2015 In Wool

Cross posted from my old blog, but it seems like a really good place to start on the new blog too.

I like to do a recap of the previous years knitting in the early weeks of the new year.  It turned out that my 2014 recap was all about keeping my feet warm, my feet, I’m happy to report, were also well supplied in 2015, but I managed to keep other parts of me warm too.  In fact, I made the exact same number of pairs of socks in 2014 and 2015, but the big shift in 2015 was to accessories.  I’m not branching out per se, it’s just that I’ve become quicker at the socks and have more time for knitting in general.

So here’s a month by month breakdown:

January ~ Unsurprisingly the month started with socks.  Pretty lace ones in a bright orange yarn.  The pattern is Crescendo by Laura Jenkins and the yarn is hand dyed from Canadian dyer Tanis Fibre Arts in the Orange Blossom colourway.


February ~ Birthday socks for Mr WL.  Cheaper, big box yarn that he picked because of the bright colour and I think subconsciously, they reminded him of Giraffes which are his favourite animals!  Just a simple rib patttern, he has big feet and I know a rib is going to fit him well, it’s one I’ve used before by Glenna C called A Nice Ribbed Sock.


The first accessory appeared in February too.  Staghorn Cable Mitts to match a cowl I made at the end of 2013.  They grew out of a  pattern for wrist warmers by Carribee, but I lengthened them into fingerless mitts.  Yarn is Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool in worsted weight (UK Aran), a yarn that is relatively local to me here in Michigan.


March ~ Harry Potter inspired socks, these are Socks For The Deputy Headmistress by Erica Lueder, knit in big box craft store yarn but they’re my favourite cheaper brand and they wear really well. (Patons Kroy).


April ~ A hat for me.  This is Clun Forest Hat by Carol Huebscher, knit in a different colour of the Stonehedge yarn that I made the fingerless mitts with.  A pretty, simple and quick knit.


And a pair of simple socks, Snow Queen Socks by Emmy Coplea, inspired by the Snow Queen in the Hans Christian Andersen books.  The yarn was hand dyed in Maine using old lobster pots as the dye kettle, the colour is Cape Sky.


Another pair of April socks were Alluvial Deposits by Rich Ensor, these were much more complicated and I thought they’d never be finished.  I knitted them everywhere, even on a beach in South Carolina.  These socks use my absolute favourite yarn for socks, Holiday Yarns Flock Sock, the colour here is Seaglass.


May ~ Back to the Harry Potter themed socks for May, these are Moody Stockings by Erica Lueder (though technically wouldn’t Mad Eye only require one sock?), a gansey inspired textured knit using a 75% bamboo/25% nylon mix so no wool in these at all.  They’re very soft and surprisingly heavy, a sport weight rather than a fingering and they’re very lovely to wear.


June ~ It seems I did a lot of fandom knitting in 2015 and I’ve only just realised it.  These socks are Dr. Who inspired, Weeping Angel by Marie Martin, named for those creepy angel statues that move!  I bought this yarn whilst on holiday in South Carolina, although it’s a Californian yarn, Pagewood Farms.  I wear these a lot, I love the pretty Spring colours in them.


July ~ More Literary fandom up next, these are Nemesis by Susan Dittrich, named after the Miss Marple book/program/film of the same name.  I loved making these, the yarn was sublime, it has cashmere in it, and I adored the simple, yet effective, pattern.


August ~ Bovary socks by General Hogbuffer, yes, more literary themed socks!  These were a mystery knit-a-long, the pattern is split into four clues and you get one a week.  I think these were my least favourite pair last year though, I’m never keen on all over lace at the best of times, but most lace patterns have an all knit rest row between lace rows.  These ones didn’t and I hated the lace on lace rows as they hurt my hands.  I almost didn’t make the second sock!  But the yarn is very soft and comfortable, Louet Gems, so I do find myself wearing them a lot.


An August pair I did love though are these, Ugly Duckling socks by Karin Aida, so called because you take an ugly skein of yarn and pair it with a solid yarn and a slip stitch pattern and an amazing transformation takes place.  The results are remarkable and they look incredibly difficult, like stranded knitting only they’re neither stranded nor difficult.  I made mine with scraps of yarn from other sock projects so I had an awful lot of ends to sew in.  The technique is called Mosaic Knitting. Can you see the glaring error on the bottom sock?


September ~ A busy month on the knitting front with three projects started and finished, that’s a record.  First up was another hat, Thistle Hat from Carrie Bostock Hoge, in more of the Stonehedge Worsted yarn.  This was left over from a scarf I made for Mr WL a couple of years ago.  As you can see, it’s only small, so it knitted up in no time.  I’d like to make this one again in a pale blue.


Next was a cowl to go with the hat I made in April, another quick knit and it used up the rest of the yarn I had used to make the hat with so it cost me nothing, as did the Thistle Hat.  It’s called Twisted Willow and it’s by Tetiana Otruto. I still haven’t blocked it as I really like how it hugs my neck instead of gaping open.  We have cold Winters in Michigan, so I don’t see the point of a big gap at the neck when you’re all wrapped up to keep out the cold.  It seems to defeat the object of making something warm!


Finally for September, a pair of socks, and we’re back on the Harry Potter theme.  Tentacular Leaves by Heidi Nick.  These have been in my queue for ages but they’re pretty complicated, seven charts, and I was more than a bit intimidated, but breaking it down in to individual pieces and not looking at all of the charts as one entity, meant I had them done in just 23 days!  The yarn was also bought in South Carolina, and it’s incredibly soft and a bit fuzzy as it contains Llama, it’s Good For Ewe Sultry Steps. Up until this point I’d been knitting using small, uncomplicated charts but these socks really took away my fear of charts.  So much so that in recent months I’ve been test knitting for Heidi!



October ~ I worked on a larger project and two pairs of socks but got nothing finished this month.  I really thought I’d finished something every month last year, but apparently that was not the case.

November ~ My most favourite pair of socks all year, possibly of all time, were made in November.  I used Holiday Yarns Flock Sock again (see April) and cemented my love for it, the stitch definition is amazing for cables, and I love cables too!  Pattern is Wheatsheaf Socks by Jennifer Pattison and the yarn colour is Amethyst.


The second November pair were another of the Mosaic technique socks (see August) and I don’t know how I feel about these ones.  The bright yarn is 100% Merino so it should be beautiful and sumptuous but it’s not, it’s very splitty; it’s also dyed in extremely short colour runs and it seems to contain every colour known to man!  I would have preferred to pair it with black but I only had this dark gray.  I think it’s a pair that probably looks better close up as most of the grey pattern on the sock is rather lost.  The pattern is Zarathustra by Caoua Coffee and it looks really striking in the right colours .  These are not the right colours.


December ~ I seemed to finish the year with a bang.  The “big project” mentioned above was finished.  It’s a scarf/shawlette, my first.  I made it with 100g of Stonehedge fingering weight yarn (4 ply) in the Roasted Pumpkin colour; the scarf is called Saroyan by Liz Abinante after a character in a TV show. I knitted this on a transatlantic flight, both to the UK and the return journey and received a lot of compliments on it from the cabin staff.



I also finished socks this month.  These are Meera & Jojen by Jill Bickers from the Fire and Ice series of books, so more fandom ones, although I’ve never read the books.  They’re simple ones with a fraternal lace section running down the outside of each one.  The yarn is Araucania from Peru and as it uses pure new wool and not Merino, they’re very woolly socks, but they softened considerably after washing.


And over Christmas I started and finished a hat, Prim by Andrea Mowry, and made my first ever pompom, as an adult at least, to go on it.  I made it to match the fingerless mitts from February and a cowl I made at the end of 2013, so I have my first matching set now, all made with the Stonehedge Worsted yarn which I absolutely love!


And below is the complete set of hat, cowl and mitts.


There were a couple of other things on the needles in 2015 too.  I test knit for a designer for the first time to check out her pattern and ask questions/report any mistakes/ offer pattern advice for clarification etc. (See September socks).   I only had to make one sock for that, but I do plan on making a mate for it, after all, one sock isn’t any use to man nor beast!  I used KnitPicks Hawthorne for the first time and despite it having beautiful saturated colours it’s a devil to photograph.

These are the best photos to show off the pattern, which is Five Golden Tickets (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) by Heidi Nick.



However, this is the true yarn colour:



I also should have had a second pair of socks finished in December, but they got put aside in favour of the Prim hat!  I’ve started working on them again and they should be finished soon, I have the heel and the foot to do of the second one, basically 50% of one sock or 25% of a pair left to do.  Here’s the completed sock, it’s called Paragon by Very Busy Monkey.


So the totals for 2015 were:

  • 14 pairs of socks
  • 2 single socks
  • 3 hats
  • I pair of mitts
  • I cowl
  • 1 long scarf

And all of that added up to 3.17 miles of yarn used, or 5,581 yards, but that total doesn’t include the two half pairs shown above.

So, looking forward to 2016, what’s on the cards, or the needles for that matter?  I definitely want to try stranded knitting, you know, fair isle.  Nothing big, like a jumper, I’ll start with a pair of socks and maybe move on to a nice hat of something like that.  I’d also like to continue knitting more accessories, especially shawls.  I have some fantastic yarn in my stash that’s 100% Merino wool, which won’t make brilliant socks because it lacks nylon content, but it would make fantastic lacy or cabled shawls.  So that’s my plan for the coming months.



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