socks

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

 

 

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Evangelina Socks

I am delighted to announce my new Evangelina sock pattern has just been published in Knitty online magazine, and it’s free! Have a look at the listing on Ravelry too.

Evangelina socks

My design is based on a Victorian baby’s Bootee pattern from a book I found in the National Museums Scotland library, where I work: Scrivenor, M. Elliot. Collection of Knitting and Crochet Receipts. John Paton, Son and Co., Alloa, 1896. It has a lovely cover:

Book Cover

This is the Frontispiece:

Book Frontispiece

We have other Victorian knitting books in the library, but what particularly struck me about this book was the photos. It was wonderful to see the kind of clothing you would expect to see in a Victorian period drama, and realise it was possible to make them from these patterns. This Child’s Hood feels like it just stepped out of a Charles Dickens novel:

Child's hood

I thought it would be great to have a go at knitting or crocheting something from the book, and I loved the stitch pattern in this Baby’s Boot:

Baby's boot

So I gave it a go. Using 2mm double pointed needles and some Drops Lace yarn I had by from making a shawl. I only made one, and this is what it turned out like:

Evangelina Bootee

Very sweet. The stitch pattern was remarkably easy to knit, and was based on a rib stitch pattern. I immediately thought it would make a lovely ladies’ sock pattern. However, I had a lot of problems working the crochet edging on the sock to the instructions, it just came out too tight and the scallops looked too gathered compared to the original photo. The photo above shows my second attempt at the edging, I had to adapt the instructions to make it look similar to the original, but still it was a tight and inflexible cuff. I knew I was going to have to try something else for the sock cuff.

There were quite a few adaptations that needed to be made, as a baby’s bootee has different functions to a ladies’ sock. The original had moss stitch over the sole and toes, fine for a baby’s foot, which would not touch the ground, but a bit lumpy for an adult to walk on; so I changed the sole and toes to smooth stocking stitch, but retained the moss stitch for the side gussets:

Evangelina socks

I thought a reinforced heel would be more practical for an adult sock, but chose pheasant’s eye stitch as it had a similar feel to the original moss stitch.  I liked the ribbon around the ankle in the original pattern, but moved it to the cuff, where it could be seen for decorative effect on an adult sock. I used a thicker yarn, 4ply sock yarn, as lace weight would not wear well for adult socks.

Evangelina socks

As the original cuff had been problematical in crochet, I experimented with a combination of knit stitch patterns to create a similar effect. The cuff edging stitches are based on the Victorian cabbage patch edge stitch, which uses staggered cluster stitches to create the effect. To help the cuff edge remain stretchy I used a provisional cast on, which removed a firm cast on edge. The cuff edging is then knitted up from the provisional stitches after the rest of the sock has been knitted.

Evangelina socks

I was inspired by the original book to choose red yarn for the socks. Most of the patterns in the book specified what colour yarn was used, probably because the book was produced by a yarn manufacturer. Looking through the patterns I was surprised to find that red was often used for underwear, like these Knickerbocker Drawers:

Knickerbocker drawers

Knickerbocker drawers pattern

I just loved the idea that respectable looking Victorian ladies and gentlemen could be keeping their nether regions warm by clothing them in a saucy red colour! Babieswear was more muted though, this is the start of the pattern for the bootee I knitted:

Baby's Boot pattern

The original book has been reprinted and is now available to buy online. Perhaps you will be inspired to knit some red knickerbockers for yourselves…

Or have a go at my Victorian inspiration from the book – Evangelina is available in S,M,L ladies sizes directly from Knitty or through Ravelry.  I hope you enjoy knitting and wearing it.

Evangelina socks

While I was away in Venice my friend took a couple more photos of Evangelina, as I felt I needed more summery photos as it was going in the Spring/Summer issue, (it was originally intended for the Winter issue). Here are the photos:

Evangelina close up in Venice

Evangelina heels in Venice

Evangelina and poles in Venice

Can you see me wincing with the cold?!

Ruth wearing Evangelina socks in Venice

 

Thanks to Lara Armitage and S.Miller for the use of their photos.

Autumn knitting round-up

I thought it was about time to show you my recent knitting projects. As usual, I always have something on my needles, and the grotty weather we had this Summer made me reach for bright warm colours, as you will see.

I admire very fine lace knitting, and have enjoyed making some lace shawls using 4 ply weight yarn, and really fancied trying knitting with lace weight yarn. I’d had my eye on a small shawl, Alcea, with a beautiful sinuous lace border, and decided to knit myself a red shawl:

Scarlet Alcea shawl

Lace knitting is one of the few times I don’t play about with a pattern, I knit it as instructed, I don’t feel confident enough to adapt it. However each time I knit lace I learn more, so one day… who knows what I’ll come up with. I was very surprised at how different it felt to knit with fine laceweight yarn, I had a terrible tendency to slip stitches off my needles, I really had to watch what I was doing. This is my shawl on Ravelry.

Having followed a pattern dutifully, I wanted to break out a little and adapted this Kissing Koi Mittens pattern into socks:

Kissing Koi socks

I think mittens patterns can translate quite well into socks. The knitting designer, Spilly Jane, often makes sock and mitten versions of her designs. I tweaked the charts provided in the pattern on a photo editing program, and adapted the background to the fish, creating extra bubbles to fill the back of the socks:

Kissing Koi socks back

I also messed around with the self-stripeing yarn: I chopped up 2 balls of yarn, put the same colours together and knitted alternative rows of the same colour to create a more gradual, slower colour change. I used the same technique on this pattern – Noro Ushi scarf – scroll down for photos of chopped up yarn balls. It takes a real control freak to want to control the way self-stripeing yarn stripes!

Like I say, I usually want to tweak patterns, I want them longer/shorter, in a different weight of yarn, I want to use the motif on a different item of clothing etc. I also usually want to make something different, and shy away from very popular patterns, especially if it’s something for me to wear. However some patterns are just so amazing and attractive I can’t resist.

I succumbed to Kate Davies’ Betty Mouat Cowl, especially after she knitted it in a muted colourway. It has been knitted 171 times by knitters on Ravelry, queued to knit 530 times, and favorited 1515 times and was only released this March . I’m a regular reader of Kate Davies’ blog, and there was a photo of of this colourway of the cowl at the top of her blog for several months, and it must have just got to me. So when she announced a kit of the cowl available online, I bought it straightaway. I have knitted the long version:

Betty Mouat Cowl long

546 stitches to cast on! twice! Then graft 546 stitches together at the end! Luckily my desire for the cowl overcame all obstacles, and I’m very happy with it:

Betty Mouat Cowl

I’ve discovered that knitting garter stitch (knit every row) is not my favorite stitch pattern. Some people dislike purl stitch, but for me, inserting my needle into the front loop with the purl bump in my way kinda tenses me up a bit and slows my knitting down. Does anyone else find this? Perhaps I’m knitting it in a “funny” way? I will have to get someone to watch me knitting garter stitch when I’m next at my knitting group. My version of the cowl is here.

Another popular knit I’ve succumbed to is a free pattern – Aidez. This has 2379 projects, is on 7608 queues, and has been favorited 18959 times on Ravelry since it was published in October 2010. It looked so cosy and warm, and is a well fitted and modern take on the traditional cabled cardigan. I’ve not stopped wearing it:

Ruby Red Aidez cardigan

It is a nice, simply written pattern, with written and charted instructions for the cables, and is knitted in separate pieces an sew together. However, I preferred to knit it all-in-one, and found it fairly easy to add up the amount of stitches and knit altogether from the bottom up. I knitted the sleeves circularly, and joined them to the main body when I had reached the underarm cast off section of the main body. My version is on Ravelry here.

IRuby Red Aidez cardigan back

An exciting thing happened to me at a recent meeting of the Tweed Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. A new lady came along to the meeting, and when we got chatting, she said,

“Aren’t the person who does the Felty Folk blog?”

This is the first time I have met someone who reads my blog, that is not someone I know! Of course, I know her now – Hi Katherine! I hope I see you again soon.

She sometimes comments on my blog, so keep an eye out for her.

Finally, I went for a lovely walk in Shincliffe Woods, County Durham with my friend from Newcastle. The Autumn colours were sublime, and although my photos do not do it justice, I thought I’d share a few with you.

Shincliffe Woods 2

Shincliffe Woods 3

Shincliffe Woods 1