8 Oct 2009

Mentmore Socks

I love making socks using kettle-dyed and space-dyed yarns. The results are always stunning, and sometimes surprising too. Sometimes these surprises are good and sometimes - well, perhaps not so good! I am not a fan of pooling and zebra-stripes, which result when patches of the same colour line up row upon row to give an unpleasant "splodge"!

I designed the Mentmore Socks pattern to try to overcome this and have made a number of pairs now. They are worked in a slip-stitch rib which is a lovely cushioned stitch for socks and it also helps to break the colours up between rounds. Some of the stitches in the pattern are knit and some are slipped on every round. This effectively draws that colour up into the band above and with many yarns this is all that is required to give a harmonious looking sock. 

However sometimes this is not enough, particularly with the kettle-dyed yarns that we have seen coming onto the market in recent times. These are simply wonderful for adding texture and interest to your knitting but they do have a high degree of variability between the skeins. 

Even within the same dye-lot one skein can be very different from another. This is of course part of their charm and character, but it does mean that when you are making a pair of socks one can look a completely different shade from the other. 

In the Mentmore Sock pattern I have attempted to reduce these effects while still allowing the beauty of the yarns to shine through. 

Three balls of yarn are used at one time to blend the slightly different coloured skeins to give a more harmonious pair of socks. 

These socks have been knit using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal sock yarn which is a soft and long-lasting yarn - perfect for socks. 

The socks pictured at the top of this blogpost are worked in Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), which is another beautiful yarn. Socks made in this wool do tend to need darning after a while as there is no nylon in the mix, but it is a lovely yarn to work with. 

For more details about this new pattern, please see my my website. The pattern is available in both US and UK versions and is available for instant download from the site. It is also available on Craftsy, Etsy and Ravelry

Happy Knitting! 


Last Blogpost: Spiralling Away!


13 Aug 2009

Spiralling Away!!

I have been thinking about spirals recently, and how they are important in knitting. Sometimes they can be a interesting, but they can also be a nuisance. For example, when we are trying to put bands of colour into a circular item such as a sweater or a bag, then we might see a “jog” at the colour join. 

At first this is surprising because we tend to think we are working horizontal bands of colours, forming stripes. However, what we are actually knitting is a series of spirals.

So I have been thinking about this for a bit and looking at how this effect could actually be used to advantage. After a bit of experimenting I saw that if you use 3 different colours of yarn spaced evenly around as you work then different colours will appear as single-width stripes. 

Similarly if you use 2 balls of one colour and 1 ball of a contrast shade, you should see alternating thick and thin stripes. 

I had recently received some wonderful kettle-dyed yarns from Knit Picks, their Stroll Tonal yarn. The photo at the top shows 3 balls of this yarn and what is perhaps surprising is that they are all from the same dye-lot. 

They are all beautiful colours in themselves and with a wonderful depth and interest resulting from kettle-dyeing the yarn. However if I made a pair of socks, one with one ball, the 2nd with another and the 3rd ball being used as a back-up if I ran out of yarn along the way, then each sock would be very different. One would be a glorious dark burgundy colour, with hardly a lighter patch in it. The other would have bright sparks of colour almost verging on light pink. Basically the socks would not look like a matched pair.

So, I got to thinking about the technique of colour mixing within each spiral and how I could use this to meld the 3 differently-toned balls of yarn.

I worked a pair of socks using all 3 balls of yarn in the same round and found it did a great job of blending the colours from one ball to another to give a far more harmonious final result. It also considerably reduced the sometimes unattractive pooling and Zebra-striping effects that can sometimes happen with hand-dyed yarns. 

Of course there are still lighter-coloured stripes and highlighted stitches, but these are the feature of kettle-dyed yarns that we all find so attractive. 

I have just uploaded this pattern, Mentmore Socks, and it can be purchased directly from my website. I will post more details about this new pattern next time.

Happy Knitting!


Previous Blogpost: Bags of Bags!
Next Up: Mentmore Socks

. 12/1/16

12 Aug 2009

Bags of Bags!

I wanted to put a page together with links to all the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! variations I have been blogging about recently. Keep up the good work by knitting your own bags and say "No Plastic Bags for Me!" at the checkout.

Click on the links below for more information: 

Centre: BYOB - two bags using different MC yarns 

Centre: Basketweave variation in blue/pink and white 
R: BYOB's in "Fired Earth" colourway 

L: Broad striped variation 
R: Purple BYOB and Fibonacci variation

L: New BYOB 2.0 pattern 
R: BYOB 2.0 pattern now with four sizes

Above: BYOB Market Bag knit-along blogpost series 

Set of bags ready for the supermarket with: 
a linen bag 
a bottle carrier 
1 or 2 solid-sided basketweave bags 
and a BYOB or two in various sizes 

I usually put several of these "sets" of bags together ready to grab as I leave the house then I have everything I need when I arrive at the shops. Have fun making your own bag variations and then you can say with pride: 

"No plastic bags for me!" 

Download the latest version of this pattern, BYOB 2.0 from the "Bag Pattern" page on my website. Here you will see details of this pattern together with information about the long-handled BYOB Market Bag pattern, and four linen-lined bags, the Southampton Collection

Happy Knitting! 


Last Blogpost: Rare Earth Rug

. 13/1/16


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