New Pattern: Squadron Socks

So I've released my first pattern, Squadron Socks.  Knit from Georgian Bay Fibre Co.'s Kilcoursie Fingering, this pattern is a great for guys, the pattern is engaging for the knitter but subtle for the wearing. 

I did a post over on the Georgian Bay Fibre Co. blog about the story behind the socks, and I'm sharing it here for you.  I would suggest you follow Carla, she is a great knitter and dyer and takes much better photos than I do.

But I didn't want you to miss out the story behind my first published design


This all started out so innocently, I just wanted to knit my brother-in-law, Jim, a pair of Birthday Socks.  For those who read my blog, you know that I don’t do Christmas Knitting, but for a few close family members I make Birthday Socks.

So Jim’s birthday is at the end of January, however it was the middle of the month and I was home for a visit and I hadn’t started Jim’s socks yet.  I was in a bit of a rut and I hadn’t found a pattern I loved, most of the pattern’s designed for men can be a smidge dull for the knitter. 

However, right at the end of the weekend as I was about to head out, something incredible came out of Carla’s dyepots.  It was golden yellow, rusty orange and just beautiful.  It was the first skein of the colorway we now know as Franklin Island Lichen. 

Well the skein was yelling at me to take it home and knit it into socks for Jim.  Before I knew it I was diving into my Barbara Walker stitch dictionary and coming up with the pattern. 

My blurry iPhone photos don't do this pattern, or the yarn justice, (and it doesn't help that my feet are much smaller than Jim's)

I was inspired by the pennants that are flown on many of the boats out on Georgian Bay.  The most decorative of which can usually be found on the member boats of the Sail & Power Squadron. The group, who encourage safe boating, are quite active in the Parry Sound region.

With the shifting k4/p4 patterning, this sock is engaging to knit and easily memorized, but subtle for both men and women who don’t want flashy socks. This pattern works best with tonal colorways as the textured fabric can get swallowed up by a more multicolored skein.

So happy belated birthday Jim, with your socks finally photographed and the pattern released, you can finally wear them, two months later.

Birthday Socks ... all caught up

Two weeks ago I shared the idea of Birthday Socks, you can read it here, but the punchline was, rather than clumping up all my knitting gifts around Christmas, I would spread them out with people's birthdays.

The other thing I mentioned in that post is that I had a pair due on January 24th for Jim's (my brother-in-law) birthday, and a way past overdue pair for my mother.

Well this weekend I managed to finish up both pairs!

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My mom's socks are a tad bittersweet, KnitPicks decided to discontinue the Felici sock line, however, they never communicated this to their buyers, so most of us thought new colors would be coming out this spring.  Well Felici sport was discontinued a year ago, but now the fingering is going too. As the current year colors didn't really hit me, the way they have in past years, so I didn't really buy much from this year, however I did buy 2 balls (enough for a pair of socks) of each of the remaining colors that I didn't have in my stash already.  Now, I am way over stashed in Felici, but I expect my current stash will last me long enough to be willing to shell out for hand-dyed self striping yarn (which is not nearly as cost effective as Felici is).

Also, I feel like I've come full circle.  The very first pair of socks I attempted were with Felici Sport and using the Jaywalker pattern. They were completely the wrong size so they got frogged and I made different pair from the yarn, but this pattern has stuck with me as one I wanted to knit.

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Jim's pair represent much more excitement for me, I designed them myself.  I'm currently working on getting them written up, (and as the Queen of the run on sentence this is a bit of a challenge for me) and then tested and then hopefully published in the spring.  With their simple knit/purl patterning they are plain enough for most guys (and to make them easy to memorize) but complex enough to keep the knitter engaged. 

So with those to obligations knits done, and a shawl I've been (not) working on since summer frogged, I have a clean knitting slate.  As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling guilty about embroidering instead of knitting, and now that I'm free to go back to embroidery I have regained my knitting mojo and just want to keeping on knitting.  

I've cast on a new hat, using the Sweet Georgia pattern North Wind Hat.  I made one of these last winter, and I LOVE it, however I made it from a doubled up silk/merino fingering weight yarn and so while it is nice and warm the band has all sacked out and despite a reblocking last weekend I can't make it tight enough around my ears for deep winter.  So I have a skein of aran weight yarn in my stash in a one-off color that is getting tagged in for this project.

I have also started a new embroidery sampler, Satin Stitches.  I'm terrible at satin stitch so this will be great practice, although I don't think it will go as quickly as the last two.

My color palette for my next embroidery project

My color palette for my next embroidery project

So hat, embroidery, and a short wait for some awesome new yarn that I hope to get by the weekend for a pair of socks for me and a new shawl.

Day 2: A Mascot Project

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Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or 'mood board' to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

I find myself pulled in two different directions on this topic, one is to embrace the animal of the Monkey and the other is to follow the path of what I see the House of Monkey as representing, challenge.

Mascot Project - Literal

The first path is the monkey itself.  In the fall I got back into Craftsy classes (mostly after they launched an iPad app that makes them much more enjoyable to view in my opinion) and I got hooked on the idea of making Amigurumi.  If you aren't familiar, amigurumi are crocheted or knitted toys. The style (and term) originated in Japan and are quite popular.  I enjoy crocheting but I don't love the fabric for garments and a person really doesn't need that many afghans so amigurumi were a great choice for me.

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A couple of weeks ago I finished up another piece of amigurumi, a really cute whale and gave it to my boss who has been having a pretty rough go of it.  I asked her what her son's favorite animal is and it turns out that it is a ... monkey (I know, you're shocked).

So my first mascot project is Owen the Monkey by Stacy Trock of FreshStitches.

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I will be making it as my next amigurumi, the little boy it's intended for could use a a stuffed version of his favorite creature.

Mascot Project - Figurative

Following the spirit of the monkey rather than a literal monkey, my mascot project is one that challenges me and forces me to expand my skills.  To me there are two potential mascot projects, one is a stranded colorwork project and the other is a design project.

Endpaper Mitts

Stranded colorwork is something that I have done but I don't feel confident in it and it's not something I do easily or very well.  So I should probably find a stranded project to do to re-build me confidence in the area, maybe a pair of fingerless mitts.  I wear my Endpaper Mitts all the time and they hardly show any wear.  I know that many moons ago I had queued and favorited other charts that looked fantastic on that mitt pattern.  Maybe that is my project, it would require some of my own design work and a part of knitting that I struggle with.

Or maybe its going to be knuckling down and figuring out and writing down the pattern for a cowl I dreamt up a month or so ago.  This isn't the greatest shot of the pattern, mostly because this was the only yarn in bulky weight I had on hand when inspiration struck.

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It is without a doubt a fashion cowl rather than a warmth cowl, but I'm pretty impressed with myself.   So this is the other option on the other path.  I can see all these being feesible projects for over the next few months, as long as I can stay on top of my sock knitting (I've learned I always need to have a pair of "fancy" socks on the needles) and the wedding shawls I need to make for my sister's wedding in October.

FO: Tower Hill Birthday Socks

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So, I love my mom.  And after last year's disastrous pair of socks (which didn't fit right and hurt her feet) I wanted to make it up for her.

So I made her a pair of stripey socks, because everyone needs stripey socks, no matter how old, or young they are.

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But, not only that, they were custom made for her.  I'm trying to design the perfect sock pattern for me, so this was a chance to try out the pattern I have been designing in Felici Sport as seen in my Kingpurse and Sunny Being a Kid socks.

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So, turns out I was able to solve all the problem, the bottoms are comfy, the legs are long enough and they are a fun, stripey pattern.

Happy Birthday Mom (back on October 12th), I might have been 7 days late out of the womb, and this post might be 2 months late, but I got your socks made in time this year!

- Details -

Project Name: Tower Hill Birthday Socks

Pattern: Mine!

Recipient: MummyAnne - my superawesome Mom

Yarn: KnitPicks Felici in Botany

Modifications:

  • Pattern is still in development, that way they are design features not mods.

New Skills:

  • Stockinette Short-Row Heel

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Felici is nice, but it is probably more of a light fingering than a standard fingering. I find myself preferring Felici Sport to Felici Fingering.
  • Pattern: It's still not perfect. but I'm getting close to my perfect plain sock pattern.

Re-Knit?: Yes, becuase I will get my perfect plain sock, and Felici is my preferred plain sock yarn so I will be knitting these again, and again, and again.

FO: Kingpurse Sock

Editors Note: Here we go again, I have another batch of FOs to share, these ones start in mid-August and run through mid-October.  I went on a bit of a knitting hiatus in mid-September for some unknown reason, but I am back with a vengeance.

So Kingpurse, has to be the best fitting, most comfortable pair of frankensocks I have made yet. Rather than frankensocks I need to think of them as superband socks, putting together all my favorite sock elements into a single sock. The toe, which uses an shallower toe by spacing the increases differently, the y-shaped garter stitch heel that takes up 60% of the body of the sock, the 3x1 ribbed leg that fits so nicely.

Also, I LOVE the way the stripes worked up on this pair.  Rather than my usual plan of just starting the socks and letting them stripe differently, I tried to make this pair match, however I didn't notice that the stripes were uneven and the orange ones appeared at a different interval, so when I started knitting all was well and when I got to the first stripe they were the same width by different colors, and I just went with it.  I love the way they are the same but different, kind of like me!

The only thing I don't like about this sock is the bind-off, I tried a doubled bind off (where you knit one, slip back, then K2tog tbl, and repeat).  It turned out much to sloppy and loose, so I will be going back to Jenny's Super Stretchy Bind Off.

I think with this I have perfected the sock recipe, I need to put it to further test. I tried it on fingering weight yarn, but I found that with the looser gauge the heel looked funny, so I may just release it as a sport weight pattern, or try to get the gauge on Felici fingering down to what I use for Felici sport.

- Details -

Project Name: Kingpurse Socks

Pattern: My own design

Recipient: Me

Yarn: KnitPicks Felici Sport

Modifications:

  • Did my "doubled" short row heel, that increases the amount of space in the heel without loosening the ankle
  • I didn't do Jeny's Super Stretchy Bind Off, and I regretted it, I will be going back to that for the next pair.

New Skills:

  • I'm still refining the design, so I'm still learning about designing.

Feedback:

  • Really getting things going on this yarn and design, but I'm still not done yet.

Re-Knit?: Already have my next pair on the go.