I became. Having a time constraint didn't help the sense of pressure either.

My learning point from this was that my queue is in desperate need of a good sort out and a matching up to yarn in my stash. That way, next time I can make the process a lot more straightforward.

For this week though, my task is simple. Just make a decision. Whether I am faced with a WIP or an issue on my website. Make a decision and move on.

 

Not now, I'm counting

I'm currently enjoying working on a fab colourwork project - a kit from Lucy Locket Land - and it is a sheer joy to work on. Lovely, sheepy wool, bright colours and the sheer joy of two handed colourwork knitting. When you are in the zone it's a great feeling and you hum contentedly to yourself as you work your way along the rows and see the wonderful pattern emerging.

Except if you are in my house. In the same way that kids can sense the opening of a fridge door or the fact that you are embarking on an Important Phone Call, my two have an unerring knack for knowing when I'm in the middle of a knitting project that requires counting.

Any requests from "have you seen my trainers" to "the cats have brought in a mouse again" is met with a renewed focus on the work in the front of me and the muttered response "I'm counting". It's like they have a sixth sense and without fail, they know exactly the worst possible time to interrupt me.

They are pretty quick learners though, I'll give them that. By the end of the weekend they were wise enough to realise that if I had the 'grey woolly thing' in my lap then they should just back away quietly. My eldest boy even went for extra brownie points for sidling back into the room, quietly depositing a jaffa cake at the side of me and then leaving again.

I think I know what happened to the rest of the packet of jaffa cakes but it was a small price to pay for getting some uninterrupted time with my new favourite project.

Things I learnt from my Festival At Home

Don't get me wrong, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my #bedinburghyarnfest day I'll be the first to admit that the day didn't go entirely in accordance with my nice neat plan.

  • It didn't start well, when immobile DH insisted on coming on the grocery shop with me. I had planned on a quick, military style operation to get the necessary snacks. Shepherding a bear with a sore head(knee) around a crowded Waitrose full of intolerant and grumpy people slowed me down somewhat.

And my quick browse in Ravelry threatened to derail proceedings. Chronic indecision struck and not only could I not decide on a sweater pattern I also couldn't find a single pair of 4mm needle tips in the house. Faced with the choice of pulling the needles out of an existing project (don't judge - we've all done it) or settling down with an existing project I opted for the latter.

I made good progress on my colourwork hot water bottle cosy but then had to search for something easier for rugby watching. My stash search produced 3 skeins of Blacker Yarns Cornish Tin 2 which would have been perfect but on closer inspection one of the skeins had an almighty tangle in it. I decided that untangling it wasn't in the spirit of the day so it went back into the stash.

I did manage to locate a beautiful yarn cake - bought at EYF last year from The Wool Kitchen. A ready to knit gradient yarn from the Urban hints range. This has been cast on into a nice simple shawl. For now I'm just working simple stocking stitch and I'll decide on a border later on.

For next  time my learning points would be to

  • Wind yarn ahead of time
  • Plan a new cast on properly and amass the necessary materials - don't try to do it on the fly
  • Buy more snack - and don't forget the cake!

 

 

The secret of a good festival at home: A list of course

Like anything else, the secret to a successful knitting day at home is all in the planning. After much thought and deliberation ( and my 2nd cup of coffee) I hearby present my agenda for the day.

8.00am to 10.00am: Market shopping and domestic chores. Particular attention being given to the buying of snacks which are easy for a 10 and 11 year old to prepare and eat (as they will be in charge of feeding themselves and immobile DH).

10.00 to 10:30am: Home to unload shopping and make offspring aware of location of all of Saif snacks. Mental note to check kick off times for Six Nations rugby.

10.30am to 11:00am: Ravelry surfing to find pattern for DK weight sweater for me. This time slot is strictly limited to avoid falling down a black hole.

11:00am to 12noon : Cast on for new colourwork hot water bottle cosy. Have a slice of cake.

12noon to 13:00: Lunch and reading a good book (must pop into library whilst in town)

13:00 to 14:00: Cast on for DK weight sweater. Have another slice of cake.  

14:00 to 15:00: Check downstairs that no one is injured, bleeding or starving and work on colourwork project again.

15:00 to 16:00: Try to finish stripy sock in progress and set up for afterthought heel.

16:00 to 17:00: Stash rootle. Find a fab skein of yarn for an impulsive and frivolous cast on. Have a cheeky glass of Prosecco.

17:00 to 18:00: work on frivolous and impulsive cast on.

18:00 to 19:00: Join family for dinner (take Prosecco with me) and catch up with rugby chat.

19:00 to 21:00: Find good Netflix family film. Settle down with Mitered Square sock yarn blanket.

21:00 to 22:00: Small peeps and immobile DH to bed. Settle back on sofa. Bring remainder of cake out of hiding and finish it - being careful to cancel crumbs.

22:00: and so to bed.

If I'm cunning I may be able to repeat this on Sunday too - fingers crossed.

Beating FOMO: Or "What to do when you can't go to a knitting festival"

FOMO - It is real and can really drag you down.

Fear of Missing Out is so common, especially since so much of our life is online and nowhere is this more apparent than when there is a big yarn show or event that is taking place - and you can’t go. Obviously, it isn’t possible to go to every show and obviously, you hope that everyone there has a wonderful and woolly time, but a tiny part of you wants to curl up with a box of tissues and cry because you can’t be joining them.

And so it is with Edinburgh this year. My favourite ever knitting festival and the one thing I write in my new calendar before anything else. But this year events conspired against us and my husband took the chance to have a world-class surgeon operate on his knee and hopefully restore him back to many years of fell-walking fitness.

So now I find myself with a free day on Saturday 8th March when I had planned to be sky high on yarn fumes instead.

I thought I would come up with a few top tips to help soothe you if you are experiencing similar feelings of FOMO this weekend:

  1. Visit your LYS or plan an outing to an LYS near you. The yarn fumes will be there just the same - only maybe not so overpowering.

  2. Better still, rope in a few like-minded friends. Add some cake (gin is optional) and you could have the start of a cracking alternative party.

  3. Delve deep into your stash in search of treasure.

  4. Cast on for a special new project

  5. Share in the experience by following your friends online and via social media - a double edged sword this one. But cake (and gin) will help and you will get to experience the stash acquisition without the pain to your credit card.

  6. You could even offer a virtual shopper service to your firends who are there - removed from the yarn fumes you are likely to be more rational and thus could advise on crucial yarn related choices.

If you have some time over the weekend why not join us in the #festivalathome fun over on the Everyday Knitter Facebook group or on Instagram/Twitter. Just use the hashtag #festivalathome and let us know how you will be enjoying your festival free weekend.

When swatching is a pleasure

There are times when swatching is a genuine pleasure rather than a chore and never more so then when you are getting your mitts on some brand new yarn to road test.

Samite is a new and permanent addition to the Blacker Yarns range and is an exciting blend of Blue-faced Leicester, Shetland, Gotland and 20% silk. It is a fabulous 3ply yarn which is woollen spun to keep its bounce and add strength that you don't normally find in silk blended yarns. Because there is a blend of dark and light fibres this adds great depth of colour and little nupps of silk add texture and interest to the finished fabric.

I knit my swatch in plain stocking stitch to see what the smooth fabric would look like and I was so impressed by how it knit up and how it blocked. The yarn has a beautifully light hand but yet has a little bit of woolly toothiness which makes it a real delight to work with. On 3mm needles I got a gauge of 21st and 28 rows to 4" and the resulting light and airy fabric would work well for a light summer cardigan maybe.

I knit a Peasy cardigan a few years ago using Rowan Felted Tweed and it strikes me that this would make a most excellent subsitute, maybe with just a little bit of adjustment for maths gauge. A colourwork yolked cardigan or sweater would also work really well with this yarn - the only difficulty might be in choosing your colours.

The 15 shades are beautiful - as you would expect from Blacker Yarns - and they all work wonderfully well together. And the names! Who wouldn't want to work with yarns named Aspen's Shiver or Tide of Dreams.

The yarn is having its debut at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and there is sure to be a lot of interest in it. But the lovely folk at Blacker yarns are keen to reassure people that this is a permanent addition to the range and will be available for general purchase in the very near future.

 

Life isn't always pretty

And sometimes, socks aren't either. I am showing you a 'warts and all' photo today to show that sometimes socks don't always work out how you imagine. I was trying out a new way of doing an afterthought heel - the Smooth Operator heel by Susan B Anderson and I think it's safe to say that I'll be going back to my normal afterthought heel method in future.  I like the idea of adding in an extra row or two of waste yarn to give more wiggle room when picking up stitches but overall I found the heel directions as written to give a much looser heel than I normally have. So much so that the front of the sock is a little too wide too. No matter, the joy of an afterthought heel us that you can rip it out and redo it. But I might leave this one until the end before fixing it. I'd like to compare the two heels side by side and see what makes one work for me whilst the other doesn't. Anyway, this is such delightfully cheery yarn that I'm happy to knit on it over and over again. Bright, clear stripes never fail to make me smile. Even when the end result is a little wibbly.

And sometimes, socks aren't either.

I am showing you a 'warts and all' photo today to show that sometimes socks don't always work out how you imagine. I was trying out a new way of doing an afterthought heel - the Smooth Operator heel by Susan B Anderson and I think it's safe to say that I'll be going back to my normal afterthought heel method in future. 

I like the idea of adding in an extra row or two of waste yarn to give more wiggle room when picking up stitches but overall I found the heel directions as written to give a much looser heel than I normally have. So much so that the front of the sock is a little too wide too.

No matter, the joy of an afterthought heel us that you can rip it out and redo it. But I might leave this one until the end before fixing it. I'd like to compare the two heels side by side and see what makes one work for me whilst the other doesn't.

Anyway, this is such delightfully cheery yarn that I'm happy to knit on it over and over again. Bright, clear stripes never fail to make me smile. Even when the end result is a little wibbly.

Spring has sprung

Not many words today but a heck of a lot of gorgeous spring-like colour. I'm not normally one for knitting with the seasons and I don't tend to make conscious choices of colour but sometimes the right yarn crosses your path and it is just pure serendipity.

This gorgeous fresh green from Countess Ablaze (via the new Classics Society subscription club) is sheer heaven.

Vibrant tonal greens which practically sing at you. It reminds me alternately of fresh green grapes and zingy limes and is a total pleasure to knit with.

I  cast on for another version of a new shawl pattern I will be releasing at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The Fuss Free Festival Shawl pattern will be available from the lovely ladies at the Little Grey Girl and Fluph Shop when you purchase their exclusive Edinburgh wares. The ideal shawl that you can just drop everything and cast on. Perfect for when you are at a festival and want to get your special yarn on the needles right away.

Look out for more details in the coming days.

Learning new tricks

The thing about a comfort zone is that it's comfortable there. It requires not too much thought and you can just relax and enjoy your knitting. Moving out of your comfort zone - Hmmm - not so much.

Thus it was this weekend when I decided to try a new-to-me heel. The Smooth Operator heel by Susan B Anderson. The pattern is written cuff down and she has you place 3 rows of waste yarn for the heel, working on for 2-3 inches before going back and working an afterthought heel. Unusually for me I decided to follow the pattern completely and herein lies my mistake. I am so used to working an afterthought heel (my way) that I can do it practically in my sleep with all manner of domestic distractions going on around me. 

Trying to follow unfamiliar instructions whilst dealing with Sunday afternoon homework dramas was, inevitably a recipe for disaster. Tears (mine), frustration (again mine) and a burnt dinner later I realised something. a) I really (really) hatred using waste yarn for an afterthought heel and b) when trying to learn new tricks make sure you have the house to yourself.

Still, the benefit of an afterthought heel is that you can just rip it out and redo ithe. I'll just need some coffee first.

A stripy Sunday morning

It really does feel as though Spring is on the way now. The lighter mornings are such a boost after the dark grey days of February and, sitting here with a coffee and my sock before the rest of the house wakes up feels like such a treat.

Self striping yarn really is a miracle - especially when it comes in such happiness inducing colours as this West Yorkshire Spinners yarn. Even a minor mishap such as having to reknit half of the leg (note to self - even if you think you are picking up the 2.5mm needle tips, check with the gauge) can't dent my enthusiasm for this sock.

The observant among you will notice that I'm forgoing my usual toe-up sock method and working cuff down for a change. I've been looking for an excuse to try the Susan B Anderson Smooth Operator heel and this seems as good a time as any. I'm sure there is a way of adapting it for toe-up but for now I'm happy to work through the cuff down directions as written. A few more inches and I should be ready to put the waste yarn in for the heel.