As I finished up my pal's aran Christmas stocking last week, my stocking was winging it's way to me from the US.
Less than a week after it was posted (hurrah, USPS and Australia Post) it arrived on my desk - it's so lovely, so soft and squooshy and designed by my pal (Wren, on Ravelry) in a fair isle pattern using some of my favourite colours, just for me!
I love the Christmas trees on the foot, and see, the red and purple bit near the top?
It's a row of red shoes! SO COOL!
Wren used DiVe Autunno, a yarn I've never heard of but which looks to be a worsted single in semi-solid colours - it's just lovely. Thanks so much, Wren, it's perfect!
And as for my pal's aran stocking, here it is:
I'm pretty happy with it, I have to say!
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, 3.5 x 50g balls in colour 140 (Ghost). I wanted to use an Australian yarn for my pal, since she's from the US, and I thought the tweedy texture would work nicely in an aran style pattern - it gives the stocking a bit more body than a softer merino yarn might have.
Sticks: 5mm KnitPicks Options, magic loop method.
Pattern: My pal had commented a few times on Ravelry about how she had fallen in love with a pattern for a traditional aran style stocking with cables and bobbles and the works - but she couldn't find the pattern. I used that as my cue - I figured I'd have no luck finding a pattern like that if she couldn't, so I improvised. Thank goodness for stitch dictionaries and cabled scarf patterns!
I used my Vogue Stitchionary (Cables) for the cuff - Holly Berries (pattern 129) - bobbles galore and a christmassy theme. Separated the cuff and leg with a garter ridge/vikkel braid sandwich. Then I used the cable and bobble pattern from the Irene scarf for the leg. The bobbles in those two patterns were done differently - all my first bobble experience. They aren't something I love, but I'd be happy to do them again (in moderation)! Ended the leg with another garter ridge/vikkel braid.
Even though pretty much everyone suggested doing a heel flap and gusset, I decided to do a short row heel, and did a Tree of Life all the way down the heel - picked this one up from Barbara Walker #1, but had to flip it upside down as I was knitting the tree from the top down. Another vikkel braid/garter ridge separator, then onto the foot.
I used another Barbara Walker #1 pattern for the foot - slipped hourglass - I really like the way this pattern looks - and what do you know, it's also used on a top in the current Interweave Knits Holiday edition!
And more vikkel braid before a standard wedge toe to end with.
Time: 14 October 2008 - 16 November 2008 - it took a lot longer than I expected - those cables and bobbles are pretty time intensive!! The foot was faster, thank goodness, as I was pushing the deadline as it was.
What I learnt: Stocking stitch based cables (like the Holly Berries on the cuff) pull in a lot more than purl based cables (like Irene Scarf cable on the leg) - I probably should have decreased a few stitches before doing the garter ridges and the leg pattern - although I like to think the tighter cuff is just like a sock cuff!
I really like how the leg pattern flowed into the heel pattern too - even though this totally happened by accident!!
And I had plenty of practice cabling without a cable needle, and making bobbles too!
And to end off, a photo of my stocking in situ:
Although we'll be in our new house by Christmas, so there'll be another fireplace behind the stocking soon. And I guess I'll have to make one for husby too, or else he'll feel left out!