Tag Archives: socks

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.

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.

Stripes Everywhere

I’ve been knitting lots of stripy socks lately. I find them very relaxing and it gives me a chance to investigate the effect of subtle changes.

Regia socks

Regia Design Line Ombré Stripe ©Rachel Gibbs

Opal orange and grey socks

Opal Smokey Eyes & Coloured Lips ©Rachel Gibbs

The socks on the left have featured on this blog before. I used 60 stitches on 2.25mm (US1) dpns. For the socks on the right I used 64 stitches on 2mm (US0) dpns, although the finished size is almost the same for both socks. Both were worked top down with a flap and gusset heel. I found the Opal yarn was a bit softer than the Regia and as the stripes of the Opal are less regular I decided to match them for the second sock, whereas for the Regia I matched the stripe boundaries but not the colours.

Opal The Little Prince and the Geographer socks

Opal Little Prince ©Rachel Gibbs

For my next Opal socks I decided to try using a 9 inch circular as lots of people have been recommending them lately. As I prefer wood to metal, I bought a bamboo HiyaHiya needle in 2.25mm. I haven’t found anywhere in the UK which stocks the Chiaogoo 9 inch bamboo circulars but I liked the HiyaHiya. With such a short needle tip I didn’t have a problem with the bamboo bending, as I have found previously with HiyaHiya needles, and I found them comfortable to use. I also don’t have to worry about laddering with circulars, which is always an issue with dpns and shows up particularly on plain stocking stitch. The only problem I have found is that I have to change to dpns for the toe as the circumference becomes too small for the circulars.

I’ve also been hearing a lot about the Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist so I used that for these socks, which used 64 stitches. It was easy to work and I like the result. The only concern I have is that without a reinforced heel flap the socks will wear out quicker but I will have to wait for the result of that experiment.

WYS Bulfinch socks

WYS Signature 4ply Country Birds ©Rachel Gibbs

The final socks were made using a new yarn, again using the 9 inch circular and 64 stitches. It uses Blue Faced Leicester wool and is very soft but hopefully strong also. By happy coincidence I managed to get use a whole repeat of the stripe pattern for the heel and so the top of the foot matches perfectly with the leg. I wanted to see if a flap and gusset heel was as easy to work with the circular and there were no problems.

My obsession with stripy socks shows no sign of stopping soon and I have cast on another pair in Twisted Limone. I decided to break from tradition and make these toe up. The Twisted Limone is a bit thinner than a standard sock yarn so I am using 2mm needles which seem to be producing a nice fabric so far.