Hello! I hope your mid January day is a lot brighter and less gloomy than today. I’m writing in the near-dusk and its only just after 3pm so I’ve lit a fire and a few candles and decided that the evening has begun… and I’ve done a few more rows of my second vintage fairy lights sock to provide a bit of extra brightness.
Its been so dull during the last few days when I’ve been at home and able to take photos that I’ve been sadly lacking in raw material to post onto Instagram or for blog posts. I did think about trying to record a podcast yesterday but it seemed to barely get light. Nothing like Saturday, which was a lovely, crisp sunny day and which was taken up by an all-day crafting event over in Ackworth.
Usually when I go over to the Ackworth group I take a sewing project as there are others on hand to encourage and give advice but this Saturday I took along a load of knitting and crochet projects that are so close to being finished. I thought it would be good to spend the precious hours available to just sit and craft and chat to try to progress them over the finish line, or push them closer at least.
Bearing in mind the trouble I’ve had with sock knitting generally in the past, and with the toes in particular, I decided to tackle the toe of my new knitted sock, the one I’ve been making as part of the Christmas Eve cast on. Maybe even finished the much-feared grafting at the end.
More about that in a bit but I wanted to share with you the story of my first Vintage Fairy Lights socks and record for posterity that I have managed to knit a complete sock in less than a month this time. Woo hoo!
This particular sock journey actually began in November when I dyed up this colourway of yarn in my Coinin base (85% Romney lambswool, 10% British angora and 5% BFL) and named it Candy Cane. I had a couple of other skeins available but these sold out fast once I started posting pictures of my sock in progress. I will be dyeing up some more during the next month or so, so if you want to favourite my Etsy shop to get updates please do.
Christmas Eve cast on
I’d seen posts about the idea of casting on a knitted sock on Christmas Eve on several Instagram feeds but the main collaborators behind the cast on were Dani of Little Bobbins Knits and Helen of Curious Handmade. Dani has really established the tradition of a Christmas Eve sock cast on and this year, Helen came up with the new Vintage Fairy Lights socks sock pattern, which is available on Ravelry. I bought it in the week before Christmas as I loved the way it looked but I must admit to being a bit worried about whether my knitting skills were up to it.
Still, I got up early before everyone else, and before all the cooking and food prep fun had to begin, and sat in the quiet with my yarn, needles, my recently made project bag and the pattern print out.
To keep me on track at the gusset decreases I’d made some stitch markers, one with SSK and one with K2TOG, plus a seasonal snowflake progress marker that is still attached to the zip pull of the bag in the above pic.
About the Vintage Fairy Lights sock pattern
The pattern for the Vintage Fairy Lights socks is like all of Helen’s patterns that I’ve seen; it has each row written into a table so that you can keep track of your progress so easily. She even adds notes to tell you how far you are along with the sock at certain key points – 10% complete at the start of the fairy lights pattern band, 92% complete as you start the toe decreases, etc.
I found this quite motivational and although the different parts of the pattern did pose a few challenges for an inexperienced sock knitter like me, I didn’t run into major problems and my mistakes were small and easily rectified. The changes in pattern detail really kept my interest too – none of the never ending stocking stitch rounds as in a plain, vanilla sock.
Lightning progress (well, for me anyway)
On that first morning I managed to complete the ribbed cuff and I was pretty soon through the fairy light band too.
I took these photos the day after Boxing Day and the snowflake progress keeper shows the knitting I managed to do on cast on day (below the snowflake) and on Boxing Day (the knitting above the marker). Not bad for a time of year when there was a lot going on. I think I maybe spent an hour on each day so this was lightning fast compared to my previous and very long-winded knitted socks.
The pattern print out came into its own for the rest of Christmas and New Year, as I only snatched a few rows of knitting on the sock here and there but by the time I had a bit of afternoon time to take a photograph on New Years’ Day, I was well into the gusset decreases. I loved the stitch markers and they were such a great visual clue to remind me which type of decrease I was doing at each side of the sock. I think I will remake the K2TOG one though, so its just K2T. The extra letters made it a little bit too long for comfort.
The beginning of January meant back to work, putting away decorations and getting the house back into order and totally reorganising my office and craft space so I was back to doing a couple of rows now and again. It took until the 12th Jan for me to got along the foot section.
Those couple of hours at Ackworth got me right to the end of the toe and, this morning, first thing, I looked up this video on YouTube, that my lovely friend misscorsage on Ravelry had told me about… and then the Kitchener stitch grafting at the toe was a complete BREEZE!!! I kid you not.
I watched the video a couple of times then got stuck in and it went perfectly first time! It just goes to show how easy it is to do something like this when you can see someone else show you exactly what to do. I will never fear the Kitchener again!
And here it is, the big tadah of the first vintage fairy lights sock, together with the start of its partner. No second sock syndrome this time round!
I’ll be back soon either here on my blog or in a podcast and I hope to have even more sock progress to report then. Do you think maybe, possibly I could finish both pairs by January 24th?? I may give it my best shot 🙂