Tara Tuesdays – Part 39

Sock Goblets!

I mentioned Sock Goblets in my last blog and as promised, feel their creation is worthy of it’s own entry!

Apparently I “NEVER” make “ANYTHING” for my husband, so was determined to prove him wrong last Christmas! He is getting to that stage in his life where he struggles with cold feet no matter how many pairs of socks he wears! His Mum is EXACTLY the same so I guess it must be a hereditary thing! Anyway, like the kind, caring, loving wife I am, I thought it would be great to knit him some warm toasty socks for Christmas.

I planned on using Jacob Sheep yarn that I had already purchased from the Wealden Summer Fair back in June last year and was looking forward to getting started with the socks. I had already made a pair for my Mum-in-law a few years ago and really liked the “2 needle sock pattern” that I used from an Erika Knight knitting book. However, there were several “lessons” that I learned during making these socks namely actually READING the pattern in full rather than missing important vital bits out.

For example when it says that the “finished size of socks once made up is to fit women’s average shoe size 4-6 (see note)”. Note states “you can adjust the length of the sock to make it suitable for either a smaller or larger shoe size by working more or fewer rows straight after the heel shaping”. This is also repeated at the point where the sock length can be adjusted. Little old me decided I knew better and chose to ignore this part of the pattern BOTH TIMES as I followed it EXACTLY (apart from reading that bit) and made the socks for size 4-6 women’s rather than size 8-9 men’s!!!!

That minor error (ahem) aside, the pattern is really straightforward and nice to knit. I haven’t braved making socks using 4 needles as yet but think I should try and learn as the making up of the 2 needle socks drove me to distraction!

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You will see from the picture of the unmade up sock that it is one piece and all you need to do is sew up the long seam at the back starting from the toe. Sounds easy, right? Let me tell you that I just COULD NOT get my head around mattress stitch! I looked on You Tube, went through ALL of my knitting books, Googled until I was blue in the face, you can imagine! I even resorted to calling my Mum-in-law and asked her to describe how the seam was on the sock I had made her to help me work it out. Time was running out as Christmas was fast approaching and I was getting myself into such a pickle I decided that it just wasn’t worth killing myself trying to make the socks for Christmas as I just couldn’t sew them up. Why did I put myself under this pressure?!?!

When I saw my Mum-in-law over Christmas I stole a look at her socks to work out the seam and managed to make a start on making them up. I continued with this and then had the delight of sewing up the toe seam. The pattern advises you to just “oversew” this seam. Well, I did that but am not entirely happy with the result, it looks like they have squared toes! I now think I need to make another pair just to get that seam right!

When I was knitting the socks during my lunch breaks at work, one of my friends Claire (after asking me what I was making), misheard me and thought I said “Sock Goblets” hence the name! My other friend Lou thought that the heel shaping was for hubby’s bunions to fit snugly into! He hasn’t got bunions, in fact he has really nice feet for a bloke (damn him) but Lou thought that he could grow some bunions to fit into the socks! Both of these comments set me off into fits of snorting giggles and just had to be shared here!

I FINALLY gave hubby the socks as part of his Valentine’s Day presents and he was delighted with them and said they were worth the wait, just as well really! I hope you will agree that apart from the toes, they look ok. He has also said they are pretty toasty and keep him warm which means it was all worth it in the end!

Tara Tuesdays – Part 38 – HANDMADE GORGEOUSNESS

I consider myself a very lucky lady to be surrounded by talented friends and family that are all into crafting. There is ALWAYS someone I can ask if I am stuck with my latest knitting project or for sewing advice and more recently for help with my crochet that I am a wee bit obsessed with it!

A while back I spotted a gorgeous pin cushion on Facebook and as my friend Sue from work was making some pin cushions for her family as Christmas gifts, I cheekily tagged her in the picture and asked her to make me one! I was of course jesting, but imagine my surprise when I actually got this beautiful handmade pin cushion when we were giving out our Secret Santa gifts at work! This was in addition to my Secret Santa gift I hasten to add! Sue is such a clever lady and one of the BEST Seamstresses I know! She can put her hand to anything and is a real inspiration! She should so enter the next Sewing Bee competition…… in fact I must ask her to apply when I next see her!

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For my birthday I received this beautiful handmade box that was from my Auntie Jeanie. Jeanie rekindled my long forgotten love for knitting and sewing a few years ago which helped me when I started my sewing night classes where the Fabric Fruitloops of Crowborough (and Harrietsham) were formed! I have no idea how she made this box but it is just perfect and currently has some of my haberdashery goodies inside. It sits in pride of place on one of the shelves in my library/soon to be (in my dreams) craft room! It isn’t really a library, I just call it that as it is full of books, my fabric stash, favourite yarns, craft books, armour, the Dalek and, and, and!

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I was also given this divine potholder as a Christmas gift from my Auntie Jeanie. I adore the fabrics she has picked for this and it sits in my kitchen on the work surface looking beautiful, however at the moment it is in the ironing pile as I had to wash it….ahem!

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Emma kindly gave me this adorable handmade Christmas decoration as a gift which I hung with pride on my Christmas tree! I made sure it was in my eye shot so that I could sneakily peek at it whilst watching TV over the festive period!

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Since completing my reindeer herd for Christmas Fairs last year, I was able to squeeze in making a few handmade items of my own as Christmas gifts for my family. Whilst they may not be described as gorgeous, I was still delighted with how they turned out! The cowl was for my Cousin Hayley and was finished without the buttons. Ever critical of my own work, I wasn’t happy with the final result so rummaged through my stash and found these buttons (purchased on my Grand Tour in Cornwall) that were just perfect! Don’t you just love it when that happens! You need the finishing embellishment for a project and find it amongst your goodies that you buy for that project that you haven’t even thought of, let alone started yet!

In addition to the cowl, I made a tablecloth for my Mum using some beautiful fabric she had purchased AGES ago. It frayed like mad but sewed beautifully and she was delighted with it, which was a relief! I crocheted some scarves for my Auntie Jeanie and Mum-in-law Sandra and I knitted some socks for my husband who I NEVER make anything for apparently! These however, were not finished in time for Christmas and deserve their own blog entry as a lot of blood, sweat and tears were shed during their creation! I think perhaps I put myself under slightly too much pressure to try and make EVERYTHING for Christmas, this year I am determined to start early!

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Finally… ‘My First Granny Square’

There is one thing I love about crochet, it takes a bloomin’ lot less time than knitting does! Those holes serve a purpose you know, whoever came up with the crochet idea was clearly a genius and not blessed with the virtue of patience, much like myself. We all descended on Dilley Dalley’s house one Sunday lunchtime last year. Dilley Dalley is actually ‘Lorna’ but her surname is Dilley and she faffs around a lot, stroking fabric, feeling her wool, getting her colour choices right. In fact, I decided to look up the definition of ‘dilly dally’ (note we spell her nickname wrong!):

To waste time, especially in indecision, dawdle or vacillate.

I think that is grossly unfair, she doesn’t waste time, she just faffs (a lot and admits it), just like me. Actually, I shared something on Facebook recently about Lorna:

Paul Hollywood tweeted recently that he is sometimes ‘spotted’ in places he never actually went to.

I tweeted him to thank him for coming to the first ‘Emma’s Fabric Studio Open Day’ last October and learning to crochet with Lorna. We call her ‘Dilley Dalley’, she said she was thrilled to teach a man with such manual dexterity to crochet.

I didn’t hear back. He must have forgotten he came along.

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Such is Lorna’s attention to detail, she crocheted the collar of her t shirt, along with the flower in her hair. everything is usually in miniature as she’s so teeny tiny herself.

So, this was my first granny square session. Previously I’d only been able to master the ‘chain’ and on one failed attempt thought I was knitting and ended up with 20 chain actually ON my hook. Also part of the group is Judi (Joooooodi) who is some kind of modern day crochet superhero, she can do anything. In fact, I think she’s working on some yarn bombing – watch this space! She and Lorna taught myself and Jenny to do our first granny squares. Jenny and I are not known for our speed of picking things up, this was my 3rd attempt at crochet. However, I finally ‘GOT’ it!

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I feel the role the cake played is important, hence the photos. However, almost as important as cake is understanding what you’re trying to achieve in crochet. Being able to ‘see’ your pattern forming and understand the logic is incredibly important in learning the skill and being able to read where you are in the pattern. Judi is a whizz at re-writing patterns for us so they are more simple and we understand the terminology whilst we carry on learning.

So, thanks Dilley Dalley and Joooooodi, myself and Jenny are now crocheting up a storm and are in a race to finish our first blanket!

Oh, a little aside re Lorna, she won’t read down this far I’m sure. You know I said she does everything in miniature? Well, don’t even get me started on the day she decided to make mini bunting (when I say mini, I mean 50 pence piece size) using her mum’s Bernina. The wonderfully efficient Bernina sucked the fabric down into the bobbin space like a tornado, her poor mum is probably still finding miniature pieces of chintzy fabric deep in the mechanics of the machine. I’m seeing her on Sunday, I will not utter a word about ‘bunting gate’.