Sidney and Eugene KAL round-up

I really don't know what's slower - my knitting, or my writing up a post about a long-finished KAL.

The January and February KAL in the Coop Knits Ravelry group was Sidney and Eugene, both from Coop Knits  Socks Vol. 2. Serial sockists Mandy and Gail both maintained their reputations for being prolific as they managed pairs in both patterns.

Eugene: writergirl3 (Gail)

Eugene: writergirl3 (Gail)

Sidney: mandyscragg (Mandy)

Sidney: mandyscragg (Mandy)

Random pattern prizes went to Sarah and Penny for their Eugenes and Sidneys respectively.

Eugene: sarahpurpleflower (Sarah)

Eugene: sarahpurpleflower (Sarah)

Sidney: pennybro (Penny)

Sidney: pennybro (Penny)

There isn't a KAL running currently, but keep looking here or on the Ravelry group for notice of the next one.



Socks from everywhere: Blue

I may have mentioned this before, but the most popular colour to have in socks, at least according to Ravelry, is blue. Whether this is because blue is an easy colour for dyeing, that it has the widest range of hues, or simply that it goes well with jeans, I really don't know. Whatever the reason, here are four of the best blue socks.

First up are the well-defined cables of these Seudagan socks, designed and made by Mona NicLeòid. Seudagan is Galic for "little charm," or "little gem," and they certainly have a charm of their own.

Pattern and Photo:  Seudagan by Mona NicLeòid

Pattern and Photo: Seudagan by Mona NicLeòid

Strictly speaking, these could go into a post on orange socks, but these had to be featured.

These were made by Tiffany, who does her own video podcast, Knitting at Tiffany's. I can't decide what the contrast colour makes me think of, but definitely an animal of some sort: a tiger, or some kind of exotic tropical fish? Either way, the waves of colour and asymmetry make these socks stand out.

I realise I've done a number of these and haven't yet featured a Coop Knits pattern. These Deccas, from Coop Knits Socks Vol. 2, made by Glen (Glennz on Ravelry) are great examples as you can see the lace pattern so clearly.

Pattern: Decca by Rachel Coopey; Photo:  Glen (Glennz)

Pattern: Decca by Rachel Coopey; Photo: Glen (Glennz)

I had to look at this last pair over and over again to believe they were actually knittted.

Photo:  PurlsB4wine

These Royal Copenhagen socks are modifications of not one, but three General Hogbuffer designs, Eisern, Skandium and Onopordum. The effect is nothing short of stunning as the combination of yarn and design work perfectly together to match the feel of Royal Copenhagen china. Who knows, maybe in the future we'll see vases in the shape of socks?

With only one weekend left in February, there's still time to finish off your Sidney or Eugene socks for the Jan/Feb KAL. Head over to the Coop Knits group to see what's been going on.


Socks from everywhere: Red

Many years ago I had a student whose father was a doctor. He would come along to parents' evenings in his sombre suits that he clearly wore to work, but you could pick him out from the crowd as soon as he sat down as he was partial to alarmingly bright socks, usually in vivid yellows or reds. 

I've done a little research on Ravelry and found that red is far from the most popular colour for socks. Perhaps it's the look-at-me quality that this dad was going for that some knitters shy away from. I would not presume to know, but here are four pairs that caught my eye.

Pattern:  Im Kreis der Familie  by  Regina Satta ; Photo: duesselhexe

Pattern: Im Kreis der Familie by Regina Satta; Photo: duesselhexe

These just look good. The variegation of the Drachenwolle yarn doesn't detract from, or disguise the cabling. Instead it adds depth to the design. The pattern name is In the family circle in English and these fine examples were made by prolific sock knitter Alexandra (duesselhexe on Ravelry).

In looking through thousands of sock projects, I've seen this pattern many times and these, from knitter and designer knittymelissa are good examples. I'm a relative newcomer to colourwork, but like the simplicity of the idea here of the gradual change in colour which works well. It would be a shame to wear shoes with these since the instep colourwork would be hidden from view.

Stephanie van der Linden's designs seem to really stand out from the crowd and could easily have chosen two or three for this post alone. The leafy lace pattern on these Esther socks, made by knittyliciousuk, is accentuated by the hint of sparkle in the Easyknits Twinkle yarn.

This came up as one of the top hits when i went looking for red socks and I couldn't resist putting them in. It's just a fun design that made me smile when I first saw the photos. Maybe these are for you and you can be the one standing out from the crowd with apples on your socks.....


Wilbert and Orville KAL round-up

The last KAL of 2015 was two patterns from Coop Knits Socks Volume 2: Orville and Wilbert. What you can see from the pictures of the finished socks is how much the yarn used changes the look of the same pattern. 

These pairs of Orvilles were made by, from top to bottom, cvd-aviatrix, MissFrances and writergirl3. You can see how the middle pair were knit with a far less fluffy yarn than the other two, giving a much sharper stitch definition. It could be the differing light conditions in which the photos were taken except.....

These Wilberts, made by, from top to bottom, mandyscragg, writergirl3, have far less variation.

I guess that's one of the fascinating things about knitting: that you're never going to know exactly how things will turn out until you've made a good start.

The randomly selected winners from the KAL are MissFrances, mandyscragg and writergirl3, and yarn winners are agita and cvd-aviatrix. There are other KALs running currently in the CoopKnits Ravelry group. Have a look and join in!

Socks from everywhere: Yellow

Way back in the distant past I was a postgraduate research student. I moved into a house with friends and was horrified to discover, a few days later, that my supervisor's girlfriend was my new next-door neighbour. The adjoining walls weren't all that thick, so I was regularly treated to the fruits of his, hitherto unknown, knowledge of hilarious (to him at least) jokes. The thing is, I never heard the body of the joke, only ever the roared punchline followed by gales of self-congratulatory laughter. Early one Sunday morning I was treated to a cry of, "......... and it was yellow! Ha ha ha!" Ever since, I have not been a fan of the colour. 

It turns out though that the rest of the world seems to disagree with me. So here's a selection of yellow socks: cabled, colourwork, lace and fun patterns.

Pattern: Linesx3 by Jeannie Cartmel; Photo: LizzieLace

Pattern: Linesx3 by Jeannie Cartmel; Photo: LizzieLace

These, made by LizzieLace, caught my eye because of the changes of direction. With the spiralling band, I bet they're snug fitting too.

Pattern: Fibonacci by Stephanie van der Linden; Photo McFrazzled

Pattern: Fibonacci by Stephanie van der Linden; Photo McFrazzled

These, made by McFrazzled, may have made my eyes go a little funny if I looked at then too long, but I do love the overall effect and the fact that the soles are completely different. This picture, with the strong line dividing the motifs, would be a good one to use if trying to explain how socks are constructed to a beginner knitter. 

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A; Photo: Heikku

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A; Photo: Heikku

These look great in the photo and this design was one of the first that Jen knitted. I think it's a great example of a simple idea, well executed to make something special. Heikku made this pair and after last week's post, I wonder what's on her sock blockers.

Pattern: No. 2 Pencil Socks by The Yarn Enabler; Photo: TrishKnits

Pattern: No. 2 Pencil Socks by The Yarn Enabler; Photo: TrishKnits

When I saw how this photo was composed by TrishKnits, I had to smile. It took me back to the couple of years I spent in the US as a kid, always in need of a No. 2 pencil for day to day work, but particularly for tests. I may never make a pair, but I am glad that the design exists.

If you think I've missed out a stunning pair of yellow socks, please do leave a comment.

Decca and Delbert KAL Round-up

The first autumn KAL came to a close a little over a week ago. The two patterns were Decca and Delbert from Coop Knits Socks Volume 2. Here's a selection of the finished socks posted to the Ravelry thread.

First are the Delberts. From left to right, the projects of agita, Rubywool and pookiebb.

Then the Deccas of aiko1122, writergirl3 and gillianrp.

As ever with knitalongs, there is a random prize draw, with two yarn prizes and three pattern download prizes.

Using a random number generator, the randomly selected yarn winners are MissFrances and jillrlambert, and the pattern winners are mandyscragg, aiko1122 and writergirl3. Congratulations to you all!

The next sock KAL has started already (Wilbert and Orville) and you can post your progress on the Ravelry thread.  Happy sock knitting!


Do You Remember the First Time?

"I can't remember a worse time," as Jarvis Cocker would have it. Knitting a sock for the first time was a daunting challenge for me. For a start, I haven't yet made the leap from magic loop to the black art of DPNs. While knitting a tube made perfect sense, it took a long explanation and many, many drawings by Jen to explain to me how the heel flap and gusset joined in and shaped the heel. Furthermore, I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from Hazel Tindall and keep trying to get a Guinness World Record for being the world's slowest knitter. They tell me it's impossible to distinguish between knitting slowly and staring blankly into space.

Anyway, this is as far as I've got. I have no idea who it is likely to fit as I cast on far too few stitches to come anywhere near fitting around my ankles.

Veuf Tricot's first sock

Veuf Tricot's first sock

If and when I do finish this sock, I will then be faced with the biggest challenge, namely making another that is exactly the same size. 

I'm not alone though. This was Jen's first effort from many years ago:

Jen's first sock

Jen's first sock

Jen's tension was a little tight to say the least and she got a little carried away when working the foot. What she ended up with was a sock that was too tight and too long to be useful. She never cast on for the second sock, but passed the first to a friend whose foot did fit the sock to make the pair herself. Since this rocky start however, Jen has become an expert sock knitter and I am hugely grateful in the winter for that fact.

I'm intrigued to know whether the majority of knitters got socks right the first time, or whether, like us, the first one is a bit of a learning process. Leave a comment and let us know! I'm sure we'd all like to know about Rachel's first sock, wouldn't we?



Friday Favourites: Blue Moon Fiber Arts

This week, we caught up with Tina Newton from Blue Moon Fiber Arts to hear about what makes her tick.

Wouldn't you love to work here?

Wouldn't you love to work here?

What is your favourite colour?

As someone whose job is color I am asked this question a lot. So, you would think I would have a quick and easy answer. I don't! 

I love all colors and pretty much everything single thing about them. Since it is one of the key tools of my trade, my relationship with color is probably more intimate and in depth than most. 

I tend to have what I think of as hue love affairs. Some weeks it's all about the warmth of orange with the cool of aqua. Then something in me shifts and another color or color combination strikes my fancy and boom, I'm obsessed. I'm then immersed, learning and experimenting with all that my current hue-obsession has to offer. 

That all said... I do tend to wear neutrals, especially greys.

And, I have never, ever met a green that I did not love!

My longest (to date) hue love affair has been with Pond Scum Green! 

I do love the scummy colors.

What is your current favourite yarn/fibre?

I am working with a lot of Targhee right now. It's a local breed to my little corner of the world and one I have worked with for years. I have a few new yarns that I am doing swatch tests on right now to add to the Blue Moon line-up and three of them are Targhee blends. One is a DK single with a silk addition that makes me so happy I am finding it hard to contain myself. I can't wait to share this yarn!!

What is your favourite season?

You know, I love all the bright green newness of Spring and the red the hot brightness of Summer and even Winter's cool dark and here, wet days, but I have to say that Autumn really is my season. You know that moment in late summer when you realize it's a shade cooler and then you notice that there's just the barest scent of fall in the air? That is my favorite day of the year. 

As a color obsessed person of course, I love the changing of the leaves. All of those rusty oranges, golds, browns, purplish greens and on and on. Autumn is such a tapestry of earthy rich hues. What I like most of the all though, is the tall grasses and weedy changes. When the plants die back and turn all shades of brown and grey and then go to seed. Such a subtle and beautiful process.

What is/was your current favourite knitting/crochet project?

I don't really have one going. I am doing a lot of swatching right now for yarn development and testing. I am one of those strange knitters that actually likes to swatch. It's probably because of my small attention span. A swatch is just the right amount of time to hold my interest.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Oh my goodness, so hard to choose. The fan girl in me would like to have dinner with Dr. Who, the knitter would love to sit with Elizabeth Zimmerman for a few hours and the colorist would like nothing more that to sit in Monet's garden with him and wax poetic about the nature of color over a pot of tea. Right now though in this crazy moment of time I think I would like to sit down with Michelle Obama.

Where do you feel most inspired or get most inspiration?

Pretty much anything and anywhere, but most especially out in nature. I think this is why I choose to live in the woods. No one does color like Mother Nature.

Quick fire questions! What is your favourite:

Book? Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos

Film? The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension (Embarrassing but true)

Quote? Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn. 

Cocktail/drink? Fresh hopped rye beer

Cake? I'm more of a pie person so...maybe lemon pound cake.

Cheese? River's Edge, Up in Smoke Chèvre

Tina at work

Tina at work

Find out more about Tina, her team and her amazing range of yarns, including Socks That Rock (and really they do), here.

All photos ©Blue Moon Fiber Arts

Coop Knits Sock Project Bags

In our house, knitting projects seem to get everywhere. Half-started socks appear and disappear into the ether with alarming regularity. Were it not for DPN protectors and project bags, cats, children, or a combination of both would cause the house to turn into some kind of a spiky spider's web, ready to trip, entangle and impale the unwary.

Project bags shouldn't just be functional however, and Jen has really got into statement bags to add to the pile of WIPs. These two have seen plenty of use recently:

Coop Knits Sock Bags

I'm a particular fan of "Socks Yeah!" as a slogan for the more..........assertive knitter and neither leaves any doubt as to their purpose.

If you would like one to be the envy of your knitting group, these eye-catching project bags are available for the Coop Knits shop. They are priced at £6 and will comfortably fit a couple of wound skeins of sock yarn, needles and a pattern.