Thursday, December 20, 2012

I've run out of knitting!

Well not really, but my ball of wool for my cardigan is very nearly gone so this is what I'm doing for the evening:

(Yes, I've put an Instagram-type effect on the photo because I took it with my laptop's low-quality in-built webcam and it wouldn't be very nice otherwise.)

I'm winding wool by hand. It is a boring, monotonous job, but I have a few knitting podcasts at the ready to keep me company. And I might need a few, because this is no average-sized ball of wool. It's a whole 250g of Cascade Eco +. ("Less ends to weave in at the end," I keep reminding myself.)

I've given up on centre-pull balls of wool. They keep falling apart at the end, and I'm rarely in the mood to spend my knitting time untangling knots.

On the bright side, wearing the wool like this has made me realise it'd be oh so warm and pretty and comfy knitted into a squishy green cowl. And I might even have enough left over after I finish my Aidez cardigan. We shall see...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wool-free crafting

I read a blog post about DIY satsuma candles earlier this year and I love making them. I think they're the easiest DIY project I have ever seen! I make them every time I find easy-to-peel oranges, and decided that this time I should take pictures.

I think they're so clever and look really pretty as well. The original blog post with instructions can be found here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Yummy Self-Patterning Socks

I have a new Work-in Progress I'm very excited about!

I've wanted some self-striping or self-patterning sock wool since I first saw it in Germany a few months after I started knitting. I didn't pick some up then because for some silly reason I thought I didn't need more sock yarn, at least not until I knitted a successful pair of socks.

Then I came home, and suddenly realised what a mistake it was that I didn't bring home a suitcase full of it. Self-patterning sock wool costs about €6 ($7.76 or £4.84) in Germany, and comes in a huge range of colours, even in the tiniest of wool shops. In Ireland however, I struggled to find a shop which stocks it, and of the two I've found, both of them had only two balls of a single colourway. Oh, and it costs €11 here ($14.22/£8.87).

So I've been putting off buying it for a while. Instead, I just had a look around the only LYS in the city. The shop is called This is Knit, and it's a very pretty shop in a gorgeous little shopping centre. It's run by a very friendly mother-daughter team, which adds to its charm. I feel bad going in when I know I can't afford anything there, so I haven't been very often.

And then one of my Knit-Pro (same as KnitPicks for you Americans) needles broke. This is Knit is the only shop I know of which stocks them so, lucky for me, I could get it replaced without any huge effort on my part. And the lady there was so helpful. When she realised I would be without a needle until the order arrived, she let me borrow one of her own.

I picked up my new needle this week. I felt I should buy something small to show them my gratitude so I picked up a ball of Opal Fairies and Elves in a navy and blue colourway. I was so excited to get started on a pair of quick-to-knit, plain stockinette socks that the next day I went to buy some circular needles. (All of mine already have a WIP on them, oops!) I went to two shops near my house, the type that sells mostly acrylic yarn, but neither of them sold circs smaller than 3.75mm! 

I didn't make it to This is Knit to see if they had them (I'm sure they do); instead I went home and put a pair of socks in time out to free up the needles. And now I have the beginnings of what are hopefully going to be a speedy pair of socks:

I really love the wool, I love how the colours change, and I love the prospect of these socks lasting forever because they're made with Opal yarn. And I've come to the conclusion that sometimes I will be so much happier paying a bit more for wool that I'm excited about knitting with.

This whole experience has taught me that sock wool and sock-sized circular needles are extremely hard to come by in Ireland, even in the capital city. Why is it that Irish people don't like to knit socks? My mum has told me of her stressful experiences as a little girl being taught how to knit in primary school, when she struggled to learn how to turn the heel. I'm glad I was never forced to knit in school, and that I only learned when I really wanted to. Maybe the entire nation had traumatic sock-knitting experiences back when knitting was a compulsory subject (for girls).

Or maybe Ireland is just slow to catch up with the advances in knitting. Circular needles and magic loop make sock knitting easier and more portable (at least compared to my own experience with DPNs), and we have a ton of information on the internet which makes sock-knitting less daunting. I'm knitting these socks using's Sock-Building Template, and the whole process is so straightforward. I hope Ireland catches on to a sock revolution some time soon, but in the meantime I'll probably have to make do with finding my sock supplies online.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back in Action!

It's hard to believe my last blog post was a whole six months ago!

My blogging break started off when I came home from France and was spending time with my family and friends again, and it continued because I got into the habit of not taking pictures of my knitting. I do enjoy documenting what I've knit though, and I would hope to be able to look back at projects and remember everything I've given to friends. It's also very nice to be able to read what I liked and disliked about certain projects long after I've forgotten what it was like to knit them.

So a lot of this blog is for my own benefit, but I'll try my best to make it interesting for you other readers as well!

Here's a look at what's on the needles at the moment:

Red Herring by Cookie A

This is the second of a pair of socks which have been sitting in my knitting bag for a little too long now. The beige wool is from Aldi and the red wool is a hand-dyed. I attempted to knit a lacy sock in the red wool, but it didn't show off the lace pattern at all so I decided to add in the beige and see what happened.



I'm very happy with how the two colours go together, and of course Cookie A's pattern is really pretty. Unlike Cookie, I continued the herringbone pattern all the way down the foot of the sock. It takes a lot more time, but it will be worth it for the lovely socks at the end!

Headbands are everywhere these days! They've got the benefit of keeping your ears and forehead warm without the disadvantage of messing up your hair like a hat might. For a knitter, it takes very little wool and very little time to whip one up, and the versions in the shops seem to be easy to copy. This project is for a friend who gave me two balls of this wool, I think it's time I gave it back to her in the form of a pretty headband.


I have been eyeing this cardigan up for ages now, and I'm so glad I finally started it! It's taking me a while to get through it (I'm slow at cables), but I can see it's going to be gorgeous when it's finished! Hopefully I'll get it done before the end of the winter so it can keep me nice and toasty.

This colour is very difficult to capture, the above picture is the closest I could get. It's a deep emerald green with flecks of yellow and blue. I have no idea why it comes out so grey below!

That's all I'm working on at the moment. The few projects I have finished will be online soon. I'm looking forward to regularly updating and hopefully being a bit more productive in my knitting in future!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Woldwide Knit in Public Day

Worldwide Knit in Public day was on Saturday, and I was delighted to find out that there was a public knitting group organised in Strasbourg. I'm a bit shy about going to these things on my own, so when a friend asked if I wanted to meet up on Saturday I suggested we go to the park where the knitting was happening. She then said she had learned a few stitches over Christmas and had already knit a garter stitch scarf, but gave up soon after that. So I brought her a pair of needles and she got to work!

Because I'm shy, we decided to sit on a bench at first and watch the group to suss out if they all knew each other or if they were welcoming newbies as well. We were working up the courage to go over when a girl approached us and asked in English if we'd like to join. Somebody had heard my friend and I speaking English as they passed and the group got a girl who studies English to ask us to join. It was so nice how they went out of their way like that to include us.

So we sat down and chatted for a few hours. It makes such a difference to have company while you knit. I don't have friends who knit so I usually do it on my own in front of a knitting podcast or an episode of White Collar. I maybe should have brought something simpler than my colourwork socks: I got distracted from the pattern a lot, and ended up making more mistakes while chatting than I ever did on my own!

I was a great day out and the ladies from the Strasknitting group are so friendly! I'm disappointed I only joined them a few days before I leave for good, but I'm so glad I found out how nice it is to be part of a knitting group. I'll be much less shy to join one in Dublin!

I forgot to bring my camera, but I took a few photos with my phone:

As I said, I won't be able to join them at their next meeting as my time in Strasbourg is coming to an end. Today I will be packing, tonight my dad and brother arrive and tomorrow we'll set off through the Black Forest region (and Paris on the way home).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Sometimes we have to frog a project we're currently working on. A lot of the time it's a very hard thing to do - when it's a project you can't wait to finish or have invested a lot of time into. Other times it's not so hard.

Today, for the first time ever, I was excited to frog a project. From the very start I was unsure of what I wanted to do with the yarn. It was my first variegated sock yarn and I couldn't decide on a way to show off the yarn and the pattern at the same time. 

I picked a lacy pattern and got to work, only to find that the colours were hidden by the pattern and the pattern was hidden by the colours! I could tell it wasn't going to work shortly after starting, so I took some pictures and decided to sleep on it before frogging.

I knew this pattern wasn't right for the yarn, but I had no idea which pattern would be. Little did I know my answer would come to me that night. In my dreams I was knitting colourwork socks! I could not believe it, my subconscious had helped me out of my knitting dilemma. Colourwork socks would be perfect! Why not pair the red yarn up with another colour and knit a pattern which will both show off the colours of the yarn and break up any pooling which might have occurred?

I got to work straight away and remembered a pattern I had been wanting to knit for a while. And so I present to you the very beginnings of my new favourite socks: Red Herring by Cookie A

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Harry Potter House Cup

In my last post I mentioned the Harry Potter House Cup on Ravelry, but the post was already so long I couldn't really go into detail about why I signed up, what I'm making or how it's going so far.

I can't remember how I found out about the House Cup, but I know it was right before sign-ups for this term began. Each term is three months long, and every student must turn in at least one finished item per month. As I'm spending the summer at home while most of my friends will be abroad, I figured I'd have plenty of free time to contribute to my team's efforts.

May was my exam month so I didn't have a lot of time for knitting. I did manage to finish a pair of socks just in time to submit them and I'm delighted with how they turned out.

I could only spend half an hour knitting here and there during exams, so the first sock took me three weeks to finish. After my exams I had one week left to knit an entire sock, and to my surprise, I managed to finish it just in time.

For the next two months, I imagine I'll have a lot more free time to knit, and I'd like to turn in more than just one project per month. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm back, and it's SUMMER!

It's been over a month since my last post! Here's what I've been up to (skip to the end for knitting!):


For the past month, my life was taken over by end-of-year exams. A lot of them were oral exams, which means you don't have time to sit and think about the answer because the teacher is right there waiting for you to say something! On top of that, they were all in French, a language I've just about got used to speaking after a year of living here. My last exam was on Friday, which means I am now on my summer holidays!


If you know Strasbourg, you'll know that it's an inland city on the border between France and Germany. It's not by the sea so I didn't expect my summer adventures to be on the shore. However, when I got here I found out that there's a beach by a lake. I even hear the sand is imported from the Mediterranean...


A few months ago the back wheel of my bike was stolen, and I realised just how much longer it takes to walk everywhere! I took the opportunity to give my bike a little makeover:

I took it for its first big outing yesterday: a 30km cycle through the French countryside.

I took this photo while I was riding my bike. Wheeeeeee!

It was a lovely way to spend a beautiful day.

And of course... knitting!

During exam time I haven't been knitting as much as usual, but I did find a bit of time every day to keep it going. First of all, my Lala's Simple Shawl has taken a backseat. I still like it and I looking forward to finishing it, but for the moment I'm more excited about other projects.

I've been admiring cabled patterns forever, and as I plan to knit the Aidez cardigan soon, I thought I should learn how cables are done. I picked out some bulky yarn which I bought from a bargain bin and got started on a pair of Bella's Mittens. I don't have much interest in Twilight, but I do think the mittens are adorable! I overestimated how much wool I had, and had to frog and start over with a shorter wrist. I ran out of wool when I got about three-quarters of the way through the thumb, so the mittens are now in time-out while I try to figure out the best way to finish them.

Since finishing my boyfriend's socks I've been wanting to make a pair for myself. I had a bit of trouble with ladders on my DPNs and when I heard about magic looping I couldn't wait to try it out. I took a walk into town to see what kind of sock wool I could find, and I found some of my favourite colours ever. I spent about ten minutes looking at them, trying to decide which one I wanted. I settled on a beautiful greenish-turquoise, a colour called "eau vive", which is French for running water (the outdoor kind, not the kitchen sink kind!). With this wool I'm making myself a pair of Spring Forward socks.

These socks are for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup. For anyone who hasn't heard of it yet, it's a really fun way to motivate yourself to be creative with your knitting, crocheting and spinning. It's also a serious motivator to finish your projects on time, because if you don't hand in a project a month, you might not be allowed participate again! The socks have been going slowly due to exams, so now I have to finish a bit more than half a sock by the end of May. I think I'll make it; I have heaps of free time now that I'm on my summer holidays!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Highlights

When I decided to take part in this year's Knit and Crochet Blog Week, I really wanted to challenge myself to post every day of the week. I looked at the topics in advance and thought about what I'd write for each one, which is the kind of preparation I don't usually do. Unfortunately, Blog Week is happening just before my exams - exams which are entirely in French and in a strange French format which I'm really not used to. I have eight exams, a few hundred pages of revision to get through, and I'm also working a part-time job. So it's tough making time for Blog Week too.

However, I don't want to just abandon it, so I'm goin to give you a summary of what I would have written if I had had the time. 

TUESDAY - Wildcard Topic - Craft your perfect day

My perfect knitting day: I would wake up to the sun shining through my curtains. I would have a lazy breakfast with a pot of tea and would have no commitments all day to rush to. Except maybe meeting friends for a picnic or something, that would be a lovely commitment. I would finish a pair of socks in the morning and wear them straight away (they don't need to be blocked!). Then I would cast on a project I've been excited about for months and knit all day. Simple.

Once my exams are over I'm hoping I'll have plenty of time for a few perfect knitting days.

WEDNESDAY - Day Three - Your Knitting Hero

When I started knitting I had no idea there was such a huge online community of knitters. I had so much to learn. I can't remember how I came across Ravelry, but my goodness it's the best thing I've ever found on the internet! So my first knitting heroes are the founders of Ravelry, Jess and Casey, for making so much information available to us. I think without the huge database of patterns and all that information on different yarns, it would have taken me years to figure out all the stuff I've learned from the website.

My second set of knitting heroes would have to be The Knit Girllls, Leslie and Laura. They keep me company for an hour a week while I focus on my knitting. I have learned so many things from them - from interesting groups on Ravelry to various techniques (such as an Afterthought Heel). I have also become so much more interested in yarn because of them; the way they get so excited about certain yarns makes me want to try them out some day. And they spin. I had no idea that people spun before I watched The Knit Girllls and now I just want to make my own yarn too!

My knitting heroes are knitting heroes because of how easy they've made it for me to keep knitting. Thank you all!

THURSDAY - Day Four - A Knitter for All Seasons

I will most definitely be knitting this summer.

My three-week contract at work is nearly over, and while I thought it was a tester to see how I got on with a view to hiring me for the summer, it's becoming more and more apparent that they have their permanent staff and just hire poor suckers like me for three weeks when it gets busy.

Which means if I'm not re-hired, I'll be spending the summer back home in Ireland. I don't mind so much, I've only been home twice in the past year and it will be lovely to spend some time with my family and friends from home. And summer in Ireland is never too hot, so I'll be knitting comfortably all year round. I really really want an Aidez cardigan for the autumn, so I think that will be my big summer project.

My only problem with year-round knitting is that if you knit something warm and woollen in the spring, you can't wear it until it gets cold again. Which is why this time next year I think I'm going to try my hand at designing a simple motif (like the ethnic prints that are all over the high street), knitting it up in cotton and wearing it all summer long.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knit and Crochet Blog Week : Day One - Colour Lovers

This week is the 3rd Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week! This means that every day for an entire week, participating bloggers from all over the world will be blogging about the same topic. You an find the other participating blogs easily by searching the internet for the code of the day.  Today's topic is Colour Lovers and the code is 3KCBWDAY1; the rest of the week's topics and codes can be found here.

Some of the topics will be a challenge this week, so I'm glad to start off on one that's easy for me. I love colour. I especially love the spectacular colour palettes of certain yarn brands: the deep, rich, vibrant colours and the light, bright, fresh colours - I love them all. I could spend hours upon hours searching various online yarn stores deciding what my favourite colours are and imagining what I could make with them, but for some reason (probably the fact that I'm a cash-strapped student) I never actually buy.

What surprises me even more is that as much as I'm taken in by these colours and would love nothing more than to knit with them, when it comes to actually buying yarn for a particular project I lean towards more natural tones. I have the Aidez cardigan in my queue and plan to knit it for the autumn, but I feel like the beautiful textures will be seen so much more clearly if I knit it in beige. And anyway, Aran always looks good in naturals.

I want to buy more of those amazingly coloured yarns I spend all my time looking at, but I don't get to buy yarn often. My "stash" consists of enough Aldi yarn for three pairs of socks, and four skeins of some Bergere de France I picked up in the bargain bin. I only want to buy yarn if I'm ready to cast on for a specific project, which means I'll only buy a colour if it's perfect for a pattern I'm about to knit. The last thing I want to do to a beautiful yarn is to commit to it, then not know what to do with it and leave it sitting idly in the back of my wardrobe. Funnily enough, my unused stashed yarn is all beige or grey - this might be why I'm not so excited to knit with it!

I think this is one reason sock yarns come in more colours than any other type of yarn. It's not such a commitment to the colour if you only need one skein for a project. Also if it doesn't turn out great, the socks won't be on show as much as jumper for example (that means sweater to you Americans). It was with this logic that I took the plunge earlier today and bought my first variegated sock yarn. (If any non-knitting friends have stuck with me this far, a variegated yarn is one that changes from colour to colour as you knit.) I think a variegated yarn is a gamble: while the colours might look gorgeous on the skein, you never know exactly how they are going to look once they knit up.

I'm very cautious about picking the wrong yarn, but as soon as I saw a Three Irish Girls sock yarn in a colourway called "Maeve" I had to buy it: the yarn and my sister have the same name! It also seems to be a much more luxurious yarn than the Aldi stuff I'm used to, so I'm really looking forward to knitting her a pair of Maeve-coloured socks!

Find other Knit and Crochet Blog Week posts about Colour Lovers here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finished Object Friday!

We've all heard of the sweater curse: you knit a sweater (I'm going to use the word "jumper" from now on because I'm Irish and that's what we call it) for a significant other, and your relationship ends soon afterwards. It's to do with the time, money and effort invested in the jumper going unappreciated rather than us knitters believing that the gods decide the fate of our relationships based on what we knit.

This is why if I decide to knit for someone, be it a friend, boyfriend or family member, I will always always start small, see how much they like it and then decide if they're knit-worthy. Knit something small, like... oh, I don't know, a pair of socks or something?

So, when my boyfriend showed interest in a knitted gift, I told him I'd make just that. A pair of socks. Small, simple, challenging enough to keep me interested, and most importantly, something he'd actually wear.

Today, over a month later, I was finishing up my first pair of socks while browsing Ravelry forums. And just as I was nearing the end of the toe on the second sock I read something astonishing. There are as many stitches in a sock as in a jumper. I don't know how one would go about proving or disproving this claim, but if it's true then no wonder these socks took me so long! If I had known from the outset, I probably would have made some for myself before knitting that many stitches for someone else!

Thankfully, I didn't know when I started, and so I got through my first pair of socks slowly but surely. This evening I was a proud, proud knitting mama when I finished them, and took some photos straight away. It's difficult to take good photos of your own feet, but I did my best.

(One thing I'm not so pleased with is the way the first ball of yarn striped while the colours in the second ball pooled a bit more. Either one is fine, if only the two were the same!)

I was surprised to see that the socks weren't so big on me. I really hope they don't end up too small for my boyfriend's feet or I'll have to make another pair. After knitting that many stitches for someone else I think it's ok to be a selfish knitter until I have a pair of hand-knit socks of my own!

Check out other Finished Object Fridays over at Tami's Amis ad Wisdom Begins in Wonder!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Not much progress...

I can't believe it's been a whole week since the last time I posted! Where has the time gone? I haven't been able to get very much knitting done with my new job, so my boyfriend has been here and gone again without getting the socks I've been working on for so long. I still haven't finished them, so instead of doing a Work-in-Progress post without very much progress, I'll finish the socks and post them in Finished Object Friday instead.

On a side note, my first few days of work have gone quite well. It's only a three-week contract, but I should be able to treat myself to some nice yarn once I'm finished. I'm thinking a skein or two of something slightly expensive that's worth the money, any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday

What a Wednesday it's been!

I was rushing out to class when a package arrived at my door. I knew  it was the set of interchangeable needles I'd ordered; I expected them to take longer to arrive given the bank holiday weekend, but they got here a day early! I spent that whole class looking forward to getting home and trying out my first pair of circular needles.

The needles are for a shawl I'm knitting as part of a KAL (knit-along for you non-knitters) in the LaLa's Knits group on ravelry. I'm excited to take part in a KAL - it gives me a deadline to work towards so I don't get lazy, I can talk to others who can help me out with any questions I have, and I can see all their projects and compare notes.

I thought the needles might be delivered early, so I picked up some yarn yesterday just in case. I chose an alpaca-wool mix to keep my shoulders warm while I'm sitting at my computer, and decided on a beautiful deep purple. I cast on as soon as I got home from class (of course) and have made it through one pattern repeat. The pattern's really nice to knit, I hope it doesn't get tedious when the rows get longer.

(Note the makeshift safety-pin-and-keyring stitch markers!)

This is the first time I've ever had two WIPs at the same time and I think it'll be nice to be able to alternate if I need a break from one. The socks are coming along nicely, I've turned the heel and am on the home stretch now. Should have them finished in time to give them to the boyfriend when he visits next Wednesday.

I think my knitting will be taking a back seat for the next few days. I got a job which means I can stay in Strasbourg all summer (yay!), but also means I have to work twenty-five-and-a-half hours in the next three days. I AM SO NERVOUS. What if it's a nightmare? What if I can't make it through my ten-hour shift?

However, I think it will be worth it to be able to stay in this beautiful town for the summer:

Check out other people's WIPs over at Tami's Amis!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

It's sometimes sad to be away from home during the holidays, so for Easter Sunday my friends and I are making the biggest and best dinner of our entire year abroad.

(The French love Easter. Baby animal decorations everywhere, they even set up a petting zoo in the shopping centre!)

As our cooking facilities in the student residences aren't great, it's hard to have nice dinners very often. There are four hot plates between the 52 people on my floor, and no oven, no microwave, no toaster, nothing. I love to cook, so I bought a mini-oven for my room, and for the first time, the girls and I are having a Sunday roast together.

Since each person is in charge of one part of the meal, we'll have loads of food without any one person doing too much work. This should give me plenty of time to chill out with my girls and my knitting. And the sun is out for the first time in a week. I can't think of a nicer way to spend my Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

This week I'm working on Kelly Patla's Thermal Textured Socks pattern, which she has kindly put on her website for free. The web page was written in an attempt to help people to understand that it's not that hard to knit socks, so it is a brilliant start for beginner sock knitters. With the diagram of the anatomy of a sock and her lengthy explanation of how a sock is knit, she's definitely succeeded in making sock-knitting less daunting for beginners.

The pattern is very easy to follow, and makes a really lovely sock. I don't have any knitting friends to compare with, but it seems to me that I'm a very slow sock knitter. It took me two weeks to finish the first sock, and that's without any other projects on the needles.

I'm very proud of them so far and I'm sure the more I knit, the faster I'll get. Fingers crossed I'll have them finished in time to start Finished Object Friday next week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012

A few weeks ago I found out about the annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, where every participating blogger writes about a set topic each day for a week. Yesterday the blogging topics were published and I can't wait to give it a go! I'm really excited about trying out blog week because it will challenge me to write a blog post every day for a week, and because it gives me topics I wouldn't have come up with myself. I'm also looking forward to coming across a few new knitting blogs during the week!

Blog Week 2012 takes place from the 23rd-29th April, which gives me three weeks to get in the habit of posting regularly. I haven't posted for the past two weeks as I was travelling: first to Paris, then to Aix-en-Provence in the south of France for a college football tournament, with an essay to write in between. Paris was incredible, the tournament went well, despite the 12-hour overnight bus journey there and back, and the essay was handed in on time!

Now that I've caught up on sleep I'm ready to start blogging more often, starting with a Work-in-Progress Wednesday post tomorrow. (Thanks to Rachael from for the suggestion!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting better...

In the last post I mentioned that my socks ended up too tight, probably because I attempted to change the pattern a bit. So instead of being put off socks, I was a bit more put off changing patterns until I understand the science of stitches a bit better.

If I'm not changing a pattern, I have to find one that's almost exactly what I want. After hours of searching for free knitting patterns, I came across This is probably the single best thing I'll ever discover for my knitting, and something I would have known about long ago if I knew other knitters. Practically every pattern ever published anywhere, all on the one website! And it has every other feature we could want as well, one of my favourites being that I can see what the pattern looks like when other users have knitted it. I'm in awe.

So of course I signed up, and my profile can be found here. I have since found plenty of projects I eventually want to knit. The first one I got started on is this pair of socks. It's such a lovely pattern; I really hope it turns out a bit better than my last effort!

So far, it's looking good. They're very soft and stretchy and feel like they're going to be lovely to wear. Because the wool is quite dark, it's hard to see them properly in the pictures:

These socks are fun to knit, but I'm really looking forward to finishing them. I always imagined socks were difficult to knit and didn't expect to be making them already, so I'm quite proud of this project and I can't wait to see them off the needles!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Onwards and upwards: my first pair of socks

I always intended to learn to knit socks eventually, but thought they were probably too complicated for a beginner. I had just convinced myself I could do it if I put my mind to it when I came across a pack of sock wool in the german supermarket Aldi. Enough wool for two pairs of socks and a set of double-pointed needles, all for €6!

(There were only plain colours left unfortunately, no lovely stripes like in this picture)

So I gave it a try. I downloaded a free e-book from  and used a sock pattern which can be found here.

The pattern wasn't at all difficult, but for some reason it took me three weeks to complete just one sock.I couldn't wait to finish and see what it looked like so I tried it on halfway through:

It seemed fine then but once I had it bound off I tried it on and realised it was too tight. I managed to get it on to take a photo:

It's lovely, but far too hard to get on and off, probably because I doubled the yarn to make the socks thicker. So instead of knitting the second sock, I'm getting started on another pair. I was in Aldi again yesterday and found the last pack of this sock wool on sale for €2.50, so I have a feeling I'll be knitting socks for the next while!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hat number 3

At this stage I was feeling comfortable with knitting hats, so I decided to try my hand at designing one of my own. Using, I drew out this fair-isle colour chart:

I based the rest of the pattern on the first hat I knitted, making the ribbing a bit longer so it could be turned up. Not everything went smoothly; the grey yarn I started with was much too thick, and I almost ran out of red yarn before finishing. This was all easy enough to fix, I bought new grey wool of the right thickness and tightened up the red stitches to make the yarn go further. Here's a picture I took halfway through; it shows the pattern better than any other photo I have:

(You can see the thick wool I started out with at the ribbing. I ripped this out later and knitted downwards to finish it off.)

The hat turned out to be nice enough to give to my boyfriend as a present. Here's a picture he took of me wearing it. The photo was taken with a film camera and I love how old it looks! I forgot to get a photo of my own before giving it away so I'm afraid this is the best I have:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My second hat, and knitting gets expensive

The pattern for my second hat came from the same magazine as my first and can be seen here on

I love the hat, it's so thick and soft, and it kept me warm through the bitter Strasbourg winter. Also, receiving compliments on something you've made yourself feels so much nicer than for something you just picked out in a shop.

I'm only knitting hats, but already I'm finding knitting expensive. I had to buy two pairs of needles for each of the hats (one for the ribbing and another for the rest). Also, as the magazine is produced by Phildar, the patterns call for particular yarns from the shop, which is one of the more expensive yarn stores around.

I know that I only have to buy needles once, but I'm not looking forward to paying €70 for wool once I start knitting bigger projects like jumpers and cardigans!