Cables and stripes and bears, oh my!

There’s probably a sock pattern for every type of knitter. Assuming you’re ok with knitting in a circle, of course. Plain socks, colourwork socks, cabled socks and textured socks. Delicate lacy socks and chunky socks. Main problem, I think, is working out what kind of knitter you are. I’m still not sure. To be honest, I’m not even that sure I’m a knitter – but I have the needles, the yarn and I like making things, so for now, knitting it is.

I think when I started writing this blog I assumed I’d find a ‘craft’ that totally fit me. Something I’d stick with and get good at. I’m not sure I’ve done that – knitting ended up as a default, because its super easy to make *something*. It’s also pick up and put downable without too much fuss. You don’t need to get a sewing machine out or open a cupboard. You can leave it lying about and pick it up when you feel like it. (And usually it is lying about. We had a sock on the kitchen table for weeks. My partner is very gracious about eating his dinner with a sock staring him in the face, while I’m in the process of knitting another one). Knitting’s also pretty easy to take with you if you’re travelling – although not as good as tatting, which is much smaller.

Anyway, that’s long winded way of saying I’m making another pair of socks. (And no, I haven’t been travelling.)

I decided I should see if I liked knitting cabled socks. I used the Winwick Mum pattern, left over yarn from my first pair of socks, and the measurements from the second sock of the first pair. The answer? I don’t mind knitting cabled socks, but I am terrible at counting in the round. I don’t know why I’m so bad at it, (just put a marker in and make a note as you go) but for some reason I lost count, all the time. I also decided I don’t like this colour. Or I don’t like so much of this colour in one go. So I unravelled it and started again. And I bought some grey yarn.

Next I made a brand new cuff (groan) and did about 3 repeats of cable pattern in grey. That was ok. I’m still bad at counting but the cable pattern just didn’t show up in the grey yarn – too small a cable and too woolly. So I unpicked that – but not before totally forgetting to take a photo.

(The colour on these photos is terrible, sorry about that). So one of the other things I wanted to try was ribbed socks. I wanted to see if it added interest to knitting plain socks or just ended up being annoying. Jury’s out actually. It’s ok – but then this sock isn’t whizzing along at the speed of the last pair, so maybe it is a bit disruptive? It’s knit 3, purl 1. I also had a bit of a google to see how I could make the cuff neater. My knit 2 purl 2 ribbing never looks that neat, so I swapped it out for twisted rib stitch. That looks incredibly neat – especially if you do a good job of it, which I haven’t really. But try it. It’s easy to do and looks really nice. Downside is that I had to do it all on DPNs, as I couldn’t get it to stretch across the circulars. (I got there eventually, as you can see, but how do people have the patience to knit whole socks on DPNs?)

Technically speaking, the body of the sock so far is 2 rows of each colour. That’s pretty good as you can carry the colour as you go, so not too many ends to sew in. I say ‘technically speaking’ because practically speaking you can see at least one row of orange which is deeper than the others. If I’m honest, there are 2, but the photo is deceptive. I did tell you I couldn’t count. Also, I’m not in love with the grey and orange if I’m honest, but I’m ignoring that for now. I’ll switch to yellow at some point soon. The three balls look nice together, but just less good when knitted up.

The only other thing to try sock wise, was colour work. But I think I’ve finally got to the point where I understand myself well enough to know that it would drive me a bit nuts. I hate unruly things you have to keep untangling, and colourwork falls into this camp. I do it occasionally – some Little Cotton Rabbits clothing – but on the whole, I probably don’t find it that enjoyable. And I guess you don’t have to do hobbies you don’t find that enjoyable, right? Doesn’t stop me looking at everyone else’s work with envious eyes. Maybe I just need to try harder.

So I’ll stick with the ribbed socks, and probably make cabled socks another time, in another yarn. In the meantime I’ve been wearing the socks I have knitted and I love them. Especially the last pair. I can’t believe I made them.

I also made a small bear! I wasn’t really expecting small bear to be this small. She’s knitted out of yarn I’ve had for years, which just seemed to be a good colour for a bear. I used the head pattern from the Little Cotton Rabbits mini animals and the body from the 7″ pattern. What you can see above, left to right is – regular sized bear in small yarn, in the small size dungarees, a small bear in small yarn and small dungarees, and a small bunny in worsted yarn and small dungarees. I can’t believe how chunky the bunny is! I love her none the less. Small bear became a slight issue in that I was worried I didn’t have the yarn to make clothes that would fit, but Krea Deluxe cotton on 2.5 needles worked out ok in the end. I’m still in 2 minds about those colours, but they’re the ones I had. The colours of the Krea Deluxe cotton range are really lovely though. Even if the cotton is a bit splitty at times.

And that’s all for now. I need to go because I’m making a pie, and apparently we’re supposed to be eating soon. The pie is… not yet pie shaped. It’s in a casserole dish, waiting to be assembled. Onwards.

Hope you’re doing ok.

5 thoughts on “Cables and stripes and bears, oh my!

  1. The bears are lovely (as is rabbit.) You do the cotton rabbits patterns really well. I just downloaded a bear pattern from LoveCrafts. Hoping it’ll be ok as the woman had no sales (!) Very similar to little cotton rabbits but I found it just that bit more appealing (heresy.) Re: finding a craft you stick with. I find that impossible. I began knitting aeons ago then lost interest. Then started drawing/painting – lost interest (although recently did a large picture of my granddaughter using my colouring in crayons!) Then did the colouring in books – lost interest. Made me realise the level of dedication required to focus on just one hobby. Also realised I’ve been blogging for 7 years now and amazed I’ve bothered to keep it up.

    • Thank you – how’s your bear going? You’re allowed to find other patterns appealing 🙂 As they say on the BBC, ‘Other makes are available’. (I just won’t ever talk to you again.)

      Actually, I was having an off day when I wrote this post. Looking around thinking ‘why is everyone more brilliant at everything than I am?! Why can’t I just commit to a craft and then excel at it?’. But actually, who cares, really. I think having a lot of hobbies is good if that’s what you prefer. You’ll never get bored – or you probably will at some point if you happen to be in a global pandemic and can’t leave the house – but generally speaking, there are just more tools in your toolbox, and that’s not a bad thing, really.

      Blogging is weird isn’t it? I only told about 2 people I even have a blog, but someone I know found it by accident (Hello, Alice). Then I just felt really weird about it. Like, it’s totally cool to talk to strangers, but not people you know. But sometimes, the people you know just aren’t interesting in the same stuff. I’m glad you blog. I like reading it.

      • Know what you mean about perfectionism (excelling) at things. I’m never fully satisfied with anything I do, always thinking there’s room for improvement, but hobbies are supposed to be relaxing so I try to let go of the internal critic. People seem to be split into two camps when it comes to ‘talent’ in anything – those who think they’re brilliant and are rubbish (sorry, harsh comment!) and those who are quite good but filled with self doubt. I’ve never told anyone, outside my family, about my blog and can’t fully fathom why, except I value privacy (contradictory when my blog is public!) I also know most people would have zero interest. Haven’t started my bear yet, waiting for wool to arrive, still chugging away at my blanket, getting harder to stitch it together the bigger it gets. Just finished reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (had never heard of her.) Just my kind of ghostly/set in the past tale, and she has a chapter about a woman knitting socks! I actually thought of you when I read it

  2. The bears are adorable. I’ve made crochet ones, but never knit. I think I like that look better. New to knitting, I’m more of a crocheter, but may have to try the socks. I do like the combination that you ended up with.

    • Thank you! I used to make crochet toys too – so much more sensible if you need to make something 3 dimensional. Just one hook, not 4 needles!

      But in the end, I found that the shape of the stitches often took over, and it was harder to see the character of the toy, over the look of the crochet stitches. Knitting blends in a bit more – less stitch definition. That said, there are some brilliant people making characterful crochet toys on instagram.

      And socks are interesting. There are some learning curves! But once you get over that, there’s lot of choice as to what you can make.

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