Posts Tagged ‘Knits’

Conversation Piece

A conversation piece is usually something that incites discussion.  It’s usually something very artful, or well, just ugly enough to make you want to dis it, breaking the silence barrier and lightening the mood of a group of people.

This is neither.

My friend Sheryl was coming to stay, and since we like to gasbag, I needed something I could knit without thinking.  No pattern, no lace, minimal counting, JUST KNITTING.

I bought some  Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line sock wool last year because I adore stripes.  All I could find at the time were colours from the mirage range though, which are random dyed.  Took me ages to find the colour I wanted in the Landscape range.  But then the wool just sat there.  I fell in love with Vintage Purls and lace and designing my own socks, that I figured I wouldn’t even knit up that wool.  How pathetic is that!

So I decided that colourful striped socks in plain stocking stitch were just the ticket.  Simple.  Effective. Easy.


This  is literally a conversation piece.  Simple knit socks, that I knit around and around and around, while conversing the whole time! They took me all of four days.  That’s a heap of gasbagging!

Sheryl knit a pair as well.  Her Theodora socks from the current Sock Club through Vintage Purls.  A decent friend would have taken a nice pic of the two of us together, but instead, here is a pic of our feet.


These are currently my most favourite socks.  I have to admit, that when I was done knitting the toe, I had decided I didn’t like the feel of the yarn.  It seemed scratchy and stiff.  But i LOVE them.  Mostly because they fit like a glove.  I’ve had some problems with how many gusset stitches to use to balance the height of the instep with the lace knitting I’ve been doing, but went with the lower end of 12 gusset stitches on these socks.  Between that and measuring the length of my foot at the end of the sole instead of the back of the heel, these are a perfect fit.  They have just the right amount of negative ease to them.

So, that’s my conversation piece.  I called them Plain Jane, because they are just knit stitches, but wow, they are anything but plain.


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Yarn Swap V.3.0

Yes, it’s that time again.  We finish one swap and the next one starts.

I signed up for two swaps again.  I wanted to go all out, but believe it or not, I held back this time.  I was trying not to make my packages so OTT, as it’s easy for me to get carried very far away!

The first one I did is based on the Kings of Leon song Sex on Fire. My person mentioned lots of things she would like, but the only thing that hit me was that she currently liked listening to Kings of Leon.  That could well be because they have also caught my fancy of late.  Sex on Fire is actually my ring-tone at the moment, so I get to hear it every so often, and then get to sing it in my head on repeat for hours after that.  Much better than the In The Night Garden theme song any day.

So I got stuck into figuring out what to add.  I was thinking the theme might be a tad mature, but then I found a sock pattern called, Socks on Fire!  Oh my freaking goodness!!!  So, that cinched it for me.

The yarn I dyed is 100g Paton’s Patonyle, originally a caramel colour.  It’s dyed with Dylon in shades of pinks and red, which are the colours that come to mind when I think of the theme.  I would have added some orange as well, but my swappee isn’t into orange, so stuck with just the shades of reds and pinks.


For the gift, I bought a copy of the Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night album, and made little sock stitch markers on a “Fire” fob.


The “piece of paperwork” for the swap was the drink recipe which is actually called Sex on Fire!

It was all just meant to be!

And to top it off, because I am a dork  and only dyed 100g of wool, instead of the 150g minimum, I added in a Schoc Chocolate bar in Chili Flavour.  I had a taste sample at the Schoc store, and it is sure to spice up any one’s life.

The next one has to be some of the best, yet morbid fun I’ve had in a long time.  My swapper said in her notes that she likes a good blood splatter thriller book.  In particular, she was into the Scarletta series by Patricia Cornwell.  A bit of googling, and I came up with “Death By Knitting.”

I had a crime scene. (100g patonyle dyed in deeps reds and black.)


Blood splatter disguised as sock stitch markers on a noose.


A manual on murder disguised as literature, Died In the Wool, by Mary Kruger, bagged and tagged as evidence.


The motive!  Who wouldn’t kill for some Schoc Chocolate!


Informant information on Broken Cables, along with some other pieces of information like a police report and death certificate.


More crime scene pictures (gotta love Google), plus a recipe for Death By Chocolate.


And all of it, packed away in a Case File.


That was so much fun!

I received two in return.  The first one came before the deadline and got me in a panic.  But what a lovely parcel, all tied up in string.

The first was was titled *Strawberries.*  YUM!


It was 200g of Merino et Soie, dyed with Ashfords Hot Pink and Scarlet coloured acid dyes. (My swapper even had an extra 300g that I bought off her as I LOVE this colour.)  She sent a strawberry coffee cup (yes, I love my cup of joe!), and a strawberry huller which is a kitchen gadget I didn’t have. Perfecto!  The recipe is for Pam’s Scarlet Strawberry Cordial which is a family recipe.  And the pattern picked is Strawberry Hill by Melissa Matthay.

Because I had so much extra wool, I knit this up as well, which I blogged about here.


But wait!  There is one more!!!!

This one is based on Little House on the Prairie.  My yarn fairy wrote up this little story to go with the swap.

It is a Saturday morning in out “Little House on the Prairie” in the height of summer. Pa is out in the fields milling the timber and I have just finished gathering up the vegetables and fruit out of the garden.  I take my basket into the kitchen and there is Ma at our kitchen table wearing her apron.  I can smell the bread baking in the oven and Ma has the preserving pot all ready and waiting.  I place the basket on the table and begin helping to peel the fruit. Every summer about this time, Ma does the preserves and places them in the pantry that Pa built. You should see it.  There is orange marmalade, cucumber relish, and bottles of pickled onions.  Ma said that after we finished the preserving, we are going across the way to visit the Price family, so I had better go and fetch the cake carrier and Ma’s shawl before Pa arrives with the horse and carriage. Clip, clop, here comes the horses, have to go now.

yarn-swap-lhotp-whole-packageIt contains:

  • The wool is dyed to reflect the colours of Ma’s preserves in the pantry.
  • An apron just like Ma’s as a said it is a mothers second skin.
  • A cake carrier for when I go visiting.
  • A pattern for a knitted piggy.
  • A package of 150g bamboo for a shawl.
  • Recipe for a Banana and Date tea loaf.

Whoa Nelly would be an appropriate exclamation for this one!

The apron is currently being used for my clothes pegs.


And a closer pic of the yarn.


Since I decided to not use the Malabrigo for boy’s pants for winter, I might well use this.  It goes with several of his shirts and is just lovely colours for a boy.

Thank you Joanne and Pipi!  I love the swaps you’ve put together.

So, what’s the next swap on the list?  The Magic Yarn Ball Swap!!  But you’ll just have to wait and wonder a bit for that one. 😉

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For Hope

Some sad news has hit one of the forums of which I am a member.  A member’s  two year old daughter has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Cancer is a horrible thing for anyone to deal with, but particularly hard when the one affected is a child.

In a show of support, several of the TNNers are making a blanket for Hope, with each person knitting up a 20cm x 20cm square to be sewn together into a large knitted quilt.

So I’ve made up a pattern in the image of the Chinese character for “Hope.” My square contribution is knit to this pattern, in Merino et Soie 8ply DK on 4.5 mm.


I would like to ask that anyone in New Zealand who uses this pattern (dishcloth or otherwise), to please make a donation of any domination to Hope’s fund through Kiwibank.  At the very least, give your child(ren) a hug and kiss and tell them you love them.

The fund account number is:

Hope Osborne


For those wanting to follow Hope’s journey back to health, her father has set up a Facebook Group.

All my thoughts and get well wishes are with Hope and her family.


Pattern Info:

Gauge: 6 sts x 8 rows per inch

Yarn: 8ply DK Yarn of your choice, preferably cotton or bamboo if for a dishcloth.

Needles: 4.5mm

Gauges is not important if you are knitting this as a dishcloth.


CO42 using Long Tail Cast On

Rows 1 – 5, and all odd rows: Knit

Rows 6, 8, 10, 12:  K4  P18  K1  P15  K4

Row: 14:  K4  P18  K1  P5  K1  P9  K4

Row 16:  K4  P2  K3  P9  K1  P3  K1  P4  K2  P9  K4

Row 18:  K4  P4  K2  P8  K1  P3  K1  P3  K1  P1  K2  P8  K4

Row 20:  K4  P6  K2  P6  K1  P3  K1  P5  K2  P8  K4

Row 22:  K4  P7  K2  P5  K1  P3  K1  P5  K2  P8  K4

Row 24:  K4  P9  K2  P3  K1  P3  K1  P5  K2  P8  K4

Row 26:  K4  P10  K2  P1  K13  P8  K4

Row 28:  K4  P11  K2  P4  K2  P3  K3  P9  K4

Row 30:  K4  P12  K2  P3  K3  P14  K4

Row 32:  K4  P3  K9  P1  K2  P19  K4

Row 34:  K4  P10  K11  P13  K4

Row 36: K4  P14  K2  P4  K12  P2  K4

Row 38:  K4  P11  K2  P14  K3  P4  K4

Row 40:  K4  P13  K3  P5  K2  P11  K4

Row 42:  K4  P15  K3  P1  K4  P11  K4

Row 44:  K4  P13  K7  P14  K4

Row 46:  K4  P11  K3  P4  K3  P13  K4

Row 48:  K4  P19  K3  P12  K4

Row 50:  K4  P19  K2  P13  K4

Rows 51 – 55:  Knit

Cast off Knitwise.

If you want a stretchier cast off, cast off as follows:

*Cast off 5, cast on one using backward loop and immediately cast off one* repeating ** to end.

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More Test Knitting

Well, I’ve been working up a couple patterns myself that people have been requesting, but in between times, I’ve done a couple of test knits for friends.

You might remember the Kaia Babydoll pattern I tested for my friend Rachel?  Well, she’s got another pattern she’s just released called Spring Butterfly (free Ravelry Download), which is a top-down raglan cardy in size one.  She’s used a picot cast off on the sleeves to add a different touch, plus a slip-stitch butterfly motif on the back that tops a cute little reverse stocking stitch pleat.

This is the one I knit up.  I used some of my yarn from the last yarn swap I’ve received (yet to be blogged, BAD BLOGGER!), which is hand dyed Merino et Soie.


I changed the bottom hem from the pattern, which calls for a knitted frill.  I wanted the bottom to have the picot as well.  Here are the mods I did:

  • 13 increase repeats from the bottom of the  butterfly.
  • Six rows of the following:  knit to second marker, purl to next marker, knit to end.
  • Cast off in picot with Cast On 2, cast off 6.

A couple more pics, one of the back and one more close up of the butterfly.



The other test knit was a 12ply version of the Vanilla Soaker (a low cost Ravelry download), by Kelly of Incidental Happiness.  She’s just released her 8ply pattern for sale, and is furiously working on the 10ply and 12 ply versions to be included as well.

This is a GREAT soaker pattern, knit in the round, which uses a provisional cast on to knit the crotch flat first, so that there is no grafting of the soaker.  The ribbing is a nice features, allowing for stretch in the crotch to ease in the sizing.

I used some Yarn Bee Wool #070 in the Rainbow Twist colour and knit the newborn size.


The only mod I did on this was the cast on.  I used a Tunisian Cast on, and left one side of the stitches on a spare circular needle.

So, now I need to finish doing some more blogging, because one again I am way behind.

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OMG I dyed the Malabrigo

Talk about pucker factor.

Malabrigo is not something I want to mess up.

I was trying to replicate this wool, which I kettle dyed for my last yarn swap.


This is what I got.


Not as bluey, but I am still pleased with it.

Now for the shocking part.  It’s for pants for the boy for winter.

Deranged, I know.  Maybe someone needs to talk me out of it. 😉

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DIY Sock Blockers for the Scrapbooker

When you knit socks, you suddenly have a need for sock blockers, but I needed some r.i.g.h.t n.o.w.  And I didn’t want to pay out a chunk of change to get just one size either.

Found this simple tutorial on ravelry for DIY sock blockers, which uses placemats, cut to the necessary shape or size you need. I was worried that if you cut the placemat, any laminated paper on the inside would get damp while blocking your socks. Plus, I didn’t want to buy nice placemats, just to chop them up.

So I modified, and used what I had, and got a variety of styles and colours and sizes that I never could have gotten with just a placemat.

I dug out some much neglected scrapbooking paper, cut it to the size I needed, laminated and trimmed. And Voila!!!

These in a size 10.


And these in size 9 (double sided paper).


And double sided with four different, coordinating  papers.



Not perfect, but functional, and practical.


What does Gordon say?  DONE!

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So, I mentioned I learned Magic Loop and Toe Up Socks in this post. I love knitting socks, but ever since knitting my Wicked I’ve found I enjoy being able to try things on as I am knitting them.  You are able to get a much better fit. Plus if you have to frog back, it’s easier to do that while in the middle of knitting it,  than it is having a finished garment that just doesn’t fit properly.

Anyway, I took the bulls by the horn, and cast on for some socks, but wanted something a bit fancier than just plain stocking stitch, so I frogged it and started over.  I took my favourite dishcloth pattern, and turned it into a sock pattern.



I was so determined to use my Regia Bamboo Colours, but it’s a little hard to see the lacework.  So I knit up some Vintage Purl Sock Wool in Chlorophyll.  These are a gift.  A very belated Christmas present, but better late than never.  The semi-solid dyeing shows the pattern in much more details.


I had to modify a bit as the wool knit tighter than the Bamboo did.  Plus, I did an anklet height, so only did four lace pattern repeats after the heel flap, and a plain cast off.  I called the pattern Mermaidia based on both origin of the stitch pattern and because it looked like a gathering place for Mermaids.

And one a little closer, showing the lacework.


The lighting, plus my novice photo editing skills don’t do the colour justice.

So, here is the pattern.  It will be uploaded to Ravelry as well. Special thanks to the lovely Morag of Vintage Purls, for helping me get my head around doing the heel flap in reverse.

This sock when knit in gauge, should give you a US Woman’s shoe size of 8 – 9.  It can be easily lengthened or shortened by adding rows in the foot.  It is designed to use Magic loop. It can be done on DPNs if you wish, just be careful with the pattern, as there are more stitches on the top of the sock than there are on the bottom.


9 st x 12 rows per inch in stocking stitch

Materials needed:

100g 4ply Regia Bamboo Colour

2.50mm 80cm circular needle (I used Knit Picks)

3 place markers/stitch markers.


k = knit

p = purl

sl = slip purlwise while keeping yarn at the back

kfb = knit into front of loop and then into back of loop

yf = bring yarn to the front of the work as if to purl

psso = pass slipped stitch over

m1 = This is the M1L from knittinghelp.com: Using the left needle, lift the purl bar between the stitches on your needles and knit into the back of the loop

k2tog = knit two together

p2tog = purl two together

pm = place marker

rm = remove marker

slm = slip marker from left to right needle

BarInc = : Using the left needle, lift the purl bar between the stitches on your needles to create a new stitch.

Cast on toe:

Using Judy Becker’s Magic Cast-On or Turkish Cast On, cast on 24 stitches (12 on each needle) and knit one round.  Place marker (or pull tail yarn to the outside of the work) to mark the beginning of the round.

Toe Increases:

Round 1: Kfb, knit to next to last stitch on needle one, kfb, k1.  Repeat on needle two.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 nine times for a total of 10 sets of increases.  You should have 32 stitches on each needle.

Round 1: Knit 16, M1, K to end of round.

Round 2: Knit

You should now have 33 stitches on needle one, and 32 on needle two.  The extra stitch on needle one is to center the lace pattern.

Start the lace pattern here for needle one only.  Knit all stitches on needle two. Work 9 pattern repeats, or until sock is 3.5 inches less than the length of your foot from toe to heel.

Lace pattern:

Row 1: k1,*yf, k2 , sl1-k2tog-psso, k2, yf, k1* (x4), knit to end of round

Row 2: k

Row 3:k2,*yf, k1, sl1-k2tog-psso, k1, yf, k3* (x3), yf, k1, sl1-k2tog-psso, k1, yf, k2, knit to end of round.

Row 4: k

Row 5: k3, *yf, sl1-k2tog-psso, yf, k5*(x3), yf, sl1-k2tog-psso, yf, k3, knit to end of round.

Row 6: k

Gusset Increases:

I will now interchangeably refer to needle one as the instep and needle two as the insole. Continuing the lace pattern on needle 1 (instep), work gusset increases on needle two (insole) only.

Round 1: k1, pm, m1, k30, m1, pm, k1

Round 2: knit

Round 3: k1, m1, slm, k32, slm, m1, k1

Round 4: knit

Round 5: k1, m1, knit to marker, slm, k32, slm, knit to last stitch, m1, k1

Round 6, knit

Work rounds 5 and 6 a total of 10 times, ending in a knit row.  You should now have 12 gusset stitches on either side of your place markers, and the 32 insole stitches between the place markers.

Reverse Heel Flap:

Knit in pattern across the instep (needle one).  You will now be working back & forth on the insole needle only (needle two).  Do not wrap your stitches when you turn.

Row 1: k12, slm, k32, turn

Row 2: sl1, p31, turn

Row 3: sl1, k30, turn

Row 4: sl1, p29, turn

Row 5: sl1, k28, turn

Row 6: sl1, p27, turn

Row 7: sl1, k26, turn

Row 8: sl1, p25, turn

Row 9: sl1, k24, turn

Row 10: sl1, p23, turn

Row 11: sl1, k22, turn

Row 12: sl1, p21, turn

Row 13: sl1, k20, turn

Row 14: sl1, p19, turn

Row 15: sl1, k18, turn

Row 16: sl1, p17, turn

Row 17: sl1, k16, DO NOT TURN. You will now knit in the 8 abandoned short row stitches that are on your left needle as follows: *BarInc, k2tog* (x8). You will now pick up the first gusset stitch as such: rm, sl1 to right needle, pm back on left needle, pass next to last stitch on right needle over the slipped stitch, turn.

Row 18: sl1, p23, *BarInc, p2tog* (x8), rm, sl1 to right needle, pm back on left needle, pass next to last stitch on right needle over the slipped stitch, turn.

Row 19: sl1, k31, rm, sl1 to right needle, pm back on left needle, pass next to last stitch on right needle over the slipped stitch, turn.

Row 20: sl1, p31, rm, sl1 to right needle, pm back on left needle, pass next to last stitch on right needle over the slipped stitch, turn.

Repeat rows 19 and 20 ten more times, until all the gusset stitches have been knit in, ending in a purl row, turn.

You will start the lace pattern now on needle two (which is now the back of the leg). For this row only, knit lace pattern on needle 2 as follows:

yf, sl1, k1, sl1-k2tog-psso, k2, yf, k1, yf, k2, sl1-k2tog-psso, k2, yf, k2tog, yf, k2, sl1-k2tog-psso, k2, yf, k1, yf, k2, sl1-k2tog-psso, k1, sl1, yf.   You will now have 31 stitches on needle two for the remainder of the sock, instead of 32.  You should now be back at the beginning of the round, ready to work round 2 of the lace pattern.  Work round 2 in the following fashion ONCE, and then continue in original lace pattern, working lace on both needles one and two.

Round 2 (do only this one time): sl1, k31, sl1, knit to end of round. Be sure not to accidently knit your yf and your sl together at the beginning and end of needle two.

TIP: Because there are yf increases at the beginning and end of needle two in round 1 of the lace pattern, it is very important to keep these as tight as possible, so as not to create ladders in your work from the areas between needles.

Continue in pattern, for 10 pattern repeats, or to desired length.


Work 10 rows in twisted rib: (k1tbl, p1) x 32

OR work an alternate cuff of 12 rounds of 2×2 rib, followed by a normal cast off.

Cast off:

Picot cast off (or use your preferred cast off method). *Cast on 2 stitches using cable cast on, cast off 4 stitches in the usual manner. Move last stitch you knit from the right needle to the left needle, and repeat from *.

Please note, this pattern is free for personal use.  Not commercial use of this pattern without prior approval.  Copyright 2009 Christine Jeffery

PDF download is here:

Mermaidia Sock Pattern

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