On my last post, I ranted about not being a sock knitter, and some of you scoffed my remark. “Well,” I thought, “I’ll show them! I’ll knit something completely different. Yes indeed.”
I knit another pair of socks.
Before you laugh, I need to defend myself by saying this was a bit of an obligation knitting. I had promised my mother a pair of hand knit socks last Christmas and I thought I better get cracking before this year’s Christmas caught up with me (where have the months gone?!) Besides, it is true that socks make great travel knitting and these were my holiday project whilst I visited my hometown in Portugal. And it was warm where I was heading, so bulkier items were off the list.
(Ahem, am I justifying this too much? No, not at all.)
You’ll have to excuse the furry background, I have no idea what came over me. Perhaps my brain thought it would help disguise all the cat hair on the socks.
This was the first pair of socks I made for someone else, so I had to get used to making them larger than usual, and without my signature toes and heels (the latter came out a bit weird because I did an afterthought heel, and used the same skein without breaking any colours.)
Upon returning to London, I had to start working on my inventory – my shop needs more ready-made items! I’d been playing with the idea of making felted soaps for a while, so before my hiatus I ordered some gorgeous organic loaves to be made and sent in time for my return.
These soaps smell so nice, and have all the things I love: they’re organic, free of nasties, not tested on animals, and made in the UK. I bought three scents to play with (Lavender & Avocado Oil, Shea & Cocoa Butter, and Lavender Essential Oil) and I can honestly say I’d love to keep all for myself.
Below is a photo of the first loaf after I cut it. The knife went through it like butter.
After cutting came felting. Choosing the appropriate fibre is never easy, because I’m not just thinking of myself, I have to guess what my customers might like. Scratchy fibres were naturally off the list; I also had to choose between wool tops or batts, and did coloured fibres look better than natural ones? Decisions, decisions.
I’m still learning about wet felting, so I must confess to cheating a little – before I dunk the covered soaps in hot water, I felt the wool a little so it stays in place. Below you can see a needle felted soap that’s yet to meet H20.
And here are the soaps I made so far. On the left is a merino/alpaca natural blend, the middle is a merino with bamboo stripes, the right is a merino/angelina (sparkle nylon) blend, and the bottom one is a merino with cotton tweed.
Being true to myself, my favourite is the white one because it looks more natural (as in, “belonging to Nature”) to my eyes. I am also partial to the alpaca blend one, but I wish it had remained as stripe-y as the wool top originally was.
Tell me below which soap you prefer the look of!
If you wish to mock my sock knitting, I’ll also accept it graciously (more or less).