Tag Archives: socks

New Pattern: Total Internal Reflection Socks

My new pattern, Total Internal Reflection Socks, is another one that requires a bit of a physics lesson. Total internal reflection is when light hits a boundary between two mediums at an angle greater than the critical angle so that it entirely reflects back instead of passing through. It’s used in fibre optics to make the light bounce from side to side along the cable and reach the other end.

Total internal reflection diagram

Total Internal Reflection ©Wikimedia Commons

The pattern has zig-zagging cables that travel all down the sock on a twisted rib background. Smocked panels separate the bouncing cables and continue right into the toe.

Total Internal Reflection Socks

Total Internal Reflection Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The socks come in three sizes, to fit leg circumference of 8/S (9/M, 10/L)”/20 (23, 25.5) cm and feature a flap and gusset heel. This makes it easy to adapt for a high instep. The pattern has written and charted instructions, whichever you find easier to use, and a diagram to help you visualise how it all fits together.

Flap and gusset heel

Flap and gusset heel ©Rachel Gibbs

Because of the stitch patterns used, these socks use a lot of yarn. The sample is made in The Uncommon Thread Tough Sock in the Lust colourway. I made the Medium size with a 9″ foot and used 96g. Be aware that you may need a yarn with a yardage of more than 400 yards and you may need more than 100g, especially if you make the Large size. Some indie dyed skeins, in particular, are larger than specified, try weighing your yarn first.

Close up of Total Internal Reflection Socks

Close up of Total Internal Reflection Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Thanks to all my testers and my tech editor who helped make this pattern even better.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information and buy Total Internal Reflection Socks for £3.50+VAT directly here.

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Review: CoopKnits Socks by Rachel Coopey

This month’s review is from one of my favourite designers. CoopKnits Socks was the first book Rachel Coopey brought out in 2013 and I bought it almost immediately. It contains ten patterns, featuring lace, cables and stranded knitting.

CoopKnits Socks

CoopKnits Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The patterns

The first pattern in the book is Dawlish, a cabled sock and I wrote a blog post about the pair I made last year. Next is Milfoil, a lacy sock with different patterns for leg and foot which alternate between the left and right socks. Rachel Coopey is a big fan of mirroring patterns between socks and different patterns within each sock. On Budleigh, each half of the sock has different cables.

There are all over patterns too, Pennycress has a small lace motif and Saltburn has cables with striped contrast cuffs and toes. Calamint is another favourite of mine with an elegant lace panel flanked by twisted rib. All the socks come in more than one size and while they tend to be more feminine, there are some that I would consider unisex.

All the socks

All the socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Most of the patterns have a flap and gusset heel, except Paignton which uses an after thought heel. There is a photo tutorial included at the end to help you pick up the stitches here. The socks are all worked cuff down.

Brighton is the only stranded sock, and also the only knee sock in the book, all the others being a standard mid-calf length. A short version is also included if you prefer that. As the colourwork is made in bands, this allows for decreases to accommodate calf shaping, which should ensure a good fit.

Saxifrage is another beautiful cabled sock and shows that you don’t need to use fancy hand dyed yarn to get a good result, being worked in Opal. The other patterns use a range of hand dyed and commercial kettle dyed yarns, such as Malabrigo, which show off the detailed designs well.

My socks

The other sock I have knit out of this book is Willowherb, another lace sock but one with strong geometrical lines. The pattern names seem split between wild flowers and seaside towns, giving a very British feel.

My Willowherb socks

My Willowherb socks ©Rachel Gibbs

I enjoyed knitting this, although I accidentally made two left feet (which some would say accurately reflects my dancing skills). My cast on is a little tight, but that’s entirely down to me. The leg is also rather long.

The patterns all have charts and some have corresponding written instructions. I do find the cable symbols a bit odd and the columns are only numbered on multiples of five, which might be annoying for some people. Other than that I found the patterns very clear and easy to knit.

Additional information

Why knit socks

Why knit socks ©Rachel Gibbs

At the end is a how- to section with a couple of photo tutorials and links to other tutorials. I’m a fan of the “Why knit socks” page with some words of wisdom to get good results, including a shoe size chart which is always useful when knitting for other people. A digital copy of the book is included with the print version, something I always appreciate.

CoopKnits Socks is a great book if you want to knit some pretty patterned socks. I like the photography, it shows everything you need to know and looks good.

If you like the look of these socks, but don’t think you’re up to knitting them, I have a new e-course that might help. Check out Level Up Your Socks for tips to grow your confidence in knitting patterned socks.

These are affiliate links, I get a small commission if you buy using these links.

 

New Pattern: Gray Code Socks

I think my latest pattern might be my geekiest yet. Gray Code Socks have a cabled pattern based on a sequence in binary code and the pattern is available free if you sign up to my newsletter.

Gray Code Socks

Gray Code Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

With four binary bits, there are sixteen unique combinations that you can make. A Gray code, named after Frank Gray, cycles through each possibility only once and each binary word is only one bit different from the previous one. It has many uses in electronics, as well as making cool socks. The most common Gray code is a reflected binary code where each column of bits has a number of zeros followed by the same number of ones, and then repeats the sequence in reverse.

Binary code is normally formed from zeroes and ones, in Gray Code Socks I’ve used left and right cables instead. This makes the bit change between rounds visible as a cable changing direction. The full 16 combination cycle fits well onto the leg of the sock.

Gray code in cables

Gray code in cables ©Rachel Gibbs

The socks are top down with a flap and gusset heel. The pattern contains three sizes, to fit 7.5 (8.5, 9.5)”/19 (21.5, 24) cm circumference, and has written and charted instructions, whichever you find easier to use. The cable pattern is subtle enough that people who normally insist on plain and boring to knit socks might be persuaded to try it, especially if they have a geeky background.

If you have particularly short feet, you may find that you cannot fit the whole cable sequence on the foot. Because they are made top down, you can measure how long the cable pattern is on the leg and make a decision at the heel as to what to do. If it will bother you, you could just make the foot ribbed.

Gray Code Socks side view

Gray Code Socks side view ©Rachel Gibbs

The socks are available from Ravelry, where you can find more information, or if you sign up to my newsletter you will get a code to download the pattern for free. You can choose whether you want to receive my monthly roundup of what I’ve been up to, interesting things I’ve found in the knitterly community or the wider world, a knitting tip and my pattern of the month; or you can just get a newsletter when I have a new pattern or special deal available.

 

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.

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.

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.