Friday, 23 March 2012

Dark & Twisty socks - Bellatrix Lestrange

A while ago I was asked to design some socks for the Biscotte club, the theme was Harry Potter as the packages were going out about the same time as the last film in the series was being released. I'm a big Harry Potter fan, I read all the books, saw all the films (several times) and I chose Bellatrix as my inspiration - there's something about a character with absolutely no redeeming features! I'm also totally in love with Helena Bonham-Carter and all her films.


These socks are dark and twisty with lace, cables and twisted stitches, they are also beautiful and bewitching like a poisonous flower.


You can get the pattern on Ravelry here or

The yarn is Biscotte Felix which is 80% merino and 20% nylon but feels like a cashmere blend - it's really lovely yarn and the colours are beautiful. There is a French translation of the pattern courtesy of Louise.The lovely Mary of Hugs For Your Head was a member of the club and took some photos which show the detail slightly better than my own efforts:

This is a pattern that does require a bit of concentration but the results are worth it, I promise!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, I thought I'd use this as an excuse to show you the lap blanket my mother made for me a couple of weeks ago:



She crocheted it without a pattern, making it up as she went along. It's my favourite thing in the world, I can't tell you how much I love it, if my house was burning down it would be the item I'd save. So perfect for keeping my legs warm while I knit. People don't make things for me very often, it's usually the other way around and it's reaffirmed how much I love to give knitted gifts by reminding me how nice it is to receive them.

A few days ago my mum announced 'I'm knitting up all my wool' (by wool she means yarn). I know this is in response to my * Ahem * rather extensive stash, which terrifies her and I'm not even sure she knows the true extent of it (if I'm being honest sometimes it terrifies me a bit too), and she is trying to encourage me to do the same. I ignored her and changed the subject.

A couple of days later we had a conversation which went something like this:
MUM: I'm doing really well knitting all my wool.
ME: What will you do when you've used it all? Will you stop knitting?
MUM: No, I'll buy some more.

My knee-jerk reaction to her anti-stash actions is to buy her more yarn. I can't help it. For Mother's Day I bought her some Rooster Almerino and she immediately cast on, this is an afternoons work - she knits FAST:


I'm not sure if this was because she really liked it or because she knows what I'm doing, if it's the latter, an epic battle of wills has begun and I will not be defeated.I haven't decided whether I will be giving her more yarn face to face or sneaking in to her stash and pretending to know nothing about it, I'll also be employing enabling tactics and taking her to yarn shops and shows.

I'll leave you with the portraits my 4 and 8 year old sons made for me:


Quite accurate really.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Emlyn Socks

I've got a pattern in this months Knit Now magazine; Emlyn Socks.


This months issue of the magazine is particularly good, there are loads of great patterns - my favourite are the Bunty Mitts by Ella Austin. My grandma used to have a casserole dish with this retro print on it and I think they are really lovely, I bought the kit to make them from Skein Queen (that little owl needle gauge was too cute for me not to add it to my order!).

The Emlyn Socks have contrasting heels, toes and cuffs and a little bit of stranded colourwork, I used mini-skeins from The Knitting Goddess for the contrast colours. When I was designing these I was thinking about colourwork jumpers and vests from the 1940s, sometimes I daydream about knitting a beautiful vest like the ones the children in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang wear but I worry about shaping and put it off, one day though....

Monday, 12 March 2012

Mellow Yellow

I'm going through a bit of a yellow obsession phase at the moment, normally I'm a green kind of girl but lately all I can think about are varying shades of yellow...


I bought the sunshine yellow dress last week from good old M&S and the dress/top on the right is what my sister calls 'baby poo yellow', she honestly thinks it's the worst colour in the world and can't understand why I love it - but to quote my childhood:

My all consuming love of yellow has, of course, spilled over in to my yarn choices:


There's some lace weight, sock weight, chunky and 4-ply in that little selection and there are firm plans for it all so expect to see plenty of yellow knitted items taking centre stage on the blog in the next few months!

P.s Thanks for all your lovely comments about Phloem, I'm so glad so many people like them!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Phloem Socks

The new Knitty came out and I've got a pattern in it! Phloem Socks


This the description I wrote: These cuff down socks were inspired by the structure and clean lines of leaves and buds in the spring, the left and right socks mirror each other, with and lace leaf motif running down one side of the leg and a pattern of buds running down the other. The gentle green color of the yarn is perfect for socks which take inspiration from the slow, soft unfurling of foliage. The name is pronounced “flow-em”.


These were a long time in the making, I started what evolved in to this design in July 2010 - I had originally intended them to be for a sock club package but they didn't really fit and I came up with something else that I was much happier with for that month. The yarn I chose to swatch with was Biggan 4ply and what I came up with was pretty but I think that yarn would be better for gloves than socks (in fact I thought I had decided to make the swatch into a glove at some point but when I went to dig it out earlier I found it without needles, apparently at some point I was too impatient to employ waste yarn and have now created more work for myself, SIGH).


When I changed yarn to the Knitting Goddess merino nylon sock, I altered the design a bit, making them mirrored (symmetrical across the pair) and I finished the sample on Christmas eve on holiday in France. There was a heart-stopping moment when I discovered when I was almost at the toe of the second sock, I had dropped a stitch on the gusset and lovely long ladder was forming. I repaired it, though for about half an hour I was not good company!

The first photo shoot was at Rocamadour but the sun was so low and so bright I wasn't really happy with the results so I took some more indoors where I could control the light a bit more. I used my sisters camera and as a result a new camera went firmly on my wish list!


If you knit a pair, I'd love to see your yarn choice/progress/finished socks! I've started a KAL thread here.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

'Spinning in the bag'



I finally finished spinning the fibre I got for the Knit Girllls spin-along/knit-along, I missed the deadline and it's not even knitted, I didn't start the knitting - I haven't even decided what I'm going to knit but it is PRETTY!



I was going to fractal spin it but I muddled up the different bits of fibre I'd separated from the braid so I just spun it and plied it. There are parts where the colours line up and then other parts where they don't, it's about 410 metres (448 yards) so enough for a scarf or shawlette, I think I might knit another Hitchhiker or combine it with some charcoal grey in a two colour (and much larger, have I told you of my cinema-going-shawl-blanket ambitions?) shawl.

Now that is finally off my spindle I've started on my pumpkin batts from HillTop Cloud, I'm hoping for 300 metres of 3 ply to knit socks:


And I have a brand new Spindle bag from the ever lovely Nics Knots. I was fed up with using plastic freezer bags to carry my spinning around, they weren't big enough and the spindle stuck out of the top. I asked Nic if she could make me a bag and this is what she came up with:


It is so perfect, there's a pocket inside for my spindle and plenty of room for fibre, I think you could get at least 200g in there comfortably. I don't think there are any in her shop right now but if you ask her nicely, I'm sure she'll make you one - she's nice like that!


I'm all set to take my spinning with me everywhere now, maybe that will mean I'll finish this 100g faster? (Probably not!)

Friday, 2 March 2012

In like a lion......

Well, February was a blogging fail!

I'll do better in March I promise!I'm designing a Mystery Sock for the UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry, if you're knitting along I'd love to see your progress in my group (or anything else you're knitting with one of my patterns!). The first clue was released yesterday and there will be 3 more clues throughout March.

I released the Percy Hat pattern a few weeks ago...



You can also get the pattern as part of a kit from Fibre Flurry with a lovely bag and all the yarn and needles you need


I also set up a mailing list, you can sign up on the left side of the blog if you want to hear about new patterns and get exclusive special offers and discounts.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!