Knee-highs of my dreams

Last summer I developed a craving for knee-high socks with stranded knitting. I had to get me a pair. Or at least start a pair and utterly forget once the gift knitting starts. But in our no-new-wips-January, I finally returned to this project and finished it. And oh boy, did they turn out cute!

What: Knee-high stranded socks / own pattern and lending charts from others
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Triskelion Elen Sock, 140 g

Once upon a time, there were two beautiful skeins of soft BFL sock yarn that wanted to be stranded socks when they grow up. Since I wanted to combine a zillion charts, I didn't by any pattern but came up with my own and borrowed a few charts from other socks.

First, I took the toes from this pattern. I knit the feet with just the grey to keep the socks calmer looking. For the legs, I borrowed one chart from these socks. The topmost snowflake chart was also from somewhere on the internet but rest I made up.

The heels gave me a bit of a headache - this yarn doesn't have any nylon in it. I decided to work the heels with short rows. This way, If they wear through, I can just pick up sts at the edges and make new afterthought heels. I also knitted the heels in two colors to make them more durable. We'll see how they'll survive.

I added sts between the charts to make room for my calves. I did a pretty good job even though I usually tend to knit stranded socks too tightly. Why is it so hard even when I constantly try to keep my tension loose? Luckily, these socks fit me quite well. I finished off with a chunk of (k2tbl, p2) ribbing.

Usually, I finish my socks with blockers but they aren't long enough for these knee-highs. It was quite the blocking operation: I soaked the socks and slipped the sock blockers inside them. Then, I added two blocking wires to stretch the legs. It was worth the trouble since stranded knitting really needs proper blocking to tidy up.

Now I have a pair of socks that won't be hidden in my shoes - that is, if I ever muster up the nerve to use these in shoes.


xoxo socks

Oh, how embarassing! My knitterly friends and I had a no-new-wips-January where it was forbidden to start any new projects unless you had finished all the old ones. The good intention there was of course to free up some needles and lower the ever growing number of wips we have. And to keep us motivated, there was the threat of a monstrous punishment for breaking the rules.

What: xoxo / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Novita 7veljestä, 150 g

Yes... I was obeying the rules. I didn't start any new projects but finished many old UFOs. But then came along this secret thing that I had to swatch for. I swear I wasn't going to knit it until February, just to swatch. But my friends were ruthless and said a swatch was a violation against the rules! Ok, if I'm being totally honest, I may have been the one that came up with this rule last January...

As a punishment, I was ordered to go to the super market and buy the most ghastly yarn we (friends of handpainted luxury yarns) know of. The task was to buy a skein of market yarn and knit something for myself. And I had to use the whole skein. Cruel, I tell you.

I admit those high-quality hand dyed yarns tend to assassinate your bank account but boy, are they worth it! I've been complaining about the quality of market yarn for years even though I've had no experience in it for many, many years. Well, now I do. I didn't like it one bit. The whole skein was this prickly, coarse dust that scraped my hands. My eyes were watery and itchy, my fingers ached and I couldn't stop sneezing the entire time I was knitting.

But I didn't have a choice. I made the swatch so I had to pay the price. I decided to knit socks because knitting toe up, I could be sure to use the entire skein. Also, socks can be worn over other socks so the prickly yarn won't get to touch my skin. I wanted to find a silver lining in this itchy dust cloud, so I designed a new sock pattern. I'd say this would be a lot nicer knit in some lovely hand dyed DK-weight yarn.


Simple cabled socks knit toe up. The pattern is written for magic loop technique but you can use dpns if you prefer them.

Yarn: Novita 7veljestä / Any heavy sport or DK-weight yarn, 150-200 g
Needles: 3.5 mm

m1l = make 1 left. Pick up the yarn between sts by inserting the left needle under it from front to back and knit it through the back loop.

m1lp = make 1 left purl. Pick up the yarn between sts by inserting the left needle under it from front to back and purl it through the back loop.

m1r = make 1 right. Pick up the yarn between sts by inserting the left needle under it from back to front and knit it through the front loop.

m1rp = make 1 right purl. Pick up the yarn between sts by inserting the left needle under it from back to front and purl it through the front loop.

ssk = slip, slip, knit. Slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to knit, move the sts back onto the left needle and k2tog through the back loop.

w&t = wrap & turn. With the yarn in back, slip the next st, bring the yarn to the front, move the st back onto the left needle and turn work. When you came to this wrapped st on the next round/row, knit the st and the wrap together.



Both socks:

Using Judy's magic cast on, CO 16 sts (8 sts on each needle).

Inc rnd: (k1, m1l, k until 1 st left on the needle, m1r, k1) x 2.

Repeat the increases on every round two more times and then on every other round 5 more times. (26 sts on each needle).

Start knitting the xoxo chart.

Left sock:

Next rnd: On needle 1, knit the chart, on needle two, p1, k to end.

Continue knitting the chart on needle 1 and purling the first st of needle 2 until you have worked rounds 1-16 from the chart. 

Right sock:

Next rnd: On needle 1, knit the chart, on needle 2, k to last st, p1.

Continue knitting the chart on needle 1 and purling the last st of needle 2 until you have worked rounds 1-16 from the chart.

Both socks:

Next rnd: On needle 1, knit the chart, on needle 2, p1, k to last st, p1.

Continue knitting the chart on needle 1 and purling the first and last st of needle 2. Once the sock measures 6 cm less than the desired length, start gusset increases.

Inc rnd: On needle 1, knit the cart, on needle 2, p1, m1lp, knit to last st, m1rp, p1.

Repeat the increases on every second round 6 more times. Purl the increased sts. (26 sts on needle 1, 40 sts on needle 2). Next, work the heel turn and heel flap with short rows:

Row 1 (RS): On needle 1, knit the chart, on needle 2, p7, k22, w&t.
Row 2 (WS): p20, w&t.
Row 3: k18, w&t.
Row 4: p16, w&t.
Row 5: k14, w&t.
Row 6: p12, w&t.

Next, you will be slipping the first st of each row. On WS, slip it as if to purl and on RS, slip it as if to knit.

Row 1 (RS): p17, ssk.
Row 2 (WS): slip 1, p22, p2tog.
Row 3 (RS): slip 1, p22, ssk.

Repeat rows 2-3 four more times and the row 2 once more. There are 26 sts on each needle. Continue knitting in the round so that you knit the chart on needle 1 and purl the first and last st of needle 2.

Once the sock measures 18 cm from the top of the heel flap, work 10 cm (k2, p2) ribbing. Bind off loosely using Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off.

Left chart
Round 1: K17, p, k8. (26 sts)
Round 2: Repeat round 1.
Round 3: K17, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC.
Round 4: Repeat round 1.
Rounds 5 - 8: Repeat rounds 1 - 4.
Round 9: (K8, p) x 2, k8.
Round 10: Repeat round 9.
Round 11: K8, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC.
Round 12-13: Repeat round 9.
Rounds 14 - 17: Repeat rounds 10 - 13.
Round 18: Repeat round 9.
Round 19: (2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC).
Rounds 20 - 22: ((K8, p) x 2, k8).
Round 23: Repeat round 19.
Round 24--26: Repeat round 20.
Round 27: (2/2 LC, 2/2 RC, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC).
Rounds 28 - 31: Repeat rounds 24 - 27.
Rounds 32 - 34: ((K8, p) x 2, k8).

Right chart
Round 1: K8, p, k17. (26 sts)
Round 2: Repeat round 1.
Round 3: 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, k17.
Round 4: Repeat round 1.
Rounds 5 - 8: Repeat rounds 1 - 4.
Round 9: (K8, p) x 2, k8.
Round 10: Repeat round 9.
Round 11: 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, k8.
Round 12-13: Repeat round 9.
Rounds 14 - 17: Repeat rounds 10 - 13.
Round 18: Repeat round 9.
Round 19: (2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC).
Rounds 20 - 22: ((K8, p) x 2, k8).
Round 23: Repeat round 19.
Round 24-26: Repeat round 20.
Round 27: (2/2 LC, 2/2 RC, p, 2/2 RC, 2/2 LC, p, 2/2 LC, 2/2 RC).
Rounds 28 - 31: Repeat rounds 24 - 27.
Rounds 32 - 34: ((K8, p) x 2, k8).


Shawl + cardigan = blanket

You know the saying swirling around the internet?

Knitting is like sex. If I like you and
you appreciate it, its free. 
Other than that, you can't pay me enough.

That is so true. I mostly knit for myself but sometimes I come across something that looks like a fun knit and it's screaming the name of someone I know. If that lucky someone appreciates my little knitted gifts with some appropriate whooping, they might just be in for more knitted gifts.

What: Morvach / Lucy Hague
How: Circular needle 4.0 mm
From: Drops Baby Merino, 227 g

I've long been admiring the intricate cables on Lucy Hagues Morvarch shawl - except that it's not a shawl I would use. Instead, I know someone who loves all thing celtic and any fantasy inspired stuff. When I heard, this person was expecting a baby, I came up with a plan.

Yes, Morvarch is indeed a shawl pattern designed for lace weight yarn. But there's miles and miles of boring stockinette stitch in the shawl and actually everything interesting happens right in the beginning in the center of the shawl. I figured, using heavier yarn, this shawl pattern could be turned into a baby blanket by knitting just the center square of the shawl. And I wasn't wrong.

Few years back I bought beige Drops Baby Merino from the clearence sale of my LYS. The color didn't speak to me so it was headed for the dye pot. My lovely dyeing guru friend insists that I dyed this yarn - though in my memories, I mainly stood by the pot and said green would be great.

The shawl - or in this case, the blanket - starts at the center. It begins with some garter stitch with magical cables on top of it. Once the first cables are done, the rest of the square is shaped with short rows. That way the direction of knitting can be altered and the corners are knitted with stockinette stitch with more magic cables. After this, I threw the rest of the pattern out.

By this time, the blanket wasn't big enough so I decided on a garter stitch edge. At this point I remembered seeing a blanket with garter stitch edging and cables in the corners that would be a perfect fit for this baby blanket as well. Annoyingly, you couldn't by just the blanket pattern but had to purchase an entire e-book to get it. I didn't feel like spending so much on the mere blanket corners. Luckily, I remembered that I actually own one pattern from the e-book that uses similar cables and figured, I could probably just modify that chart to work with my project.

Turning the shawl pattern to a blanket was easy. All I had to do, was stop at the right time. Instead, modifying a baby cardigan yoke chart to work with the corners of my garter stitch edge, wasn't all that painless. I kept saying to myself how good it is I'm knitting the entire edge all at once so I won't have to remember how I worked the corners. I made the corner cables approximately as in the yoke chart. On every other round I increased one stitch on each side of the cable to make the corners corner shaped.

Once I had finished the cables, I bound off the edge like this: *k2tog tbl, move the st back onto the left needle*, repeat *-*. This way the bind off edge was elastic enough for easy blocking.

I almost forgot the most important bit! The magic cables. From the shawl pattern, I learned an easy yet incredible trick to make cables that start from nothing and end nowhere. Or can you tell where the cables starter and ended? I thought so! Once I learned the trick, I used it in the corner cables as well. I also picked up a trick for making almost horizontal cables without them putting a strain on the garment. I would say the designer has been sharpening her technique for quite some time. Wow. Just wow.

But perhaps next something a bit more relaxed knitting? Yeah right...


Wrought iron

This here is my most recent design, published at the end of January.

What: Wrought iron / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 and 3.25 mm
From: Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles, 325 g

I designed a new sweater pattern, Wrought iron. This boxy sweater is knit top down seamlessly. It features long slim sleeves and a contrast color lace panel in the front. The hem, sleeve brims and neck band are twisted rib.

The sweater is worked in fingering weight yarn. I used Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles that gave me a pretty, flowy fabric. The colors I used are Charcoal (MC) and Stone (CC). Dependin on the size, you'll need three to four skeins of MC and about 30 g CC. So you can probably use some scrap yarn from your stash for CC. The pattern has sizes XXS-XS-X (M1-M2-L1) L2-XL-XXL and you should pick a size with approx. 30 cm positive ease at chest circumference.

The lace panel in the front is worked as intarsia - and intarsia in the round. Now, I know this sounds terrifying but I promise you it isn't difficult at all. The pattern also includes a photo tutorial on intarsia in the round so this could be the perfect chance to learn a new technique.

You can buy the pattern at my Ravelry shop. A lovely LYS Snurre, from Helsinki sponsored the yarn. Thank you!

I must say, this turned out just about perfect - even if I'm a bit partial. It's warm and soft and increbildy light. The contrast color lace panel brings just enough something special to this basic boxy sweater.

If you're wondering about the needle sizes, I have a thighter tension when knitting in the round so I used a larger needle for the sleeves. I should probably think about these things more often, I might end up with more well fitting garments!

There are more pics on Ravelry. I'm going to go ponder over my next design.


Monkey - or was it a rabbit?

Sometimes you can be in such a rush to cast on for a project, you barely have time to wind the yarn. That was the case with these socks.

What: Monkey / Cookie A.
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Drops Fabel, 59 g

Last April I was having the time of my life at a knitting retreat, where I also took part in a dye class. I have done some dye experiments at home with spinning fibre but never with yarn before this. I took two white and two light grey skeins of Drops Fabel with me. I wanted to dye some burnt orange and something minty green.

The burnt orange turned into more of a fox color in the dye pot. The muted minty water colored skein was a success. I added the dye already in the cold soaking water. A hint of green and just a drop or two of blue. I was a bit scared as even that one drop of blue seemed to explode once it hit the water. Half a drop would have been enough, I think. I mixed the colors in the water, added the yarn and splashed some more green on top. The yarn stayed soaking so long it had already absorbed all the color from the water before moving into the kettle. I did heat the yarn for a while and it turned out amazing. The semisolid of my dreams.

Because the yarn turned out so beautiful, it needed to be paired up with a simple sock pattern. I decided finally to knit the most popular sock pattern of all time. At least on Ravelry, there are about 20 000 projects for this pattern. It was about time to knit myself a pair of monkeys.

There's a reason this pattern is so popular. First, it's free. Second, it's brilliant. A few decreases and increases, and a few purl stitches. So much with so little effort. The pattern was easy to memorize and the socks finished in record time.

I modified the heel. Following the pattern I would have ended up with a way too tall heelflap. I also didn't understand why I should move stitches from one needle to the other. This is my pet hate: transfering stitches from one needle to the other. It doesn't work when you magic loop two socks at a time.

I found the cutest little rabbit statue at a nearby park. Thanks for posing, bunny!


Three in one

Somehow I feel I say this quite often, but yeat again, I knitted my new favorite sweater - or in a way, three sweaters.

What: 3 in 1 / Atelier Alfa
How: Circular needles 3.5 and 4.0 mm
From: DyeForWool Merino Silk Fingering + Madelinetosh Merino Light + Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah, 177 + 60 + 33 g

I've dreamt of knitting this one for years. It has been waiting for the perfect color and yarn combination. Finally, I quit stalling because I needed something simpel to knit at the movies.

I went through my stash for colors that would go together and weighted the scrap skeins carefully. You can use some scrap yarns for this pattern but not the smallest ones. I used 97 and 82 grams of green merino silk blend for the topmost sweater, 50 grams of TML for the one color sweater and 10 grams of green TML and 33 grams of creamy Casbah for the striped sweater underneath. I ran out of Casbah with just five more rows to go on the neck band. Luckily a friend had some of the same color and was kind enough to donate a few meters.

I'm a pretty daft knitter from time to time. I started the topmost sweater with yarns I found in my stash but they didn't work well with the other yarns and I had to do some tinking. I searched for new yarns online and ended up ordering almost identical colors to those I had already tried. And yet, the tiny differences in the color tones had a big impact and these yarns worked perfectly.

Now, let's talk about the pattern. It's knit bottom up (yes, can you believe it?!) and the different hems are shaped with short rows. The body is knit to armholes and left waiting while you knit the sleeves to armholes as well. Finally, The body and sleeves are joined and the rest is knit in one piece. The three different hems and sleeves give the illusion of three different sweaters on top of each others.

I didn't like the direction of knitting nor the endless yarn ends, carrying the yarns at striped short rows  and the sizing of the pattern. I usually end up making size L in most sweater and cardigan patterns. This time I started in size M but it was enormous, it could fit two of me! In the end, I made this in size XS. And I'm not the only one thinking the sizing if off. The XS fits me well except for the sleeves, those became too tight.

I also wish the neck band was made similarly as the hem. Now there were just few rows of purled stitches before a color change and it doesn't work as well as in the hem. If I were to knit this again, I would knit few rows of st st and bind off the stitches before changing colors. Yes, that would mean even more yarn ends to weave in but I feel it would look nicer.

Enough of complaining. Except for the stuff mentioned above, the best thing about this sweater is everything. The illusion of three sweaters, the chance to destroy some scrap yarns, the endless color combination possibilities, the extra long sleeves. Just everything. I love wearing it. Did I remember to mention it's my new favorite sweater? I think I must make more of these.

Because I liked the asymmetry in the hem, I modified the sleeves to be asymmetric too. In the pattern they are identical but I made the first section of the other sleeve shorter. The end result is subtle but makes the sweater seem even more relaxed.

You guys should all go and knit this sweater. It's the best!