Spring

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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My knitting addiction

I was in my garden today, and look what I saw:

Foxgloves

Oosie on Foxglove

Oosie says it’s easy climbing foxgloves as they are just like a ladder, and she likes swaying about on the top. We also met someone else that loves foxgloves…

Bee

Reading my blog, you may not have realised just how much knitting goes on in my life. I’ve only mentioned my shawl and the Fleece to finished challenge, so now I thought I’d catch you up on my recent knitting activities.

I couldn’t tell you about many of them at the time as they were presents for friends and I didn’t want to “let the cat out of the bag”.

Since my post about the shawl I have knitted/crocheted 7 items, and have 3 items in progress.

A beret for Katherine:

Beret

She liked one I made for myself, so I made here one in a different colourway, in beautiful Colinette Cadenza yarn from Wales. Using Kirsten Kapur’s Katie’s Beret pattern, which really shows off the variegated yarn.

A red cardigan for Hannah:

Red Cardigan

I based it on a Drops Design pattern, and used their wonderful 100% Alpaca yarn which is so soft and light. I liked the way Gudrun Johnston’s Moch Cardi just fastened at the top, and I thought it would work well with this pattern.

A hat with a Space Invaders design taken from the BMP sock pattern for Brad, he might have to wait until Winter to wear it though:

Space Invaders hat

A knitted and felted in the washing machine camera case for me:

Camera Case

It was made using up some of the Drops Alpaca yarn from the red cardigan above and from a jumper I made, and a vintage button from my Mum’s button box.

Some Saxon socks made for my friend in Newcastle:

Saxon Socks

I loved knitting this pattern, I am fascinated by lettering, typography and calligraphy, and I love literature, so these socks fulfilled three addictions; it was a bit like doing a word search puzzle. The pattern is Hwaet! by The Sanguine Gryphon, and is the first page of the manuscript of Beowulf spread over the socks (here is a translation). They are knitted from the cuff down, so I was following the letters upside down as I knitted, and reversed colours too, as the pattern is written for dark letters on a light background. It had an unusual heel construction I had not knitted before:

Heel

The pattern increases slowly to the width of the heel, then there are some short rows to turn the heel, and sharp decreases underneath heel centre. I’m not delighted with the wrinkles around the ankles which might not happen with a different heel, but the heel fits fine.

(Quite a lot of detail there, I’m sure the non-knitters have yawned and skipped ahead…)

I’ve also crocheted this little gnome for my niece, who is starting to play with toys suitable for children going to a Steiner School. I thought I’d increase her collection, but I forgot to take a photo of him before I sent it off to her.

My current knitting project is a lovely shawl for Amanda for her wedding, so no sneak previews allowed.

This may seem rather a lot of knitting to some people, but I think it’s probably about a medium level of addiction compared to some of the other knitters/spinners/crocheters I know.

I thought I’d end with fluffy Spring cuteness:

Gosling

This is a gosling of an Andean Goose I saw on a recent visit to Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. I think he’s extra fluffy because he usually lives in the cold Andes Mountains, he even has fluff down his legs like little knickerbockers. I just love his tiny wings. Aww.

A walk down the lane and we meet Oosie

I’m on holiday from work this week, so it’s a good opportunity to push my energy limits a little and take some longer walks, without being worried about making myself too sick to go to work. It was a beautiful breezy May Bank Holiday, so I headed off out the back of my house, past the Washing Burn where I first met Neeva. There was some eye-catching yellow-green lichen on the stone wall, much brighter than I had seen on my previous walks:

Lichen on Stone

It hasn’t come out so bright in the photographed. I went through the gate at the end of the field, past a field of bullocks:

Cows in field

and along the lane:

Along the lane

I love the bright green new growth on the pine trees, it looks so soft and fresh:

Pine tips

I walked past the woods where Neeva lives, there was no sign of her. This is as far as I’ve been down this path in over a year due to my lack of energy, so I was feeling very pleased that I was going further this time. This looks like a good place for Felty Folk to play:

Through the trees

No-one would see them there. At a path junction I saw the only people I was going to see on the whole walk – the two red specks in the distance:

Walkers on the path

I reached the end of the path, and went through the gate into the field beyond:

At the gate

I walked away from the dark trees into the sunlight, and wandered over to the edge of the Harry Burn:

Harry Burn

I was feeling a bit tired, and was looking for a good place to sit down for a bit of a rest, and to eat an apple, but there were many cow pats in the field, and accompanying flies, and midgey flies over the water, so I headed back.

“Hello!” a little voice called. I looked around and saw:

Oosie on the fence

“Hello,” I said. “Aren’t you Oosie?”

“Yes,” she said, “and you’re Ruth. Neeva told me about you, and I saw you down at the pond. Watch what I can do!”

She started dancing along the fence quite acrobatically:

Oosie dances

“Please be careful, Oosie, don’t fall.”

“I won’t fall. This is fun!” she cried. I gasped as she swung down from the fence:

Oosie climbs down

Bounded along and swung off the old gate hinge:

Oosie swings

and executed a tricky manouvre round the gate post:

Oosie's acrobatics

“Wow! That’s amazing, Oosie”

“Thanks,” she said. “I love jumping about.”

Meet Oosie

“Gotta go.” She jumped down from the top of the fence down to the ground, and sped off across the grass, leaving me blinking in astonishment. Oosie’s a bit of a whirlwind.

I headed back to the path to find somewhere to eat my apple. I found a sunny clearing and a tree stump to sit on and rest my legs. While I was munching away I was looking at the bright blue speedwell at my feet:

Speedwell

and some Wood Avens just come out into flower:

Wood Avens

They are like tiny buttercups on tall spindly stalks, and have spiky seedheads later on that finches love. I headed back home. The cows came over to say hello this time, they’re quite young and very inquisitive:

Cows say hello

This path takes me around the edge of the Thirlestane estate, I expect that’s who the cows belong to. This is Thirlestane Castle from the path, pretty impressive?

Thirlestane Castle

I was very pleased to not be totally exhausted after my longer walk, and it was great to see some old haunts again.

Where are the frogs?

Following up on my Felty Folk and tadpoles post, I’ve been back to Lauder Burn to look for frogs and hopefully to see the Felty Folk Vs frogs jumping competitions that Neeva mentioned. The tadpoles have certainly diminished, there’s just a few bottom left of the photo –

No frogs just tadpoles

but I couldn’t see frogs anywhere. I was pleased to see the Lady’s Smock flower out, it always feels like it’s really Spring when it flowers. Lady’s Smock is always the name I have known for it, which I think comes from the delicate lilac veining on the petals which look like creases in gathered cloth.

Lady's Smock

When I moved to Scotland I found they called it Cuckoo flower, as it appears at the same time you hear the cuckoos calling – although I haven’t heard one yet this year.

I went a bit further down the path and sat down quietly, hoping if I stayed still and looked hard I would see some frogs around the edge of the pond. I saw the prehistoric fingers of Giant Horsetail emerging from the pond:

Horsetail

and Marsh Marigolds in flower, and some Pond Skaters and Water Reeds and

Who's that?

What was that?!

Another one of the Felty Folk! It scuttled away very quick when it realised I had seen it. How exciting! Still no frogs though, so I went home.

This weekend I headed down there, again to look out for frogs. I didn’t see any at the ponds, although there are still tadpoles there, so I walked on to the end of the burn side path before it goes up the hill.

Gorse on the hill

The gorse looks amazing at the moment, all that April sun has really got it flowering. On the way back on the opposite side of the burn I saw a little path through the woods to a secluded bank of the burn. I scrambled through, in the vague hope I might see some frogs in a quiet area away from the main path, no such luck, but the air smelled lovely – all pepperminty, as there was Wild Water Mint growing on the bank:

Wild mint

“Hello down there”, a small voice called. I looked around, it sounded like Neeva.

“Up here.” I looked up in the trees and around, and there were Neeva and Dod up in the branches.

Felty Folk in the trees

“Hello. Good to see you. What are you doing up there?” I said.

“We’re coming down…”

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“We were picking some Mint to make tea,” Neeva explained, “but we heard something coming so we climbed up the tree, out of the way; when we realised it was you we thought we’d surprise you.”

Neeva and Dod

“And what a lovely surprise it was,” I said. “I was looking for frogs, have you seen any?”

“They mostly hide in the mud during the day,” said Dod, “and come out in the evening.”

“Looks like I’ve been coming at the wrong time then,” I sighed. “I saw one of your friends last week when I was looking for frogs. They were light-coloured with blue eyes and…”

“That’s Oosie”, Neeva laughed, “she was probably looking for frogs too, she’s very fast and can jump really high and enjoys competitions with the frogs.”

“She disappeared pretty fast when she saw me!”

“We’ll let her know that you are a friend, and she’ll chat to you next time,” said Dod.

“Thanks, I’ll look forward to it. I’d better get back home now. Bye. Enjoy your tea.”

They waved goodbye, and I headed off. I wonder how many Felty Folk there are around here…