Mend me, baby, one more time

29-05-19 socks
Old striped socks with new plain grey ‘toe’ added

Okay, well, a Britney Spears reference may not be quite what we were expecting today, but she’ll do.

After posting last week about the whole sock-mending option not working for me, I took a second look at the four pairs that that I had set aside to do some repair work on. I gave the whole structure of each sock a more thorough check to see whether there was enough potential to make the repairs. It was encouraging to find that three pairs probably are still in good condition and should be repairable, although one pair definitely isn’t.

I worked on the pair which had the least wear and was therefore in a state where it would be relatively simple to knit a replacement toe. I have finished the work now and I am very pleased to say that it was a success – these socks should be good for another couple of years. For the time being I have put them away as they are an autumn/winter/spring weight and I won’t be wearing them through the summer months. Over the summer I will try to mend the other two pairs in a similar fashion.

When I had finished mending this pair of socks and composed my scheme for mending the other two pairs, I was feeling pleased with myself. Then yesterday I felt an ominous twang at the back of my neck, so I took off my cardigan and this had happened. Yikes!

29-05-19 cardi
It’s a broken neck! Not that I want to over-dramatise anything,

This is an old cardigan which I have been wearing since 2012 – the pattern is Laccaria by Norah Gaughan and I knitted it in J C Rennie Shetland wool holding two strands together to get a DK/Worstead gauge. (I find it quite odd that I don’t have any finished object photos of this project at all.)

Now, if this problem had cropped up in May last year I would have cut the buttons off and thrown the cardigan in the bin, which may sound extreme, but at that point I had marked it down as no longer wearable. I had become too plump for it – the sleeves would spot-weld themselves to my arms when I wore it; one of the buttonholes had grown to the point where the button simply would not stay shut; the whole cardigan was shabby. However, as I have lost weight this cardigan has regained favour with me to the point where I am not ready to let it go. So, more mending is in order – I’m pretty sure I still have a ball of this wool and can just unpick the cast-off edge of the neckband and re-do it. I want to knit a new garment in this type of colour and when I do that, it will be time to retire this one.

Do you find there are times when everything seems to need mending, or is it just a steady trickle in your life?


 

Pile of plans

Back from my “staycation” holiday and buzzing with ideas which rapidly need to be transformed into goals and achieved.

I previously alluded to my desire to earn my living using more of my creativity, and one part of this is my plan to open an Etsy shop selling hand-knitted accessories and baby clothes. Over the past month I have been doing some experimental knitting to establish the kind of things that I plan to make. Unfortunately, the results to date have been less than stellar, but, as with anything creative, you can learn a lot from the things that don’t go quite as you’d like them to.

One very important thing I have learned whilst working on my prototypes is that I have a quite specific vision of the style of items that I want to produce. This is more fundamental than ideas of individual patterns, it is about what my output will look like as a whole. It is about the type of knits that I enjoy doing, the colours that will inspire me, and it is also about the materials that I will use.

I have always been something of a “yarn snob” and using wools that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards over the past month has proved to me that I need to use good quality materials if I’m going to be happy with what I produce. In view of this, I’ve ordered a couple of packages of yarn to experiment with, and now they are here I’m ready to put in some serious knitting time.

Pile of Plans
Not a pile of wool, but a pile of plans

I hope by next week I will have some finished objects that I am happy to share with you. I may do a “compare and contrast” with the items that I have been less happy with. I would also like to do a review of each company that I order wool from.

In the meantime, I would like to wish all my readers a happy, constructive, and inspiring week.

Rain, rain, go away

I think in Norfolk it has rained for the entire month of April.  I may be wrong, but not by much.  When it hasn’t been raining, it has been windy.  The sun has put in an occasional appearance, but on the whole it has rained.  Anyone with any sense at all has either stayed at home or, if they have strayed, has made sure they have an appropriate coat.

Appropriate coats

These two, for example, are wearing the finest that Noro has to offer.  (You can tell it’s Noro by the vegetable matter.)

Knitting

You can be forgiven for thinking that, given the inclement weather, I will have been sitting indoors knitting up a storm, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I’ve had an aching arm and an aching knee which have conspired to make long bouts of sitting and knitting unfeasible.  That, coupled with the fact that I’ve been rather out of ideas of things to knit, has left me with little real progress since finishing Laccaria and that seems like ages ago.  However, some inspiration did arrive last Friday in the form of two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn, one in Bright Charcoal and one in Lilac.  The Bright Charcoal socks are already underway.

Colinette Jitterbug in Bright Charcoal

Jitterbug is pretty much my favourite sock yarn because I find it endlessly fascinating watching the colours come and go.  When a yarn has this much going on in it, the problem of pooling doesn’t seem to have any relevance.

Cycling

My lovely new bicycle has had to learn that in real life you get wet, very wet.  When you’re a bicycle there’s an awful lot of sitting around in the rain.  It has also had to learn that it belongs to a girly and therefore it is going to have to go through the long process of finding the correct bag for her needs!  I have tried it with a Carradice saddlebag and wasn’t happy.  Being quite short, and the bike having quite large wheels (700c) there isn’t a lot of room for a bag to hang from the saddle and still sit happily above the mudguards.  Also, I found it fiddly to get stuff in and out of it effectively.  Lovely bag, though.

The Carradice Junior saddlebag

After this experiment, I bought a “Back Bag” which would sling across my back.  That was okay, but I wasn’t totally happy with it.  It worked well with one jacket that I wear to cycle, but was dreadful with my waterproof jacket.  And I’ve needed the waterproof jacket a lot!   I generally don’t get on with carrying things on my back, and although this is better than most things I’ve tried it still isn’t a favourite.  I currently have a rack on the bike and that is my preferred option as it means I can use the lovely Basil bags which I have collected, but this isn’t the sort of bike that a rack is entirely perfect with.  Because it requires you to sling your leg over the rear of the bike to mount and dismount, you are limited as to what you can comfortably do with a rack.  The search continues.

Well, the sun has put in a brief appearance and it is time for me to cook my tea.  More soon, I hope, but in the meantime enjoy your knitting and I hope the sun shines on you.

 

Dubious reasons for buying wool

Got buttons? Need wool!

Okay, this counts as a very dubious purchase.  A little while ago I looked through my button tin and noticed how many perfectly usable sets of brand new buttons I had in there.  Mainly in shades of green.  I am, you see, guilty of buying buttons that don’t quite work in the context of whichever project I bought them for, so into the button tin they go.  Rather than leaving them to languish forever, I have decided to buy wool that they will work with to produce some new cardigans.  My first purchase is a shade called Lush (I trust lush like grass, not like a drunkard) and actually matches these buttons better than the photo suggests.  As the buttons are quite big, this will be a project where the 4-ply wool is held double to give a fabric of heavy DK/Worstead weight.

In order to continue with my button de-stashing, I also ordered the full shade card for this range of wool which will enable me to match button and wool colours much better.   Anyone else struggle with trying to determine shades well enough on-screen?

Perhaps it would be nice to tell a little story about where I store my buttons, which is in a re-purposed Farrah’s Harrogate Toffee tin (400g size).  Whilst I have (almost) always lived in East Anglia, my mum came from Yorkshire and we often headed up to York to stay with my grandparents when I was a little girl.  Farrah’s Harrogate toffee was one of those brands much more prevalent in that area in the 1960s and rarely seen ‘down south’.  Of course now all brands are national or global and you can buy everything anywhere, which in a way slightly devalues it all.  But I digress.  My button tin, whilst being a more recent purchase (only about 10 years old!!) is valued because it reminds me of my childhood.  The tin contains odd buttons, spare buttons, and of course several full sets of buttons, awaiting the time they either get used, or my grandson gets old enough to be allowed to empty them out and play with them.

If you’ve never tried Farrah’s Harrogate Toffee, by the way, you should – it is delicious.

In knitting news, I have finished knitting the second sleeve of the Slope Rib Cardigan but won’t be attaching it to the rest of the cardi and putting it through the wash until the weekend.  I feel I want daylight to do the fiddly bits.  I started my new job this week and between learning new tasks and routines, and trying to work out the optimum cycle route I’m not up to too much complexity in the evenings.  I will probably work on my Palms socks the next couple of evenings.  Unless I just carry on reading my Enid Blyton book and ignore the knits!!  I am currently engrossed in “Five Go Adventuring Again”.  It is my intention to read my way through the series – this is only Book 2 – which I read avidly as a youngster.  I am interspersing my more serious, grown-up reading, with the occasional jaunt into the adventures of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have five children and give them those names?  Of course, probably resisting the temptation to add ‘the dog’ habitually to the end of Timothy’s name.

It’s a little late to be starting anything new, and a little early to be heading to bed.  Perhaps there is just time to have a quick scan of the blogs I read before I retire.