Monday, 31 March 2014

Gardening, and Yet Another Pair of Socks!

After such a mild winter, buds are bursting and flowers blooming all over the place here.  I stopped working on the cottage garden last year when my left knee flared up and after a couple of months, my previous weeks of hard work couldn't be seen.  Then I had the operation on my foot and spent the rest of the summer recuperating, so the garden progressed so far, then went into reverse!

During a recent spell of fine spring weather, and with my right knee now in flare instead of the left (grrr!) I've been getting twitchy, wanting to get on and turn the weedy patch full of brambles into my vision for the back garden.  So I put on my new socks (such snuggly bliss!) and workboots, tied my hair back, took some painkillers to try to silence the nagging pain in my knees and went out to look at the result of several months of neglect.

Last year, I cut down and dug out almost all of the bramble I could find. My first job when I get out there again will be to cut down and dig out all the brambles (with thick gloves and sleeves on!). The blasted things are everywhere again; obviously there are still a lot of roots in the soil, and it looks like some of the stems are three metres long.  Zooming away at a centimetre or more a day! Apart from the brambles, the other difficult jobs will be to get the remaining stumps out and move the massive ferns from between the cracks in the slate 'paving'.  And building the raised beds. And getting compost into them. It's quite a small garden, but not easily accessible, even if I could lift heavy loads and work for hours like I used to.

Despite all the work to do, I came back in over an hour later feeling motivated and ready for a cup of tea. With my handmade woollen socks on instead of my usual cotton socks, my toes were toasty warm and comfortable.  While I drank my tea, I fished out some more sock yarn and looked for another pattern, to start yet another pair of socks. I have quite a few patterns queued up and started looking at a few with interesting features like spiral construction and strange heels. You know things are a bit too advanced when you read through the instructions and find you still know nothing, so I plumped for another 'vanilla' pair of top/cuff down socks. These have yet another way of doing the heel - an 'afterthought' heel, which looks like the same technique as the thumb hole used on the Evenstar fingerless mitts.

Much as I'm chuffed with my first two pairs of socks, I have to admit they are a bit baggy and could do with some more negative ease.  I was wondering about this, as the 'stitches per inch times inches required' formula I followed when I started my legwarmers resulted in a top cuff which would fall down.  I Googled around and found a couple of comments which adjusted the formula to 'stitches per inch times inches minus 10%'. The existing 72 stitches was a few less than the original calculation required, so I reckoned it was safe to do away with a few more and cast on 68 sts (17 per needle).

I'm loving the self-patterning yarns I bought (drops Fabel prints). You just knit around and a pattern appears! I think I may be getting addicted to knitting socks!

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