More self-stripe love from The Knitting Swede

I first met Tanja aka the Knitting Swede at Fibre East in 2015 when my two young boys spent a lively 5 (or 25)  minutes arguing over exactly which pair of stripy socks they would like me to knit for them. A decision was finally reached after much wrangling - although obviously - the actual knitting of them took much longer.

Tanja has a great eye for colour and I love that she pairs colours together that you might not have ordin arily thought of as working together.

I particularly love the fact that Tanja has a series of precise options for her self stripe - with 2-stripe, 3-stripe and 4-stripe options in a wonderful array of colours.

One of her best sellers is the 2-stripe Robin Red breast colourway and I knitted up a pair of these for DH quite recently. They are now a firm favourite of his - and really quite a bold choice for him. He normally steers away from brighter colours but the dark russet red against the steel grey really appealed to him and I was really pleased with how they turned out. A 3x1 rib on the foot and rib gave a great fit without breaking up the bold lines of stripes and I am happy to report that they are holding up well to repeated washing and wearing.

Tanja is often to be found at the main UK shows where you can get the chance to see her fabulous range in person. She also has a website and great online service. Her Etsy shop is updated regularly although if there is something you particularly have your eye on you need to be quick as she can sell out rapidly.


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.


The Expresso socks were inspired by two great loves of my life - coffee and self-striping yarn.

Expresso -Louise Tilbrook Designs

The yarn came first. Dyed by Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings, this colourway called Cafe au Lait, really spoke to me and as soon as it arrived I couldn't wait to cast it on.

I do love a good self-striping yarn as you know but this time I felt the urge to vary things a little and move away from my usual plain vanilla, toe-up, magic loop socks. I divided the sock into vertical colums and added a travelling cable. Not so much as to break up those beautiful wide bands of colour, but enough to add interest and a little bit of texture.

And I have to say that I am really pleased with the finished product. I love that they are completely unisex and that even my husband asked if I could do a pair in his size.

They are toe-up - in my quest to convert sock knitters everywhere to the way of the toe-up sock and sized for 7", 8" and 9" foot circumference.

Until 11th September 2015 I am offering a 25% discount if you use the code ILOVECOFFEE at checkout. If you wanted to subscribe to the newsletter - I am offering an exclusive discount for subscribers so now might be a good time to sign up.

And in case you are wondering about the name. My lovely Grandma who taught me to knit would often come out with the funniest things when we were out and about. She would get one word mixed up with another - called malapropisms I believe - often with hilarious consequences. She would often tell people, when she reached the ripe old age of 75 that she still had all her 'facilties' (she meant faculties).
Whenever she was in a coffee shop she never drank anything stronger than a cappuccino but was fascinated by the small, strong, dark Espresso. She always insisted though that it was called an Expresso and it became a bit of a family joke.

Sadly my Grandma is no longer with us but these socks remind me of her, her wit and warmth and her generosity in teaching me somthing which has become so important to me.

Cheers Nana