flowers

Fair Flooer sock pattern

I have just published a new sock pattern – Fair Flooer

Fair Flooer sock

 

The pattern is designed especially to be knitted using Ginger’s Hand Dyed Sheepish Sock yarn, which Jess handdyes and sells in her lovely wee shop, Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. She chooses great names for her colourways, this one is My Little Pony, there is a red one called Girl on Fire, and a deep rich purple variegated one called Father of Funk.

 

I specifically chose this colourway because, like my sock design, it makes me think of spring flowers. It is great to knit with and is really soft; I think it has the perfect amount of variegation in the yarn, it creates soft striations across the sock, without looking too busy or bitty, so you can see the lace flower pattern clearly; it didn’t give me any problems with colour pooling either.

 

My design started with me thinking up a sock pattern for my first and only (so far) skein of yarn I spun on a drop spindle. The lace design evolved from playing around with the arrowhead lace stitch pattern; I saw simple flowers could be made by slightly adjusting the existing stitch pattern, and I liked and retained the linear effect of the arrowhead lace.

 

This was the first iteration of the design in my handspun yarn:

Fair Flooer prototype

 

Quite honestly, the design is better than the yarn, which was unflattering to the design, as it was quite uneven and veered wildly from 4 ply to DK weight, it knitted up quite tight and because it had a high silk and bamboo content, after a few washes the sole became quite cardboardy!

 

The new iteration on the pattern in Ginger’s lovely yarn is a huge improvement. I created a twisted rib cuff, which reflected the placing of the lace flowers.

 

Fair Flooer sock

 

And the twisted rib in the lace flower pattern extends into the heel flap, a feature which was suggested to me by my friend, Cathy Scott from Stitchmastery, (the program I create my charts on). The socks are knitted top down, and there are both written and charted instructions.

 

Fair Flooer Heel

 

This pattern has interchangeable leg/foot width, leg length and foot length.
Choice of Adult S (M, L)
Foot Circumference: 16.5(19, 21.5) cm / 6.5(7.5, 8.5) ins,

Choice of Leg Length: 1(2, 3) – 15.5(18.5, 21.5) cm /
6(7.25, 8.5) ins

Choice of Foot Length: A (B, C ) – 21(24, 27.5) cm / 8.25+(9.5+, 10.75+) ins – each option can be lengthened.

 

As I live in Scotland, I gave the pattern a Scots inspired name: Flooer is Scots for flower. The design made me think of the first flowers of Spring, which are so welcoming to see after a long Scottish Winter, so I was keen to take photos of the socks with Spring flowers, particularly snowdrops. However it proved a real struggle to get a combination of sunshine and snowdrops, and make the socks look good, and stop me freezing to death with bare legs in Scotland in the middle of February. This was the first attempt in Kelso after about an hour of searching for non-muddy snowdrops and sunshine:

 

Fair Flooer 3

 

The second attempt was more successful and my friend Morven Donald, who works with me at the National Museum of Scotland, and I dived out to the Meadows in Edinburgh to take some photos on a sunny lunchtime. We couldn’t find any in the Meadows, the flowers were all still in bud, so we headed to George Square at the University of Edinburgh Campus, and luckily found some snowdrop clumps in the middle of the square under some trees.

These were the results:

 

Fair Flooer sock design

 

Fair Flooer sock

 

Fair Flooer socks

 

It must have been quite entertaining for the people having their sandwiches on benches around the square to see us prancing around like mad pixies in the snowdrops:

 

Ruth in Snowdrops

 

 

Finding the Felty Folk

It’s been so lovely to see the sunshine again after an exceptionally long Winter in Scotland. I enjoyed watching the coverage of the Chelsea Flower show on the BBC, and it gave me quite a hankering to wander through beautiful gardens.

Saturday looked like it was going to be a glorious day, and I had planned to visit a nice garden – Monteviot Gardens, near Jedburgh. This was the first time I’d been there:

Monteviot Gardens

How lovely to have a river at the bottom of your garden, the water was like glass:

River Teviot

I had arranged with Neeva to get a message to Oosie and Diggly to meet me in the gardens, as it wasn’t too far from where they lived. So I was keeping my eyes peeled for them.

They weren’t in the Laburnum Tunnel; I thought they would have enjoyed climbing it:

Laburnum Tunnel

It wasn’t in its full glory, as it was in the shade, and the yellow blossoms were only just starting to come out.

They weren’t in the Arboretum; although I saw lots of good Felty Folk hidey-holes in the trees, and some fantastic twisted tree bark:

Tree bark

They weren’t running through the blooming Wild Garlic under the trees:

Wild garlic

Maybe it was too smelly!

I walked into the lush Oriental Water Gardens,

Water Gardens

and found them sitting on one of the bridges, soaking in the sunshine:

Oosie & Diggly on the bridge

“Hi!” I called out “I’ve found you. Aren’t you worried other people might see you there?”

Oosie and Diggly laughed.

“People make so much noise walking about we get plenty of warning before we have to hide,” Diggly commented.

Oosie & Diggly on bridge close up

“It’s good to see you again,” Oosie said.

They got up, ran across the bridge and leapt into the flower beds, swinging from hand to hand towards me.

Oosie & Diggly swinging

Oosie stopped right in front of me, swaying on a flowerhead.

Oosie swinging on flowers

“I haven’t seen you since the snow in March,” I said. “Isn’t it lovely now the sun has come out.”

“It is,” said Oosie. “It makes it so much easier for us to get about too.”

She swung herself along, with Diggly following, and jumped from flower to leaf to rock to bridge, exploring the garden.

Finally they slowed down and caught their breath, resting in a clump of Gunnera leaves, which swayed wildly as they landed.

Oosie & Diggly on Gunnera

“Have you explored the rest of the garden yet?” I asked.

They both nodded.

“Yes, we came early while it was quiet, we played for quite a long time on the tunnel thing!” exclaimed Oosie.

We chatted for quite a while, catching up with news of the Felty Folk, until it was eventually time to leave. I remembered I had an invitation for them.

“Would you both like to come to a feast I’m going to have in my garden soon?”

“Ooh, yes!” they cried, “that sounds marvellous!”

Oosie & Diggly close up

“Alright. I’ll get Neeva to send a message to you as usual to let you know when it’s going to happen.”

I left Oosie and Diggly on the leaf, chatting away about the imminent feast.

Gunnera

Thanks to S.Miller for use of some of the photographs here.

Diggly’s Den

At last the time arrived for the visit to meet Diggly, as discussed here and here. Three of the Felty Folk had plucked up the courage to go on a first trip with me in the car. Neeva showed them around the car, and reassured them that it would be OK, and they climbed up into the safety seat I had created for them:

Climbing in

They were quite excited but a little nervous. I started the car, checked they were OK, and set off. They were quite quiet initially, and as they got used to the new sensations, they started happily chatting with each other.

Safety seat

I drove towards Selkirk, aiming for the area where I had seen Oosie, and she had done her leaf dance. When we were in the right area, I pulled into a layby to check with Oosie where to go next. They clambered out of their seat, and had a bit of a stretch and explored the car:

Oosie takes in the view

There was a lovely view to the distant hills:

The view

It was a lovely day altogether, much nicer for the trip than first intended, where it was supposed to be an easier way of Oosie getting to see her friend Diggly when travelling was hard on foot during the Winter. However the Winter was not too hard this year, and I had been a little unwell to take trips out, so it had been delayed. Oosie had managed to see Diggly a couple of times during the Winter, so this trip had turned into a bit of a jolly for the Felty Folk, and a bit of excitement travelling by car.

I showed them the map, and pointed out where I had seen Oosie before, and she was able to guide me towards where Diggly lived.

The Felty Folk consult the map

We set off again and soon came to the trees where I had seen Oosie:

Row of trees

A little further on, Oosie started getting quite excited and said we were nearly there, so I found a place to park up and we set off by foot, towards a footbridge:

Path to footbridge

This is the burn running under from the footbridge:

Burn from footbridge

We came to a forked path, but Oosie skipped ahead to show us  the way:

Oosie shows the way

Through the gate we were in beautiful woodland, paved with wild flowers. Forget-me-nots threaded under the trees:

Forget-me-not woodland

I love the way they change colour as the flowers age:

Wild Forget-me-not

There were Wood Anemones:

Wood Anemone

And striking trees – a Copper Beech:

Copper Beech

And a Crab Apple tree in full bloom:

Crab Apple Blossom

And a lichen encrusted Apple tree:

Diggly in apple tree

“It’s Diggly, it’s Diggly, it’s Diggly!!” cried Oosie jumping up and down in her excitement. The others were waving and calling out too.

Diggly

“Hello,” I said, “You must be Diggly.”

“That’s right, and you must be Ruth,” he said, “Oosie’s told me about you. I’d better come down and say hello to her…”

He climbed down and ran to Oosie:

Diggly pleased to see Oosie

They were VERY pleased to see each other. There must be something magical going on between them:

Oosie and Diggly

Diggly greeted the others, and they all climbed on a Butterbur leaf for a good chat:

The Felty Folk resting on a Butterbur leaf

I chatted with them for a while, but they were talking about Folk I didn’t know, so it was hard to join in. Diggly was giving them some lunch, but the food was only suitable for Felty Folk;so I said I’d go off for a short walk and explore, and would come back for them later, and left them chatting:

Oosie and Diggly on Butterbur leaf

On my walk I found a beautiful view across a field:

View across field

that somehow reminded me of the Monet painting, Le Pave du Chailly. There was a clump of Welsh Poppies that just glowed, under tender green beech leaves:

Welsh Poppies

Welsh poppy

Closer to the burn there were the unusual Water Avens:

Water Avens

They remind me of Victorian lampshades:

Water Avens close up

Maybe the Felty Folk use them for something, I’ll have to ask them. I walked back along the path by the Crab Apple tree:

Path back

and headed to the patch of Butterbur, but no Felty Folk were in sight. I carried on along the path and came back to the footbridge:

Sitting on bridge2

And there they were, waiting for me:

Sitting on bridge1

“Are you ready to go home?” I asked. “We can stay a bit longer if you like?”

“Yes, we’re ready to go now,” Neeva and Dod replied.

Sitting on bridge4

Oosie explained that Diggly had invited her to stay a few days, so she would make her own way back. Now I’d met Diggly, I was reassured that he would look after Oosie and return her safely.

We all said our goodbyes, and Neeva, Dod and I walked back to the car. I asked Neeva if this was normal behaviour for Felty Folk; and she said that when two Felty Folk really liked each other, they would try out spending longer amounts of time together, eventually they would either live together or not. She said, the Felty Folk don’t have marriage like us, but after two of them have lived together happily for a certain amount of time they would have a celebration, a bit like our wedding anniversaries.

So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Diggly and Oosie, and where they might make their home.

Away for a while

I was busy taking photos on the butterflies on my Inula daisies in the garden:

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly

And look who popped up:

Neeva in Inula

“Hi Neeva. I wanted to catch up with you to let you know I’m going to be away for a week. I’m going down the South of England to see my friends and family.”

“That sounds like fun,” said Neeva, “I’ll see you when you get back.”

“Knock on the back door, if you don’t see me, I’ll be resting after travelling around for a week.”

“Did you enjoy Oosie’s age ceremony?” asked Neeva.

“I thought the ceremony was moving, and it was great to have an insight into your culture. Oosie looked like she was having a lovely time,” I replied.

“She was quite tired out with all that excitement,” she giggled, “which is unusual for her.”

A bee buzzed around and landed next to Neeva.

Neeva and bee

“I’d better get going,” she said, “we’re collecting honey later.”

“Careful you don’t get stung,” I said.

“Bees don’t sting us, and they don’t mind giving us some of their honey. See you when you get back. Have a lovely time.”

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As you heard, I’m away for a little holiday, so my next post will be in about two weeks time.