April 27, 2020

Quarantine Make #2

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 07:00

Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely weekend, whatever you got up to. I know that it is easy these days to dwell on what is currently out of reach – I guarantee you, I miss my flat white and quality library time as much as the next student! – but there is still much to enjoy.

I knit these in January but didn’t really get into the habit of wearing them until the quarantine really kicked in. They’re slippers!

You might have spied them in my post last Thursday. They’re the Simple House Slippers by Temple of Knit (Ravelry link). The basic pattern for these is free and there is a $3 pattern which gives multiple sizes. Obviously, if you go looking online, there is an infinite number of simple slipper patterns. (Total tangent: I learned a while ago, through the BBC’s brilliant series, A Brief History of Mathematics, that there can be different sized infinities. So, in defence of my hyperbole, I’ll say that the infinite number of slipper patterns is probably a small infinity…).

As you can see, they’re a pretty easy make. Actually, they would be a great beginner project to get used to knitting in the round. What makes these special for me is that I spun the wool that I used to knit them. Unfortunately, I have no evidence of the tops or the yarn when it was spun! I can tell you though, that I bought the tops, which is Exmoor Sock Top from John Arbon, from This is Knit some time in the last year and I spun it up immediately. I love John Arbon’s tops. Because it’s tops, as opposed to roving, practically no preparation is needed to spin it other than splitting it up into the thickness that you want. I also love the ethos of their mill. They’re a small independent company that sources its fleeces from local breeds and herds. I wish we had something similar here but I don’t think that we have the same diversity of sheep breeds that exists in Britain. In any case, I like to support them and I find that their products are quite reasonably priced.

The Exmoor Sock Top is 60% Exmoor Blueface, which is a fairly hardy type of fleece, 20% Corriedale, which I know is very hardy and ideal for socks, 10% Zwartbles, which gives it that dark heathered touch, and 10% nylon, because socks. It spun up really light and bouncy for me – I love it.

You can see that they’re getting a bit worn now. I knit them on 4mm needles but I think that if I went down to a 3.75mm or even a 3.5mm, a slightly denser gauge would help with wearability and warmth. They’re not exceptionally warm, more like an extra pair of socks.

Where I find they really win is that they are perfect for travelling. They roll up like socks and are great for when you’re on a plane or overnighting in a friend’s house. I think that the plain foot lends itself to lots of variation, from cables to lace to colourwork.

I referred at the beginning there about being a student. Yes, I took the plunge! I left my job in the university, where I had worked full time since 2015, and started a doctorate full time instead. I have found managing my time surprisingly difficult. This has been in large part due to the fact that 2019 and into the start of 2020 was my busiest concert year to date and that was in fact my full time occupation. So although that was easier to balance having left my university position, it was not easier to do the amount of reading that I wanted and needed to be doing. In a way, Covid has solved that for me, as I can’t see myself being busy with concerts for the foreseeable future, and I now not only have the space to concentrate fully on this aspect of my work, but also to return to pursuits such as writing here and taking photos.

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