Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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All the socks

This week’s post is all about the Socks.

There have been some happy happenings in the background which I can now tell you about!

June PostStitch Box

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a pattern to PostStitch‘s June SockStitch box.

The yarn this pattern was to go with was the delectable Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry Sock base in Rose Crowned Fruit Dove.  I decided to contribute an entirely new design to this box, the Sassy Socks. These socks were originally a Christmas present for my cousin, who lives in Australia. However, the original socks were too small (I had this mistaken idea that she had tiny feet, which she doesn’t), so I reworked them in a larger size and let PostStitch have use of the pattern for the June box, matched with Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry Sock. This pattern will be available for general release in July, but I understand that sets are still available from PostStitch.

PicMonkey Collage (1024x512)

A KAL

There is an exciting KAL happening over on Aussie Sock Knitters Forum on Ravelry for the month of July.  This KAL is genius – you pick the socks you might want to knit (up to 5) and everyone else votes for the favourite that you will actually knit.

I picked out a few patterns from my (ahem, very long) queue. Please help to decide which of the socks I should knit here. I’d really appreciate some extra votes. At the moment, the favourites are Bordurensocken and Pointelle and votes are neck-to-neck.

I’ve picked out my yarn. If it’s Bordurensocken, I shall use Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label in Dove, as it is a gorgeous dreamy colour and soft and beautiful, and will match the pattern very well.

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If it is to be Pointelle, I am thinking I’ll use this Whimzy Sokkusu O in Peeta. I may yet change this option. I ordered some yummy looking yarn from OziFarmer’s Market and I may decide to swap it for that yarn assuming it gets here in time for the KAL start in July. I thought I should see about using Australian yarn, given it is an Australian knitters’ group after all!

Pointelle option

I’m looking forward to the start of the KAL and to finding out what the chosen sock is to be!

Yarn finds

I thought I’d finish by showing you some beauties that I have discovered lately:

Ruataniwha Dye Studio

These are gorgeous yarns from Ruataniwha Dye Studio, who is a Kiwi based in Japan.  I adore the subtle colours Steph uses. She’s also going to be stocking Maniototo Wool’s Luxury Lambswool in 4 ply very soon – an indie dyer to watch!

Also, I finally got around to ordering some of Stray Cat Socks‘ new Essential Deluxe (cashmere/merino/nylon base)…

Stray Cat Socks

This is Cinnamon. It is gorgeously soft and luxurious feeling!! I anticipate that it will find its way on to my needles sooner rather than later!

Happy Knitting!

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A small collection

The fruits of my labours from a few months ago are ready to be shown to you today.  I thought that I’d present them as my first Small Collection!!  If you stay with me to the end of this post, you’ll also see details of a KAL and a special offer for the month of November.

First up, I am excited to show you the Diamonds are Forever cowl, originally designed for the Knitsch Jewel Thief yarn club.  The rights have returned to me, so I am happily able to make the pattern available to all.

diamonds are forever cowl

When Tash invited me to design a pattern for The Jewel Thief yarn club, I immediately thought of diamonds. A necklace of diamond lace!  This is an easy lace cowl, alternating diamond lattice with garter stitch.  Lace holes separate each section to provide definition and extra drape.  The garter stitch sections are themselves divided lengthways into alternating panels of diamond lattice and garter stitch.

Diamonds are Forever detail

I knitted this cowl using only two skeins of Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn, although it will suit all fingering weight yarn.  I love it for days when I just need a bit of warmth around the neck.  Why not try it with DK or worsted weight yarn and get a larger and squooshier cowl for the cold winter days?

The pattern only has one chart which is a simple 6 stitch, 12 row repeat.  It’s a good one to “cut your teeth” on lace or if you’re looking to knit something interesting that isn’t going to be too demanding on your attention. I’ve suggested the use of stitch markers in the pattern to divide the sections.  I found they were a useful way to keep one’s place.

The diamond panels that alternate with the garter stitch align to the same chart rows in the diamond block panels, so it is easy to keep track of where you are in the pattern.

diamonds are forever 2

This link will take you to the pattern on Ravelry.

Next up, are the Aster socks, which you will have already seen in my post about the Aster MKAL.

Aster socks

It’s the detail that I’m most proud of.

Flowers

This is where I’ve hinted at the flowers above the leaves.

More flowersAnd more travelling down the leg of the sock, ending in an interesting cabled heel, that everyone loved, and said was the best of all!  I will leave that detail a small mystery because although the concept worked well, I was slightly unhappy with the edge cable, so I have changed it (no, don’t worry, MKAL knitters, it’s only a small change, but I am much happier with it now. I think when you see it you’ll agree it’s a better design).

You can use any typical sock weight yarn for this design – any of the New Zealand sock yarns will be fine, and if you are using an international one, just don’t choose something too heavy (eg. Blue Moon Socks that Rock) or the sock will be bigger than designed (unless you want it that way).  For this sock, I used another one of James’ fabulous Fibre Alive Merino Mania in the Blackcurrant colourway (sadly James does not dye any more, but any supertwist 2 ply 100% merino sock yarn will be similar to what I used).

This sock is constructed top-down.  The pattern is lacy, so I have reduced the number of stitches to give the sock a snug fit for the specified sizes.  It is available in medium and large size – the large uses a 64 stitch cast on – if you do not like your sock too snug, this might be the better size for you.  This pattern is recommended for intermediate level sock knitters.  It would also be helpful to have knowledge of basic lace stitches (treatment of YO, K2tog and SSK).

Here’s the link to the pattern.

Still with me?  (It’s a long post… sorry!)

Here’s the best bit:

  1. Some of the MKAL knitters (and Alice) have been very kind and agreed to co-moderate a KAL for Aster over on the Kiwiyarns Knits group on Ravelry.  If you have been keen to develop your lace sock skills, this is a good pattern to try out, and you’ll have help along the way.  The flowers utilise a double yarn over, and the leaves have an unusual double structure, which is good for someone looking for a small challenge, not to mention the cool cabled heel (which isn’t a challenge, it’s just a buzz).  As it is my birthday month, and I am now so old that I feel it’s better to give than receive, I am going to select a couple of lovely participants to receive some goodies at some point during the month.
  2. To further tempt you, if you purchase any two of my three most recent patterns  (Something Lovely, Diamonds are Forever or Aster) you will receive an automatic 30% off the combined price.  This discount applies to all purchases during November.  No code required!  A few people have already bought the Diamonds are Forever cowl.  If you have, and you also buy another of the mentioned patterns in November, the discount will apply to your second purchase.
  3. I have one more pattern to add to this Small Collection.  It’s a bonus freebie. I’m hoping it will be ready for November – work commitments permitting!

I do hope some of you will join us for the KAL.  It should be fun!


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The Aster MKAL

October was/is Socktober in the knitting world.  All sorts of beautiful projects are created in this month dedicated to the art of knitting socks.

A while back, Denise of the Karori Flower Shop, and co-creator at Bleating Art, invited me to contribute a mystery sock pattern for the shop’s  “Soctober” month of events.  The idea of designing a flower-themed sock was very appealing, so off I went and buried my nose in books about flowers and plants, and started sketching and swatching and dreaming…

The sock was called Aster, after this inspiration.

Echinacea

This is echinacea, but it is part of the Aster genus.  The Aster (Asteraceae, or daisy) family of flowers is the second most numerous family of flowers with over 23,000 currently accepted species.  The word aster means “star” in Greek, referring to the appearance of some family members, as a “star” surrounded by “rays”.  It includes many lovely varieties that are used by florists, including dahlias, zinnias, chrysanthemums and sunflowers.  I thought it fitting to base the sock design on this genus for a florist’s sock pattern.

The pattern was broken down into two clues, so I made the socks a bit different to my usual style to keep things interesting and to provide surprises along the way.

The group has been working through the sock pattern this month.  Yesterday, an official unveiling of all the socks took place, so I thought I’d go along and see.

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Haven’t they all done such a lovely job?  Can you see the flowers, the leaves and the stem in the sock?  These socks were knitted by Susan, Shona, Sara, Maureen and Denise.  There is also a pair in there that are mine.

Let’s have a close look at the detail:

Susan's socks

This fresh green version was knitted by Susan.  The pink and purples below were from left to right, by Shona, Sara and Denise.

Aster

Here are the lovely ladies, and yes, your eyes do not deceive you, that is indeed Audry whom you see!

Aster socks

Audry was doing the lucky draw for the bag and goodies that you see on the left hand side of this picture.

Lucky winner

Shona was the lucky winner – it was a fantastic prize!

Karori Flower Shop knitters

It was a lovely afternoon out and a nice way to start the long weekend.  I was glad to be able to join them and also have the privilege of seeing all the finished socks.

There was some discussion about opening the sock pattern up to a wider audience for another MKAL, but I have decided on balance that I will adapt the pattern slightly (to take into account some of the comments about the socks) and I will release it as a regular pattern.  We may be holding a KAL for it over on the Kiwiyarns group on Ravelry though.  Stay tuned for more news on that subject.

I’m looking forward to having one more day off tomorrow (it’s Labour Weekend here).  It will be nice to have a rest as I have been working non-stop this month, and am feeling a little more than exhausted!

Hope you are having a great weekend!


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Seadragonus KAL and Bagshot Row

I’m really impressed about how many people have joined the Seadragonus KAL over on Ravelry.  Thank you so much for your support!

It is so inspiring to see the various Seadragonus socks taking shape!  I’m looking forward to everyone’s big reveal at the end of the month.

I was knitting the heel of my second pair of Seadragonus this weekend, and it occurred to me that if you are knitting the Seadragonus, you may appreciate some tips on the heel:

Seadragonus heel

  1. It helps to make the YO stitch as long as possible (stretch out the stitches when making the YO) so that you have plenty of “give” to pick up that stitch and pass it over the next two stitches to create the scale.
  2. The heel appears quite long when you are knitting it but the important thing are the slips on the side of the heel flap. Each slip is a stitch. So when you come to picking those stitches up to make the gusset, make sure you have the right number of stitches for the depth of heel you need.  If you have less stitches, the fabric will automatically condense down into a shorter heel to accommodate the gauge of the stitches you are using to knit the gusset.

This is one very relaxing sock knit, and it’s quite nice to just sit and knit comfortably without having to worry about instructions.  The yarn is a pretty colourway from the sadly no-longer Needlefood that has been sitting in my stash awaiting the perfect project.  I was showing it to Alice when she was down in Wellington recently, and she encouraged me to use it for Seadragonus.  I think she made a good recommendation!

I’m knitting Seadragonus alternatively with this gorgeous thing:

#3 bagshot row

This is #3 Bagshot Row, the first of the 2014/15 Claire Ellen sock club.  I seem to have a thing for Claire’s designs, and I liked the look of Bagshot Row, so I bought this year’s club.  Yay!!  A whole year of yummy Hobbit inspired socks!!  So excited!

I’m very pleased I’m knitting it with pointy tips.  This design needs them.  I’m sure that by the time I get through the second repeat of the leg, I will be able to knit this stitch in my sleep, but in the meantime, it is giving me come nice mental stretch.  🙂

The yarn is one of my most treasured skeins from Fibre Alive – it has such a beautiful, muted green/pink combination that it just eats me up!  I thought originally to turn it into a shawl, just so that I could keep the yarn perfect for a long time, but having decided to knit it into these socks, I think the combination of exquisite yarn and gorgeous pattern will be wonderful.  I might not wear them much though – maybe I’ll end up just sitting and staring at them, marvelling at how pretty they are!

 

 

 

 


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Seadragonus

Beware the fearsome Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus!  One of the most fearsome of all the dragons in the book series “How to Train Your Dragon“, it is my favourite dragon because the Seadragonus was the personal dragon of each of the Hiccups in history.  Highly intelligent, with a huge, fearsome personality and a huge dash of cuteness (in the case of Toothless, in any event), they come in blue, green or purple – all my favourite sock colours!  I decided to name my dragon-inspired sock after the Seadragonus.

Seadragonus

With thanks to the eldest boy for a great photography job again.

When I first designed this sock, I was only going to release it in a standard medium size.  But then I thought about the amount of questions I got for Anemone relating to adjusting the sock for small or large sizing, and I thought that it might be a good idea to include more sizes.  Then it occurred to me that this pattern was also suitable for a man’s sock, but the heel might not appeal to him. So I included a sturdy heel alternative as well.  Incorporating all the additions means that it has taken me a bit longer than planned to release this design, but I think it now makes this pattern much more flexible for knitters, and one that will accommodate most teen – adult foot shapes.

I designed Seadragonus to be very wearable, with the impression of scales in the larger pattern over the entire foot and the smaller belly scales on the heel.  It is an easy top-down sock pattern, with an 8-stitch repeat, and a small cable twist every 6 rows.

You need:

2 x 50g Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn (167m/182yd per 50g) in the Hydro colourway (or other sock yarn of your choice)

2.25mm DPN needles or 80cm circulars for magic loop (or size to get gauge)

1 x cable needle

The pattern has three sizes:  S, M and L.  Medium fits the average woman’s foot.  To knit the large size you will need more yarn (if you are planning to use a sock yarn that has 400m to a skein, one will be enough, assuming as you don’t make the leg longer than the suggested length).  To make this sock more unisex, I have also included an alternative standard slipped stitch heel, as the scale heel might be a bit too feminine for a man’s taste.

To commemorate the release of the Seadragonus, the lovely Alice has very sweetly started a group on Ravelry for my designs (blush!) You are cordially invited to join the Kiwiyarns Knits group!   The first topic she has posted is a knit-a-long (KAL) for Seadragonus for the month of September.

To support this KAL, and to encourage as many people to join as possible, I am going to offer Seadragonus at the introductory price of $2.50 until the 15th of September.  The discount will be automatically applied on checkout, and you do not need to join the KAL to receive the discount.  To make things a bit exciting, I thought I would also raise the bar and set a challenge:  Can you be adventurous with yarn and knit a truly dragon-worthy sock!?  How you interpret this is entirely up to you!

The prize will be two 50g skeins of my favourite sock yarn in the world, the yarn I used to knit this sock – Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn and a surprise Kiwi speciality goodie or two.  The winner will be chosen by popular vote.

Everyone who participates and posts a completed picture in the thread will also receive a coupon code to get their next purchase of one of my patterns free (I have a few more designs coming out, and the code will keep if you’d like to wait to spend it).  Further details are on the KAL discussion thread.

There is of course no compulsion to join in the join in the challenge.  If you’d just like to KAL for a knit and natter, please do join in!

We look forward to seeing you on the Kiwiyarns Knits group!

Pattern available for purchase here.

Seadragonus sock

 

 

 


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Jan + Feb = 8?

My Ravelry projects list tells me I have just completed my eighth pair of socks for 2014.

Cadence socks

These are the very, very pretty Cadence socks, by Verybusymonkey.  Such a lovely pattern to knit, I didn’t change a thing about them!  Yarn is the luscious Sokkusu O in Jam Sessions.

Why, I ask myself, have I knitted half my personal goal of one year’s worth of socks in just over two months, and not much else?  It has become a bit of a compulsion.  (You may remember I said I’d knit 12 pairs of patterned socks and four pairs of plain in 2014…)

The obsession with socks does not seem to be paling.  I’m in the middle of the most gorgeous socks I’ve ever seen at the moment.

Rumpelstiltskin socks

These are Rumpelstiltkin, also by Verybusymonkey, who along with Cookie A, might just be one of my favourite sock designers of all time!  They don’t look like much at the moment, but I have high hopes.

I spied this pattern a while ago, but have been trying to find the right yarn for it.  I think the thing that makes this sock pattern extra appealing is the quality of the yarn that the socks were knit in.  I wanted to replicate that look.  The specified yarn is a merino/silk blend (now discontinued).  I thought it was an unusual blend for a sock yarn, and probably the original intention for this yarn was not for socks.  However, it makes a stunning sock!  Especially in this pattern.  It’s a bit like silk lingerie – so very pretty, and sooo special, but not exactly practical.  Never mind, I thought, who says all socks must be work horses!?

But now, where to find yarn like this?  After much trawling on websites and considerings, I found that Sally of Verandah Yarns had just the yarn I was looking for!!  It’s Mersilk Sock, and I was lucky enough, when I contacted her, to find that she had a colour in her seconds bin of the shade type I was after.  Thank you Sally!!!

I am very, very happy with how it’s turning out!

The other sock I am knitting is one of the current Hiya Hiya Free & Funny KAL sock patterns for March/April.  If you are a keen sock knitter, and don’t know about this forum on Ravelry yet, check it out!  There are currently two patterns being knit – I’ve chosen to go with the Peach Leaves Lace Socks.  They’re rather cute.

Peach Leaves Lace Sock

I am using Knitsch for this project – in Gwyneth, because it is the exact colour of peach blossom.  (Summer Crush would have been perfect in this sock too, but I just can’t bring myself to use it just yet…)  My stash is getting quite a toss as I search for the perfect yarns for my sock projects!  It’s really quite fun!

One other sock is lurking on the needles – it’s a ‘waiting’ sock (for when I’m hanging around out and about).  I shan’t jinx them by showing them here.  They may just end up as a gift…assuming nothing goes wrong with them!

None of this of course answers the question – what drives me to knit socks to the exclusion of all else?  The first storm of the season rudely blasted summer out of existence this week (at least in this part of New Zealand). While I am cuddled up in happy knits, one young boy could do with a sweater for one thing!  There are definitely other projects I could be knitting!

The conclusion I have reached is that socks are giving me the ‘quick satisfaction’ I need right now.  They’re pretty, satisfying to knit, and most importantly, finish fast.  While I want to knit garments (there is a lot of looking at patterns for a sweater and cardigan project especially), the need to see quick results appears to be high on my agenda.  I think it reflects my aims for this year – to get results, and achieve the goals I’ve been driving towards for a while.  It’s the only explanation I can think of!