Category Archives: free pattern

Chilly Podsters

[Note from the future: The most current pattern file version is as of February 28/2012. Please feel free to re-download as needed! Enjoy!]

Knitters, I promised you a free pattern this month, and since I am alarmed to discover that it is very soon going to be next month and not this month (ahahahahhaha let’s not even talk about how much I haven’t started planning for Christmas), I had better get cracking and do a proper introduction between you and these Chilly Podsters!

In the process of giving my regular Podster mitts a refresher earlier this fall, I said to myself, “self, these need to be warmer. These need a sister in worsted weight.” And my self agreed, and wouldn’t you know it, less than a week later I had a pair of these. I give you the Chilly Podsters, available for free in my Ravelry store, or here as a PDF download.

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This pattern is everything the original Podsters are – convertible, flip-top mitten/gloves, with a modified thumb that allows you to sneak your own thumb in and out, for access to your iPod or cell phone or camera buttons, or anything else you might want easier access to without having to rip the whole mitten off your hand to do it – but in worsted weight instead of fingering weight. True story. They also come in 2 sizes.

I used some of my remaining Ultra Alpaca to make mine, so that I’d have a matching pair of mitts to go with my Gateway Scarf, but these are essentially knittable in almost any worsted or DK yarn you’ve got stashed. They are knitted at a relatively snug 6 sts/inch, which means they will be nice and warm. The small size will use 1 skein of Ultra Alpaca or similar 100g worsteds like Cascade 220 or Plymouth Galway, and the larger skein uses just slightly more than 1 skein (I could tell you it’s a 1 skein project for both sizes, but your mileage may vary and it’s just too close to call. If you buy 2 skeins and don’t use most of the 2nd one…well, didn’t you need to make yourself a matching hat, anyway?)

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Enjoy, my knitter friends! I daresay these would make a practical knit for you and a few Christmas gift recipients. A word to the wise, though – take a pause between pairs. The only downside of knitting at a snug gauge is that it does add some strain to your hands, so be kind to them.

And happy knitting this fine (or rainy, if you’re where I am) Tuesday.

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Filed under accessories, design, free pattern

Weekend socks

Timing is a wonderful thing.

This week I am pleased to show you a sock pattern of mine, published in the November 2010 issue of Canadian Living magazine (on newsstands now!) and also generously available for free on Canadian Living Online. I received my own copy in the mail yesterday and proceeded to thoroughly geek out over it. I may continue to do so by looking at copies in the grocery store lineup. Heh.

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This is a basic, worsted-weight sock pattern, intended to encourage knitters to take the leap into sock knitting. The advantage with worsted-weight socks is that they are pretty quick compared to fingering weight, so even if you are only putting in an hour or so of knitting a few evenings a week, you can see progress before too long. And if you’re intimidated about making your first pair of socks, having a bit of speed on your side can be a real boost. I’ve written this up for 3 different sizes so that different kinds of feet can be easily acommodated!

As this is also meant to be a “learn to make socks” kind of pattern, part of my assignment involved doing up a series of photos to follow along with the pattern, and you can see them online here, in a photo slide show. You can see the sock as it grows, from the leg through the heel turn, and a picture of the toe.

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But as for the timing…good job there, people at Canadian Living who are in charge of these things. When I was writing this up a few months ago it was not at all cold enough to feel like I was ever going to get to the point of wanting to pull on thick homey socks to wear around the house or inside boots. Well, lo and behold, just as this pattern hit the newsstands, as of yesterday the temperatures started to get pretty frosty overnight, and this morning after I got up the first thing I did was pull on my own pair of these. They are wonderful, and I say screw slippers. Heavy wool socks for everyone!

My own pair and the photographed sample were done up in Louet Gems worsted, but a variety of yarns could be used. I have to say though, I love this yarn. I hadn’t spent much time with it before, but I feel pretty confident saying that I will be spending more time with it in the future. It’s soft, wears pretty well, and I can throw it in the washing machine if I want to, and the colours are gorgeous.

Happy fall knitting, blog friends!

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Filed under design, free pattern, socks

Ribbit

Hi, have we met? I like knitting socks. I have stopped remembering a time when I was not knitting socks. In fact, I don’t currently have an active sock project going and it’s making me feel a little weird. Luckily I am about a zillion years behind on starting a pair of socks for my grandfather’s birthday this weekend (he’s turning 95. I have the appropriate-sized self-induced guilt trip for not having started them yet, believe me). I’ve knitted a lot of stockinette socks in my time as a sock knitter and I still do occasionally, but if I’m left to my own devices and I just want the socks and don’t really want to have to actually devote a lot of brain cells to said pair of socks, I knit me those socks in 3×1 ribbing. (Knit 3, purl 1).

I like the ribbing because they are an idge more snug than plain stockinette, and also provide a just-enough level of attention that I don’t get as bored with them. I’ve done a few pairs as gifts as well, and have used a few different kinds of yarn to do so, but it turns out the only ones lingering in my own sock drawer are the ones I’ve made with Socks That Rock lightweight. I appear to hoard all the STR socks for myself.

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And they are beautiful and I think maybe I need a week’s worth of them just like I knitted a week’s worth of Lorna’s Laces Jaywalkers.

A little while ago people started asking me about the pattern for these, and I didn’t think it was terribly complex enough to need a pattern, but then I remembered that sometimes people need patterns written down even if they are for things that are not terribly complex, and so I wrote it down.

You can download the pattern for free here as a PDF file (about 2MB):
A Nice Ribbed Sock, or in my Ravelry store as a free download.

I’ve written this up for one size – to comfortably fit foot/ankle circumference of 8-9 inches around, over 64 sts on fingering weight yarn. I use 2.75mm needles to do so – you might need a smaller or larger needle size depending on what you would normally use to get a gauge of 8 sts/inch, so feel free to do what you feel comfortable with. You can easily modify the size by increasing or decreasing the total # of cast on stitches by a multiple of 4. This will also change the # of stitches on the heel flap by the same multiple of 2, and will also change the yardage estimates. For me, a woman with Size 11 feet, I find a skein of Socks That Rock lightweight which has about 360 yards, will give me just enough yardage with a few grams leftover.

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Enjoy! Knit away happily. And then maybe you’ll have yourself a week’s worth of ribbed socks if you want.

Happy Tuesday, and keep the knitting close by.

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Filed under free pattern, socks

New Sock Pattern, and Cabling Without A Cable Needle

Today I’m happy to unveil my latest sock pattern, which is also my entry for the Socks Revived contest. (I’d been delaying a bit hoping to get some super snazzy photos – but it turns out that travelling around and being trapped under piles of grading does not lend itself to super snazzy photo session time, so I hope these will do!) Happily, I present the Revival socks – available here in my Ravelry store and, for a limited time, here as a free download. I am offering the pattern for free until April 30th, and as of May 1st it will be a sale download through Ravelry and Patternfish as per my other patterns. Ta da!

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When I set out to design something for the contest I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to look like. I wanted something that would require some concentration and technicality in the execution (because I hate being bored by my knitting), but that would still maintain some simplicity in the final look (because I didn’t want a sock that would look too precious or chaotic to actually, you know, wear). I also am not a huge fan of cutesy or over-stated. And since I’ve been harbouring plenty of twisted-stitch thoughts and art deco-ish inspriation lately, I put that to work on these socks.

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I like socks that have repeating motifs and which show off the pattern details over the top of the foot and leg where most people will see it. I also like cables and twisted stitches. (Headline: no one surprised). This pattern features a series of (fully charted) cables (all cables and twists are worked over 2 sts) to create an attractive set of linear motifs, which also have the practicality of providing a bit of structural integrity. Cables always snug things up a bit, and I like that in a sock. I’ve included instructions for both Magic Loop (which I used in making them), as well as DPNs (with which I am well familiar). Use whichever method is more comfortable for you.

You’ll also see that, like some of my other sock patterns, I include a decorative heel and toe which extends some of the stitches from the main chart. I like the detail and I think it creates a very sharp look, but don’t be shy about modifying this if it suits you – work a regular old slipped stitch heel flap or short row heel if you like, or keep the toe plain if you prefer.

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I include sizing instructions based on modifying gauge. This sample was worked on 2.75mm/US 2 needles (over 68 sts), and comfortably fits a foot/ankle size of 8-9 ins around. Increase or decrease the needle size for best fit according to the size you are knitting for. This sample was worked in Madelinetosh tosh sock, and even for my Size 11 feet I still had a small amount of the 395-yds skein leftover.

Finally, there is one thing you’ll want to know that will make this pattern about a kabillion times easier, which is the method of cabling without a cable needle. It’s how I worked the pattern and my notations strongly encourage you to do so.

If you’re looking for tips on how to do this, it turns out that Knitting Daily’s Sandi Wiseheart is sharing a piece of my brain this week, as she chose this week to do a post on just this topic. In her post she shares links for 2 other cabling-without-a-cable-needle tutorials (it turns out there are several ways of approaching this), and also does a pretty decent job of explaining the method that I use.

Back at the knitting retreat I went to in February with some of the Toronto crowd, she mentioned that she’d never quite gotten the hang of doing it. And I was suitably astonished at this, and sat down (as I was happily whizzing away on my Portland pullover, cable-needle-free) and showed her how I do it. I think she has actually done an even better job than me of explaining it (though I’m still going to give it a shot too, no worries), and articulating through photos and written instructions how to make the cable twist first, then work the stitches. (Essentially, I always keep the “live” stitches to the front of the work, and work the twist-switcheroo on the right needle for right-leaning cables, and on the left needle for the left-leaning cables). Go check out the photos and have some needles and yarn ready to practice it yourself if it’s something you haven’t tried before.

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If you aren’t a cables-without-a-cable-needle person, you can still knit these socks. But I think being able to become fluent with the technique makes cable knitting accessible in more ways and situations (no worry about losing the cable needle on the subway, say), and can move you along more quickly than otherwise.

Anyhoodle, I hope you’ll enjoy the pattern! Happy Friday, and keep the knitting close by.

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Filed under cables, design, fearless knitting, finished object: socks, free pattern

A Tale of Two Scarves

It would appear that my cold symptoms are continuing apace, though in a milder form than they could be, in which case I will renew efforts with vitamins and rest and tylenol and tea. And a bit of knitting on the side of my stack of grading.

But this blog is long overdue for a project update, and I’m finally able to take a moment to tell you about the two scarves I’ve made since mid-October. These, a slouchy beret, and a pair of plain stockinette gloves have all been made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and are all part of my Operation: Don’t Freeze My Ass Off plan for this winter. (Always a good plan, I feel).

Dec3-TwoScarves

The first of these scarves was a plain triangular shawl/scarf that I started on the plane to Rhinebeck in October. I finished it while I was there and it has proven a wonderful bit of emergency insulation, and since our November temperatures were stupidly unseasonably mild (o hai global warming nice to see you), I got more wear out of it than I might have expected.

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It’s fairly plain, easy to execute over a couple of days (say, on bleary plane and train rides), and I hadn’t thought much of it but every time I go out amongst knitters, someone comments on it and asks what the pattern is. Well, it’s pretty darned simple is what it is. If you want to make one of these too, here’s what you do:

So Easy I Can’t Even Stand it Triangular Scarf

1. Pick your yarn, any yarn (did I mention I love Ultra Alpaca?), and use an appropriate needle size. I went up to a 6mm for the worsted Ultra Alpaca because since it is 50% alpaca it can handle a bit of loose drapey-ness and still be warm.

2. Cast on 7 sts. [Note from the future: For extra stability, knit back and forth for a couple of rows of garter stitch before proceeding.]

and proceed as you would for a regular triangular shawl (increasing 1 st at each end, and 1 st each side of centre stitch, every RS row), something like this:

(RS) K2, yo, k to centre stitch, yo, k1, yo, k to 2 sts before end of row, yo, k2.
(WS) K2, p to 2 sts before end of row, k2.

Work these two rows for a while.

3. Whenever you feel like it, say, every 10-12 rows or so, insert one of the following beginning on the WS of work, while still maintaining the k2 at each end of each row, and yo increases on each RS row:

Paired garter ridges:
(WS) K all sts
(RS) K all sts
(WS) K all sts

Garter eyelet rib:
(WS) K all sts
(RS) [k2tog, yo] repeat
(WS) K all sts

4. Keep going in this combination of stockinette, garter ridges, and eyelet rib until you get the length you want, you run out of yarn, or until you just can’t stand it any more. Work another few garter ridges or a repeat of eyelet rib, and BO all sts. Block if you wish. (I used about 1.5 skeins of Ultra Alpaca for mine, it goes pretty far.)

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The second scarf requires a bit more commitment, but pays off big time in the warmth area. Let me tell you, this is going to get me through the cold days like nothing else and I am looking forward to wrapping it around me a few times. This is a fairly classic striped tube scarf, that you can do in whatever combination of worsted weight yarn you please, and change up the stripe pattern however you wish. The only disadvantage is that when you are working with so many colours at once, it doesn’t make for a very portable project, but if you put in an hour or so every evening, the length will start to add up nicely.

Warmest Striped Scarf Ever

1. Pick your worsted weight yarn, any worsted weight, in a few colours and a 16-inch circular needle in 4.5mm or so. (whatever you need for 18-20 sts over 4 inches).

2. Cast on 80 sts. Join to work in the round, pm at beg of round, and knit all sts on every round.

3. Proceed by changing colours every 3-7 rounds, as desired. Keep going until the entire scarf measures 6 feet, or until you can’t stand it any more. BO all sts.

4. Lay out the scarf lengthwise and flatten it. Work a fringed edging: First cut many many lengths of yarn in 8-10 inch lengths (hint: wind the yarn around a DVD case and cut along one side); take 3 of these lengths at a time and fold them in half, then take a crochet hook to pull the loop through both sides of the scarf edge, and pull the ends through the loop. Do this along the entire edge. (This creates a fringe AND closes the ends of the scarf).

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And then you have a very warm scarf. Ta da! (Caution: be careful about promising to gift people with these. I knitted 4 tube scarves one year as gifts and it just about did me in.)

Since I know someone will ask about how to handle the yarn for stripes, all I did was simply to carry the dormant colours up the inside of the work so that they rest against the inside of the jog. When you flatten the scarf at the end, you can do so so that the jog moves to the side of the work like a seam, and no one will notice. I am pretty blase about my striping jogs. Just be sure that the yarn actually lies flat on the inside of the work, and that you don’t pull it too tight so that it bunches up.

Happy knitting this Thursday, and stay warm, won’t you? Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under finished object: accessories, free pattern

Hello, People of the Pod

Pattern download link for most recent version, Dec 15th 2013: Podster mitts PDF

For months now I’ve had this pattern brewing up in the back of my brain, just waiting for the opportune moment for me to cast on and write it out. After a while I started to think, “surely, someone else has done this already.” And it’s entirely possible that someone has, but if that’s true I haven’t managed to encounter it yet. This is a fingering-weight glove pattern, but more than that it is a flip-top, convertible glove/mitt pattern (glitten? mlove?). “But Glenna,” you are saying, “that’s nothing new, psh, I’ve seen that before.” Well, this is a convertible glove with the addition of one wee little modification: an i-Pod thumb:

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This modified thumb is intended to solve the extremely decadent and modern problem (because really, as problems go this is about eleven millionth down on the list of things that need fixing) of wanting to use your digital music player in cold weather, without having to remove your whole mitten and get cold fingers in the process. Digital music players come in lots of different styles these days, and they all have buttons and switches to press, but the unique thing about the i-Pod is that the little dial relies on the touch of your actual skin. You can pound away at it with your gloved fingers as much as you want, but after a certain point it won’t work unless you expose your actual thumb and fingertips, which means ripping your glove off of your hand in order to change tunes or podcasts.

And so I finally said, “heck with this, I am a knitter, I can solve this problem.” So a couple of weeks ago I marched right over to my stash and pulled out a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy (you know, as you do), and started knitting away. Getting the little peekaboo thumb just as I wanted it took a couple of attempts, but I’m pretty pleased with this particular result. Time will tell once the real fall cool weather starts to sink in, but by Jove I think we’ve got it.

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This is, at first blush, a flip-top glove/mitt pattern. At the end of the instructions are three potential modifications to this, the first of which is the ‘podster’ peekaboo thumb, which fashions a ribbing-covered gap over the inside stitches of the thumb. This means that it is snug enough to still fit to your thumb, but loose enough for you to peek the tip of your thumb through and expose it for helpful music player control. The other two modifications are quite logical and not terribly unusual in the slightest, and explain how you could work this alternately as a pair of plain gloves, or plain mittens. So, these instructions are essentially 4-patterns-in-1. (Note: I only worked the modified thumb on one glove. You may choose to do either one, or both, and choose whichever thumb suits you best. Or just screw the fancy thumb and make normal gloves, that’s cool too.)

With the sample shown here I’ve used Dream in Color Smooshy, which is a multi-ply fingering weight yarn with a bit of squish to it. At the pattern gauge of 32 sts/44 rows over 4 inches, it produces a moderately snug gauge (in other words: not loose or drapey, but not so thick that it stands on its own), so if substituting yarns, try to choose something that behaves similarly. Regarding sizing, I have written the pattern instructions for two sizes, loosely intended for a Women’s Small and a Women’s Large/Men’s small. I made the larger size (shown here) and they fit my 7.75-ins hand circumference quite well. If in doubt, measure your hand circumference (or the hand of whoever is receiving these), and if it is 7 ins or bigger I recommend going with the larger size.

One thing to keep in mind for these instructions is that, while I direct you to work in the round and tell you what needle size/gauge to use, I do not tell you what specific method to use. I am assuming that if you are knitting this pattern that you have done at least one project’s worth of knitting in the round, that you know what method you used to do so, and that you are comfortable using this method again. You can execute this on Double Pointed Needles (DPN)s, Magic Loop, or knitting on 2 circulars – it is entirely up to you. (For the record, I worked this sample up using Magic Loop. These days I slide back and forth from DPNs to Magic Loop pretty fluidly.)

Sept27-PodsterGloves4c

The other thing you’ll notice is that I don’t provide any finishing instructions for things like buttons, snaps, velcro, or other means of fastening the mitten top in the “down” position. This is, I will admit, partly out of sheer laziness, but also because I have to say that when I wear flip-top mitts like this, they spend about 90% of the time in the “up” or closed position, and I can deal with a little bit of flopping around when they’re not. You’re more than welcome to take this step, however, and it would be fairly easy to add a fastening of some kind to the back of each wrist.

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You may download the pattern instructions for free here from my blog, or here in my Ravelry store if you are a Ravelry member, which will also allow you to store in your Ravelry library.

If you find value in this pattern, I would humbly suggest taking the dollar amount that you think it is worth, and donating that amount to your preferred charitable organization (who are, most likely, trying to solve problems that are a little higher on the list than cold podster fingers). I hope that you will enjoy knitting these, and that the gloves keep your hands (or those of a few gift recipients, perhaps?) toasty warm and technologically savvy all season long.

Well, at least until the super cold weather hits, at which time I will be running screaming back to the thrummed mittens and praying for thaw. But these can still live happily in my coat pocket for when I need them – and hopefully, yours too.

 

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Filed under design, finished object: accessories, free pattern, knitting addiction, mittens

Just in time for fall

So, remember when Noro first announced that they were coming out with a sock version of their Silk Garden yarn, and you got really excited and waited and waited not very patiently all summer long for it to finally be available in stores, and then you finally got some and brought it home and petted it and only then stopped to think about what to do with it?

Okay that might actually have been me, not you. Well, if you’re me, you bought more than one skein and did this with one of them:

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Pattern: So Simple Silk Garden Socks, available here as a free download or for free on Ravelry.
Yarn: Silk Garden Sock, 300m/330yds per 100g, lamb’s wool/silk/nylon/mohair blend (1 ball).
Gauge: 24 sts over 4 inches in stockinette on 3.0mm needles
Sizing: I’ve written this up for 3 sizes, to fit a leg/foot circumference of 8, 9, and 10 inches, all of which are possible from just 1 ball of Silk Garden Sock. I made the middle size and had enough to make a swatch, complete the socks to fit my ladies Size 11 feet, and still have a little bit leftover.

If you’re making the largest size and are at all worried about running out of yarn, you can either shorten the leg by an inch or so, or substitute a short-row heel instead of the heel flap to extend your yardage. Or, for an even larger size, you could follow the pattern instructions for the S or M sizes and increase your needle size – SG Sock can handle 3.0mm-4.0mm pretty easily.

It’s a basic ribbed sock with a single cable for accent running along the outside of the foot – the ribbing and the cable add just a little bit of snugness, a teensy bit of vertical visuals to ease the sharp horizontal stripes, and keep things a little more interesting than plain stockinette. I am finding more and more that 3×1 ribbing has become my default for plain socks, more often than stockinette.

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I am definitely a fan of Silk Garden in all its guises, though I know not everyone is. Like the Noro Kureyon Sock, the Silk Garden Sock is more of a thinner version of its worsted-weight origins, than a sock yarn like the popular superwash merino softer-than-kittens sock yarns that are so ubiquitous now. (Sidebar: if lace yarn is the new sock yarn, how long before Noro delves into lace? Cash Iroha lace perhaps? Anyway…) The Silk Garden sock is also a slightly heftier yarn, and behaves more like a sport/DK than a fingering weight, so the possibilities are endless. Lightweight sweaters and scarves would be beautiful with this.

These socks took me just less than a week to finish, which also makes me a fan of this yarn – a slightly thicker sock yarn means fewer stitches and faster completion time. The socks themselves won’t be as slim and svelte as they would be on a lighter fingering weight yarn, but around these parts the fall air is starting to settle in in the evenings and I don’t mind having snuggly socks on my feet from time to time.

If you do knit up this wee pattern and have any comments or questions, please feel free to let me know! Happy knitting as always.

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Filed under finished object: socks, free pattern, socks

More, please

Korknisse notwithstanding, I had about 2 weeks of project monotony in the end of January and beginning of February. It was good for me, because I produced these:

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

They might look like regular (albeit pretty) socks, but no. They are very much more than regular socks. These are the things that will help me get through the cold winter long before they get the chance to look pretty with a nice skirt, come springtime. These are keeping the cold draft from flying up my pant leg and chilling me to the core. (Well, that along with a knitted sweater). These are knee-highs. Ta-da! The first finished project from my Rhinebeck 2007 purchases.

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

Pattern: None. A personalized process which I will discuss below.
Yarn: Socks that Rock Mediumweight, ‘Garnet Dreams’, 2 skeins (used approximately 3/4 of each one)
Needles: 3.0mm DPNs
Notes: These contain elastic thread knitted into the cuff, as is my preference – I think every pair of knee socks I make will continue to have elastic in the cuff, it keeps ‘em sturdy and staying up where you need them. Elastic + leg shaping is my anti-slouch plan.

Someone asked me a little while ago what pattern I was using to make these, and there isn’t one. Anyone can make a pair of knee socks, just like anyone can make a regular pair of socks to fit their own feet. All you need is a gauge swatch, a tape measure, and your leg. There are already places online where you can find detailed instructions for stockinette knee socks (such as here), but the gist of what you need to know is this:

a) measure your leg circumference at the widest point of the calf in inches. Multiply this number by your number of sts/inch (according to your swatch), then subtract 1-2 inches’ worth of stitches (negative ease helps them fit and stay up). This is the # of stitches you will knit at the upper leg. Subtract a dozen or two sts from this number, and that’s how many you’ll use for the ribbing to cast on. (I used 88 sts for the leg, increasing just after the ribbing from a cast-on 76 sts, for this weight – BUT if you are using lighter yarn this may change. It is always better to err on the side of snug than loose, in all measurements with knee highs.)

b) measure your leg length from the top of your heel to the back of your knee, above the widest point of your calf. This is approximately how long your sock needs to be, not counting the inch or so of ribbing at the top cuff. I say “approximately”, because depending on your amount of negative ease, there will likely be some horizontal stretch and you’ll need to add an inch or so to keep the sock at its intended length while it is actually on your leg. (My sock length is 14.5 ins.)

For both the leg and foot, it is better to err on the side of too LONG than too short. If the leg or foot is too short, it will pull down as you wear the sock, and you’ll be constantly tugging them up to keep from falling down.

c) measure your leg circumference at your ankle, multiply by your number of sts/inch, then subtract 1-2 inches for negative ease. This is the number of stitches you want to arrive at for your ankle. If you’ve made stockinette socks before in regular length, you probably already have a good idea what you want this number to be, given the weight of yarn you’ll be using. (I used 56 sts since this is a heavier sock yarn. Usually I use 64 sts.)

There’s one more thing here, and it should be pretty obvious given how those socks are swooshing and pooling the colours in different ways at different points on the leg. There is, of course, shaping. You have to decrease from the number of stitches in (a) to the number of stitches in (c), starting after the widest point of your leg and ending by the time you get to the ankle. My shaping follows the yellow line in the image below, according to the shape of my own leg:

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For me, for this weight of yarn, I would knit evenly in stockinette for about 4 inches after the cuff, then decrease 2 stitches (at the “back” of the leg) every 4 rows 5-6 times, then every 3 rows for the rest of the decreases. If I was using a slightly smaller gauge I would probably do all my decreases every 4 rows. Then, this still leaves me with a few inches of even stockinette to hug my leg around the ankle. Your leg may be different, though – you might want to do your shaping in a way that stops almost directly at the ankle itself, depending on the shape of your leg.

[EDIT]: Oh yeah, and one more thing: try the sock on OFTEN. This is key. It’s better to know that you need to add a bit of extra length or re-start the shaping a bit earlier or work the decreases a bit farther apart before, say, you finish the entire sock. I try mine on 3 or 4 times throughout the whole process. Then just use the 1st sock as a guideline for the 2nd.

After that, the rest involves the same set of decisions you’d make for any other sock – what kind of heel? (I used the flap. Definitely love the sturdy flap heel) What kind of toe? How long to make the foot? How to stave off boredom of knitting more and more stockinette? Ah yes, such a lovely nuanced decision-making opportunity, socks are. All in all, this is the sort of thing that takes a lot more energy to explain than to actually execute. And I fully plan on having more custom-fit knee socks entering into my closet!

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

More, more, more please.
Stay warm!

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Filed under fearless knitting, finished object: socks, free pattern, knee socks, socks

Well would ya lookie there

So, last night I had some friends over for dinner (and learned that if you are going to have appetizer, soup, pasta, salad, and dessert – which is cheesecake – it really is quite all right to spread dinner out into a 5-hour experience), and then checked my internets before tumbling into bed (thank you daylight savings for the extra hour OMG), and I had a few comments in my inbox letting me know that, hey! November Magknits had arrived! And well would ya lookie there, I’m in it! I knew it was going to happen, but I’d somehow managed to misfile that information in my brain and so now it is sort of a pleasant surprise. Thanks, Magknits!

Basic Black

You may have noticed that Basic Black does not come with a whole lot of pizazz or bells and whistles or anything overly complex or groundbreaking. And that is exactly the way I wanted it to be. I wanted a sweater that wouldn’t scare anybody away. I wanted a basic, light layer, with maybe a bit of a wider v-neck and a bit of shaping and cropped sleeves to take it into the modern era in classic sort of way, and that was that. I like it, and so does my mom, so it has managed to please at least 2 generations in my family so far if that counts for anything ;)

I used Plymouth Wildflower DK because it was accessible to me at the time and it came in a wide range of colours, but really, just about any DK yarn that maintains its integrity pretty well (i.e. that will not droop too horribly) would work just fine. A note on yarn selection: if you intend this sweater to be machine-washable-dryable, make sure you wash and dry your swatch beforehand so that you get an idea of how the finished fabric will behave afterwards. Some machine-washable-dryable yarns do actually shrink up slightly post-drying, which makes it desirable to knit a few extra rows in key places so that the shaping still sits where you want it to sit. I suspect that knitters will also want to make adjustments depending on their height; for example if you are quite petite, even a 12-inch sleeve might not be quite cropped enough, or if you are particularly on the tall side you may want some extra length pre- and post-waist-shaping, so get out the measuring tape and see what works best for you.

I hope you enjoy! I’m already planning on queuing up a ‘Basic Pink’ for myself the spring. For now, though, I have some seasonal patterns that are distracting and enticing me. Little Gems Mitts, anyone? December Lights Tam? Maybe I can just sneak in one of those this week, surely my other WIPs won’t notice…And maybe another slice of cheesecake too… ;)

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Filed under design, finished object: sweater, free pattern

The Brennan Cardigan

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

BrennanSweater4

For anyone just tuning in, my full explanation of why I wrote this pattern may be found in this post from May. The name belongs to Dr. Temperance Brennan, the main character in the television show Bones, and in the Kathy Reichs series of novels upon which the television show is based. Dr. Brennan wore a sweater very similar to this one in an early episode of the series, and quite frankly, I wanted to figure out how to knit one for myself. Thus, this pattern was born. I believe this is a modern, flattering, stylish looking garment which is also comfortable and cozy, and it is only for the sheer volume of projects I have in my ever-changing knitting queue that I haven’t actually managed to start up on one for myself.

I am now pleased to offer this pattern for free in PDF format (download link appears below) in 5 sizes, measuring 32[34, 38, 42, 46] inches across the bust. I would recommend 2-3 inches of ease for a close but comfortable fit. I would like to add another size, possibly two, when I have another spare few moments to devote to it. Also, it is entirely likely that this pattern will still have errata, so I am comfortable putting out this version into the world as-is and making adjustments as necessary.

Why am I offering this pattern for free, you might ask? Well, there are several reasons. But really, the main reason is that, as will be clear from my previous post, this design very obviously takes close inspiration from a commercially-made garment, and as such I do not feel comfortable charging $$ for it. (The pattern instructions and sizing, however, are all the product of my own brain, so you can bet your ass I’m quite happy with that.) I will note, though, that my sweater is not a completely exact replica. There are some details in the inspiration garment that do not appear here. (Don’t worry, if you really want me to charge money for stuff, I’m quite sure I’ll find other new designs to do that with in the future ;) )

If you download this pattern and find value in it, I would recommend taking whatever money you think the pattern deserves and giving it to Knitters Without Borders, or, failing that, another deserving knitting-related Enterprise For Good.

This pattern assumes the knitter has already had some experience knitting sweaters, as it will provide some challenge through the use of short-rows, extensive seaming, work with a cable-needle, and working set-in sleeves. It is a garment constructed in pieces, and the back and two front pieces are both worked in sections, including long pieces of ‘diagonal ribbing’ which seam up at the sides to create a v-shape style at the side. (See picture below). This is the biggest challenge of the pattern. My sister Martha who knitted the pattern, and who is shown modelling the sweater, will happily tell you that these diagonal ribbing sections nearly did her in. This pattern also makes use of an “at the same time” instruction, for the front pieces, which involves working the armhole sections at the same time as the neckline decreases. In this pattern I also assume that you already have a comfortable method of working your decreases and increases at each side, for example, which is why the pattern instructions do not go into detail about whether you should ‘k2tog’ or ‘ssk’ any particular decrease. Other than that, I hope you will find that the pattern is worked in a very similar format to other standard knitting patterns.

Two small changes I have made between the sample pattern and this version is that I have made the front neckline slightly deeper, and the sleeves are slightly more fitted.

 

BrennanSweater3

As for yarn and gauge, this pattern requires worsted-weight yarn knitted in a Stockinette gauge of 5 sts/6.5 rows per inch. There are a wide variety of yarns available in this gauge, which means you should feel at liberty to choose what best works for you and the pattern. My preference is for something woolen or wool-based, since it is light, warm, and keeps its shape well. Ubiquitous and priced-to-own yarns like Cascade 220 or Patons Classic Merino would work just fine. The sample in the photos was knitted with Brunswick Sheepswool, 100% worsted-weight wool. If you choose a non-wool fibre, I would recommend something which does keep its shape and isn’t very heavy (i.e. not 100% cotton!)

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

Download the pattern:
BrennanCardi-July18-07

If you choose to knit this pattern I would be pleased to hear from you, and if you discover anything that needs adjusting I will be happy to start up an ‘errata’ page. Happy knitting!

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Filed under brennan cardigan, free pattern, sweaters