Spring has Sprung

It feels like it’s been dull and gray for months, but a visit to Harlow Carr provided lots of evidence of spring.

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I especially love the pale blue and yellow irises. Those colours would make an amazing sock yarn.

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Shop Update 27.02.15

First up this week are mini skeins

We have lots of individual colours

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Splash on Blue

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Turquoise Ocean
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Earth and Sky

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Ember

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Toasty

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Rose Cream

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Fresh mint

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Pretty as a Picture

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Pale Octarine

Then mini skein sets

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Shades of Red

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Shades of Orange

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Shades of Yellow

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Shades of Turquoise

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Shades of Blue

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Shades of Chocolate

Then the revamped DK merino and nylon – I love the fact this yarn is British wool and superwash

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Red

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Red on Charcoal

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Orange

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Orange on Charcoal

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Lime

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Lime on Charcoal

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Forest

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Forest on Charcoal

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Green

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Green on Charcoal

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Turquoise

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Turquoise on Charcoal

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Blue

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Blue on Charcoal

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Violet

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Violet on Charcoal

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Walnut

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Walnut on Charcoal

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Raspberry

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Raspberry on Charcoal

Finally for this week some new colours of Chunky British BFL

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Fairy Dust

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Ocean

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Walnut

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Throwback

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Berry Swirl

The yarns above will be in the shop at 1900 on Friday 27th February. What’s your favourite?

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Again and Again and Again

I’ve been making lampwork beads for quite a while, and it feels like ages since I’ve taken a lesson with anyone.

So in a moment of madness I’ve signed up to do a class with J C Herrell in July. J C Herrell makes amazing with beautiful lines drawn with hair thin rods of glass called stringers. My attempts with stringers are prone to end up with a blobby mess.

There’s now the minor detail of fitting in enough practice to make sure I get the best out of the class.

So I’m going to stick the odd blog post up and post pictures of some sample beads. In the next month I need to make at least 100 beads decorated with stringer. In a month’s time I’ll post a picture here, and offer someone the chance to own what I’m sure will be best described as some interesting beads!

How to you motivate yourself to brush up your skills?

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Going Off The Rails Socks

At the start of the year I decided that I was going to try to knit up this year’s sock club patterns.

It started well and Abricot socks from Rachel Coopey almost floated off my needles.

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Then on to something that I loved the look of – All Aboard, Puff, Puff,Puff socks from Aurelie Colas.

There’s a very clever detail on these which gives you a track pattern right round the heel. Gorgeous. Stunning. And for me the cause of a lot of swearing as these socks start in the middle – but with a toe cast on. I hate toe up socks for many reasons, and the variety of magic cast ons make up several of those reasons. But I carried on, cursing as I went and watching the tracks emerge. Then more unusual construction to all for the foot – which seemed to be fine apart from the fact that my sock didn’t sit level at the top of the foot. Alarm bells should have rung – but I carried on knitting. More cursing as I tackled the cast off – I’m not a fan of carting off at the top of socks. And then language which made all the cursing which had gone before seem like polite chatter. I’d managed to knit a sock so badly fitting that Nora Batty herself would have dismissed it as too wrinkly round the ankle.

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The wrinkles don’t look too bad in this photo – and that’s because I’m pointing my toes.

I should have known this after sock madness last year, but when you’re working sock with an unusual construction things will go better if you can match row and stitch gauge. The row gauge wasn’t on the pattern, and when I checked with Aurelie I found out I had fewer rows than was ideal – hence the wrinkles. No one else has had this problem, so I suspect I’ve just been unlucky.

I decided that I wanted to keep some element of these socks but to avoid any more toe up induced cursing. Or heels which didn’t fit me quite as well as I’d like. Huge credit to Aurelie for coming up with several solutions to make these socks fit me – but they all involved too many things I didn’t want to do.

So I’ve taken the track pattern, applied it to a blissfully simple 64 stitch sock and I love it.

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Going off the rails wasn’t too bad at all.

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Shop Update 20.02.15

First for this week is a new pattern, designed to make the most of the shaded Britsock sets.

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The pattern is £3.50 and you can buy it from Ravelry.

You can find the take five sets used in the shawl here.

The yarn update for this week is a little different from normal. Instead of lots of new yarns there are disocunts on two yarns which we’re going to stop stocking. These are the 4ply High Twist sock yarn and the 4ply alpaca, silk and cashmere. Also in the sale shop will be a few skeins of DK merino and nylon. This is very much staying as part of our range, but I wanted to tweak some of the colours, so existing stock is reduced.

You’ll be able to see the sale yarns in the sale shop from 1800 on Friday, and from 1900 they’ll be available to buy.

Happy shopping

Joy

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Very Easy Ribbed Scarf

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This is one of these bits of knitting that is almost absurdly easy. I love ribbed scarves, but the thought of knitting what feels like miles of rib in one colour doesn’t appeal.

So I chose two sets of shaded Britsock colours – turquoise and gold – and got ribbing.

For speed I worked with the yarns held double, and used 3.75mm needles.

I worked two rows of each colour, so I started with the darkest gold and turquoie, then when they ran out the next darkest and so on until I finished with the lightest and brightest colours.

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My finished scarf measures 220 cm long and 14 wide – so it’s perfect for wrapping round you several times on freezing cold days.

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I’m sure this has been done before, so I’m not going to write up a full pattern. Instead my notes are below, so you can have a go at creating your own multicoloured masterpiece.

I worked my scarf over 35 stitches.

Row 1 : [knit 1, purl 1] to the last stitch, knit 1

Row 2 : Slip the first stitch, [knit 1, purl 1] to the last stitch, slip the last stitch.

I used russian joins to add in the new colours and I staggered the joins a little so they follow each other rather than occurring at exactly the same place.

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Seeing how the colours worked together was great fun. and I’d love to do an even stripier version with some mini skeins and a skein of a semi solid colour.

Want the yarn to make a scarf like this? You’ll find it here.

Happy ribbing.

Joy

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Kitchener Stitch Without A Needle

Well almost!

Kitchener stitch is a great way of joining or grafting two sets of stitches together without leaving a visible seam. This makes it perfect for closing off toes on socks.

Socks are often my on the go project, and more than once I’ve been ready to graft a toe together so I can free up my pins for sock two – but I don’t always carry a darning needle.

This method will give you exactly the same finish, and you’ll be left with an end which can be darned in when you and your darning needle meet again.

Cut your working yarn leaving a tail of 30cm / 12 inches

Start by splitting your stitches between two pins and make sure you have the same number of stitches on each. You’ll also want to make sure that the stitches from the sole are on one needle and the top of the foot on the other, unless you want a final twist to your sock. The wrong side of your work should be on the inside. You’ll need one other pin to knit with.

The working yarn should just have knitted the last stitch on the back needle.

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The next two steps are setting up for grafting across the toe and are worked once

Step 1

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the front pin as if to knit, knit this stitch but leave the stitch on the front pin and pull the working yarn all the way through.

Step 2

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the back pin as if to purl, purl this stitch but leave the stitch on the back pin and pull the working yarn all the way through.

Now that you’ve set up for grafting there are 4 steps which you work though. Each time you repeat these steps you’ll have one less stitch on both the front and back needle.

Step 1

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the front pin as if to purl, purl this stitch, pulling the working yarn all the way through and drop the stitch from the front pin

Step 2

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the front pin as if to knit, knit this stitch but leave the stitch on the front pin and pull the working yarn all the way through.

Step 3

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the back pin as if to knit, knit this stitch, pulling the working yarn all the way through and drop the stitch from the back pin

Step 4

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the back pin as if to purl, purl this stitch but leave the stitch on the back pin and pull the working yarn all the way through.

Continue working these 4 steps until you have two stitches left, one each on the back and front pins.

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There are two final steps to finish off the grafting.

Step 1

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the front pin as if to purl, purl this stitch, pulling the working yarn all the way through and drop the stitch from the front pin

Step 2

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Insert your knitting pin into the first stitch on the back pin as if to knit, knit this stitch, pulling the working yarn all the way through and drop the stitch from the back pin

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You’ll be left with a beautifully grafted toe and and end that can be darned in at some future date. The slightly loose loop will tighten up when you darn your end in.

Now you can cast on for sock number two – or start on a whole new pair.

I hope this is useful – please let me know what you think.

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