Friday, 31 January 2014

Sirdar Crofter DK Socks on Straight Needles

A few years ago I taught myself to knit in the round on double pointed needles (dpn's) specifically to be able to knit socks. I hasten to add, that as an adult learner, knitting with dpn's was not a skill I acquired easily and took me a few attempts.

More recently I wanted to try out the Sirdar Crofter DK fair isle style yarn and initially chose the lichen shades of Glen #76 colourway. When I read the pattern I was surprised to find that it was written for knitting socks with straight needles not dpn's. I was curious about how the sock would be constructed so I decided to give this pattern a go. I should probably say now that I liked working with the Crofter yarn so much that I decided to make a second pair of socks right away but using dpn's in Galloway #73 shades of blue.

For the yellow socks the pattern states three pairs of needles - 3.25mm (US 3), 4mm (US 3) and 4.5mm (US7). 

For the blue socks on dpn's I used the same needle sizes but I improvised a short row heel turn, used some of the pattern instructions and stitch counts.

I enjoyed knitting the yellow socks on straights and very pleased with the fit. The seams are positioned so there's minimum chance of rubbing especially the heel which has no seam. The only down side is dealing with a number of loose ends and sewing the seams. If dpn's are not your thing then this pattern might be for you.

For the blue socks with dpn's somehow the yarn balls didn't start with the same pattern sequence consequently I have slightly mismatched socks. I don't mind this so much because I really like the colours and they are going to be worn with hiking boots after all.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Adventures in Yarn Farming

As a relative newcomer to the world of sheep keeping I was looking forward to reading Adventures in Yarn Farming (which I received as a gift at Christmas). Barbara Parry describes her transition into farming life in New England and how she converts sheep fleece into high quality knitting yarn. The book is hardback and beautifully presented with lots of photographs.

The story starts with the wool clip and follows the year of the sheep through the seasons. I found it interesting and reassuring that the story sounded familiar and that I'm at least doing some of the same things. There were some differences in timings in the year for certain activities. The most striking difference though is the effort she goes to keeping the sheep fleeces clean and succeeding (whilst still on the back of the sheep). My Shetland sheep usually look as though they just emerged from a rummage in the bottom of the compost heap, so there's some work to do. 

Here's a video taster of the book...

There are 8 knitting patterns and other projects for spinning, weaving and dyeing in the book. But I really enjoyed this book more for it's description of lifestyle changes and it's honest look at the hard work that goes into producing yarn from sheep fleeces. 


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Good Reads

Some of the books which have distracted me from knitting last year have piled up on the shelves. I'm trying to keep track of the books I've read this year using Good Reads. Recently I was browsing Penny's blog and came across her post 'My Year of Books'. Which lead me to this link on Circle of Pine Trees. Which in turn lead me to Good Reads. As well as keeping track of books I've read I'm hoping to pick up some good recommendations too.