Finding a project to take with my on my journey up to Skye was a really easy decision – it had to be socks! They’re such a lovely portable project and knit up quickly too – satisfaction guaranteed! However, deciding on which pattern to go for was not quite so straightforward – you wouldn’t believe how many different variations on the basic sock pattern there are – long leg, short leg, ribbed cuff, roll cuff, cable pattern, lace pattern – and that’s before you consider all the different heel and toe variations!! The socks were going to be a present for my Mum, so I chose a pattern I thought she would like – a simple ankle sock with a roll cuff – and I raided my stash for a really pretty self-patterning yarn. You can find the pattern here if you’d like to have a go yourself.
The Journey Begins …
I cast on my 64 stitches for the cuff of Sock 1 at our first stop-off, which was for coffee and cake at The Hearth in Horsley, Northumberland. I often knit socks with 4 double pointed needles (dpns) but decided to try 5 this time as that’s what the pattern suggested. One of the many things I love about knitting socks is the fact that there are so many different ways to make them, so lots of opportunities for experimenting, which is always great fun!
Some 70 miles later and we’d arrived at Dumfries where it was time for lunch. By this point I’d knitted the cuff and heel flap so was able to pick up the heel stitches over a sandwich at Nona Lou’s in the Old School (I reckoned it was safer to wait until we’d stopped rather than attempt picking up stitches in the car)!
Now that I was back to knitting in the round again, it was just a case of completing the gusset decreases to get my stitches back down to 64. After that it was just plain knitting until the toe shaping – perfect knitting for a car journey!
We always stop for a cup of tea at the Skyreburn Teapot at Gatehouse of Fleet (you’ve probably realised by now that coffee and cake feature quite heavily in our lives!). As it’s only 30 odd miles from Dumfries I didn’t get much more knitting done, but by the time we reached Stranraer (our destination for the evening) Sock Number One was really taking shape.
After a lovely evening with friends at the Stranraer Folk Club, we made our way to Fort William which would be our base for the next two nights. Sock Number One was finally finished that evening and here it is, outside our b&b, with Ben Nevis in the background.
Sock Number 2 started life the following day on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. The views were incredible but it was soooo hot! Thank goodness we’d managed to find two little hand fans as I think we’d have expired otherwise!
Once we arrived in Skye Sock Number Two knitted up in no time (with the help of more coffee and cake obviously!) and before I knew it I was ready to Kitchener stitch the toes on both pairs to finish them off.
Imagine my horror when I sat down that evening to sew them up only to discover that I’d forgotten to pack my darning needles! The only thing for it was to buy some, and thankfully there’s a wonderful shop near the cottage called the Handspinner Having Fun, that had just what I needed.
When I set myself a budget of £52 for my Project 52 Challenge, I never imagined that my first purchase would be for something that I already had! I was so keen to get the socks finished though to give to Mum on our return, that I bit the bullet and splashed out the princely sum of £1 for 2 lovely needles!
I must admit that using up one ball of sock yarn hasn’t made much of a dent in my yarn stash which was one of the major inspirations in embarking on this project. However it’s a start, and it’s really making me think twice before buying anything new. There are several times when I’ve been seriously tempted (I mean there is just so much gorgeous yarn out there!) but I’m finding real enjoyment in making use of what I’ve already got. I’m conscious it’s still early days in my project, so here’s hoping I can hold out for a little bit longer!! 🙂