Wednesday 25 March 2020

Yarn along March 25th 2020: Silver linings

Hello from my dining room! I'm having a break from my living room today while I work and my husband looks after/home schools the kids. School's shut now for the foreseeable future and my husband and I are both working from home. The current instructions from the UK government are that we should all stay at home, only going out for exercise once a day and shopping for essentials when we absolutely need to. We're both very grateful for family, for the internet, for streaming services, for hobbies, for video calls, for outdoor space and for sunshine!

While it's hard logistically having all of us at home all of the time, there are definite silver linings. We're getting to spend quality time with the kids (I've done several work outs with them), and I've gained hours back by not having to walk them to and from school every day, and not having to act as chauffeur for all the extra curricular activites. This has freed up time for sorting all the boxes of magazines - I now have a nice pile of patterns I want to keep, and all the half magazines have gone to be recycled. I also found three books I'd mislaid, including Custom Socks, which is my favourite book to use when I'm designing socks.

I've had time to cut out fabric to make a dress for my youngest daughter, and once that's stitched, I'll see what calls to me next from the fabric pile. Long-abandoned knitting projects have started to lure me back. My Starfall jumper has told me repeatedly that it doesn't want to be finished, so while the yoke is beautiful, the fit is terrible, and the yarn is soon to find a new lease of life as a Sugarplum Sweater.

Knitted jumper yoke in grey, yellow and teal

My current active project is a new sock design, knitted in MillaMia Naturally Soft Sock,* which LoveCrafts sent to me last year for review purposes. I was inspired by the colour, and am knitting some bamboo-patterned socks. The pattern will be coming soon... Patrice the Panda approves!

Another advantage of the current situation is that the libraries are closed and fines suspended, so I might actually have time to finish the library book pile before any of the books get recalled! I'm starting with Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, which my friend Amy recommended recently. The book is about two friends, Frances and Bobby, who were once lovers, and a couple, Melissa and Nick. I'm enjoying it so far, in a low-key way. The writing is keeping me going and I want to see how the releationships between the characters evolve.

I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping well. What are your silver linings at the minute?

*Affiliate link.

Monday 23 March 2020

Effie socks: the next installment in the Midnight Feasts collection

Last month I released my Bobby socks, the first in the Midnight Feasts Collection. Well, here are the second: the Effie socks (named after a friend’s Granny, Euphemia). 

As a child, I used to love reading vintage boarding-school stories, and always imagined that the girls in them would wear cute little ruffled socks while eating their midnight feasts and drinking ginger beer. The Effie socks are the second in a series of sock patterns: the Midnight feasts collection, which pays homage to these books with a series of cute ankle socks, all featuring a frill around the cuff: show them off by wearing them with circle skirts and Mary-Jane shoes, or let the cuff peep out of the top of a pair of ankle boots for a really cute look. All the socks in the collection are knitted from the top down using a standard heel flap and gusset construction. The ruffled frill and first half of the turned-back cuff are knitted first, then inverted using a short row before knitting the rest of the sock. The foot length of the socks is adjustable to fit.

The Effie socks are perfect for dressing up a simple outfit – they can be worn with shoes or boots, letting the lace frill detail peep out over the top.

Instructions are given for both two-colour and single-colour versions. The lace stitch pattern is given as both a chart and written instructions. Tutorials are included for the inversion round and blocking the ruffle.

The pattern is written to be needle-neutral and can be knitted using either the magic-loop technique, short circulars or DPNs, depending on your individual preference. The pattern also features helpful hints for beginners.

I’ve written this pattern for a whopping *seven* sizes, so you should certainly be able to make a pair to fit – you could even make a matching set for you and a small child…

The pattern is live on Ravelry now, and you can get 30% off with the code STAYATHOME (you can use this code on any of my patterns – the discount lasts until the end of March – thanks for sticking with me during the Covid-19 uncertainty).

Bobby socks
If you like socks with frills, and think you might like to get all my frilly sock patterns, why not buy the Midnight Feasts ebook? It costs £10, and every time I add a frilly sock to the Midnight Feasts collection, you’ll get it added to your library automatically.


XXS (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
Finished sock circumferences: 12.5 (15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 27.5) cm [5 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) in]; for the best fit, choose a size that is approximately 2.5 cm [1 in] smaller than your foot circumference.
Leg length to heel: 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) cm [2.75 (3.25, 3.5, 4, 4.25, 4.75, 5) in].
Foot length is adjustable.

32 sts and 44 rnds = 10 cm [4 in] in stocking stitch and worked in the rnd on 2.5 mm (US 1.5) needle(s) after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

4ply-weight sock yarn in the following colours and amounts (yardages are approximate as the amount of yarn used will depend on the length of the foot, which is adjustable):
Single-colour version
·        150 (205, 265, 340, 420, 500, 590) m [165 (225, 290, 375, 460, 550, 650) yds]
Two-colour version
·        MC: 130 (180, 235, 310, 385, 460, 545) m [145 (200, 260, 340, 425, 505, 600) yds]
·        CC: 20 (25, 30, 30, 35, 40, 45) m [25 (30, 35, 35, 40, 45, 50) yds]
I would recommend using a dedicated sock yarn that is tightly plied wool and has some nylon content for durability.

·        2.5 mm (US 1.5) DPNs, 15 cm [6 in], set of 5, or
·        2.5 mm (US 1.5) circular needle, at least 80 cm [32 in] in length to work magic loop, or
·        2.5 mm (US 1.5) circular needle, 22.5 cm [9 in] in length

·        Stitch markers x 5

Saturday 21 March 2020

Yorkshire Yarn Fest - online only March 21st 2020

In November, I went to the inaugral Yorkshire Yarn Fest, and had a really lovely day. The second Yorkshire Yarn Fest was meant to be on this weekend (Saturday March 21st 2020), and I had planned to go with a couple of friends. Unfortuntely, the event has had to be cancelled in its original format, owing to Covid-19 restrictions. The organisers have been working really hard this week to transfer the event to an online event, which is really exciting, and also means that the event can be accessed across the world. A lot of people in the yarn community make a lot of their income from yarn festivals, so I really hope this online event takes off. If you'd like to get involved, head over to the Yorkshire Yarn Fest website for full details. I know that many of the vendors will be offering free postage, which is excellent news!

After this weekend's event, the next Yorkshire Yarn Fest is scheduled for August 2nd 2020, so hopefully that event will go ahead as planned.

Happy knitting.

Friday 20 March 2020

#LotsOfSocksKAL 2020 total!

Enormous thanks to everyone who has taken part in this year’s The #LotsOfSocksKAL, whether you have knitted socks, bought patterns or made a donation. This year’s total is $13, 970.77, which is phenomenal! The donations went to Down Syndrome International, and will help people with Down syndrome.

On March 21st every year (that’s tomorrow this year), people are encouraged to wear two different brightly coloured socks to highlight the uniqueness of individuals with Down syndrome and to show their support for the Down syndrome community. Why March 21st? People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, so the date 3/21 was selected. Lisa started the Lots of Socks KAL to create LOTS of socks, and at the same time generate support and awareness for a great cause!

On March 21, 2020 (World Down Syndrome Day), be sure to wear your socks and spread the word! You can post your socks on Instagram using the following three hashtags #lotsofsocksKAL, #lotsofsocks, and #WorldDownSyndromeDay AND tag @paperdaisycreations. You might also want to tag the designer and include hashtags #WDSD20 and #WorldDownSyndromeDay.

Haven’t added your socks to the KAL thread?
Lisa has done an amazing job of sourcing prizes for the KAL - you can find a full list of prizes in the first post of this thread,* so if you have socks you haven’t added to the FO thread, now is the time to do so.

Thanks again for taking part.

*Ravelry link; you need to be a member of Ravelry to open this link. Membership is free.

Thursday 19 March 2020

The Cuboid Blanket: available in Knit Now issue 114

Hello lovely people! I have a new design out in the latest issue of Knit Now magazine (issue 114): the Cuboid Blanket. I love to play about with colour and shape in knitting, and this clever design uses simple geometric shapes to create an optical illusion.

The blanket is constructed from motifs that are worked flat then stitched together at the end. Most of the blanket is made from three-colour hexagons that use very basic intarsia. The hexagons are squared off using smaller shaped panels, and the blanket is finished with a simple crocheted border. This design is really easy to knit, and once you’ve made the first couple of hexagons, you should have the pattern memorised (or be able to work it with only an occasional glimpse at the pattern), so it’s perfect if your brain is already full with other thoughts or you want to watch TV. This is mindful knitting at its best.

The blanket is knitted in Lily Sugar ‘n Cream,* a cotton yarn that comes in a huge array of colours, so even if the sample isn’t in your colours, you should be able to choose something to suit. The blanket could easily be worked in other yarns if you’re not a fan of cotton.

Want to knit the Cuboid Blanket? You can find the pattern in issue 114 of Knit Now magazine, which is in stores in the UK now. If you live overseas (or can’t find a copy locally), you can order one online (while stocks last); alternatively, you can buy an electronic copy.

The Ravelry page for the Cuboid Blanket can be found here, should you wish to add the pattern to your queue or favourites.
Here’s a list of all the essential details:
Small: 98 x 100 cm
Medium: 122.5 x 158.5 cm
Large: 171.5 x 217 cm

Yarn used
Lily Sugar ’n Cream (Aran; 109m per 70.9g ball; 100% cotton)
4 (8, 14) balls each in Robins Egg 01215 (A) & Teal 01133 (B)
6 (11, 21) balls in Soft Ecru 01004 (C)

15 sts x 30 rows = 10cm measured over garter st

Needles used
5mm straight

Other supplies
5mm crochet hook
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle
Sizing S (M, L)
*Affiliate link.
Images copyright Practical Publishing.