Saturday, 28 February 2015

Fearlas Mor Socks & Yummy Yarn


More socks!!  I have indeed been busy, and these little grey socks are one of my favorite pairs!  You can find the pattern on Ravelry here

Knitted in hand-dyed yarn from Sara's Texture Crafts, these socks are toe-up, part slipped stitch pattern, part lace pattern.  

In the Cairngorms, there is a rumour of a Grey Man, a Fearlas Mor, who roams the mountaintops waiting to waylay hopeful climbers. He has been reported as a ‘presence’ rather than a tangible being, and those sensible scientists have thought of a few explanations.

The ‘Broken Spectre’ is apparently a phenomenon which occurs when a break in the clouds allows us to see a reflection of ourselves on the next cloud, often accompanied by a rainbow called a Glory.
Despite this, some still feel the Grey Man is a manifestation of the spirit of the mountain – which is cool, if a little creepy.

As far as the yarn goes, it was yummy!  Hand-dyed by Sara, who guest posted here recently on the merits of being brave with your yarn dyeing adventures

I also used the Karbonz knit pro needles for this pair, and they were a delight to knit with.  As I mentioned in the needle review not long ago, they're just lovely and comfortable, and I will definitely be using them again soon. 

If you'd prefer something more summery, Braeriach and Ithunn sock are lovely, green & lacy, knitted in lovely yarn from Ginger Twist & Sylvan Tiger.  

What are you currently knitting?  What's your favourite kind of sock to make?

As you may have noticed a couple of clues to in the first photo, I'm off to Iceland this week!!  Very excited, all the winter warm clothes are looked out & packed, and I'm really upset I don't have time to knit a lovely warm cowl before I go!  One of my definite goals is to buy myself some lopi yarn for an icelandic sweater whilst I'm away.  Have you ever visited?  Can you recommend a yarn shop for me?!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Trip To Gingers

It should seem like a bit of a dream to nestle in amongst all of this glorious yarn, but it's a very real possibility at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

Recently, I was very flattered to be asked if I'd like to take part in 'Designer of the Month' at Ginger Twist Studio - of course, I said yes; resulting in a wonderful day spent knitting, drinking tea, chatting to some amazing ladies who popped in for a wee visit, and a serious amount of yarn smooshing. 

As some of you know, though most of you don't, I lived in Edinburgh for 5 years whilst attending university.  Edinburgh is beautiful; it is unique, cobbled, romantic, surprising, massive yet tiny, comforting and awe-inspiring in equal measure.  And, as that train pulled into Waverly train station, a ridiculous sense of joy permeated my being.  You may think, at this point, I'm being melodramatic.  I can assure you, I was genuinely overwhelmed (+/- having some sort of location crisis). 

I love Glasgow as well, but for such very different reasons.  It's huge, filled with music venues & art exhibitions, has a character which can't quite be defined and never fails to surprise me in some way or other.  You CAN be in love with two cities at once.

Jess' store is adorable; perfectly appointed for it's purpose.  Along one wall hangs hand-dyed yarn of all types of colours & fibres.  They're hung lengthways rather than skeined to give a better appreciation of colour and texture, creating a dream-like wooly waterfall wtretching wall to wall.    Along the other rests balls of commercial yarns, ripe for picking.  Stitch markers and knitting accessories are shelved neatly above the yarns, below rows of knitted items Jess has lovingly put together herself.   The smell is one of fibre & tea - cinnamon, this morning.

Jess herself is delightful, welcoming and entertaining, and made me feel right at home.  Even little Fox was quite at home with his cup of tea.

Whilst we chatted, some of my designs were on display around the shop, including the newest addition - Braeriach socks (here on Rav), knit from Jess' own hand-dyed yarn.  Her mannequin was also very fetching in the Ashton Lane beaded circular shawlette & the Ardence Scarf

Of course, I didn't leave empty handed and now have two new sets of needles and a ball of yarn to show for my visit...

Apart from in her gorgous little shop, you'll find Jess at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this March, too. 

Have you been yarn shopping lately?  What did you buy?  I'm desperate to get knitting with this lovely skein from GTS!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sleepy Sunday & Braeriach Sock

After a wonderful day at Ginger Twist Studio yesterday (more on that later), today is a day for knitting, reading and reorganising my stash several times until it is lined up just right.  

I'm very excited to tell you that my new sock pattern is out.  It's called Braeriach and is inspired by one of the highest mountains in Scotland.  Scrubby mountainside plants, beaten by the howling winds. Even on days with bluebird skies, you’ll find yourself buffeted in every direction by the mountainside ‘breeze’. An icy bite is never far away when wandering a Scottish Munro like Braeriach, but you could always rely on good socks to keep you going!  Braeriach is the third highest mountain in Britain (and feels like it, when attempting your journey up).

I'm going to level with you all, I strongly dislike climbing up a mountain.  Yes, yes, it's all very pretty and theres a sense of achievement when you get to the top - but it's freezing, and windy, and I can't knit.  

Don't get me wrong, strap some wooden planks to my feet and send me down a mountain and I'm happy as the proverbial pig, but there are wee lifts there to take you up again.

These socks are made from Ginger Twist sheepish sock, and it is very yummy to knit with.  

Whilst I was in Edinburgh I bought a set of hiyahiya interchangables, mainly so that I could have the wee Panda needle toppers and that they were on the needles they were supposed to be on.  It's not excessive, it was totally necessary.  Also totally necessary was the small 9" metal sock circular - because I bought a wooden one the other day and now have to compare them.  Yes. 

I also left with another skein of Jess' lovely yarn in merino/silk Hocus Pocus colourway.  Is is beautiful and incredible and I shall spend the day smooshing it.  But first I must finish things I'm supposed to be working on.  How many projects do you currently have on the go?  I'm trying to reduce the amount of WIPs lying around so am determined to get some of these finished.  Also, I'm sure I had more cables, so perhaps I have some long-lost projects hidden somewhere, long forgotten. 

Best of all, PomPom arrived this weekend, just in time for my cozy kntting & chilling session.  There are some truly beautiful items inside this quarter, and I'd love to knit them but am unsure how patient I am!  There is a glorious laceweight top, but I might have to wait until a few exciting secret things are finished first. 

What do you have planned for this weekend?  Are you venturing outside or settling down on the couch? 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Needle Review: ChiaoGoo Spin

I couldn't stop after just the Karbonz review, so bring you a wee note on my new chiaogoo needles! Bought from Meadow Yarn at Yarndale, I obtained a little set of 2.75 bamboos on the 'spin' cable

The spin needles are bamboo, nice and sharp tipped, and come in short or regular lengths.  These are the shorter needles, and I love them.  So dinky!  The 'spin' part relates to the ability of the cable to move independently of the needles, so that you never end up with a large kinked & twirling stretch of cable when working in the round. 

These needles also come in metal 'twist'; the 'twist' is the ability of the cable not to twist around whilst you're working.  I've not tried this type, but they seem pretty cool. 

As you probably know, wooden needles are my favourite kind, so these wee needles are off to a headstart.  They're very smooth and have a nice amount of flexibility.  The tips are not as smooth as those of last months Karbons, which is both good and bad.  Good, because I feel I have more control over the stitches, and they grab slipped stitches back up nicely.  Bad, as they do catch a little more on the stitches sometimes.

The cable is really nice to work with - the clear cable turns independently of the needles, so there's no pulling a needle out and letting it untwist when you reach a new row when using them for magic loop.  I think this might be an issue which affects magic loopers more, as I don't see how you could twist the cable around quite so much when working in the round with full needles, but it definitely makes sock knitting two at a time less twirly.

Do you have a set of these?  Are they your favourites or do you prefer others?

The yarn is from the lovely Jess of Ginger Twist Studio, and is used in my lovely new socks which will be released this weekend :p

Yours truly will also be in Ginger Twist Studio this weekend with some of my patterns and knits to show you lot!  Do drop by for some tea and a chat :)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Skein Queen Club & Follow Your Arrow 2


I'm not normally a fan of pink, but when this little bundle appeared on my doorstep I couldn't help but fall in love with it.  

As ever, Skein Queens book club provides one skein of variegated & one skein of semi-solid.  This time, they were based on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and named Pink Martini (the caked one) & Feminine Charms (the semi-solid skein). The base is exquisite twist; 80% merino, 10% cashmere & 10% nylon. 

Much like everyone else, I'm aiming to reduce the amount of yarn I buy this year, because my stash really is becoming ridiculous.  However, I have decided to keep up the clubs I'm a member of, because I simply can't do without these beautiful little surprises appearing through my door.  Though, if being honest with myself, more single skeins are the last things I need!

In an attempt to actually start knitting with the lovely yarn Skein Queen has been posting to me these past three months, I decided to cake up her most recent club in order to join a KAL - Ysoldas Follow Your Arrow 2

Following the great success of Arrows original last year, Ysolda has cooked up another multi-optional shawl for us to get excited about.  As with last year, some knitters are managing to knit several of these in order to try as many of the options as possible, but I think I'll stick to one!   It appears that this year the shawl will involve lots of texture, and I'm intrigued to see how all the different combinations will turn out. 

Last year, my arrows was knitted with Manos.  It is beautiful - and definitely not worn enough. 

I've said it before, and I'll mention it again - KALs are wonderful.  They bring knitters together in a way that feels so sociable and encourages us to be part of something.  For some, they provide motivation, others reassurance.  Some simply enjoy browsing through the many different ways knitters can form one item, the yarn and techniques they have used to do so.  Those tiny adjustments, tweaks and personal additions which make each and every garment unique whilst always keeping in touch with the original.  

In a small way, it makes me happy to see so many people come together with one simple goal.

There's also a small situation arising, because I have just this minute spotted another yarn club which looks exciting.  Did you know (because I didn't), that Ysolda is starting a Yarn/Shawl club this year?  I have to stop looking at it before more clubs fall into my letterbox.  Must.  Stop.  No.  Looking. 

Do you take part in any yarn clubs or KALs?  Why do you love those ones in particular?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

New Pattern: Ithunn Socks

Steady tendrils of graceful ivy grow up most vertical surfaces in the local garden, and it would be nice, just by slipping on a pair of socks, to become a little part of that.

Living in a flat often means that we have to bring little pieces of the outside in; anything from cacti to orchids, window-ledge bird feeders to leafy inspired socks.  These green toes were named after Ithunn - the Norse goddess of spring and keeper of apples & eternal youth. Nice job, that.

Rows begin at the start of sole stitches, ending with end of instep chart.  These socks are knit from toe up in the round, with short row toes and heels. The foot is first knit with stockinette on the sole and pattern as charted over the instep. After the heel the pattern continues around the circumference of the leg.  This knit involves knitting in the round, lace and cables.

Oh, also!  In case you missed it, I made a Short Row Toe video tutorial last week, in case you're unsure about short row toes :)

 You can find the sock pattern over here on Ravelry, or buy now with paypal.  

I do love these socks, and there's plenty of time to get started before spring comes around - because aren't they just perfect for spring-time?

The yarn is glorious too, it's dyed by Sylvan Tiger, and was part of the Autumn 2014 Golden Skein Yarn Club.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Knit: a Short Row Toe

I *adore* short row toes.  They're like magical little wrappy turny pouches of toe-holding goodness.  And what's even better is that you do the exact same for the heel!

Top down socks seem to be far more prevalent on Ravlery, & it seems quite a few folk have never knit this kind of toe before.  It's a great easy (once you get the hang of it) start for a toe up sock which makes for a very smooth toe.   I like toe up socks mainly because I like to see it grow in proper socky shape, and they're nice to try on - yes I know we can try on top down ones too, but it's just not the same for me if my toes are peeping out.

This is simply my semi self-taught method of knitting these toes.  There may very well be several other way to do it, but this works well for me and gives me a nice finish.

Do you knit toe-up socks already?  What's your favourite sock method?

There may or may not be one or two mistakes...  They're deliberate ones *nods*.

In words, if you find it more helplful:

Work Judy’s Magic Cast On.

Row 1: K across all sts.
Row 2: Sl1, P to 1 stitch before end of needle. Turn.
Row 3: Sl1, K to 1 stitch before end of needle. Turn.
Row 4: Sl1, P to st before last slipped stitch. Turn the slipped st.
Row 5: Sl1, K to st before last slipped stitch. Turn the slipped st.

Repeat rows 4 and 5, working one less stitch in each row, to complete the bottom half of the toe.  I’d suggest repeating these two rows 8 more times (approx. 9 times total).  This is really up to you. 

For the second half of the toe, you’ll need to pick up all of these stitches you left behind on the first half:
Row 1: purl to your turned stitch, slip this and pick up the wrapped st around it.  Purl these two stitches together. Turn.
Row 2: knit to turned stitch.  Slip this and pick up wrapped stitch.  Knit these two stitches together. Turn.

This does mean that, in the following rows, you’ll likely be encountering two wrapped stitches in addition to your slipped stitch.  Just pick both of these up and knit three together before wrapping & turning again. 


I'll also be releasing a couple of sock patterns very shortly, which use short row toes.  If you'd like a wee heads up when they're released, you can sign up for the news letter:

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So, are you still daunted by the short row toe?

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