Thursday, 22 October 2020

#showoffyourwoollysocks2020

My celebration of woolly socks, #showoffyourwoollysocks, is back for 2020!

Do you have socks that you knitted and showed off once online, but since then they've been hidden in your shoes? Well, #showoffyourwoollysocks2020 is a chance to show them off! Every day in November, I'll be sharing a photo of the socks I'm wearing on my Instagram (@vikkibirddesigns), and telling you the story behind them, and I would love you to join in too. Simply take a photo of the handknitted socks you're wearing every day in November and tell me all about them! Use the hashtag #showoffyourwoollysocks2020 and tag me so I can see them. I cannot wait to have a little tour through your sock drawer!

This year, I'm going to host a knitalong, so that over the course of November, we can all knit a new pair of socks together and wear them on November 30th! The KAL will take place on Instagram using the hashtag #SOYWSKAL2020, and works in progress will also be allowed if that increases your chances of having a finished pair of socks by November 30th.

Not on Instagram? I'll be sharing a summary of my woolly socks once a week on my blog (vikkibirddesigns.com), and I'll have two threads open in my Ravelry group (Ravelry link - may cause issues for users with photosensitivity; proceed with caution): one for the KAL and one for you to show off your socks of the day.

I can't wait to start showing off my socks, and hope you are just as excited!

Do you want to knit a pair of socks from one of my patterns for the KAL? From now until November 7th, all the sock patterns in my Ravelry store will have 20% off with the code SHOWOFF You can find all my sock patterns here: https://www.ravelry.com/bundles/sock-patterns-179 (Ravelry link - may cause issues for users with photosensitivity; proceed with caution).

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Sugar Cube Knits: perfect for crunching through leaves!


What’s your favourite part of autumn? Crunching through leaves? Collecting conkers with your kids? Curling up warm at home under a cat and some knitting?

One of my favourite parts of autumn is being able to unearth all my knitwear from its summer-banishment under the stairs! There’s something delightful about the first wear of mitts on a slightly chilly autumn day, and I’m sure you’ll agree.


It’s also lovely to make something new to herald a new season, and I’m here today to share some new knits that are perfect for autumn with you: the Sugar Cube Knits.

The Sugar Cube Knits are inspired by one of the activities I’ve missed most this year: knitting in coffee shops with friends. The set of mitts, cowl and hat features a simple textured stitch pattern, made up of knits and purls, that looks like stacked sugar cubes.


The set uses a beautiful tonal brown DK yarn, dyed specially by Blue Fern Yarns, to evoke the warm tones of brown sugar. I used a merino/bamboo blend that really helps the stitches to pop.

This Sugar Cube Knits set was produced in collaboration with Blue Fern Yarns, and Shannon is offering 10% off the yarn used in the patterns when you buy the patterns. You can buy one, two or three skeins, in either Platinum DK (merino nylon) or Boo DK (merino bamboo) using the discount, and Shannon will dye the yarn especially for you. A perfect yarn treat to celebrate the season! To get the discount code, you need to purchase the pattern from either of my Ravelry or PayHip stores. Once you’ve purchased, you’ll find an extra pdf, which contains the discount code.


Want to buy the patterns now? You can get 20% off with the code LEAVES.*

Sugar Cube Knits on Ravelry**

Don’t forget to add the patterns to your Favourites and Queue – it really helps other people see my patterns.


Ravelry not for you? You an also use the discount code for the Sugar Cube Knits on PayHip

*Code expires 11.59pm BST, Thursday 22nd October 2020. Code applicable on both Ravelry and PayHip.

**Ravelry links may cause issues to people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Spooky new patterns for Halloween!

Looking forward to Halloween this year? Obviously things will have to be a little different because of the pandemic: I saw an excellent suggestion online though: rather than trick or treat, why not go on a pumpkin hunt? If everyone puts up pictures of pumpkins in the windows, kids can go for walks and keep their eyes open for all the pumpkins! I’ve taken this idea a step further, with banners for a ghost, a witch and a pumpkin, and I can’t wait to hang them in the windows for them to be admired. 

Fancy knitting your own Halloween banners? They’re perfect for hanging in windows, or on walls, and they’re the same size as my Rainbows in the Windows banners, so you could just swap them over for a few weeks! The pattern is written for one basic banner that can be decorated with your choice of three intarsia motifs: a ghost, a pumpkin or a witch. The patterns for the intarsia portions are provided as both charts and written instructions. If you’re not a fan of intarsia, you can knit the banner without any colourwork and use duplicate stitch to add the motif at the end.

Each banner uses a small amount of aran weight yarn in a limited palette, and is perfect for stash-busting, or you could buy the yarn you need and make a few extra Halloween banners for friends and family from your leftovers. If you have leftovers from your Rainbow banners you’ll just need to get hold of some black aran weight yarn (sock yarn held double would also work well if that’s what you have to hand).

Want to buy the pattern now? You can find it on Ravelry* and PayHip. Use the code SPOOKY to get 20% off until 11.59pm BST, Tuesday 20th October 2020.

The pattern will also available on LoveCrafts later today.


Did you know? Favouriting my patterns on Ravelry helps spread the word about them, so if you like the pattern, please go and add it to your Favourites!  

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Here’s everything you need to know about the pattern…

Sizes

One size: 30.5 cm [12.25 in] wide x 30 cm [12 in] high

Tension

18 sts and 25 rows = 10 cm [4 in] in stocking stitch worked flat on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn

You will also need aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts, depending on which design you are making:

Ghost

                 A (black): 130 m (145 yds)

                 B (cream): 40 m (45 yds)

Witch

                 A (black): 35 m (45 yds)

                 B (cream): 60 m (70 yds)

                 D (purple): 130 m (145 yds)

Pumpkin

                 A (black): 130 m (145 yds)

                 C (orange): 55 m (65 yds)

                 E (green): 5 m (10 yds)

Needles

                 5 mm (US 8) straight needles

Notions

                 Fixed stitch markers x 2

                 Tapestry needle

                 Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork (optional)

                 Chart row marker (optional)

                 2 lengths of dowel, 35 cm [14 in] in length and 1 cm [0.5 in] in diameter

                 Hanging thread

                 PVA glue (optional)

Pattern notes

The sample is knitted in Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran (aran, 184 m per 100 g ball, 100% acrylic) in 201 Pure Black (A), 202 Champagne White (B), 219 Blood Orange (C), 247 Pansy Purple (D) and 228 Lime Green (E).

Instructions are provided for three designs. For each design, you will need to print out the written instructions for the plain banner (page 3) and either the chart or written instructions for the picture of your choice:

1. Ghost (EASIEST)

a. Chart, page 4

b. Written instructions, pages 5

2. Witch (INTERMEDIATE)

a. Chart, page 6

b. Written instructions, page 7

3. Pumpkin (INTERMEDIATE)

a. Chart, page 8

b. Written instructions, page 9

The pattern is designed to be worked using intarsia for the colourwork portions. If you prefer, you can work the banner in a single colour, then add the colour work at the end using duplicate stitch – the yardages given should be sufficient for you to complete the banner this way. Links to introductions to intarsia and duplicate stitch are provided in the Resources section (see page 10). You may wish to use a combination of intarsia, stranded colourwork and duplicate stitch to minimise ends.

Pattern edited by Jo Torr.


*Ravelry link: proceed with caution if you suffer from photosensitivity.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

The Marathon Sock KAL 2020… is complete!

The Marathon Sock KAL 2020…

…is complete!


Since May 1st 2020, we have turned 42,424 m of yarn into socks! Thank you to everyone who took part and made it such a fun knitalong.

If you still have socks on the needles, I have opened a warm-down thread* for you to post your post-KAL finished socks in. The rules are fairly relaxed: so long as you cast on your socks before 17:00 BST, Saturday 3rd October 2020, you can enter them (yes, you can enter socks you cast on ages ago!). The warm-down thread will stay open until 11.59pm GMT, October 31st 2020, when I will draw one winner. You can have one entry per 100 m of yarn you convert into socks.

I’ll also draw the winners from Instagram (use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2020) and the chatter thread on Ravelry* at the end of October, so keep on chatting!

I’ve really enjoyed this year’s Marathon, and am delighted that we finished it over the weekend of this year’s Virtual London Marathon – it was the London Marathon a few years ago that inspired my Marathon Sock KAL. It’s been lovely to see so many old faces, and to have been joined by some new faces.

Does anyone fancy doing it all again next year?!

*Ravelry link: may cause issues for people with photosensitivity. If you have finished socks you would like to enter but cannot use Ravelry, please contact me.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Fancy some new sock for autumn? Introducing the Spinnaker socks!

Autumn is well and truly upon us here in the North of England, and my thoughts have definitely turned to long evenings in and cosy socks for when I do have to leave the house. If yours have too, why not keep reading to find out more about my new sock pattern: the Spinnaker socks.

The Spinnaker Socks feature a stitch pattern that I stumbled across while looking for something else entirely and loved how the addition of a few simple slipped stitches added so much texture to basic garter stitch triangles. The triangles made me think of sails, so I've named these socks after the Spinnaker Tower, a tower in Portsmouth that is designed to look like a sail.

The socks are knitted from the top-down, starting with a 1 x 3 ribbed cuff that flows seamlessly into the sail pattern. The Spinnaker pattern runs round the whole of the leg and across the top of the foot. The heel flap has a slipped stitch pattern and a round (French) heel turn. The toe is created with shaping down each side and is gathered at the end – no need for any pesky Kitchener stitch!

The Spinnaker Socks are knitted in DK weight yarn, which makes them perfect for speedy gift knitting (shh, is it still too early to mention Christmas?!)! The slipped stitch cables are also really easy and can be worked without a cable needle.

The pattern is needle-neutral, so you can knit these socks on your choice of DPNs, short circulars or magic loop. 

Want to buy your copy now? You can get 20% off with the code SAIL until 11.59pm BST Wednesday 7th October 2020 on Ravelry* and PayHip. The pattern is also available on LoveCrafts.

If you are on Ravelry* and like this design, why not add it to your Favourites or Queue? Did you know that adding patterns to your Favourites and Queue is a great way to support independent designs without having to spend any money? You can also Favourite patterns on LoveCrafts.