Monday, December 20, 2010

Socks, Scarves and Snowflakes - coping with the Big Freeze at Christmas

Modelling the Curly-Wurly Ruffle Scarf
I've been trying to keep my mind off the state of the nation (not an easy task) by immersing myself in knitting and crochet mini-projects. It may be a sign of the times that I can't get down to a single big project like a jumper or jacket, as there's just too much going on with work, home and Christmas less than a week away to concentrate on something demanding a lot of time and attention. That's what the grim gloom of January and February is for! Jany (our d-i-l-to-be) has totally taken to crochet since I showed her how to do it a few months back, and has made some wonderful hats and scarves since then, some of which I posted about recently. She has got me hooked (sorry, couldn't resist that!) on it as well, and as it is much quicker than knitting there's a certain attraction when you want something in a hurry.

This weekend I made a lovely curly-wurly ruffle scarf, in chunky random-dyed wool from the local shop - Angela's Design Workshop - which has reawakened interest in a lot of dormant knitters and crocheters. This coral reef style pattern was so easy and fast to work I couldn't believe it - a scarf in a couple of hours. I can see myself making presents of these for friends - so watch out!
Curly-Wurly Ruffle Scarf
I also got some terrific wool in Lidl which awaits my attention but is such good value you couldn't leave it - especially as Lidl only very occasionally has wool for sale, and when it's there you grab it. There were whole kits - wool, pattern and a circular needle for a jumper for about €5 - ridiculous and yet unmissable. The small independent shops can't compete with that so I don't abandon our local shop which has terrific bargain basement wool - balls of 100g DK for €3, perfectly serviceable and the makings of a scarf or a pair of socks. How bad is that?

Curly-Wurly Ruffle Scarf detail

Cable and Basketweave Socks
Heel detail of  Cable and Basketweave socks

A couple of weeks ago I finished a pair of socks - pattern from Ravelry I think - Cable and Basketweave design. They are very chunky and warm, only suitable with my trainers which is fine, but too thick for my ankle boots. I love them, and they were trimmed with remnants from my stash, so very good for using up scraps. I had a disaster with another pair - my lovely peachy socks I posted about a while back - when second son washed his jeans in the same load. They emerged sludge grey and the little heel hole I'd planned on darning had expanded to beyond repair level - even if they'd retained their colour. So into the bin, before their time. The trials and tribulations of hand knit socks - they don't always wear as well as the shop socks but then that's not why I make them!

Seafoam Scarf
Snowflake for the tree!
I got some random-dyed wool blend a few weeks ago and made this lovely loopy seafoam scarf, and that was another pattern from one of the many online sites I wander around. You can see the original pattern and I made it in a different blend of colours. It was easy to make and ran up very quickly.

This weekend I made a lovely crochet snowflake - it was from a Lion Brand Yarn free download pattern - and Jany made two or three more - they are all delightful and adorn our tree, so that's something I'll do again. There are so many talented designers out there - all I do is knit and crochet, not design anything. 

So I hope you get some inspiration from this post - I hadn't knitted or crocheted anything for  years and only took it up a few years ago, and now I find it a great hobby with a nice end product - and I love that I've shown some others how to knit (Tandy who came in March and is now knitting in London!) and Jany. She has passed me out by leaps and bounds and last night we laughed when she showed me how to do a 3D flower in crochet, while she was a beginner only a few short months ago. There are hundreds of online tutorials for knitting and crochet projects, so check them out on YouTube - just search for them by name and you'll be busy for some time. Most of them are also available as printed patterns, if you prefer.
Toll Plaza on M8 Cork-Dublin motorway at Watergrasshill, Co. Cork

As we are in the middle of the coldest December in my memory with snow and sub-zero temperatures I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Hope you enjoyed my last post with all our news from the year, and I am loving reading all the cards and letter coming by snail mail each day through our letter box. You can't beat the old ways - even though I only hand-write at Christmas since the advent of email and blogging!

Here's a photo of the road from Cork today after bringing Shayne, Jany and little Sofia home after a weekend with us in Lismore. They'll all be here for Christmas which will be terrific.


Rudee said...

I love all of your hand made items. They're gorgeous--especially those socks! We don't have nearly the snow you seem to have, but we're in the middle of a wretched deep freeze with no end in sight. A little warm up would be nice.

Merry Christmas to you, Catherine.

Marguerite said...

Hi Catherine! It's a good thing that you can make all of these beautiful socks and scarves to keep you warm. And I love the snowflake, too. Our weather fluctuates from cold, 50's, to warm 70's, with an occasional light frost in the mornings. Not so bad, after reading about your weather. Enjoyed reading about all of the news about your lovely family in your previous post, too. Have a wonderful Christmas and stay warm, cher!

Stephanie V said...

I like your stash-busting cable socks. That's always a big plus. Too bad about the peachy ones though. You've been so busy - and having fun - with all those scarves. Enjoy the cold weather and stay safe on those roads. Vancouver, Ireland: we're most of us not used to the slippery roads.

Peggy said...

Hi Catherine,I have crocheted on and off for years (more off than on)I taught my youngest D.Aisling how to do the basic stitches last year and she has been turning out scarves and ran up one of those warm hair (ear) bands last night!Her first attempts were very curly scarves like yours because ahe kept inc the stitches inadvertantly.We will need all the winter woollies we have by the looks of things!

Rita said...

Everything you made is fantastic. I sure wish I had your talent; it all looks so cozy! I used to knit a bit and crochet a few afgans but my arthritis is makiong this too difficult.
We have been seeing on the tele;the storms you are having;. Stay safe.

Winifred said...

That scarf is fabulous! You're right crochet is so much quicker than knitting.

Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful year in 2011.

Brownieville Girl said...

Really love the curly wurly scarf, wish I had a pair of those socks for this weather!!

MTeacress said...

Merry Christmas to you too. You've done some lovely work - I especially like the curly scarf. :)

Catherine said...

Thanks for all the comments on this post folks! Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Rudee - hope you aren't in the thick of this blizzard we're seeing in the States now, makes our snow look mild - but then we're not prepared for it, the US is!

Marguerite - at least you are in the nice warm south! I hope you had a great Cajun Christmas. I guess you can live with the odd bit of frost. Happy New Year!

Stephanie - I guess your climate is like ours in ways, wet and mild, but then you got the winter olympics so I guess your mountains are close by and snowy! Too bad about the socks alright, I have to darn a few others if I want to keep them wearable - downside of home-made sox!

Peggy - I am enjoying the crochet and have just made a headband from leftovers from the blue scarf, lovely and snug, made a little flower for the side! So simple and quick - I'm learning a lot from Jany now! Happy New Year - have ye water? We've none yet, grrrrr!

Thanks Rita - too bad about arthritis but is there anything you can take? I have definitely got achey finger joints at times so I'm thinking it's early arthritis but I can still type and cook and knit/crochet so I can't complain too much. Hope it improves, and Happy New Year.

Winifred, you are right about the speed of crochet making it very satisfying though there's something wonderful about a lovely knitted garment or accessory. Keep on doing both I guess is the answer!

Brownieville girl - those socks kept me warm during the freeze! As did the Curly Wurly scarf - and now my matching headband is straight back to my hippie days of the 70s! Isn't it great to see legwarmers and headbands back in vogue!!!

Michelle - thanks and hope you had a lovely Christmas - the scarf is so easy I hope everyone tries it. I do enjoy giving a new project a go even if I'm not sure how it'll work out.

Happy New Year to you all, Catherine.