New Pattern: Out of Phase Socks

Out of Phase Socks

Out of Phase Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

I studied Electronic Engineering at university and that involved spending a lot of time thinking about sine waves. I like to incorporate the curving patterns into cables and Out of Phase Socks take this one step further. In signal processing phase is the offset between two waves. Being out of phase means the waves are always going in opposite directions.

Two sine waves out of phase

Two sine waves out of phase

These socks feature lots of curves, with the two large waves being mirrored and the small cables being two overlapping cables in opposite directions, forming open and closed spaces. Due to the fact that all the cables are moving in different directions, the cables are worked on alternate rounds, meaning there are no rest rounds. However, the repeat is small and so not too difficult.

Out of Phase Socks

Out of Phase Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

This is a top down, cabled sock pattern with a flap and gusset heel. The pattern has written and charted instructions and comes in three sizes – 7 (8.5, 10)”/17.5 (21.5, 25.5)cm.

I used Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Dorian Grey which is a very smooth and rounded yarn and gives good stitch definition. The colour is somewhere between grey and blue and very hard to photograph accurately! The sample is size 8.5″/21.5cm and knit on 2.25mm needles. I’m quite a loose knitter so you may need to use a larger needle size.

Out of Phase Socks

Out of Phase Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Thanks again to my tech editor, Fiona, and my lovely test knitters. I always love watching the finished pictures come in. You can see their great work at my bundle (we’ll not mention the banana incident).

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information and buy the pattern for £3.00+VAT directly here.

If you like this design and want to be notified of future pattern releases, sign up to my newsletter in the sidebar.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival Photo Post

I didn’t catch the EYF bug that seems to be going round but I did manage to sprain my hand getting off the bus (no I don’t know how I managed it either). While my hand is a lot better than it was, I’m just going to share some photos of my favourite bits as typing one-handed is quite awkward!

Wise Words ©Rachel Gibbs

Wise Words ©Rachel Gibbs

Blue Moon indigo-dyed yarns from The Border Tart ©Rachel Gibbs

Blue Moon indigo-dyed yarns from The Border Tart ©Rachel Gibbs

Gorgeous Gradients at Bilum ©Rachel Gibbs

Gorgeous Gradients at Bilum ©Rachel Gibbs

Old Maiden Aunt ©Rachel Gibbs

Old Maiden Aunt ©Rachel Gibbs

Woolly cushions  ©Rachel Gibbs

Woolly cushions ©Rachel Gibbs

Lili's Knits ©Rachel Gibbs

Lili’s Knits ©Rachel Gibbs

EYF 2016 Haul ©Rachel Gibbs

EYF 2016 Haul/My 27th birthday presents ©Rachel Gibbs

New Pattern: Regency Socks

Regency Socks were first published in Knit Now issue 17 and I’ve now got around to republishing. They are available on Ravelry and shortly on LoveKnitting.

Regency Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Regency Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The inspiration for these socks came from damask wallpaper popular in the Regency era with motifs encased in a diagonal grid. This is a top down, cabled sock pattern with a flap and gusset heel. It has an allover cabled grid with a small twisted design in each space. The pattern flows into the heel and toe smoothly through the use of transition charts.

Back view of Regency Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Back view of Regency Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The pattern has written and charted instructions and comes in four sizes – 6.75 (8, 9.25, 10.5)”/17 (20, 23.5, 26.5)cm. This is one more size than the original magazine pattern.

The sample was made in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Chino and 2.25mm needles. This is a nice smooth yarn which gives a good stitch definition to the cables while also being soft. Due to the extensively cabled nature of the design more than 100g may be required for larger sizes.

The Ravelry pattern page is here for more information and you can buy the pattern for £3.00+VAT directly here.

If you like this design and want to be notified of future pattern releases, sign up to my newsletter in the sidebar.

Dawlish Socks by Rachel Coopey

Before Christmas I had the urge to knit socks that were more interesting than vanilla but didn’t require any decisions on my part (being in the middle of releasing Falling Petals). I decided on Dawlish by Rachel Coopey from her first book Coop Knits Socks. Rachel Coopey is one of my favourite designers; I think I’ve made more of her socks that anyone else’s. She has a real talent for creating interesting designs and her patterns are always well written.

Dawlish Socks

Dawlish Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

These are made from Artesano Definition Sock in Kidney Bean. This yarn gives good stitch definition and feels like it will wear well. I used my 2.25mm KnitPro Karbonz DPNs, which are my favourite if a pattern involves cables as I find 9″ circulars don’t have enough room to maneuver properly. This did mean, however, that I put these socks on hold for a few weeks so I could use the needles on a new sock design I couldn’t wait to cast on.

I’m really happy with how these turned out and I even remembered to use the mirrored instructions for the second sock, which I didn’t with the last pair I made from this book. For my next Rachel Coopey pair I think I’ll have to try her new yarn Socks Yeah!. Maybe by Edinburgh Yarn Fest I’ll have decided on a colour, they’re all so pretty it’s hard to pick.

New Pattern: Falling Petals Socks

It may have been 2 years in the making but Falling Petals Socks is finally available to purchase on Ravelry.

Falling Petals Socks

Falling Petals Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

This is a top down, cabled sock pattern with a flap and gusset heel. It has an allover pattern of diamonds travelling down twisted cables and a patterned heel flap. The pattern has written and charted instructions and comes in three sizes – 7 (8.5, 10)”/17.5 (21.5, 25.5)cm.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of cabled socks and I like the way this simple idea has turned into an attractive pattern, even if it did give some challenges in the design stages. The large motif size means that while the medium size is symmetrical about the foot, the other two sizes have motifs on alternating sides.

Falling Petals Front

Falling Petals full frontal view ©Rachel Gibbs

I would recommend cabling without a cable needle for this pattern as it only uses two stitch cables and there are a lot of them! If you haven’t tried this technique before, I like this tutorial from Ysolda.

The sample is made in size 8.5″/21.5cm using Eden Cottage BFL Sock in Antique Rose. I really like this yarn as it has the delicate look I wanted for this design but should still be hard-wearing. It is on the thin side for a sock yarn, with 436yds/400m to 100g, and the pattern is knit on 2mm needles accordingly. The largest size may require more than 100g, especially if the wearer has long feet. Eden Cottage is currently having a New Year’s Sale until January 8th, so if you are thinking of buying, now is a good time to do so.

The pattern needs a yarn with good stitch definition, and a solidish colour helps the cables to stand out as well. My testers had success with Regia and Artesano Definition after a few false starts. Several also went up a needle size, so make sure to check gauge and pick needles to suit.

The Ravelry pattern page is here for more information and you can buy the pattern for £3.00+VAT directly here.

Massive thanks to Joeli’s Kitchen, without her bootcamp this design would still be languishing waiting for me to find the courage and the motivation and the final product would not be nearly as polished. I also had great support from my tech editor, Fiona from alittlebitsheepish, and my intrepid test knitters: woollenwords, jraltonsmith, Turtleback, herrlene, ButFirstCoffee and Olga25.

Joeli is holding a knit-a-long of all the bootcamp designs in her ravelry group in the new year. I featured some of my favourites in the previous post and would love to see some Falling Petals being included.

I have several more designs in the works (with lots of cables, of course), and have started a newsletter you can sign up to in the sidebar to be the first to know about new pattern releases.

Joeli’s Kitchen Designer Bootcamp

I’ve mentioned before that Joeli has been running a bootcamp for inexperienced designers and I’ve found it really helpful. She’s given out lots of useful information and doesn’t mind answering my stupid questions. Not only that, she’s great at building people’s confidence and helping them realised that everyone has the same insecurities.

The bootcamp is due to finish at the end of December. My pattern is almost ready and just waiting for all my test knitters to finish, but there are other great patterns that have already been released, here are some of my favourites so far.

Julianna’s hat shows off her semi solid yarn really well. It’s a simple concept but well executed. I loved watching her periscopes on the development of this pattern. It also comes in  a two colour version with the slipped stitches in one colour, which is a nice touch.

I love the way the cables flow together in Ana’s hat. From the brim to the body and then the decreases. It can be tricky to decrease in pattern but she pulls it off well.

These socks are in a beautiful blue colour and have cables, of course I love them. They have little cables all over the front with lovely wavy cables at the side. I’m also impressed by Jaccqui’s choice of location for the photo shoot.

Knitting For Peace

There’s been a lot of talk on social media lately about knitting and mental health issues, particularly aplayfulday‘s #makegoodfeelgood campaign.

I’ve been on sick leave for more than a year due to problems with depression and anxiety. Through this time I may have knitted different, less challenging, things than I would if I was well but I continue to make things. I find it helps to be doing something productive and the process of knitting is relaxing (most of the time).

Knitting doesn’t only help me in the moment, it also helps me to connect with other people. Having depression can make people very isolated, especially if, like me, they develop agoraphobic tendencies. I’ve really enjoyed going to knitting events and talking to other knitters this year. Finding people who are just as interested as you are in that unusual hat construction, or the quest for the perfect needles is a great way to feel connected. While there are support groups for people with mental health issues, I’d rather talk about knitting than my personal issues any day of the week.

Periscope has also helped me to find like-minded knitters to talk to. For the uninitiated Periscope is a Twitter offshoot that allows people to broadcast videos and get responses in real time. There is a community of knitting periscopers and I can either just watch if I’m having a quiet day or comment if I’m feeling better. I’m far too camera-shy to scope myself, but I really appreciate the people who do.

A selection of hats and a scarf for Knit for Peace ©Rachel Gibbs

A selection of hats and a scarf for Knit for Peace ©Rachel Gibbs

Lately I’ve been knitting for Knit for Peace, a charity who distributes knitted goods to people in need. I’ve found this a great way to use up some of my leftovers (which were threatening to take over my flat) and satiate my need to knit hats when I already have plenty (until I lose the current set). It looks like this winter is going to be terrible weather wise and given the international situation at the moment, there are plenty of people who are going to be spending it in far less than optimal conditions. A hat isn’t much but hopefully it will keep someone a bit warmer and let them know that there are people who want to help.

There’s a plain stocking stitch hat in Adriafil Knitcol, a hat with helical stripes in Wendy Ramsdale DK, an Opari from Ysolda Teague’s Knitworthy in Stylecraft Ethical Twist 70/30 and Chrysanthemum frutescens Hat from The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend as well as a 1×1 ribbed scarf in Sirdar Escape DK. I found the brioche in Opari and Chrysanthemum frutescens really interesting as I hadn’t done this much before.

Festiwool

On Saturday I went to Festiwool, a relatively new wool festival in Hitchin. I was offered a free ticket by the organisers which was very kind, although it felt very funny telling the front desk I was on the guest list!

It was a rather grey day outside so it was nice to see colourful bunting (and a yarnbombed bike) leading up to the venue. It wasn’t as big as the other shows I’ve been to but there were a lot of local vendors who I hadn’t heard of before and a good mix of different crafts – knitting (of course), crochet, spinning, felting and probably a few others.

I always love seeing wool painted pictures – made by needle felting different layers of fibre to build up an image. The International Felt Association had some lovely sheep pictures, with the different fleeces using different types of fibre which was very effective. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t come out terribly well, but they were a lot more impressive in person.

Painting with wool ©Rachel Gibbs

Painting with wool ©Rachel Gibbs

Going to a craft show always makes me want to learn new things, especially spinning and crochet this time as there were lots of lovely things on show, including Jane Crawford‘s persian tiles blanket, these lovely blue/silver batts and Woolly Chic‘s crocheted cat tea cosies.

Lovely things spotted at Festiwool

Lovely things spotted at Festiwool ©Rachel Gibbs

I managed to resist buying everything in sight (narrowly at times) but didn’t come home empty handed. I had been admiring the new West Yorkshire Spinners Country Birds yarns ever since they started floating around on twitter and I hoped (correctly) that someone would have them for sale. I chose the Kingfisher colourway as I thought it was very distinctive and I’m a sucker for a nice blue.

Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

I also bought some Sokkusu O in Colour of the Underground from Whimzy. This is a narrow self striping yarn, alternating between grey and multicoloured. I’m looking forward to seeing how this knits up. Rosie’s Moments had these really interesting sock rulers. Not only do they have centimeters on one side and inches on the other, they have charts for men and women’s shoe sizes and the corresponding foot length. I’m hoping this will be harder to lose than a tape measure and will also save me from asking my dad how big his feet are, again!

It was one of my 15-in-15 goals to make some project bags. So far I have failed miserably  on this goal, having made a grand total of none. I had been admiring Watercolours and Lace‘s project bags earlier in the show and then realised they also made a kit. I love this sheep print and the instructions seem very clear so hopefully I will have a least one completed project bag by the end of the year.

Hand woven scarf from Porpoise Fur ©Rachel Gibbs

Hand woven scarf from Porpoise Fur ©Rachel Gibbs

My Mum is a crafter and so I was on the lookout for possible Christmas presents, knowing that she would appreciate something handmade. I had seen Porpoise Fur‘s hand woven scarves on twitter and made a mental note to seek them out. She had a great selection and it took a while to decide on a colour but I picked this orange and purple one with the lovely name of Buccaneer.

The show also featured a fashion show with clothes from local independent retailers and some made by fashion students at North Hertfordshire College (where the show was held). While no one has ever described me as fashion conscious, it was interesting seeing the outfits that had been put together. Some were really nice and wearable, others less practical. I enjoying seeing how they accessorised with some items from the vendors, such as lace shawls and hand spun necklaces.

It feels like Festiwool is still finding it’s feet a bit, there were some moments that clearly didn’t quite go to plan, but it was a very enjoyable afternoon. I met up with some friends from previous shows and had a good chat with some of the stall holders. I like that it wasn’t too crowded so the atmosphere felt very relaxed and friendly, but still seemed lively.

WIP Wednesday

I’ve mainly been working on my GB Socks Away KAL socks for the past few weeks. I’m making my own design, Falling Petals, in Eden Cottage BFL Sock. It’s going well so far and I’m almost ready to start the toe. I really like the colour of the yarn, a greyish dusky pink called Antique Rose, although it seems to come out too blue when I take photos.

Falling Petals WIP

Falling Petals socks ©Rachel Gibbs

I’m hoping to get this published sometime vaguely soon. Joeli is running a Designer Bootcamp, to help people who want to self publish but need some extra support and motivation, which I’m really enjoying. She’s giving lots of great advice, and the bootcamp is really flexible, e.g. I’m skipping the suggested stitch pattern as I have several designs I want to try and get sorted. It’s managing to keep things the right side of stretching me without pushing me too far, so I’m quite positive that this might be what I need to stop prevaricating and get things done.

I’ve also been working on my Mahy shawl in Nude Ewe Wes. After getting half way through Chart B I realised that the central spine of decreases was in the wrong place for half of the repeats – I had 2 eyelets one side of the centre and 4 the other. Ripping back about 20 rows of lace ensued, after retroactively inserting a lifeline. This wasn’t too painful, if time consuming, although it took a while to work out which was the right side after I had removed the marker in the ripped section, the problem with garter stitch shawls as I am rapidly discovering.

Mahy close up

Mahy Shawl, part way through chart B ©Rachel Gibbs

I’m almost back to where I was before, with the help of plenty of stitch markers. I’ve decided to use lockable stitch markers to mark a stitch, rather than the space between stitches, as normal stitch markers easily get lost on the wrong side of a yarn over and can cause problems by getting in the way of decreases. So far it seems to be working and hopefully I will soon be seeing what pitfalls lay ahead in Chart C.

Socktober

It’s getting colder and knitters everywhere are reaching for the sock wool. In such circles, October has been renamed Socktober and many pairs of lovely warm hand-knitted socks will be added to their wardrobes. I tend to knit socks all year round but have a few more on the needles and have certainly started wearing woolly socks again now I won’t melt from the heat.

My self striping sock obsession shows no sign of stopping any time soon and I’ve been investigating some of the different heels from Sock Architecture by Lara Neel available from Cooperative Press (affiliate link). I reviewed this book in February and am still finding it very interesting and useful.

The first exhibit is a sock knitted in Opal Schafpate yarn in the Fausto colourway with a band heel and a round toe. This heel has a gusset before the heel turn, matching the shape of a heel really well. I tend to make toes by default and haven’t tried as many of the options in the book but for these I used the round toe. This makes a very subtle toe as the decreases are too far apart to form a recognisable line.

Opal Schafpate socks with band heel and round toe

Opal Schafpate socks with band heel and round toe ©Rachel Gibbs

Next we have some Opal Sweet and Spicy socks in the Sternanis (star anis) colourway with a Balbriggan heel. I really like the colours of this yarn, I tend to go for a cooler colour palette but I think this works really well. I found this heel very interesting to work as it doesn’t involve a heel turn and requires grafting. It doesn’t fit as well as some of the other options, the heel tends to drop below the level of the sole and stick out a bit.

Sweet and Spicy sock with Balbriggan heel ©Rachel Gibbs

Sweet and Spicy sock with Balbriggan heel ©Rachel Gibbs

The last sock with an interesting heel (there was one with a normal heel but that was mainly to give me something to knit and try to stay awake while watching the election results come in) is in Regia Arne and Carlos yarn in the Winter Night colourway with a square heel. I made these for my sister’s birthday as I am slowly converting her to the wonders of hand knit socks (they work especially well with her cold and draughty grade 2 listed cottage). The colour pattern on this yarn is amazing, really detailed without being overpowering. I decided I didn’t want to interrupt this pattern with a heel, so used an afterthought heel with gusset.

Arne and Carlos sock with square heel ©Rachel Gibbs

Arne and Carlos sock with square heel ©Rachel Gibbs

I worked the heel flap in eye of partridge stitch which also helps to not interrupt the colour pattern and I also continued the eye of partridge onto the square heel flap. My sister is notoriously hard on her clothes, so I thought the extra protection might come in handy. The square heel is quite similar to the band heel but without the gusset before the heel turn. I found the instructions for the square heel were a bit sparse, not up to the standard of the other heels in the book. I think this was more noticeable with the afterthought heel as I had to calculate how many gusset stitches to provisionally cast on.

Great British Socks Away WIP

Great British Socks Away WIP ©Rachel Gibbs

BritYarn is holding a Great British Socks Away KAL, with the aim of knitting a pair of socks between 1st October and 8th November out of British grown yarn (or local to you if you do not live in Britain). I’m going to try to reknit a sample from one of my designs. The first attempt had a bad combination of short yardage yarn and a too large sock, meaning I ran out of yarn to knit the toe on the second sock. Therefore, I’m starting again with some Eden Cottage BFL Sock in Antique Rose with smaller needles and hopefully it will work better and I might eventually get around to publishing the pattern nearly two years after I first started it.