Saturday, 16 May 2020

Stripe a Pose!

I have a new design to share with you all today: Stripe a Pose!*



All my favorite sweaters are striped, I just can’t get enough of them! The Stripe a Pose sweater is pretty much my dream sweater: relaxed fit, dropped shoulders, split hem, crew neck, and, of course, stripes!


The sweater shown pairs a brigth neon pink with a neutral; of course you could opt for navy and white for a classic Breton-inspired look.


The sample is knitted in Stylecraft Special DK,* which makes this a really cost-effective project. 

If you want to add the pattern to your Ravelry favourites or queue, you can find the pattern page here.

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Time: 1 Month pattern

Skill Level: Intermediate

Size: Finished Bust Size 31.25 (35.75, 38.75, 43.5, 48, 51, 55.5, 60.25, 63.25, 67.75)” 4-8” positive ease recommended. Shown in size 38.75”

Gauge: 21 sts and 30 rows/rnds = 4” [10 cm] in St st after wet blocking

Materials
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK (100% Acrylic; 323 yards [295 meters]/100 grams): 1218 Parchment (MC, 3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5) balls), 1257 Fiesta (CC, 1 (1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) balls)

Needles: US size 7 (4.5 mm) 24” circular and DPNs, US size 6 (4.0 mm) 16” circular and DPNs

Notions: Markers (2), removable markers (2), waste yarn or spare needle for holding live sts, tapestry needle

Pattern Notes
This pattern is worked from the top down. The Back is worked flat as far as the armholes with short row shaping for the shoulders. The Front is worked flat as far as the armholes with short row shaping for the shoulders and neckline. The Front and Back are joined and the sweater is worked in the round as far as the split hem, which is worked flat with an intarsia i-cord edging. The Sleeve stitches are picked up from the armhole. The Sleeves are worked in the round with decreases along their length until a ribbed cuff is worked. The Neckband stitches are picked up along the Neckline edge and the Neckband is worked in the round.

*Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Hiding in the Bamboo: a new sock pattern!

When I’m out and about, or at home on the sofa watching TV, I like to knit socks that are just one step up from vanilla: socks that have just enough patterning to keep me interested and to mark progress. Hiding in the Bamboo are just that: the socks feature an all-over rib-pattern that is easy to memorize, with just two rows that are different in every ten-round repeat. The socks were inspired by the yarn – the colour made me think of walks round the bamboo plantation in our local botanical garden, where the kids love to hide, before jumping out and shouting ‘boo’ while I hunt for them.


The socks are knitted from the top down using a standard heel flap and gusset construction. The foot length of the socks is adjustable to fit.


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.


If you fancy making your own Hiding in the Bamboo socks, you can get 20% off with the code BAMBOO until Wednesday 20th May 2020, all time zones, alternatively, all fof my indivdual patterns are buy one, get one free until the pubs reopen in the UK! Add both patterns to your basket and the cheapest will be free. Only one offer can be applied per basket.


The socks are knitted in MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock,* a wool/nylon blend 4-ply sock yarn. The yarn comes in a huge array of beautiful muted shades and is available as 50 g balls, making it perfect for mixing and matching. Yarn support was kindly provided by LoveCrafts.*

Want to cast on right away? You can get your copy here.

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SizesXS (S, M, L, XL)

Finished sock circumferences: 13 (17, 20.5, 24.5, 28) cm [5.25 (6.75, 8.25, 9.75, 11.25) 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: 12.5 (15, 18, 20.5, 23) cm [5 (6, 7, 8, 9) in].

Foot length is adjustable.

Tension
32 sts and 44 rnds = 10 cm [4 in] in stocking stitch and 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): 130 (215, 315, 440, 565) m [145, 240, 345, 485, 620) 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

The sample details are as follows: MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock (4-ply, 200 m per 50 g ball, 75% wool, 25% nylon) in 522 Laurel. Knitted in size M.

Pattern edited by Jo Torr.

*Affiliate link.

Monday, 11 May 2020

#weeklywipalong

For the first few weeks that the UK was in lockdown, I got very little knitting (or anything really) done. My mind was all over the place and I struggled to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. I'm out of that fug now, mostly because I have started setting myself some (nice, achievable) goals. In an attempt to help others make a little progress, I've started an accountability thread in my Ravelry group, and an accountability hashtag on Instagram: #weeklywipalong


What's the point of #weeklywipalong? It's all about sharing your goals so that you are accountable to someone else. I find that if I tell people my plans, I am much more likely to achieve them.

Your goals can be as big or small as you like: finish a neckband, knit a single sock, cast on a new project, knit a sleeve, etc. All crafts are welcome, and I've found it's really helped me to focus on working on one thing at a time and actually getting some things off the needles.

If you want to join in, you can comment in the chatter thread in my Ravelry group, or use the hashtag #weeklywipalong on Instagram.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Make Four: a less ambitious Make Nine

As the old year draws to a close and the new year is on the horizon, the knitting corner of Instagram starts to fill up with knitters plans for the coming year in the form of Make Nine grids: photos of nine things crafters plan to make over the next twelve months. I've never taken part in Make Nine as I know that by the time I get all my work-knitting done, the idea of completing nine personal projects takes a very large leap of the imagination. At the end of last year though, I decided that I would create a slightly less ambitious list of goals: Make Four.

So, what was on my list?


Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter

First (top left), we have Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter. This cropped, short-sleeved sweater was all over Instagram when it came out last year, because (1) it's gorgeous, (2) it's DK weight, so it's fairly quick to knit, (3) it uses four colours, which is a good excuse to go for a stash dive! I was planning a slightly-modified version, with longer sleeves (maybe three-quarter length), and a longer body (I'm tall, though actually a just-below-the-waist length version would look great with a couple of dresses I own), in Drops Cotton Merino in shades of pink and grey, which I picked up in a sale last year.

Chuck by Andi Satterlund

Second up is Chuck by Andi Satterlund (top right). This has been in my Ravelry queue for ages! It's another cropped jumper, but I'm going to make it a little looser and longer to be worn with jeans. Like all the other jumpers on this list, I have the yarn in my stash already: Drops Nepal in Dark Red. I love a dark red jumper, so this will get a lot of wear in January/February where it stops being acceptable to wear Christmas jumpers all the time!

Pavement by Veera Valimaki

The third jumper on my list in Pavement by Veera Valimaki. I already have a Pavement jumper: it's cornflower blue and I wear it a lot in Spring and Autumn. It's perfect for throwing over a vest top with a pair of jeans. The second Pavement that I am planning will be knitted in Hawthorn Fingering Kettle Dye Yarn from Knit Picks in the shade Serpent, which is a rich jewel-toned green that I adore. The first Pavement I knitted grew surprisingly fast for a 4-ply weight sweater, so I'm hoping this one does the same once it's on the needles (I can't be the only one that finds casting on a garment to be a large initial stumbling block?).

Starfall by Jennifer Steingass

The final garment on my Make Four list is Starfall by Jennifer Steingass. This was a work in progress at the start of the year, so I really hoped that I might manage to get it crossed off the list pretty quickly, but that wasn't to be. I took a lot of notes while I was knitting the yoke of the sweater, but it turns out I didn't take a note of the most important details: the needle size is not written down anywhere! I tried knitting a sleeve to see if I could work it out that way, but that sleeve came out a different size to the first, and for some reason that is lost to me now, I used a different shade of grey in the yoke to the sleeve. Who knows?! I decided to quit before investing any more time in the project and cast on Bright Above Me instead. I'm so glad I switched projects as Bright Above Me is flying off the needles and I'm really looking forward to wearing it (in the autumn - who wants to wear a worsted weight jumper in May?).

Bright Above Me by Dieuke Schack-Mulligan

Which jumper do you think I should cast on next? Obviously I have seen other patterns that I fancy since deciding on this list at the start of the year, but I think that I will at least try and stick to the list... Pavement is appealing to me on many levels (that green!), and while knitting a fingering weight sweater in the summer months will be lovely, I suspect the jumper would be ready to wear just after the season to wear it has passed... Do you knit for winter in the summer months, or knit in summer yarns over the summer? Did you set yourself a Make Nine goal for 2020?

All images are copyright the copyright holders. Follow the pattern links for full details.

If you want to see other knitters' Make Nine goals for the year, check out the hashtag on Instagram.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

FREE PATTERN ALERT! Rainbows in the Windows

While the whole World has been stuck indoors during the Coronavirus pandemic, rainbows have been popping up in windows all around the UK. My daughter and I love to count all the rainbows in the windows when we go out for our daily exercise. This inspired my latest pattern: Rainbows in the Windows.


I've been craving somewhat complex projects while we've been told to stay at home, and knitting these banners gave me a huge amount of pleasure! I abandoned my much-loved bobbins in favour of lengths of yarn roughly 1 m long, which may have resulted in a few more ends, but not too many. The rainbow heart is the easiest of the banners, with only two colour changes on the majority of the rows.


The Rainbows in the Windows banners* are perfect for hanging in windows, or on walls. The pattern is written for one basic banner that can be decorated with your choice of four intarsia motifs: a rainbow heart, a rainbow or the words HAPPY or THANK YOU. The patterns for the intarsia portions are provided as both charts and written instructions. If you’re not a fan of intarsia, you can knit the banner without any colourwork and use duplicate stitch to add the motif at the end.


Each banner uses the same rainbow palette, and is perfect for stash-busting., or you could buy the yarn you need and make a few extra rainbow banners for friends and family from your leftovers.


If you enjoy this free pattern, please consider making a donation to NHS Charities Together.
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Sizes
One size: 30.5 cm [12.25 in] wide x 30 cm [12 in] high
Tension
18 sts and 25 rows = 10 cm [4 in] in stocking stitch worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.
Yarn
For each banner, you will need 130 m [145 yds] of aran-weight yarn in MC.
You will also need aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts, depending on which design you are making:
Heart
  • CC1 (red): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC2 (orange): 15 m [20 yds]
  • CC3 (yellow): 15 m [20 yds]
  • CC4 (green): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC5 (blue): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC6 (indigo): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC7 (violet): 5 m [10 yds]
HAPPY
  • CC1 (red): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC2 (orange): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC3 (yellow): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC4 (green): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC6 (indigo): 5 m [10 yds]
Rainbow
  • CC1 (red): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC2 (orange): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC3 (yellow): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC4 (green): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC5 (blue): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC6 (indigo): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC7 (violet): 5 m [10 yds]
THANK YOU
  • CC1 (red): 10 m [15 yds]
  • CC2 (orange): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC3 (yellow): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC4 (green): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC5 (blue): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC6 (indigo): 5 m [10 yds]
  • CC7 (violet): 5 m [10 yds]
Needles
5 mm (US 8) straight needles
Notions
  • Fixed stitch markers x 2
  • Tapestry needle
  • Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork (optional)
  • Chart row marker (optional)
  • 2 lengths of dowel, 35 cm [14 in] in length and 1 cm [0.5 in] in diameter
  • Hanging thread
  • PVA glue (optional)
Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran (aran, 184 m per 100 g ball, 100% acrylic) in 202 Champagne White (MC), 213 Rose Red (CC1), 219 Blood Orange (CC2), 222 Buttercup Yellow (CC3), 228 Lime Green (CC4), 233 Marine Blue (CC5), 239 Sailor Blue (CC6) and 247 Pansy Purple (CC7). Yarn support was kindly provided by LoveCrafts (affiliate link).
Instructions are provided for four designs. For each design, you will need to print out the written instructions for the plain banner and either the chart or written instructions for the picture of your choice.
The pattern is designed to be worked using intarsia for the colourwork portions. If you prefer, you can work the banner in a single colour, then add the colour work at the end using duplicate stitch – the yardages given should be sufficient for you to complete the banner this way. Links to introductions to intarsia and duplicate stitch are provided in the Resources section. You may wish to use a combination of intarsia, stranded colourwork and duplicate stitch to minimise ends.
Pattern edited by Jo Torr.
Want to queue or favourite the pattern on Ravelry? You can do that via this link.
*Affiliate link.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Marathon Sock KAL 2020 - cast on now!

It's here!

The Marathon Sock KAL - a KAL that involves a collective effort to knit a marathon's worth of yarn* - starts today!


The Marathon Sock KAL starts today and runs through the summer (prime sock-knitting season) or until we have knitted the full 26 miles of yarn.

Do I have to knit the full 26 miles by myself? No, of course not! All you have to do is knit a pair of adult-sized socks, and add a photo of them to the finished-object thread (opening soon) when they're done, noting the amount of yarn used. I'll add up all the yarn lengths from each post, and we should quite quickly have knitted a marathon's worth of yarn.

The chatter thread is open now in my Ravelry group, so you can chat while you cast on and knit your socks.

Happy knitting!

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Aim
Knit a Marathon's worth of socks: 26.219 miles of sock yarn converted into socks.

Rules
  • Socks must be cast-on on or after May 1st 2020
  • Socks can be knitted or crocheted in any yarn weight
  • All socks must have a proper heel (no yoga or tube socks)
  • The KAL will close once the full 26 miles of yarn have been knitted
  • You must post a photo of your socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre) for your metres to count in the total
  • New for this year: SECOND SOCKS COUNT! You don't have to knit a full pair of socks, a single sock will count. If you are using a single sock as an entry, please include only the number of metres used to knit that sock
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize on Ravelry, you must be a member of the Ravelry group
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2020; to be eligible for a prize on Instagram, you must follow @vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • Only hand-knitting/crochet will count, not machine knitting. If you have machine-knitted a sock tube and are adding heels/toes/cuffs by hand, the metres you used for the
    heels/toes/cuffs can be counted towards the total


Prizes
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2020 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread (one entry per 100 m of yarn used)
  • One prize drawn from entries in the FO thread that are knitted using a pattern by Vikki Bird Designs (one entry per 100 m of yarn used)

*26.219 miles = 42 195 m; each of my pairs of socks uses approximately 300 m of yarn (assuming sock weight yarn at 400 m per 100 g)

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Yarn Along: 29th April 2020: Bright Above Me

Hello... whispering very quietly... I appear to have three children that are entertaining themselves for a few minutes, so I'm popping by to see what you're up to. We've been on lockdown for five and a half weeks now. Pre-lockdown, I dreamed of all the extra time I'd have without having to do the school run, or all the after school chauffeuring, now several weeks into lockdown I'm mostly wondering how I manage to spend all of my time cooking or cleaning up having cooked!

For the first couple of weeks of lockdown I got very little crafting done. I thought I should be doing easy knitting that I didn't have to concentrate on, but all that happened was that my mind wandered. As soon as I realised that what I really wanted to work on was really complicated, fully-immersive knitting that could distract me from what was going on in the world, I started getting a lot more done!

Starfall sweater yoke

For ages I have been saying that I should get my Starfall Sweater done, but every time I picked it up, I was uncertain about how it was going to turn out, and one evening, having knitted a second sleeve that didn't match the first, I finally gave up and decided to put the yarn to better use. One project that has been on my mind ever since it came out last year is Bright Above Me by Dieuwke Schack-Mulligen. I actually started knitting the sweater last year, but got annoyed by the long strands that had to be caught as they were showing through on the outside and I abandoned the project before I really got started. Since then, I have learnt how to do ladder back jacquard, where you create a second layer of fabric on the back for all the floats and it is actual magic! Yes, it does require a bit more concentration, but it is totally worth it for the finished result.

Bright Above Me yoke

Ladderback jacquard

I've hardly read anything since the schools closed (see comment above regarding cooking...), but I am enjoying reading a few pages of How to Stop Time by Matt Haig every night before I go to sleep. I've read some of Matt Haig's non-fiction before and like his writing style, but this is the first of his novels that I have read. Tom, the main character ages very slowly: 15 years for every Earth year. He looks 41, but is in fact well over 500 years old, and he remembers everything from the long life that he is living. This is another book I have on long-term loan from the library (all the libraries are shut, so I can't return anything), and it is proving to be a perfect read for now. The chapters set during the Great Plague London in the 17th Century feel apt for the current pandemic. During the plague, Tom lost the love of his life, Rose, with whom he had a daughter, who ages at the same rate as Tom. In the present day, Tom is trying to built yet another new life for himself, while still pining for Rose and for his long-lost daughter. While I'm reading this quite slowly, I really want to know how the plot will unfold, and whether Tom will ever be able to find peace.



Work in progress



What are you currently working on? Are you finding yourself wanting mindless knitting that requires no attention, or something really involved? If you've been eyeing any of my patterns, don't forget that everything in my Ravelry store is buy one get one free until the pubs in the UK reopen (can you tell that I am missing my weekly pub meet-ups with my knitting friends?!).


Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.