Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pink bed socks: two pairs

Another recently-completed FO. Two, in fact. Witness, two super-duper pairs of bed socks in pink.

The story:

Pattern: from Knitting Vintage Socks, Nancy Bush.

Yarn: The body of both pairs uses Angel Yarns hand-dyed sock yarn. I bought two orders of Colourway 4 and found a remarkable difference between them, as I suppose one must expect from hand-dyed. More of this later. For now we'll just call them Colourway 4 (pale) and Colourway 4-Alt (bright). The tops and toes are done in Opal Uni in raspberry for the brighter pair and Angel Yarns solid colour pink sock yarn for the paler pair.

Recipient: These were both given to my sister Liz for her birthday this year at the end of September.

My sister spotted the lovely soft-looking ribbed pattern for these bed socks on the cover of Bush's book. She asked me to make her some for her birthday and picked out the yarn from my stash. She wanted pink socks and liked the AY colourways. Cols 4 and 4-Alt are the only ones with pink in my stash. She picked out the brighter 4-Alt but of course I promptly forgot this AND lost the brighter yarn. All I remembered was she wanted that AY hand-dyed in pink. So - A few weeks later, and months ahead of her birthday (I felt so efficient), I found the yarn and needles and made a pair in Colourway 4, which you see here as the light-coloured ones. They were done quite quickly, with no problems. The pattern was easy and fun to knit. When the socks were finished I put them away and got on with other, mightier knitting projects. Imagine my dismay when one day, digging through my yarn stash, I found the much brighter Colourway 4-Alt and realised THAT was the one she'd picked out. Bugger. Several months had elapsed since completing the first pair and it was now about 10 minutes until my sister's birthday. I picked up that bright pink yarn and knit like the devil, putting everything else on hold to get them done in time. She was delighted with her two pairs of pink socks, which is great. I do wonder if I've set some sort of precedent, and now my family will never feel satisfied with a gift of one pair. I guess that's what you get for congratulating yourself on being ahead of the knitting game.

Red baby blanket.

This blanket dominated my existence for months and months. I am very proud of it - and relieved to have finally finished!

Here's a pic of it spread out on the board where it was blocked. Yes, that's my foot in the foreground, and no, I can't be bothered to crop down the picture. You'll just have to imagine the foot's not there.

Here's a pic of the finished product, spread artfully on the sofa. Excuse the chaos in the background - we were moving house.

Here's the story:

Pattern: From the Vogue 'Knitting on the go' series, Baby Blankets 2.

Yarn: Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran in red & white. Mix of wool, cashmere & microfibre.

Made for: New baby Clara, daughter of my brother Tom & SIL Cal. The project was finished within about two weeks of Clara's birth, so I was able to take it with me when I went to visit her for the first time.

Time taken to make: About 2 lifetimes. I started to feel like I couldn't remember a time when I hadn't been knitting it. Worked on it every morning before work, every evening after work and every weekend. My partner was not happy. But I think it was worth it. :-)

What I learned:

(1) ALWAYS check the finished measurements of a knitted item before you cast on. This bad boy measures 3ft by 4ft, not including the bobbled edgings. I thought 'babies are small, so this blanket must be small too, right?'. Wrong. 12sq foot of intarsia is a lot of knitting.

(2) The 'delicates' program on the washing machine is NOT the same as the wool program. I will never do this again. Thank god the colour didn't run, but the blinking spin cycle distributed minute red cashmere fibres all over the blanket. It was a bit of a nightmare trying to clean it up. At least I can testify it is washing-machine proof. I don't think Cal could do anything worse to it with a washing machine than I did. Yes, I am an idiot.

(3) When substituting yarn, it's a good idea to check what length of yarn there is to a ball. I didn't do this, and consequently used five more balls of red yarn than I thought I was going to.

What I didn't learn:
- Not to make baby blankets. Currently have another OTN from the same Vogue book. This one's easier though as it's stripes, not intarsia. When it's finally finished, will post pics.