Archives For February 2020

CH 285: The Luminary Socks

Helen —  February 28, 2020 — Leave a comment
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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Today I have a brand new sock pattern to introduce and some personal sock-knitting and studio set-up updates! The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is off to an amazing start, with a crowd of brilliant knitters who have already cast on the new Luminary Socks in a gorgeous array of yarn.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

Luminary Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

IndieLynx on Instagram

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 285. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you this week. We are having a good week here at Curious HQ and we have an addition of five members to the family. My daughter, Lexi was very, very keen to have pet mice. And finally the pet shop had some in but they were available on Monday. So we went down first thing and chose two little mice. And I had them sitting next to me all day by my desk, keeping an eye on them, seeing how they were settling in. And by the end of the day I did fall in love with them and decided they were cute, that we should go back to the pet shop and I wanted one for myself. So I ended up with three more.


And so now we have five little mice pets in our house. And yeah, I’m still slightly shocked at that situation, but they’re so cute and I’m really enjoying them. I haven’t had to clean out the cage yet, so still having to have that ahead of me to figure out how to do and mainly how to teach, like see how to do. But no doubt I’ll have to be involved. And yeah, so that was quite funny and a little bit silly, but also really fun. And it’s making Sophie and I very clucky for a puppy now. But I’m definitely going to hold off on that for a while and hopefully won’t have like a reason to report next week that I’ve caved and we now have a puppy as well. But I don’t think so. I think that’s going to be put off for a while longer to see how we cope with the mice. Anyway, it’s very nice to have a pet.


We haven’t had one for a long time. We used to have cats when the girls were babies, but we haven’t had pets for about… I guess about eight years now. So it is nice I to have a little creature in the house or five. Anyway, so I’ve been quite distracted by that and it’s distracted me from work and knitting. But I did manage to finish my Terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio and I knit them in virtual hollow fibers, yarn, gorgeous yarn. And I can never remember the color, I’m really sorry Robin. It’s a really beautiful golden yellowy base with beautiful pink flecks. It’s something… Roses is in the name. And it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous colourway. And I’m really pleased with them. I knit a kind of… Not a shorty version but just a couple of inches, pattern on the leg plus the cuffs.


So they’re quite short and yeah, I’m really pleased with them. I still have to Kitchener stitch the toe on the second sock. So not 100% finished but very close. And I will in fact do that just in a bit and try and get a photo in the daylight. Although it’s super dark here at the moment because it’s a massive storm clouds overhead and there’s thunder. It was raining a minute ago and I thought I might not be able to record but the rain stopped but it’s very dark so we’ll see if photos are possible or otherwise it might be tomorrow. But yeah, so super happy to have a finished object basically. And yeah, it’s encouraging me to pass on my next socks, which will be the Bambi socks by Don Henderson, which are number 22 in 52 weeks of socks by Liner.


So I am looking forward to getting started on those. I’m looking forward to looking through my stash for some suitable yarn and wondering whether I’ll knit them for myself or for a gift. So yes, I have that to look forward to. I might do that this evening actually as a little treat. I do have at least two other of socks that I’ve had on the needles for ages that I need to finish as well, so maybe I should choose one of those and put them in my handbag for those moments when I’m watching swimming or music lesson and have a bit of time waiting around for children. So yes, I do find socks just the perfect project for that. You can just do around and it’s just a little something, few little stitches and it makes me feel like I haven’t wasted my time even if I don’t achieve very much.


Of course I am still yet to pick up the sleeves stitches, which is the next step on my Clio pull over that’s been in a work in progress for such a long time. And yes, I also need to do that. I just haven’t had the brain power really or spare brain power to do that. But yeah, it’s getting close. It’s coming up my list of many, many things to do, but I am looking forward to getting that done. And I’ll have quite a few things to cross off my knit 20 for 2020 if I manage that one and some socks. Earlier this week, I published the first sock for The Handmade Sock Society number three, season three, and they are the luminary socks, so I was really chuffed to be able to share those finally. They’ve been a work in progress for quite a while. And a huge thank you to Deb Hickman who took the photos and made the sample for me.


And a huge thank you to Claire who is Indielynx who gave Deb some gorgeous origami stars to photograph with the socks. And the socks have a star stitch panel running down the front with a little bit of a lace border on either side of the front panel. And they’re playing on the back and I used Viola sock yarn for those. I do love Viola yarn, I just find the colors really beautiful and have so much depth. And just the color palette really appeals to me. It’s sort of quite dark and moody, really fun and really pretty. So it’s lots of beautiful elements have come together to make up the pattern and a huge thank you to Tracey who is Tracyrr on Ravelry and The Comfy Red Couch for test knitting for me.


So I hope members of The Handmade Sock Society are already pleased with this design. And I am already enjoying seeing people’s socks progressing. Thank you for all the lovely comments on Instagram and Ravelry. And yeah, I’m just so excited to see the different colors and beautiful yarns that people are knitting up their socks in. Apart from a very small amount of knitting and a lot of faffing around with mice and watching them and trying to figure out what they may or may not eat or like to do, I’ve been doing some more organizing in my studio/office and hopefully they should be a little sofa arriving for the office tomorrow.


So I’m really excited about that because I have my desk in here and shelves and office stuff, but I really want this to be a creative area where I can sit and knit and hide from children and husband. So yes. So I’m really excited about my sofa arriving tomorrow. And then basically my studio will be fairly set up. I still have some tidying and organizing to do. But yeah, all the essential furniture will be in by then. And then it will just be a matter of beautifying the space and maybe putting some pictures up and things like that. So when I have it a bit more organized and tidy, I’ll take some photos and then maybe be a little video, maybe do a little studio tour for you.


It’s been taking me a long time to get it all together, it feels like, but I’ll be very pleased once it all comes together. One thing I did do this week, which was kind of a procrastination thing, but it was also quite useful was I had a whole box of swatches and half finished never to be finished projects that I unwound and called time on and managed to release about eight pairs of needles from those projects. And yeah, so that was really good. And I thought I could maybe donate some of the swatches to the yarnbombing project that Lexxie’s working on at school. I haven’t heard much about that this week, so I’m not sure if she’s gone off the idea already.


But yeah, I thought I could use some of my swatches for good and also secretly do a little bit of decluttering in the name of art, public art. So yes. So that was a good thing. And I had about three pairs of socks that I had were kind of swatches, kind of testing out different sizes of patterns and things like that. And so I managed to retrieve three really nice skeins of Sock yarn as well from those projects and from the box of doom. So that was really good. And it’s made me have yet another look at my stash. And I will organize another de-stash. It won’t be for charity this time. It will be for just de-stash purposes. And just wanting to get some of the yarn that I have in my stash into the hands of people that can use it because I am just realizing more and more, I mean it’s taken me a month, two months actually to knit one pair of socks. And that’s just one little skein of yarn.


So the rate at which I can use my stash is very, very low. And as much as I love my yarn and really, really struggle to let go of any of it, I really need to… I’ll feel much better if I know that people can use it. Because in the climate here it’s really, really hot and humid and I just don’t want it to deteriorate or get moldy or anything like that. So I think I should de-stash sooner rather than later and share some of these beautiful skeins of yarn. So look out for that on Instagram. I might get to it this week. Probably not to be honest seeing as I have things like clean out the mice cages on my list of things to do now. But I’m definitely going to be doing that sometime in the near future. So yeah, I’ll put the word out anyway.


If you’re on my mailing list or follow me on Instagram you’ll hear about it in advance of when I do it. So thanks so much for listening in. Sorry, it’s been a bit of a scattered episode today. I just wanted to have a quick chat with you and have a bit of a catch-up, but I don’t have a huge amount of knitting or knitting news to report I’m afraid.


So thanks again for joining me today and I hope you have a really fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

Play

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Today we have a little break from sock-mania (mostly!) and a little more exploration of our community challenge #knit20for2020 so far. People are being very creative and it’s so much fun to see how different knitters are filling their categories. I also have a bit of a chat about deep stash: how it’s defined, what it means to me, and why even (or especially) the deepest stash deserves to come out and play.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Follow #quilted on Instagram

Follow #20for2020

The Happier Podcast

The #knit20for2020 Chat Thread on Ravelry

IndieLynx on Instagram

Rose Cardigan by Andrea Mowry

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan

Blue Sky Fibers

Moeke Yarns

Moeke Yarns on Instagram

Circus Tonic Yarns

Circus Tonic Yarns Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Hello, and welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 284.

This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness in creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi, and Coop Knits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand-dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of color, producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates, our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk, or you can click on the ad on my blog.

Hello and welcome. Has it been a good knitting week for you? I’ve been doing lots of knitting on a secret design project, so I can’t talk much about that. But I’ve also been knitting happily away on my terracotta socks by Wolf Fields Studio in Birch Hollow Fibers yarn. These were my Christmas Eve cast-on socks. I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to have any photographic evidence of them, but I’ll just post them as, ta-da, a finished object very soon. They’re almost finished, the foot, and so I basically just have the toe go, which won’t take me too long, of the second sock.

That’s pretty exciting, to have a nearly finished object. That will be able to tick off a box in my 20 for 2020 knitting challenge. The hashtag for that is #knit20for2020. If you haven’t seen that yet, I’ve created a list of prompts. It’s meant to be a fun challenge for the year, so you can use the list of prompts to tick off one item at a time, or as many boxes as you can tick.

We have a chat thread in Ravelry, as well as a hashtag you can follow along with on Instagram. I’m not sure if you realize, it took me a while to realize, that you can actually follow hashtags in Instagram like you can follow accounts. I think the easiest way to do that is if you go into search, and you search for the hashtag, then it gives you an option to follow that hashtag. I find that quite handy for following along with challenges that I’m interested in or topics that I’m interested in.

I’ve just started following the #quilted hashtag, and I haven’t had much time to do it, or any time to do it, to be honest, but I am thinking a lot about quilting at the moment. I have one quilt that I need to finish, and I have one project that’s in my personal happiness projects for the year. So, yeah. You can follow along with any hashtags that interest you. Sometimes your feed can get a bit full with a particular hashtag so you can refine that as you go along.

I’m following the general #20for20 hashtag, which is basically a hashtag… I think it’s basically started by Gretchen Rubin from the Happier podcast, and it’s a happiness challenge. So, you write a list of 20 things you want to do for the year, and that’s where I got the idea for the #knit20for2020 from, was the Happier podcast, and yeah.

So, I have created a couple of printables. There’s a square image for Instagram, as well as a PDF printable, and I will include that again in this week’s newsletter for you, because there’s people that have just joined up with the newsletter and didn’t receive it when I sent it out a few weeks ago. I’ll post those images for you, and eventually we’ll create a page on my website where they belong. But I haven’t done that yet.

So, I’ve been following along with the Ravelry chat thread, and I’m really interested to know how people want to do this challenge. I think there’s lots of scope for putting your own spin on it, like knitting everything from stash, or deciding on your own rules. You can always, if you don’t fancy one of the particular prompts, you can also substitute something you like, and a few people have commented in the thread on Ravelry that they’re not keen on brioche; they just don’t particularly like the look of it. So I think they’re going to substitute something else. You could substitute something like mosaic knitting, or already have color work there, but there’s lots of other techniques that you could substitute, or you could substitute a garment type, or just cross it out and not do that one. I guess that wouldn’t be #20for2020 then. It’d be 19 for 2020. So yes, you might want to make something else up to fill the gap in the spirit of things.

Some people on Ravelry have created a post where they’ve recreated the list and then are posting links to the projects they’re doing. You could also do that in Instagram stories using the Instagram square image. You can put links onto a story. Yeah. So there’s lots of fun ways to join in this challenge.

Shout out to Claire who is indilynx On Instagram and Ravelry, and she completed the rose cardigan by Andrea Maori, and she used gorgeous La Bien Aimée Yarn. And so, she said she was ticking off an Epic or bucket list project prompt for that one. And it is so gorgeous. So, Claire’s been participating in the challenge, and all her projects are so beautifully photographed, and she has just such a gorgeous color sense. So, if you haven’t discovered indilynx Instagram, you should definitely go and have a little look. It’s I-N-D-I-L-Y-N-X.

One of the other prompts on the list is deep stash, deep yarn stash, and there’s also deep pattern stash. And I had a couple of people question what that was. And so, I thought I would just talk about that a little bit on the podcast today as well. And so, deep yarn stash means yarn that you’ve had in your stash for a long time. So, it’s deep buried at the bottom of the stash. And I guess there’s no particular rule for what deep stash is, because we’ve all been knitting for different lengths of time, and so what might be deep stash for a relatively new knitter might be one or two years. Whereas for people that have been knitting for 40+ years, it might be a bit older than that.

And I was trying to think what my oldest yarn in my stash would be, and I’ve had a pretty good cull of my deep stash. I’ve given a lot of yarn away and yeah. I’ve done a little bit of deep de-stashing and a little bit of donating. So, some of the really deep stash that I… I don’t know, just bought yarn on sale, and my tastes have changed. Lots of reasons I didn’t want it anymore. Yeah, some of that has gone, and so I’m not really sure what the oldest is now. I’d have to really have a good look and have a good think back to what’s the oldest.

I have some prized deep stash, which is from Juno Fiber Arts, who was my absolute favorite indie dyer, who stopped dying. I’m not sure when she stopped dying. I think maybe around 2015. Maybe about five years ago. I’m not 100% sure. It’s definitely a while ago, and yeah, I really should use that yarn because it’s so beautiful, and I love it so much, and I don’t want it to deteriorate and not be as nice anymore before I use it. One of the… Not problems but considerations I have is that I have probably about eight skeins, but they’re all different colors. I don’t have two skeins of the same color. And then not necessarily super coordinating, so I’m not sure. I need to find a suitable project for that. Yeah, I just don’t know what I want to do with that.

If I could crochet, if my poor old sore wrists would allow me to crochet, I would probably do a granny stripe blanket. It would just be so, so gorgeous. They’re all beautiful jewel tones and it would really be stunning if I could do that. But there’s no way I can crochet a whole blanket. I’ve always had the idea because I can’t crochet a granny square blanket. I’ve always had the idea of trying to figure out a knitting design that looks a bit like a granny blanket, granny striped blanket. I don’t know if it would be the same, but I’ve always been thinking about doing something a little bit like that to get the feeling of those beautiful textured stripes.

Anyway, so I’ve just gone off on quite a tangent there. But yeah, so that’s what deep stash is, and it’s basically beautiful yarn that you loved and bought, and have kept, and now’s the time to use it. You might want to match it up with a deep patterned stash. So a pattern you’ve had in your library for a really long time. Often they go together. Often we buy yarn for a particular pattern, and sometimes that’s the reason we don’t use the yarn because we decide we’re not so keen on that design anymore. But yeah, I’ve got a few patterns and yarn that I still, many years later, still want to make.

One of them is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti, and it was published in Interweave Knits Fall 2011. So, super deep stash pattern. And to me, this is just the most gorgeous, perfect cardigan. It’s got a gorgeous lace panel on the back, and I think at the front it’s like a waterfall style front, and it is just so beautiful. I bought some blue-sky yarn for it when Loop was having a sale, and that’s also probably around 2014, maybe 2015, that I bought the yarn for that. So, that would be a great achievement if I could knit that cardigan with that deep stash. I’m not sure if I can commit to that this year, but yeah, I’d love to do that.

It’s just dreamy. If you’re romantic lace knitter, you’ll probably love this one. I’m just looking at it on screen now and drooling, still drooling. So, that one is a really good pattern for me, because even six years later, I still absolutely love it. So I know that probably, yeah, no matter how old I am, or how much time passes, I think I’ll still love this cardigan.

So, I’ll stop rambling on about that now. But I am very, very curious about some of these prompts, especially what other people come up with. And so, deep stash yarn and deep pattern stash are definitely ones I’m interested in seeing what other people are doing. I’m also really interested in new to me designers, and hopefully discovering some fab new designers and yeah, and of course I’m interested in what people do for their epic or bucket list projects as well. So, I’m interested in all of them, and seeing what other people want to make for all of them. But those ones especially, I’m quite curious about.

Speaking of deep stash and special yarns, we had some, for me, quite sad news in the knitting community recently, and that was a post by Moeke Yarns, who is… It’s a company by a wonderful person called Ioana. She recently announced on Instagram that she and her family have taken the sad decision to close down Moeke Yarns. And yeah. It was really sad to me. I’ve purchased some of her yarn at a knitting festival from Rail work, who stocked their yarn. I also participated in their crowd funding campaign, and had a sweater quantity of gorgeous yarn, and they specialized in traditional Romanian yarn. Yeah, it was really special. But she explained on this Instagram post that she had a baby a couple of years ago, and she actually works as a professor in the Netherlands, and the company was based in Romania where her family lives, and yeah, just all sorts of… She had so much happening, and as a mom who’s been through having young kids, and I just can’t even imagine being able to do that.

Yeah. So, I completely understand but also just really, really feel for her, because obviously it was just obviously such a hard decision, and it was so nice that she made the post on Instagram, and sort of talked about it, and was so open and honest. So, thank you for doing that Ioana, and for us lucky people that have some of your yarn in our stash, we’ll get to use it, and your legacy will live on in the beautiful yarn that you’ve put out into the world, and the garments that people enjoy wearing.

Same with my lovely friend, Hannah, Circus Tonic Yarns, she has recently decided to stop dying her beautiful indie dyed yarn here in Australia, and I’m very sad about that as well because I was looking forward to coming back to Australia, and perhaps collaborating with Hannah a bit more. But you know, again, life happens, and Hannah’s got three young kids and so much going on, and gosh, I can just really relate to it. And there are days where I felt like just not working anymore, and not being able to keep going as a one woman company. And it’s only through my amazing team of people that I have working with me as freelancers that I can keep going. Otherwise, there’s no way I could keep going, doing what I’m doing.

And yeah, it’s also a bit easier because I don’t have to deal with physical products. So, it’s all almost online and on the internet. So, it’s super portable and quite easy to handle. I can do things on my phone, and I can have my designs, carry around with me in my handbag, and I super appreciate that, and I super appreciate you who listen to me rambling on about knitting, and buy my patterns, and join in with knit-alongs, and charity auctions, and all sorts of things and challenges, and everything. It just makes it possible and so much more fun.

So, yeah. Just a little thank you, and just, I guess, a little reminder to just always be kind to people, and you just don’t know what people are going through, and most people are very kind and very generous, and that’s what I love about this community, and doing this work. So, yeah. So, just ending on a slightly emotional note there, but on that note, I think I’d just like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Find all your favorite luxury yarns, and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story. Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of A La Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.

So, I hope you have a wonderful week, and have some lovely knitting to do. I’m actually immensely enjoying watching my younger daughter at the moment, because in their lunchtime art club at school, they’re working on an installation to yarn bomb one of the trees at school, and she’s been coming home and doing French knitting, and it just came out of the blue that she was like, “I’ve got to do French knitting mommy,” and I didn’t realize at first what it was for. And so, she was like, “I need a toilet roll.” She kind of unwound the last of the toilet roll, and there’s toilet paper everywhere, to use paddle pop sticks to make this French knitting tube thing. And yeah, has been just rummaging around my scraps for yarn.

I thought it was just some crazy thing that she was doing, and then I dropped her off at school one day, and they were like about six other kids with their French knitting. And then we had a a call out from the art teacher, email today saying, “if anyone has any acrylic yarn, we need 100% acrylic yarn,” and my heart just sank because I didn’t really have much acrylic yarn to provide. I have a lot of other yarn I could give you, but not acrylic. So, that was a bit sad and I also felt like, “why acrylic?” I guess, because they’re putting it on the tree, I don’t know.

Anyway. So, I can’t wait to see the yarn bombed tree come together, and what they’re going to do with that. But yeah, what a great project. I’m so excited.

And finally, just before I sign off, a plug for the Handmade Sock Society, season three is in pre-sale, early bird stage at the moment. And so, you can get the collection, the whole collection for £9.95, which is a bit more in US dollars, but not too bad. It’s a great deal at the moment. And then, once the first pattern comes out this Tuesday, the 25th of February, the price will go up to £15. So, it’s a great deal at the moment. So, I just thought I’d give you a little reminder in case you were thinking about it. And it will be at that price until Monday, this Monday. So you have the weekend to snap up that bargain.

So, thank you very much for everybody who has already joined, and I look forward to seeing you in the knit alongs that will be kicking off soon. So, that’s all from me. Happy knitting. Have a fantastic week, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Play

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Photo Credit: Laine Magazine

Today’s podcast is pretty much exclusively about socks! It’s an exciting time to be a sock knitter just now. The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is now open, with pre-sales over at Ravelry and a very big Early Bird discount on the collection. We also have the release of an incredible new book of patterns produced by Laine Magazine. On today’s podcast I talk a little about the pattern I created for the book, the Snippet Socks, as well as an overall review of the book itself and some of the other incredible designs you’ll find there. I know which one I’m casting on first, but it was not easy to choose!

Show Links

Join The Handmade Sock Society 3 here!

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is a pattern subscription club inspired by the many meanings of atmosphere and the creative quest. The six secret sock knitting patterns in the collection are ideal for any knitter who is obsessed with (or wants to fall in love with) hand-knitted socks, appreciates a bit of suspense, and enjoys creating along with other enthusiastic makers. The first pattern of the series will be released in February 2020, and then there will be another pattern release every month until July. There’s never any pressure to “keep up” with the crowd, and our relaxed knit-along schedule is designed to give knitters of all skill levels and knitting speeds a relaxed experience.

Whether you’re a newish sock knitter or a seasoned pro, these patterns will have something to offer. The difficulty hovers between “intrepid beginner” and intermediate. There will be interesting stitch patterns, a touch of lace, and maybe a little cable or two, but nothing confounding. And of course, if you’re ever at a loss, our warm and welcoming knitalong community is always available to help, encourage, and cheer you along the way. So take a deep breath and a good look around. Stare up at the stars. Soak up the atmosphere. There’s so much to discover.

Sock Pattern Release Schedule:

  • Tuesday, February 25th
  • Tuesday, March 24th
  • Tuesday, April 21st
  • Tuesday, May 19th
  • Tuesday, June 16th
  • Tuesday, July 21st

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Membership in The Handmade Sock Society 3 grants you access to six stunning knitted sock patterns which will be released one every month until July.

  • The patterns will remain completely exclusive to Society members until the session ends.

  • The Handmade Sock Society 3 collection is available at a special early bird price for just a short time. 

  • The early bird price for the collection is £9.95 (+ applicable VAT for EU countries – Ravelry automatically adds this in). This includes all SIX sock designs and works out to less than half price of the patterns individually.

  • The early bird ends when the first pattern is released and the regular price will be £15 (+VAT for EU countries)

  • All the designs are written for fingering weight/4 ply/sock yarn, so this will be an excellent stashbuster for many!

  • If you do want to treat yourself to new yarn or just want some inspiration, I will post yarn spoilers on Ravelry before each pattern is released so you can shop or stash dive to find the perfect yarn for your socks. 

  • The patterns are all for knitted socks. Most will be confident beginner level but one or two will require more intermediate skills.

  • The patterns will be written in the Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist Pattern™ format and I will include charts for lace.

Laine Magazine’s 52 Weeks of Socks book

Snippet Socks

The Wool Barn

Pebbles and Pathways Socks by Marceline Smith

Intersections Socks by Marceline Smith

Branches by Amanda Jones

House of A La Mode

Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler

Little Lionhead Knits

Lucerna by Fabienne Gassmann

John Arbon

ONION

Riverbed by Joji Locatelli

Bembe by Dawn Henderson

Quince & Co. 

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

The Wool Barn on Instagram

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 283. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, hello. Are you having a good week? I hope you are. I am having a hectic week again, I say that every week, don’t I? It’s hectic all the time at the moment. I started off the week sending off the parcels for the Bushfire Relief Auction, the destash I did recently. I still have a couple of those parcels that I need to send out, that I’m still sorting out addresses and things for. Also, this week my goal is to send off all the knit-along prizes. Everybody was super fast getting their addresses back to me, so that was awesome, and so I’m going to work on that later today. Parceling everything up, filling out all the customs forms, and hopefully, getting them to the post office probably tomorrow, if I spend today packaging. There was 15 prizes for the knit-along winners, we did a big Prize-a Palooza all at once, last week. In previous years, I’ve been a bit more sort of spaced out with them throughout the year as each passion or each knit-along comes to an end.

But last year it was so crazy with me being, that I just did them all at once. So yeah. So as I announced recently, we are rolling straight into The Handmade Sock Society number 3, and just as a bit of a heads up, this episode is going to be basically all about socks. So if you’re not a sock knitter and have no interest in sock-knitting, this might not be the episode for you. So we’re starting Season 3 of the Sock Society. So the theme for the season is “Atmosphere” and pre-sales for the collection opened yesterday on Ravelry, it is only going to be available on Ravelry at this stage because it provides such a great delivery mechanism for the patterns. So once you sign up, I can just add the patterns to the collection and you’ll receive them each month. The collection is currently available at a really big discount, early Bird price, and it will be at an early Bird price until the 24th of February, because the first pattern will be released on Tuesday, the 25th of February. So that’s in just over a week’s time.

As always, I’m really excited about this collection. If you’ve enjoyed previous seasons of The Handmade Sock Society, I think you’ll like this one too. I haven’t tried to do anything dramatically different this season. It’s a relatively similar I would say, the socks are top-down and are written in my percentage checklist style. So they’re all written out in full, as well as charts wherever necessary, and I’m looking forward to those of you who love knitting socks to join us.

So the other exciting thing that happened this week is that I received in the post, my designer copy of 52 Weeks of Socks by Laine. Also, my sample of my snippet socks that are in the book, and we have been seeing sneak peaks of the book on Instagram, and it’s just so thrilling to have this book in my hands now. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s as you can imagine with 52 sock patterns, it’s a solid book. I would describe it almost as a coffee table book, they have a beautiful linen cover, which is very tactile and a gorgeous belly band around it. I learnt that term when I was looking into printing patterns at one stage. So it’s where you have the paper wrapped around a thin strip of the cover. So they have a gorgeous photo on that, and then when I opened it up, there’s a little detail shot of my snippet socks on the inside of the front of the belly band. So that was kind of nice to see.

On the back, the inside is a beautiful shot of foliage grasses and it’s just gorgeous. I love little beautiful details like that, that says “52 Weeks of Socks is a unique look into modern international sock- knitting. The designers behind the 52 pairs come from all corners of the world. They’ve used different yarns and techniques in their designs that are either intuitive and relaxing to knit or more challenging. This beautiful book is a future classic that you will return to again and again.” I think that’s absolutely right.

So I have a design in this book obviously, and it’s called Snippet Socks. When Yana and Cindy contacted me to do a design for the book, of course, I was very happy to. My pattern is towards the end of the book, number 45, and I called the socks Snippet. When I started thinking about them, I thought I would do a little bit of a spin-off or connection with my Fragment Socks that were in issue four, of Laine Magazine. And Fragment Socks have been really popular, and when I designed Fragment, I was thinking about patchwork. I was making a patchwork quilt, and I, yeah, I was just thinking about the shapes that are often found in patchwork quilt.

So that’s where Fragment came from. Then, so snippet, I really liked those diagonal shapes and Fragment, and so I, yeah, I just kind of worked from that point when I was thinking about the design. I was quite influenced by the Japanese stitch dictionary, and I was smiling as I was looking through the patterns, because I think a lot of the designers in the book were also influenced by that stitch dictionary. It’s been really popular at the moment, and it’s, I think really influencing a lot of designs that we’re seeing coming out. The aesthetic for that is a lot of twisted stitches and a lot of combining different lace patterns in columns, and I can see that through a lot of the designs in the book. So I do think or wonder if other designers have been enjoying that inspiration as much as I have. I’ve actually been really inspired by that particular book.

So for the yarn, for this design, I used Cashmere Sock, by The Wool Barn, and that is 80% super wash extra-fine merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. The colorway is Walnut. I absolutely love that base, and I really love this color. I think Maya from the Wool Barn is just so talented, and whenever I use her yarn for a design, it just photographs so beautifully. I don’t know what it is about her dyes, but the light really reflects off them, and then also the colors show up beautifully as well. So I am absolutely thrilled with the photos for the socks that are included in the book, they’re just gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous, love everything about the styling. They’ve included these socks in some of the detailed shots throughout the book, and I just couldn’t be happier.

Of course, the photography of the book is one of the highlights. The designs are all beautiful and the photography just shows them off so beautifully. I love the Laine of style of photography, it’s moody and textured, and I love the way they combine textures in their styling. So my socks are photographed on a sort of a jute-textured rug with some native flowers in the background. They look like Australian natives actually, might be South African. And a beautiful silky skirt on the model, and it’s just absolutely gorgeous. So I thought that I would choose one of the designs from another designer to cast on, and I will make that my socks category for my #knit20for2020. But then, I was absolutely struggling to decide which pair to choose. I absolutely love … The first pattern in the book is by Marceline Smith, HeyBrownBerry, who is a friend and I am currently knitting her Pebbles and Pathways Socks already. She has a gorgeous design in the book called Intersections, which is a gorgeous cabled textured design.

I was also looking at number four, Branches by Amanda Jones. This is an example of where I think maybe she’s been influenced by a similar stitch dictionary that I was. It’s much more intricate pattern though, with a lot of lace and some stripes of, I think it’s the not stitch coming down the side, and the lace pattern goes into the cuff, which is really cool. Amanda works at A Yarn Story, and yeah, I’ve met her, she’s absolutely lovely person and these socks are just divine. She’s knit them, and House Fingering by House of A La Mode. And a gorgeous blue, well, actually the colorway is called Sage. It looks quite blue in the picture, but maybe it’s more of a bluey-green.

So I’m very tempted by that, and even though it looks super intricate, when you look at the charts, they’re not that complicated. It’s like an 11 stitch repeat going around. So that’s possibly memorizable, I think that would be okay to keep in your head. Then I was really drawn to a very different pair, they’re a lot plainer, number eight, Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler. These ones just have a small amount of detail around, just underneath the cuff, using sort of a different colorway. She’s used a Tweed Fingering by Little Lionhead Knits. I have a couple of this tweedy-style yarn in my stash, and so I was thinking about these ones, really like them. I think they’re my second choice.

Number 18, Lucerna, is by Fabienne Gassman. These are, again, a more simple design, more textured. So they’re reverse stockinette with some detailing, just sort of lines coming down from the top and up from the toe, and a cute, is it cast on or they knit top-down? Yes. Nobby Estonian cast on, which is quite cool. There’s an Exmoor Sock by John Arbon. That’s a really interesting blend. It’s 60% Exmoor Blueface, 20% Corriedale, and 10% Zwartbles and 10% nylon, and teases colorway Bibble Bug, which is a cute name. Oh, and also held double with silk and kid mohair by Onion, 40% silk, 60% kid mohair. So they’re held double and she’s knit them on, okay, so 2.5 and 2.75 needles. So still quite small needles and they look very cozy and just beautiful texture. Really, really drawn to those.

That’s Lucerna, number 18. There’s a gorgeous design by Joji Locatelli, number 31, Riverbed. She’s used a DK weight yarn for these ones, so she’s used Silky BFL DK by Walk Collection, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers. These are 55% wool, 45% silk, and the colorway Apollo. So they make for a beautiful sheen on the socks, and how he’s used the reverse stockinette with a lace design going down the top of the foot and down the back of the leg. So they’re really cute and would be a great option if you wanted a faster knit, probably with being in the DK. They’re on three millimeter needles.

But I think the pattern that I’m going to cast on is number 22, Bembe, B-E-M-B-E by Dawn Henderson. These are textured, it’s a textured pattern on the leg using just knits and pearls, in a really cool graphical design. The foot’s plane, which is quite nice, because once you’ve done the work on the leg you can just knit round and round on the foot. The yarn she’s used is a gorgeous rust color brownie tones. It’s Finch by Quince & Company, which is 100% American wool, and the colorway is Fox. So that probably gives you an immediate visual of the ready brown color that this yarn is.

So, yes. So I am going to pass them on soon. They’re going to be my first ones I’m going to cast on from the book, and that’s Bembe by Dawn Henderson. I think that would be a really nice unisex pair, actually. I’m looking at them and when you look at them side on, it’s sort of almost like an argyle-diamond pattern along each side of the leg, and yeah, so it makes me think that this would be a nice design for my dad. I like to knit socks for my dad, although I’m very slow.

So yeah, so super honored to be part of this book. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s going to be a treasure for years to come and I know how much work has gone into it. Collating and curating 52 patterns is no mean feat, as well as producing magazines last year. We’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s just absolutely amazing to have it in my hands now. The print quality is absolutely gorgeous, and as a book lover, my heart just sings when I have this book in my hands, because the pages just feel so beautiful to the touch. Just every single detail is just gorgeous, when you feel the paper it just feels so beautiful in your hands. The cover feels beautiful. It’s quite a tactile experience just reading the book, and then there’s all the patterns to knit inside.

So, congratulations Laine and all the designers in this book. It’s going to bring a lot of people a lot of joy. I would also like to thank my sample knitter, Deb, who is Tink Hickman on Instagram and Ravelry for knitting up the gorgeous sample that is pictured in the book. As well as my test knitter, Tracey, who hosts the Comfy Red Couch Podcast and is a huge support. I’d like to thank Maya of the Wool Barn for creating such gorgeous inspiring yarn to work with, and make my designs really shine. So thank you to my little team, I couldn’t do it without you. That’s not all I have to talk about this week.

Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you are enjoying your #knit20for2020 Challenge, if you are joining in with that. I’m looking forward to getting a few things ticked off or starting to work on a few things. I am looking forward to casting on my Bembe socks by Dawn. I will have some very pleasant moments choosing the perfect yarn from my stash, possibly from my deep stash, so I might be able to tick off both of those prompts. Anyway, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week. Don’t forget, if you want to join The Handmade Sock Society number 3, to get in while the early bird price is still on offer, and apart from that, happy knitting, have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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Today I have news about the results of our Australian Bushfire Instagram Auction, our winners from all of last year’s KALs, and an introduction to the theme of the next season of The Handmade Sock Society….I can’t wait to hear what you think about the plans and patterns for this year!

Show Links

We raised almost $3000 AUD for Bushfire Relief. I’ll be splitting the funds between three amazing charities:

Go Fund Me for First Nations Communities of Australia Affected by Bushfires

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Thank you so much for all your love and support!

Ravelry names of our KAL winners:

Knitvent2019 KAL winner: tweedy2shoes

The Shawl Society 4 Grand KAL winner: wikinger

The Handmade Sock Society Grand KAL winner: madamepurl

Winners for the individual shawls:

Sea Gleam Shawl: muddancer
Floating Shawl: nanavolo
Rockpooling Shawl: nextdoorknitter

In The Dunes Wrap: Nadeknits
Sunset Skies: bdelargy
Gathering Driftwood: KrabbaKravle

Winners for the individual socks:

Shell Cottage Socks: malu89
Samphire Socks: Unfading Spring
Cliff Walk Socks: YarnsieBarnsie

Cornish Cream Tea Socks: Certainstyle
Sailing School Socks: skistricken
Dorsal Socks: Joline

Show Transcript: 

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 282. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been another busy week here of course, and I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm of work again. Kids are finally back at school. They had two months off and I always forget that the first week or two of the school year is very much spending a lot of time getting routines sorted out and figuring out what uniform to wear on which day and so on. So I always think I can leap back into it on that first day they’re back, but then it takes about another week or two before I can actually get back into it.

But I think we’re nearly there now and so I’m pretty happy about that, I have to say. And we had an amazing week with the Destash I did for Bushfire Relief on Instagram. I think I had about 17 lots in the end. I think I put 13 up initially and then added another four for the last 24 hours just because I hadn’t had time to do the full lots at the beginning. But that worked out just fine and people were super, super generous. I’m so grateful to you guys. And I added up the figures and it came to almost 3000 Australian dollars by the time I did the conversion. So I decided I would top it up to 3000 myself, because I’m donating to three charities, so that seemed quite a nice round number. I think the actual amount came to about 2,830 or something. So I’m just topping up that last 150 or so. So I will be donating $1,000 each to the Australian Red Cross, the Nature Foundation in South Australia and the GoFundMe campaign for the First Nations communities of Australia affected by bush fires.

So the Wildlife Recovery Fund, I guess I chose it because it’s going towards helping to restore the habitat in South Australia, and in particular they are working on directing funds to Kangaroo Island, which is an island off the coast of South Australia and was a really special… Well, is but kind of was a really special habitat for some particularly endangered species. And it was a special area where the koala population wasn’t effected by disease, like it is in lots of other parts of Australia. And so it was a really, really, really special habitat. And so it was quite particularly devastating that this habitat was almost completely destroyed. So I feel good about donating some money to go towards restoring that habitat. Hopefully they can restore it. I don’t know. I mean all these things are going to take so much time and effort, but… Sorry, I feel like crying talking about it. But yes, the Fire Relief Fund for the First Nations communities.

So this has been organized by Neil Morris, and he says the aim of this fundraiser is to offer a culturally sensitive, specific direct support to some of those communities with critical cost to cover expenses, including temporary relocation costs, other basic amenity and emergency relief costs, refurbishment of damaged property, resettling expenses and replacement of vital items. And he said very sadly, many First Nations peoples have been affected by the tragic fires and many of the community have been forced to evacuate the region of their homes and forced to seek temporary ongoing living arrangements. And this specific campaign is, there will be relief funds set up through means such as government relief programs. These will hopefully make a marked difference. However, experience shows us that as First Nations people, we have experienced major gaps in what the government gives and what is actually needed for community to heal and prosper thoroughly.

So I felt like this was another wonderful cause and if we can help this campaign as well. I just checked the page and they say they have raised 1,700,000 and something, raised over 1.5 million goals. So they’ve achieved their goal and that’s really great. So I hope that can help some people in need.

And then the Australian Red Cross are doing amazing work and I’ve been following their Instagram page and they’ve been publishing what they’re doing and how they’re distributing their funds and how they’re on the ground helping people, both emotionally and physically. So that’s really great too. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for everybody who supported that and supported it by sharing as well as bidding on lots.

I have been a little bit slow this week. I had some health issues. I’m fine, but I was a bit slow this week so I am hoping to start packaging up the parcels today. I’m not sure if I’ll get to the post office today. I’m recording this on Friday as I’m releasing it, but if not today, then very early next week, Monday I will be able to get everything. Hopefully, all the parcels packaged up over the weekend as well as the knit-along winners from the three major knit-alongs we had last year. So I’m just going to announce the winners of those quickly as well.

So again, thank you to everybody who participated in the knit-alongs. We had The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society and Knitvent. And when I look back on the year, I think how wonderful and amazing it is that we had so many people participating and enjoying my designs. It means the world to me of course. And I just love it. So it just really encourages me to keep going and keep finding the inspiration to design things that I know you will like because I get so much feedback from when people post their makes on Ravelry or Instagram. And just the little comments, it gives me lots of clues about what guys like and maybe don’t like sometimes. But that’s fine. And yeah, so it’s so helpful for me when I see your posts and so lovely as well.

So without further ado, the grand winner for the Knitvent 2019 knit-along is Tweedy Two-Shoes  from the UK and she knitted the Habitation Throw. And yeah, so for Knitvent we just had the one thread and all the finished objects in the one thread. So congratulations to Tweedy Two-Shoes. I will be sending you a parcel. All the prizes are going to be sort of mystery prizes and I have a big box of yarn that I’ve chosen for my stash, beautiful designer, hand-dyed yarn and I’ll also be adding a project bag to their grand prize winners. So Tweedy Two-Shoes, I’ll be sending you a nice package and I’ve actually gone through all the winners to look at what they say their favorite colors are and projects. And so I will try to match up the yarns to things I think the person will like as well.

So for The Handmade Sock Society we have Madam Pearl from the US and for The Shawl Society we have Wikinger, W-I-K-I-N-G-E-R, from Germany who has joined The Shawl Society for the first time. So welcome and thank you for participating. And the grand prize for The Sock Society was for people who have knit all six socks. So, that was quite amazing. And for The Shawl Society, I let people have a slightly easier entry with five or six shawls. Some people had knit all six which was amazing and just made my heart want to burst and some people had knit five. So I thought that was a pretty good effort and worthy of entry into the grand prize. So congratulations.

And I’ll just quickly announce the winners of the individual socks and shawls. So for Sea Gleam the first of the shawl society last year we have Mud Dancer from the US. For the Floating Shawl, the winner is Nana Volvo also from the US. And for the Rockpooling Shawl is Nextdoor Knitter, again, from the US. In The Dunes Shawl is Naid Knits, who’s in the UK and for the Sunset Skies Shawl, B. Delargy. B, D-E-L-A-R-G-Y. And finally for The Shawl Society we have Krabba Kravle. I’m probably messing up that pronunciation, but K-R-A-B-B-A, K-R-A-V-L-E- from Norway. So congratulations to all The Shawl Society winners.

And now for The Handmade Sock Society Shell Cottage Socks, the winner is Malu 89 from Chile. For the Samphire Socks, the winner is Unfading Spring from the UK. Cliff Walk Socks is Yarnsy Barnsy, I love that name, from the UK. And Cornish Cream Tea is Certain Style, also from the UK. Then we have the Sailing School Socks who is… This is a bit of a tongue-twister. SkiStricken in the US. And Dorsal Socks is Joline from Canada.

So people from all over the world, although none from Australia. Sorry Aussies and Kiwis. But yes, lots of prizes going to the Northern hemisphere. I guess it’s knitting season over there at the moment. So you could  probably do with yarn more than us right now because it’s very, very hot here. So congratulations to all the winners. I will put that in a newsletter as well as post it on Ravelry. And so if you can please DM me or email me your postal addresses, please, and I will get those packages off to you hopefully early next week or as soon as I find out your address.

I’ve had quite a few questions just in the last week or so from people asking when the single patterns for The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society will be released. And I will do that pretty soon. I don’t have an exact date for you yet, but I will work on figuring out when a good time for that is.

And so finally my last announcement for the episode, this is a bit of an announcy episode rather than a chatty episode, but a lot of you’ve been asking and it’s coming up very soon, is the 2020 Handmade Sock Society. So the presales for that are going to open next week. And today I just wanted to tell you a little bit about the theme and one major change that’s happening this year compared to the last two years.

So the theme for The Handmade Sock Society for 2020 is atmosphere. And I’ll just read you the beautiful description that my copywriter Amanda has written for it. “Ever since we human beings began trying to explain the world to ourselves, we have looked for and found meaning everywhere. We hear messages on the wind and see shapes in the clouds, we read stories written in the stars. We can walk into a room and somehow instantly understand what’s going on without saying or hearing a single word, a hum of anticipation and excitement that travels like a ripple through our awareness. It’s something in the air. It’s the atmosphere. Call it a scientific name like pattern recognition, call it something spiritual like intuition, call it a kind of magic.

“This ability of ours to pluck meaning from the world is the root of all creativity. Creativity might seem like something drawn out of thin air, but it’s much more ordinary and wonderful than that. Part observation, part imagination, it’s about being present and open to our senses, our experiences and the atmosphere around us. The third season of The Handmade Sock Society explores that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there. The first astronomers fathoming the skies, intrepid explorers forging new parts up unconquered mountains. Long ago, alchemists extracting elixirs from obscure ingredients and modern-day knitters summoning beauty from nothing more than sticks and string and symbols on a page. All of us here are engaged in the same work of meaning-making. All of us are capable of more than we know.”

So if you’re new to the show, The Handmade Sock Society is a pattern subscription club and there will be six knitting patterns in the subscription. And the change this year is that I will be publishing them each month. So starting in a couple of weeks, the first pattern is due out on Tuesday the 25th of February and then each pattern will come out February, March, April, et cetera through July. The difficulty level of the socks is medium, I would say. They’re not particularly difficult and I lay out the instructions very clearly. I’d say maybe intermediate with some of the sort of lace patterns. There’s some cables, some lace. I tend to stick to fairly traditional or simple construction for my socks. I just like my socks that way and I just like working with the canvas.

And so yeah, I’m really excited to be sharing this collection with you. I got the inspiration for the collection, it just was one of those ones where it just popped into my head. The word just popped into my head. Sometimes when that happens, I’m so happy and grateful because it’s like a gift and it’s, I don’t know whether it’s the muse or something in my subconscious working away on it, but sometimes I’ll just be thinking, “Oh, what will I do for the socks next year?” And then the word just pops in my head, so that was what happened with atmosphere.

I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and I was looking at yarn and I was thinking, “Oh, I should kind of start forming some ideas for this collection so that I can choose the yarn more thoughtfully while I’m here. And yeah, and the word just popped into my head. So super happy about that. And when that happens I usually try and run with it because it was a bit of a weird word. I was like, “What am I going to do with that?” Thanks very much muse. So yeah, so I decided to run with it and it’s been really inspiring.

So look out for news about that in my newsletter and on the blog and if you’re a newsletter subscriber you’ll get heads-up when the early bird pricing is starting and that will be from sometime next week up to when the first pattern comes out. I have a really generous discount for early bird people because I always feel like if you’re willing to jump in to an unknown collection of patterns that you have no idea what they’re going to look like, then I like to reward that adventurousness with a good discount.

So thank you very much and that’s really all I have for this week. I’ve started Pilates again, so I have to get off to my class. I hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks again for participating in the knit-alongs, the Bushfire Relief Auction, and hopefully Season Three of The Handmade Sock Society coming up very soon. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Photo Credit: Deb Hickman

We’re getting ready to begin The Handmade Sock Society Season 3! We’re just days away from the start of presales! I’ve really been looking forward to this launch: sock knitters are such a fun and adventurous bunch, and these secret pattern collections always have such an exciting build up. Since the buzz began, I’ve heard from a lot of new sock knitters, or knitters who really want to join in with the fun but have been too intimidated to tackle the mystery of the sock. First of all, you’re not alone! A lot of people find the prospect of socks daunting. But the secret is that they’re not all that tricky. Honest.

Over the last two years, I’ve put together something we’ve taken to calling “The Sock Series”. They stated as emails and ended up here on the blog by popular demand. It a collection of tips, tricks, and resources on sock-knitting techniques that should make your first foray into the wonderful world of socks a little less scary. I’ve collected links to all those posts here:

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

Part 4 of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset

I’ve also just posted another episode: it was sent to Curious Handmade Newsletter Subscribers last year and it’s a subject I still get a lot of questions on:

Part 5 of The Sock Series: Closing the Toes

I hope you find them helpful! And if there’s anything else about sock knitting that worries you, or if there’s another sock-knitting topic you think we should add to the series, let me know!

In the run up to the launch of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, I’m bringing back our handy “Sock Series”. These are simple go-to-guides for the parts of sock-knitting that tend to scare off beginners.

This is our fifth guide to sock-knitting techniques! Today I’m going to discuss the Kitchener Stitch, a brilliant way to get a seamless finish on your socks.

Once you’ve knit to the very end of your sock’s toe, you need a way to close up that hole. You could just run your yarn tail through all the stitches and pull it tight (like the top of a hat) but that’s not very true to the shape of most feet. You could bind off and then just whipstitch the edges of the toes together, but that would result in a fairly bulky seam: not the most comfortable, especially when pressed against the toe of your shoe. So how do you take those live stitches and end up with a smooth finish (with no annoying seam)? Our friend the Kitchener Stitch.

I’ll be the first to admit that as a newer knitter I found this technique daunting. I’m afraid it was a major contributor to my Second Sock Syndrome for years! It’s not at all difficult, but I kept having to look it up every time I wanted to finish a sock. In the end, it was just a matter of practice. Now I think it’s very satisfying, and even quite fun. Hopefully, by the end of this email, you’ll think so, too!

The Kitchener Stitch is also known as grafting or weaving. It’s a very clever method that allows you to marry two sets of live stitches together into an invisible seam. It can look pretty complicated when you see the steps written out, but in reality, it is very simple, and it’s easy to get into a rhythm. All you have to do is start.

The very clever and generous Very Pink has made a few excellent video tutorials for the Kitchener Stitch

She also has a brilliant slow-mo version!

For visual learners, I think videos (and especially those slow-motion videos!) are hard to beat! I know some people do prefer to see the written instructions, too. Sometimes it’s just a bit quicker to glance at the instructions to refresh your memory than it is to rewatch a video.

How to do the Kitchener Stitch:

First, distribute your stitches evenly onto two needles, with the ends of the needles pointing the same way. You can use two double pointed needles, or just the two needles of a circular. Make sure the wrong sides (the inside of the sock) are facing each other. You’ll need a yarn or tapestry needle, threaded onto the tail of your yarn. Start with the yarn tail coming from the BACK needle.

First, you’ll work the Set Up instructions, once:

  1. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch on the needle.
  2. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch ON the needle.

Now it’s time to Kitchener:

  1. FRONT NEEDLE: KNIT OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off
  2. FRONT NEEDLE: PURL ON — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the next stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle
  3. BACK NEEDLE: PURL OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off
  4. BACK: KNIT ON — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the back needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle

Just keep repeating these steps until you reach the end of the seam. (It can help to keep muttering “Knit, Purl, Purl, Knit” as you go!) Then just pull the working yarn tight and weave in the loose end as usual. And there you go! You are the proud owner of a fully finished sock.

For a hybrid approach of words and photos, this classic Knitty tutorial has always been my go-to.

I hope that helps! By now, even the newest knitters in the Curious Crew should be well-prepared to take on their first socks (there is always plenty of encouragement, help, and community in the Ravelry group, too.) And if you’ve been making socks for years and years, and have a smart or sneaky grafting or finishing tip up your sleeve, please share it. Let’s never stop learning!

Happy knitting,
Helen x

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

Part 4 of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset