Archives For The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

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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.

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.

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 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