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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Winwick Mum Seasons yarn - all about the patterns!

Well, what a week it's been!  We've had ALL the seasonal weather here over the last seven days - sunshine, snow, rain, blustery winds ... I could have changed my socks several times every day and still not kept up with it all!

I promised that I would tell you about the patterns that go with the four new Seasons colourways (if by some chance you missed that blog post, you can find it here) and that's what this post is all about.



I said in my last post about colour inspiration that there's always a story and you won't be surprised to know that there's a story behind my pattern designs either.  I thought long and hard about how best to represent my choices of the colours for each yarn in a pattern, and I hope that as you read about them, they'll inspire to you some stories of your own!



Let's start with Spring again.

Spring Green is all about the new life as the Earth begins to wake up after the cold Winter months ...


those first green shoots that turn the world from brown to green, the earliest of the Spring flowers that bloom in the hedgerows.  It's time to break open the seed packets, start the Spring pruning, welcome the lighter nights and the warmer sun on our faces.

The pattern for the Spring Green yarn is called Fresh Shoots, and I think this sums the season up perfectly.  Not only are we thinking about what might be appearing in Nature, but it's the start of the astronomical year with the Spring (Vernal) Equinox which is, for some people, the start of the new year.  It's a chance for us to face the year ahead, make plans and reset those resolutions which didn't quite make it past the first few weeks of January!

The pattern itself is a cable pattern.  Oh, I love cables!  I love the way they twist the stitches and in this case, they match my story exactly ...

Where I grew up, there was a farm across the road from my house.  There it was, right in the middle of a new housing estate, and it never seemed odd to me that it was there - that's how we are as children, isn't it, we accept what we see much more readily.  Every day I would see a tractor go up and down the road in amongst the cars, and at the end of our road were the fields that belonged to the farm.  I can't tell you now exactly what was grown there - wheat, I think, oats, barley, turnips, potatoes ... carrots in an adjoining farmer's fields (I used to get up early to go with a friend to see if we could get in on the carrot picking - they were all picked by hand - and boost our pocket money but we never managed to get offered the job!) ... but they were all grown in fields that were ploughed in beautiful straight lines.

Sometimes, if the soil content was mostly clay, you would see where the blades of the plough had turned it over in a smooth fold, and where the soil was more sandy (ideal for carrots!), it would be less obvious, but the lines of the furrows were always arrow-straight.  

Fred, the farmer, was a champion ploughman who won trophies for his beautiful straight furrows, and although he is long-gone now, the memory of his straight ploughed lines came back to me when I was thinking about the pattern for this sock.  The cables are the turned earth and the rib lines are the furrows, and although there are no trophies for straight lines here, you always feel like a champion in hand knitted socks!



Summer Sunset was inspired by a real sunset, one that set the sky on fire with hues of pink, red, orange, peach ... every Summer colour you could think of!


We're very lucky that we can see the sun setting from our house and I've taken myself outside many times to watch the sun as it disappears, leaving a fiery glow behind that fades so much more slowly than the time it takes for the sun to set.

The pattern for the Summer Sunset yarn is called Sizzling Rays, and I wanted to choose something that represented the sunset without being too complicated because a sunset is magical all on it's own, and I love that the yarn absolutely represents that.

I always knew I was going to choose a lace pattern, something that was summery and delicate, nothing too bulky or fancy because when it's hot, we don't want either of those things!  I wanted to weave a little of those summer days into the pattern, those moments between day and night when the birds are still singing and the insects still buzzing, when after a gloriously hot day there's still enough heat in the air to feel blissful but there's a relief in the coolness that comes from the sun having gone down.

The lace pattern is a simple block that is worked at the top of the sock after a twisted rib cuff.  The heel is Eye of Partridge which I think is just right for those sunset colours as it's more subtle than the straight rib lines of heel stitch.  The lace stripe fits in perfectly with the stripes in the yarn so you can create your own sunset as all of the shades are colours that you will see as the sun goes down.  Even if you've never knitted lace before, you will manage this panel!



From Summer, we move to Autumn.  Sometimes it feel as if Autumn comes too soon, blowing in on a gale to rudely push Summer out of the way, blasting us with colder air and swirling leaves - but also bringing with it a riot of colour as the year turns.


This pattern is called Falling Hues and that's what we have in Autumn, isn't it?  Leaves of every hue which fall to litter the ground, providing food for the worms in the soil, a hiding place for squirrels to bury nuts, and a crunchy landscape for us to walk through.

I couldn't have created an Autumn pattern without including leaves!  I love the leafy walks that the dog and I take in the Autumn, and I love that wherever we go, the colours are similar even though the leaves are different.  One walk is through oak trees and although oak trees like to hold onto their leaves until the Spring, some fall in shades of brown and yellow; another is through chestnut trees which drop huge leaves in shades of red and gold.  In the garden, the leaves on the plants in the borders go through every Autumn shade and I love to see them.

Our dog doesn't like the leaves.  He picks his way delicately through them if he can't skirt around them and it makes me laugh every time I see him do this.  Our first dog, a Border Collie, adored the leaves and especially if you shuffled them with your feet and kicked them up for him to catch.  Autumn is all about the dog walks for me.

Falling Hues is a lace pattern that is worked in a central leafy panel, bordered on either side by twisted two-stitch cables that reminded me exactly of the way that sycamore keys twirl down to the ground.  As children, we used to say that if you caught one you could make a wish - it's harder than you might think!  We've got a large sycamore tree in the garden and although it drives me crazy to find seedlings around the garden (often when they're too big to pull out easily - I think they grow by stealth!), I do love to watch the keys as they helicopter down from the branches - and yes, sometimes I do still try to catch them!  Who doesn't need a wish from time to time? 😀



Finally, Winter and the season of ice and snow ... 


yes, yes, I know that Winter is often just wall to wall rain but for me, it will always be the season of ice and snow!  Having been inspired by my trip to the Ice Hotel in Sweden for the colours, I wanted to continue with the snowy theme for the pattern.

I think that out of all the miraculous things that Nature can do, the patterns that are created by ice are the most magical for me.  I am enthralled by close up images of snowflakes - how can it be that each one is different to another? - and by the way that frost creates those beautiful feathery patterns on glass overnight.  So delicate and yet so strong that ice can be used to create buildings - but with a temperature rise it turns back into water, something fluid that runs away without a container to hold it.  Magic!

How to create a pattern that is all of these things?  The pattern is called Frosted Ice and I wanted something that was strong yet delicate, solid yet fluid ... I turned back to lace patterns but not to leafy, feathery shapes.  No, I wanted something that was much more fractured that that, more like the shapes that you see when a puddle has frozen over and the ice has created angles that fit together in the most perfect natural jigsaw.  I've used the same two-stitch cables that you'll find in the Falling Hues pattern but this time, they represent the strength of the ice, even when it looks fragile.  


Each of the patterns has both written instructions and charts so you can use whichever you prefer.  The book is spiral bound too and it's 9 in x 7 in (22.5 cm x 17.5 cm), making it a good size to keep in your project bag.



There's a giveaway this week on the West Yorkshire Spinners Instagram and Facebook pages where you can win a set of the four yarns and the pattern book with another set for a friend.  It closes on Friday 19th February at 1pm so you'll need to be quick to enter! 

I'm going to be doing a takeover on the West Yorkshire Spinners social media accounts on Sunday 21 February so I'll be announcing the winners of the giveaway then, and also doing a Q&A if you've got any questions!  (A social takeover means that WYS are going to let me loose on their social media accounts ... they must trust me! 😀)



It's been lovely to see the Seasons yarns appearing on needles already - I hope you are enjoying knitting with it, I'm really looking forward to seeing your socks! xx


7 comments:

  1. Christine- each pattern and choice of yarn is stunning. My favorite is Summer Sunset/Sizzling Rays. You must be so pleased with this collection!

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  2. I am very excited about the Seasons pattern book. I am in the USA. How can I order it? I am especially excited about the Fall color sock yarn.

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  3. love ALL those patterns!
    i do hope to one that pattern book one day, will it be available to all stockists of the wool too? or i may try here again to purchase a few items.
    wonderful post
    thanx for sharing

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  4. Love the summer socks, it’s my birthday soon and I am going to be dropping big hints I would like the book and the wool to go with it.

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  5. Your photos are a delight! xxx

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  6. Ooh l cant decide which pattern and colour ld start with, so it would have to be Spring. I've already bought the little book and 3 balls of your Christmas yarn and they're sitting looking at me. The reason is lm a very slow sock knitter and lm taking part in the Rainbow sock Chronicles and it takes me a month to knit one pair. I've just finished knitting the toe on the 2nd sock and l have to upload for tomorrow. But l will be ordering the 4 colours and the book at some stage, probably when my kids go back to school in April. I so love the little spiral bound pattern books you've designed, they are the perfect size and so easy to keep your place. Christine l have a question for you. How do you knit socks for people as gifts. Do you need their ball circumference, shoe size and calf width or do you need their foot template, or do you use a sock ruler or an adjustable foot sizing sock blocker? I would really appreciate it if you could give me some advice. Thank you.

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    1. Spring has certainly been a popular choice, it's the colour I've seen knitted up most so far! I don't think it matters how long something takes to knit, just that you enjoy it.

      When knitting gifts, if you're able to get a ball of the foot measurement (and maybe calf too, depending on the person), it will be easier for you to work out the stitch cast on number. If it's not a surprise, you'll find that most people are delighted to be asked as it means it's a bespoke gift for them! You'll also need their shoe size so that you can work out the length to knit to (there are charts on shoe shop websites that will tell you the length of each size so you know how far to knit before the toes). If it's a secret gift, you'll still need the shoe size at least but you'll have to make a guess about the cast on number based on your own feet - you're probably not going to be far off! Hope that helps! xx

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