Darn it!

I know. These photos are never going to make me an influencer, but I guess I’ll have to live with that. I darned my socks! I was a bit annoyed when they got a hole to be honest, as it felt like I’d only had them for 5 minutes. But according to the internet, I finished these in May 2021, which is not a bad life for a pair of socks. I wear these a lot at home.

I assumed I’d make a hash of fixing them, but actually, I didn’t do too badly. I used this video to help. It’s good. I knitted a patch because, as much as I love all the woven visibly-mended stuff, I didn’t think it would be strong enough for a heel.

Actually, that patch above is a preemptive one, as the yarn is wearing thin. It’s the second patch of the day. The first was to cover this hole:

It was a huge hole. Also a huge pain, as I had to add stitches to widen the patch as I went, because it started at the narrow end of the heel. The blue thing peeking through is a massage roller ball. Not that good for massaging muscles, but does ok as a darning egg in a pinch.

I don’t love the left and right edge stitches being a little bigger on both of these, but they’re slipped so they get a wee bit baggy. I assume they’ll tighten up when the socks are washed. Things that seem good about this:

  • You’re supposed to knit the patch with a smaller needle, so the stitches are naturally a bit more dense, which seems like a good thing
  • The original wool should felt itself into the patch as it’s worn and washed, so that should make it stronger too

So that’s that. i thought I’d hate doing it, but actually I enjoyed it. Not sure why.

In other news, I need to make another duckling. We had guests on Saturday, and the duckling was quickly adopted by K, 5. It came to the park with us, down the slide, on the roundabout and back again. Come hometime there were pleas from K and apologies from parents. I offered to make K a ducking of her own. “How long will it take? A day? Ok, we’ll come round tomorrow”.

I should probably get started on that.

Ducking about

I’ve been wondering about Claire Garland’s patterns for ages. For a long time she wrote patterns for more realistic animal knits, like this bunny. But, I’m a lazy knitter and the patterns always looked a bit tricky for me – also, what would I do with the finished article? (What do I do with anything I knit though, aside from foist it on people?) Anyway.

You may have seen Claire’s work more recently, because she made a frog pattern, which India Crawford then knitted and used in a stop-frame animation, which she posted on Instagram. Suddenly Instagram was awash with actually rather lovely knitted froggies. (And the animations are brilliant).

So, while everyone was knitting frogs, I thought it was finally time to knit the lucky ducking.

Little knitted duck

Saints alive, it’s a cute pattern! Look at it!

Full disclosure though, this one was without feet for about 2 weeks. I just wasn’t keen – they didn’t look as neat as they should.

Here is the duck when it was literally footloose, but probably not fancy free ^.

I shouldn’t take photos when the light is terrible – not sure where the focus is here, but never mind. It’s knitted in sock yarn, on 2.75mm needles. I also stitched the eyes, because although I do have safety eyes the head is so small the stems on the eyes would bash into each other. So I might buy some beads to use and knit another one. I think a bit of reflection in a black beady eye would be nice.

It’s a quick knit, if you don’t dither about over the feet. There’s a bunch of ‘wrap and turns’ which I’d not done before, but overall, it’s not hard, and it’s explained clearly. This one fits in the palm of my hand.

I’m still working on the shawl in the background, and I’m still not that sure about it. But never mind. Also I’m making a pair of socks, in Felici which…

I mean, look at that! Honestly. Put some effort in. I chopped it out, and rejoined the colour in the right place. I’m not in love with this colour combo, but I do like Felici sock yarn when it’s knitted up (soft, machine washable, hardwearing). So when the yarn is on offer, I buy the least worst combinations. Anyway. There you have it.

Hope you had a good weekend.

Makes and bakes

I’ve had this week off work. Inexplicably I’ve made:

• 1 loaf of sourdough bread (routine)
• 1 loaf of stilton and pecan bread (to have with some butternut squash soup I’d made previously)
• 1 loaf of malted wholemeal bread (to use up the flour before it goes out of date)
• 1 batch of oat biscuits (to feed someone who wanted something sweet, and we didn’t have anything ready made)
• 1 malt loaf (sweet, not bread – because I like it, and I finally bought another jar of malt extract recently.)

Actually, it’s not really inexplicable, is it? I’ve just explic’d it.

Some of it is now in the freezer. The stilton and pecan loaf of was honestly the biggest loaf of bread I’ve ever seen. It’s nice – surprisingly light, but absolutely enormous, and frankly, not a picture to look at. I would make it again, but I’d halve the recipe. It was from the Paul Hollywood ‘How to bake’ book (£0.99p Kindle deal ages ago)- but if you google it, you’ll find the entire recipe online, should you fancy making it too. Goes well with soup.

It’s been ages since I last posted here. I’d just started making an elephant in my last post.

I went from not liking this yarn to loving it again. It’s really soft. Probably not that robust for toys, but actually just makes toys that feel like they’ve been loved forever. This elephant is a really lovely size too.

I started out with a t-shirt and pinafore. Also in Krea Deluxe. Then for some reason (and this happens a lot) decided that wasn’t the right outfit. So I made her a dress instead:

And actually, I’m not sure it’s better now I look at it. She’s also really hard to photograph. Lovely in real life, but just doesn’t come across that well in pictures.

I think the issue I have with this yarn (aside from it being a bit splitty) is that it doesn’t feel like it sews up that well. Probably better if you’re knitting in the round, maybe. But still the best range of colours.

I’d also just finished another pair of mismatched socks last time I posted. I’d bought 3 colours of Cascade Heritage yarn: purple, red and coral. They were an odd colour choice to be honest, but I just liked them when they were all together. And you get a lot of yarn for your money, and 3 colours gives you a lot of choices about what to do with it.

I used the same stitch count as before, and the same pattern from Winwick Mum. I think each of the stripes is 7 rows, but the rest of the lengths/rows I just made up as I went along. I held up sock 1 to measure it against other socks I’d made as I went, and sock 2 to sock 1 to get them the same. Lazy bones.

They came out really nicely actually. I’m not keen on the jagged look of the coral colour at the start of the heal, so maybe I’d change that in another pair, but overall I’m pleased with them.

And they do actually look like a pair. We’ll see how they wash though. The socks I made in Drops sock yarn have really felted – or actually one has. One was striper than the other, and the one with the big block of red (and less stripes) has felted lot in the wash. I’ve been chucking them in the machine rather than hand washing them, because… well, see lazy bones comment above. If you’re curious, the best ones in the wash are the KnitPicks Felici self-striping ones. They’ve kept their shape and colour and haven’t felted at all. They’re also really soft. I just wish they did more colours I like.

I also made two small bunnies for two parents to be, at the request of someone from work. They asked me how long they take to knit, and I decided I’d keep a note this time, as people often ask. Turns out I’m a poor note taker. I’m already a distracted knitter – I’ll often stop after a row or two to google something, stare out of the window or just generally faff about. So trying to time myself was a bit of a minefield. This is roughly what I got:

Body: 71 mins
Arm: 21 mins x 2 = 42 mins
Foot: 40 mins x 2 = 80 mins
Ear: 28 mins x 2 = 56 mins
Head: 53 mins

Roughly 5 hours?
That’s just to knit the rabbit. Then there’s sewing up, and making the clothes. Which I completely forgot to count.

I’m a slow knitter though. Not really sure how long it would take a quick knitter. These are knitted in Cascade 220 wool, held with Kidsilk Haze for the fluff. Then the t-shirts are Krea Deluxe cotton, and the Schachenmayr Catania Denim Originals (152) for the dungarees.

And yep, that is a different t-shirt than shown in the first pic. I swapped one out as there was too much blue with the dungarees. I was pleased with these. I really like the fluff, actually. Also, that Cascade 220 is pretty robust. Makes for quite a solid rabbit when it’s knitted on 2.75mm needles. I think I made the grey t-shirt on 2.5mm needles, so it wasn’t too big. (The blue one was a bit big).

This week I’ve also knitted a dress and 2 cardigans for larger rabbits. Mainly because I decided I didn’t like the ones I’d made previously. These are for rabbits still waiting to be gifted, after, what… 2 years, I think. Pandemics eh?

Two’s company

I’m sitting in the garden. It looks like it’s going to rain any minute, but actually it’s quite nice. The birds are singing, and aside from that it’s quiet and fresh. I’ve just made tomorrow night’s dinner and there’s a plum clafoutis in the oven too. Actually, I tasted half a plum while I was prepping it, and it was completely tasteless, so we’ll see. Might sound like an episode of the good life, but we’re not there yet.

I’m still in sock and gardening mode at the moment. (Although I’m also making a pink elephant.) After the woolly-wholesomeness of my last socks, I fancied knitting socks in a really bright colour. So I bought some Cascade Heritage yarn which seems to get good reviews – and actually, is quite cheap for the amount you get in a skein.

I started the stripy one first. Then, we went to see friends (finally!) and I thought it would be good to take something easy and mindless with me, so I prepped the second sock. Sometimes I like knitting while I’m talking. In the end it was such a joy to see them, and to sit in their beautiful garden, I didn’t knit much. But I carried on with the simpler sock when I got back. I was intending to make a corresponding pair for each, but now I’m not so sure…

Originally, I was going to reverse the stripes on the stripy one. Thinner at the top, wider apart at the bottom. But now I’m thinking I could just make another 2 socks using the same yarn in any way I fancy and mix and match them. If they all use the same colours, who’s to say they’re not a pair? Plus, I’ll only wear them at home anyway, so does it matter? Not really. So I’m using these as ‘trying it out’ socks and knitting whatever I feel like. I’ve got a hunch I’d prefer this yarn on a smaller needle, actually. We’ll see about that.

Last summer I made some bunnies for the children of friends abroad. I have no idea when I’ll get to see them and hand the bunnies over. The kids’ll probably be fully grown at this rate. But a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to reknit their clothes. Just suddenly decided I didn’t like them. I was going to knit them in the Krea Deluxe cotton I bought – but it’s so splitty! The colours are absolutely beautiful, and it’s organic cotton yarn, but it really does split and if you’re knitting on small gauge needles you’re forever picking up the single strand of thread that gets left behind. So I put the clothes on pause. Then inexplicably decided to knit a pink elephant with the yarn instead.

How this is different to knitting clothes, I haven’t worked out. But the beauty of a hobby is the option to abandon all logic and/or quality control when you feel like it and just get on with things.

This project bag is lovely – a xmas gift from the friend I mentioned earlier.

If you’re the sort of person who might make the elephant pattern using the Krea Deluxe yarn and wonder if the yarn is strong enough to take the weight of curling up the trunk, the answer is no. It took 5 attempts at sewing that up before it did what it was supposed to. Krea didn’t cut it, nor did some random (what I thought was strong) yarn I found in the drawer. Eventually I used a bright red yarn – maybe a cotton glace? Luckily it’s true – you can’t see the thread you use to sew up mattress stitch. It does get buried in the stitches themselves. And now the head is done, she’s quite nice. I’m making an elephant with shoes on. I haven’t made an animal with shoes in ages. We’ll see from the finished article if there was a reason for that I’ve forgotten.