Thursday 25 October 2018

Some knitting for a change ...

Hello! Today I would like to break from my usual topic of crochet to share 2 knitting projects that I am working on. The first is an ongoing scrappy blanket and the second is a coat for my dog, Jazz.

my Mitred Square Blanket

I began the Sock Yarn Blanket AKA Mitred Square Blanket way back in April this year! By my calculations I am now about 85% of the way there as I embark on square 169 of 200! My progress has been fairly regular, working on approximately 1 square a day and now that the end is in sight I tend to fit in 2 squares a day, eager to finish this beauty!

reinforcements from Vicki Brown Designs

Almost all the yarn in this blanket is left over odds and ends from all the socks I have been crocheting (see previous posts if you want to know more about that!). Now and again I have added some mini skeins as seen in the photo above from Vicki Brown Designs and my husband has kindly chosen me a few from one of our local yarn shops, Fluph in Dundee, as seen in the photo below ...

Rusty Ferret mini skeins from Fluph in Dundee

Each square takes me about 25 minutes to complete and once I have 2 or more, the stitches are picked up from these previous squares meaning this is pretty much a no-sew blanket! I am forming a square by creating 4 triangles formed of 45/55 squares and the sides of these large triangles will need to be sewn together. The photo below should give you some idea of the construction technique, with all the mitred squares pointing towards the centre.

work in progress

The other knitted project, which I started on Tuesday this week, is a cosy coat for my working cocker spaniel Jazz. I am following Nikki Trench's pattern and knitting using Jenny Watson merino DK. So far I have completed the ribbed neck and have started increasing for the body.

progress on a coat for Jazz

Since this is a knitting post I would like to include a few photos here of a shawl which my mum knitted for me. She was looking for a knitting challenge and I suggested she try brioche knitting and together we chose this pattern by Stephen West. I am super happy with the finished shawl and worked ina merino/ silk blend it is so soft and warm. My eldest son Niall took the following photos for me, I hope you like them!

back of the Meandering Shawl

Me!

detail of the shawl

Until next time!

Marta xx

Saturday 13 October 2018

Colour and Colour Patterns in Crocheted Socks

Hello! I am here today as part of the Sock Along 2018 Blog Hop! Have you been following the blog hop? Last week's post by Jo Jo Twinkletoes was all about toe up vs cuff down sock designs and next week you can head to Crafternoon Treats for lots of helpful info on how to customise your own socks. Want to catch up on all the posts? I will put links to all the contributors at the end of this post!


Crocheted socks are an amazing way to be expressive with colour! They are a lovely size and shape for being creative and trying new combinations. What if the colours don't work out the way you imagined? Well, you still have a cosy pair of socks to wear around the house or in your wellies! 

Playing with colour has been a fascination of mine for a long time, probably all my life in fact! Back in June 2017 I wrote a blog post all about choosing colours in response to repeatedly being asked how I come up with my colour combinations. If you are interested in finding out more about colour theory and my personal colour choices head over to that post for an in depth read!

my La Becque Socks by Rohn Strong

The simplest form of colour in socks is a solid colour or almost solid colour like the pair of lilac socks above. The yarn is Sparkle (superwash merino, nylon and stellina blend) by Vicki Brown Designs and it has very subtle variations in hue together with a sparkly strand running through it - very pretty! So, grab your favourite colour (or your recipient's favourite colour!) and you can't go wrong with a single colour!

my Hop Socks by Vicki Brown

The sock yarn above is subtly mottled - it appears solid from a distance but close up has a good deal of variation going on. I liked how this ball worked up in the round, lovely swirls were created. The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply, one of my favourite big brand sock yarns.


WIP - my Magdalen Socks by Vicki Brown 

Another fab way to introduce colour is by using speckled yarns! There's a huge range of indie yarn out there created this way and it works up brilliantly in socks. The yarn above is from Vicki Brown Designs and it creates a wonderful dappled effect once it's crocheted up.


my Sweetheart Socks by Vicki Brown

This of course leads to a fourth way of playing with colour when crocheting socks - contrast details! This is perhaps one of the most fun elements of crocheting socks, choosing different coloured yarns for the toes, heels and cuffs. You could have as many as 4 colours going on or keep it simple with just 2 colours.


my Everyone (Needs) Socks by Kat Goldin

Then, there is a whole world of self striping yarns out there! Sock yarn, like the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply above, comes in a huge range of stripy colours, created with sock knitters and crocheters in mind. No need to change colour, simply stitch away and the stripes appear. WARNING! Working with these yarns can be addictive as the yearn to create "just one more row and see the next colour" is very strong!


my own design, Fabulous Socks, coming soon!

Something I love playing around with when using self striping yarns, such as the Paintbox Yarns Socks above, is the position of the stripes. You can simply start crocheting and leave it to chance or you can be a bit more strategic. One way of doing this is to start with the same point in the stripe sequence for each sock, making them matchy-matchy, which always looks very neat and professional. I often have a little fun and start sock 1 from the inside of the ball and sock 2 from the outside of the ball, creating a pair of socks that are almost the same, but not quite. 

my Fallen Leaves Socks by Vicki Brown

Once or twice I have cut the yarn after the heel turn so that the stripes mirror themselves on the second half of the sock. In the socks above the effect was quite subtle but with a stripy yarn with more pop it could be quite striking. This leads on to the field of colour manipulation, where you carefully calculate the way the colours are positioned, round by round in your socks. I would have to admit that this isn't something I have tried but search "colour pooling" and you should find some excellent examples online. Sometimes this colour pooling happens as a complete fluke, a bit like in my third photo where the pinks swirled together, and these happy accidents put a real smile on your face. Occasionally the colours line up in a way you really dislike and then it's a case of frog them or make them as welly socks!

One final point to consider - if your pattern is plain then stripes work really well, but if your pattern is more of a lacy design it generally looks best in a solid/ semi solid or lightly speckled yarn.

me, proudly wearing my crocheted socks!

I hope this insight has been inspiring for you! Why not leave me a comment on your experience of colour and colour patterns in crocheted socks?

Happy hooking,

Marta xx

#1 Sat 15th Sep - Sock Making Tips - Tamara (http://www.craftyescapism.com/)
#2 Sat 22nd Sep - Yarn Choice - Fay (https://www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com/)
#3 Sat 29th Sep - Knit vs Crochet Socks - Caroline (https://www.mindandmusecrafts.com/)
#4 Sat 29th Sep - Topic to be decided - Deanne (http://www.addydae.com/)
#5 Sat 6 Oct - Toe up vs Cuff down Socks - Jo (http://jojotwinkletoes.blogspot.com/)
#6 Sat 13th Oct - Topic to be decided - Marta (http://mrsdaftspaniel.blogspot.com/)
#7 Sat 20th Oct - Customising socks - Kathryn (http://crafternoontreats.com/)
#8 Sat 27th Oct - Crochet Sock Heels are not Scary - Karen (https://www.karenwhooley.com/)

Lazy Days CAL Kit Launch!

Hello! I'm so, so pleased with how this year's Lazy Days CAL kits have come together! It has been a real pleasure to collaborate wit...