Friday, 19 October 2018

Yarn Along: All about the Christmas jumpers

Just like that the newborn days are over.* I can't believe our daughter has been here for over six weeks already. We seem to be doing pretty well, and have been out most days. So far the third is definitely proving to be the easiest (though a lot of that may be because of managed expectations)!

I have managed to rediscover the knack of both knitting and crocheting while feeding the baby, so for a couple of weeks I worked on a blanket for a friend's new baby. The baby arrived at the end of September, slightly earlier than their due date, and before the blanket was finished. Once the baby was here I made a concerted effort to finish the blanket and got the whole thing done by the end of the baby's due date. Hooray! The blanket pattern is Hydrangea Blanket by Lucy of Attic 24 and was a pleasure to crochet - the pattern is simple and the blanket grew quickly, a perfect mindless project (having said that it is a bit smaller than I planned as my maths was off, oops. It's still plenty big enough). If you want more details, you can find them on my Ravelry project page.

Since the start of the Festive Cheer KAL, I have been concentrating on festive knitting. A couple of weeks ago a new pattern leapt to the top of my queue: Vinterskov by Karie Westermann. I've wanted to knit myself a festive jumper for ages, and this is such a subtle and understated festive design that it'll get worn well past the festive season. I'm knitting it in Cascade 220 Superwash** that has been in my stash for ages. The pattern came out on a Thursday and I'd already swatched by the end of Friday! As soon as the swatch was dry and I knew I'd got gauge I cast on. The jumper is making lovely progress (with the small caveat that once I'd knitted a few rounds I thought the gauge was a bit tight, so I put the whole thing on waste yarn and blocked it to check the blocked gauge. I needn't have done as it was fine! It's always best to be safe though; I want this jumper to fit).

The other festive knit that is on the needles is both festive and a gift. I have been meaning to make mini Harry-Potter initial jumper-decorations for a Harry Potter obsessed friend and her husband ever since they got married five years ago. They now have two children, so that's an extra two to knit. I have no idea why it took me so long to get round to casting on as each one only takes an hour or so (plus embroidery time; the embroidery is still to come). I'm using the Mini Christmas Jumper Bunting pattern by Sue Stratford, and the jumpers are so easy to knit! I might even make more than the four I'm planning...

And what have I been reading since I last wrote?

The Creakers by Tom Fletcher
I was reading this last time I wrote a Yarn Along post, and the book continued in much the same vein: a fairly classic 'what's under the bed?' story. I enjoyed the story, but wasn't captivated by it. I'd happily read it again with any of my children though, which I think is a good sign. The Christmasaurus is definitely better!

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
A book passed on to me by a friend, and one that came highly recommended by my husband who got to it before I did. This is the diary of a UK doctor about his time working in obstetrics and gynaecology. I read this *fast*. The writing is very readable, and many of the anecdotes are very, very funny, in a rather black way. The book also managed to be enlightening about how the NHS works, and was at times poignant and heart-breaking. I would recommend this book to anyone (unless you are particularly squeamish; if that's the case you should probably give it a miss).

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Yes, I have now started to include books I read to my children... I missed out on The Worst Witch series as a child, but a few friends have suggested them as things to read with my four year old, and the box set was available at a very good price from The Book People a few weeks ago, so I ordered the seven-book series. Book one has not disappointed. Set in a boarding school for witches, with main characters Mildred and her friend Maud, two witches who aren't very good at following the rules, and you have a fairly classic children's story. Written in the late 1970s-early 1980s, The Worst Witch has aged well: I enjoyed the story, as did both my four year old and my seven year old. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
I picked this up based on recommendations from a few friends, and, let's be totally honest here, because the cover has battenburg cake on it. I read the first few chapters and every word sent me to sleep. Apparently it's not for me! I'm not sure I read enough to tell you anything about it; I've popped it back on the 'to read' pile, and might get back to it one day.

My Teenage Diary
This book accompanies the Radio 4 series that I love, so it was an excellent library find. The book is excerpts from celebrities' teenager diaries, and it is as unintentionally funny as that sounds. The diaries do work better on the radio, as there they are read by the celebrity in question, but the book is an entertaining enough diversion. 

What have you been working on recently? Read anything good? 

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Until next time, happy knitting.

*Confession: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and it's taken me ages to get round to taking the photos for it! I've edited it to make sense with what's actually happening at the minute.

**Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Yarnometer: July 2018

The Yarnometer (my monthly look at what yarn has come and gone from my stash) has taken a bit of a back seat over the past couple of months, but it is back! Over the next few weeks I’ll be catching up with weekly posts. Here are my yarny ins and outs for July.

Projects finished
Socks for my son
These were a joy to knit; I had earmarked the yarn as socks for me as not only is it in my favourite colours, but it is also sparkly (it’s Opal Surprise if you want to try and get hold of some - the yarn is discontinued, but you might get lucky on a destash). In theory children’s socks are quick but as my son now has size 3.5 feet, they’re not that much quicker than mine!

Two Christmas stockings
The big reveal for these will happen in October, when the pattern is published by Knit Now magazine, but for now, here are a few hints: they’re intarsia character stockings and there’s a ‘boy’ version and a ‘girl’ version (not that that should limit you, I love them both!). The delay between writing this and publishing it means I can share these with you now! Here they are, Mr Men and Little Miss stockings! The patterns will come with issue 94 of Knit Now magazine.

Mr Men and Little Miss stockings. Image copyright Practocal Publishing

Siren Song socks
This was a pattern sample for my Siren Song socks and the yarn from Phileas Yarns was lovely to work with, if a pain to photograph!

The ins and outs of yarn
Yarn in
  • 120 g of hand-dyed yarn from Beehive Yarns. This was part of the Tits Out yarn collective that happened in the summer, and this yarn is a very bright and very pretty speckled yarn with a bright pink contrast. In theory I think this was meant to be a sock set, but I think it would make a fabulous shawl.
  • 200 g of yarn in the Love Knitting* sale. I was sent these Yarns to review, and the review can be found here. I didn’t get round to knitting the Beeswax Hat before the end of the KAL, but it will happen in the autumn,  it I have turned the stripey yarn into socks.
  • 550 g of Sublime Extra Fine Merino* in pink, and 550 g in turquoise. Two discontinued colourways of one of my favourite Yarns came to my attention in a July, and I couldn’t pass up the bargain. I’m currently spending a lot of time trying to decide what to turn them into.
  • 100 g ‘Blue yarn from Kath’. Who is Kath, and what was the blue yarn? I have no idea, but it’s on my list, so must have been a thing. I wish I knew what though...**
  • 650 g yarn for a commission
  • 100 g Bo Peep DK* from West Yorkshire Spinners to sample

Yarn out 
  • 589 g was sent to my mum (who likes a good yarn parcel!)
  • 100 g was given to my friend Lynda for her birthday
  • 120 g was sent to Knit for Peace 

  • 53 g: socks for my son
  • 84 g: stocking 1
  • 90 g: stocking 2
  • 90 g: Siren Song socks 

Yarn in: 2270 g
Yarn out or used: 1126 g
Total: +1144 g (hmm, another month where more comes in than goes out...)

Year to date
Yarn in: 20937 g
Yarn out: 7452 g
Yarn used: 4701 g
Total: 6514 g

Well, another month in which I seem to have managed to have bought rather more yarn than I’ve used. Did I do better in August?!

*Affiliate link
**I remembered! It was some lovely blue hand-dyed yarn from a destash. It'll become a hat for this winter

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Festive Cheer KAL 2018

In the knitting world we are well into the festive knitting season, whether it's knitting Christmas decorations or gifts. To celebrate that, I'm hosting a festive knitalong (KAL) in my Ravelry group* and on Instagram.

The KAL will be called the Festive Cheer KAL, and all you need to do to join in is to either knit (or crochet) a festive item, or an item that you'll be giving as a gift over the festive season, and post your progress in either the thread in my Ravelry group* or on Instagram using the hashtag #festivecheerKAL2018 (if you want to double your chances of winning, you can post in both).

The KAL will run between October 1st and November 30th 2018, but will be a very relaxed affair, so works in progress (WIPs) are included, and you don't have to finish anything, just post your progress.

I'll be drawing two winners, one from Instagram and one from my Ravelry group. The prize winners will be selected using a random number generator from all posts posted between October 1st and November 30th 2018.

Happy knitting!


The rules
1. Knit or crochet a festive item, or an item to be given as a gift over the festive season
2. Post a progress shot on Instagram using the hashtag #festivecheerkal2018
3. Post about your progress in the thread in my Ravelry group
4. Only entries posted between October 1st and November 30th 2018 will be included
5. WIPs are allowed and you don't have to finish what you're working on 
6. Two prize winners will be drawn using a random number generator: one from Instagram and one from Ravelry. You may enter on both platforms, but will only be able to win one prize
7. If entering via Instagram, to win a prize, you must be following me on Instagram
8. If entering via the Ravelry thread, to win a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group

*Ravelry link. You must be signed in to Ravelry for the link to work

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The crochet-hook black-hole

Somewhere in my house there is a black hole filled with every crochet hook I've ever owned. That's the only possible explanation as to why I cannot locate any crochet hooks at the minute. My knitting needles are all carefully filed, and I thought the hooks were there with them, but apparently not, nor are they in any of the other obvious homes. All of which makes crocheting a baby blanket rather tricky.

I had been planning on making a blanket for a friend's new baby ever since I found out she was pregnant, but even though I've known for months that the baby is due in October, I hadn't realised how quickly October was coming around (for some reason I've spent most of the past week thinking it's February). The yarn has been purchased (I'm using the leftovers from the blanket I crocheted for another friend earlier in the year, along with three balls of pale grey that I bought to go with them), but without a hook, the project is a bit of a non-starter.

I did consider ordering the most likely hook size, I then considered ordering a whole new set of hooks just in case I needed a different size. Both of which are not great options as: (i) the pattern I was planning on using is one I haven't made before so I knew I'd need to play with hook sizes before I'd be happy; (i) I already own lots of crochet hooks, even I can't find them, so it seems silly to replace all of them!

As ever, the answer was pretty obvious, and I popped round to a crocheting friend's for an afternoon to borrow some hooks and do a couple of test swatches (I was right not to order just one hook - I had to try two). I'm now ploughing on with the blanket, and it's looking lovely (the pattern is Hydrangea Stripe blanket by Lucy of Attic 24) and it's mindless enough to do whilst feeding a baby! I have ordered myself a single hook in the right size as I have a favourite type of hook (Clover Soft Touch* - the ergonomic handle means I can crochet for ages without my hand cramping up), and am keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the hooks hooks turn up one day! 

*Affiliate link.

Friday, 14 September 2018

New design: Little Fox Sweater

I have a new pattern for you today, the Little Fox Sweater.*

Foxes are one of my favourite creatures, and a perennial favourite children's character. The Little Fox jumper is perfect for Autumn with its cheeky fox on the front.

The Little Fox Sweater is knitted flat from the bottom up in sections that are seamed before adding the neckline in the round. The jumper is knitted in stocking stitch with 2 x 2 ribbing for the cuffs, hem and neckline; the fox motif is added using the intarsia technique. The pattern is written in 5 sizes: 2 (4, 6, 8, 10) years and is designed to fit with 2 inches of positive ease.

The sample is knitted in Stylecraft Life DK,* one of my favourite yarns for hard-wearing children's garments. Using DK weight yarn makes for a nice lightweight jumper that is perfect for layering.

Fancy knitting your own Little Fox Sweater? You can find the pattern in the October 2018 issue of I Like Knitting magazine. I Like Knitting magazine* is an e-magazine that is available via a subscription model, giving you access to a whole host of beautiful patterns. You can also favourite and queue the pattern via the Ravelry pattern page.

Want to add the pattern to your Ravelry queue or favourites? The Ravelry pattern entry can be found here.

*Affiliate link.

Images copyright I Like Knitting.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Yarn along: In with the new

The past week has been one of many firsts: first day of infant school; first day of junior school; first day back at work for my husband after paternity leave; first day of looking after a newborn on my own in rather a long time. And somehow we’ve taken it all in our stride. I’m still in that happy newborn bubble, where to do lists have been replaced by lists of achievements (some as mundane as hanging out the washing and getting it back in again before the rain), and all that really matters is that we make it through each day in once piece.

I have managed to fit in a bit of reading, and some knitting (an additional bonus of all those hours spent feeding!). My reading for the last couple of weeks has apparently been sponsored by the Fletcher family, as I’ve read Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher, followed in quick succession by The Creakers, which is written by her husband Tom Fletcher. Happy Mum, Happy Baby was passed on to me from my sister, and could be described as a memoir of early parenting, covering Giovanna’s personal experience of her first few years of being a parent first to one then two small boys. The book was the perfect read for the first few days of having a newborn - I have the hardback, so could lie it on a surface and not have to worry about losing my page, the font was quite big and the content light and chatty. The read was enjoyable, but don’t expect anything revolutionary, this really is just one mum telling the reader about her experience of parenting. Most of her parenting choices are very similar to mine, which made the read a comforting one, but if your views are very different to hers I suspect this book would annoy you massively!

The Creakers was a Christmas present to my son, which we tried reading together earlier in the year, but he didn’t enjoy it (all the parents in a town go missing within the first couple of chapters), so we stopped reading really early on in the story. The book’s been living on my bedside table ever since, so I picked it up last week, as children's books are perfect for reading whilst feeding in the middle of the night! I’m enjoying the story so far - it’s got a good level of suspense, and the story is really engaging. The tale is a classic 'things that go bump in the night', and I'm excited to see where Fletcher takes it.

My needles have been pretty quiet since the baby arrived. I've finished a baby cardigan, which is just adorable (it's a Baby Vertebrae, but I striped the yoke). I have contemplated casting on something new and exciting (possibly a cardigan for me), but instead have continued with the socks I was knitting for the Yarndale sock line. I have absolutely missed the deadline for these (they needed to arrive in Skipton by the start of September), and at a few rounds a day they may still be on the needles when Yarndale actually happens, but that's fine, I'll donate them next year. I'm using Cascade Heritage Prints* in the colourway Lights, and it's beautiful to work with - the yarn is smooth and non-splity and the colours are really vibrant. Maybe next month I'll have something new on the needles, but don't hold your breath!

What are you reading and working on at the minute? Any book recommendations?

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Baby news

We have a baby!

It's been quiet round here for a few weeks while I've been on the beginnings of maternity leave. Well I finally have news for you: I gave birth to my second daughter last week!

She is amazing, and I'm enjoying lots of precious newborn cuddles. Having already had two babies, I know that the snuggly sleepy phase won't last long, so excuse me while I go and spend some more time just gazing at her.

Happy knitting (I've managed a whole two inches of baby sleeve since she arrived!).

Friday, 24 August 2018

New design: Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas sweater

"So jump up on my sleigh and we're all on our way, for another bloomin' Christmas..." Yes, it's August, and yes, I am talking about Christmas already, with a new design that I am particularly excited about.

You may recall that a few months ago I had an oddly large addition to my Yarnometer post - enough yarn to knit an adult-sized jumper? Well here it is, my first ever adult jumper design! And as you might have guessed, it's an intarsia design, featuring none other than Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas.

Father Christmas was a staple of my childhood, with my siblings and I watching the beautifully hand-drawn cartoon television version every Christmas Eve. I loved the unconventional depiction of Father Christmas as a grumpy old man who referred to Christmas as "bloomin'" rather than "Merry" and wanted nothing more than to get it out of the way. I was of course, honoured when Kate Heppell from Knit Now contacted me earlier in the year to ask whether I would design a jumper featuring this festive icon.

The jumper is knitted in pieces and has set-in sleeves, with the Father Christmas design knitted into the front using the intarsia technique. I've kept embroidery to a minimum on this design, as the blocks of colour worked perfectly without the need for extra outlining. The pattern is written for sizes XS to 5X, with unisex sizing, so you could knit one for everyone you know!

The design is knitted in Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran,* which is a beautiful aran weight yarn that is a delight to knit with.

If you'd like to knit your own Father Christmas jumper, you'll need to get your hands on a copy of Knit Now Issue 92, which is available in the UK now, or you can order a copy online via the More Mags website. Please note that this pattern is not included in international editions of the magazine, or in digital versions.

*Affiliate link.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

New design: Triangulation hat and mitts set

Is summer over already? As I stare out of the window at the falling rain I'm starting to think it might be! Even if it's not, August is a good time to start thinking about winter knits, and my latest pattern: Triangulation hat and mitts might be just what you're looking for.

I've always been a fan of simple geometric patterns, and spent hours colouring books full of them when I was little. Now I like to knit them, and find their repetitive nature meditative to knit. Add a bright contrast pop and you have a real stand-out item of knitwear!

The hat is knitted in the round from the bottom up, starting with a section of ribbing that is folded back on itself (perfect for keeping your ears cosy when the cold weather arrives). The main body of the hat is knitted using stranded colourwork, and the colourwork pattern is continued right into the crown decreases. The hat pattern is written for 3 adult sizes, and is designed to fit as a beanie with 2.5 cm negative ease.

The pattern contains instructions for both the hat and mitts. The mitts are knitted in the round from the cuff up, starting with a deep ribbed section, then the main mitt is knitted in the same colourwork pattern as the hat. The thumbs are added using the afterthought method with waste yarn added during the knitting of the mitt. The mitt is finished with a ribbed cuff that can be folded back on itself or worn unfolded for extra warmth. The mitts is written for 4 adult sizes, each with 1 cm negative ease.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this project was the yarn. The hat and mitts are both knitted using Find Me Knitting Mary, a beautiful light aran alpaca/wool blend in deep saturated colours. I had originally planned to knit the set using the green for the ribbing and the pink as the second colour for the colourwork, but after a couple of swatches had changed my mind as the yarn seemed to request to be the other way round. All the items in the set can be knitted quite quickly, making them great for gift knitting (I'm planning on knitting a hat for a friend for Christmas). 

Want to get your hands on the pattern? They can be found in Issue 92 of Knit Now magazine, which is available in the UK today, or can be ordered online via the More Mags website

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Not goodbye...

Hello! I hope this finds you well. Some of you may know that I am really not far off having a baby, so for the foreseeable future I will be on maternity leave and things are going to be a little quieter than usual around here.

I'll continue to update my blog with my Yarnometer and FO Friday posts, and I might even manage to write the odd Yarn Along post if I ever manage to read anything again... There are also some third party publications that I have coming up in the next few months, and they're going to have their own blog posts as usual. I won't be closing my Ravelry and Love Knitting stores while I'm absent, so you'll still be able to pick up patterns if you'd like.*

I'll be back some time in the new year with new designs. Until then, happy knitting!

*Remember, if you buy 4 individual patterns from my Ravelry store, you'll get the cheapest one free. Just add the patterns to your basket and the discount will be applied when you check out.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Available now: Unicorn of the sea jumper

Narwhals are my favourite of the 'mythical' beasts, mostly because they are real - I love that they are so implausible! My celebration of the narwhal, the Unicorn of the Sea Sweater, which features a cheeky-looking narwhal, was released via I Like Knitting magazine, and is now available as an individual pattern from my Ravelry store.

The Unicorn of the Sea Sweater is knitted flat from the bottom up in sections that are seamed before adding the neckline in the round. The jumper is knitted in stocking stitch with 2 x 2 ribbing for the cuffs, hem and neckline and the narwhal motif is added using the intarsia technique. The pattern is written in 6 sizes: 2 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12) years and is designed to fit with 5 cm [2 inches] of positive ease.**

The jumper is knitted in Stylecraft Life DK,* which is one of my favourite basic yarns. The yarn is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, and is machine washable, so you don't need to be precious about the jumper getting washed and worn over and over again.

The Unicorn of the sea jumper pattern is available now from my Ravelry store, and from now until 11.59pm BST, Saturday 25th August 2018 you can have 25% off the pattern, no code needed.

*Affiliate link. 

**Yes, I have added an extra size compared to the magazine pattern, perfect for slightly larger narwhal lovers!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Yarn along: Not nesting

It's been ages since I wrote a Yarn Along post, so hello! How have you all been?

I really haven't had much time to read recently - I've been preparing for our new arrival mostly by doing a lot of laundry, almost always on the days when it's decided to rain unexpectedly, and getting a few things down from the loft - but am really enjoying the current book I'm reading: The Lido by Libby Page. The book is about a local reporter (Kate) who is asked to write about a community lido that is closing in the near future to be replaced by tennis courts for a private development. Kate hasn't come across the lido before, but soon falls in love with the lido and the community that surrounds it, and sets about making it her mission to save the lido. This book came highly recommended to me, and I think I'm the fourth or fifth person to read the copy I'm reading. I'll be passing it on to a friend once I'm done, and would really recommend it too if you're after a light but thought-provoking read.

"What's on the needles at the minute?", I hear you ask. Well, lots of things, sort of. The second blanket for my twin nieces is still a WIP, as it's been too hot to contemplate working with chunky-weight yarn, but now the weather is a little cooler I really ought to get on with it (especially as while I am confident I can knit while feeding a baby, intarsia is a whole other kettle of fish. It is further on than this picture suggests - I have completed the first row of bunnies).

I've just finished a Wonder Woman Wrap (by Carissa Browning), which I sped through and enjoyed immensely. The project was an absolute joy - the perfect combination of mindless garter stitch and beautiful short rows. I loved how intuitive I found the construction, and the beautiful yarn was a bonus. I still need to darn the ends in, which I would have done earlier in the week, but was hampered by having mislaid every single appropriate sewing needle. I have no idea where any of them have gone, so bought two new packets at the weekend. I shall probably mislay those too within a week.

The final commission before maternity leave went in the post yesterday, and I'm pleased that all my deadline knitting is off the needles. There are a couple of self-published designs I would love to have finished before maternity leave, but sometimes I have to admit that I may have over-stretched myself and take a step back.

The other projects I'm enjoying at the minute are socks. I'm knitting a pair for my daughter, and have a pair for the Yarndale sock line on the go too (they're the socks in the photo with the book - it's a very worthy cause if you can knit up a pair by the end of the month; if the end of the month is too soon for you, but you fancy doing some charity knitting you could knit a pair for the Flower Power Fund; those socks are needed in time for Christmas. I plan to knit a pair in last year's colourway as I ran out of time last year). The Marathon sock KAL is still ongoing in my Ravelry group,* and we're nearly there, which is so exciting! I was expecting it to take much longer, so am really pleased that it looks like we'll be done by the end of September at the latest.

But yes, the elephant in the room: why are there no knits for my baby on the WIP list? Well, I haven't really felt like it. I'm not a nester by nature, and we already have all the things I knitted for my older children that this baby can wear. I also have very generous knitterly friends who I know have been knitting things for the new baby (I've already been gifted two beautiful blankets!), so I don't feel a need to knit anything. I do have a skein of yarn that has been earmarked for a baby knit, and some ladybird buttons that are shouting at me to be added to something small and cute, so I might knit a Newborn Vertebrae or Puerperium cardigan in the next few days (baby knits are quick), but it's been warm here recently, so there's a strong possibility that baby knits might get even less use that the usually would. We shall see...

What have you been working on recently? And do you have any easy sleep-deprived-appropriate reading to recommend?

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

*This is a ravelry link. You need to be logged in to Ravelry for it to work. Membership is free.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

New design: Sugarcube cowl

It's definitely summer here now, and if you're looking for something seasonally-appropriate to knit, you need look no further than the latest issue of Knit Now magazine (issue 91), which is available in shops now. I have a new pattern in the issue: the Sugarcube cowl.

As summer turns to autumn I find myself wanting a lightweight additional layer: cowls are my favourite solution. The Sugarcube cowl is knitted in Hayfield Sundance* (50% acrylic, 50% cotton; 320 m per 100 g ball), a DK weight yarn with a high cotton content, which gives the yarn a really cool, crisp feel when you're working with it, and a lovely drape once it's knitted. The cowl can be made either short or long (to be wrapped round the neck twice) to add a little extra warmth without resorting to a coat, or to provide a little protection from the sun.

The stitch pattern uses just knit and purl stitches with a 10 st, 20 row repeat, that is pretty intuitive once you've done the first repeat or two, making this a good project to work on when knitting with friends or chatting over coffee. The stitch pattern is fully reversible, so the inside of the cowl is as attractive as the outside.

The cowl pattern is written in six sizes: S (M, L) for each of the short and long cowls.

Knit Now issue 91 is available now from newsagents and supermarkets in the UK, or you can order a copy from More Mags.

*Affiliate link. The cowl is shown in shade 504 Aqua Mist.

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Friday, 27 July 2018

New design: Siren song socks

I've got a new pattern for you today, and this is one that some of you might have been waiting for for some time as I think I finished the original sample over two years ago... so let me introduce my Siren song socks.

I have a large (huge) collection of variegated yarns and always struggle to find patterns that won't be overwhelmed by the yarn. One solution is to knit what is essentially a vanilla sock with a slipped stitch detail, an idea that led me to my Siren song socks. The stitch pattern is used in a single panel along one edge of each foot (the socks are a mirrored pair), and is easily memorised; the socks are named after the Siren, a mythical creature, whose call was said to lure sailors to rocks – the stitch pattern used is one that will have knitters saying 'just one more round' as they watch the pattern emerge – my test knitters all finished theirs in record time, and several have said they're keen to knit more pairs.

The pattern is knitted from the top-down (a change for me, but I know a lot of you have been asking for top-down patterns) and 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 some helpful hints for beginners.

To keep everyone sweet, the cabled stitch pattern is given as both a chart and written instructions.

The Siren Song pattern is written in five sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL), with finished sock circumferences of 15 (17.5, 20, 22.5, 25) cm [6 (7, 8, 9, 10) in], which should give you plenty of options. I'd advise choosing a size 2.5 cm [1 in] smaller than your foot circumference for optimal fit. Unless you're knitting the largest size, or have decided to knit socks with very long legs, you should be able to get a pair out of a single 100 g skein of sock yarn.

The samples shown are knitted in some lovely yarns: the blue version is knitted in Phileas Yarns Explorer Sock: 80% Merino, 20% Nylon; 365 m [400 yds] per 100 g in the colourway Fjord. Sylvie makes amazing semi-solid sock yarns, so you should definitely check out her Etsy store. The multi-coloured version (the one I knitted two years ago, but the yarn is still on Sam's dye list) is knitted in Unbelievawool MCN sock: 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 400 m [437 yds] per 100 g in the colourway Mermaid hair. All of Sam's yarns can be found on her website. Of course you can use any sock yarn, my testers used stripey and variegated yarns to good effect; I recommend using a yarn that has some nylon content to make your socks more hard-wearing.

Want to get your copy now? Head over to my Ravelry store. The pattern has a 25% introductory discount until 11.59pm BST Monday 6th August 2018, no code needed.