Eldenwood Craft Knitting Podcast - episode 39, June 2022
I recorded the 39th episode of the Eldenwood Craft Knitting Podcast in June and I had a lot of projects to share so let's jump straight in and look at what was discussed. I have provided links to yarn dyers, patterns, podcasts etc and you can also have a look at my project pages on Ravelry for any further information (for those reading who struggle with Ravelry accessibility I can confirm that none of the links below take you to Ravelry).
I shared these socks for the first time in episode 38 and I fully expected them to be on my needles for some time. Not because I wasn't enjoying them, but because I thought they would be the project that I picked up when I didn't have anything else to work on. But oh no, I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these and they were off my needles before I barely had time to say 'hand knit socks are the best'!
Knit from a Giddy Yarns self striping yarn in the Hove Actually colourway, these socks were knit initially as two 60 stitch tubes, with 1x1 ribbing for the cuffs and a wedge toe. I knit a total of 140 rounds for each sock (excluding cuff and toe) and I then added an afterthought heel - the umbrella heel from Kay Jones' Umbrella Socks pattern - using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the Milk Bottle colourway.
I enjoyed the process of knitting a tube like this and then adding the heel afterwards, and this particular heel fits me well, so I don't know why I don't do this more often. I prefer the fit of a standard heel flat and gusset, but this heel comes a reasonably close second. Perhaps the next sock I cast on will be knit this way.
Party in the Park Socks
Two pairs of socks finished for this episode and this pair was the most recent pair off my needles. This was a special pair of socks because the yarn was part of a collaboration that I worked on with Blue Fern Yarns. I chose a fabric to make a project bag from and Shannon from Blue Fern Yarns dyed up a co-ordinating skein of yarn and it is this yarn that my socks are knit from. Isn't it a beautiful colourway? It's called Party in the Park and all the kits are sold out from both our shops I'm afraid.
For this sock I tried something a little different. While the main body of the sock was just a standard vanilla sock with 1x1 ribbing and a wedge toe, I added in a heel I'd not used before - the shadow wrap heel. This is a heel that has gained in popularity recently, possibly thanks to the fact that Denise Desantis of Earthtones Girl (who has one of my favourite podcasts on YouTube) has talked a lot about it recently and has a sock pattern using this particular heel construction.. The heel is a short row heel and I think the idea is that it is meant to be slightly neater than a traditional short row heel. I found it straightforward to knit following Denise's Youtube video. I had heard that some people liked to use this heel because it's a bit roomier but to be honest I've not found this. I enjoyed the knitting of the heel though compared to a German Short Row heel, but I still prefer a heel flap and gusset or an umbrella heel (see below) and so I'm not sure I'm going to add it to my regular heel repertoire for the long term.
Leftover City Cowl
This pattern by Kacey Herlihy has been my favourite project of recent weeks. I'd had my eye on the pattern for a while having seen some beautiful versions on Instagram and Ravelry. I'd pulled out some favourite mini skeins to choose from quite some time ago but only recently found the time to cast on and I am very glad I did.
The pattern calls for nine mini skeins - I used seven and I'm happy that the cowl is cosy enough even with two skeins short. But really you could use any number of minis that you wanted to for this pattern, as each section is the same plus some ribbing at the top and bottom. Some simple colour work and round and round knitting made for a pretty relaxing knit, and one that I picked up a lot when I had some knitting time. It took me around a week to knit from start to finish which for me is pretty good going.
If you've got some spare minis that you don't know what to do with this would be a good stash busting project. Each colour block needs about 10g of yarn. I used minis from Loom Wool, Botanical Yarn and Five Moons.
This is a project that unfortunately I'm not as happy with. It's a fantastically written pattern / concept from Ysolda Teague and there are many really lovely finished projects that I've seen online, but my version hasn't quite worked and I think that's because of one of the yarns I used.
The hat is cast on at the crown with a small circumference cast on. You then essentially knit a hat backwards (top down) until you get to the brim, and then you knit a hat the right way round so you have one long closed tube. You then flip one half of the tube inside the other one and bingo you've got a double layered hat ready for the colder weather.
The pattern provides stitch counts for knitting in a variety of yarn weights and at a variety of gauges. It's very clever.
Most people knit a brim. I decided against that simply because I really like the look of the Midas Hat that I've knit on a couple of occasions and that doesn't have a brim. And I think it would work but for one problem. One of the yarns I used is quite slippy. The stripes are from a skein of standard sock yarn from Giddy Yarns in the Indiana Jones colourway. The plain yarn is a merino, yak, silk yarn and this is the one that I think is where the problem sits with because the slippiness of the silk makes the two layers move about and it just doesn't feel like it sits right. I'm thinking about securing the two layers together through the crown and that might help a bit. But for now it's going in the 'to think about later' bucket!
Works in Progress
Another Pair of Striped Socks
This is a pair of socks that are going to look so pretty when they're finished (and when all the ends have been dealt with - I’m weaving them in as I go but there’s a lot of dangling ends to cut off!). I'm using a mini skein set from Blue Fern Yarns (it's the January Palette Pack) and the colours are really lovely soft greens, greys and pinks. I'm basically changing colour every 9 rounds and I'm hopeful that my maths works out so that when I get to the end of the 8th foot stripe (which will be 72 rounds) I'll be ready to start the toe. I usually cast on 60 stitches for my plain knit socks but for some reason I've added an extra four stitches to this pair. I'm not keen on a baggy sock, I definitely prefer some negative ease and so we'll see how these turn out.
Bits and Bobs Blanket
This is a project that I am really enjoying working on. Often with blankets I get a bit bored with the repetition and sheer scale of the project, but not so with this. The rhythm of the stitches makes for a very enjoyable process and the texture of the completed stitches is incredibly squishy. This, along with the way the colourful bits and bobs of yarn work with the grey that is the consistent colour held throughout, makes me want to keep knitting and knitting on this project. As I showed in the podcast I have knit a fair amount since I first showed it off in the previous episode.
The pattern is by Kay Jones from the Bakery Bears. The grey yarn I’m holding all the way through is Drops Nord in the Pearl Grey Mix (colourway 03).
I knit one of these not so long ago and found the finished sweater to be a good fit and so, when my husband finally came around to the idea of having a hand knit sweater - nothing too fussy, just simple will do nicely thank you - the Flax was the obvious candidate.
The yarn choice on the other hand was not so straightforward. As this was the first garment I’d be making for Dennis I didn’t want to jump into the indie dyed yarn pool, just in case fit, wear etc was not right. So we spent quite some time looking at a range of commercial yarns and in the end I have opted for King Cole Forest, which is a recycled yarn, with the content 35% wool, 25% viscose, 20% polyamide, 20% acrylic so it shouldn’t be too worrisome when it comes round to caring for it. The yarn is classified as an aran weight yarn, but at 300m to 100g this feels more of a sport weight yarn to me. I haven't swatched so I'm pushing my luck a bit but if it comes up too small it will fit me!
The feel of the yarn is a little ‘manufactured’’ but perhaps that’s because I’m used to knitting with indie dyed yarn and I suspect that once it has a bath it will come up quite nicely. The colourways are all named after forests and I have opted for Epping Forest which is a beige tweedy colourway. I like the colourways in this range and I’m quite tempted to knit myself something from this yarn once the Flax is finished, assuming I like the finished feel of the yarn.
I’ve cast on but not got very far because of other knitting priorities at the moment. However this isn’t going to be worn until the late autumn so plenty of time and I’ll update on this project later in the year.
This is my knitting priority for the foreseeable future. I’m going to an overseas wedding later in the year and a lightweight simple wrap will be perfect to keep the evening chill at bay. I crowd sourced ideas for a modern laceweight wrap in my last podcast and wow, there were a lot of fabulous suggestions, thank you. But it was this one that really stood out to me. It’s a pattern by Julie Hoover and is so straightforward it’s almost a stocking stitch rectangle, but it has enough interest by way of a textured stitch every so often to keep my interest. This is a good thing because the pattern calls for around 600 rows of knitting! I thought on reading the pattern and discovering the extent of purling required that I might struggle because I'm not the biggest fan of executing the purl stitch. I worked out that to keep me on track I’d need to knit around 35 rows a week and already by the end of the first couple of days of knitting I was well over that so I think i’m going to be ok (and at the time of writing this which is a week later I’ve hit around 100 rows).
The yarn I’m using is beautiful. It’s from John Arbon and is the Alpaca Supreme Heavy Laceweight in the colour Azurite. The yarn content is 40% superfine alpaca, 40% organically farmed Falklands merino and 20% A1 mulberry silk and it comes with 300m per 50g skein. I’ve decided in recent months that I’m not the biggest fan of wearing garments with mohair type yarn because of the shedding of these yarns, but I do love the softness of the fabric that they produce. The John Arbon is a great compromise due to the alpaca content giving a slight halo, but there is no shedding. Hoorah.
And we also talked about...
At the end, as well as a bit of shop news, I also shared some books that I’d been reading. There were quite a few but definite highlights from the books I’d finished reading were the The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, and The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. The former is a prequel to the Kingsbridge Trilogy - a series of books that I have loved reading over the last few years - and this one did not disappoint. It’s a romp through the end of the Dark Ages and features a pretty standard fare of good vs evil, David vs Goliath, love vs hate etc and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Year of Living Danishly is the author’s attempt to understand why the Danes hold the enviable title of being the world’s happiest nation. It reminded me a little of books like A Year in Provence and Driving Over Lemons (ie Brits moving abroad and having entertaining encounters with the locals as they try to acclimatise to life in their chosen country) but there was also a little bit of more on the cultural, socio-economic and political front that made this more than just an entertaining tale of hapless Brits in unfamiliar surroundings. I enjoyed it.
So that was everything from this episode. I will record another episode in July and will follow that up with a journal post like this one. Until then, happy making.