Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sock Mojo has returned!

Once upon a time I used to churn out one sock after another. Then my sock mojo went missing. My lovely warm socks gradually wore out till I had no hand-knitted socks left. I do suffer from cold feet. So last Christmas I decided to try and always have a plain pair of socks on the needles in an attempt to increase my sock production.

In August while we were in Spain I cast on this pair. I finished sock no 1 but sock no 2 languished with only half a foot left to knit until Sunday. Sunday evening I finished this pair which is knitted in Sirdar Heart and Sole. I worked them top down with an afterthought heel and swirly toe from Lara Neel's Sock Architecture. I don't normally like afterthought heels as they don't suit my high instep but Lara's book has persuaded me to try a few different heels and toes. This heel, a thumb joint hat top heel, fits surprisingly well. I did a 3x1 rib and after I put the waste yarn in for the heel I forgot I was on the foot and carried on doing 3x1 rib.

After I finished the Sirdar pair I grabbed another sock wip. These are knitted in my own hand-dyed yarn, from the top down. I started them in 2013 sometime but knitted all of the second sock and most of the first this year. I knitted nearly the whole foot (for my UK size 8 feet) on Sunday evening.

Monday morning I felt I could justify casting on for a new pair of socks since I had finished 2 pairs. I wound a very bright rainbow skein of Fab Funky Fibres. I decided to work these toe up so wound them into two 50gr balls.

I'm even doing them on circulars which is very unusual for me as I'm a DPN girl at heart. I'm doing an afterthought heel again, to preserve the stripes. I'm actually over halfway up the leg. I've got a deadline this week so have been trying to ignore this sock but as soon as this deadline is done, I'm finishing this sock. I love the colours!

So since last Christmas I've knitted 7 pairs. Here are 6 of them which means I now have a pair for every day of the week.

Don't forget to read my review of Holli Yeoh's Tempest and enter the prize draw before Sunday. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Silver Birch

My favourite winter accessory is hand-warmers/fingerless mittens. My hands are always cold and with hand-warmers I can still do things with my hands like knit, type, drive my car, get money out of my purse etc and keep my hands warm. So I decided I needed a pair of stranded hand-warmers.

I love Orla Kiely products which feature her trade mark leafy pattern. I used those leaves as inspiration. The leaves get smaller as you move up the hand to the fingers. Again I used my favourite Navia Duo which is just perfect for stranded colourwork/fair isle.

The inside of 'Silver Birch' has diagonal lines moving out to the sides. Both cuffs and the top of the hands/thumb are finished off with a picot hem. The thumb is an afterthought thumb which is so easy to do.

The blue/grey pair is the larger size. I wanted to do the smaller size in lime and silver grey but the colours just didn't work together as there wasn't enough contrast. So I chose the charcoal grey instead.

The Lime is brighter than these photos show. I struggled to get the colours right. We took the photos in poor light conditions but then it's been bad weather and gloomy here all last week, so photography was a bit challenging.

'Silver Birch' comes in two sizes:
Small: 20cm/8in circumference 
Length: 19cm/7½in
Large: 22cm/8½in circumference 
Length: 22cm/8½in
Emily is modelling the smaller charcoal/lime pair and I'm modelling the larger silver grey/Bahama Blue pair.

The yarn is Navia Duo and I will have kits in stock as soon as the printed patterns arrive. In the meantime you can get the pattern on Ravelry with 25% off until 30 November (midnight GMT). No coupon code needed. Pattern will soon be available on Patternfish and Love Knitting too.

Don't forget to check out my 'Vaffel Votter' kits in the shop now.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Can I tempt you?

If you've read this blog for a while then you might already know that I'm a bit fan of Sweet Georgia Yarns (I was a member of their fibre club for a long time and I'm only taking a break because my SG spinning fibre stash is huge). Sweet Georgia's yarns and fibres are saturated with gorgeous colours. In fact, I have a skein of their yarn on my desk right now, waiting to be cast on for a new design.

Can you imagine being able to design a whole collection in this yummy yarn? I'm very jealous of Holli Yeoh, a Canadian designer, who got to do just that. I've seen Holli's designs in various US magazines and on social media and they're always beautiful and the designs in this collection are no different. Holli has been sharing snippets of the designs in Tempest on Instagram in the run up to the publication of the book this autumn and I was thrilled to be part of her book tour as the designs looked so intriguing.

Here's a list of the other stops on the Tempest blog tour. Visit the Tempest website for a blog, videos, the Tempest community. 

Today, I thought I'd share my favourites with you. First up is 'Haven' which is so simple and so perfect. Create an ombre effect by using 2 strands of yarn held together. This is a simple rectangle meaning everyone can make this. I'm so tempted to make this for myself. Wonder if I have time in between deadlines? I'd need to use the exact colours used in he original though, because they're my favourites.

There are several stunning accessories in this collection and one that caught my eye was 'Breakers' which looks so squishy and cozy and warm. This would be perfect for our Christmas holiday to Norway this year.  The stitch pattern looks interesting too.

I love the alternating bands of opaque and sheer chevrons in 'Eventide'. The subtle colour variation of the hand-dyed yarn adds to the interest. 

I rarely wear hats. In fact, I almost only ever wear hats when we go to Norway at Christmas. I'm also rubbish at designing hats (notice the lack of hats in my pattern portfolio?). But I do fancy a new hat for our Norway trip. 'Procella' is perfect. I love the slouchy fit, the interesting design details and it has fingerless mittens to match. I would wear those all the time. I also have a friend who loves slouchy hats and fingerless mittens. She's also knitworthy and usually the only person I knit a Christmas present for. Maybe I'll knit this set for her. Will I be able to give it away though?

There are 3 cowls that use the same stitch pattern, First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach. When Holli was posting pictures on Instagram in the run up to releasing Tempest, the stitch pattern used in these three accessories really stood out to me. I was fascinated by it. 

'Watermark' uses the same stitch pattern to make a feature of it's over-sized cowl neck. The stitch pattern is also repeated on the hem which perfectly complements the stocking stitch body.

This is just a selection of the garments and accessories in Tempest. Take a look at the Ravelry page where you can purchase the e-book.  The print book can be purchased here. See all Sweet Georgia's gorgeous yarns here.

Like what you see? Tell me your favourite Tempest design and why it's your favourite. Leave a comment below before 30 November and you will be included in a draw to win an e-book copy of the book.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Vaffel Votter Kits

'Vaffel Votter' has been a big hit since I launched the pattern recently. This was my first design using Navia Duo and I fell in love with this yarn so much that I decided to offer kits. Navia is from the Faroe Islands which is a group of islands in the north sea north of Shetland. The islands are part of the Danish kingdom. Navia is blended from Faroese wool, Shetland wool and Australian lambswool which gives it a unique mix of 'wolly stickiness' and softness. The wool is perfect for stranded colour work (also known as fair isle knitting) but it's still soft and non-itchy, especially after a sock in a good wool wash or fabric conditioner (I use Soak wool wash). Yarns that are too soft and silky aren't always that great in stranded colourwork designs.

The kit is available in a variety of colours. To better show how each combination knits up I had fun earlier this week, knitting up lots of swatches. I reversed the colours for the second half of the waffel motif.



You'll also get a professionally printed copy of the pattern and a download code so you can download a pdf version (via Ravelry - no membership needed). And there's a saving on buying the pattern and yarn separately. All you need to add is a set of 3.25mm needles (circulars or double pointed needles).

You can find the kits here and the pdf pattern only here. Island Wool Company who distributes Navia in the UK are stocking the pattern as a pdf download too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Colour Testing

Its been all about mittens here lately. My new stranded fingerless mittens will be published soon. Its being tech-edited at the moment. 

I published Vaffel Votter a few weeks ago and this week I'll be launching Navia kits for this pattern. 

A big box of Navia arrived on Friday and there's more colours coming soon. 

I've been pouring over the shade card trying to decide on colour combinations for the kits. So many yummy colours.

The best way to decide which colour combinations work, is to knit them up. So that's my main job today. I'm recovering from teaching in Wales yesterday and I'm teaching in Devon tomorrow. I've had to take it easy today or I'll end up in huge amount of pain. So at least I've been able to do something useful today. 

I'll share more colour combinations later in the week. The Vaffel Votter pattern is part of the Indie Giftalong 2014 promotion.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Indie Giftalong 2014

Have you heard about the Indie Giftalong? Independent designers on Ravelry got together last year to run this promotion and it was so successful they decided to do it again this year. I didn't take part last year but I'm doing it this year.

So what is the Indie Giftalong? For one week, from last night until 21 November you can use the code: giftalong2014 to get 25% off a selection of patterns from nearly 300 participating designers. 

After the discount period ends the Giftalong continues with lots of fun, KALs/CALs (Knitalong/Crochetalong) in the Indie Giftalong Ravelry Group. There are lots of prizes to be won! 

Below are my patterns which are eligible for the 25% discount. Purchase any of these patterns before 21 November using the code: giftalong2014 to get 25% off. But you can join the KALs with any of my patterns and win prizes. 

Check out the Ravelry group for other participating designers. Whether you're knitting for Christmas presents or for yourself, enjoy the Indie Giftalong 2014. Follow the Giftalong on social media by using the hashtag #giftalong2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

St Aubin's Bay - Intro Offer

Last March I was invited to teach at the Jersey Textile showcase at the Harbour Gallery in St Aubin's, Jersey. While I was there I bought 2 skeins of String Theory Caper Sock from Fig Tree Yarns (I can't find the website at the moment) which is based in Jersey. A few days before we left for Yorkshire in September I cast on for this shawl. I had a rough idea of what I wanted but I did largely design on the go. It was a very quick knit and I finished it in a week.

Because I bought this yarn in St Aubin and the shallow crescent shape of this shawl reminds me of St Aubin's Bay in Jersey, I decided to call the shawl St Aubin's Bay.

St Aubin's Bay has irregular stripes, eyelet rows and two short row wedges. I recommend wrap & turn short rows but because you're working in garter stitch there is no need to pick up your wraps. I usually do because I prefer to but I know many knitters who don't.

I finished the shawl off with my favourite picot beaded cast/bind off. The beads are added using the crochet hook method (video demo). I used 6mm miracle beads for the picot edge. I've worn this shawl a few times already. It's lovely and squishy and big. Perfect to wrap around my neck on a chilly day.

Until midnight GMT Sunday 16 November 2014, St Aubin's Bay is 30% off in my Ravelry store. No coupon code needed. The discount will be taken off automatically at the check out. So now you just need to choose two fabulous colours of sock yarn. You need 2 skeins of 100gr/400yds each.

Happy knitting x