To celebrate Burns Night I have just finished knitting some kilt socks for John. Actually, they were supposed to be for Christmas but I got side-tracked with other projects so tying them in with Burns Night seems like a reasonable excuse (to me anyway!)

Aran-weight kilt socks

Aran-weight kilt socks

I bought the wool on a trip to Inverness because I had been searching for a pattern for kilt socks for a while and this wool came with a free pattern. The pattern, originally hand-written on brown paper, was found in a knitting bag in a house sale. An old receipt showed that is was from the Scottish Western Isles and the date on the receipt was 1937. There was no name to put to the pattern but it was obviously a pattern for ‘stockings’ for the whole family with instruction for infant, child and adult sizes.

The socks are knitted from the cuff-down on double-pointed needles. The cuff is knitted and then turned inside out by pushing it through the middle of the needles so that the wrong side is facing before continuing with the leg. I found the only way I could make this work was to push the cuff through the needles and then knit in the other direction but maybe that was just me.

The socks did seem to take forever but I’m pleased with the end result. I think John will probably wear them under motorcycle boots rather than with a kilt (he’s wears tartan ‘trews’ when he’s in formal Scottish dress) but, nevertheless it seems fitting to finish knitting a bit of Scottish history on Robert Burns’ birthday.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

In his poem, Tam o’Shanter, Burns writes:

But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed, Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white – then melts forever

One of the things I love about knitting is that the pleasure involved is more long-lasting than this. Well, most of the time anyway; I’ve had some projects – often abandoned before completion – that have provided very little, if any, pleasure at all. For the most part though, I get pleasure from the actual knitting,  a sense of achievement at finishing the project and the enjoyment of seeing someone else appreciate the end result.

What have you most enjoyed knitting and why?

Close Knit

Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit the Close Knit exhibition at Hull Maritime Museum. The exhibition, organised in partnership with the Moray Firth Gansey Project and Hull School of Art and Design,  featured a wonderful range of ganseys from Yorkshire and Scotland. So what is a gansey? This extract from the booklet, Fishing

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The Towersey Festival Knitalong

This time last week I had just returned home after a fabulous weekend at the 49th Towersey Festival, held in the Oxfordshire village of Towersey, near Thame. It’s a real family festival and many of the people I spoke to first attended when they were children and now bring their own kids. I’m still a

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Knitting myths and superstitions

I recently spent a wonderful weekend at the Lossiemouth Folk Weekend. Lossiemouth, a town in Moray, Scotland, was the port of Elgin and used to have a thriving fishing industry. On Saturday morning, before the music started for the day, we wandered down to the harbour and visited the museum. What a delight! As well

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A Grand Time at Wonderwool Wales

This time last week, Sue and I were still in the process of setting up our stand at Wonderwool Wales. This fabulous show is held in the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells. It’s always a bit daunting when you first arrive and are faced with an empty shell and, it doesn’t seem to matter what

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The joy of sock yarn

I just love the versatility of sock yarn. It’s not only wonderful for socks (and I’m still addicted to sock knitting) but is equally great for other projects, including baby garments. For me, the colour changes also keep boredom at bay, even when knitting very simple designs. My current work in progress is a baby’s domino cardigan,

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Time for Tea

There is no trouble so great or grave that it cannot be much dimished by a cup of tea Bernard-Paul Heroux I’ve recently re-discovered my love of tea. Ok, so I still need at least one mug of coffee in the morning but, from then on I’m enjoying tasting different teas – my current favourites are

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If you want to get ahead get a hat

I know that Spring is supposed to be on the way but we’ve got snow here again today. Luckily, I’ve been going through a bit of a hat-knitting phase so we’ve both gots cosy hats to keep us warm. John’s hat is a ribbed slouch hat knitted in King Cole Baby Alpaca. A free copy of the pattern

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