Free UK Shipping on Books for Limited Period

Good morning.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I am looking forward to wrapping up the year and snuggling into some knitting in a few weeks over the holiday period. It has been a fantastic year but my batteries need a little recharge. I hope any preparations you are making for the holiday period are going well.

I have a special offer for the next three days. I will be offering free standard UK shipping on Head to Toe and Sock Anatomy when bought from my shop. I only have limited stock so grab one early if you are keen to get your hands on a copy of my book.

Any books bought from me between 15th and 17th December will be posted using first class recorded mail with the UK.

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Sock Anatomy is a collection of nine sock patterns each featuring a different heel technique. This is the perfect resource for learning to knit socks. The book comes with a download code for the ebook. You will also get the adult sizes for these socks as they are released. Two are already available and the rest are coming in early 2015.

Check out all the designs on my Ravelry page. 

The book retails for £15 and you get a complimentary ebook. 

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Head to Toe is a collection of five stunning accessories using Ginger’s Hand Dyed yarn. Each item has been carefully designed to celebrate Jess’ vintage inspired style. The collection transports you on a journey from high summer in Edinburgh, with Montrose and Brunswick to the colder days of winter, with warm snuggly Elgin socks.

Want to see the designs and some other knitter’s projects. Check out the Ravelry pages. 

The book retails for £12 and you get a complimentary ebook. 

If you want a copy of the book but would prefer just the digital version this can be bought through my Ravelry store. 

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Happy Knitting.

Clare

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How to Choose Yarn for Socks

If you listened to the Shinybees podcast and popped over for some more detailed information – welcome, I hope you like what you find. If you have not listened to the Shinybees podcast episode where we chat about yarn choices for socks I highly recommend you tune in, it is a great podcast – and the perfect intro for this article.

So, how do I go about choosing the right yarn for my socks?

How to choose sock yarn revised

When thinking about my sock knitting I always try to think about things in relation to three main categories: fit, durability and aesthetic. I find that by thinking in these terms I can often evaluate what I need from my tools, the pattern or stitches I am using to put together a design, or select a pattern.

On the topic of yarn I think these three categories are important and to use them effectively you need to think of the purpose of your socks. Are you knitting delicate little socks for a newborn baby or tough boot socks for hiking? These are extremes and you are probably looking for something in between. You need to evaluate what the most important elements are and then make selections accordingly.

This might all have started sounding very complicated so let me give you some hints and tips for making the right choices when you are first starting out. It is also worth remembering that it is all a matter of personal taste.

First let me explain my broad categories then we can look at requirements and yarn suggestions using them.

Fit: Just what it says on the tin, how will the socks fit. This is determined by many factors but yarn is certainly a key player. You need to ask yourself. How is the yarn you have chosen going to affect the fit of the sock? You want to look at things like fibre content and the way the yarn has been spun.

Durability: Think about how the socks will wear. To determine what you are looking for here you need to think about the use or purpose of the socks. Everyday socks, socks for babies, boot socks, fancy occasion socks. What kind of shoes will you be wearing them with? Again we will be looking at fibre content and how the yarn has been spun.

Aesthetic: What are the socks going to look like? Here you need to ask yourself questions about the design and your own personal tastes. Is there a pattern that you want to highlight or are they plain vanilla socks? Here we are going to be looking at things like colours, dye techniques, texture and the way the yarn is spun.

The process of choosing yarn now centres around these three categories. Let’s chat a little more about what to look for when thinking about each category.

Fit

In my opinion when it comes to socks fit is always the most important factor. Poorly fitting socks are terrible. Who wants a baggy sock bunched around their ankles, or even worse bunched inside your shoe around your toe.

In all honesty fit is not completely controlled by yarn choice, the main players when it comes to fit are gauge and measuring, however there are a few things to consider.

Try to avoid silk, or yarn with a high silk content. It drapes and does not hold its shape well. You could choose something with 10 or 15% silk but any more than that and you are heading for some fit issues. The same with bamboo and cotton, they are notoriously bad for holding their shape. Approach with caution when choosing yarn for socks.

Ideally you want something with a high natural fibre content that has been spun in a way that gives it structure. Sock knitters often favour tightly spun yarns, and while you don’t have to select a super twist yarn choosing a lofty loosely spun yarn might not do you any favours.

Summary: choose natural fibres and avoid anything with lots of drape (high silk, cotton or bamboo content).

Durability

This is another key player in the choices we make about socks. The vast majority of socks get lots of wear. They are on our feet, in our shoes. Inevitably they get hot and maybe damp (sorry but it has to be said). Damp fibre with heat and friction = felting. Lots of friction on knitting fabric = holes. We want our socks to last, how do we achieve this.

Nylon my friends, even avid lovers of natural fibres will often admit that nylon is their friend when it comes to socks. It gives strength and increases the durability and wear of the knitted fabric.

I would recommend aiming for between 10% and 25% nylon for your sock yarns. Personally I would not go for more than 25% as I want the natural fibre / wool to shine but that is a matter of personal choice.

When it comes to selecting your natural fibre of choice not all wool is created equal. Where you might often be tempted by the softest merino for your new jumper I would not always jump at the fine micron stuff for my socks. Remember you need something that wears well and the finest yarn is not always the most durable. Hence why the Blue Faced Leicester is often a hit with sock knitters. Still soft, but more durable than merino, add some nylon and you have a fabulous sock yarn.

Blends are often popular with sock knitters and some fibres are added for strength. Mohair is sometimes found in sock yarns and makes a wonderfully durable fibre when blended with merino and nylon.

Summary: choose something with added nylon or polyamide for strength. When selecting natural fibres go for something soft if you prefer but also opt for something with a little bit of strength. The tighter the spin, the more durable the sock yarn is in most cases.

Aesthetic

Often I think this category is put first, when I think it should be the final consideration. Get the first two right, fit and durability and then make the aesthetic work around that. After all what is the point of having pretty socks that don’t fit or worse don’t fit and have holes in the toes and heels?

When choosing yarns think about the following pointers:

Colour: dark colours mask textures and cables, favour lighter colours if you want your cables to pop or your textured stitch to shine.

Variegation: highly variegated yarns overpower patterns, cables and lace designs. Opt for something a little more subtle if you want the pattern to take centre stage. If it is the bold yarn you love, think about a slipped stitch pattern to feature the colours in the yarn.

Texture, halo and sparkles: textured yarns can detract for some patterns but a subtly tweedy yarn would be wonderful some cables, just make sure you choose a colour that allows the cables to pop. Yarns with a halo (alpaca and Exmoor blueface) can mask subtle details so make sure your pattern can be seen through the fluff. The subtle sparkle of stellina can add a touch a pizazz to your socks.

Pooling: some people love it, other loathe it. If you are trying to break it up try knitting from either side of the ball. Better still find a pattern that shows off the pooling and works with the design.

Self patterning and self stripe: perfect for making simple socks exciting. Remember the heel you choose will have an impact on the stripes.

In summary there are so many choices out there, the world really is your oyster when it come to choosing sock yarn.

Finally, don’t forget to experiment and try things out. After all you can always rip the knitting out and use the yarn for something else or change your pattern if you find your first choice is not right for you.

Join me later this week for my top picks for sock yarn. I will be looking at commercially available yarn and hand dyed specialities. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Happy Knitting.

Clare x

Flash Sale: Day 4

At the start of this month I released the warm and snuggly Elgin socks. They were the final installment of the Head to Toe series and are the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe. Perfect for keeping your toes warm and toast as you snuggle on the couch under a warm blanket.

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It is gloomy and grey in Edinburgh today, and so I thought it would be fitting to feature the Elgin socks as my Socktober discount for today. Use the code “Socktober5” to get 50% off Elgin (£3 to £1.50) until midnight on the 31st of October. 

Most sizes can be knitted with 100g of aran weight wool and the pattern is sized from newborn to adult L, so all the family can have warm toes this winter.

Jess from Ginger Twist Studio and I can’t get enough of this pattern and have knitted three pairs between us already. Two pairs in Ginger’s Hand Dyed Humming Aran (a luxurious Alpaca / Merino / Nylon blend) and one adult pair in Brigantia Luxury Aran (a wonderful British wool). I also have another pair on the needles for my toddler in Drops Nepal (wool / Alpaca blend).

What will you knit your Elgin socks in?

Here are some pictures of Elgin to inspire you.

Elgin shown in Humming Aran, Earnest

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Elgin shown in Humming Aran, Bonny Scotland 

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Elgin shown in Brigantia Luxury Aran, Dark Turquoise

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Flash Sale: Day 3

Hope you are having a good week.

Today is a double bonanza on the sock sale front the first sock is Jozi – named after and designed using inspiration from my home town, Johannesburg. 

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Next up is Corrugate – this has been a firm favourite amongst knitters this month, so I thought I would give you the chance to nab a copy of the pattern at half price. 

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Happy Knitting folks.

C

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Designer Spotlight: Louise Tilbrook

Hope you are having a great week. To mark the middle of “Socktober” (where has the first half of this month gone) I have an interview with an exceptional British sock designer and one the speediest knitters I know – Louise Tilbrook.

Hoar Frost by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

Hoar Frost by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

I had a quick chat with Louise last week about her love affair with socks, I hope you enjoy the interview.

CD: When did you first become enthralled with socks?

LT: A few years ago now I picked up some Regia self-striping yarn and I was hooked. Some days I think if I could knit nothing else, ever, I would be happy knitting stripy socks.

I love stripy socks too, watch out on the blog next week for a special post about some very special self striping sock yarn from The Golden Skein.

CD: How did you make the leap from knitting socks to designing socks?

LT: It was a logical progression as I started to knit more for male family members. Whilst I love to knit lace and I do like a good pair of lace-patterned socks I found that truly unisex socks in larger sizes were a little harder to find. To pass the acid test a sock pattern must be fun to knit, look far more complicated than it actually is and be officially approved as ‘non-girly’ by my DH.

CD: Does magic loop rock your boat or are you more of a DPN fan?

LT: Magic loop all the way. I’ve lost too many DPNs on trains, in cars and under sofas

CD: How do you pick a good sock yarn?

LT: I love yarns with a good firm twist that have excellent stitch definition as it helps cables and twisted stitches to really pop.

CD: Solid, tonal, variegated or stripes? Which yarn makes your heart sing?

LT: For my designs I love handpainted tonal yarns and for plain (knitting-for-me socks) it is self striping all the way – the more colourful the colours the better.

CD: Toe up or top down?

LT: I started with cuff down and then converted to toe-up. I started on the Hexipuff craze some time ago and realised that if I could cast one of those on, I could cast on a sock toe. Then I discovered Judy’s magic cast on and never looked back.

CD: Afterthought heel, love or loathe?

LT: Love them and am working on one right now.

CD: What is your favourite sock design? And why?

LT: My favourite is always the one I’m currently working on – I’m quite fickle like that – but of my published ones I’m most proud of my Silver Birch design featured in Pom Pom magazine. The yarn was heavenly to work with and I was so pleased with the finished socks.

CD: … and your favourite socks designed by someone else?

LT: Heavens – I can only pick one? For a great, effective and satisfying pattern I would have to choose the Monkey sock by Cookie A. I’d also love to try the Stitch Surfer socks by Louise Robert as they look amazing.

CD: Besides yarn and pointy sticks what is your most treasured sock knitting tool?

LT: My collection of sock project bags from Daisy Bun Boo. Since rehoming 2 kittens everything in my house needs to be under kitten-lockdown. Especially yarn and pointy sticks.

Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

Bleaberry Tarn by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

Louise has a lovely range of sock patterns available on her Ravelry store and she has very generously donated some lovely prizes for the readers of this blog. She is offering a pattern from her collection to three lucky readers. To enter this competition please leave a comment below. You need to include the following in your comment to be entered.

1) Which is your favourite Louise Tilbrook design? You can find all of her designs in her Ravelry shop. 

2) What yarn would you knit this design in?

3) Please also leave a way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner. A Ravelry ID is probably the easiest.

This competition will run until the 30th of October, and the winners will be announced on the blog on the 31st of October as we say farewell to “Socktober”

Happy knitting

Clare

Sty Head Tarn by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

Sty Head Tarn by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook

Sock Anatomy: Now available in Print

Hi,

Hope you are having a great week. Things are really busy around here and I am very excited to announce that Sock Anatomy is now available to purchase in print from my online shop. 

Each book comes with a download code for the digital ebook so you can have the best of both worlds, a gorgeous printed book for your bookshelf and a digital copy on your electronic devices.

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Sock Anatomy features nine sock patterns in four “itty bitty” sizes (new-born – toddler), perfect for warming the toes of the little people in your life. This book is also the perfect tool for learning about different heels and toes. Each sock pattern features a different heel and there are details instructions for each design.

I will be releasing the adult sizes of these patterns later this year.

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Happy knitting

Clare

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Corrugate: New Sock Pattern

Good morning,

In the spirit of celebrating Socktober I have a new pattern to release. Please welcome …

Corrugate
(verb: contract or cause to contract into wrinkles or folds)

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A fun, easy going sock. The perfect travel knitting companion. Subtle texture and eyelets flow down the leg and onto the foot while squishy garter stitch envelopes the heel. These top down socks are a soothing knit and a great project for the adventurous beginner. The pattern is written in 4 sizes from child to adult L.

Corrugate socks_8

The sock is knitted in Hartlam Calvinia. A fantastic hand dyed yarn from South Africa. Michelle tells me she is dyeing up more Calvinia today and will be adding extra skeins of “I Dare You”, the colourway featured to the dye pots. She will post yarn from South Africa too.

To celebrate the launch (and because it is Socktober) the pattern will be 50% off until Friday. Use the code ‘corrugateblog50’ when you add the pattern to your Ravelry basket. 

Click here to buy your copy

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This would make perfect weekend knitting and would also be great for the weekday commute as the pattern is easy to remember, and socks – well they are perfect for travel knitting.

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Corrugate socks_7

Hope you have a fabulous day.

Happy knitting,

Clare

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Did you know …

Socktober-01

I have lots of big plans for Soctober, here is my first round up for the month

New pattern 

Last week I released Elgin. Knitted in gorgeous aran weight Alapca, Merino, nylon blend these make the warmest slipper socks. You can buy this as a single pattern for £3 or as part of the Head to Toe collection. 

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Workshops

I also started my teaching programme for October at Ginger Twist Studio this past Sunday.

In the morning I taught some fabulous ladies how to knit two socks at once using magic loop. I love this class as it is very rewarding to see the ‘spaghetti junction’ style of knitting needles, cables and yarn gradually unfurl to become a pair of socks. I caught up with both knitters last night at our local knit night and they are coming along well, ready for next weeks class.

I also taught a beginner sock knitting workshop. This is perfect for those of you who have yet to knit your first pair of socks.

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Lovely knitters learning about socks at Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh

 

Sock knitting workshop

In the workshop you create a mini sock and practice all the techniques you need to create your own larger sock

I have a jam packed teaching schedule coming up this month with sock workshops in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow. There are still a few spaces left at some workshops – if you want to try your hand at sock knitting, what are you waiting for?

Toe up socks and Heel Masterclass  at Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh (contact Jess to book or for more details)I also have some other exciting beginner classes and a special workshop on getting to grip with cables in November.

Ginger Twist Studio

 

Heel Masterclass at Queen of Purls in Glasgow (contact Zoe to book or for more details) 

Queen of Purls

 

In November I will be at Fluph teaching my Beginner Sock workshop and Finishing School (finish those knitted beauties off in style). 

Fluph

What are you planning for Socktober? I would love to hear what you have on your needles.

Happy knitting

Clare

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PS: Before I go, I have a new pattern coming tomorrow. Perfect for solid or variegated yarn and oh such a soothing pattern repeat … watch this space for details.

Cuboid

Copyright: The Knitter/Philip Sowels (Used with permission)

Copyright: The Knitter/Philip Sowels (Used with permission)

I am so excited to share this design with you. Cuboid was born about a year ago when I first started out designing socks. I instantly fell in love with the stitch pattern and the shapes created by the simple lace juxtaposed against the garter stitch. I made a tiny little sock for my then tiny little baby.

Life has changed a lot since I first made that sock. I now have a willful young toddler who is certainly not teeny tiny anymore (I blame the giant husband genes), I live in a different country and am taking my first steps into a successful freelance career with many more exciting designs to come.

I initially wanted to use this design in my Sock Anatomy book, I found a striking green yarn and knitted up the samples. I quickly ran into problems though as I could not grade the pattern into the small increments needed for baby, toddler and child socks. The design was shelved as I worked on other patterns. I could not leave the design though, I knew it was going to make a beautiful sock, for me it just worked. The elements combined in a way that made my heart sing.

To say I was chuffed when The Knitter agreed to commission this sock would be an understatement. I was ecstatic. I could hardly contain my excitement and remaining cool, calm and collected was nigh impossible.

And now many months after that day when they called to say they wanted the sock I can present to you Cuboid. 

Knitted in Knitting Goddess Britsock, a magical blend of 60% Wool, 20% Nylon (Polyamide) and 20% Alpaca. 

The magazine (The Knitter – issue 0075) is available in good newsagents throughout the UK and I know you can have it sent overseas too as a good friend of mine in South Africa gets her copy every month. More details can be found on The Knitter’s website. 

Copyright: The Knitter/Philip Sowels (Used with permission)

Copyright: The Knitter/Philip Sowels (Used with permission)

Shhhhhhhhh …. The Big Reveal (and a discount code)

I have been alluding to this for a while now. I remember when I first floated this idea with the wonderful Jess from Ginger Twist Studios. We have come a long way since I burst into the shop saying I had “a plan” and it involved her yarn and some ideas for stylish accessories.

On Monday 7th July I am releasing the first of a series of patterns designed to showcase the gorgeous yarn created by Jess from Ginger Twist Studios in Edinburgh.

Here are the details and a few sneak peaks for my lovely blog readers. You can also hear me and Jess chat about the collaboration on the Knit British podcast.

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Ever wanted to wrap yourself in exquisitely hand dyed yarns from head to toe? This new collection will allow you to do just that. Four carefully designed patterns each featuring a single skein of gorgeous Ginger’s Hand Dyed will take you from high summer through to early autumn.

Head to Toe is an exclusive collection of four beautiful designs by Clare Devine in conjunction with the talented Edinburgh based hand dyer Jess from Ginger Twist Studio. Released over four months from July to October the collection features stylish knitwear to take you through the seasons.

Pattern release dates

Montrose (hat) 7 July

Brunswick (shawl) 1 August

Edina (mitts) 1 September

Elgin (socks) 1 October

E-book and print book released on 1 October 2014, available to pre-order. E-book customers will receive individual patterns as they are released.

The e-book and individual patterns are available from Ravelry to pre-order from 5 July. To say thank you to my blog readers I am offering a 25% discount on all my digital patterns until Sunday 13th July, please use the code “headtotoe25”

To buy Head to Toe in print please visit my Big Cartel shop to pre-order. The book will be posted to you at the start of October once the full collection has been released. You will received a download code to use on Ravelry to get your free copy of the ebook once you order has been processed. The book costs £12 plus p&p. Unfortunately I am unable to offer the discount on the printed book.

Now for a sneak peak of the designs. The first one will be released in full on Monday 7th so you do not have long to wait. I will be posting more details of the other designs over the coming weeks, hope you like what you see.

Details of a KAL and prizes to be released later in the week.

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I would love to hear what you think of the designs from what you can see.

Happy knitting.

Clare

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