Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Fire flowers


Hello!! I hope this post finds you happy and well wherever you are!

I am feeling guilty because it has been a little while since I have posted.  Life is very busy – a lot has been going on behind the scenes, but it is all good.  We are “getting there”.  The final piece of furniture was bought this weekend, and finally I am done with unpacking!!  Hooorah!!!  I feel like I have a reasonably organised space for a home, finally!

With Chinese New Year just around the corner I am pleased to have finished the Fire Flower Socks!

Fire Flower socks

Chinese New Year is a time when it is traditional to wear new clothes.  Red is the colour of Chinese New Year, and it is well represented by all the red lanterns, red luck money packets (laisee), red fireworks and other red decorations. For this design, I decided to use a very beautiful warm orange-red colourway from Whimzy Sokkusu O, called Firefly.  It looks like fire and smoke – very symbolic of Chinese New Year with all the fireworks and incense burned during festivities!

I had recently come across a vintage stitch pattern that I loved the look of.  Its simplicity reminds me also of old Chinese pictographic characters – this one below is the ancient character for ‘flower’.  I am pleased the character and the stitch pattern are so similar because I wanted to add the pictographic aspect into the socks.

Ancient chinese flower pictogram

I adapted the stitch pattern slightly and used it as a feature in this design, to create something with a festive Chinese mood.  I decided to combine the visual imagery of colour/stitch pattern/pictogram, and call them Fire Flower – a play on the literal translation of the Chinese word for fireworks – “smoke flower”.  Reverse stocking stitch provided the textural canvas for a design with simplicity at its core.Fire flowers 2

Once finished, there were some aspects of the pattern that I was not entirely happy about, and so I decided to create a second version with some adaptations.

Final fire flower socks

This one was knitted in Bleating Art‘s merino/nylon sock base in a colourway called Blondie.  It shimmers like gold, and again, is a perfect Chinese New Year colour to use!

I do personally like the K1 P1 ribbing on the original, but I changed the cuff to harmonise with the stitch pattern so that it flows into the first flower. I think it does look better that way.  Also, I wasn’t quite happy with the flat look of the flower, so I have altered the motif so that has a more flower-like shape.

Fire flowers

I also made the leg longer and finished the toe in stockinette, as it gives the foot a finality that you don’t get in reverse stocking stitch.

Now, I think they are Just Right, and I am super happy to have turned another one of the visions in my head into 3D!!

Fire Flowers 3

Be warned that these socks are not for the faint-hearted.  I will admit that the reverse stocking stitch may not be for everyone.  There is a K4tog manoeuvre in the stock which is a bit tricky to execute.  A very fine crochet hook (1.9mm) worked a treat to pull the yarn through. It is an especially good idea to use the crochet hook if you are using wooden DPNs, as you are liable to break a tip otherwise (ahem…).  Metal DPNs like Hiya Hiya or Knit Pro Symphonie or metal tipped DPNs like Karbonz work very well and you won’t need a crochet hook in this instance.  Apart from those two aspects, the sock is very plain sailing, and if you are prepared for a different sock knitting experience, I think you will like them.  🙂

Tips on yarn:  You may notice a faint ladder in the gold sock that I wasn’t able to prevent.  This did not occur in the first pair that I knitted, and I believe that it is because the Sokkusu O yarn is extremely elastic, and therefore was able to ‘self-adjust’ to prevent ladders. The Bleating Art base is a more relaxed sock base, and does not have the extreme ‘bounce’ of Sokkusu, and was therefore a little harder to control.  It does great cables though!  Also, I found that the more tightly twisted Sokkusu yarn was much easier to control when executing the K4tog.  Do not use a yarn that is ‘splitty’ for these socks if you want to save your sanity!

This weekend is a long weekend (it’s Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day), and I am looking forward to a bit of downtime to finalise the pattern.

Watch out for it soon!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

19 thoughts on “Fire flowers

  1. Love your socks.
    Having had a couple of months of craft inactivity, last week I made my “to do” list and knitting my first pair of socks is the first thing on it. They may take me all year! I love the magic wool that knits a design like this wool. Absolutely magical. Do you know if we have anything like this in New Zealand?

    • Welcome to the world of sock knitting! There is similar yarn to this in New Zealand – Opal and Regia are imported and available at various yarn stores around the country.

  2. Lovely pattern! And very fitting to celebrate the Chinese New year.

    Incidently, Knit Pro Symphonie are wooden needles – the Nova range are the metal ones.

  3. Great looking socks! Jill & I were just in Chinatown (San Francisco) this afternoon with our Kiwi friends, Jennie & Holly. Wishing I’d brought my sock needles!

    • I hear Chinatown is a very interesting place! I can understand the sock needle thing. I found myself without sock needles the other day, and it was frustrating – all that waiting time and no knitting to hand!

  4. The socks look beautiful ! Wow 🙂
    ( I would be a bit anxious with all that purling though, somehow I alwasy get a lot of laddering with it )
    Happy Waitangi Day to you then ! Hope that now things seem to have settled with furniture and unpacking, it will make a very relaxing weekend to you.

  5. As always, beautiful.

  6. These are fabulous and this is a very original design. I love it!

  7. Clever translation of idea to design, love it, and the gold and fire red colours. Enjoy your long weekend.

  8. will your next sock design feature sheep, as it will be the year of the sheep soon?

  9. I like the way you incorporated your pattern into the cuff. BTW, did you knit too down or toe up?

  10. I am also reminded of Chinese lanterns. Great socks design.

  11. I had no idea that fireworks were “smoke flowers” I think that makes your socks just that much more special!

  12. I have just started knitting and made about 9 pairs of socks for the family in the last 6 months. I really enjoy reading your posts and love your designs…something to work up to 🙂

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