Purveyors of Self Striping Delights: The Knitting Goddess

As a recent newbie to the world of knitting, Joy of the Knitting Goddess was one of the first indie dyers I discovered online. The first was the lovely Amanda of the sadly missed Natural Dye Studio.

But like Amanda I was struck by Joy's subtle use of colour, the depth of tone she managed to achieve on her sock yarn bases and her fabulous attention to detail.

The Knitting Goddess' online shop is a veritable treasure trove of hand-dyed goodness and if you ever get the chance to visit her in person at one the many shows she does in the UK, they are even better when seen (and squished) in person.

Thismonth I am devoting the blog to my love of self stripe yarn and Joy has some amazing offerings in this category.

Better than a sweetie shop: a selection of Joy's hand-dyed self stripe yarns.

Better than a sweetie shop: a selection of Joy's hand-dyed self stripe yarns.

Her Britsock self-stripe is a particular favourite and was one of my first adventures into bold self-striping yarn and I haven't looked back. Britsock is a great blend of 40% British Falkland Polwarth, 20% British Wensleydale, 20% British Alpaca and 20% nylon, and it manages to be warm, luxurious, hard wearing all at once. The colours are arranged in thick stripes and I love that you can see subtle variations in the tone as you are knitting with it - one of the many joys of hand dyed yarn.

My first self-stripe: the 'Wimbledon' colourway from The Knitting Goddess

My first self-stripe: the 'Wimbledon' colourway from The Knitting Goddess

A self-striping option is also available on Joy's other, very popular  wool/nylon sock base and is well worth a look.

As well as a brilliantly stocked online shop, there is always the Knitting Goddess group on Ravelry. This is one of my favourite Ravelry haunts - a really vibrant and friendly group who love to share ideas and projects for KG yarns. If you've ever found Ravelry to be a little bit daunting - this is a great place to dip your toe into the water.

Love is... stripy socks

With Valentines Day fast approaching I decided to get a scoot on with some plain vanilla socks I had on the needles so that they could be pressed into service as a gift for my DH. We don't normally make a fuss on Valentines Day - we may make a special effort and cook a really nice meal with a bit of fizz to go with it, or a good bottle of wine but we don't normally go in for overpriced cards and flowers.

No second sock syndrome here...

No second sock syndrome here...

That being said he has been away from home (for work) a lot recently and I know that he likes to wear his handknit socks in his hotel room at the end of a long days travelling. On his last transatlantic flight, a British Airways steward even offered to buy his socks off him - much to the amusement of the fellow business class passengers.

It just so happened that this sock urge coincided with my recovery from the lurgy and so I completed these in record time following my tried-and-true formula for stripey socks: toe-up on 2.5mm needles, fish lips kiss heel and 1x1 rib cuff. For DH I generally use a 72st sock and for a bit of variety I worked the top of the foot and leg in a 3x1 rib (K3, p1). I like the stretchy fit it gives without breaking up the beautiful stripes too much.

Yarn: Stride sock yarn in colourway Robin Red Breast by The Knitting Swede

Just to make them a little bit more special I found a downloadable pdf design for a little wrapper - designed to be printed out and wrapped around your gift.

I found them via the Attic24 blog at a very cute creative blog called Buttons - do check it out as she has some great information there.

All ready for gifting...

All ready for gifting...

I don't normally do in for packaging my gifts very much, being something of a lazy gifter but I am really pleased with how these look. With a bit of luck he won't have to wait another year until the next pair.

Wyrt Socks

The first pattern launch of 2016 is a bit of a cheat really. The Wyrt Socks were originally released in November as a 4-part Mystery KAL on the Ravelry Solid Socks group. It was my first time writing a pattern for a mystery KAL and it was so much fun. Lots of folks in the group were new to toe-up socks and were really keen to try a new technique. There was lots of chatter and support and, I'm pleased to say lots of new and beautiful socks as a result.

Wyrt Socks and the tree roots that inspired them.

The pattern was inspired by winding tree roots on one of our favourite family walks in the Lake District. We spent a happy autumn day there not too long ago, finding and trying to identify fungi, picking up leaves and generally having a fun family potter about.

The socks themselves were knit using one of my favourite sock yarns - Pendle 4ply by Eden Cottage Yarns. As a Lancashire girl who grew up in sight of Pendle Hill, the name alone would be enough to entice me but Victoria's genius with colours and the firmly plied yarn with just a hint of halo makes this a perfect yarn choice.

The socks feature two bold, textured cables which wind along the front of the sock, offset by garter stitch panels. Garter stitch is surprisingly underused in sock patterns - and speaking personally - I love the added squish factor that it gives. So much so that I decided to depart from my usual heel treatment and opt for a garter stitch short row heel. Fun and quick to work I really like how the garter stitch gives an added stretch to what can, traditionally be a difficult heel type for some people.

To see the pattern on Ravelry and to check out some of the inspirational projects - please click here.