Tuesday 19 October 2021

It's crochet pattern release day for my Mavis Mitts!

photo © Niall Mitchell

Hello! I'm really excited to bring you my Mavis Mitts pattern! The design was tech edited, tested & photographed last month, I was just waiting for the photos coming in, which they did first thing yesterday morning!

photo © Niall Mitchell

So, what's this pattern all about? Allow me to dive in with the key points here ...

  • Pretty shell stitches form the basis of this design; my second mitts pattern.
  • They begin at the cuff, worked in rows, then work up to the fingertips in rounds.
  • The patterns is available as a pdf download from Ravelry & LoveCrafts.
  • Shaping is added to accommodate the thumb and create a beautiful fit.
  • Four sizes are included with the pattern; toddler, child, adult M & adult L.
  • There's plenty of scope for adjusting the fit of these mitts to suit the size you require. It will be easiest to select the circumference you need & then crochet more or less rounds to suit.
  • 100g of sock yarn is sufficient to make even the largest size. I used standard sock yarn from Vicki Brown Designs in the colourway Teal. Vicki kindly provided yarn support for this design.
  • This is an intermediate level pattern, written in both UK & US terms.
  • There are charts & video tutorials included with the written pattern if you need them.
  • This mitts design has been tech edited & tested, giving you peace of mind to enjoy crocheting.
  • My patterns now include a 'take it further' section with inspiration for you to add your own twist to my designs.
If there's anything I haven't covered here, please leave me a comment below and I'll happily answer any queries you may have.

photo © Niall Mitchell

To celebrate the release of this pattern, I'm offering you 30% on Ravelry with the code RELEASE. Hurry, offer expires at midnight tomorrow (Wednesday 20th October BST)

I hope you enjoy my new pattern! Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 15 October 2021

How to design crochet socks that fit


Hello! This week I'd like to delve into my design process with you and let you know how I go about designing crochet socks that fit. There are two key things which really help me in this process; firstly crocheting lots (and lots!) of socks and secondly my specialisation in Sculpture at art college. I feel it's these two elements together which help me manipulate crochet stitches and create the shapes I need.

I frequently crochet socks using my own patterns and I also follow patterns from other designers to learn how they use crochet stitches to create the heel in particular. I love the way that in crochet, unlike in knitting, the results are instant - you don't have to wait until your work is off the needles to see if your idea has worked, it's there for you to see right away. 

Socks almost always begin either at the toe as toe-up socks, or at the cuff as cuff-down socks. It's possible to crochet socks sideways too, but I've yet to try this technique! When crocheting toe-up socks I begin at the toe and increase stitches until I reach the correct circumference for the foot. I keep my blocker by my side so I can try it on the blocker as I go along and get the fit spot on. 

With cuff-down socks like my Fiddle Socks above, I use the same technique. I know approximately how many stitches I need for the cuff because I've got the numbers in my head from crocheting so many pairs of socks. Once I've worked 3 or 4 rounds of cuff I'll try it on my blocker for size - making sure it fits over the heel too!

Going back to my student days, I graduated from studying Fine Art, Sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in the year 2000. I specialised in making life sized (and life like) sculptures of the human figure in clay and casting them into resin reinforced with fibre glass. Alongside this I drew hundreds of large self portraits and made small terracotta clay self portraits from memory which were fired in the kiln.

Working from life models and using what I could see in front of me to create in clay or on paper is definitely a skill which has transferred itself to my crochet practice. Somehow my brain just takes the shape & size of a heel and says "oh yeah, the next row will be 10 stitches with a decrease at either end" - I don't think I can explain it better than that!

As you can see in the photo above, it's not always right first time! Last week I was working on my latest sock design (which is going to be called Fiddle Socks) and I was on the gusset. Within a few rounds I could tell that my calculations were way off and the gusset and heel section were going to be huge! A quick bit of rattling down (you may have seen my frogging reel on Instagram?) and by working less stitches down the side of the heel flap things were back on track. I am super pleased with this heel, it fits my blocker and my foot perfectly!

If you're keen to start designing your own crocheted socks my advice would be to follow lots of other designers patterns for ideas on technique (not to copy their designs!) and to work with a sock blocker at your side. If you're working with sock yarn it will rattle down easily when things don't go to plan, which will happen! Use your mistakes to learn and to work out how to shape differently next time. 

I'll finish with a quick update on where I'm at with this new pattern and my other recent designs. I need to do a few calculations to work the heel stitch numbers out across the different sizes for my Fiddle Socks before I send it to be tech edited and then tested. My Mavis Mitts are very nearly ready for release - I'm just waiting for the photos back from eldest son, we had an excellent photo shoot together. As for my Air Balloon Beanie, it's been tech edited and is currently at the testing stage. To keep up to date with these future releases (and receive more generous discount codes than anywhere else on the internet) subscribe to my mailing list here.

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx 

Friday 8 October 2021

5 of the best crochet sock patterns!

Hello! I'm here today to share 5 of the best crochet sock patterns - tried & tested by me! I love crocheting socks, they're one of my favourite things to make - partly because they're a small project so they work up fast, partly because there's such a beautiful range of sock yarn out there to choose from. Some of these patterns I have Ravelry links to, others require a bit more tracking down as you will see. All the photos below are my versions of them, let's have a look ...

No.1  Tipping The Scales by Joanne Scrace. This pattern was released on Boxing day 2020 as a 5 part mystery crochet along and I remember starting straight away on that day! It's now available as a complete pattern on Ravelry for £4.00. Written for 7 sizes (baby to adult) this pattern is a fantastic stash buster. I made mine in a UK2, they're tiny! 

No.2  Brickyard Socks by Rohn Strong. One of my favourite sock patterns - I've made about 5 pairs of these! I love Rohn Strong's sock patterns, they're easy to follow and often combine more than 1 colour throughout the sock which keeps things interesting. I had a look online and can only find the pattern in Rohn's book 'Step Into Crochet'. I've crocheted about half the socks in this book, I'd definitely recommend it.

No.3  Sparkler Socks by Vicki Brown. I had a hard job choosing my favourite Vicki Brown sock pattern, I've made quite a few of these too! This design uses linked half trebles (UK terms) to create a lovely flat fabric - perfect for socks. Available in 3 adult sizes, you can download it from Ravelry on its own or as part of a 6 sock pattern bundle which is excellent value. Popping Vicki's website here too, although this pattern isn't on there, many other good ones are!

No.4  Everyone (Needs) Socks by Kat Goldin. This is the first pair of socks I ever crocheted so they're very special (on that note, please excuse my photography - this was back in 2017 and my photography skills have come a long way since then!). I can't seem to find this pattern anywhere online, but it is available in Kat's 2nd crochet book 'Hook, Stitch & Give' - another book well worth investing in. Amazingly it's written for 12 sizes, from baby throught to UK12 and it's very adaptable for different widths.

No.5  is one of my own designs - Fabulous Socks! This is my most purchased pattern and an excellent choice for the first time sock crocheter. It's a toe-up design with extended double crochet stitches for stretch and finished with a ribbed cuff. Designed using Paintbox Yarns sock wool, 100g is enough for each of the 3 adult sizes available. The pattern is downloadable from Ravelry & LoveCrafts for £3.50.

I hope you've found this mini guide useful! I send regular emails to my list covering topics like this, together with discount codes, free patterns, crochet tips & advice. If you'd like to subscribe to my list please sign up here

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 1 October 2021

Banjo Socks - crochet sock pattern release!


Hello! I'm here today with exciting news of my latest pattern release - Banjo Socks! If you've been following me for a while, you probably saw these socks back in May when they were released as a Crate Crochet subscription box exclusive. I now have the rights to the pattern and I'm really pleased to finally be able to publish it for you to download.

My Banjo Socks are completely different from my other sock designs because they're designed to be crocheted in aran weight yarn. They're more of a house sock than a wear inside your shoes type sock and boy are they cosy! The puff stitches on the upper foot make the fabric of the sock more dense and there's a fold down cuff which helps keep the drafts out. I know I'm going to be wearing these a lot this winter!

Here's the nitty gritty on the pattern details ...
  • It's available in UK and US terms. 
  • Downloadable from Ravelry and LoveCrafts.
  • Instructions for 4 sizes, ranging from UK size 2 to 12 with plenty of scope for adjustments.
  • It's a toe-up pattern, crocheted in the round.
  • Intermediate skill level required.
  • It's been tested and tech edited, giving you peace of mind and an easy to follow pattern.
  • Half hour YouTube tutorial to accomapany the pattern.
  • Designed in Fiddlesticks Grange Ten - aran weight yarn/ 10ply (40% wool/ 40% acrylic/ 20% alpaca)
  • 2x 100g balls is sufficient for the smallest size, 3x 100g balls needed for the larger sizes.
  • 5.5mm crochet hook required

If there's anything I haven't covered here please leave me a comment, I'm happy to answer your questions.

Banjo Socks will be my pattern of the month for October. You can receive 20% off the pattern throughout October on Ravelry with the code OCT21. Code valid on my Banjo Socks pattern only.

I hope you enjoy this pattern, don't forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see and share your makes!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

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