Friday, 15 June 2018

FO Friday: Sock amnesty

You may recall that I am currently running a Marathon Sock KAL over in my Ravelry group (you can find out about it here). Well, when the KAL started, a few people asked whether WIPs (works-in-progress) were allowed. While I decided that they wouldn't be allowed for the main KAL, I did decide that they would be allowed for a separate warm-up thread to encourage people to get some socks finished before casting on their marathon socks. Handily this also acted as an encouragement for me to get some socks finished.

Starlight Express socks

First I decided to finish my 'Starlight Express' socks. I started these socks somewhere near the start of the year, and nicknamed them Starlight Express after the very sparkly, very 80s appropriate stripey yarn (which I bought at the British Wool Show last year). I had planned to knit these using the Vanilla is the New Black pattern, but I reached the heel section while I was on the train to Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, and working a new heel is not conducive to relaxed train or sociable knitting, so I carried on knitting a tube ready to add afterthought heels at the end.

I simultaneously enjoyed and didn't enjoy knitting these socks. The knitting itself was fine - I always find knitting stripes motivational, but the stripes are quite wide, and somewhat muddy (there is no clear distinction between the end of one stripe and the start of the next), all of which slowed me down a bit. Matching the tubes was easy enough - I somehow managed to find the same point in the stripe sequence twice (this was quite possibly luck rather than judgement), but matching the heels proved much harder - I ended up knitting the second heel twice to improve the match and they still aren't perfect...

Afterthought heels - a small leap of faith...

The finished socks are lovely to wear though. Having knitted a lot of socks I now know that I like my sock yarn to be that bit grippier, so this commercial Opal sock yarn is perfect. I also think this may be the first pair of sparkly socks I have kept for myself! Every other pair has been gifted to someone else.

Pattern: Afterthought heel socks - improvised, so no pattern
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Funny mit Silbereffekt, colourway 9332 Heiter
Ravelry project page


Festive sockalong socks

The second pair of socks I finished for the warm-up portion of the Marathon sock KAL is the socks I cast on in November for the Festive Socklong that was being run by Amy from the Stranded Podcast. When I went to hunt these out I wasn't sure how much I had knitted, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had knitted the whole of the first sock, so just needed to knit the second to match. 

Having looked through my notes on Ravelry and in my phone (the two default places for writing notes about how I knitted socks) and coming up with nothing helpful, I had to examine the first sock carefully to establish how I knitted it. It turns out I had knitted the sock from the toe-up, with a Fish Lips Kiss heel, which was easy enough to replicate. I did fail on getting the socks to match fully as I didn't take into account that the yarn had two sections in the same colour on each colour repeat, oops. Not that it matters - the two socks have come out remarkably similar! One small thing I did on these socks that I do quite a lot with yarn that has pooled into stripes is to work the heel from the opposite end of the ball of yarn. This means you can work the heel without disrupting the striping, and I find it a pleasing fix.

While I could put these socks into a box and save them for Christmas-time, I've put them in my regular sock drawer as I think they're pretty subtly festive. I'm looking forward to wearing these ones.

Yarn: Unbelievawool Merino Nylon 75/25 in the colourway Jolly Holiday (a club colourway from December 2016)

Thursday, 14 June 2018

New designs: Reach for the Stars cushion and children's jumper

I have two new patterns for you, both on a astronomical theme: the Reach for the Stars children's jumper and cushion. Both items are from my Reach for the Stars collection, and go with the baby blanket that I released last year. Each item in the collection features a brightly coloured space rocket with a fiery trail, inspired by one of my children's favourite toys.

Both patterns are suitable for intermediate level knitters, and the intarsia section is provided both as charts (in greyscale and colour for your preference) and as written instructions.

The cushion features a large intarsia rocket, is fastened with four buttons across the back and is designed to fit a 46 cm (18 inch) square cushion with a little negative ease to ensure a nice plump cushion. The cushion is knitted flat in one piece, starting at the middle of the back with a ribbed button band, then the first half of the back, the front and the second half of the back are knitted in stocking stitch, and finally the ribbed buttonhole band is worked. The cushion is seamed down the side edges using mattress stitch.

The cushion sample is knitted in Paintbox Yarns Simply Chunky* [100% acrylic: 136 m (149 yds) to 100 g] in Midnight Blue (MC, 337), Buttercup Yellow (CC1, 322), Blood Orange (CC2, 319) and Pillar Red (CC3, 314).

The Reach for the Stars children's jumper is knitted in pieces from the bottom up; the neckline is picked up and knitted in the round after seaming the shoulders of the jumper. The rocket motif is incorporated using the intarsia technique.

The jumper is knitted in aran weight yarn, and has a casual fit with approximately 9 cm [3.5 in] positive ease, making it perfect as a cosy extra layer in the winter, or an outer layer as the weather starts to warm up.

Sample shown is knitted in size 4 years, in Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran* (100% acrylic, 184 m [201 yds] per 100 g ball) in Midnight Blue (237, MC), Buttercup Yellow (222, CC1), Blood Orange (219, CC2) and Pillar Red (214, CC3).

The pattern is written in 6 sizes: 2 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12) years, to fit chest sizes 53 cm [20.75 in], 58.5 cm [23 in], 63.5 cm [25 in], 67 cm [26.5 in], 71 cm [28 in], 76 cm [30 in] with approximately 9 cm [3.5 in] positive ease.

Introductory offer
If you'd like to pick up either pattern, why not make the most of my introductory offer? If you buy any of the patterns from the collection: the cushion, children's jumper or the blanket, there's 25% off until 11.59pm BST, June 24th 2018, no code needed. The patterns are also available in an ebook, which is also included in the offer – it's a bargain as you get all three patterns for the price of two – perfect if you're thinking of making more than one item.

*Affiliate link.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


Over the late-May Bank Holiday weekend, I had an urge to do a bit of tidying. That weekend, we tidied our dining room, and I was surprised at just how much yarn there was lying about (I knew there was some - the yarn for upcoming magazine projects lives there, so there is always at least a small pile). One of the larger boxes of yarn contained the Dance on the Beach CAL that I started in 2016. The pattern consists of crocheted squares that are all joined together at the end, and while I had enjoyed the first few weeks of the CAL, I did start to get behind and lose interest. After about six weeks of the CAL, I put everything in the box and apparently hid it from sight and mind.

As soon as I opened the box I knew that I was never going to finish the project. We already own quite a lot of blankets, and I don’t love the pattern enough to really want the finished object. There were 28 completed squares, as well as 8 un-started balls of yarn. So I asked a few friends for places I could donate 8 inch squares to, and one suggested a charity called Sent with Love, which donates hand-made blankets to cancer patients in the U.K. The best bit is that if you don’t have enough squares for a blanket, you can send them individual squares and they collect them together to make into blankets. They also take yarn, so I donated the partial balls to them as well. The rest of the yarn has gone to a new home via eBay, as there’s still enough to make a sizeable project, and the colours coordinate beautifully.


I’m sure that if I rummage through a few more cupboards I’ll find some other long-abandoned projects that could do with either finishing or being donated elsewhere... but for now I’m claiming this as an excellent piece of spring cleaning. Life is to short to finish a project that you don’t love.

Do you have any projects that you know you’re never going to go back to? What do you do with them?

Friday, 8 June 2018

FO Friday: Double Entrechat

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely day in Whitley Bay, one of my favourite northern coastal towns, at least in part because of the lovely yarn shop there: Ringarosie. A classic yarn shop, filled with haberdashery cabinets, yarns in all colours and weights, and tables displaying the finest wares, it really is a little yarn paradise. While I spent a lovely time browsing, I was aware that I probably didn’t need any more yarn so resisted the beautiful table of hand-dyed gems and the huge array of sock yarn. Is it possible to visit a beautiful yarn shop without leaving with something? I always find it a struggle, so decided that I could justify purchasing a couple of balls of aran weight yarn to knit two of my favourite Entrechat baby cardigans for upcoming arrivals.

The Entrechat cardigan by Lisa Chemery (Frogginette Knits) has to be one of my all-time favourite knitting patterns: I’ve knitted several as they are super-cute, super-quick and the smaller sizes can be knitted using a single 100g ball of aran weight yarn, which makes them pretty much the perfect gift for new baby girls.

If I’m gift-knitting for newborns I tend to chose machine-washable, easy-care yarns (I am a knitter and am aware how many newborn items I have destroyed by washing them incorrectly...), so decided to use Stylecraft Special Aran,* which comes in a decent array of colours, is machine washable and wears really well. As the cardigan is inherently girly, I decided to go overboard and knit one in purple and one in pink.

I knitted both in the 3-6 month size, and completed each within a few hours. I finished them off with gorgeous daisy buttons that made me think of the Mr Men and Little Miss characters. I cannot wait to see these on their intended recipients!

Each cardigan took 60 g of yarn, so I don’t have enough leftovers to make a second in either colour, but Lisa has a handy blog post about knitting a two-colour version that I’m thinking of making with the leftovers.

If you fancy making your own Entrechat cardigan, Lisa has patterns for an adult version, as well as baby and children’s versions in fingering, DK and aran weights, there’s also a matching bonnet pattern that is adorable (you can find them all in the Frogginette Ravelry store)! Lisa is running a KAL for all her Entrechat patterns over in her Ravelry group until the end of June 2018,** and until June 10th you can get 30% off any of the Entrechat patterns by using the code entrechatKAL

Do you have a go-to baby gift knit?


Yarn: Stylecraft Special Aran* in Lavender (1188) and Magenta (1084)

*Affiliate link.
**You need to be a member of Ravelry to read this thread. Membership is free. 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

2nd birthday sale! Final few days

Apparently it's been two years since I submitted my PhD and started designing knitting patterns full time. To celebrate, I'm having a flash sale over in my Ravelry store until June 10th 2018, you can get any single patterns in my Ravelry store with 40% off. What do you need to do to claim this offer, I hear you ask? Simply head over to my Ravelry store, add the patterns you want to your shopping basket, and the 40% will come off automatically when you check out. Why not treat yourself?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


A little over four years ago I knitted my Fluffy White Clouds blanket while watching the Winter Olympics and eagerly anticipating the arrival of my second child. My daughter arrived that summer and used the blanket most nights for the first year of her life. When she turned one, we decided the blanket should be put away and replaced with something a bit bigger.

Here I am again, a few years later, fondly remembering those early days with my daughter, while also being excited for the future: in just a few weeks time the blanket will be coming out of storage and being used by my third baby. I cannot wait.

Friday, 1 June 2018

2nd birthday sale! 40% off all single patterns

Apparently it's been two years since I submitted my PhD and started designing knitting patterns full time. To celebrate, I thought I'd have a flash sale: from June 1st to June 10th 2018, you can get any single patterns in my Ravelry store with 40% off. What do you need to do to claim this offer, I hear you ask? Simply head over to my Ravelry store, add the patterns you want to your shopping basket, and the 40% will come off automatically when you check out. Why not treat yourself?