Thursday, 31 December 2009

Cornflower Sock Pattern Release

It's up and on Ravelry as a free download as of yesterday. What better way to celebrate the end of 2009 than with my first sock pattern release! The Ravelry link is here and if you're not on Ravelry you can access the pattern here.

A big thank you to my test knitters and especially to my 'chief test knitter' Elaine!

Happy knitting and a Happy New Year to one and all.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sock Update

Apologies to everyone waiting for the release of my Cornflower Socks, they were due for release before Christmas, but they are imminent I promise :) My Little Minx socks are now being test knitted and hopefully due for release in Jan/Feb. Here is a very seasonal photo of them, which I managed to photograph before all the snow disappeared!

A very Happy New Year to you all, and hopefully 2010 will bring a bit more consistency in my blogging! ;) x

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Cornflower Cowl Pattern Release!

It's here! All downloaded and now in the Ravelry library :) The Ravelry link is here and if you're not on Ravelry you can also get a PDF version by clicking on the download button in the link here. This is a super quick knit and ideal for a last minute Christmas present!

My bright sunny Citrus version is now finished, as well as my Pincersocks, and hopefully I'll get around to blogging about them tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Silverdale Cornflower Socks

Pattern: Cornflower Socks (my own)
Needles: 2.50 mm
Yarn: Wildfire Fibres Bambino in Silverdale colourway

All finished at last and ready for test knitting. After completing my blue Cornflower Socks, I decided to knit another pair as there were one or two things I wasn't happy with; the sizing for one and I also wanted the gusset decrease stitches to blend more into the twisted knit stitches along the side of the foot. I also re-wrote the pattern for Double Pointed Needles. So after a hectic few weeks of writing and then re-writing the pattern I can now relax a bit and leave the worry to my little band of test knitters ;)

Don't forget I have my Cornflower Cowl, almost ready for release - this is a really super quick to knit and ideal for a last minute Christmas present. I have just started it again in a fluorescent yellow/lime and will be knitting it in a bright shocking pink too for the Christmas box :) Well, you need a splash of colour in winter, don't you?!

I'll blog as soon as the patterns are released, I'll be so excited I won't be able to contain myself! ;) I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Elaine; she is test knitting both my Cornflower Cowl and socks and at the same time madly dyeing yarn and working really hard to set up her shop. If there is any of her beautiful yarn left, you will find it for sale on her blog La Belle Helene, until she gets her shop set up.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Cornflower Cowl

Pattern: Cornflower Cowl (my own)
Needles: 4 mm, 16" circular needle
Yarn: Rowan RYC Baby Alpaca in Southdown colour-way

All finished. It is looking likely this will be my first pattern release (as my Cornflower Socks are currently being re-knitted by myself in a bigger size, then off to be test knitted). How exciting! Knitted in super soft Alpaca, this cowl is sumptuous and gorgeous and hangs beautifully around your neck. I can't wait to knit one for myself in a really bright colour!

It is just about to be test knitted and all being well should be released as a freebie pattern on Ravelry in time for Christmas.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Cornflower Socks

Pattern: Cornflower Socks (my own)
Needles: 2.25 mm
Yarn: Wildfire Fibres Fantasia in Cornflower colourway

It's been 3 weeks since my last blog, I'm getting very lax! My Cornflower Socks are now complete. Trying to get a decent photograph of these socks to show them off at their best has been a real nightmare! However, I'm really very pleased with the way these socks have turned out and they were a pleasure to knit. The yarn was beautiful for work with and shows off the stitch definition beautifully. The name of the socks was initially inspired by the colour of the yarn, but as I was knitting them up I also thought the little cable design looked like rows of little Cornflowers - look closely they really do!

I will be publishing the pattern at some stage, but in the meantime I feel I need to play around with the sizing a little. These socks have turn out small/medium, which is perfect for me but I feel would be too small for the average foot size. I'm going to knit them again in a slightly larger size and I'll feel much happier. Then I'll be looking for test knitters if anyone is interested?! I'm also trying to find a little image of a blue Cornflower on a white background (Copyright and download free) to put on my published pattern - please let me know if you can find such an image on the Internet anywhere...

In the meantime, I'm knitting up a cowl in the same design. This is working out wonderfully and I hope to have the cowl finished and the pattern written up by the end of next week. I think I have a test knitter all lined up too ;) The cowl is knitted in DK/8 ply, is a fairly quick knit and therefore an excellent last minute present, hence why I need to get this all published before Christmas! More info on the cowl next week :)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Cranberry Kai-Mei

Pattern: Kai-Mei by Cookie A, from Sock Innovation
Needles: 2.25 mm
Yarn: Zauberball (Schoppel-Wolle) in Cranberries

I finished Kai-Mai last Tuesday. Quite a quick knit once I'd got going - I had a bit of difficulty with the lace pattern to start with, but once I'd mastered it and got into the swing of doing the decreases into the rib pattern it flowed along quite quickly. A really nice pattern to knit and I love the way the lace panel curves across the foot. The Zauberball was a bit of a nightmare due to the way it's wound up. It looks very pretty but is not practical to knit from and now and again a small chunk would drop off the ball and get tangled up. It's also quite difficult to match up and I like my socks to match perfectly!

I've got a little behind with my blog, mainly because I've been so busy doing other things; such as visits to the Lake District, a wedding, and of course I've been busy knitting. I've been working on some of my own sock designs, which I'm really enjoying and definitely appeals to my arty nature. After lots of swatches and test pieces I've now got three designs to work on. When I eventually pluck up the courage, I would love to get them test knitted and put on the Ravelry database. I've also been making more stitch markers, this time tiny ones that fit nicely onto small sock-sized needles, anyway more of that and sock designing soon.......

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Citrus Sunshines

Pattern: Sunshine by Cookie A, from her wonderful book Sock Innovation
Needles: 2.50 mm
Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL - 403 Citrus Punch

All finished and off the needles last Thursday. I wasn't sure about the stripes and cables together, but it does kind of work in a funky sort of way. However, this pattern really comes into its own with a plain or flecked yarn. I've seen some lovely versions on Ravelry, for example Fruitbat's patterned version really picks out the stitch definition.

Knitting lots of socks certainly has its advantages; I'm learning new techniques or polishing up on old ones all the time. With these Sunshine socks the technique for cabling without a needle clicked into place. It's a bit fiddly doing it with socks as the stitches are so small. The cable forward is no problem, but I had to change the way I did the cables to the back as the tiny stitches kept disappearing behind the work. I found it easier to take all the stitches off the needle together, then insert the left needle into the back stitches and use the right needle to hook the front stitches back onto the left needle, then knitted across them. Once I'd got into the swing of it, it was certainly a lot quicker and easier. Maybe I'll blog about this with photographs when I get chance.....

I'm about halfway through Cookie A's
Kai-Mei at the moment. The lace panel initially proved a bit of a challenge for me and the way it twists across the foot, but I'm now whizzing through them and hope to have them finished, photographed and blogged next week.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Turquoise Glynis

Pattern: Glynis by Cookie A, from her wonderful book Sock Innovation
Needles: 2.50 mm
Yarn: Opal Uni - Shade 29, Turquoise

Phew! What a relief to finish these socks. They weren't difficult to knit, more tedious, and I found the sssk's and k3tog's in the pattern extremely laborious indeed. I was positively rejoicing when there was a plain knit round in between the pattern rounds! Having said that they have knitting up beautifully and I'm really pleased with the result, although I won't be rushing to do them again. They have made quite a thick, heavy, lace sock, nice for snuggling into in winter. Turquoise is my mum's favourite colour, so I've packed them away to give to her for Christmas. It seems such a long way off, but when you've got a long list of knitting to do for presents, you need to start early!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Gadget Girl

I love my knitting gadgets, anything to make my life easier! Pictured is my newest purchase. I have been itching to get one of these for ages, mainly because I seem to be using charts more and more these days and Post-It notes lose their sticky and are constantly falling off!
I'm using it for my current Glynis project (although that's not Glynis pictured, it's one of the designs I'm currently working on and test knitting). The little magnets keep your chart in place and there's a magnetic strip for following the rows. The pocket in the side is very handy for bits and pieces and it also comes with a pen. I purchased it from P2tog; you can get it a little cheaper elsewhere, but their Zauberball is a reasonable price at the moment (as it the postage) so that's what swung it! ;) The service and extremely swift delivery is a bonus too!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Kelp Spring Forward Socks

Pattern: Spring Forward by Linda Welch
Needles: 2.25 mm
Yarn: Wild Fire Fibres Venezia (in Kelp)

I finished these socks a few days ago, but have only just got around to blogging about them. This was really enjoyable pattern to knit, quite easy and not too taxing on the brain. I made no modifications, knitted exactly as set. The yarn was gorgeous to work with; it is really soft and has a lovely sheen to it. I love the way it has knitted up and compliments the pattern beautifully. You can never quite tell how things are going to work out, so I'm really pleased with these. It's just a shame I'm going to have to part with them!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

9" Circular Sock Needles

It's about time I blogged about these fantastic little needles, a few people have approached me about them recently; asking for info about where I got them and how to use them etc. I started using them for my sock knitting in about May/June this year after getting my hands on a set of bamboo ones in varying sizes from America. Whilst they're a little fiddly to use at first, you soon get used to them and I have to say they have made my life so much easier, especially when knitting lace socks or doing colourwork.

The cable is only 9" long, so to enable you to knit completely in the round the actual needle size has shrunk to around 4 cm. See the picture below to give you an idea of the scale.

The second photo below shows how you knit completely in the round
. The only exception to this is for the heel flap (for a top down sock) and the toes for toe up or top down socks. I usually swap to dpns or Magic Loop for this bit. It's quite easy to adapt a dpn or Magic Loop sock pattern for use with these needles, but you do have to do a little bit of fiddling about when it comes to the heel and toe. I have actually just written a basic top down sock pattern specifically for use with 9" circular needles, but it's still very much in note form and I think at the moment only I will be able to understand it! ;)

Sadly at the moment the only outlet in the UK appears to be Sarah at Brownberry Yarns. I think she has been inundated with requests for the smaller sizes and has now consequently sold out, however I'm fairly certain you can pre-order from her if you're desperate to try them. Maybe I should keep this quiet, so Shhhhh don't tell anyone ;)

If anyone knows anywhere else that sells them in the UK please let me know, or even an overseas stockist with reasonable shipping costs to the UK. I could do with a few spare pairs! :)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

My New 'Swift'

Well okay, it's a bit crude, but it works! Loath to shell out over £40 for a 'proper' one and fed up using the backs of chairs, my knees and my husband, I had a small brain wave. The dumbbells are heavy enough to stay put and because they're plastic coated the yarn unwinds smoothly around them, with a little helping hand from me now and again, and it then feeds into my ball winder on my desk above. So, I've spent a very therapeutic afternoon winding up the last of my hand-dyed skeins. Job done!

How colourful they all look. Now they're all ready to be knitted up into lovely socks......that's the fun bit! ;)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fresh Berry Monkeys

I'm truly exhausted after a week back at work and intend to have a nice restful weekend. Having two weeks off has its advantages and disadvantages. A big disadvantage is the lack of knitting and blogging time. I could really get used to being at home; I'm waiting patiently for my Lotto ticket to come up!

I've finally finished my Cookie A Monkey Socks. These were a joy to knit; it was a very easy pattern to memorise and Vikki's yarn from Wild Fire Fibres was delicious to work with and so soft. I decided to shorten the leg slightly, putting only 5 pattern repeats in instead of 6, as it was touch and go whether I would have enough yarn (I had 380 yards and the pattern stated 388 yards). It turned out to be a good decision as I only had a tiny bit of yarn left. The socks have now been wrapped up and put away for a Christmas present - thinking ahead!

Photos of my Monkeys below. Unfortunately the colours aren't a really true representation of the yarn - they have come out slightly dark and the purple has taken over. In 'real life' they look much softer, paler colours.

I've now picked up my Spring Forward socks again. I'm steaming ahead with them as due to the weather there has been little else to do this weekend. I WISH IT WOULD STOP RAINING!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Dyed a Rainbow

Busy, busy, busy! I spent most of yesterday dyeing solid colours for my colourwork. I wanted lots of really bright colours, which I have definitely achieved - get your sunglasses on! When I looked at what I'd dyed I noticed I had almost dyed the colours of The Rainbow (only blue and purple missing). These definitely had to go up on a new blog logo!

I've also been doing a painting for my daughter's new trendy bedroom. It's on a big canvas and a sort of wild black and cream flower design to match her quilt cover (which was a bargain in the John Lewis sale). I need to get this done pretty quick, she's no idea her bedroom is being re-vamped and arrives home from Corfu on Tuesday. Hopefully a nice surprise for her.

It's not quite finished yet, but here it is so far.

My new yarn ball winder arrived this morning just in the nick of time. Life is going to be so much easier with one of these, it saves so much time. I decided to splash out after it took me nearly 2 hours to wind 100g of lace yarn. I went for the basic model, no electric nonsense for me ;) In between dyeing, painting and playing on my ball winder I've managed to do some knitting too - Swedish Fish 50% done, Monkeys 50% done, Glynis 50% done and Spring Forward still a long way to go.

I'm making the most of my last few days of freedom - back to work on Monday after almost 2 weeks off. I'm not looking forward to it at all.....

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Knitting Charts

After spending the best part of the day on the computer yesterday, I've finally fathomed out how to turn my knitting charts into PDF files. Turning them into a PDF was very easy once I'd downloaded the converter, however finding somewhere to host them proved more difficult. I've taken the easy option and uploaded them to I'm not entirely happy with this as it converts them to a Google document, whereas I wanted a link which would open my pdf up directly. However, this will have to do for now as I just can't spend any more time on the computer or I'll be going cross-eyed! At least I can now share a few of my designs; only a few for now but when I get some more time for converting them to PDFs I'll pop them on here.


If you do happen to use any of my charts please let me see your finished work, and a gentle reminder these are for private use only and not to be sold or reproduced in any way.

For those on Ravelry who asked about the charts I will be putting a link to here from the Rudolph Dog Sweater. I hope it all works, if it doesn't please let me know.

This is Biddy, she was kindly looking after my knitting yesterday while I was tearing my hair out on the computer. Well either "guarding" or using it as a nice comfy pillow.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


I've just started SpillyJane's Swedish Fish socks - what a fab pattern it is too, I just love it. This is the first colourwork project I've done for about 3 years and at last I feel I'm back in my comfort zone, doing what I like best. Cables and lace are interesting to knit and at times a challenge, but colour is where my heart is.

Starting this project has sparked off all sorts of ideas for sock designs; my head is buzzing at the moment. I need to get them all down on paper before I forget them. I've got a couple of lacy socks on the go as well at the moment, but when these are finished I hope to concentrate more on colours and my own designs.

Swedish Fish socks in progress so far:

A couple of people have approached me recently on Ravelry about my knitting charts, particularly Rudolph. Once I fathom out how the heck to get these 'live' I will post them into my blog and post a link from Ravelry. Off to ponder this.....

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Diary of a Sock

My Sock Diary so far for 2009 - finished socks, socks in progress and socks to knit by the end of December. The links to the sock patterns will probably only work if you're a member of the knitting forum Ravelry.




Crofter Socks - What was I thinking?! Knitted on two needles - heavens above all that re-joining yarn and fiddling about - I thought it was the easy option! Turned out okay though and my mum loved them. The pattern used was from a Sirdar Crofter leaflet.


Rainbow Feet - Basic Tubular Socks. Nice easy pattern, first go at Magic Loop.


None! I can't ever imagine going a month without knitting a sock now.


Happy Capricons - Jaywalkers. Loved this pattern, really enjoyed knitting it and the yarn really suited the pattern - loved the way it knitted up in zig-zags.


Scarlet Seven of Hearts AND Pro Natura Cauchy. Seven of Hearts knitted up really quickly because it was DK weight - had to do a different heel. Enjoyed knitting Cauchy, although I wasn't that impressed with the yarn.


Random Flowers (my own design) AND Tropical Heatwave (my own design and own hand-dyed).

Rest of July/August

Still on the needles, not much to see at the moment:

Swedish Fish, Turquoise Glynis, Fresh Berry Monkeys, Kelp Spring Forward

August to December

A continually growing list of socks I will hopefully get around to knitting, if not this year then next year, along with a few of my own designs.

That's it for now; 7 socks completed, 4 still on the needles and lots more to come before the end of 2009. Hooray for socks!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


If only it really was a heatwave! Tropical Heatwave is the name of my newly finished socks. These socks are a bit of a milestone for me because they are the first socks I've designed myself from scratch AND I've used the first yarn I've ever dyed. Okay, the yarn colours are not to everyone's taste, but I love bright colours and these have really grown on me. The lace pattern is only very simple, but I feel I've really achieved something and this is the first step on the ladder to becoming a 'proper designer'!

I used KoolAid dye (well it's a drink powder from America) to dye the yarn. It's a good start for beginners because it contains Citric Acid, so you don't need to add a fixer. It's really easy to use and not very messy. However, the only drawback is your yarn does seem to come out candy colours (it's like being in a sweet shop!) AND it won't dye plant fibres, such as cotton, only animal fibres. If you want to try it I purchased it from DT Crafts. Recently I've been using acid dyes and Sugarflair food colouring, the world's your oyster - dyeing is so much fun!

This morning I received my lovely new 9" HiyaHiya circular needles from Sarah at Brownberry Yarns. Whatever did I do without these needles?! They are perfect for sock knitting and so light they just glide along. I've found the steel ones much nicer to use than bamboo. They are like gold dust here in the UK and I think Brownberry Yarns are the only UK supplier at the moment - get them while you can.

The teeny weeny needles are pictured here on one of my latest sock projects (Cookie A's Glynis, from her book Sock Innovation). Ooooh I just love them!

Friday, 17 July 2009

My Foot is Here!

My first blog post! I love knitting socks, I love colours - the brighter the better, hence the name of my blog. I do knit other things as well, but my passion at the moment is socks. I'm particularly inspired by the amazing Norwegian/Fair Isle designs on Ravelry at the moment. I hope to be casting a pair on my needles very soon. This is a very quick post to get me into the swing of things and to see what my blog looks like when it goes 'live' - how scary!

My foot arrived this morning, well it's a display foot for my socks. It's all very exciting as I don't have to try photographing my feet at sorts of funny angles.

Here it is in all its glory. The sock pictured isn't quite finished yet....hopefully today.

Regular updates on my current knitting projects and dyeing exploits coming soon. I hope I don't bore you too much!