Category Archives: Review

Rosie’s Moments Yarn

Back in September at Bristol Wool Fair, I bought some yarn from Rosie’s Moments. It’s British, reasonably priced and she uses wonderful colours.

At the beginning of this year she started making limited (around 20) monthly mystery boxes. I managed to resist in January and February, but by the March box I realised I had to try one. I nearly missed out as she sold out before I had chance to buy one, but luckily for me and a few others she made up a few extra. This time I jumped on the chance and I am so glad I did!

Around pancake day there was a giveaway on the Rosie’s Moments Facebook page. All I had to do was tell everyone what my favourite pancake topping is. So I did (apricot fromage frais if anyone is interested). A few days later it turned out that I was the winner! Yay!

The spring box and the prize arrived together. The box was fantastic. In it was yarn, chocolate, some yummy lemon soap, a notebook, a stitch holder, some stitch markers, some buttons and a little electronic tea light. And of course attached to the yarn was a little bag of lavender as always. (Turns out I’m not so allergic to lavender any more, which is quite good really with the amount I now have!) Edit: There was also a coaster which I forgot as it was on the table when I was taking pictures!

Rosie's Moments Spring Mystery Box

The yarn is 4ply, 20% alpaca, 60% merino and 20% nylon so is very soft. The colours are very spring like, (the colourway is called ‘Cute Lambs and Spring Flowers’) and remind me of the crocuses and daffodils that are the first sign of spring.

Rosie's Moments Cute Lambs and Spring Flowers

The prize was more than I imagined. I was expecting a skein of yarn and no more. How wrong I was! Instead, she sent me yarn, a project bag, some lip balm, some KnitPro DPNs, a notebook and a bath bar.

Rosie's Moments Giveaway

The yarn is called Forest Floor and is 4ply, 75% merino, 20% nylon and 5% stellina sparkle. It’s really pretty and I’m thinking of pairing it with the dark green I bought from her at Bristol Wool Fair.

Rosie's Moments Forest Floorrosiesmomentsfern

So, if you want some yarn that’s bright and colourful, and want to buy it from a wonderful person, check out Rosie’s Moments. She also attends various events, and will be at the Bristol Wool Fair again this year.

In a final note, have you noticed that my photos are somewhat improved in quality (apart from the dark green yarn, that was taken a while ago)? My dad gave me his Canon EOS 50D after buying an upgraded model for himself, and although I am nowhere near knowing how to use it to its full potential I think it’s already improved my photos. It did take an awful lot of experimentation and manual reading to get them though!

Unravel – My first festival of knitting

We awoke on Saturday to the first properly nice sunny day for some time. Armed with a large flask of coffee, sweets for the journey, and everything we could think of needing for a day out (minus the big bottle of water I left in the kitchen) we jumped in the car and set off for Farnham. We left at 10am, exactly when we planned to.

The journey was uneventful, save for a rather long game of ‘I spy’. No traffic. No getting lost. As we entered Farnham we saw banners and adverts for Unravel. We arrived at the planned car park at 11, again, exactly the time planned. Things were going far too well, especially as we tend to be good at taking wrong turns during trips.

We had parked in a car park by the river, as suggested by some members of the Unravel group on Ravelry. We set off towards the venue, Farnham Maltings. We had planned to walk along the river but ended up taking a slight detour, but it was nothing major. The trip was short, and we arrived at the Maltings in about 10 minutes, with a quick stop to admire some pretty crocuses. They followed the path of the river all the way from the car park to the Maltings, as we found out on the way back.

Farnham River and Crocus Path

When we arrived at Unravel there was no queue for the advanced tickets so we could head right in. Nick set off in search of food while I made my way to the venue for Susan Crawford’s talk on vintage Shetland knitting.

The talk was interesting, and I particularly enjoyed seeing the intricately knit colourwork on the pieces. It impressed me that the yarn they used was so fine, somewhere between lace and 4ply. A 4ply cardigan takes long enough for me, I don’t think I could go any finer!

After the talk I met up with Nick, who had not only successfully found food, but had a bit of an explore of the building. We decided that we should look at everything before buying anything. There was so much I could have bought: yarn, buttons, needles, more yarn, baskets, aprons, more yarn.

There was a workshop at 2pm to learn how to felt a small creature. I’ve never done felting before, and Nick was up for giving it a go. Unfortunately it seemed there was a misprint in the guide book and the workshop was only meant for children. Although the tutor was perfectly happy to teach adults, we decided to leave the limited places for the children instead. It was then (I think) that I bought my first skein of yarn, as the room was next door to the workshop. It’s easyknits.co.uk DW Toughie in the colourway Who.

Easy Knits DW Toughie

We headed out to a seating area and had some coffee while planning the rest of our afternoon. The tent was decorated with a knitted pigeon, pompoms and on every table was a decoration of a ball of yarn with needles stuck in it.

After we were suitably refreshed, we made our way back to the stalls. The first thing I bought was a shawl pin and some buttons. I had seen some shawl pins earlier but, although they were stunningly pretty, I didn’t want to spend that much money on them. This one was much cheaper and still pretty. The buttons are for the Thermal I’m knitting.

Shawl Pin and Leaf Buttons

Then we found the John Arbon stall. I have knit with their Exmoor Sock yarn before and loved it, so when I saw the bargain yarn, I went a little mad. It was £3.50 per 100g for bobbin ends. So I bought:

100% Wensleydale. Nick chose this as we’re planning for another pair of socks and this was the brown he was looking for. I can’t find any info about it anywhere.John Arbon Wensleydale

Exmoor sock in Heather

John Arbon Exmoor Sock Yarn

Undyed Alpaca/Merino/Nylon 4ply. I may experiment with dyeing this but I’m not sure yet. It’s so very soft and it’s a pretty natural colour.

John Arbon Alpaca 4ply Yarn

Alpaca Sock

John Arbon Alpaca Sock Yarn

My favourite (for now), Alpaca Supreme. I wouldn’t usually buy silk, but this was just so pretty and so reasonably priced that I couldn’t resist. I’m looking for the perfect shawl pattern for it.John Arbon Alpaca Supreme Yarn

On the Little Grey Sheep stall, we found the perfect blue that Nick wanted to go with the brown. It’s a mini skein and as he only wanted it for detail, that was brilliant.Little Grey Sheep Gotland 4ply Yarn

Nick decided to head outside and sit down while I had a final look around. During the first look round I saw a single skein of Colinette Jitterbug in a crazy green colourway that I fell in love with. I told myself that if it was still there I would buy it. It was, so I did.Colinette Jitterbug Sock Yarn

I was also on the lookout for a project bag for my mum. I didn’t find anything suitable though unfortunately. There were some fantastic bags there, but none of the ones I saw had any pockets, and I’m pretty sure she wants pockets. I was tempted by the baskets, but I didn’t like any of the ones left on the stall, so that will be something to get another time.

There was so much more I could have bought, but I was pretty restrained, and thanks to the bargain John Arbon yarn, spent less than I had budgeted.

The plan when we were done was to find a pub for dinner and to watch the rugby, but we decided to just head home as we were both pretty tired. We walked back along the river (the right way this time) and drove home, entertained by another game of I spy.

My first visit to a knitting festival was very positive, and after being undecided for so long I was very glad that I visited Unravel. I did find it a little too crowded, but waiting until the afternoon to buy proved to be a great idea as it meant the crowds had died down and there was a bit more room to browse.

Seeing as he was so patient to come to an event all about knitting with me, please take a look at Nick’s website. He’s a game developer and is just getting ready to release his first game, Hyper Gauntlet.

Think Outside the Sox – A Review

So, Food Friday went a bit wrong, and the pie still isn’t made, sorry about that!

Today, seeing as I’ve been knitting and mentioning on Crafterways some of the socks from it, I thought I’d do a review of the Think Outside the Sox book.

The socks on the front cover are fantastic. They, along with the name, immediately inspire thoughts of colourful, unusual designs, and, for the most part, the book doesn’t disappoint.

Think Outside the Sox

The designs in the book (61 of them!) are the winners from a contest run by Knitter’s Magazine. The judges were Cat Bordhi, Lucy Neatby and Sandi Rosner, some fairly well known names in the knitting world. In total there were 296 pairs of socks entered into the competition.

Think Outside the Sox is divided up into five sections: Classic, Holes in my Socks, Twist & Turn, Playing with Color and Outside the Box. The contents page usefully shows a small picture of each pair of socks, their category and difficulty, as well as the page where they can be found.

The first few pages of the book are a quick guide on the anatomy and construction of socks. This is quite useful, and I think would enable even a beginner to get to grips with socks just from the information in the book. It explains toe up/toe down, different methods of knitting (DPNs, circulars, magic loop) and has a picture of the names of the different parts of a sock and how they are typically created. There are also brief notes on yarn, sizing and adapting the pattern for different types of needles/methods.

On each pattern page is the difficulty, gauge, yarn weight, suggested needles, and which yarn the socks are shown in. The patterns are divided into the different parts of the sock, and each pair has at least two photos displayed. I do find that some parts of the sock aren’t always shown in any of the photos, like the cuff or the sole, and I think sometimes it would be useful to have these shown. I haven’t knitted anywhere near all the patterns, but I found that on one, Split Reed, the stitch pattern of the heel shown doesn’t match the pattern instructions.

Edit: Apparently the photo for Split Reed is correct, I just completely didn’t notice that the picture is actually the bottom of the socks, not the back of the socks!

I also found that there were no descriptions included with any of the patterns. I think, especially on the more complicated designs, an overview of the construction would have been nice. I also think that, especially on the colourwork patterns, there should be at least a note about the reduced stretchiness of a colourwork sock. For instance I made part of Mirrored Fair Isle before realising that although the size and gauge was coming out as suggested in the pattern, the reduced stretchiness (even though I was leaving the floats fairly loose) made the sock impossible to put on. There is also no guide on how to work colourwork, although pretty much any other technique required is explained very well in the back of the book.

At the back of Think Outside the Sox many techniques are described. These include what abbreviations mean, cast-ons, bind-offs, decreases, increases, and all sorts of other techniques. There is even a section on how to double knit in colour included in one of the patterns, so it surprises me even more that there is no mention of normal colourwork at all.

The socks themselves are generally very appealing, and the patterns well written. There are a few pairs that I would never even consider making due to their impracticality, but I’m sure some people would find them useful. I like that all of the socks are made to be worn, not just to look nice. The feel of a sock inside a shoe is taken into consideration, and although a few of the patterns would probably annoy me when worn inside a shoe, I’m sure many people would have no problem, as I just hate any type of lump or seam in a sock.

At the back of the book is a gallery of other socks that deserved a mention from the competition, but didn’t make the final cut. Unfortunately there is no pattern included for these, which is a real shame as some of them are really quite wonderful.

The one major problem with the book is errors. There aren’t a huge amount, but they certainly exist, and in some of the patterns, such as the more complicated In the Peaceful Forest, would make me think twice about making the socks. The errata can be found here.

Think Outside the Sox provides a very good way of learning many different methods and techniques of making socks. It provides appealing patterns suitable for woman, men and children. Although there are a few minor points that could have been improved, such as a description for each pattern, better photographs and less errors, I highly recommend this book for both beginners and more advanced knitters.