James C Brett Marble Chunky and the pattern is a James C Brett one, JB013 - Cardigan (imaginative title there). I do like the Marble yarns (it's available in DK as well) as they're reasonably priced, 100% acrylic but don't feel like acrylic, are machine washable and have interesting colour effects. The Chunky also comes in a huge 200g ball, which meant it only took one ball to make the cardigan. The pattern is slightly annoying (having knitted a couple of Puerperiums I am now annoyed with having to sew things together in other patterns). It actually directs you to knit the edging of the cardigan as a strip and then sew it on - I think not, I just knitted it along the edge, so much easier.
Having got that finished, I was now free to decide on what to knit next, which is when the decisions got difficult. I wanted to make one of the three patterns I was given for my birthday, and settled on Everyone Outta the Pool as it's always good to have some socks on the go. This pattern works best for socks in variegated colourways and uses slip stitches to mix them up to avoid pooling. I decided to use some Trekking XXL, bought in Bristol several years ago as I thought the bands of bright colours would look good with the slip stitches.
At first I wasn't sure this was working as the green/blue sections of the yarn make it hard to see the slip stitches, but now I've knitted a bit further I like the effect it's producing. It's been a while since I did a toe-up sock, so I'm enjoying this one. The pattern has a short row heel, but these tend not to fit my feet very well as my heels are narrow and pointy, so I decided to substitute the heel from Sensational Knitted Socks, which I used for my Beaded Rib socks, back in 2007. However, it turned out when I looked at the notes I made on Ravelry for the socks in 2007, that I'd actually substituted a different heel again, this time from the second issue of Yarn Forward, which I think I sold on ebay a couple of years ago. Oops. As I now can't remember why, five years ago, I didn't want to use the heel from Sensational Knitted Socks, I think I'll go with that one and see what happens.
I also decided to start another present pattern, the South Seas Stole, and settled on some yarn from my stash, the Clicky Needles merino silk lace, which I bought on holiday in Gloucester in May. This, of course, meant getting the swift and ballwinder out.
The yarn feels lovely, and I'm really looking forward to knitting with it, but I can't decide whether to put beads on the stole or not. The pattern includes instructions for with and without beads. The yarn is handwash only, so including beads won't affect how I care for the finished item. Part of me things that I'm more likely to use the stole if it hasn't got beads on (with beads it seems more smart/evening/going out type clothing, but then stoles generally would be in that category), but another part of me wants to do more knitting with beads - I've only done a small amount before, on a workshop I took in Nottingham with Debbie Abrahams, back in 2006. I don't have any beads at home that would be suitable, but it would be very easy to get some as there are several local shops that have things like that.