New pattern release: Priory Socks

I am pleased to be able to share a new sock pattern release with you today.

Many of you may have been fans of the online magazine Knotions, back in the day. I know that I certainly was and I was really pleased when I saw that it was being brought back.

I was even more pleased to be able to submit a new sock design to it, and over the moon when it was accepted.

Priory Socks ºLouise Tilbrook Designs

The Priory Sock pattern was inspired by a visit to the wonderful 12th century former monastery - Bolton Abbey in the heart of England’s Yorkshire Dales. They are toe-up and feature an elongated cable design which creates subtle arches reminiscent of the high arched windows – so much a feature of this historic building. Even though it looks impressive the majority of the sock is worked in a rib pattern with infrequent cable crosses.

A different kind of heel - garter stitch is surprisingly comfortable

There is also a garter stitch short row heel which I think fits in really well with the design.

Alongside the Priory socks there are 6 other patterns. There is a great sweater by Elizabeth Helmich (Couting Sheep on Ravelry) and a matching beret. Rachel aka ThornMaiden Designs has a cute beret and matching mitts.Woolly Wormhead has a great hat pattern and as well as producing the magazine Jody aka Savannahchik has also designed some great fingerless mitts.

All the patterns are free to download here and there are some great articles and designer interviews too - well worth a look.

Gotland Socks - In Progress

Last week I talked about the start of my adventure into knitting with 100% British wool and the #breedsswatchalong project. On a recent visit to my LYS - the wonderful and charming Sheep Shop, Cambridge - a selection of 4ply Blacker Yarns caught my eye.

Gotland 4ply from Blacker Yarns

The Gotland 4ply from Blacker Yarns came in a wonderful range of muted greys, from pale to dark and I knew immediately that 2 balls were destined to come home with me to make a pair of 100% British wool socks.

Here I departed slightly from the KnitBritish recommendation to knit an 8" swatch. Sorry Louise, but an 8" square on a yarn worked at 32st per inch is not going to happen in my lifetime :)

I decided to do the next best thing and knit a sock toe. Let's face it, I'm sure a lot of sock knitters work out their gauge by doing this. I for one, very rarely try to convert a gauge knit flat into one knit in the round and the various methods for working around this have never really struck a cord with me. If I'm going to see what gauge I get with a sock yarn I find it a lot easier and more relevant to just start knitting a sock. It could explain why I have so many abandoned sock toes on needles strewn around my house but anyway, I digress.

I knit a sock toe (on 2.25mm needles) and was very taken with the resulting fabric. Firm and dense yet with a great halo and a definite warmth - this yarn would make totally fabulous warm socks. I can't speak to their durability, although I'm sure the firm gauge will help with that, but I'm going to carry on and see what I come up with.

In this fabulous article on using breed specific yarns for socks, Sue Blacker suggests that there may be some felting on the inside of 100% Gotland socks due to the nature of the wool, but I'm game to give it a go. I will report back...

The Drift Collection

I have news of another pattern release this week, and it is all the more exciting for being under wraps for so long.

I was approached by Victoria of Eden Cottage yarns to work with her and a number of very talented designers on a new collaborative collection featuring her amazingly smooshy Whitfell alpaca dk yarn.

by kind permission of Victoria Magnus

The Drift collection was published at the weekend and it has been wonderfully well received. The photography and styling is beautiful and Victoria does a wonderful job of modelling many of the pieces.

She has put together a look book which you can see here and all the patterns are available on Ravelry, either individually or as an e-book. As if that weren't enough pre-orders are also being taken for the printed version too which comes with a dinky download code to pop the patterns into your Ravelry library.

I was really pleased to work such a talented bunch of people and the whole collection is really well worth a look. 
Drift Collection ebook on Ravelry

The alpaca yarn was wonderful to work with and one thing that struck me whilst swatching with it is it's versatility. The Hardcastle Mitts were worked at a fairly firm gauge on 3mm needles to give a harder wearing fabric, but it was equally at home worked on 4mm or 5mm needles for a more lofty fabric. As you would expect from Victoria there are some amazing shades to choose from and to tempt you.

Do leave a comment below and let me know what you think - I'd love to hear what you are planning to make.

The July Shrug

If you haven't yet found the lovely people over at Baa Ram Ewe you really ought to give their website a look. Not least because, in a radical move I have designed a shrug pattern for them to showcase their amazing 4ply yarn - Titus.

The July shrug uses 1-2 skeins of yarn (the small size with short sleeves can be knit in just 1 skein) and can be bought either as the pattern only, or as a kit with the yarn you would like.

The July shrug - pictured on the Baa Ram Ewe website
Titus is a wonderful blend of Wenslydale, Alpaca and Blue Faced Leicester and is available in a fab range of solid colours. In addition the talented indie dyer Joy from the Knitting Goddess has created a one-off range of overdyed yarns - Titus Goddess especially to showcase the collection.

Anyway, do pop over and take a look. I'd love to know what you think.