Ooh, I really love that moment when you start a new ball or skein of yarn – and especially when the yarn in question is a hand-dyed beauty like this one I bought at Yarndale! It’s sock yarn (of course) but much posher than the yarns I usually knit with.
It’s superwash merino (hooray for superwash!), nylon and Stellina. It’s the Stellina in the yarn that sold it to me – I simply couldn’t resist a yarn that sparkles. Yes! I will have sparkly socks! (And it’s made by Sparkleduck, how good is that?) You can just about see the fibres shining in the picture and in the not too distant future, they will be shining on my feet!
I had to show you this … look, even the label sparkles! It doesn’t take much to make me happy!
(I stood for a long time at the Sparkleduck stand with two skeins of yarn in my hand, really tempted by the other one but needing to have socks with a bit of bling. In the end, I bought both skeins. Having travelled all the way to Skipton to spend the day looking at yarn, I decided it would have been rude not to J)
It seems to me that such special yarn needs a particular type of sock. I’ve had a look around on Ravelry but I’m really enjoying creating my own patterns at the moment so I’ve decided to work on another design of my own. Would you like to see?
I’ve been experimenting with stars – it seemed appropriate, given my twinkly yarn! I found a chart on Ravelry which has been perfect for what I want. I’ve played about with the shapes and changed some around a little, and I’ve been able to draw stars in all sorts of directions. (One of the cats decided to help out and if you look closely, you can see footprints in my galaxy!) For what I think is probably the first time ever, I have actually created a swatch to try out the shapes and see how they work in the yarn. I’m usually far too lazy to do any swatching, much preferring to assume that my tension is fine and leap straight in, but if I’m going to be sharing my patterns with you then I need to be less haphazard and make sure that I get it right. I’ve just used some leftover purple sock yarn for this rather than experimenting with my new yarn which may not be so forgiving of the amount of frogging I’ve been doing!
So far, I’ve been playing with purl stars on a knitted background …
and knitted stars on a purl background.
I don’t know how well you can see them as they’re in various stages of completion – once I worked out whether they were going to be what I wanted to not I either finished the stars or abandoned them mid-knit and moved onto the next one.
I’d love to be better at drawing designs before starting work on them, like fashion designers do with their preliminary sketches, but although my Mum was an artist and small daughter is showing signs of following in her footsteps, that particular skill passed me by. So all my designs stay in my head until I can manage to get them down in some sort of pattern format and this one will be no different. I know what I want to do, and hopefully my socks will look like the ones in my imagination when they are finished!
I’ve been testing out a few ideas for the heels too. I know there are many different types of heels (and one day we’ll do a short-row heel sock together – very useful for socks with contrasting heels and toes) but I always find myself returning to a heel flap. I find them easy to do and I like the way that I can create a cushioned heel very easily. Yes, yes, I know that you can do that on other heels too, I just like heel flaps!
I started with my usual heel stitch which creates a durable, comfortable heel and it looks fine …
but then I tried out a heel flap made with star stitch. Ooh, I do like this effect! Little tiny woolly stars! Well, wouldn’t you want a star stitch heel on a pair of starry socks made with beautiful, blingy, sparkly yarn? I think I do. I am a bit concerned about how you would darn this heel, but in all the years I’ve been knitting socks it’s never been the heel flap that I’ve had to mend, always the toes or the base of the heel. I’m inclined to take the risk. What do you think?
So there you are. My new socks in progress. The next job is to wind the skein into a ball. I LOVE doing this! I don’t have any equipment for it, I just drape the skein across my knees or around my feet and start winding. It’s such a lovely, rhythmic, meditative thing to do and I’m always a little sad when I get to the end of the skein. Then I need to check the gauge on my swatch against the gauge of my sparkly yarn before I get started. Oh, and I need to draw out my stars again in the pattern that I want them on my sock. Perhaps I need to do that first. Actually, I don’t think it matters as long as I do it before I start knitting!
I’ve never created a sock with a pattern like this one before and I’m really enjoying the process. Knowing that I’m going to be sharing it with you is good for me too, as it is making me more considered about what I’m doing and the order that I’m doing it in, and it’s also stopping me from giving up if it doesn’t work out first time (or second, or third … I’ve knitted a LOT of stars! J).
I’ll keep you posted!