Saturday 15 February 2020

The Handmade Sock Society 3 by Helen Stewart

Hello there, I just wanted to let you all know that Season 3 of The Handmade Sock Society is available for pre-sale here with an Early Bird price. I've test knit the patterns and I can tell you, you will not be disappointed, such beautiful designs in some gorgeous yarns.

The Handmade Sock Society is such a popular pattern subscription club with knitters, whether you're a newish sock knitter or a seasoned pro, you will love the monthly surprise of a sock pattern and the camaraderie over on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group. All patterns will be using 4 ply/fingering sock yarn with Helen's popular percentage system.

The third Season of the Handmade Sock Society explores that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there. The first astronomers fathoming the skies, intrepid explorers forging new paths up unconquered mountains, long-ago alchemists extracting elixirs from obscure ingredients, and modern-day knitters summoning beauty from nothing more than sticks and string and symbols of a page: all of us are engaged in the same work of meaning-making. All of us are capable of more than we know.
The early bird price for the collection is £9.95 (+ applicable VAT for EU countries - Ravelry automatically adds this in). This includes all SIX sock designs and works out to less than half price of the patterns individually. 
The early bird ends when the first pattern is released and the regular price will be £15 (+VAT for EU countries)
Pattern Release Schedule
Tuesday, February 25th 
Tuesday, March 24th 
Tuesday, April 21st 
Tuesday, May 19th 
Tuesday, June 16th 
Tuesday, July 21st
Let me know if you're joining in, it's always such fun to see other knitters yarn choices and progress.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thursday 13 February 2020

Knit 20 for 2020 Challenge

Hello my friends, long time no see!  I haven't been able to get onto my blog for a while as I forgot my password! So after a fairly long hiatus, I'm back with lots of things to share.

Firstly, I'd like to share a new challenge for this year from my friend Helen of Curious Handmade, it's called Knit 20 for 2020. So who's up for a fun challenge? It can be a big or small as you like,  depending on how much knitting time you have, I'm going for the full 20 but you could tick off several boxes for one project. One of my projects is a cabled cowl so I could tick off #6 and #13. Helen is running it on Instagram with the hashtag #20knitsfor2020 and also on her Ravelry Group, it will be lovely to see your projects.

The biggest news that I have to share is I'm going to be a Nana again, my youngest daughter is having her first baby. The first project that I will be ticking off the list is 'GIFT', I'm knitting is the Spring into Summer Romper by OGE Knitwear Designs.
They aren't finding out the gender of the baby so I've chosen a neutral colour. I'm using Blacker Swan, Falkland Islands Wool by Blacker Yarns in Sand.

I'm knitting the first size 0-3 months, it's a really simple pattern and knits up very quickly. 

The first challenge on the list is 'Finish a WIP', I don't know why these aren't off the needles yet, it is such a small WIP. I started the Shortie Trainer socks back in September, I finished one and haven't picked them up since.
I'm using 30g of leftover sock yarn and a mini skein for the cuff, heel and toe. I'm not following a pattern, it's my own recipe. Here it is if you're interested, they are perfect for wearing with my Converse.

Shortie Trainer Sock Recipe

Cast on 64 sts

5 rows 1x1 rib 

7 rows stockinette 

knit the foot until you are 2"
shorter than needed.

Knit your favourite toe.

My third project on the needles is the Grete by Woolfolk Design Team, I splurged on the yarn using my Christmas money and bought the Woolfolk Luft from Loop London. I'm using Medium Grey, this bulky yarn is delightful. 'Luft' means 'Air' in Danish and I can see why they've named it this, it's so soft, light and airy.
I'm enjoying this pattern very much, been a bulky yarn it's a quick knit and the cables are very simple and easy to memorise.

I started my Cosy Nana Stripe Blanket three years ago but still enjoying every stitch. This is a crochet blanket but this challenge could be the push I need to finish it by the end of this year. It falls under 'Scrappy or Advent' and I'm using 6g of leftover sock yarn for each row. This is such a special project to me, my grandchildren love to chose which ball of yarn for the next row plus friends have sent me some yarn to add.

The final project I have to share is the Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits, this will tick off the 'Pullover' on the list. This wasn't planned but I saw someone wearing it and thought how nice it looked plus I had the right amount of yarn in my stash.
It only takes 2x100g skeins for the Large and the same meterage in mohair/silk, I'm using Ito Sensai in Pale Blush and the main yarn is Annabel Wiliams Corridale Sock in Pink Chai, naturally dyed with avocado. All of Annabel's yarn is responsibly sourced and naturally hand dyed, I've used her yarn before and highly recommend it.

Thank you for stopping by and I will be back on Saturday with an exciting pattern release that I'm looking forward to.


Tuesday 12 February 2019

The Month of Woolly Hats.....

Hello there,

     January seemed to be the month of the hat! I ended up knitting three and casting on another, it wasn't planned but once I'd finished one, I was hooked.

The first hat was the Barley Hat by Hilary Grant from a book in my knitting library called Knitting From the North. This is a great book full of colourwork projects from accessories to garments, I plan on using more patterns that I already own either from my Ravelry library or books/magazines this year.

I used some Jamieson and Smith 2ply Jumper Weight in three colours that I have in my stash. If I'm honest, I should have chosen more contrasting colours, I really like the soft muted tones but if I knit it again I will go for brighter colour yarns.

As soon as the Barley Hat was off the needles, I cast on the Sparkling Cider Hat by Voolenvine, a design knit with a 4ply/fingering weight yarn, held double with mohair silk and beads.

I used Hill View Farm Dabbler in charcoal held together with Shubui Silk Cloud in Ash. I love the look and feel of mohair held together with another yarn, it makes the project really soft and squishy with a beautiful halo.

I love how the beads look on this hat, I used a size 6 miyuki bead from The Bead Merchant. I enjoyed the process of adding the beads, I know people are put off with beading, thinking it's complicated but it's actually very simple. I use a 0.5mm crochet hook which I find the easiest way to add beads.

This is my most favourite hat that I've knit and would love to knit another one, maybe in burgundy. I like the fit on me and how it looks.

The third hat that I cast on in January is the Heart End Hat, a test knit for Ainsworth & Prin, also known as The Knitting Shed, who sell the most gorgeous yarn in a wonderful array of colours.

I used The Fibre Company Lore, in the Gentle colourway, it's a beautiful, 100% lambswool from the English Romney. It's a proper woolly yarn but softens up beautifully once blocked.

The Hearts End is a cabled design which is simple to knit and easy to follow from the well-written pattern but looks very intricate. I used the smaller needles, suggested in the pattern to make it slightly smaller. I thought it looked quite big as I was knitting it but it fits perfectly and is a very warm, cosy hat for these chilly, winter days. I still haven't attached the pompom yet, as I can't decide if I want one on this hat.

I have just cast on another hat which uses two strands of DK called the Skyhill Hat by Emily Foden. This is from the fabulous Knits about Winter book which I might do a separate blog post about this book. It has so many stunning designs, I want to knit everything in this book.

I used John Arbon Knit by Numbers in 79KBN held with two strands of Rowan Mohair Haze which is a 4ply yarn. I'm using yarn, leftover from other projects, I'm so pleased with how this is turning out. You might think it could be a pain holding three strands together but actually, I'm not finding it difficult at all. The only tip that I would give is making sure that you are knitting all three yarns, sometimes you might have a stray loop so you just need to be mindful of this.

Do you have a certain thing that you like to knit? I use to be a big sock knitter and I still always have a sock or two on the needles but don't get as many finished as I did. I love the instant gratification of hats.

The last thing before I sign off is the winner of The Handmade Sock Society 2 by Curious Handmade is..........

Kate P

If you could let me know your Ravelry name, I will get Helen to send you the pattern collection.

Happy Knitting

Thursday 7 February 2019

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 Giveaway....

Hi there, how are you all doing? I hope you've all had a good start to the year? What are your knitting plans for the year? Are you finishing WIP's before you cast on new projects or just casting on all the new ones?

I tried to clear as many WIP's off my needles as I could before the end of last year but as I do every new year I like to cast on new projects. I will share them in my next post though.

I'm here today to let you know that Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade is releasing The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 which last year was an amazing success which many of you enjoyed. Pre-sales are now up at an early-bird price of £9.95 + any vat that has to be added, no code needed, it will revert to the regular price of £15 on the 14th February.

Here's everything you need to know about this seasons subscription.....

Run away to a quiet cottage in Cornwall, a remote hideaway overlooking the sea. Outside, the waves crash against the rocks, but you are snug and warm, wrapped in blankets and toasting by a little wood-fired stove. There’s peace to be found in the wildness of the ocean and comfort to be gleaned from the humble pleasures of life on a windswept beach. No matter how fierce the weather may be, the sound of the sea can soothe a ruffled heart. When you’re feeling brave, you can climb the cliffs and take in the exhilaration of the view, or strike out in a sailboat and test your skills and courage against the wind. There is nothing else to do and nowhere else to be but right here, and every moment in this place is full of inspiration.
The second season of The Handmade Sock Society takes us on a voyage away from the complexity and clutter of our modern schedules to a seaside retreat where we can steal a little time for ourselves, our thoughts, and our handmade projects. There will be moments of rest and of excitement, the joy of the unknown and the ease of the familiar, and most of all, the indulgence of as much sock knitting as our hearts desire.
The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 is a pattern subscription club inspired by the beautiful Cornish coastline. The six secret sock knitting patterns in the collection are ideal for any knitter who is obsessed with hand-knitted socks, loves a bit of suspense, and enjoys creating along with other enthusiastic makers. The first pattern of the series will be released in early later this month, and then there will be another pattern release every other month until December 2019. There’s never any pressure to “keep up” with the crowd, and our leisurely release schedule should allow knitters of all skill levels and knitting speeds a nurturing and relaxed experience.

I wanted to choose a colour palette for all six socks to reflect the Cornish coast and the seaside in general. I'm drawn to the beach and sea,  it has a calming effect on me much like knitting, I can feel the stresses of life just melt away listening to the waves crash against the shoreline. Sadly, I don't live by the sea so when I do travel to the beach, I have to savour the moment.

I found these wonderful colour inspiration photos from the Beautiful Simplicity blog which expresses perfectly the colours and mood I wanted to interpret to my socks. I will have fun looking through my stash to find just the right yarn for all the designs.

This is the yarn that I've chosen for the first design which will be released Thursday 14th February, it's Fine Fish Yarns in the Claude colourway.

Helen has very kindly given me a subscription to give away to one lucky reader so if you fancy been in with a chance of winning, just let me know in the comments if you knit any of last years designs and which was your favourite or what is your Curious Handmade sock design. I will pick a winner on Monday.

Also, Helen has a giveaway on her Ravelry group to win one of her patterns of your choice, for more details check out the giveaway thread.

Happy knitting

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Knitvent 2018: Frost at Midnight Cowl

Hello, I hope everyone has a good week. Are you all getting into the festive spirit yet? I know that I am and will share some posts with you over the coming days.

I'm here today to share the last design for Knitvent 2018 I can't believe it's the final pattern, it's gone so quickly, the name is  Frost at Midnight Cowl.

“Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, 
Whether the summer clothe the general earth 
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing 
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch 
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night-thatch 
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall 
Heard only in the trances of the blast, 
Or if the secret ministry of frost 
Shall hang them up in silent icicles, 
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.”

From “Frost at Midnight, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Frost at Midnight Cowl is a sweet, comforting hug of a cowl. Made with a super bulky yarn, it can be knit in just a few hours: about as quickly as frost appears on a windowpane and perfect for those almost-inevitable midnight knitting sessions as the holidays draw near! The design features a simple texture and eyelet stitch pattern to suit both men and women, and while the pattern comes in one size, it’s very easy to adapt for just about anyone on your list.

I'm using We Are Knitters The Wool in the taupe colour, a super bulky, 100% Peruvian Wool. It's a very quick and fun knit, this will make a great gift last minute gift.
Thanks for stopping by and happy knitting,

Monday 26 November 2018

Knitvent 2018: Winter Sleep Socks

Hello, my friends, I hope you've all had a good week. I can't believe we're in the last week of November! This year has flown by.

Well, we are on the penultimate pattern of this year's Knitvent and they are some gorgeous, cosy DK socks. Winter Sleep Socks come in four sizes ranging from kids to men's size, they are super quick to knit which make them perfect for gift knitting.

“Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr 
Is lined within with the finest fur, 
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house 
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse 
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull’s feather, 
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together 
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled, 
Sweeter than anything else in the world.

O what a warm and darksome nest 
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest! 
It’s there that I’d love to lie and sleep, 
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!”

From “Winter Sleep” by Elinor Wylie

I knit the XS and they fit both my 4 year old grandson and 2 year old granddaughter, I would say they'd fit up to a 7-8 year old and then maybe go up to the Small size depending on how wide their feet are.

My grandson said he didn't want holes in his socks, us knitters might call it lace but to Caiden they are holes so I just did rib throughout with contrast heel and toes.

I used Bergère de France Ideal DK, I bought 2 x 50g balls in contrast colours and got two pairs by reversing the colours.

DK sock yarn with nylon is probably harder to find especially for UK knitters. I found a few different brands that would work well.

West Yorkshire Spinners for a budget-friendly DK Sock Yarn 

Eden Cottage Yarns Milburn DK, 85% BFL 15% silk 

Socks Yeah DK 75/25 

Julie Asselin Leizu DK 90% merino 10% silk 

Qing Fibre Super Soft DK 

Skein Queen Crush DK 

Magpie Fibers Swanky DK available from A Yarn Story in the UK

If you want them as a cosy pair of house socks, I wouldn't worry about the nylon just go for some soft, luxurious yarn. 

Also, you could always use a fingering weight sock yarn. Just note that the stitch pattern repeat is 6 stitches so if you’re converting to fingering you would want a repeat of either 60 or 66. 

If you go with 60 then you will have an even number of repeats - ie a whole repeat front and back of your socks. 

If you go with 66 you’ll have an odd number so will have to split a repeat between the front and back (like the pattern for the small and large sizes).

Let me know if you knit a pair so I can take a look, let me know what your IG or Ravelry name is.

Have a great week and happy knitting.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Knitvent 2018: How Quiet Hat and Mitts

Hello, I hope you've all had a good week. It's been a glorious week here, cold crisp days with plenty of sunshine, perfect weather for what I'm sharing with you today.

It's the third week of Knitvent 2018 and there is two patterns, a matching hat and mitt set. They are the How Quiet Hat and the How Quiet Mitts, a quick, gratifying knit. I used Eden Cottage Whitefell in Misty Wood, A beautifully, soft 100% alpaca.

we have to seek, as children do 
for something like the beetle 
scuttling between grass, 
hidden in plain sight.

From “How Quiet” by Judith Harris

The How Quiet Hat is a quick and easy knit in soft DK weight yarn, ideal for holiday gifting or a gift to yourself. The wide ribbed brim can be worn down for a relaxed, slouchy feel or turned up for those who prefer a more fitted beanie. The design features a simple and subtle chevron stitch pattern and is finished off with a fluffy pompom. This is a unisex pattern which includes sizes from baby to large adult, and it might just become your next go-to pattern for last minute presents. When paired with the matching How Quiet mitts, they’ll stay warm and cosy on even the chilliest winter walks.

The How Quiet Mitts the perfect companion to the How Quiet Hat, they make a perfect last minute gift. 

This is the baby size knit with some leftover Dusty Dimples DK in Call Me Baby, this will be going to a sweet baby girl who was born last week. I knit this in an evening so makes a great last minute gift.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday 12 November 2018

Curious Handmade Knitvent 2018

Hello my friends, long time no see, I haven't been able to sign into my blog for months, I don't know what the problem was but I thought I'd give it one more go before completely giving up and result, I'm back in!

I've had an extremely busy summer with family and work, I've been doing a lot of sample knitting including some for Knitvent 2018. Knitvent is a wonderful holiday tradition for knitters, after purchasing the collection you will receive six beautiful accessories over five weeks. They are perfect for gift knitting as they are fairly quick except the one which is a stunning wrap, designed to use with your mini skein Advent calendars. 

The theme this year is PEACE.

The first two designs have been released so if you haven't signed up yet, you will receive the first two patterns straight into your Ravelry library. 

The first pattern is the Dust of Snow Wrap, and it's a stunner! 

The way a crow 
Shook down on me 
The dust of snow 
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart 
A change of mood 
And saved some part 
Of a day I had rued.

“A Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost

I knit this sample for Helen using the Herbsblatt Regina Mini Skein Advent Calendar held with Shibui Silk Cloud, it is sheer luxury. The mohair/silk is the "dust of snow, though you could knit it without the mohair. I've ordered some undyed mohair/silk from Bluefaced Undyed Yarn, a more budget-friendly alternative.

Quite a few people have already cast theirs on but I'm going to hold out and wait until the 1st December. December is always a busy month and I look forward to opening my Advent calendar, sitting down for an hour each day with a coffee and knitting each mini skein over 24 days. We all have stress in our lives especially over the festive period so make some time for yourself each day whether it's knitting, reading or anything that makes you happy, don't forget the theme is peace!

The second design is the Peace of Wild Things Shawl, a beautiful, one skein project so if you've been saving that precious skein for something special, here's the pattern you've been waiting for. There is a sprinkling of beads that are optional and a delicate lace border, it's so pretty and quick to knit.

“I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time 
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

From “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry

Thank you so much for stopping by, I'll be back soon to share the next design from Knitvent 2018

Happy Knitting

Monday 16 April 2018

Woollinn...... Dublin's Festival of Yarn.

Location: ALSAA Sports and Social Centre, Old Airport Road, Dublin Airport.
Marketplace: 10am to 5.30pm, Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May 2018.
Workshops: Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May 2018.

Hello, my friends, I'm popping in to tell you about Dublin's Festival of Yarn, Woollin. A spectacular marketplace with some of the best vendors and their gorgeous wares. You can find the directory of vendors here.

Also, they have some fabulous workshops with world-renowned designers including Nancy Marchant, Isabell Kraemer, Karie Westermann and more. Check out the full list here.

To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway over on my Instagram, you can find me as Tinkhickman. Woollin has given me some beautiful The Fibre Co Luma, some stunning Irish wool from Studio Donegal and a Woollin wooden gauge.

Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to U.K. residents due to shipping costs so if you'd like to leave a comment on my Instagram on the giveaway thread, tag friends too if you think they will be interested.

Have a great week.

Saturday 31 March 2018

The Impressionist MKAL by Curious Handmade Giveaway.

Hello, my friends, I really don't know where the first part of the year has gone. It's been a very busy time over the last couple of months with work and everyday life, unfortunately, it was my blog had to take a back seat. Hopefully, things are settling down a bit and I will get back on track.

After much anticipation over the last few weeks, the first clue of the Impressionists MKAL shawl by Helen Stewart has just been released.

The inspiration behind this mystery knitalong is from impressionist artists and their works using your beautiful skeins of yarn. The pattern uses three skeins of yarn a light, medium and dark and lends itself very well to the popular speckle yarns.

I had the pleasure of test knitting the design and my colours were inspired by this stunning painting by the talented contemporary artist, Dmitry Spiros.

These colours really aren't my usual colour palette but after seeing this wonderful piece of art, I knew which of my yarns I'd be using. The one in the middle is La Bien Aimee Merino Singles in Romance and the other two are a Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 set in Elated. I absolutely love how it turned out and how the yarns worked together.

Helen has done it again with this design, I had so much fun knitting this shawl, I obviously can't give anything away as it's a mystery but I would definitely knit another one. I enjoyed choosing the yarns, looking at the impressionist art and the knitting. There are pages of inspiration over on the Ravelry Forum if you want to take a look.

Helen used a set especially dyed for the design by Kristen of Voolenvine Yarns, she is having another update today 31st March at 10am ET. They do sell out very quickly so if you don't manage to nab one, Circus Tonic Handmade was dying some sets inspired by the Belle Èpoque.

Helen has kindly given me a pattern to giveaway to one lucky knitter. I will pick a winner after the Easter weekend if you can just leave a comment and your Ravelry name.


Have a great Easter Weekend

Monday 15 January 2018

The Year of Socks.

Hello there, I hope 2018 has been good to you so far. Well, last year was the year of socks for me, I added up how many pairs that I knit in 2017. I knit 18 pairs of socks!!!!! I can't quite believe it myself but they were my go-to project and found plain vanilla socks very meditative and therapeutic for me. If you want to see all the different designs that I knit, you can check out my Ravelry project page.

These are one of the last pairs I finished, they are one of my favourite socks that I've knit. I used Grundl Hot Socks Pearl Colour, it has cashmere in the merino/nylon blend and is exceptionally soft. I knit the leg fairly long, I wanted a nice, cosy pair for the winter. I used Hot Socks Pearl for the cuff, heels and toes the solid colour version of this beautiful yarn.

The last pair of the year was my Christmas Stripe Socks, knit with Knit Picks Felici in Spring Blooms so not officially a Christmas colour but it reminded me of the bright vintage colours.

I have cast on a pair of socks this year but I definitely won't be knitting 18 as I want to knit more garments. Again, I'm knitting with Knit Picks Felici in Chesire Grin, rather than doing a plain sock though, I'm using Vanilla Bean Striped Sock by Emily O'Grady, which is more of a recipe than a pattern. It relies on that you know how to knit a basic sock but I love the simple slip stitches that break up the stripes.

What are your favourite things to knit? Is there a pattern that you go back to again and again?

Have a great week and happy knitting.

The Handmade Sock Society 3 by Helen Stewart

Hello there, I just wanted to let you all know that Season 3 of  The Handmade Sock Society  is available for pre-sale  here  with an Ea...