Friday, 21 December 2012

Join the CLUB!

This is a bag of socks.


That is all the socks from this years When Granny Weatherwax Knits Socks Club. Lovely hand-dyed yarn knitted in to 12 pairs of squishy socks.

It's been a great year, I think my favourite pair is Conina:


The patterns are now available as an eBook collection - 9 patterns are available now and the remaining three will be added on the first of each month until March.

In 2013 I'll be teaming up with The Knitting Goddess again, this will be our third year and it's going to be great!

You’ve heard of the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon game – where anyone or anything in Hollywood can be linked to Kevin Bacon in seven steps or less.

But what does that have to do with socks? Is Kevin Bacon a knitter?

For 2013 we’re offering you the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon sock club. But there’s a twist. Instead of linking things to Kevin, we’ll be using Helena Bonham Carter as our starting point. We've come up with 12 gorgeous semi-solid colours and you'll get 12 original patterns by me.

All the details are here, sign-ups for January will be available until the 24th December, there's still time to get a present for yourself!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Talia Socks

I designed a pattern for the Winter issue of Pom Pom magazine, Talia socks:

photo©Juju Vail

I love everything about Pom Pom, I love their ideas, the patterns, the articles, the design, the paper they use, EVERYTHING.


I'm very proud of these socks, they are knee high with a twisted stitch cable on the cuff and stranded colourwork on the leg.


The yarn I used for these was Northbound Knitting Superwash BFL fingering, it's a lovely yarn and the colours are amazing, Lisa has an amazing talent for grey and grey holds a special place in my heart, but the absinthe green in these socks is BEAUTIFUL.

photo©Juju Vail

There are lots of lovely patterns in this (and every other) issue, I love the cover jumper which is Moira by Anna Wilkinson and the Edda hat by Lisa Mutch is amazing, I need one for me and I know some little boys who need one each too.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I need a tree

I love Christmas and I love Christmas trees. I just haven't got one.

I had a Christmas tree once but I lent it someone a few years ago when we were going abroad for Christmas and I'm not sure it came back.

I'm a Christmas nomad, I travel from house to house, all the houses I visit have trees, they are my adoptive trees.

Last year I went to my sisters for Christmas, I took my For the Tree samples for her tree, she wanted to keep them and I love her so I said yes.


This year I made some more for a swap, I rather like the colour scheme I used for these and I picked up some felt decorations to go with them.


Then I made some Minikins. These are too cute and super quick to make.


I gave them to someone who I will be apart from at Christmas as a reminder of how much I will miss them.

Now this ornament is different. I can't give it away. Jen made it for me and I love it so much.


There are so many details, the mittens are different on the front and back, the collar and pockets are adorable. This is the ornament that will make me buy a tree.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Rosaleen Cowl

The Rosaleen Cowl pattern has been added to the Winter One collection.


The pattern has instructions for 2 sizes, the small one (in the picture) can be knitted with 175 yards of DK weight yarn. It's a quick knit - perfect for last minute gifts. The large one can be wrapped around your neck several times.


I'm knitting one of the large versions with this Rowan Felted Tweed in a lovely dark blue/grey.


It's going to be warm and versatile - the best thing about cowls is that they don't unwind themselves and fall off when you're walking down the street.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Carlottina Socks

The Carlottina sock pattern that I designed for the Magpielly Sock Club is now available:


The pattern has a cables and texture and an afterthought heel, this pattern is ribbed so it hugs the leg for a great fit.

You can get it on Ravelry here or


They are knitted with Brown Sheep Wildfoote Sock Yarn, which is a lovely sock yarn, woolly and hardwearing but also soft. You can get it from Magpielly, I'm rather drawn to the gunsmoke and the lightening lemon.

In other news, yesterday I asked my son to climb a tree, put some socks on and make his feet look pretty so I could take photos. He did this without question, as if it was a completely normal and reasonable request.

This gives an indication of what his life is like living with me and my knitting.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween & Hats


Carving pumpkins is always harder than you think it's going to be!

I'M JOINING IN AGAIN, because that's what I do. This time it's the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat, I've knitted some of her hats before, mystery and non-mystery and they always turn out brilliantly and are so well written, I needed very little encouragement to join in this year.

The mystery hat calls for sport-weight or light DK and at first I thought I didn't have anything suitable, I thought about it for about 5 minutes and came up with a few possibilities, when I went to look at my stash I found several options. (This is what I call stash-amnesia and usually results in me buying yarn without even looking). These were are the 4 I've got to decide from:


I'm leaning towards the reddish Malabrigo Arroyo on the end, I think it would fit nicely into my in-use hat pile...


Monday, 29 October 2012

Tombolo Tombolo

When I was in Shetland I visited St Ninian's Isle:


It's a tied island, connected by a tombolo - a thin strip of land created by wave refraction. It's very beautiful and very cool display of scientific theory in action.

These mittens were inspired by my visit: Tombolo



I used The Knitting Goddess 4ply high twist sock yarn in a lovely slate blue, it's a great yarn with fantastic stitch definition. You can get the pattern and the yarn to make your very own pair here.

The mittens have a ribbed cuff which leads to an undulating cables and twisted stitches. The pattern includes instructions for both fingerless and full mittens.

Size: 8”/20.5cm hand circumference

Full Mittens: 11”/28cm total length 7”/18cm length from beginning of palm to tip

Fingerless Mitts: 8”/20.5cm total length 4”/10cm length from beginning of palm to bind of edge


As always, I'd love to see your mittens in the Coop Knits ravelry group!

(I'm sure I once knew a song with a lyric 'tombolo, tombolo' in it somewhere, it might have been a French song, I can't remember anymore of it and my google-fu has failed. I sang 'Tombolo, Tombolo' in my head and out loud for the majority of our stay.)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Una and her especially pretty heels

The Una sock pattern is now available:


They were part of the Biscotte & Cie club, the inspiration came from Neil Gaimans fabulous novel Stardust. The character Una gives a glass snowdrop to her son to protect him and this lead to the snowdrop lace pattern which runs down the leg and foot, the extended cuff has a twisted stitch, jewel motif which also appears on the rather special afterthought heel.


I find this afterthought heel fits me better than a short-row heel, it's a nice solution to the problem of a heel flap and gusset interrupting the sequence of a striping yarn. I'm looking forward to seeing what colour combinations these socks get knitted in, you'll need about 50g each of two colours of sock yarn.

I've got 2 socks, not a pair, 2 different socks waiting for afterthought heels and this will be the type I do when I get to them:


Thats one Van Gogh sock and one *ahem* Eurovision sock, the second socks are both on the needles - it's all downhill from here!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Holiday Hat No. 1

I went to Shetland. It was amazing. I had such a lovely time with lovely people and lovely wool, I can't even begin to tell how good it was!

It's such a beautiful place, with it's treeless views and an abundance of rainbows:


On this holiday I knitted two hats. This is the first one - Puffin Apple by Jen Arnall-Culliford.


I took this when I was freshly off the needles, I stayed up late to finish it, the pattern is beautifully written and laid out, the whole collection is fantastic.


This is a photo the lovely Ella took of me wearing it at Jamieson & Smith. This was pre-blocking, I knitted some extra rounds in the ribbing because I like my hats slouchy and the fabric is a little bit stiff in this photo. When I got home I employed my favourite hat blocking technique:


The balloon. I blow up the balloon to the circumference I want the blocked hat to be, put the hat on dry and then wet the body of the hat, keeping the brim dry so it doesn't stretch out too much.

This is my new absolute favourite hat. I love it. A lot. The yarn softened in the blocking and it now has a lovely slouch, the colour is so happy - everyone should have a yellow hat!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

It's not easy being green (again)

I've been trying not knit green socks. This is difficult because my favourite thing is knitting green socks. Sometimes I don't have a choice - publishers SEND me green sock yarn and I HAVE to knit green socks. You'll be seeing a few pair of green socks sometime in the not-too-distant future.

I was getting my knitting ready for my trip to Shetland and I noticed that quite a bit of the yarn I'm using or getting ready to use is... um, green.


October has started and I'm one of the featured designers in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group, I'm also having a 'double dip' prize draw in my Ravelry group - any socks that have been entered in the Sockdown can also be entered in my prize draw, you just have to be a member of my group, there will be some lovely prizes and I'd love to see chatter and progress updates.


I need VERY little excuse to go to the sweet shop.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Van Gogh Sock 2 - Progress!

I've started my second Van Gogh sock! (This is the second of eight I had intended to finish by the end of this year, now extended to next year.)


This is the Cafe Terrace 5431 colour, I can't tell you how much I love this yarn. I love it so much I'm sitting on my hands to stop myself buying 5 (or 10) more balls of it so when this pair of socks wears out (and this is Opal sock yarn so it will probably last a LONG time) I can knit another pair and never be without a pair of Cafe Terrace socks. I need a stash of this colour, even if it never gets used, I need to KNOW I have it, just is case.


Look how beautiful the cuff is, all those little stars....

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Introducing my brand new pattern: Sibell


They are cuff down socks with a lace and twisted rib pattern.


You can buy the pattern here or the Ravelry page is here.

I've been working on these for a while, I worked on them at knit night and at Andyfest (thanks to a NicsKnots Miya bag with handles which mean you can knit while walking around with your yarn safely dangling from your wrist)

And at a Free-running show I went to at Croome Court:



They seem to be evoking memories of 'back to school', I think it's a combination of the way I've styled them (Dr. Martens) and the yarn colour that is reminding people of white cotton socks and school shoes. Some people remember more fondly than others!


Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I have documented my compulsion to JOIN IN before. I like to join in. I like Knit-a-longs, I like mystery knits, I like themes and I like a challenges (or QUESTS as I have recently been calling them).

I like all of these things, but generally I'm not very good at them. I get distracted, have too many deadlines and usually don't finish on time (if at all).

One of my favourite challenge/KAL type things is the Sockdown in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group, I haven't had time to participate for a while but I used to love it. There are techniques and featured designers for each month, so there is always a lot of choice, the underlying idea behind the group is to challenge yourself so you can tailor your choices to what you find challenging.

This year I'm honoured to be a featured designer in October and I'm designing a mystery sock for them in January. The theme that month is Flora and Fauna, I'm trying to choose my yarn, at the moment I'm hovering between these three greens (I don't need an excuse to knit more green socks but if one comes along like this I won't say no!). It could be I go in a completely different direction though, you'll have to wait until January to find out...


If you like sock knitting you should go and join in, it really is fun, no one will shout at you if you don't finish a pair and if you succeed you'll have a pair of socks to show for it (or many pairs depending on how successful you are!)

I'm also joining in with the Local KAL which is part of The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast, the reasons for joining in are thus:

1. I love her face.

2. I need a warm hat, I'm going to Shetland soon and Jen tells me 'It's always hat weather in Shetland'.

3. I like the idea of supporting local businesses and I've got this lovely alpaca yarn from a day I spent at Toft Alpaca a few years ago.


It's about 50 miles from me and it's such a lovely place, full of lovely alpacas and lovely people and of course lovely yarn. My hat will be simple and stripy and WARM.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Banach Mittens

Autumn is upon us! We didn't really have a summer here in the UK, it was the wettest one for 100 years and it was mostly cold too so I'm quite happy to move on and leave it behind.

Autumn is my favourite time of year, there is loads of seasonal produce, fires get lit, blankets come out and knitwear gets worn in abundance.

In my garden some of the apples are ready:


I'm lucky enough to have 5 apple trees, some are cooking apples and some are eaters. The fruit is a bit smaller than usual because of the aforementioned weather but unlike the pear and plum trees, which were a complete failure this year, there are more than enough apples to go around.

Autumn also means the release of the Twist Collective Fall 2012 collection and I'm honoured to have a pattern included - Banach

They have a hemmed cuff and colourwork section followed by a twisted stitch cable pattern on the back of the hand, the palm of the hand has seed stitch detail. They are just right for the impending cold weather - the only thing worse than cold hands are cold feet!

The photographs and styling are stunning, I've been on the look out for a yellow mac ever since I saw this one!

I used Dragonfly Fibers Djinni yarn and it was such lovely stuff to work with, the colours are beautiful and the yarn is bouncy and gave the mittens such crisp stitch definition. You can get a kit including the colours I used for the mittens shown here. I'll definitely use this yarn again, maybe for a pair of socks next time.

You can buy the pattern from the Twist Collective site or from Ravelry - it's great to be able to keep the pattern in your Rav library. I'd love to see any finished mittens or mittens in progress or even just theoretical colour choices in my Ravelry group.

All photos belong to the very talented Carrie Bostick Hoge - when I grow up I want to take pictures like her.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Something is missing....


These are the projects I've been working on today (yarn only, the actual knitting is secret).

It's left me craving neon bright sock yarn!