Socks are one of the things I enjoy knitting for friends and family – they express love in the effort they take but are a practical garment that can be made interesting with color and pattern. This year, I’ve been inspired by the ESK Yarnathon Zodiac Knitter badge to knit 12 pairs, though I know I will probably knit more.
I’ve focused on textured patterns in the past, pairing them with solids or semi-solid colors or simply striped colorwork. This year I decided to take advantage of some of the beautiful multi-color exclusive Under the Sea yarns paired with solids in addition to multiple solid color options. Here are a few of the first patterns I’ve knit up, just a peek of what is to come:
Superellipse Socks: This is one of 4 patterns created with a 2-color slip stitch technique. I love the simplicity of this technique in allowing you to slip stitches to create the pattern instead of relying on stranding colors. It keeps things from getting tangled and feels more like knitting stripes.
Paper Birch Socks: These are stranded colorwork socks, which can become a bit tedious and tangly, but well worth the effort. I love the idea of a solid color overlaying a color-changing yarn. It allows all of the beautiful detail to pop through with a restrained beauty.
Both patterns utilize an afterthought heel, which allows you to knit the sock pattern without interruption. This was a new technique for me, but I like the result.
I couldn’t resist creating a quarter-size baby version for a friend due in the fall. It is the perfect size to tuck a little one into their baby seat. All the colors of the rainbow are perfect for a girl or a boy.
My favorite local yarn store, Eat Sleep Knit, holds a number of knit-alongs every year. This year they decided to hold a year-long KAL for the Hue Shift Afghan. I instantly fell in love with the color possibilities and looked through all the projects on Ravelry for inspiration. With the help of this wonderful color picking tool created for designing your hue shift, I tried at least a dozen combinations of Cascade 220 superwash (ESK carries the whole line) and decided on sunny shades mixed with neutrals.
I started by ordering my picks online, but found that going to the store was required to tweak a few of the gradient choices to get enough separation and consistent vibrancy of color. I would definitely recommend picking yarn for this project in person.
I made a few modifications to the pattern as written: 1) I knit all of the squares in the same direction. I liked the diagonal running across the whole surface and also liked avoiding any piecing together a the end. Each square is knit on the edge of previous squares. 2) I decided not to add a border. I preferred the squares running to the edge and letting the pattern be the statement without “framing.”
After an extra trip to get more yarn (it takes about 1.3 skeins per color in Cascade 220), it took over 3 months to complete the Afghan. I was able to work on many other small portable projects and leave this one for home knitting in the evenings.
I would highly recommend this project to anyone looking for a blanket project that avoids monotony. Color choice transforms the design and knitting the blanket in small units keeps it from feeling overwhelming. The excitement of seeing how each color combination looks keeps you eager to start the next square.
My favorite local yarn store, Eat.Sleep.Knit, held a Flash KAL in March featuring the patterns Song of the Sea and Siren Song. I decided to go the extra mile and complete the shawl size of Siren Song.
I decided to use some Madelintosh Eyre Light that I already had on hand in electric rainbow, onyx, and smokestack/optic. I love how the electric rainbow created a mother of pearl effect. I had enough yarn of each color to transition between colors for each pattern size change. On that note, this pattern really eats up the yardage. If you decide to make the shawl, be sure to have plenty of yarn on hand.
My neighborhood has a number of fiber artists and a few of us finally got together to share our interests. One of the things I never thought I’d do was spin yarn. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to get started with a minimum investment in both money and space – all I needed was a drop spindle, a niddy noddy, and some fiber.
The result is the collection of small skeins above. There are a bunch of helpful videos on youtube to get a feel of techniques: I found this one from MeganERisk helpful for learning how to park and spin. I also liked this one for understanding how to draft fiber consistently for different thicknesses from Spinning Sara. This one from Megan LaCore was helpful for learning how to ply yarns together.
It’s good to know there is a simple way to get started spinning if you’ve ever been curious. Like knitting, I have a feeling that it just takes time and practice to build skill.
After a flurry of making for the year, I’m usually left with a bag of little scrappy balls of yarn that aren’t large enough to create a single project. As part of getting started for the new year, one of my favorite things is to pull all of these scraps out and make palettes for hats.
I created this simple hat pattern many years ago that is perfect for using up whatever I have. It has a simple texture that coordinates well with stripes or solids or color blocking. The sampling above is about half of the hats I made using up my odds and ends. I like to pair my worsted weight and sock weight scraps and knit holding the two yarns together. The sock weight yarn can help unify the other colors or create subtle striping on a more monochromatic background.
Here’s to creating one-of-a-kind color combos while using up yarn scraps!
Earlier this year I was introduced to the classic and beautifully accessible pattern collection by TinCanKnits: The Simple Collection. This free collection has a wonderful variety of coordinating patterns sized from baby to adult and light to worsted yarn weights. The instructions are nicely designed and easy to follow with simple illustrations for clarity.
I knit up three of the patterns:
Rye socks: These are perfect for the knitter that wants to knit socks, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time. Using worsted weight yarn, these knit up super fast and look beautiful both in solid and multicolor yarns. You can also easily add your own twist with stripes or color blocking.
Flax sweater: This seamless, top-down pattern has a very simple and flattering design that looks great on everyone. It is very easy to add your own flair with stripes or color blocking.
Barley hat: I couldn’t resist making the matching hat with the yarn I had left over from the baby sweater. So simple and quick to knit up!
This collection is a wonderful place to start for the knitter that is moving into knitting apparel and will give you a great foundation in understanding construction for more complex patterns.