Wednesday, 12 February 2020

ONE DAY ONLY Bobby socks: 50% off and all proceeds go to Down Syndrome International

A bit earlier than scheduled, I've just released my #LotsOfSocksKAL pattern: the Bobby socks. From now until 11:59pm EST, Thursday 13th February 2020, this pattern is available with 50% off using the code LOTSOFSOCKS All proceeds during the sale period will go to Down Syndrome International (if you want to make a bigger donation, just omit the code and all the proceeds wil go to Down Syndrome International). If you haven't heard about the Lots Of Socks KAL, you can read all about it here.



As a child, I used to love reading vintage boarding-school stories, and always imagined that the girls in them would wear cute little ruffled socks while eating their midnight feasts and drinking ginger beer. The Bobby socks are the first in a series of sock patterns: the Midnight feasts collection, which pays homage to these books with a series of cute ankle socks, all featuring a frill around the cuff: show them off by wearing them with circle skirts and Mary-Jane shoes, or let the cuff peep out of the top of a pair of ankle boots for a really cute look. All the socks in the collection are knitted from the top down using a standard heel flap and gusset construction. The ruffled frill and first half of the turned-back cuff are knitted first, then inverted using a short row before knitting the rest of the sock. The foot length of the socks is adjustable to fit.


The Bobby socks are perfect for summer and early autumn: the lace allows your feet to air so they're nice and cool, but as autumn approaches the socks can be worn with shoes, letting the lace frill detail peep out over the top of your shoes.

Instructions are given for both two-colour and single-colour versions. The lace stitch pattern is given as both a chart and written instructions. Tutorials are included for the inversion round and blocking the ruffle.


The pattern is written to be needle-neutral and can be knitted using either the magic-loop technique, short circulars or DPNs, depending on your individual preference. The pattern also features helpful hints for beginners.

Click here to buy the pattern now! Use the code LOTSOFSOCKS to get 50% off until 11.59pm EST, Thursday 13th February 2020, and remember, all proceeds from sales from now until the end of Thursday 13th February (EST time) go to Down Syndrome International.

Reading this and it's not February 13th any more? You can get 20% off with the code FRILLS until 11.59pm GMT, Thursday 20th February 2020, and I'll dontate £1 to Down Syndrome International for each copy sold until the end of February 2020.

If you buy any of my other sock patterns in February 2020, I'll donate £1 per sale to Down Syndrome International. You can find all my sock patterns here.


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Sizes
S (M, L)

Finished sock circumferences: 16 (20, 24) cm \[6.5 (8, 9.5) in]; for the best fit, choose a size that is approximately 2.5 cm [1 in] smaller than your foot circumference.

Leg length to heel: 9 (10, 11) cm [3.5 (4, 4.25) in].

Foot length is adjustable.

Tension
30 sts and 44 rnds = 10 cm [4 in] in both stocking stitch and lace patt worked in the rnd on 2.5 mm (US 1.5) needle(s) after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
4ply-weight sock yarn in the following colours and amounts (yardages are approximate as the amount of yarn used will depend on the length of the foot, which is adjustable):

Single-colour version
•    260 (325, 390) m [285 (355, 425) yds]

Two-colour version
•    MC: 235 (295, 355) m [260 (320, 385) yds]
•    CC: 25 (30, 40) m [30 (35, 40) yds]

I would recommend using a dedicated sock yarn that is tightly plied wool and has some nylon content for durability.

Needles
•    2.5 mm (US 1.5) DPNs, 15 cm [6 in], set of 5, or
•    2.5 mm (US 1.5) circular needle, at least 80 cm [32 in] in length to work magic loop, or
•    2.5 mm (US 1.5) circular needle, 22.5 cm [9 in] in length

Notions
•    Stitch markers x 5

Pattern notes
The instructions are for the smallest size, with larger sizes in parentheses: S (M, L).

If you are using a multi-coloured or self-striping yarn:
•    You can make two matching socks by starting both at the same point in the colour repeat of the yarn.
•    To avoid the colour jog that may occur at the transition between the leg and the foot, work the heel flap and heel turn from the opposite end of the ball of yarn.

The sample details are as follows:

1. Multi-coloured, single-yarn pair: Stylecraft Head Over Heels (4-ply, 400 m per 100 g ball, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon) in 3102 Olympus. Knitted in size M.

2. Blue pair with white ruffle: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply (4-ply, 400 m per 100 g ball, 75% wool, 25% nylon) in 325 Cornflower (MC) and Drops Fabel (4-ply, 205 m per 50 g ball, 75% wool, 25% polyamide) in 100 Off-white (CC). Knitted in size L.

The version in Knit Now contains the pattern, but not the tutorials.

The Midnight Feast Collection will be released over the course of 2020. The Bobby socks pattern is the first pattern in the collection.

This pattern was first published in Knit Now issue 90.

Pattern edited by Jo Torr.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Twist and shout: the Contorto socks are live!


One of my favourite ways of showcasing stitch patterns is to knit them into socks; by the time you've got to grips with the stitch pattern you are ready to tackle the heel, so socks always have something interesting going on, even if the pattern is the same throughout the sock. I found this stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary while looking for something else entirely and couldn't get it out of my head! I've named the socks ‘Contorto’, which is Italian for twisted, after the beautiful twisted cables in the stitch pattern.


The Contorto socks are knitted from the toe up and use a gusset and heel flap construction, shaped with short rows, and with a slipped stitch pattern on the heel flap for reinforcement. The gusset length is affected by your row/round gauge, so a table of gauge-dependent lengths is included to help you achieve the perfect fit. Toe-up with a heel-flap and gusset is my favourite sock construction, but it's been a while since I've made any socks from the toe-up. I know that a lot of people shy away from toe-up socks as they're concerned about the fit; I'm confident that if you follow the instructions in the Contorto pattern you'll finish up with a beautifully fitting pair of socks - there are plenty of hints and tips throughout, and links to helpful tutorials for the cast on and cast off, the wrap and turn technique and on choosing what size socks to knit.


This pattern was originally published in Knit Now, but I've added an extra size, and additional options for knitting your socks, so you can now choose between:
•  Having the Contorto pattern on top of the foot and round the leg, with either cabled or 2 x 2 rib for the cuff
•  Having the Contorto pattern on the top of the foot and the front of the leg only, finished with 2 x 2 rib for the cuff
•  Either fully matching-socks, or mirrored, fraternal socks

The pattern is needle-neutral and the socks can be knitted using DPNs, short circulars, or long circulars using the magic loop technique.

The Contorto pattern is available now, and until 11.59pm GMT Wednesday 12th February 2020 you can have 20% off with the code TWISTED. Until the end of February 2020, I will also be donating £1 from each copy sold to Down Syndrome International as part of the #LotsOfSocksKAL.


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Full pattern details can be found on the Ravelry pattern page, but here are the essentials.

Sizes
S (M, L, XL)

Finished sock foot circumferences: 15.5 (19, 23, 26.5) cm [6.25 (7.75, 9, 10.5) in] designed to fit with 2.5 cm [1 in] negative ease. These are the sizes of the finished socks; for the best fit, choose a size that is approximately 2.5 cm [1 in] smaller than your foot circumference.

Finished sock leg circumferences:
•  Fully-cabled: 15 (19, 22.5, 26.5) cm [6 (7.5, 9, 10.5) in]
•  Simplified: 15.5 (19, 23, 26.5) cm [6.25 (7.75, 9, 10.5) in]

The stitch counts for the cabled portions are modified so that the cabled panels are the same width as the stocking stitch sole, this results in the socks fitting the same as a regular stocking stitch socks with a stitch count of 52 (64, 76, 88) sts.

Yarn
Dedicated 4 ply sock yarn in the following amounts:
•  Fully-cabled version: 260 (390, 550, 740) m [290 (430, 610, 810) yds]
•  Simplified leg version: 220 (330, 460, 620) m [250 (370, 510, 680) yds]

Needles
•  2.5 mm DPNs
•  or a 2.5 mm circular needle at least 80 cm [32 in] in length
•  or a 2.5 mm 20 cm [9 in] circular needle

Notions
•  Stitch markers x 4
•  Cable needle
•  Tapestry needle

This pattern was first published in Knit Now magazine, issue 84.

This pattern was tech edited by Jo Torr.

Remember, you can get 20% off the Contorto pattern until 11.59pm GMT Wednesday 12th February 2020 with the code TWISTED. Until the end of February 2020, I will also be donating £1 from each copy sold to Down Syndrome International as part of the #LotsOfSocksKAL.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

The #LotsOfSocksKAL is live!

The #LotsOfSocksKAL is live!

I wrote about the KAL on the blog last week, but just in case you missed it, here are all the details...

Last year I was involved in the #LotsOfSocksKAL, and between us we raised a phenomenal $21,164.88 for Down Syndrome International! I'm very excited to announce that I am a participating designer this year as well! The Lots of Socks knitalong (KAL)* is being organised by Lisa Ross of Paper Daisy Creations, and will run from February 5th*** until March 21st 2020. 


Have you heard of the #lotsofsocks initiative? On March 21st every year, people are encouraged to wear two different brightly coloured socks to highlight the uniqueness of individuals with Down syndrome and to show their support for the Down syndrome community. Why March 21st? People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, so the date 3/21 was selected. Lisa started the Lots of Socks KAL to create LOTS of socks, and at the same time generate support and awareness for a great cause! 

There's a sale!  
On each day from February 5th*** to 19th 2020, a different designer has been selected to offer a pattern on sale for 50% off. Some of these are new designs and some will be existing designs… each day will be a surprise! ALL proceeds from the highlighted design on the designer's given day will go to supporting Down Syndrome International. To be notified of the sale patterns, either sign up to Paper Daisy Creations' newsletter via her website or follow @paperdaisycreations on Instagram. The designers participating are: Lisa Ross, Mary Hull, Megan Williams, Shannon Squire, Tracie Millar, Sarah Jordan, Vikki Bird, Anna Friberg, Mara Catherine Bryner, Tiina Kuu, Dawn Henderson, Jessie Ksanznak, Marce Smith, Kay Litton, and Cori Eichelberger.  

In addition to my sale day, I'll be donating £1 (GBP) from every sale of one of my sock patterns in February 2020 to Down Syndrome International! All my self-published sock patterns can be found here.**

What does the KAL involve? 
Starting on February 5th,*** cast-on ANY sock design from ANY of the participating designers (no works in progress, sorry!). For each single sock that gets knitted (this might be the perfect opportunity to finish up some lonely socks - I know I have some from last year's KAL!), you will get an entry for prizes. If you use yarn from one of the sponsors (a list of sponsors can be found in the first post of this thread*), you will get an extra entry. When you finish your sock, post a photo of it in the FO thread, remembering to include the pattern name, designer, and yarn used. If you used sponsor yarn, include a photo of the ball band or tag to get a bonus entry.  

Lisa will keep a running list of sock entries in the prize thread. After the KAL has ended, prizes will be drawn based on the entries listed (if you've finished some socks but they haven't been included on the list of entries, send a message to Lisa before the end of the KAL).  

On March 21, 2020 (World Down Syndrome Day), be sure to wear your socks and spread the word! You can post your socks on Instagram using the following three hashtags #lotsofsocksKAL, #lotsofsocks, and #WorldDownSyndromeDay AND tag @paperdaisycreations. You might also want to tag the designer and include hashtags #WDSD20 and #WorldDownSyndromeDay.  

When you're knitting your socks for the KAL, feel free to make the socks your own: you're allowed to modify patterns from toe-up to cuff-down and vice versa, switch out heels and toes to your favourites, or to make modifications for fit. However, you must use the minimum stitch count listed in the pattern and at least 25g of sock yarn for a single sock.  

What could I win?  
Lisa has done an amazing job of sourcing prizes for the KAL - you can find a full list of prizes in the first post of this thread.* 

Where should I head for more details and to join in? 
The KAL is being hosted in Lisa's Ravelry group,* so go there to join the chat and to show off your projects. I cannot wait to see what everyone knits! 

If you want to make sure you don't miss out when my pattern is on sale, sign up to my newsletter.  

Of course, it's always possible that you might already own all the sock patterns you want. If you'd like to donate directly to Down Syndrome International, you can do so via their website.

*Ravelry link; you need to be a member of Ravelry to open this link. Membership is free.

**Note that this offer only applies to single sock patterns, not to ebooks. 

***Yes, the KAL has started a few hours early, but you are free to cast on as soon as you read this.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Coming soon: #LotsOfSocksKAL 2020!

Last year I was involved in the #LotsOfSocksKAL, and between us we raised a phenomenal $21,164.88 for Down Syndrome International! I'm very excited to announce that I am a participating designer this year as well! The Lots of Socks knitalong (KAL)* is being organised by Lisa Ross of Paper Daisy Creations, and will run from February 5th until March 21st 2020. 


Have you heard of the #lotsofsocks initiative? On March 21st every year, people are encouraged to wear two different brightly coloured socks to highlight the uniqueness of individuals with Down syndrome and to show their support for the Down syndrome community. Why March 21st? People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, so the date 3/21 was selected. Lisa started the Lots of Socks KAL to create LOTS of socks, and at the same time generate support and awareness for a great cause! 

There's a sale!  
On each day from February 5th to 19th 2020, a different designer has been selected to offer a pattern on sale for 50% off. Some of these are new designs and some will be existing designs… each day will be a surprise! ALL proceeds from the highlighted design on the designer's given day will go to supporting Down Syndrome International. To be notified of the sale patterns, either sign up to Paper Daisy Creations' newsletter via her website or follow @paperdaisycreations on Instagram. The designers participating are: Lisa Ross, Mary Hull, Megan Williams, Shannon Squire, Tracie Millar, Sarah Jordan, Vikki Bird, Anna Friberg, Mara Catherine Bryner, Tiina Kuu, Dawn Henderson, Jessie Ksanznak, Marce Smith, Kay Litton, and Cori Eichelberger.  

If you're feeling a little impatient, and want to purchase a sock pattern *right now*, I'll be donating £1 (GBP) from every sale of one of my sock patterns in February 2020 to Down Syndrome International! All my self-published sock patterns can be found here.**

What does the KAL involve? 
Starting on February 5th, cast-on ANY sock design from ANY of the participating designers (no works in progress, sorry!). For each single sock that gets knitted (this might be the perfect opportunity to finish up some lonely socks - I know I have some from last year's KAL!), you will get an entry for prizes. If you use yarn from one of the sponsors (a list of sponsors can be found in the first post of this thread*), you will get an extra entry. When you finish your sock, post a photo of it in the FO thread, remembering to include the pattern name, designer, and yarn used. If you used sponsor yarn, include a photo of the ball band or tag to get a bonus entry.  

Lisa will keep a running list of sock entries in the prize thread. After the KAL has ended, prizes will be drawn based on the entries listed (if you've finished some socks but they haven't been included on the list of entries, send a message to Lisa before the end of the KAL).  

On March 21, 2020 (World Down Syndrome Day), be sure to wear your socks and spread the word! You can post your socks on Instagram using the following three hashtags #lotsofsocksKAL, #lotsofsocks, and #WorldDownSyndromeDay AND tag @paperdaisycreations. You might also want to tag the designer and include hashtags #WDSD20 and #WorldDownSyndromeDay.  

When you're knitting your socks for the KAL, feel free to make the socks your own: you're allowed to modify patterns from toe-up to cuff-down and vice versa, switch out heels and toes to your favourites, or to make modifications for fit. However, you must use the minimum stitch count listed in the pattern and at least 25g of sock yarn for a single sock.  

What could I win?  
Lisa has done an amazing job of sourcing prizes for the KAL - you can find a full list of prizes in the first post of this thread.* 

Where should I head for more details and to join in? 
The KAL is being hosted in Lisa's Ravelry group,* so go there to join the chat and to show off your projects. I cannot wait to see what everyone knits! 

If you want to make sure you don't miss out when my pattern is on sale, sign up to my newsletter.  

Of course, it's always possible that you might already own all the sock patterns you want. If you'd like to donate directly to Down Syndrome International, you can do so via their website.

*Ravelry link; you need to be a member of Ravelry to open this link. Membership is free.

**Note that this offer only applies to single sock patterns, not to ebooks.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Panda-monium!

I've got a new design in the latest issue of Knit Now magazine, and it's a super-cute one!


I think you all know by now that I am a sucker for a cute cartoon animal, and pandas are one of my favourites! I've added glasses to this one for my daughter, who wears glasses*.


The Panda in Glasses jumper is knitted in pieces from the bottom up, and the neckline is picked up and knitted on after seaming the shoulders of the jumper. The Panda in Glasses motif is worked using intarsia (and you could definitely use duplicate stitch for some of the finer details to make your life a little easier). I added stripey sleeves as a fun touch.

The jumper is knitted using King Cole Big Value DK (DK; 145m per 50g ball; 100% acrylic), which comes in economical 50 g balls, to save you having loads of each colour left over at the end. The pattern is written for six sizes: 2 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12) years, with finished chest sizes of 60 (65.5, 69, 72.5, 76.5, 80) cm, designed to fit with 5cm positive ease.


You can find the pattern in Issue 112 of Knit Now, which is available now. If you can't find a copy in the shops, you can order one from More Mags while stocks last.

Want to add the pattern to your Ravelry queue or Favourites? You can find the pattern page here.

*She's miffed that the sample is not in her size. She is also miffed that the panda is not wearing pink glasses, and that I do not have a jumper on the needles in her size with pink glasses, right now!

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Trying to be a monogamous knitter

Some things are easier said than done: knitting exclusively from stash, walking into a yarn shop and leaving without purchasing anything, buying the perfect shade of red yarn, and getting through the pile of works in progress (WIPs). As you might have established if you have paid any attention to this blog or my Instagram, I am far from a monogamous knitter. I usually have three or four active WIPs, and many others hiding in various locations about my house. There are lots of reasons for the multiple WIPs - each WIP usually involves a different technique, is at a different stage in the design process, or requires a different level of attention. Some WIPs were started with great enthusiasm that waned after the initial burst, or something went wrong with them that meant they moved to the abandoned pile...

One of my aims for this year is to work through the pile of WIPs and to either finish them, or abandon them forever and reclaim the materials for something else (one pair of socks has already been unravelled and the yarn nabbed for another project). Since the start of January I have been working almost exclusively on three projects. The first was an adult-size intarsia jumper, which is finished and has been sent to the publisher for photography. I will confess that the jumper had to come to the top of the list as it was due in the publisher's offices within the first week of the year, and nothing focuses the mind quite like a deadline.



The second project of the year is a blanket, made up of individual blocks that are seamed at the end. I have carried these blocks about with me everywhere I have been for the past fortnight, and I have loved crossing each block off my list as I have cast it off. Very satisfying indeed. However, I can't quite call it monogamous knitting, as I own three pairs of needles in the right size, and all of them have had blanket blocks on them at some point this week! Apparently knitting the same thing over and over again is more fun if you can have three half-finished blocks on the needles at the same time. I'm not quite sure how that works, but it seems easier to me.




While my blanket blocks are very portable, I can't work on them in the dark (there are increases and decreases that I have to look at to keep track of), so on the occasions I have been to the cinema this year (twice), I have taken something else with me: my Halloween socks.* These socks were meant to be finished in October (obviously), but I mislaid them. I had them in my husband's car one Sunday morning, and when I went to unload the car, the project bag was gone. I was annoyed about it at the time, as I couldn't for the life of me think where they'd gone, but I reconciled myself to the bag never coming back and moved on. Over Christmas I found the bag, hiding in the bag of bags for life in the understairs cupboard. Hooray! I'm knitting these as tube socks, then adding in the heels, toes and cuffs at the end, so they really are straight-forward knitting in the round, perfect for those times when I can knit, but can't pay any attention to what I'm knitting.


I think this three-project month is as monogamous as my knitting will ever get. I admire anyone who can cast on one project and work on it until it is completed, but that's really not my thing. Having said that, it would be quite nice to get some finished objects off the needles, and clearly the way to do that is to actually knit on the items, so maybe my future does hold some more almost-monogamous knitting...

*Yarn is by Strawberry Fields Yarns. The Ravelry project page can be found here.

Monday, 20 January 2020

The sustainable craftalong: Introduction

At the start of the year, I said that my crafting word for 2020 is SUSTAINABLE


In this context, sustainability means making sure that my crafting is not wasteful, and is a little more considerate towards the environment. With this in mind, I am hosting the Sustainable craftalong in 2020.

You can take sustainable crafting to mean whatever you want. I am aiming for:
  • Working mostly from stash
  • If I buy something, using it straight away, rather than hoarding it
  • Finishing my works in progress
  • Considering the purpose of what I am making - will I be able to make use of the finished object at least 30 times?
  • Trying to buy crafting materials that come from renewable sources: either recycled materials, or natural materials
  • Selling or donating any craft materials that I know I'm not going to use
I'm sure that as the Craftalong progresses, everyone will come up with their own sustainable crafting ideas, and it'll be really interesting to see what everyone thinks of.

You will note that I have called this the Sustainable craftalong, so all crafts are welcome, including knitting, sewing, crochet, weaving, papercraft, anything you like!

The Sustainable craftalong will be taking place in my Ravelry group, and on Instagram. There will be two threads on Ravelry: one chatter thread and one finished object thread.  On Instagram, use the hashtag #sustainablecraftalong

Every quarter (at the end of March, June, September and December) I will be drawing one winner from each of the chatter thread, finished object thread and Instagram. In each of your entries, I want you to tell me what makes your project sustainable. In the interest of reducing waste, prizes will be digital pattern prizes - I will gift each winner a pattern of their choice from Ravelry up to the value 10 USD (prizes can be from any designer on Ravelry, not just me).

Happy crafting!