Wednesday, 23 August 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different

:: cue Monty Python theme music ::
ni julep by yours truly
Having, um, ‘invested' in rather a lot of self-striping yarn recently, I decided it was time for another pair of socks. Or three. I'm still rather a stickler when it comes to knitting other peoples' patterns. Or perhaps I'm overly fussy? I'm not quite sure what it is, but I'm always thinking if I'm going to knit something, why not design it myself?

Ah, you know what it really is? I must be living up to my Scottish heritage by never handing over any hard-earned cash for something I could do myself for free! Heh!

ni julep by yours truly size medium
knit picks
 felici sock in 'mint chip'
schachenmayr regia 4-fädig 4-ply solids in 'borke'
The blurb:
"We want... a shrubbery!!" 
Technically this pattern is a mix of my Traffic Island socks, and my Twist of Citrus socks; a little bit of feather and fan, and a little bit of chevron knitting, and was originally meant for self-striping yarn. I was going to call it something mint julep-y as the eyelet pattern looks rather Lamiaceae-y, but on working a non-stripey version I got to thinking that it looked like a shrubbery was working up the leg!! Shrubberies, in fact, with a little pathway running down the middle of them! 
And a socktail was born! Or poured and knocked over, maybe!*
Ni Julep is an easy toe-up, Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock that works with all yarn colouring from self-striping to solid!
ni julep by yours truly size large
ice yarns
 mohair magic glitz in 'green shades brown shades'
From mid-calf to short socks, too!
ni julep by yours truly size small
yarning yenta
 sock in 'red fraggle'
holiday yarns flock sock sock in 'bloody mary mix'
The sock starts at the toe, with my favourite cast-on, the Turkish Cast-On for Toe-Up Socks. You can, of course choose your own favourite cast-on should my favourite not be your favourite! 

yes, yes, there's a gap in the cast-on.
it is now a design element!
For my small and medium versions (the Red Fraggle, and Mint Chip colourways) I chose to have a contrasting toe, heel, and in the former, cuff as well, as I like how they look with blocks of colour breaking up the stripes. My large version (Green Shades Brown Shades... hmmm, Ice Yarns may need some help in creating enticing colourways names...) is knit straight from toe to cuff using the slow(ish) colour changing yarn. Of course, you can have contrasting heels and toes for plain socks, too. Because you can!

The pattern itself is nice and easy - a 9-row repeat that is very easy to memorise.

I used the marvellous Fish Lips Kiss pattern for the heel. I shall extol the utter delights of this heel until I reach well past my extolation date. No, it's not a free pattern. (Why should you pay a dollar for a heel pattern? Because it is seriously up there with the best fitting heels EVER!) No, I am not affiliated with the pattern or said pattern's designer. No, I'm not telling you you can only use this heel. There are many, MANY heels of which you can choose your own favourite to use in this sock pattern. I would, however, suggest most keenly (reminder to self: do not binge-read Jane Austen when working on writing blog texts) that, if you do prefer using a different heel, to choose one that keeps to the general form. So, peasant/afterthought, or a nice short-row heel will do just the trick.

The leg, as you would expect, continues upwards with the shrubbery pattern and once you get to the start of the cuff (roughly 2 inches before the total length you prefer) you have 2 options: the first is to continue with the cuff pattern as written (as in the medium version), or switch to a simple twisted rib (where you knit one stitch through the back loop to, yup, you've guessed it, twist it, then purl one stitch) to the length of cuff you prefer. If you're working the shrubbery cuff, I'd recommend doing 2 repeats. For the twisted rib, I'd work it for 2 inches.

And to finish up, I'm a great fan of Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, a lovely video tutorial of which I'll post below. It's simple, stylish, and does what it says on the tin!

So, there it is! Ni Julep socks! And how much am I going to be asking you for this little gem? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! NOTHING AT ALL! 'TIS FREE!! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Okay, okay. I'm calm. Of course, Ravelry (to where you will be whisked if you click the button below) don't have a FREE, WHEEEEE button, so you'll have to put up with the BUY NOW clicky effort. However, as I think you may have guessed by now, there will be no actual buying involved!

Or, of course, you can click THIS LINK which will take you straight to the pattern page on Ravelry, so you can have a jolly good gander before you inevitably add the pattern to your queues!! ;)


* If you don't know (AND WHY NOT????) The Knights Who Say Ni are fictional characters from the film 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. For King Arthur to pass by the Knights Who Say Ni ("ni") he is instructed to find them a shrubbery. A nice one, and not too expensive. They return with a shrubbery (the laurels of which are particularly appreciated) but instead of being let past, Arthur and his knights must find... ANOTHER SHRUBBERY, to place by the one they brought already, only slightly higher to get a two-layer effect with a little path running down the middle...

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Einstein's Finest

Actually, there are many things that can be counted as 'Einstein's Finest', but because my mind is SO not of a scientific bent there are many things that make my brain go kablooey. Still, the Theory of Relativity is something that we're taught about from an early(ish) age, even if it's just so explain why we don't fall of the earth, considering that it's spinning around at such a velocity!
theory of relativity by yours truly size large
sirdar heart and sole in 'skippy'
This is a cuff-down, gusset-heeled sock, designed with self-striping yarn in mind.*

The blurb:
When Albert Einstein wrote his theory of relativity in 1915, he found a new way to describe gravity. It was not a force, as Sir Isaac Newton had conjectured, but instead a consequence of the distortion of space and time, conceived together in his theory as 'space-time'. Any object distorts the fabric of space-time, and the bigger it is, the greater the effect. 
Such, it seems, is what happens when adding and subtracting stitches to a line of knitting, distorting the fabric and creating an effect of leaning towards decreases, and away from increases, and all sorts of timey-wimey, spacey-wacey bends and whirls... In my mind, at least!!
theory of relativity by yours truly size medium
king cole zig zag 50/50 in 'jubilee'
I found a picture of something resembling this stitch pattern on Pinterest the other month. I say resembling, because the photo must have been lifted from a stitch dictionary without any instructions or charts to help a poor knitter out. I was, however, taken enough with the potential that I reverse-engineered it to create something that would cry out, cry out I tell you, to be used with self-striping yarn.

As you do.
theory of relativity by yours truly size small
(this used an afterthought heel, but I found it too restrictive)
trekking xxl in '538 browns'
What I didn't like was what appeared to be the use of diagonal lines of yarn-overs to make the increases. Quelle surprise, I don't hear you say. Or maybe I do, but you're probably saying it in a very sarcastic manner...

I have no idea what I do wrong in attempting the humble yo. Well, the humble yo in sequences of diagonal increases throughout a piece of fabric. No matter how many tutorials I watch on YouTube, nor how much written instruction I read (which, let's face it, isn't that much for such a seemingly simple stitch) I always, always, ALWAYS end up with a series of holes that look like my little sister c.1977 has been playing with the scissors again.

So I changed the type of increase from what was probably a yarn-over to a twisted lift increase. Which sounds a tad tricky, but really it's rather simple!

M1 (make 1) = using the right-hand needle and working from back to front (which means you automatically place the stitch with the correct leg at the front) you pick up the running thread between the stitch you just worked and the next stitch on the left-hand needle, and place it on the left-hand needle as a new stitch and knit it through the back loop as a twisted stitch. The twist will ensure that you don't have a hole where you've added the new stitch. (Although, that could be quite interesting - all the M1s worked as ordinary lifted knit stitches instead of twisted. You'd end up with small eyelets, which could be very pretty. That being said, if you're working the M1s as an ordinary eyelet (a plain, untwisted M1), then you might want to go down a needle size to counter the extra stretchiness of the added yos!)

See? Nothing to be scared of!

So, we start off with our favourite cuff to hate, the twisted rib: one stitch knit through the back loop, one plain purl, repeated until Hades starts to get a little chilly. Yes, yes, I know, I chose it, I shouldn't be so disparaging, but hoo-boy, for such a beautiful stitch, it's a royal pain-in-the-behoochie to work. But we loves it, we do, so one shall endeavour to suck it up, as our American cousins are wont to say!
And so we start, and yes, it's an easy one! Huzzah!

This pattern works very well with double-pointed needles or circulars, but I recommend using a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round, even if you're using DPNs, because the way the pattern swoops and swirls, it's quite easy to lose the beginning point! Yes, this particular PSA comes from experience!

The heel is the old favourite, an eye-of-partridge heel flap with a short-row heel turn. I was originally thinking of using my new favourite, the Fish Lips Kiss heel, here, (I actually used an afterthought heel for the small pair) but I found after the first pair of socks, that it wasn't quite roomy enough around the ankle/heel/foot hinge for the nature of the fabric; with all the contrary motion of increase versus decrease there's a little less give than it would have if it was a plain stockinette sock. The heel-flap, which can sometimes look a little less impressive than it's short-row cousins, does have one major card up its sleeve (um, leg...) in that you can add extra repeats of the 4-row heel-flap pattern to accommodate a high instep, or sturdy ankles!

Moving on to the foot, I recommend that once you're finished with the gusset decreases on the sole to continue a couple more decreases on the sole, just bringing in the width of the foot a little for a better fit, remembering, of course, to factor this into the toe decreases. (The instructions are written out on the pattern, for ease of counting - I'm all for easing the horrors of counting!)

And there you have it! And although they were a bit of work to get the pattern just right, the pattern is now just right! Huzzah!! AND available for sizes S, M, L, & XL!! And how can you get your hands (um, feet??) on this little beauty?  Click HERE and you'll be whisked away to the pattern page on Ravelry (of which you don't need to be a member to have a jolly good gander over the thousands of patterns available!!) and once there you'll find all the information you need to download this crazy wonderfulness!!  Alternatively, you can click the button below which will take you straight to the PayPal page where you'll be asked for the paltry amount of €3!

Go on! You know you want to!!

* The yarn I used is more like light fingering yarn, slightly thinner than the thicker US fingering yarn I see. Please bear that in mind when choosing your yarn!

Many, many thanks go to my Intrepid Testers™ dizzybea, Ibecutest, jkob, KnittingNightElf, mandi216, mpindstrup, Mysewing2, Quilter05, sgeorge24, Sharpei4Kris, taraknitterb, and TurtlesOnDown.

Mair Bloag Weejits

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Heh! I'm so funny!

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