Slow Fashion October: Small & Loved

Karen Templer's Slow Fashion October has given me plenty of food for thought. Her prompt last week (SMALL) and this week (LOVED) has helped me make connections that I hadn't fully appreciated up till now. 

A small and very loved pile of knitwear

A small and very loved pile of knitwear

I don't craft particularly fast. I am not a speed knitter and I rarely find time for other making such as crochet or embroidery despite a keen interest in both. When I complete a project I'm thrilled but more often than not, I move on to the next thing as it's the creation that I crave more than anything. 

In my mind, my daughter and I wear hand knits all year round without any need to 'top up' with store bought items. Our sweaters are plentiful and there's the right accessory for every weather condition. I'd make simple skirts and a play apron for little one that would be a quick afternoon spent on the sewing machine rather than a guilt ridden click on a website for a ready made. 

In my mind, I'm living the life I crave: not consuming but creating. I rework clothes with hand stitching, sewing, patching or modifications which means that I don't need to constantly buy new. I am able to Make Do and Mend because I have the skills and time with which to execute these tasks. 

A small and very loved pile of knitwear

A small and very loved pile of knitwear

However, the reality is that I don't even make half as much as I wish and what's more, those things I do create have been slowly given away over the last few years. 

In searching my wardrobe for my most loved and cherished handknit while I prepared to respond to Karen's words 'Small' and 'Loved' made me realise that there is a limited supply of handknits in my wardrobe despite many years of knitting diligently. My ruthlessness when it comes to clutter means that handknits that are not being used quickly find themselves repurposed or donated. I recently gave 8-9 pieces like this to the collection for Syria, grief stricken that families would have come to us so cold from the water just to head into Winter without a handknit to bring them comfort. 

So this tells me a huge amount about my crafting and I've started to question how functional it really is. Am I whimsically creating or am I trying to clothe my family? There's joy in both and making something because it makes your heart sing to do so is certainly not a wasted endeavor in my humble opinion. 

well loved handknit socks

well loved handknit socks

However, as I look at my tired looking hand knit socks that I rarely photograph, I realise that the most functional items of my handmade wardrobe are the smallest and least celebrated. In my life it would seem that warm feet and cosy toes triumph over all. 

What about you? Do you have a few go to items that you've made?

Sockupied Spring 2015

Do you love knitting socks?

I've always been a knitted sock fan so when Amy Palmer, editor of Knitccene and Sockupied issued a call out for reviews of Sockupied, I waved my hand enthusiastically. I'd been vaguely aware of the existence of this sock loving publication but hadn't really got to grips with it. Amy sent through the Spring 2015 edition and asked me what I thought. Here's what I found:

The Highlights:

A good balance of patterns and articles (5 socks, 2 articles and a couple of other fun things). The images are really supportive so you get plenty of sock pictures where you can see the construction and stitch patterns. 

This is a digital only publication. Previously, you downloaded an app on your ipad or straight onto your desktop to keep the file. Now it's gone PDF which means you can have it on whatever device you want. This is much better for knitters on the go and those of us who don't want paper patterns cluttering our already fit to burst houses. 

Mill Ends Socks  by M K Nance

Mill Ends Socks by M K Nance

The Patterns:

I liked the mix of skills I would need to make any of these socks. Each had a range of sizing and written as well as charted instructions. I was glad to see names I know like Rachel Coopey and Kate Atherley but also be introduced to less familiar to me designers like Mone Drager. This is for the sock enthusiast- plenty of techniques to work through and explore. 

Chain Socks  by Mone Drager

Chain Socks by Mone Drager

I also particularly liked the fact that there was a good mix of commercial versus independent hand dyed yarn. I know I go for crazy variegated for my feet because it's fun but I like to have a mixture to look at and see how something looks in a solid tone versus a self striping for example. It's good to see a bigger company like Interweave champion hand dyers. It can be hard to support with non repeatable colours but I feel like sock knitters are particularly drawn to hand dyers for their wild colours and fun. It was a good fit. 

The Articles:

I loved Kate Atherley's in depth look at how to modify knee high socks. I am now sorely tempted as I made one pair that sagged woefully and deemed them too much effort. Her clear explanation and the fact the supporting pattern is in speedier sport weight has me tempted, I won't lie. 

Kate Atherley's  Washington State Knee Socks

I wasn't as sure about the designer feature initially as it began with a very familiar format: introduce the designer (Coopknits), summarise their publications but then...? There was an insight into her favourite cocktails and shoes she likes to wear to showcase her socks; I really liked this! I tend to find I want something really in depth about a designer that goes deeper than a summary of their work or something different. This hit the spot. 

Laith Socks  by Rachel Coopey

Laith Socks by Rachel Coopey

Food For Thought:

I wasn't sold on the cut out and keep graphics on the final page. It seemed printer heavy to me even if it was meant as a bit of fun (the idea was a bit like a paper doll where you dressed a pair of feet with the socks from the publication). 

If you're a sock fan and want to get your download of Sockupied Spring 2015, you can do so at the Interweave store

Tune in this weekend for a sock based podcast and an interview from Amy Palmer, the editor of Sockupied!

Socktober and the Love of Self Striping

I adore vanilla socks when I have some self striping to hand. I really can't beat some plain knitting and the addiction of the next stripe on it's way as I tick along. I don't really do subtle socks and the phrase eye searing has been used before.

Recently though I've had a hankering for some patterning, if only to break things up a little. So with the inspirations I've found from Socktober and a new sponsor who is something of a self striping whizz, I thought I'd share some of the patterns I'd love to get knitting with some bright self striping and good tv. (BC Yarnings fans stay tuned, I have some self striping that I'll be chatting about very soon and it's pretty special let me tell you). 

(c) Knittinggrams

(c) Knittinggrams

These Fruit Strip Gum Socks, featuring a spiral rib look really fun. This is a paid for pattern on Ravelry from Leah Oakley and seems to get great results. It's a one row repeat and plain foot so should fly off the needles. Definitely one for my queue. 

(c) Grumperina

(c) Grumperina

I'm still not entirely sure why I have never made a pair of Jaywalkers already because they look incredible. It's a free pattern from Grumperina and there's so many notes on Ravelry that even the phrase 'works up quite tight' doesn't daunt me. Must get these on the needles. 

(c) Connieb125

(c) Connieb125

These look really comfy and I love how the lace pattern works with the self striping. The Groovy Socks are a free pattern by Caroline Hegwer and are worked top down with an after thought heel. I like just zooming through and putting the heel in later so another for the queue!

(c) Marian Molden

(c) Marian Molden

I like a little interest and some plain ol' vanilla for my socks and these Caffe Macchiato's hit that sweet spot. It's a top down pattern with a choice of heels (one of them is the Fish Lips Kiss heel- have you tried it?)

(c) KnittingAmy

(c) KnittingAmy

I love these ones! Blurred Lines by Megan Williams of the Stockinette Zombies videocast (try it, it's awesome) - I want some now! The pattern includes Megan's OMG heel- a mock gusset that doesn't interrupt the sequence of the stripes. MUST try this one!


What socks have you been working on this Socktober? Come tell us!

Tell Me a Story of An FO

A couple of episodes ago in the podcast, I got very nostalgic about my knitting and kind of walked everyone through some of my top ten projects. It was fun to look back and got such a great reaction from everyone, with stories to tell and memories to smile at, that I thought I might feature an FO a month and tell its story. 

Sometime you knit things just for the love of the yarn. Sometimes you knit for the necessity of warmth or celebrating a birthday or event. Sometimes you knit something because you want instant gratification. These socks were knit with just that reason: quick gratification. 

(c) A Playful Day

(c) A Playful Day

I was in the middle of a big transition in my life- waiting for a rental flat to become available and most of my stash had gone into storage along with most of my belongings. I held back some speedy projects that I could use to cheer me up with quick success while I crossed off days in my calendar and swung between trips to my parents, friends guest rooms and the odd sofa or two. These things happen. 

(c) Star Athena

(c) Star Athena

One of the stash prizes I'd pulled out was Brown Sheeps Lamb's Pride Superwash Sport in the Cornflower Blue colourway. I figured a sportweight sock would swish by as I take forever to knit socks. I picked up some stash magazines and settled on Kimono Socks by Star Athena that featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene. 

These were indeed a fast and satisfying knit. I loved the little icord ribbons and the yarnovers made it easy to read my knitting so really, I hardly looked at the pattern other than to check progress and the heel. I gave these away to a dear knit friend but I'd happily make them again. Especially sportweight, oh boy they're so much quicker (and snugglier)!

A really satisfying wip

A really satisfying wip

I rarely work from magazines despite gobbling up issues I love. Writing this post has actually reminded me that I own some amazing patterns and need to look back on my collections more. I quite often pull out old issues to browse through, a bit like a favourite recipe book. Do you do that?

Come celebrate some of your favourite socks and sock yarns over in the playful group- it's dangerously enabling over there folks! Happy Socktober!

A Little Stocking Filler

Just in time for Christmas I received a lovely email from Clare Devine, the designer behind

Sock Anatomy

which I mentioned in the

previous podcast

. She would like to offer a discount code to all Playful listeners and readers. How festively generous!

'Flexor', (c) Clare Devine

To claim 

20% off the cover price, enter the

 code 'aplayfulday1' when making your purchase on Ravelry. The code is valid through till 14th January 2014. 

'Planum', (c) Clare Devine

Happy Holidays!