Friday, 24 July 2020

The FO-reel! January-March 2020

I do a lot of crafting. Sometimes I make things that take a few hours, and some projects take years, but I am definitely guilty of finishing projects, then not thinking of them again, so I thought I'd put together a few finished object (FO) posts showcasing the projects I've finished so far this year. I'm going to focus on my yarn-related projects for the first couple of posts, but there might also be a sewing post if there is enough demand - the Covid lockdown inspired me to get that sewing machine out of the cupboard!

The FO-reel: January-March 2020

FestiveSockalong 2019 - stripey Christmas socks in January!

I have something of a knitting tradition: I cast on festive socks in November, and finally finish them in January... I'm never sure how that happens, but I am a repeat-offender! These are last year's Christmas socks, knitted in sport-weight yarn (yes, they were heavier-weight socks and I still didn't finish them in time for Christmas!). The yarn (Wollgarnspinnerei Ferner Mally Socks III) was gifted to me by @JinyKnits on Instagram as I saw hers and commented how much I loved them!

Contorto socks - toe-up, cabled beauties!

Next in my pile of FOs is my Contorto socks sample. A lot of my knits are pattern samples, but they are often in my size, so they drift from the pattern pile into my sock drawer. These socks were knitted toe-up and feature lots of lovely cables. They're knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply, which is my go-to sock yarn as it shows off a pattern well, and wears like iron. If you want to make your own Contorto socks, you can find the pattern here.*

Effie socks - Malory Towers vibes

My Effie socks were knitted as part of my Midnight Feasts Collection, which all feature a frill at the base of the cuff for a vintage-vibe. I've been watching the BBC's adaptation of Malory Towers recently, and it's inspired the next couple of designs in the collection, so if frilly socks are your thing, keep your eyes peeled!

These socks are also knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Siganture 4-ply, with Drops Fabel for the cream frill.

If you want to knit your own frilly socks, you can find the ebook and individual patterns here.*

Fluffy White Clouds for a new baby

It's been a while since I knitted a Fluffy White Clouds Blanket. The pattern is one of my best-sellers, and it was lovely to be able to revisit it to knit for my new nephew. I tweaked the clouds a little (mostly through laziness - I only wanted to work on one set of clouds at a time, so I didn't start a new row of colouds until I had finished the last). I still love this pattern as much as when I designed it.

Want to knit your own? You can find the pattern page here.* If you prefer crochet, there's also a crochet version available here.*

Liquorice allsort socks

I was gifted some sock yarn by Paintbox Yarns a while ago, including this fabulous zebra-striping colourway (available here**). I made the socks as a long tube, then added the heels, cuffs and toes at the end. It's not my favourite way of knitting socks, as knitting a really long tube is incredibly boring, so I probably won't be knitting socks that way again, but the finished socks are fabulous. I used scraps for the heels, toes and cuffs, and chose colours that reminded me of liquorice allsorts, which are my favourite sweets. I love these socks now they're finished.

Porteau mitts - everybody needs a pair of mitts

When I went to Yorkshire Yarn Fest in November last year, I cam across Castleview Yarns for the first time. The stall was an absolute treat, with so many amazing rich colourways. I chose DK in Evil Queen to make myself some mitts and I'm so glad I did as I love them, and they have made an excellent replacement for my old mitts that finally disintegrated at the end of last year. The pattern is Porteau by Megan Nodecker.*

Stripe a Pose - for those that like their stripes neon

Here we have the first magazine sample from my FO pile: Stripe a Pose.* This jumper was inspired by all my favourite shop-bought jumpers, which tend to be striped. The jumper was a response to a neons and neutrals call for submission, and while Parchment and Fiesta are not my go-to colours, I love them together (the sample is knitted in Stylecraft Special DK)! The sample is unfortunately not in my size, but I'm hoping to get round to knitting a bigger version for myself soon, probably in a classic Breton colourway. The pattern is published in I Like Knitting magazine; you can find the full details on the Ravelry pattern page.*


The pattern links I have included in this blog post all lead to Ravelry. If you cannot use Ravelry, or would prefer not to, all my patterns can be found on LoveCrafts.**

* Ravelry link. Caution: readers with photosensitivity may be triggered by these pages.
**Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Seed Head Socks: raising money for Marie Curie!

A few years ago, Sarah, a doctor at a Marie Curie hospice, launched the Flower Power Fund, which uses yarny loveliness to raise money for Marie Curie UK, a charity that supports people living with a terminal illness. At the end of last year, Sarah asked me if I would design a pattern that could be sold to raise money for the charity, and I was delighted to be able to say yes.

Several months later, I am thrilled to be able to unveil the design: my Seed Head socks.

The Seed Head socks feature dip stitches that create shapes reminiscent of the seed heads that we see growing in the fields and hedgerows in the UK. The socks incorporate plenty of these dip stitches to create seed heads that sit on either side of a central, cabled stem. The dip stitches have the added advantage of being a lot of fun to knit, and once you have knitted a couple, they get much quicker to work! In case you are unfamiliar with dip stitches, I have included a photo tutorial at the end of the pattern to help you.

The Seed Head socks are knitted from the toe up and I’ve given two options for knitting the heel:
  • A gusset and heel flap construction, shaped with short rows, 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.
  • A short row heel.

The pattern includes instructions to knit either fully matching-socks, or mirrored, fraternal socks, and the instructions for the Seed Head pattern are given in both chart and written formats. The pattern is needle-neutral, and the socks can be knitted using DPNs, short circulars, or long circulars using the magic loop technique.

The sample was knitted in Tempo 4ply by Eden Cottage Yarns, who very kindly provided yarn support for the design. The colourway used is Hibiscus, but Eden Cottage Yarns make many beautiful semi-solids that allow any design to sparkle.

From July 15th to August 14th 2020, £2 from each pattern sold will be donated to the Flower Power Fund between now and August 14th 2020. You can buy the pattern from my Ravelry and PayHip stores. The pattern is also available on LoveCrafts.*

Want to see what the Flower Power Fund has planned for the rest of the year? Why not follow them on Instagram?


Here's everything you need to know about the pattern. If you want to add the pattern to your Ravelry queue or favourites, you can do so via the pattern page - remember, the more the pattern is shared, the more we'll raise for the Flower Power Fund!
A (B, C, D, E, F)

Finished sock foot circumferences: 14 (16.5, 19, 22, 24.5, 27) cm [5.5 (6.5, 7.5, 8.75, 9.75, 10.75) 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.

The stitch counts for the patterned panel 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 46 (54, 62, 70, 78, 86) sts.

32 sts x 44 rnds = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch
23 sts = 6.3 cm (2.5 in) in SMALL Flower panel
23 sts = 7.4 cm (2.875 in) in LARGE Flower panel

All st patterns are worked in the rnd on 2.5 mm (US 1.5) needles, or size needed to obtain correct gauge.

Notes are included to adapt the pattern to your rnd gauge.

170 (240, 310, 400, 500, 610) m [190 (270, 340, 440, 550, 670) yds] of a dedicated 4 ply sock yarn.

Note that these numbers are for guidance only as the lengths of both the legs and the feet are variable to fit. The short row heel version will use less yarn than the heel flap and gusset version. See pattern notes for further guidance on yarn choice.

  • 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

  • Stitch markers x 4 (you may wish to use 2 extra markers when you are working the Seed Head sts)
  • 2.5 mm crochet hook, optional
  • Tapestry needle
Pattern notes
The instructions are for the smallest size, with larger sizes in parentheses: A (B, C, D, E, F).

If you have a limited quantity of yarn and you want to ensure you do not run out of yarn for the second sock, first wind the skein into two balls of equal mass, and stop knitting your first sock when your first ball is about to run out.

The socks shown are knitted in Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo 4 ply [4 ply; 100 m (436 yds) per 100 g skein; 75% merino wool, 25% nylon] in the colourway Hibiscus and size D for a UK women’s size 9.5 foot [foot length 27.25 cm (10.75 in)]. The sample socks used 360 m (394 yds) of yarn. Yarn support was provided by Eden Cottage Yarns; you can find all their yarns on their website:

I would recommend using a dedicated sock yarn for these socks, either a wool/nylon blend or a high-twist wool yarn.

I have included instructions for both a heel flap and gusset and a short row heel. It is totally up to you which you choose to do, but I find that if you have a high instep, a heel flap and gusset provides a better fit as there is more space in the heel.

Links to the following resources are given at the end of the pattern:
  • Dip stitches
  • Judy's Magic cast-on
  • Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off
  • Wrap and turn
  • Choosing what size socks to knit
This pattern was tech edited by Jo Torr.

*Affiliate link.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Just Checking In Socks

I love playing about with techniques when knitting, and came across this technique for making vertical stripes described in a book and thought I'd give it a go. You knit something with horizontal stripes (easy peasy), but also a ribbed texture, then at the end you use surface crochet or embroidery to add in the vertical stripes. Much easier than intarsia in the round, and the end result is really striking!

I am very much someone who believes that one size does not fit all when it comes to socks, so these socks are written for seven sizes, and you can knit them for the whole family.

The sample is knitted in Drops Fabel, a standard 75% wool, 25% nylon 4 ply sock yarn that is excellent value: knitting even the largest size will cost you under £10.** You can knit these socks in any sock yarn that takes your fancy - I think they'd look great if you used self-striping yarn as the main colour with a high-contrast contrast colour.

You can get the pattern for Just Checking In Socks in the August 2020 issue of I Like Knitting, an ezine that is available via a subscription model. If you would like to support me while you subscribe, please consider using my affiliate link.*

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


Time: 2 weeks pattern

Skill Level: Easy

Size: Finished Sock Circumference 5.25 (6.25, 7.25, 8.25, 9.25, 10.25, 11.25)”

1” negative ease recommended.

Shown in size 8.25”

Gauge: 32 sts and 44 rounds = 4” [10 cm] in St st after wet blocking


Yarn: Garnstudio Drops Fabel Uni Colour (75% Wool, 25% Polyamide; 224 yards [205 meters]/50 grams): 100 Off-white (MC, 1 (1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2) balls), 400 Black (CC, 1 (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2) balls)

Needles: US size 1.5 (2.5 mm) DPNs or circular at least 32” (80 cm) in length or circular 9” (22.5 cm) in length

Notions: Markers (7), tapestry needle, US size 1.5 (2.5 mm) crochet hook (optional)

Pattern Notes

The socks are knitted from the cuff down, starting with a 1 x 1 ribbed cuff in black.

The socks are knitted using a 5-row stripe sequence with purl columns that are surface crocheted or embroidered over at the end to add the vertical stripes.

The socks have a heel-flap and gusset construction with a slipped stitch texture on the heel flap for reinforcement.

The toe is Kitchener-free and is knitted in black.

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.

*Affiliate link.
**Price correct in July 2020.

All images copyright I Like Knitting.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Soft Contrast Cardigan: perfect for the school run!

I've been busy over the past few months working on secret projects, so it's a delight to finally be able to share one with you!

My Soft Contrast Cardigan* is right up my street: longline cardigans are the perfect casual piece to have on hand for quick trips out of the house or for cozying up with a cup of coffee. I designed the cardigan with the school run in mind - a garment to have to hand when you need to nip out of the house, but it's just too warm to need a coat. This cardigan uses marling for a blocked look that creates a soft contrast between the cream and the black (not tried marling before? It's really easy, you just work with two strands of yarn at the same time to mix the colours up).

If you fancy a brighter look, you could try marling coloured yarns to make a really eye-catching garment.

One other feature this cardigan has is a deal-maker for me: pockets! I love a cardigan with pockets, so had to add some - perfect for carrying your keys and maybe a snack for a quick trip out of the house.

The yarn for the Soft Contrast Cardigan is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply,* whish is my favourite sock yarn. The yarn combines British wool with nylon, perfect for making a garment that is simultaneously warm and breathable, and will stand up to wear and tear.

You can get the pattern for Soft Contrast Cardigan in the August 2020 issue of I Like Knitting, an ezine that is available via a subscription model. If you would like to support me while you subscribe, please consider using my affiliate link.*

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


Time: 1 month pattern

Skill Level: Intermediate

Size: Finished Bust Size 30.25 (33.75, 38.25, 41.75, 46.25, 49.75, 54.25, 57.75, 62.25, 65.75)” to fit bust 28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64)”

0-2.25” positive ease recommended.

Shown in size 33.75”

Gauge: 18 sts and 25 rows = 4” [10 cm] in St st using yarn held double after wet blocking

Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply (75% Wool, 25% Nylon; 436 yards [400 meters]/100 grams): 010 Milk Bottle (A, 3 (3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5)  balls), 099 Liquorice (B, 3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6) balls)

Needles: US size 8 (5.0 mm) 40” and 16” circular, US size 7 (4.5 mm) DPNs

Notions: Markers (6), removable markers (2), spare needles/waste yarn for holding live sts, spare needle for joining rows of live sts

Pattern Notes
This cardigan is knitted from the top down with set-in sleeves.

Pockets are worked into the fabric of the cardigan towards the hem.

The stitches for the sleeves are picked up around the armholes and the sleeves are knitted down to the cuffs.

The cardigan is finished with an applied i-cord edging that is worked at the end.

The cardigan is knitted using two strands of 4 ply yarn held double, with the top and bottom sections being marled in two strands of the same color and the middle portion being knitted in one strand of each color.

*Affiliate link.

All images copyright I Like Knitting.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Palm-tastic cushion cover: available now in my Ravelry and LoveCrafts stores!

Fancy adding a little touch of the tropics to your living room? Look no further with this bold palm-frond intarsia cushion cover!

The Palm-tastic Cushion Cover is knitted in a single strip, starting with a ribbed section, then a stocking stitch panel for the back; the front is knitted in stocking stitch with the palm-frond motif incorporated using the intarsia technique. Finally, the back is knitted, finished with a ribbed section featuring buttonholes to fasten the cushion cover. The side seams are joined using mattress stitch.

This pattern includes both written and charted instructions for the palm-frond motif (Ravelry and LoveCrafts versions only - the I Like Knitting pattern features a chart only).

Image copyright I Like Knitting

One size: 43.5 cm x 43 cm (17.25 in square)

Flat knitting:
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.

Aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts:
  • MC (pale pink): 405 m (445 yds)
  • CC (green): 145 m (160 yds)
  • 5 mm (US 8) straight needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Buttons x 5, 25 mm (1 in)
  • Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork
  • Chart row marker
  • Removable stitch markers x 4
  • 45 cm (18 in) square cushion pad
Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran* [aran, 180 m (196 yds) per 100 g ball, 50% wool, 50% acrylic] in 849 Candyfloss Pink (MC) and 830 Evergreen (CC).

This pattern was first published as Palm-tastic Pillow in I Like Knitting, June 2019.

This pattern was tech edited by Jo Torr.

*Affiliate link.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Yarn review: Milla Mia Naturally Soft Sock

A few months ago, the lovely people at LoveCrafts* launched a new sock yarn: MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock.* I am a huge fan of MillaMia's yarn range - their Naturally Soft Aran* is a particular favourite: it's really soft, lovely to work with, and the garments I have made using it for my children have worn beautifully - so I was really excited to try out this new yarn.

MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock* is a 75% wool, 25% polyamide sock yarn, which is my favourite blend for making socks: the wool makes the yarn warm but breathable, while the polyamide (a plastic) adds strength to make the yarn hard-wearing. The yarn has a great handle: it's slightly crisp to the touch, rather than the soft that the name suggests, but that makes it great for colourwork as the strands stay where you put them. MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock comes in 50 g balls, which also makes it perfect for colourwork as you can buy a few colours without having to worry about what to do with the rest of a 100 g ball; this ball size is also perfect for heels, toes and cuffs - I often find that a 20 g mini skein is not quite enough for heels, toes and cuffs, while 25 g is plenty, so a 50 g ball will allow you to knit heels, toes and cuffs for two full pairs of socks.

I love that this yarn comes pre-wounds as balls that are ready to knit from - getting the swift and ball winder out often seems like a lot of effort, especially if you only want to wind 50 g of yarn - so this yarn is ready to knit as soon as you receive it.

The colour pallete for MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock* is lovely: there are 20 colours available and I think any two colours would make a great pairing. The darker colours are bold without being too bright, and there are plenty of neutrals to choose from. I knitted socks in the Laurel colouray, a lovely dusty pale green, and while the yarn looks like a solid-colour in the ball, it actually has a very gentle heather to it, which was a pleasant surprise.

The yarn was good to work with, and withstood tinking and reknitting well. I did have an underspun area in one ball that I had to snip out, but it wasn't a very long section, and the problem was easily remedied with just a couple of extra ends to darn in.

In terms of wear, this yarn feels hard-wearing. I would not describe the yarn as super-soft, but I prefer something a little sturdier for socks, so the firmer handle is a definite plus. The socks I made have been worn a few times with no obvious signs of wear.

I would defintiely use this yarn again: the colour palette is lovely; the yarn feels like it will withstand long-term wear, and the 50 g balls make it ideal for colourwork, or heels, toes and cuffs. In addition, the yarn has an OEKO-TEX 100 certification, which means it doesn't contain any harmful chemicals, which is good news for the environment and the crafter.

The yarn was provided by LoveCrafts* for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Want to knit the socks shown? The pattern is Hiding in the Bamboo, which you can find in my Ravelry store.

*Affiliate link.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

A stash reassessment

I have a blanket on my bed that my mum and I made together around 15 years ago. It's made from an assortment of aran-weight yarn, chunky-weight yarn and DK-weight yarn held double. The blanket has been in constant use for all of those 15 years, and is definitely on its last legs. As with all the best knitted objects, this blanket contains a lot of precious memories: making it with my mum and my mum cursing me for making the blocks in lots of different sizes so we had to do a proper crazy-paving job to get all the squares to join together at the end (the blanket has four edges; they're all different lengths); me knitting my way through a stitch dictionary one summer, trying out all the different stitches and learning how cables and lace worked; being curled up next to my bedroom window in one of my old houses wrapped in the blanket while watching the waves crashing on the seafront; innumerable blanket forts and tents made by me and the kids. But all good things must come to an end: this blanket has been heavily patched and repaired, and probably only has another couple of years of life left in it, so it's time to start thinking about a new blanket.

The old blanket has seen better days

I had been deliberating about what to make as a replacement for this blanket. I contemplated a crochet granny stripe blanket made from sock leftovers, but realise based on the progress I've made on my mitred-square blanket that a fingering weight blanket might take me *forever*, so something heavier weight is in order. I have various DK weight oddments lying around from all sorts of projects, but quite fancy something with a unifying theme. I've also realised that large blankets hold together better if they are crocheted than if they are knitted: my husband has a crocheted blanket I made him that is holding up much better than my knitted one.

A few weeks ago I realised that I had the solution in my stash (as ever...). When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, my siblings bought me the yarn for an amazing Mr Men blanket that I was going to make for my daughter. I didn't even start the blanket before she was born, let alone finish it. Now the blanket has one square, and that's not even square. I hate reading charts for corner to corner crochet, so I made one block and abandoned the project.

Mr Happy? More like Mr Wonky!

The Mr Men blanket was designed with a white background, then lots of single balls in *all the colours* to make the characters. This means that upstairs I have a massive bag of brightly coloured yarn and about the same amount of white yarn. It's all the same base (Stylecraft Special DK) and would be much happier being a blanket than living in my wardrobe unloved. Last year I made a crocheted blanket for Madeleine of Kingfisher Knits when her son was born. I used the Solid Granny Square pattern by Sandra Paul and joined the squares together using the join as you go method from her Battenberg blanket. Of the things I really liked about making the blanket was that I could make a massive pile containing half the squares, then join them all together while making the other half of the squares. So that is my plan for the new blanket!

All the colours

Do you have a favourite crochet blanket pattern that you go back to time and time again?

Square one