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.

 

VT  

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.

VT

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.....

VT

Useless information?

In looking for candidates for the Socks from everywhere posts (next week it's red socks), I've made extensive use of the advanced search features on Ravelry. On a whim, I wondered which were the most popular colours for socks.

Of course a simple question always lacks a simple answer. While you can search for single colours, there is the option, for somewhere-inbetween colours such as yellow-orange. For simplicity's sake, I counted these as both yellow and orange.

Far and away the top two colours are blue (roughly 124,000 projects), followed by green (102,000). Red is third, with a little over half the number of green projects (56,000), with purple just behind (55,000) and, perhaps surprisingly, pink in fifth (38,000), closely followed by orange (35,000).

I would take these numbers with a slight pinch of salt since when I went back later on and performed what I had thought was the same search, the numbers had shifted slightly. however, the pattern was pretty constant.

So should this be anything more than passing curiosity? Certainly it leads to even more questions. Are knitters predisposed to buying blue or green yarn over more muted browns or greys? Or is it the case that the photographs of the samples on the patterns sway yarn purchasers? Do designers influence yarn choices that strongly?

All and none of these could be factors, but there is another angle. My house is full of yarn purchased, sometimes without even a vague notion of a project, so it lies in storage. It may be that pretty colours sell, but just never make it as far as the needles.

Maybe I'm better spending my time on more useful pursuits. I fancy some nice new socks, blue perhaps.......

 

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.

Have you seen these: sock blockers

Every time I go to get a CD out of the cabinet where we store them, I knock the wire sock blockers that hang from the knob onto the floor with a huge clatter. This poses two questions for me. Firstly, why do I persist in putting them back in exactly the same place, knowing full well that I'll only knock them off again? And secondly, do quieter sock blockers exist?

Plastic seems like a suitable substitute material and there are options available from the big brands, these for instance:

KnitPro AQUA sock blockers

KnitPro AQUA sock blockers

However,  for something a bit different, some of these from Etsy might suit:

Fruity themed sock blockers?

Fruity themed sock blockers?

Just in case you forget.....

Just in case you forget.....

One adjustable set so you can knit for the whole family........

One adjustable set so you can knit for the whole family........

As a bit of a cheapskate though, I think I should really follow Eskimimi's advice and simply make my own.

SUMMER of Socks 2015!

Where does the time fly to? I can't believe that it's the SUMMER of Socks again already! I'm nearly ready to cast on a new pair. I just have a mystery shawl pattern to complete first...

If you haven't taken part before, just dive in! It's really easy, all you need to do is to finish knitting a pair of socks designed by Rachel at some point between now and 31st August 2015. Post a photo of the finished socks in the thread on Ravelry: SUMMER of Socks 2015 and you will be entered for prizes! You can complete a WIP that's been on the needles for a while, or start a new pair, the choice is yours!

We are only a few weeks in to this year's knit along, and already there are some lovely finished pairs. How about these for some pattern inspiration?

Hautecontre (aka Diane) knitted this beautiful pair of Sapient Pearwood socks using some wool, cotton, nylon blend sock yarn - perfect for summer!  You can favourite any of the pairs of socks here by heading over to the relevant Ravelry project pages: Hautecontre's Sapient Pearwood socks.

For a more recent design, how about these lovely Woodcutter's Socks? Knitted here by Debbie135 using some Knitting Goddess sock yarn. Check out how quickly Debbie knitted these up! Debbie135's Woodcutter's Socks.

Deb (Tinkhickman on Ravelry) hasn't finished her socks yet, but her photo was so beautiful I couldn't resist sharing it here! She's working on Renesmee from Rachel's Twighlight-inspired eBook, When Vampires Knit Socks and she's using some Hazel Knits yarn in a gorgeous shade! We can't wait to see how they turn out! Tinkhickman's Renesmee Socks.

This is such a fantastic shade of blue from the Sunrise Fiber Co. that Writergirl3 (aka Gail) has chosen for her Ernestine Socks. Ernestine is one of the patterns from Rachel's latest book of fab sock designs, Coop Knits Socks volume 2. Gail knitted them two at a time, and again, she was SO speedy: Writergirl3's Ernestine Socks

These are Octarine, one of the patterns that Rachel designed for the When Granny Weatherwax Knits Socks Club, first published back in January 2012. This pair has been knitted by crossroadsdemon, and you can find out more over on her Ravelry project page here: Crossroadsdemon's Octarine Socks.

If you have some coordinating sock yarn leftovers, then how about copying cmflame (aka Charissa) and using them in a pattern like Bockleton (or Mixalot or Otis). Charissa has made this splendid pair using Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock for the main yarn, with leftovers for the colour work sections. Cmflame's Bockleton Socks.

One of my favourite thing about Rachel's sock knitalongs is seeing all the patterns knitted up in different yarns - I always choose some new favourites and mess around with my pattern queue after browsing that thread! I do hope that you have found some inspiration here. Let us know which design you will be casting on, then join us in the Summer of Socks thread to knit along.

Happy knitting!

New patterns in Vivacious KIDS

Rachel has 4 new designs in the latest collection from British yarn company, Fyberspates: Vivacious KIDS. See below for a 25% discount on purchases of the eBook and single pattern downloads from Ravelry.

In fact, not only does she have patterns in the new collection, but also her two gorgeous boys can be found modelling the knits. You can see the mischievous fun they had on the photoshoot...

Rachel's patterns include socks (naturally!), hats and mittens, and are sized from ages 2 through 10. The collection supports the Fyberspates Vivacious yarn range, which comes in both 4ply and DK weights and is a 100% super wash merino yarn. It's a joy to knit with, and has a pleasing bouncy hand.

Jack-Be-Nimble is a striped hat in Vivacious 4ply - perfect if you have some leftovers from other CoopKnits projects...

Next up are the Margery Daw socks, with a pretty mirrored cable down the leg and foot. These socks have a short row heel and are sized for foot circumferences of 4-7in [10-18cm].

Knitted in Vivacious DK, Rachel's Lickety-Split Cabled Hat would make a perfect quick gift, and the sizes would work for both kids and adults. I can see myself making a few for various family members...

And to round up the accessories, there are these cute Tickety-Boo Mittens, which are also knitted in the DK weight yarn. They just need a ribbon to keep them in your winter coat!

If you like the look of these, and the gorgeous garments designed by Ella Austin, then help your self to a discount on purchases of any of the single patterns from the collection or the complete eBook, available through Ravelry. Simply add the patterns you desire to your cart on Ravelry, and then use the code CoopKnitsVivacious to receive a 25% discount on the price. Be sure to click on the "Use Coupon Code" button before heading to PayPal to complete your purchase. This promotion is only available until the end of the day on 26th June 2015 (British Summer Time).

All the details:
Vivacious KIDS is published in print and eBook formats. To purchase a print copy, head to your local Fyberspates retailer or ask in your local yarn shop. Print copies are RRP £10.50 or US $22.00.
The eBook is available through Ravelry for $16.00 or approx. £10.53
All of Rachel's accessory patterns are also available individually to download through Ravelry for $6.00 or approx. £3.95 (just click through the links above).
Ella Austin's garment patterns are also available individually to download through Ravelry for $7.50 or approx. £4.94.

Fast work knitters!

Hey Rachel!

Have you seen how quickly folks have been knitting up the patterns from your new book? I'm astounded by the speed with which these delights are appearing in the Ravelry thread for Coop Knits Socks Volume 2. If you haven't already, do pop by and have a look!

First up is this beautiful Delbert:

Delbert knitted by StatenIslandSusan - click the photo to see her Ravelry project page.

Delbert knitted by StatenIslandSusan - click the photo to see her Ravelry project page.

It was knitted by StatenIslandSusan using Spun Right Round Superwash Sock in this fab orangy-brown shade. I just love how the cables twizzle themselves down the leg!

The cabled socks are always really popular, aren't they? Here's a fabulous pair of Eulas from WhiskeyKnits. She's used some popping-pink Plucky Feet to make these, and weren't they finished quickly?! It took her just one week to make the pair.

WhiskeyKnits made these fabulous Eula socks - click through to see her Ravelry page.

WhiskeyKnits made these fabulous Eula socks - click through to see her Ravelry page.

WhiskeyKnits is planning to make all of the socks in Volume 2 from Plucky Feet - I can't wait to see how she gets on, if these are anything to go by!

Finally, I was completely inspired by the incredible pair of Otis socks:

KnittyWench's stunning Otis socks - click on the photo to see her Ravelry page.

KnittyWench's stunning Otis socks - click on the photo to see her Ravelry page.

They were knitted by KnittyWench, using a selection of YarnYard Toddy skeins. The colours are beautiful, and I know I've said it before, but I really AM going to do some colour work socks this year. I know that you have a pattern up your sleeve, and I have the yarn ready and waiting, so let's get to it!!

Happy knitting!
Jen x

If you haven't already bought your copy of CoopKnits Socks Volume 2, then I hope that these have inspired you to order, you can get a print copy from Rachel's website (£18.00 + P&P), or an eBook from Ravelry (£17.00).

New Patterns: Enchanted Knits

New patterns to drool over - my favourite! If you haven't already got a copy of Enchanted Knits, then head over to Interweave Press. You can choose between the print copy for $14.99 + P&P, or the digital edition for $14.99 delivered immediately.

Woodcutter's Socks by Rachel Coopey from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

Woodcutter's Socks by Rachel Coopey from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

What a lovely selection of patterns! I barely need to tell you that I love your Woodcutter's Socks (perfect for Jim for Christmas!) and the punchy colours of your Hansel and Gretel Socks are fantastic as well. I must try some colour work socks soon. I really must!

Hansel & Gretel Socks by Rachel Coopey from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

Hansel & Gretel Socks by Rachel Coopey from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

As well as my enduring love of sock patterns, I have a bit of a craving to knit a snuggly warm wrap with some pretty texture. There are a few patterns in this magazine that catch my eye. I fancy knitting the Colubrida Wrap by Angela Hahn, which has intricate cables along the edge, and a soothing garter stitch centre. It's knitted in an aran weight yarn as well, which is very appealing at the moment!

Colubrida Wrap by Angela Hahn from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

Colubrida Wrap by Angela Hahn from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press.

I also love the Among the Birches Shawl by Kate Larson. It's knitted in Malabrigo Lace (the first lace weight I ever used!) and has one of those lovely leaf patterns that has a rhythm of its own.

Among the Birches Shawl by Kate Larson from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press

Among the Birches Shawl by Kate Larson from Enchanted Knits. Image © Interweave Press

Oh my! I've looked more closely at the pattern for that one, and it's reversible! That's a touch that I love in a neckwear garment. No worrying about which way out it should be! Are you familiar with Angela Hahn or Kate Larson? They were both new designers to me, and Angela Hahn has some gorgeous patterns...

If you'd like to get your hands on Rachel's lovely sock patterns or any of the other designs in Enchanted Knits, then head over to the Interweave website, or check out your local yarn shop.

New pattern: Oleum

Hiya Rachel,

I see you've got a new(ish) pattern out! A lovely pair of socks made from the delicious Baa Ram Ewe Titus. Oleum look like the perfect pair for loafing around the house now that it's starting to be a bit chilly outside.

Oleum by Rachel Coopey, knitted using Titus from Baa Ram Ewe. Image © Baa Ram Ewe

Oleum by Rachel Coopey, knitted using Titus from Baa Ram Ewe. Image © Baa Ram Ewe

I could do with some comfort knitting - a bit of interest but nothing too taxing on the grey cells. The simple rib with a lovely lace pattern at the ankle looks like just the ticket! Back to school has been hectic here. I'm just starting to have a bit of time back for myself, and I'm itching to get knitting properly. How's it been for you? 

I sadly failed to get my Betula's finished for Summer of Socks, but they aren't far off, and once I've finished the secret project I'm working on, they will be first back on my needles.

I can't wait to see what you're working on at the moment.

Jen xx

Oleum is available to purchase for £3.00 from Ravelry here.

The lace pattern is provided in charted and written form. Two sizes are provided - size small fits foot circumference 18-20cm and size large fits foot circumference 23-25.5 cm.

You will need one hank of Titus, 2.5mm dpns (or your preferred needles for knitting small circumferences in the round), and stitch markers.