FO: Funyin Hat

I recently needed a project to knit while travelling to and from Sheffield for my Grandparents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary. All of my WIPs were at boring stages so I decided to cast on something new. I got a kit of two shades of Buachaille yarn to make a Funyin hat at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and this seemed like the perfect option.

Funyin hat selfie

Funyin hat selfie ©Rachel Gibbs

I love the combination of colourwork and cables in this pattern, it makes for a very interesting knit, although not a particularly fast one. The corrugated rib was particularly slow to work.

Funyin hat

Funyin hat ©Rachel Gibbs

The Buachaille yarn was designed by Kate Davies, the designer of the pattern, and so they work really well together. All the colours are based on the scottish landscape and I used haar (the pale grey), a cold sea fog, and macallum (the pinky red), which is apparently a scottish ice cream with raspberry sauce. The pattern was designed with the lighter colour as the background, but I decided to swap this and I really like how it looks. The yarn is very woolly and smells gorgeous.

Funyin hat, back view

Funyin hat, back view ©Rachel Gibbs

I made the large size as I prefer my hats to cover my ears and I’ve found previous Kate Davies patterns aren’t quite long enough for me. However, if I were to make it again I would skip the extra length rounds as the slouchy top is quite stiff and has a habit of standing up. Nevertheless, I’m sure it’ll come in handy now the weather has turned rather cold and I’m really pleased with it.

New Pattern: Time Stream Socks

Almost a year ago I was contacted to see if I would design a pattern for the UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry. They have an annual KAL and for 2016 the theme was British Actors and Actresses. I’m not normally very good at designing to a theme as my ideas tend to be quite abstract but tell me I can design a sock based on David Tennant and this Whovian’s brain lights up.

Doctor Who Experience

My trip to the Doctor Who Experience last month ©Rachel Gibbs

I was really chuffed to be asked, especially in the company of Fiona Hamilton McLaren, who has tech edited most of my patterns, and Louise Tilbrook, who is another cables fan. Fiona designed a very elegant beaded sock called Majesty, inspired by Helen Mirren’s role as various Queens, and Louise designed a beautiful cabled sock called Malala Socks, inspired by Malala’s work with Emma Watson.

Time Stream Socks

Time Stream Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

My sock is the featured pattern for October, and I’m pleased to finally be able to introduce Time Stream Socks, inspired by David Tennant’s role as The Doctor, travelling through the time-space vortex and meeting people in a non-linear timey-wimey way. The undulating cables move together and apart, each following their own path like the Time Lord and his companions.

The socks are top down with a flap and gusset heel and come in four sizes: to fit 8/S (8.5/M, 9/L, 9.5/XL)”/20 (21.5, 23, 24)cm circumference. The instructions are both written and charted, whichever is easiest for you, and the digital file has bookmarks to help you navigate between sections.

Tardis

TARDIS! (although not the 10th Doctor’s) ©Rachel Gibbs

The sample is made in Sparkleduck Galaxy in the Relative Dimensions colourway. This is
perfect for a Doctor Who inspired pattern, being TARDIS coloured and the sparkle makes it
extra celestial. The smooth structure of the yarn shows off the cables really well and most
people should be able to get a pair of socks out of one ball (unless you have particularly
long feet).

The sample is size M, knitted on 2.25mm needles. The pattern is very stretchy, due to all the purls between the cables, so is designed to be worn with 1.5″(3-4)cm negative ease.

Time Stream Socks, side view

Time Stream Socks, side view ©Rachel Gibbs

Thanks to Jacqui Gouldbourn, the moderator of the UK Sock Knitters group and the tech editor for this pattern. I also had some amazing test knitters, without whom this pattern would be a lot harder to follow. Hopefully they made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

I hope you come and join in the KAL (not just for UK knitters). You can cast on anytime during October and socks must be finished by 31st January 2017 to qualify for the prize draw, so even the slowest knitter (or people who are really bad at sticking to one project like me) should be able to finish.

Make these socks or be Exterma-knitted!

Make these socks or be Extermi-knitted! ©Rachel Gibbs

If you are going to Yarndale this weekend, or the Bakewell Wool Gathering on 22-23 October (unfortunately I’m not), make sure to stop by the sparkleduck stall to see the yarn in all its glory.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information and buy the pattern for £3.50+VAT directly here. Until 1st October get 20% off automatically.

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

The Diamond Collection

New eBook: The Diamond Collection

I’m pleased to announce my new three sock eBook The Diamond Collection is now available on ravelry. This is a collection of top-down socks with diamond shaped cable motifs. All the patterns have both written and charted instructions and navigation options to make using the digital version as easy as possible.

Corundum Socks

Corundum Socks

Corundum Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Corundum is the mineral that sapphires are made from. This sock is covered in tiny cables that form a diamond shaped lattice, with more cables inside the diamonds. At the toe the cabled lattice gives way gracefully to stocking stitch.

This sock comes in sizes to fit 7/S (8.5/M, 10/L)”/18 (21.5, 25.5)cm circumference. The sample is the 8.5″ size, made using 2.25mm needles and Artesano Definition Sock in the Denim colourway, a yarn that is sadly no longer available. A good substitute would be West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply, or any similar smooth sock yarn.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information

Antwerp Socks

Antwerp Socks

Antwerp Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The city of Antwerp has a long association with diamonds. Most of the world’s rough diamonds pass through there before being transformed into something beautiful. This sock features a cascade of diamonds down the front and individual diamonds on the side in a sea of seed stitch.

This sock comes in sizes to fit 8/S (9/M, 10/L)”/20 (23, 25.5)cm circumference. The sample is the 9″ size, made using 2.25mm needles and SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in the English Ivy colourway. This is a hard wearing yarn with excellent stitch definition.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information

Multifaceted Socks

Multifaceted Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Multifaceted Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

These socks have big diamonds and small diamonds and several different sections. The diamonds grow out of the ribbed cuff, fade back into ribbing at the toe and one of the diamonds even creeps into the heel flap.

This sock comes in sizes to fit 8/S (9/M, 10/L)”/20 (23, 25.5)cm circumference. The sample is the 9″ size, made using 2.25mm needles and Triskelion Elen Sock in the Affallon colourway. This sock yarn has no nylon, but the high twist and long staple of the BFL fibre will help it wear well.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information

This collection would not have been possible without the help of my wonderful tech editor, my fantastic test knitters or my lovely model. I’m dedicating the eBook to my grandparents who are about to celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

View all the patterns on Ravelry here and buy the collection for £8.50+VAT directly here.

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

P/hop stall at Fibre East

P/hop at Fibre East 2016

I love Fibre East, it’s my local show and always has great vendors, real sheep and lovely ice cream. This year I ended up manning the p/hop shawl all Sunday. P/hop is a knitting fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontier: designers (including me) have donated patterns which are then sold in exchange for a donation of the customer’s choice online and at shows all over the UK.

Oscillating Socks

Oscillating Socks, my p/hop pattern ©Rachel Gibbs

I’ve helped out for a few hours before and found it really fun, getting to chat to people about knitting and making money for charity. Heidi, the current p/hop coordinator, asked for people to run the stall as she would be unable to be there due to an inconveniently timed pregnancy (she ended up giving birth on Sunday morning, so good call not to try and be there). I volunteered to be there for one day and three other volunteers also stepped up, so we were able to split the weekend between us.

I spent the day with Julie, who was great company, especially when we weren’t entirely sure what we were doing. All the stallholders we talked to said that Sunday was quieter than Saturday but we still had quite a few visitors to the stall and hopefully made a lot of money for p/hop.

The p/hop sock tree

The p/hop sock tree ©Rachel Gibbs

I did get the chance to look around and buy a few things. Sock blanks seem to be all the rage at the moment and I’ve never used one, so I bought a gorgeous sparkly gradient one from Sara’s Texture Craft. I also bought some deep blue/purple sock yarn from WooSheeps, which is a new brand to me and I’m excited to try it.

I’ve talked about my love of 9″ circulars for vanilla socks before, and I want to see how metal tips compare to bamboo, which I usually prefer. It should also reduce the number of times I end up juggling needles when I’m working on three things at once! The only other thing I picked up was some Debbie Abrahams beads, since so many people are bringing out beautiful beaded sock patterns at the moment.

A very modest Fibre East haul

A very modest Fibre East haul ©Rachel Gibbs

I had some great conversations with people, including Fiona, my tech editor, from alittlebitsheepish, who I’ve never met in person before but was lovely, as well as being great at finding issues with my patterns. One of my favourite things about knitting events is all the people I get to meet.

By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted, I nearly fell asleep on the coach home. I don’t know how people do two days in a row, although my stamina is pretty terrible anyway. I’ve just about recovered now, and looking forward to next year.

That Heel Girl

I needed a vanilla sock to help me through a difficult meeting, and not having one on the needles I chose a fun self striping by Unbelieva-wool from my stash. Ruth of rockandpurl had just done a series of blog posts on her perfect heel, known affectionately as That Heel Girl, and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

Unbelieva-wool socks

Unbelieva-wool socks ©Rachel Gibbs

This heel has several factors: an unusual heel flap, a unique pick up method and gusset decreases placed on the bottom of the foot causing it to hug the foot in a pleasing manner. According to Ruth, this is a winning combination.

The only issue I found was that because the heel flap requires an odd number of stitches and I started with a multiple of 4 (my favourite 64 stitch cast on), the foot ended up with 33 stitches on the instep and 31 on the sole. This was fairly easy to accommodate when it came to the toe, however, and would be solved completely a round or star toe was used.

That Heel Girl

That Heel Girl ©Rachel Gibbs

I like the cushiness of the heel flap and the pick up method is very neat, although with self striping yarn you do get a flash of the wrong colour of yarn at the edges of the heel flap. I’m not sure the moved decreases are always worth the extra brainpower required to keep track but it does fit very well.

I love the wool, the colours are lovely and vibrant and it makes a great, smooth fabric. I think these socks are going to give me a little boost every time I wear them, and we all have days when that would help.

Watercolours and Lace bag

Rachel’s Got a Brand New Bag

I’m working on a mini sock collection and I’m currently knitting the second sample out of Triskelion Elen Sock that I got at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I always like to co-ordinate my knitting with its project bag and stitch markers and I knew the best bag for these socks was one that hadn’t been made yet. I bought a kit from Watercolours and Lace at Festiwool last year with a lovely green sheepy print that I knew would be perfect, so it was time to exercise my rusty sewing skills and try to put it together.

Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

The kit, along with my other Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

I found the instructions mainly very clear, although there were a few things I had to look up (including which way to iron interfacing). I learnt how to sew on patch pockets, how to bring thread to the back to tie off and how to top stitch. My Mum is very into patchwork and taught me the basics of sewing when I was a kid but it’s been a long time since I tried anything on my own. I did have to ask her for a little help with the assembly as I was struggling to get the lining to fit into the bag (my seam allowance wasn’t always perfectly to size) but apart from that I managed everything.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and my sock has already moved in. By the time the bag was complete I had started on the second sock, which I’m hoping to finish for the Joeli Create’s No Nylon Sock KAL, but I finished the bag before the socks so I’m counting that as a win.

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.