Never ending swatches

Ok, we did swatches parts one and two already, let’s see if we can’t fit the last three all in at once!

I want all the bonus points for reblocking this swatch so I could take a decent photo of it for you. Yarn is Chickadee by Quince and Co in the color Angelica.

What I probably should have done is shown you blocked and unblocked versions of this swatch.  For you see, this stitch pattern looks…ah…shall we say indistinct in it’s unblocked state? That’s a polite word for it, right?⁠⠀
But…the good news here is that when you wear socks, your foot/ankle totally puts the fabric under tension for you, so that oh so slightly nebulous pattern you saw when you were knitting absolutely springs into focus. It’s one of knitting’s many tiny magic tricks, and one this stitch shows off to great advantage!⁠

Next up is something a little more straight forward, but no less delightful.  Yarn is Everyday DK by Ontheround in the color Hologram.⁠

And the socks are a pile of ribbing.  Which is both glorious (so comfy, so tidy, so very delightful to wear) and potentially a tiny bit boring to knit.  So I’ve done something delightfully swoopy on the foot of the sock.  Which the swatch admitedly doesn’t show terrrrrrrribly well.  But it helped me work out the math, and you’ll see how cool it is when I start showing off the socks properly here very soon!

And finally…a totally different take on ribbing.  Yarn is Bluestocking by String Theory Handdyed Yarn in the color Bimini.⁠⠀

And I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but this is just so much fun to work.  I’ve never made stitches quite like it, and the result is just so gloriously textured.  Like it feels tidy and orderly and the tiniest bit subversive. Now, you will totally want to swatch it. It’s weird enough that your first one will probably be a whole lot less tidy than your fifth one (I know mine certainly got tidier as I practiced). But you’ll have fun and it’s totally worth it! ⁠

Once again, though I suspect if you’ve made it this far you totally already know, the book is coming soon, and if you want to hear about the preorder festivities, the mailing list is the thing to do.  But you’re totally a cool kid and already knew that!

Swatches…so many swatches

It’s high time I start showing off some of the bits and pieces for the upcoming book!  And for me, that means swatches.  So Many Swatches.

Now, if I were cooler, I’d have this pinned out and under tension for you.  Because this is one of those stitches that just absolutely pops when it’s stretched a bit (always a good choice for sock patterns, where you generally have a bit of negative ease).  But instead you’ll just have to imagine me stretching it just a tiny bit and making cooing noises as I revel in the tiny twisted stitches and perfect lines.⁠

Yarn is Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts in the color White Buffalo.⁠⠀And you will always always always be glad to have Karen’s yarn in your stash!

What comes next? More swatches!  Because really, that’s how projects start around here.  And this…this is quite possibly the prettiest swatch I ever did swatch.

I swear the yarn pooled so perfectly (and it did on the final sock too…what till you see it).  And this is a perfect example of just how different a color can look in the skein and on the swatch.  You can hardly even find that sort of teal color in the top right of the swatch if you look at the skein…but then you knit it up and there it is, flirting with you in the very nicest way.  You are going to flip when you see these!⁠

Yarn is Caper Sock by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in the color Blue Hill.  And it is the closest thing to that gorgeous iridescent sheen you get on wet pavement I’ve ever seen (yeah yeah, I know, gross thing to think about, but good gracious but it’s lovely to behold).

These are both swatches for socks in this year’s book.  The book that comes out next month (yes, that does indeed mean I’m going to have a busy next few weeks. Feel free to send tea and chocolate).  If you are super cool and want to be sure to hear when the preorder opens, the mailing list is the best way to make that happen.  You probably already knew that, but apparently it’s the sort of thing I’m supposed to actually say out loud, so I’m trying to be a Responsible Business Bot and do those things!

Behold…an actual slipper

So first came a few decreases.

Then everything got all joined up.

And then it really started looking properly slipper-like!

Now I just have to remind myself (firmly) that my foot is a wee bit longer than the foot form and do one more repeat than I think I need to, and we should be done.  And really, the toes on these are going to be unspeakably adorable.  Promise.

Oh, and this seems like a good post to point out that the blog happens on a bit of a time delay (one post is often a few days of knitting).  If you want these updates in something closer to real time (because I’m sure you’re sitting up nights wondering what I’m up to…), you can always follow me on instagram.  Things tend to go up a little sooner there!


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Round and round or back and forth

So the way these slippers go together, you work flat for a while and then you work in the round (they’re built a lot like Quiescent if you played with those).  And whenever you go from working flat to working in the round, you need to pay a bit of attention.

The first thing to watch is your gauge.  Many people have a different gauge in one or the other, and you’ll want to do what you can to make it match.  (How do you know if you do?  Your swatch…it’s always your swatch!)  That can mean using a different size needle, or even using the same size but a different material/shape.  Like for me, I get a slightly tighter gauge on square needles than on round ones, and a slightly tighter gauge on wooden needles than on metal ones.  And I knit a tiny bit tighter when I’m working in the round than when I’m working flat.  So if it were a problem for a given project, I might switch from square needles to round ones or from wooden needles to metal ones when I move from flat to in the round to keep my gauge consistent.

The other thing to watch is your yarn, especially with multi color yarn.  And this is more of a ‘gee, yarn is nifty’ than a ‘watch out for it and correct for it’ sort of thing.  But take a look at how the colors on the yarn look in the top and bottom part of the slipper.

The top two thirds or so is was where I was knitting flat.  The bottom third or so is where I was knitting in the round.  It’s subtle (and shockingly hard to photograph), but look at how the colors sort of stack up in blocks on the top part and are more blended together on the bottom part (you can also see how much more even my knitting is when I’m working in the round, but hat will block out).

The color change is because of how the colors in the yarn stack up when you’re folding the yarn back and forth, row after row versus how they stack up when you’re spinning it in a spiral as you work round after round.  And it’s totally not a problem here (and it’s not at all something wrong with the yarn…that’s just how yarn/knitting works).  But it is something to be aware of so you’re not surprised by it (it can do funny things on like a sock heel or on a sweater when you divide for the arms).

Plus it gives us an excuse to stare at that gorgeous yarn (Opulence DK from String Theory in Tourmaline, if you missed it before and are wondering)!

Leaves are sneaky

Leaf patterns are sneaky.  Usually (not always of course, knitting offers very few cases of always) leaf patterns have you closing off the last leaf at the same time you’re starting up the next one.  That means when you’ve knit one repeat, you have two half leaves…and absolutely zero whole leaves.  It also means it looks like nothing much to write home about…

It’s not until you finish the second repeat of the stitch pattern that you actually have one whole leaf.

And it’s often not until you’ve done two or three more repeats that you can really start to see what’s going on.

All of which is a long way to say, don’t worry if your leaf pattern looks a bit indistinct at first…give it a a few repeats before you expect it to really shine! But you totally did a few repeats on your swatch, right?  So you weren’t worried…


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Well heeled

So the heel flap is done (this one is taller than usual, a full 56 rows, because I wanted the slipper to come up a bit higher on my ankle).

And the heel turn is done…and reminding me of nothing so much as a tiny pirate flag at the moment.

But I’m sure that’s just the yarn fumes talking!

Next I pick up a bunch of stitches and start doing the fancy bit…and then at some point not too long from now, it will actually start looking like a slipper.

Slipper, reincarnated

So when last we left the slipper, he was languishing after a bit of a rip.  I put him in time out to see if I was going to pick back up or try the same general idea with a different yarn.

And somehow while he was in time out, this skein kept coming to the top of the stash.  Funny how that happens sometimes.

And then?  Well then this happened and I think we’re pretty much done for.

The yarn is Opulence DK by String Theory in the color Tourmaline.  And yes, yes it does change color from picture to picture (it changes color in real life if the sun goes behind a cloud, so I’m not surprised).  The yarn sits in some indefinable spot between blue and purple and turquoise, and it’s never going to look the same from one round of pictures to the next, so we’ll just have to resign ourselves to the mysteries of the yarn.  I think we’re up for the task.

Cleave (plus giveaway)

There’s something about taking a classic like a ribbed sock (comfy, easy, fits perfectly) and adding just a little bit of a something special that gets me every time.  The special bit could be dropped stitches or lace or even a fancy cuff.  Whatever you pick, it’s always more fun than it has any right to be.  For Cleave, I went with an absolutely delightful cable and a little bit of a twist for the heel.

The construction on these is really fun.  Instead of working flat over half the stitches to make a heel flap, then picking up stitches to make a gusset, you keep working in the round, increasing on each side of the foot to make the heel flap, gusset, and top of your foot all at once.  The fit is similar to a traditional heel flap, there’s just a bit more working in the round (which I generally prefer) and a bit less picking up stitches (which may not be my very favorite knitting task ever).  I think you’ll have fun with it!

Though of course, if you’re really not in the mood for something new, I’ve got you covered.  The pattern includes instructions for how to make them with a traditional heel as well (and I promise I won’t mind…I totally get that sometimes sticking with something familiar is the way to go).

These are made in String Theory’s Caper Sock, which is an absolutely delightful yarn.  I discovered String Theory when I kept seeing gorgeous socks on ravelry, clicking through to investigate the yarn, and finding their name again and again.  When I was planning these socks, I couldn’t decide between two of their colors, and so got both.  I  ended up using the lighter of the two for the pattern (just because it’s a bit easier to photograph light yarn if we’re being honest), and that means I have the other one to send off to one of you.

If you think it should be you, just leave me a comment telling me how you feel about ribbed socks.  Are they your go-to favorite?  Too boring to bear?  Ok so long as there’s something going on to add a little excitement?  There’s no right or wrong answer, I just like to know what you like!

And for everyone I can’t send yarn to (I’m just not cool enough to get yarn to everyone, sorry!), I’ve got a coupon for Cleave.  You can use the code RIBBED to get 10% off between now and Friday.  Just put Cleave in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code RIBBED.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Oh, and for anyone paying really shockingly close attention, a version of this pattern first came out in New Directions in Sock Knitting way back in February of last year (as always, amazon links are affiliate links).  The rights have reverted to me, and I wanted to add in the info about how to work this with a traditional heel, so I thought I’d bring them out as an individual pattern.  But just in case you already have that book, you’ve got a copy in there already!

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, June 23, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.


Excursion (plus giveaway)

I have strong feelings about travel.  I think it’s a lovely thing to do, but wow do I ever want to take the comforts of home with me when I go.  That means I bring along everything I need to make a proper cup of tea (yes I have brought my teapot on trips), and I have at least one pair of slippers in my suitcase.  This pair is called Excursion, and you can bet it will be accompanying me on my next adventure!

DSC_1174 copyThese are going to make you feel ridiculously clever when you make them.  You cast on at the back of the heel, do some increases to make a cup for your heel, do some decreases to shape the gusset, then join up to work in the round and zoom on down toward your toes.  The whole thing feels amazingly tidy.

I made the things, and I even find myself picking them up and going oooooooh, how the heck does that work?

DSC_1125 copyI made mine in the much beloved and sadly discontinued Caper Aran from String Theory, but the pattern is written so that you can use pretty much any aran, worsted, or even DK weight yarn you like.  You just need to be sure you’re knitting nice and tight so you get a dense, sturdy fabric.  If you go with a lighter yarn they may start to feel a bit more like thick socks than sturdy slippers, but I suspect you’ll love them just as much either way.

DSC_1191 copyI do happen to have one last skein of this exact yarn (which should be more than enough to make a pair of these…I have size 11 feet and I had a fair bit of yarn leftover when I was done) to give away.  If you think it should be yours, just leave a comment telling me what’s the one thing you always pack along on trips to make you feel more at home.  You already know my weaknesses, but I suspect you guys have some interesting things in your suitcases too!

And while I can’t quite manage to yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code SUITCASE to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Excursion in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code SUITCASE.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

DSC_1217 copyComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, October 7, 2016 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

DSC_1201 copy


So last time I showed off (just a bit) of the pretty from the trip to Maine.  But I know you guys are here more for yarn than for general travel festivities.  And don’t worry, there was yarn.  No really I checked.  There was.

4 copyFirst up, a bit of Malabrigo.  And no, it’s not local to Maine, but I strongly prefer to buy Malabrigo in person, and these four were too lovely to pass up!

1 copyAnd when in Maine, you’re pretty much contractually obligated to get a bit of Seven Sisters Arts.

3 copyThat contract?  It totally covers String Theory too.

2 copyAnd new to me (and firmly in the ‘ooooooh, speckles, pretty’) is On the Round.  I have a feeling there will be more of this later.