Thursday, 5 September 2019

Little sailor vest: final day for introductory discount

I released a new pattern last week, and today is the final day for the introductory discount. Read on to find out more...

Do you like vintage-inspired children's clothing? Well, I might have just the thing: the Little sailor vest. This pattern was originally published in I Like Knitting magazine (April 2018), in baby sizes; in my newly-published version, I've expanded the sizing up to age 8, so you can make the vest for your bigger kids too.



The Little sailor vest is a tank top featuring a traditional sailing boat. The vest is inspired by vintage clothing, and is the perfect traditional item for a child's wardrobe.


Image copyright I Like Knitting
The vest is knitted from the bottom up in pieces. The boat is knitted on a stocking stitch background using the intarsia technique - I've included the intarsia section as both a chart and as written instructions, so you can follow whichever you prefer. The hem, armholes and necklines are knitted using 2x2 rib and the armholes and necklines are picked up and knitted after the garment has been seamed. The shoulders are fastened using buttons to allow for easy dressing.



The vest is designed to fit ages 3 months to 8 years, with 5 cm (2 inches) of positive ease. Sizing details are given in full below. The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Ideal,* a hard-wearing sport-weight blend of acrylic, polyamide and wool, which is machine-washable, making it a perfect yarn for easy-care kids clothing.

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

I'm offering an introductory discount of 25% with the code SAILING from now until 11.59pm BST, Thursday 5th September 2019. Just add the pattern to the shopping basket, type in the code and the discount will be taken off when you check out.



*Affiliate link.


********

Want to knit your own Little sailor vest? Here's everything you need to know!

Sizes - finished chest size; recommended ease, 5 cm (2 in)
3 months: 45.5 cm (18.25 in)
6 months: 47 cm (19 in)
12 months: 50.5 cm (20.25 in)
18 months: 52 cm (20.75 in)
2 years: 57 cm (22.75 in)
4 years: 63 cm (25.25 in)
6 years: 68 cm (27.25 in)
8 years: 71 cm (28.5 in)

Tension
25 sts and 32 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch worked flat on 4 mm (US 6) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Sport/DK-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts:
MC: navy blue, 190 (220, 245, 270, 305, 375, 430, 520) m [205 (240, 270, 295, 330, 410, 470, 565) yds]
CC1: pale blue, 10 m [10 yds]
CC2: red, 10 m [10 yds]
CC3: white, 10 m [10 yds]

Needles
3.5 mm (US 4) straight needles
3.25 mm (US 3) straight needles

Notions
Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork
Buttons x 4 (4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6), 15 mm (0.5 in)
Chart row marker
Stitch markers x 2
Tapestry needle

Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Idéal [DK, 125 m (136 yds) per 50 g ball, 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyamide] in 21821 Alpin (MC), 20933 Linaire (CC1), 24408 Pavot (CC2) and 51220 Everest (CC3).

The sailboat motif is incorporated using the intarsia technique, but you may wish to add the finer details using duplicate stitch. Intarsia section is included as both a chart and as written instructions.

Difficulty
Intermediate (knitting, purling, simple increases and decreases, intermediate intarsia)

Pattern style
Vest pattern is written using abbreviations (all abbreviations are given). Both charted and written instructions are provided for the intarsia section.

 Buy the pattern now! Use code SAILING for 25% discount (expires 11.59pm BST, Thursday September 5th 2019

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Wallace and Gromit Christmas jumper!

When do you start your Christmas knitting? Do you like to get things on the needles really early and knit something for everyone you know, or do you cast something on at the last minute and end up having to write an IOU? This year I started my Christmas knitting really early (think May!) by designing this Wallace and Gromit jumper for Knit Now magazine.


I've made no secret of the fact that I adore Wallace and Gromit, so I leapt at the chance to design this jumper, which features Wallace and Gromit getting ready to celebrate Christmas, with Wallace in his Santa hat, and Gromit wrapped up warm in a scarf (which he probably knitted for himself!).

The jumper is knitted in Stylecraft Special Aran* (and Stylecraft Special Baby Aran for the pink), which is a great hard-wearing yarn, so if you knit the jumper this year, you'll still be wearing it for many years to come. The yarn comes in lots of colours, so feel free to switch out the scarf colours (you could even make them match a favourite sporting team) if blue and white isn't for you.

The pattern is written in nine sizes, with finished chest sizes of 78 to 160 cm (XS to 5X). I designed the jumper to be worn with approximately 5 cm of positive ease. The Wallace and Gromit jumper is worked flat from the bottom up in pieces that are seamed before picking up stitches for the neckband in the round. The Wallace and Gromit motif is knitted using the intarsia method, and the facial features are added at the end using embroidery.

Want to get your hands on a copy of the pattern? It can be found in the Knitmas supplement of issue 106 of Knit Now magazine, which is available in all good newsagents and supermarkets in the UK. If you live overseas, or can't find a copy locally, you can order a copy from the MoreMags website. Print copies of the magazine also come with a gorgeous little notions tin featuring Gromit sitting in bed knitting. I've already put stitch markers in mine and put it into one of my knitting bags for use on the go!

If you'd like to add the Wallace and Gromit Christmas jumper to your Revelry queue or favourites, you can find the Ravelry pattern page here.

*Affiliate link.

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Little sailor vest: available now in my Ravelry store!

Do you like vintage-inspired children's clothing? Well, I might have just the thing: the Little sailor vest. This pattern was originally published in I Like Knitting magazine (April 2018), in baby sizes; in my newly-published version, I've expanded the sizing up to age 8, so you can make the vest for your bigger kids too.



The Little sailor vest is a tank top featuring a traditional sailing boat. The vest is inspired by vintage clothing, and is the perfect traditional item for a child's wardrobe.


Image copyright I Like Knitting
The vest is knitted from the bottom up in pieces. The boat is knitted on a stocking stitch background using the intarsia technique - I've included the intarsia section as both a chart and as written instructions, so you can follow whichever you prefer. The hem, armholes and necklines are knitted using 2x2 rib and the armholes and necklines are picked up and knitted after the garment has been seamed. The shoulders are fastened using buttons to allow for easy dressing.



The vest is designed to fit ages 3 months to 8 years, with 5 cm (2 inches) of positive ease. Sizing details are given in full below. The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Ideal,* a hard-wearing sport-weight blend of acrylic, polyamide and wool, which is machine-washable, making it a perfect yarn for easy-care kids clothing.

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

I'm offering an introductory discount of 25% with the code SAILING from now until 11.59pm BST, Thursday 5th September 2019. Just add the pattern to the shopping basket, type in the code and the discount will be taken off when you check out.



*Affiliate link.


********

Want to knit your own Little sailor vest? Here's everything you need to know!

Sizes - finished chest size; recommended ease, 5 cm (2 in)
3 months: 45.5 cm (18.25 in)
6 months: 47 cm (19 in)
12 months: 50.5 cm (20.25 in)
18 months: 52 cm (20.75 in)
2 years: 57 cm (22.75 in)
4 years: 63 cm (25.25 in)
6 years: 68 cm (27.25 in)
8 years: 71 cm (28.5 in)

Tension
25 sts and 32 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch worked flat on 4 mm (US 6) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Sport/DK-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts:
MC: navy blue, 190 (220, 245, 270, 305, 375, 430, 520) m [205 (240, 270, 295, 330, 410, 470, 565) yds]
CC1: pale blue, 10 m [10 yds]
CC2: red, 10 m [10 yds]
CC3: white, 10 m [10 yds]

Needles
3.5 mm (US 4) straight needles
3.25 mm (US 3) straight needles

Notions
Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork
Buttons x 4 (4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6), 15 mm (0.5 in)
Chart row marker
Stitch markers x 2
Tapestry needle

Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Idéal [DK, 125 m (136 yds) per 50 g ball, 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyamide] in 21821 Alpin (MC), 20933 Linaire (CC1), 24408 Pavot (CC2) and 51220 Everest (CC3).

The sailboat motif is incorporated using the intarsia technique, but you may wish to add the finer details using duplicate stitch. Intarsia section is included as both a chart and as written instructions.

Difficulty
Intermediate (knitting, purling, simple increases and decreases, intermediate intarsia)

Pattern style
Vest pattern is written using abbreviations (all abbreviations are given). Both charted and written instructions are provided for the intarsia section.

 Buy the pattern now!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

WIP Wednesday: 28th August 2019: Bank holiday sock

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

I posted on Monday about my woeful holiday-knitting this year. Since then, my knitting has had rather an upturn, and I've knitted almost the entire second sock of the pair I didn't knit while I was away! My progress is, at least in part, due to Monday having been a Bank Holiday in the UK, so both my husband and I were at home, and the weather was too hot to do much, especially as we were all winding down after out holiday, so knitting a socks while waiting to switch over the laundry seemed like a good way to spend the day!


These socks aren't my usual colour-palette - they're much fresher and lighter - but I am really enjoying the short stripe-sequence, which makes it easy to see progress.

I’m knitting these socks for my Marathon Sock KAL, which is ongoing in my Ravelry group and on Ravelry. Full details can be found here. The yarn is from Paintbox Yarns,* and was donated for review purposes. Paintbox Yarns have donated several balls of sock yarn as prizes for the KAL, so to be in with a chance of winning a ball, get knitting some socks!

What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: Update: 27th August 2019

We are almost two months into the Marathon Sock KAL 2019, and, drumroll please, we have completed 21,757 m of the marathon! That's 51.6% of the target!


There's still plenty of time to join in, so keep knitting!

And I finally finished a pair. This is my first 254 m of knitting towards the KAL (and I have several more pairs that are almost there).


********

Want to know more about the Marathon Sock KAL? Keep reading...

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 July 1st 2019
  • 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 pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread
********

*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**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)

***Affiliate link

Monday, 26 August 2019

Four squirrels and a sock: over-ambitious holiday-knitting plans

Every time I go away on holiday, I put a huge amount of thought into the knitting that I pack. In my head, I'll have plenty of time to knit, but in reality, holidays always end up being busier or more tiring than I anticipate, and I end up doing almost no knitting.

When I pack, I look at all my works in progress (WIPs), and put them into the following categories:

  • Vanilla socks (socks that require no pattern beyond their heels and toes)
  • Work projects with deadlines that mean I have to take them on holiday (I try and avoid these!)
  • Easy projects (projects that can be worked on easily while talking to people: bodies of jumpers, blanket squares, etc.)
  • Complicated projects (lace, intarsia and cables, or things that have complex shaping; obviously not projects that are easy to work on while talking to people, or having had a glass or two of wine)
I lie them all out in front of me, then pack one from each category. I often assess the progress on the vanilla sock, then add an extra ball of sock yarn for when the socks are finished.

This summer, we've been away for two weeks, with a week at home between the two. For those holidays, I packed the following projects:
  • The Zebra-striped sock snake
  • A new, un-started pair of vanilla socks
  • My Lush cardigan
  • A blanket with intarsia squirrels on for my friend's baby, whose arrival is imminent
To my credit, I did work on all the projects, but the sock snake is still a snake (I probably didn't need to pack the contrast yarn - I did an inch or two of knitting on it at most); I have completed the first of the vanilla socks (hooray! They were the work project that needed working on most-urgently, so double-yay for that); I've made it to the waist-shaping on the Lush cardigan; and I am up to four squirrels on the blanket (of 16; the blanket also needs a border, so that's probably 20% of the blanket. I think each squirrel takes about 1 hour to knit, so I thought I would have completed at least eight squirrels by now...). Not a total failure!



Maybe it's time to rein in my holiday-knitting packing? Possibly just a pair of vanilla socks and another more complicated project for when the mood suits? I have tried packing less knitting before, but always seem to throw in a couple of extra projects at the last minute! How do you pack for holidays? Are you minimalist or optimistic?

********

Want to know more about the projects mentioned? You can find the Revelry project pages for each project here:

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

WIP Wednesday: 14th August 2019: Cracker joke

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

What goes black, white, black, white, black, white? It’s either a penguin rolling down a hill, or it’s all my current knitting projects!


First up for black and white projects is my sock snake, which is nearing completion. At first I had predicted that I would need the snake to be about 34 inches long, but that was way off, and, having done some maths, I’m now aiming for a much more reasonable 26 inches. The marker is at 20 inches, so there really isn’t much more to go. Once I have a tube of the correct length, I’ll add a pink toe, then go back and add in the other toe, two cuffs and two heels and will have a pair of socks. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve really enjoyed this project, but it has been great summer holiday knitting as it requires precisely no thought once you’ve done the maths to work out how long to make the tube. I’m knitting these socks for my Marathon Sock KAL, which is ongoing in my Ravelry group and on Ravelry. Full details can be found here. The zebra-striped yarn is from Paintbox Yarns,* and was donated for review purposes. Paintbox Yarns have donated several balls of sock yarn as prizes for the KAL, so to be in with a chance of winning a ball, get knitting some socks!


My second black and white project isn’t one I can share, beyond this little peep of some black and white striped stocking stitch. Keep your eyes peeled later in the year to see what these stripes become.


What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: Update: August 2nd 2019

We are one month into the Marathon Sock KAL 2019, and, drumroll please, we have completed 13,504 m of the marathon!


There's still plenty of time to join in. By the next update I might even have managed to finish a pair of socks!

********

Want to know more about the Marathon Sock KAL? Keep reading...

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 July 1st 2019
  • 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 pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread
********

*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**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)

***Affiliate link

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: 31st July 2019: Was it the same dyelot?

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

This week is a two-project week: one garment and (inevitably) one pair of socks.

The garment is, as you would expect from last week's WIP Wednesday post, my Lush cardigan, and I have made excellent progress: I have completed the collar and yoke, and have separated for the sleeves. I have even sort-of tried it on and I think it fits! Hooray! I am really enjoying this pattern; the construction is very clever without being complicated, and the knitting is very satisfying. I'm not expecting to get the cardigan completed by Woolness this weekend (kids do tend to stop me from spending all my time knitting), but I am certain that I'll have it done by the end of August, just in time for autumn.


The socks are a new cast on (no, I have not finished my sock snake yet). I am knitting these for my aunt, and they were getting a little behind the ideal schedule, so I cast them on late last week and knitted on them all weekend. The first sock was completed by the end of Saturday, and I cast the second one on immediately. I did stall a little when it came to casting on the second sock: I stared at the second ball of yarn (the yarn is Bergere de France Goomy 50,* which comes in 50 g balls) for a good period of time before I realised that it had been wound in the opposite direction to the first. On realising this, I did try to find a centre-pull thread, but couldn't, so gave up and hand-wound the ball before casting on.


I'm working the heel of the second sock, and am a little disappointed that sock two is definitely coming out darker than sock one. I am certain the balls were from the same dyelot (but have lost one ball band, so there's a chance they may not be), so I'm not sure what's going on. Fingers crossed my aunt doesn't mind.

What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: 23rd July 2019: Lush-ious lace

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

This week the summer holidays are in full swing, and I have cast on an indulgent project that I have been meaning to knit for ages: a Lush cardigan. I have been eyeing this pattern by Tin Can Knits ever since it came out (in 2013!), but it's taken until now for it to get to the top of my queue.


The cardigan has a really interesting construction: the lace yoke panel is knitted first (lengthways), then the collar, sleeves and body are picked up and worked from the lace band. I'm knitting mine in West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK, which has been discontinued, so I got it for a bit of a bargain price a few weeks ago.


I cast on the yoke band on Saturday, and it worked up really quickly. So quickly that I finished it on Monday evening! The instructions have you block the band before you pick up the stitches, so I am currently waiting (impatiently) for the band to dry so I can pick up the collar stitches. The lace looks absolutely fabulous, and I cannot wait to get on with the rest of the cardigan.


I had anticipated this cardigan being my 'summer project', which I would knit over the course of the six-week summer holidays, but at the current rate, I'm suddenly optimistic that I might be able to have the cardigan finished in time for me to wear it to Woolness at the start of August. Do you think I can do it?!

What's currently on your needles?

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Tessellate baby blanket: now available on LoveCrafts!

The Tessellate baby blanket is available now in LoveCrafts store!* Haven't heard of LoveCrafts? It's the new combined home of LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet. You can find all my downloadable patterns in my LoveCrafts store.*

The Tessellate baby blanket* (originally published in Knit Now issue 86) is a bold, high contrast design, inspired by patchwork and quilting. The blanket features a strong geometric design created using simple two-colour squares that are knitted on the diagonal – this blanket makes excellent TV knitting, and is a great portable project. You could work the blanket in pastels, as shown, for a really pretty baby blanket, or you could use something brighter and bolder for a more contemporary look.


Unusually for me, this pattern is completely suitable for beginners. All you need to be able to do is knit garter stitch, work simple increases and decreases, and pick up stitches! The project is also perfect for those of you that want an easy project to take along on days out over the summer – as it's worked as individual squares, it'll fit perfectly in your bag among all the other stuff you need for a day out.

The pattern is written for the baby-sized blanket, as shown, but I've also included details on how to make a larger or smaller blanket, and provided diagrams for alternative seaming arrangements, so this blanket is fully customisable.


The original blanket is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection 100% Cotton Aran, which is spun in Lancashire by English Fine Cottons, but you can use any aran weight yarn that is suitable for babies (ideally chose something smooth and machine washable to make it easy for new parents to care for). LoveCrafts doesn't sell Three Bears Yarn, so I've suggested using Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran, which comes in a brilliant array of colours!


Happy knitting!

********


Pattern details

Sizes
One size: 93 cm (36.5 in) square

Tension
17 sts and 34 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in garter stitch worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts (for the blanket as shown; options are included to make a larger or smaller blanket):
A (white): 285 m (310 yds)
B (light blue): 285 m (310 yds)
C (light purple): 160 m (175 yds)

Needles
5 mm (US 8) straight needles at least 25 cm (10 in) in length
5 mm (US 8) circular needle at least 60 cm (24 in) in length

Notions
Tapestry needle

Sample details
The sample is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection Aran (aran, 85 m per 50 g ball, 100% cotton) in Pure White (A), Baby Blue (B) and Purple Delight (C).

********

*Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: July 17th 2019: Sock snake

Hello, welcome to WIP Wednesday, my weekly look at what’s currently on my needles.

Sometimes I find that all my works in progress stall simultaneously: a swatch will need blocking, intarsia requires more attention than I have available, my vanilla sock needs a heel; and I end up with nothing easy to work on. This past weekend was busy, and all of my WIPs had reached points that require attention. Rather than go on a long car journey with no knitting, I cast on a simple tube, or a sock snake. I cast on 68 sts and knitted round and round as the miles passed by. No patterning, and no ribbing, heels or toes to get in the way (I can knit without looking, but doing anything more complex in the car makes me feel sick). Once I’ve knitted roughly 34 inches of sock snake, I’ll change to a contrast colour and work a toe, then go back and pick up stitches for the heels, toes and cuffs of both socks. I’m currently thinking a bright pink would look good, or maybe a turquoise - I’ll have a rummage in the stash when I get closer to the end.

Zebra-striped knitted sock-tube and ball of yarn surrounded by peach flowers

I’m really enjoying this sock snake, at least in part because of the yarn, which is dyed to knit as zebra stripes! The yarn is Paintbox Yarns Socks* in the colourway Zebra - Classic, and was gifted to me by LoveCrafts. This sock will be counted towards the totals for the Marathon Sock KAL once it’s done. The KAL started on July 1st and runs until we’ve knitted a full 26 miles of sock yarn! Full details can be found in my Ravelry group.** LoveCrafts have kindly sponsored some of the prizes, so I have lots of balls of Paintbox Yarns Socks to give away at the end of the KAL.

Zebra-striped knitted tube surrounded by peach flowers

What are you working on this week? Let me know in the comments below, or link to your blog

*Affiliate link.
**Ravelry link; you must be logged in to Ravelry to view this link.

********

The yarn used in this sock snake was gifted to me by LoveCrafts.* All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

WIP Wednesday: July 10th 2019: Watermelon wonders

I thought I’d change things up a little on the blog, so hello, and welcome to the first Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday post. Fingers crossed, this will be the first of a weekly series looking at whatever is on my needles on a Wednesday. Feel free to join in - if you write a post on your own blog, link to it in the comments and I’ll be sure to read it; alternatively, you can just tell me what you’re working on in the comments.

I seem to have a real thing for sock-knitting this year: I posted a few weeks ago about having finished ten pairs this year, and the sock-mojo is still strong. My current sock project is unusual for me in two ways: (1) the socks are made in a cotton yarn; and (2) they’re shortie socks.


I hadn’t planned on knitting shortie, cotton socks this summer (or ever!), but when I was with my friend Lynda a few weeks ago she came across some lovely-looking watermelon-striped sock yarn online and asked if I wanted some ordering as well. When the yarn arrived we were both a little surprised as we were expecting the yarn to be Regia’s standard 75% wool, 25% nylon blend, but this is a mix of cotton, polyamide and polynitrile. Rather than return the yarn, I decided to challenge myself to knitting some summer shortie socks to wear with my canvas shoes.


I did have a brief browse of shortie sock patterns on Ravelry, but got a little overwhelmed and decided to cast on 64 sts as usual and knit a cuff and just a few rounds for the legs before working the heel. I am really enjoying knitting these shortie socks. Obviously they’re quicker than standard socks as you get to the heel pretty much immediately. The yarn is knitting up really smoothly, so I keep stopping to admire the beautifully even stitches (a process that is slowing me down a little!), but I have almost completed one sock and I don’t think the other will be far behind.


I’m pretty certain I will have enough yarn for a second pair of shortie socks from this ball. Have you ever knitted shortie socks before? Are there any patterns you would recommend?

That’s me, now it’s your turn: what are you working on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Marathon Sock KAL 2019: FO thread is now OPEN!

The Marathon Sock KAL has been running for a little over a week, and the FO (finished object) thread is now officially open!* The KAL will run 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 (open now!)* when they're done, noting the amount of yarn used. I'll add up all the yarn lengths from each entry, and we should quite quickly have knitted a marathon's worth of yarn.

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

Happy knitting!

********

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

Rules (updated to clarify a few points)

  • Socks must be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • 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 pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread
********

*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**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)

***Affiliate link

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Tessellate baby blanket

Hello! I'm back into full-swing with work (well, as full-swing as is possible around three children during the summer term – a lot of my time seems to be taken up with sports days!), and have been starting to work through the pile of third-party designs that need adding to my Ravelry store.

The Tessellate baby blanket (originally published in Knit Now issue 86) is a bold, high contrast design, inspired by patchwork and quilting. The blanket features a strong geometric design created using simple two colour squares that are knitted on the diagonal – this blanket makes excellent TV knitting, and is a great portable project. You could work the blanket in pastels, as shown, for a really pretty baby blanket, or you could use something brighter and bolder for a more contemporary look.


Unusually for me, this pattern is completely suitable for beginners. All you need to be able to do is knit garter stitch, work simple increases and decreases, and pick up stitches! The project is also perfect for those of you that want an easy project to take along on days out over the summer – as it's worked as individual squares, it'll fit perfectly in your bag among all the other stuff you need for a day out.

The pattern is written for the baby-sized blanket, as shown, but I've also included details on how to make a larger or smaller blanket, and provided diagrams for alternative seaming arrangements, so this blanket is fully customisable.


The original blanket is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection 100% Cotton Aran, which is spun in Lancashire by English Fine Cottons, but you can use any aran weight yarn that is suitable for babies (ideally chose something smooth and machine washable to make it easy for new parents to care for).

The pattern is available now on Ravelry. From now until 11.59pm BST, Sunday 7th July 2019, you can get 20% off with the code TESSELLATE, just add the code before you check out.

The pattern will also be available shortly on Love Crafts* (the new name for Love Knitting) - just search for Tessellate baby blanket (note that discount codes do not apply on Love Crafts).


Happy knitting!

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Pattern details

Sizes
One size: 93 cm (36.5 in) square

Tension
17 sts and 34 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in garter stitch worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts (for the blanket as shown; options are included to make a larger or smaller blanket):
A (white): 285 m (310 yds)
B (light blue): 285 m (310 yds)
C (light purple): 160 m (175 yds)

Needles
5 mm (US 8) straight needles at least 25 cm (10 in) in length
5 mm (US 8) circular needle at least 60 cm (24 in) in length

Notions
Tapestry needle

Sample details
The sample is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection Aran (aran, 85 m per 50 g ball, 100% cotton) in Pure White (A), Baby Blue (B) and Purple Delight (C).

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*Affiliate link.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Marathon Sock KAL 2019: 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 entry, 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!

********

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

Rules
  • Socks be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • 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 pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019

Prizes
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread

*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)

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Marathon Sock KAL 2019: 10 days to go...

It's almost here: the Marathon Sock KAL - a KAL that involves a collective effort to knit a marathon's worth of yarn.*


The KAL will start on July 1st 2019, and run 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 when they're done, noting the amount of yarn used. I'll add up all the yarn lengths from each entry, 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 start chatting about your plans for the KAL.

Until then, happy knitting.

********

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

Rules
  • Socks be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • 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 pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019

Prizes
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread

*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)

Friday, 14 June 2019

Mellow yellow (Yarn Along: June 2019)

Hello June! I'm a bit late with June's Yarn Along post, but, honestly, I'm working on the same project as last week, and reading the same book, so let's pretend I wrote this last week!

Having started work again after maternity leave, I'm restricting myself to one personal project at a time, with the general intention of casting things on, then actually finishing them. The current project is a cardigan for my smallest daughter. The weather in the UK at the minute is particularly erratic - it's pouring with rain as I write this, in spite of it being 'summer' - so layers are really helpful when dressing a small child. I'm knitting a Granny's Favourite, a cardigan that I have knitted before, several times. I'm knitting it in Bergere de France Ideal* in the colour way Jaune, which is a lovely soft buttery yellow, and will be perfect over summer dresses, assuming we ever get any sunshine. The yarn is listed as a DK weight, but I would say knits up better at 24 sts to 10 cm, so is on the lightweight side. The project is a lovely one, and I am enjoying adding a row here and there - I should be able to cast off the body in the next day or two.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is my current read, and it is one of the best things I've read in absolutely ages. Paul is 36 and coming to the end of his surgical training, looking forward to the life he's dreamed of when he finally qualifies, when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He wrote the book between his diagnosis and his death at 37. Kalanithi gained a degree in English Literature before he studied medicine, and his writing style is beautiful. I've recommended this book to everyone I have spoken to in the past few weeks, and so many people have replied that it is a fantastic book that has really stuck with them, so I would definitely recommend it. I would note though, that you shouldn't give it to someone as a 36th birthday present, as it will give them a complex!


What are you currently working on? Read anything good lately?

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along. Head to her post to find out what other people are reading and crafting on.

*Affiliate link.

Friday, 31 May 2019

FINAL DAY: 50% off all patterns in my Ravelry store

I'm back to work after maternity leave, so, to celebrate, I'm hosting a sale in my Ravelry store.

Pattern shown is Granny's Button Jar

From now until 11.59pm BST, May 31st 2019 (that's tonight!), all the patterns in my Ravelry store have 50% off with the code BACKTOWORK


Happy knitting!

Saturday, 25 May 2019

The sale continues...

To celebrate being back to work after maternity leave, I'm hosting a sale in my Ravelry store.

Patterns shown: (top left) Waddle; (top right) Can't Catch Me!; (bottom left) Unicorn of the Sea; (bottom right) From Breton with Love

From now until 11.59pm BST, May 31st 2019, all the patterns in my Ravelry store have 50% off with the code BACKTOWORK


Happy knitting!

Monday, 20 May 2019

Back to work SALE!

Hello!

Pattern shown is Fluffy White Clouds

After nine months of baby snuggles, I am back! To celebrate, I am hosting a sale in my Ravelry store. All my self-published patterns (both single patterns and ebooks) will be available with 50% off until the end of May 2019 (11.59pm BST, May 31st 2019) using the code BACKTOWORK, so if you fancy stocking up on my patterns, now is the time.

I have patterns for adults, patterns for kids, intarsia patterns and more, so why not head over to my Ravelry store now to take a look?

Happy knitting.