Archive for the “design” Category

New socks, new socks! I really had hoped to have these done in time for Pride Month, but hey - there'll be another one next year. Yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the "Rum Raisin" colourway, which I bought in Lake Tahoe in 2019. Pattern is... just a plain ol' 64 stitch sock. I kind of wish I'd thought of knitting these toe-up so that the toes would have started (or ended) at the beginning of the rainbow, but it's not that big a deal :) I did break the yarn after turning the heel, skipping ahead to the next red stripe so that the rainbow wouldn't be interrupted over the ankle, and that was a good decision - even if it did mean having a few more ends to weave in.

A pair of rainbow-striped socks. The colours are more like jewel tones than actual primary rainbow shades, but the effect is still that of a rainbow.

The same day that I finished these, I immediately started on the next pair, this time using Cascade Heritage Paints. The colourway I'm using is called "Thunder," which seems sort of appropriate to go next to a pair of rainbows. This past weekend I turned the first heel and am working my way down the foot. It'll be another plain stockinette pair (it's good knit-night work!) but with a navy contrast yarn in the cuffs/toes/heels. Also, I'm putting a Sweet Tomato Heel on these socks in hopes of not disturbing the spiral pooling of the yarn. I really like how it looks in the contrasting colour.

A partially knit sock. The cuff and heel is dark navy blue, and the leg of the sock is a spiral of grays and blues. The foot isn't yet knit.

Maybe there's something about the whiff of fall in the air that's gotten me re-invigorated to work on my knitting projects. This morning when I sat down at my desk I saw the yarn for the second of my Aviation socks (the third in the Twisted Trilogy that I've been procrastinating on for a while) - and instead of just nodding at it, like, "yeah, I see you," I picked it up and knit for a while. Once this sock is done I'll write up all three patterns in a nice way and then get them published, finally! I'm trying not to give myself a hard time for not finishing this project sooner, because what good would that do now? Instead I'm going to try to remember how much I actually do enjoy knitting this pattern, even if I'm a little intimidated by the thought of writing up patterns for publication :)

The very beginning of a purpley-pink sock. The ribbed cuff transitions into a twisted stitch pattern that makes an interesting texture of columns.

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A long time ago I had the idea to design a trilogy of socks with twisted stitches, and to name them for cocktails. I knit the Boulevardier Socks in 2018, the Sapphire Martini socks in - well, I started them in 2018, knit an entire sock very much too small, got frustrated, started over again while I was unemployed in early 2020, and finished the pair in 2021.

I cast on for the Aviation Socks right after... but here we are, a year after that, and I'm just finishing up the first sock.

It's not that they're hard to knit - they're not! I don't know what the problem is. I really like how they look, and obviously this one fits me (that's my foot in the picture!) so that's not my concern. Am I procrastinating on the knitting because I'm planning to publish the patterns and I'm nervous about how they'll be received? Maybe so. How silly of me.

A nearly complete purple sock with a fancy twisted rib design is modeled on a foot, with toes peeking out of the unfinished end.

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I've been going out for runs before work, because it's been too hot in the afternoons. The other day I was all dressed and ready to go and... it was only 47 degrees out, so that was a nope. I'm going to need to come up with ways of keeping warm if I want to keep going out in the mornings! Since my hands get cold easily, I thought I'd begin with a pair of armwarmers. The idea of the Watch Me! armwarmers comes from wanting to be able to see and control my sportswatch without having to mess around with sleeves and other layers while I'm trying to run in a straight line.

Look, it's got a little window for my watch! ...which took several tries to size appropriately, but eventually I figured out what I was doing. The part of the armwarmer that goes over the watch band is seed stitch, and then it goes back to ribbing for the rest of it.

The back side of the Watch Me armwarmers shows a sports watch poking through a little 'window' over the wrist.

Getting the thumb gusset right was another challenge. I needed to adjust several times; I tried different types and rates of increases and liked none of them. Finally, I decided to just let it grow out of one of the ribs, and that worked well.

The next challenge was figuring out how many stitches to set aside for the thumb, and how many to dedicate to the hand - most of the glove/armwarmer patterns that I have in my library have the same number of stitches on the wrist as on the hand, but my wrist is only 6" around and my hand is about 7.5" around, so I needed to come up with some more stitches to keep my hand from getting squashed. I cast on a few extra after I set the thumb stitches aside, but I think if I make another pair of these I'll add even more. (Or knit the hand portion in stockinette, rather than in rib - that would probably work, too.)

The palm side of the left-hand Watch Me armwarmer

And then, of course, the inevitable challenge of picking up stitches for the thumb in order to leave the smallest holes possible between thumb and hand! I used the tail to sew up the little gaps that remained.

The thumb of the Watch Me armwarmers connects to the rest of the hand without any holes at all!

I took very careful notes as I knit so that I'll be able to duplicate my work. The right-hand armwarmer won't have the opening for a watch, of course, so I'll probably continue the ribbing instead of putting the seed stitch band in. But the notes will be very helpful when it comes to the thumb gusset!

The Watch Me! armwarmers are knit in Patons Kroy Sock FX, which is a heavier-than-standard sock yarn, on size 2 needles. The colourway is "Cascade Colors" and I absolutely love the teals and grays. I could easily see knitting a whole sweater out of this, actually, though I might try a swatch on size 3 needles to see if I can get a slightly more drapey fabric without it being too loose.

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The second pair of socks in the Twisted Trilogy is (finally) done!

This one is knit over 72 stitches, because that's how the pattern and my gauge worked out. I'd like to try to figure out how to fit it into 64, so I can offer the pattern in two sizes, but I'm not seeing a way to do that neatly. Ah well.

Two bright blue socks stretched over blockers on a wood background. The socks have a twisted stitch ribbing pattern running all the way up the foot and leg.

Originally I'd planned the third pair to be bright green, but I think I'm going with purple instead. I've got the stitch pattern all charted out and it's ready to get started, though I should probably finish some other projects first.

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Bottom line up front: Because I know a number of people simply can't use Ravelry anymore, I'm now also selling my patterns on Payhip.

So, this thing with the Ravelry redesign. It sure is a mess, huh. From the early days of "Surprise! we redid the site! Don't you love it? ...wait, you don't love it?" to flat-out dismissing people's health issues, only allowing positive feedback on the forums (locking/archiving/hiding anything negative or questioning, and even blocking people from the main forums for continuing to ask questions), and alienating people who helped build the community from the very beginning.

I'm lucky in that I'm not one of the people who's had negative effects from the redesign. I found the original colour scheme and harsh drop shadows to be too much and stuck with Classic, but once they came out with the toned-down "Herdwick" theme I did switch over. I don't think it's great: many of the icons are meaningless; they use colours which don't match the rest of the theme; things don't line up; menus in the header open when the mouse passes over them (like when switching browser tabs) and stay open even when other elements of the page are clicked; it's just not good design.

In short, I'm grumpy about this. Really, really grumpy.

There are so many things they could have done better, and they just... didn't.

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I have a collection of Cascade 220 leftovers, and thought that it would be a good idea to make a scrappy pair of Fleeps (convertible glove-mittens) with stranded colourwork for extra warmth. First I charted out a colour pattern and then I colour-coordinated the leftovers with the remaining yarn from my Acres Wild hat, which will be used as the lining for the cuff and mitten top.

A collection of small balls of yarn in shades of greens, purples and blues.

Then I started knitting. I couldn't tell at first if I had the size right, though I'd measured and done some math and re-measured and re-calculated. It looked small. But knitting always looks small, and once I had it well past the cuff and into the hand section, I tried it on.

It's too small. (It's lumpy over my wrist because I didn't take my watch off when I tried it on, since I wouldn't be taking my watch off in real life, either.)

The back side of a colourwork mitten in progress.

While I like how the colourwork looks on the back of my hand, I'm not really fond of how it looks on the palm or the thumb gusset. And there are going to be far too many yarn-ends to weave in at the end of this project. Just look at that cuff! Ends everywhere - blargh.

The palm side of a colourwork mitten in progress, showing the start of a thumb gusset.

So I ripped it all out, wound the yarn back into balls, charted out a different colourwork pattern over more stitches with the thumb gusset increasing more sharply, and started again. I'll laugh if this attempt turns out to be too large, instead of too small. And then I'll cry, and then I'll start over again with a happy medium of stitches. Knitting is supposed to be fun and relaxing, right?

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Meant to be worn either slouchy or as a beanie with the brim folded for double warmth over your ears, the Passing Days Hat is just perfect for crisp days! The colours of the yarn remind me of the woods in autumn, after most of the leaves have fallen and everything has turned to subtle dark shades.

Check out the Passing Days Hat in Ravelry's pattern library, or click the button to add it to your cart:

A profile picture of Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket which is unzipped and has a poppy tucked into the lapel.

I was reminded of the "Fall" section of John Denver's "Season Suite":

Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
The falling leaves are whispering, winter's on its way
I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

And so this became the Passing Days hat. I hope it keeps you warm as the days grow colder!

A 3/4 view from above: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat.

YARN and GAUGE
The hat is knit in a variegated DK-weight yarn over 144 stitches, and fits a 21.5”/54.6 cm head with quite a bit of ease if worn with the brim unfolded, and more closely with the brim folded up. The size can be adjusted by changing yarn and/or needles, or by adding more repeats of the stitch pattern (just make sure to end with an even number of stitches in your final decrease round).

The sample hat was knit with one 100g skein of Shirsty Cat Just DK SW in the Alstroemeria colourway, with about 15g left over. If you make the hat bigger, you may need more than one skein of yarn. Gauge is 28 stitches/4 inches in stockinette, and one repeat of the eight-stitch pattern is about an inch, unstretched - the slipped stitches pull the work in a little.

A 3/4 view: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket that's zipped all the way up.

YOU WILL NEED
16" circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of double-pointed needles, size US 3 (3.25 mm) or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, a stitch marker for the beginning of the round, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. You may want to use a split stitch marker as a cable "needle".

Pirate, wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket, poses with a red maple leaf and smiles at the camera.

The Passing Days Hat is available for purchase on Ravelry.


Important Copyright Information: The Passing Days Hat knitting pattern is © 2019 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make with appropriate credit given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact me on Ravelry.

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I have just one last skein of the Unicorn Spit fibre to spin!

Six completed skeins of yarn with a bundle of unspun fibre perched on top.

840 yards of finished (though unwashed) three-ply yarn and just over a hundred grams left to go. It's really neat to see how the big stripes of colour in the fibre get so blended into the yarn, which is exactly the heathery desaturated colour that I was hoping for when I chose the "ingredients" for the blend.

I really hope that I come up with enough for a sweater - and if not, I have more yarn (of course I do) that I can use as a supplement. I think a few navy stripes on the sleeves or around the hem might look really nice.

I finally figured out how to do the patterned crown decreases so that I could finish knitting my Passing Days hat, just in time for an unseasonable cold snap.

Pirate, wearing the new Passing Days hat, looking out the window of a moving train at autumn leaves.

It fits wonderfully and I'm so happy with the way it came out! Friend Stef came over earlier this week to take pictures of me wearing it, and we had a lot of fun doing the photoshoot. I'll be writing up the pattern for release in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it!

On the subject of cold snaps, I need a new pair of Fleeps (some people call them flip-top or convertible mittens). I'd like to use this Corriedale handspun for the outside, and line the wrists and mitten-top with this blue silk. I spun both yarns last summer with this project in mind, and I'm excited to get started. So far I've swatched the Corriedale:

A swatch of tweedy gray yarn

I like the drape of it on size 5 (3.75mm) needles, but I want my mittens to be a little more dense, so I tried again with size 4 (3.5mm). It's not much difference - 18 stitches/4 inches as opposed to 17 - but enough to be noticeable, and I think the finished fleeps will be better for it. Hopefully they won't be so thick that I can't move my fingers!

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Friends, I cannot thank you enough. Another six copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern were sold in October, bringing the total sales up to 18. I added some of my own money to the sum, and together we donated ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to the ALS Association.

The Sneaux Zone Hat, in burgundy and white stranded colourwork, is displayed on a hat form.

Here's a snip of the donation receipt:

A screenshot of a donation receipt for $150 to the ALS Association

Thank you, thank you, thank you - and I hope you enjoy knitting and wearing your Sneaux Zone hats! :)

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I sold twelve!! copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern in September, which is pretty awesome - that's just about $60 that I'm going to send to the ALS Association. I'm thrilled... but I would like to send more! So I'm going to keep the fundraiser going for another month. All sales of the Sneaux Zone pattern through the end of October will be donated! Tell your knitting friends that the Sneaux Zone Hat is available for purchase and still raising money to fight ALS!


A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

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