FO Gallery: Scarves, Socks and Shawls, Oh My!

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It literally takes my breath away when I see projects people have knitted with Knitcircus Yarns. I put so much care into handpainting each one, so when I see the finished objects, it’s like seeing ingredients from my garden transformed into a chef-made feast.

So here’s a collection of gorgeous projects made by talented knitters, using the yarns sometimes in unexpected ways.

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Somesylvie striped her Matching Socks Eat, Pray, Knit oppositely, for fun and dynamic socks! The pattern: everyone’s favorite, Monkey, by Cookie A.

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Mojaveknitter’s Beach Travels is her take on Traveling Woman, by Liz Abinante and beautifully makes use of her soft Ballerina in Wild Mushrooms.

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I was super excited to see this one, because it uses one of the newest colors, Jazz Piano, that I created just for the Gradient Yarn Club. You could use Mermaid Lagoon in Greatest of Ease for a good substitute. Lisa Kessler did an amazing job on her Simply Seashells pattern, by Susan Ashcroft.

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Kirsten Kapur wrote the Puschkinia pattern just for making the most of a Pigeon gradient, and, wow! Stella650 did a fantastic job with the colorwork to make a flawless finished object.  Made in Knitcircus Thrilling yarn.

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Jensquilts2 showcased one of my favorite saturated colors, Electric Ladyland, with her Electric. She chose beloved cuff-down socks recipe How I make my Socks, by Susan B Anderson.

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Everyone loves Shaelyn, by Sheila Raabe, and smartich made it look fantastic using Come What May, our most popular color.

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Man, there are some really talented knitters out there. Look at the technical expertise shown in Kieran’s Starry Starry Night socks. This pattern by Suzanne Bryan knocks my socks off for sure, and it looks great in the Khione gradient.

image_medium2 (6) image_medium2 (5) image_medium2 (4) image_medium2 (3) Yukihs did a lovely job on this eyelet lace Ashton’s Shawlette.  Dee O’Keefe’s pattern is so pretty, and Yukihs really worked it up and blocked it to perfection.

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This one really blew my mind, because she took a basic pattern, Alice Yu’s Totally Vanilla,  and she cleverly used the beginning of the gradient to provide the colorwork contrast. Lesheggie’s Winter Night Sky,in Khione, shows her mastery of knitting.

What are you knitting? Please let me know in the comments!

Have a great autumn weekend,

Jaala

Using Gradients: Socks

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Stripy Socks

Making stripes in socks can be a challenge, unless you’re very familiar with the jogless jog technique, so clever knitters and yarnmakers have come up with lots of ways to create stripes using the yarn itself! Different yarns are made to give different striping effects, from just a few stitches of each color to long-striping yarns with just a few color changes.  We’ll focus on long-striping yarns in gradients today.

Gradients

The short answer for gradients and socks is: yes! A long-striping gradient (with say, 4-7 color changes over the whole sock) will show off any pattern just fine.  The length of the color blocks within the gradient should make it possible to see lace, cable or other patterning without visually breaking it up too much. Any repetitive stitch pattern  responds well to gradients.

Some favorite sock patterns to try:

Hermione’s Everyday Socks, by Erica Lueders

Monkey, by Cookie A.

Jeck and Zora, by Regina Satta, available as free Ravelry downloads

Nutkin, by Beth LaPensee,  from Knitzi.com

Spring Forward, by Linda Welch, from Knitty, Summer 2008

BFF sock, by Cookie A., from Knit.Sock.Love

Cuff-Down Socks

Because gradients themselves are so much fun to work, you may want to just stick with a basic, vanilla sock recipe to watch the colors unfold.

Sock recipes:

How I Make My Socks, by Susan B Anderson (on her blog)

Sock recipe: A Good Plain Sock, by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, from Knitting Rules

Basic Sock Pattern, by Ann Budd, in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns

Choose Colors to Highlight Your Pattern

As with any yarn, the more subtle the stitch pattern, the better it will respond to a light color. Part of the reason textured Aran sweaters looks so great is their traditional cream color! So, if your heart desires a subtle knit-purl textured diamond pattern, you would be well-advised to choose a pale-blue-to-gray gradient over a maroon-to-black gradient.

Loving Lace

Very deep browns, blacks or navy are a hard sell for any textured pattern, but a graphic lace pattern will make any color look great.

Patterns to try:

Hedera, by Cookie A., from Knit.Sock.Love

Cadence Socks, by verybusymonkey, available as a free Ravelry download

Embossed Leaves, by Mona Schmidt, from Favorite Socks

The Secret Fan, by Adrienne Fong, from Bellybuttonknits Designs

Blackrose Socks, by Suzi Anvin, from Knitty, Winter 2008

Duckies, by Samantha Hayes, from Aquaknits site

Toe-Up Socks

Many of you are more familiar with cuff-down sock construction, but toe-up socks allow you to knit until all of your yarn is gone, which helps gradients tremendously.  If you’ve never tried toe-up socks before, I urge you to give it a go! You can try them on as you work, no grafting is needed, and you’ll get to enjoy every stitch of your gradient.

Patterns to try:

Gusset Heel Basic Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson, Socks from the Toe Up

Diagonal Lace Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson, Socks from the Toe Up

Serpentine Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson, from Socks from the Toe Up

Skew, by Dana Holden, Knitty, Winter 2009

Mojo, by Donyale Grant, Some Knitting Required site

Socks on a Plane, by Laura Linneman, from La La’s Knits

Crimple, by Michelle Hunter, from Knit Purl Hunter

Firestarter, by Yarnissima, from Yarnissima site

Afterthought Heel

If you do a sock pattern with an Afterthought Heel, your heels will be the same color as the toes of your sock, so you’ll have a gradient with contrasting heel.

Patterns to try:

Afterthought Heel Socks, by Laura Linneman, available as a free Ravelry download from La La’s Knits

Sweetheart Socks, by Nikol Lohr, Knitty Winter 2011

Frick-N-Frack, by Jenny Lee, from Jenny Lee Knits

Watching the colors change makes knitting with gradients go really fast. Have fun!

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Tiny Treads Review and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you wonderful knitters. You make my heart happy.

My mom stopped by this morning to give me this treat; she’s pretty much the Queen of Hearts.

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She got the cookie stamp on her trip to Paris last year and saved it just for today. 🙂

Hope you all have a lovely day full of sweet surprises.

Book Review: Tiny Treads

Knitting socks for kids is such a treat; they don’t take too long and, if you’re lucky, they still think it’s really cool to have handmade things. One child at my kids’ school wears hand-knitted socks every day, and he (and his knitting mom) are a local legend in knitting. This book will give me a leg up on getting my own kids’ feet toasty in superwash!

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Joeli Caparco, who I already know is an excellent pattern writer, since she has edited some of my patterns, fits a lot of content into this book!

Before you cast on, she gives tips on knitting for kids, choosing yarns and washing kids’ socks to get you ready to fit and knit your kids. Size charts are given for both US and European sizes form tiny baby to kids US 7, which almost crosses into adult sizes. She doesn’t choose favorites, instead giving you a recipe for both top-down and toe-up socks, plus 10 patterns for socks, slippers and legwarmers with textured, cabled and lacy stitches to try.

The patterns really do provide a canvas for trying new techniques, from the simple knit-purl of Sandman to the more complicated charted cables of Crooked Styles and lace of Contrary Cockleshells (below).

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The pictures of toddlers on playground structures and chubby baby feet definitely enhance the enjoyment of this graphically-appealing book. Highly recommended for anyone with little feet in their lives!

Thanks so much to Cooperative Press for providing a review copy of Tiny Treads! Photos © 2012, Joeli Caparco, Luke William Johnson and Kate Heppell

Wendy Johnson Rocks…my socks

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Okay, this Friday calls for an exciting book review for an exciting book. Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits has a new book following her Socks from the Toe Up; the first one introduced the toe-up concept pretty thoroughly and understandably; the second builds on that foundation for an explosion of possibilities for the more confident sock-knitter. Due for release March 23, with Socks for Every Body, Wendy shows a breathaking array of appealing sock designs and Potter Craft delivers clear, well-styled photography.

My first pair of socks was a disappointment. A holiday present for my mom, they were knit top-down in hand-dyed Sophie's Toes sock yarn; well, the yarn was gorgeous, and I did learn to turn the heel, but after all of that knitting, the soft-as-a-dream socks didn't fit. My mom appreciated them, but only wore them as meditation socks in the winter, for, you know, sitting. Because they'd slide down and fall off if she tried to walk in them. Wendy's first book really turned me around. After reading it, I understood how to start at the toe and allow my mom to try on her handknit socks at every crucial point and come out with perfect-fitting hose she could really wear.

Socks for Every Body takes sock knitters to the next level, with elegantly-designed cable, lace and colorwork socks for women, men and children, and with variations like the Belle Epoque Thigh Highs and a couple of different colorwork charts for kids' socks. Wendy starts with a solid refresher in toe-up knitting, then explains the patterns with her characteristic practicality and good humor. Many of the socks in the Cables section, like the Bob and Weave and Ironwork Socks are designed for men or women, and several designs for kids' socks means the book lives up to its name.

I love that Wendy doesn't shy away from colorwork; the Sanquhar Socks, Star Flower and Norwegian Rose socks are my faves. The author's delight and passion for socks shines through all of her designs, in the complex and fun-to-knit arans/cables and lushly detailed lace patterns. She's a virtuoso of the sock world.

And, guess what? Wendy Johnson will be featured in the Knitcircus Summer Issue, with an exciting article that will allow our readers a glimpse into her design process. Have I mentioned how excited I am?

After reading Socks for Every Body, I want to join the party! It's sock-knitting from the toe up this time. And tomorrow, bright and early, it's off to the Knit In for a day of fun. Sophie's Toes sock yarn will be there…..