Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



I love self-striping yarn as much as the next person, but sometimes just the joy of seeing the next colour coming through is not quite enough to get through knitting in plain stockinette.  Of course, I could always knit an allover pattern into my sock, but the idea has never appealed.  An idea came to me one day as I was browsing a stitch dictionary and came across an intriguing colourwork chart: What if I could use the stripes to work with me to create a colourwork pattern instead?

I played around with a sample, and was delighted with what I discovered.  I thought:  “This would be a really cool pattern to submit to Knitty!”  Very happily, and much to my super excitement and terror, they did choose to publish my pattern!  Thanks so much Amy and team!

This has been a long while under my hat – if you are a long time follower, you’ll notice the pics were taken around my former place of residence.

Geek socks

I am very pleased to show you the “Geek” socks that are out in Knitty today!  So named because they really “geek” me out!

I had a lot of fun playing with colours. The above socks are knitted in Happy-go-knitty 100% BFL self-striping sock yarn.  They are the original version in which I anticipated having to use only stripes with an even repetition of rows and a certain width.  However, I discovered that you do not have to have even stripes, as can be seen by the next version…

More geek socksThese ones are from Doespins, in 80% merino, 20% nylon sock yarn, and called Limestone.  The stripe is thick/thin, and it still works!  You can see the way the stripes look without the patterning in the cuff, heel and toe.

Finally, I had to try some in Stray Cat Socks.  The super zany colours from this indie dyer just cry out to be played with! Again, the width of the stripe is different, but it works just the same!

Stray Cat Socks Geeks

Now I have a hard time not knitting my self-striping socks in this style.  It just makes it so much more interesting!   It is also a very easy repeat, and the most ‘difficult’ thing about this pattern would be to be brave enough to try a new style of heel.

I used an after-thought heel because I could not think of a way in which I could still maintain the patterning when knitting a plain heel flap.  Normal heel flap gusset shaping does not allow the pattern to flow and would totally ruin the look of the sock.  It may be possible to use a short-row heel to shape the heel and not have the stripe disrupted.  I have not tried it.  Kb, who test knitted the pattern beautifully, used an alternative version of the after-thought heel that also looks good.  This is her version in rainbow self-striping yarn.  I think she’s done an amazing job!

rainbow geek socks

The socks are knit cuff down, but you could very easily reverse engineer the pattern to knit it toe up if you prefer knitting in this style.

Finally, to give you more of an idea of what the pattern does to self-striping yarn, Amy got me to send some swatch pictures, so I thought I’d share some of these with you too:

Geek swatch


Geek II swatch

Thanks again to the Knitty team for publishing (and editing) my pattern, my wonderful son Tim, for photography, Kb for being such a wonderful test knitter, and the interesting discussions I had with Karen Berthine about the design during the writing phase.  I have learned a lot from Kate Atherley (Knitty’s Managing Technical Editor) about writing clearer patterns too.

I do hope you enjoy knitting these socks!




That striping feeling

It’s just fabulous how we now have quite a few self-striping sock yarn options in New Zealand.  It’s so exciting to see the stripes appear – they do seem to make the knitting go faster!

I’ve always tended to knit the stripes in stockinette – the colour would produce the interest factor.  However, there comes a time when one does get a bit bored with knitting plain stocking stitch.  Even if it does happen in pretty stripes.  As much as I love a beautiful yarn with lots of colour, it does make it hard to knit in cables or lace – the pattern tends to get lost. Highly variegated yarns fall into this category as well.  Stockinette just seems to suit stripes and variegated yarns very well.

The only problem is that my plain knitting tends to get relegated to the ‘when I’m waiting around’ project bag, which means that most of the time, a plain sock takes a very long time to knit because I don’t have a lot of waiting time.  I tend to fall asleep over my knitting if I sit and knit something in stockinette when I’m at home and relaxing.  It’s very annoying!  I need lace or something patterned to keep me awake!  So I’ve been doing a bit of research for sock patterns that use self-striping or variegated yarn to produce an even more interesting sock to knit.

I thought I’d share my findings today.

First up, I really love this one:

Bristol.  This free pattern was released in September, and seems to have slipped under the radar of a lot of sock knitters.  It’s quite intriguing how just using a different combination of knit and purl stitches can create something quite different looking.  I came across it in the November voting for the Dozen Pairs of Socks group on Ravelry.  Definitely a nice one for a yarn with very thin stripes.  I think I may have just the one for that…

Regia Jazz

This is Regia Jazz in the 6450 colourway.

Although, I am quite tempted to rip this plain vanilla WIP and knit it in the pattern instead…

Sunday Picnic by Soft Like Kittens

Can I do that to myself?  Hmm.  It could make an even prettier sock… I just love the slipped stitch heel and the way the colour really pops in it. This yarn is from another indie dyer who has sadly stopped dyeing – Soft Like Kittens.  It is called Sunday Picnic.  The one-colour-stripe pattern would really go well in Bristol I think.

Then I came across the Groovy socks!  How did all these amazing designs escape my attention!? Check out some of the very cool renditions of this design to see the pattern’s full potential (you’ll have to log into Ravelry to see them).  It seems that any colour will look good in this design, but it may be best to use a self-striping yarn with a slightly wider stripe.  I may use this:

Stray Cat Socks Holy Moly

This is Stray Cat Yarn’s Holy Moly.  And just to make things even more interesting, I’ll use the plain pink for the after thought heel and toes.

Then there is also Withywindle, one of the bonus patterns from Claire Ellen’s sock club.  I think I’d knit it with toes as I’m not a yoga person.  The socks are easily enough converted into a standard sock.  This pattern is different to Bristol because it uses slipped stitches to break up the variegation of a yarn.  This one would look great in a variegated yarn like this:

Gnome Acres sockThis is from GnomeAcres.  Not a New Zealand yarnie, but oh, so much pretty!  (Only click on the link if you have absolute self-control.  Be warned!)

Of course, the grand-daddy of all patterns that make self-striping yarn look super cool would have to be Jaywalker.  It is such a versatile pattern that I believe I could use any yarn and it would still be amazing (as evidenced by the 10,000+ versions of this pattern recorded on Ravelry alone!)  For this pattern, I think I’d use something from Happy-go-knitty.  Maybe my very treasured skein of Watermelon, or the pink/grey self-striping next to it.

Watermelon self-striping Happy-go-knitty

Gull Feathers appeals because it incorporates lace.   I could easily use the pretty grey/pink from Happy-go-knitty, or perhaps something different with this Wild Rice colourway from Doespins:

Wild Rice High Twist BFL

I’m not actually sure if Wild Rice is self-striping, but the general look seems to indicate it will at least swirl.

Knitty Melissa, the designer of Gull Feathers, has also put out another pattern – Berkshires.  This one is similar to Jaywalker, but also incorporates purl stitches and therefore more texture.

Another interesting sock is Socks on the Rocks, a slip-stitch pattern from Mia Dehmer.

Ah, such a nice selection to choose from!  Which one do I choose first!?

Finally, some of you may be wondering if I did meet the deadline for the Wacky Wednesday socks.  Yup!

Wacky Wednesday socks

They are much appreciated, although the poor boy had a dreadful cold on the day of Wacky Wednesday, so they got hidden under jeans.  Never mind.  He did get a prize for his wacky wheels though!

My Susanna’s are also done.  So happy!  You can check them out here if you are interested.

Wishing you a great weekend!