Brighton Dome socks

There's a fabulous festival of all things wool happening this summer not too far from where I live - Unwind Brighton. As part of the run up to the event, the organizers are holding a design competition (vote here). Meet my design: the Brighton Dome socks

These socks started with a lovely skein of yarn from Kettle Yarn Co - her fabulous Twist sock yarn. 

I got this yarn in my goody bag from the Small Wool Gathering last autumn, and wasn't really sure what to do with it. When the contest came along I balled it up and started playing around with stitch patterns. There was one that really stood out as a clear winner. 

This stitch pattern is a basic chevron pattern that is broken up by two rows of reverse stockinette, creating gentle arches. I was casting about for a good name when Allison noticed that they looked a lot like the Brighton Dome, where a number of the events for Unwind are being held. Brighton Dome socks they are for ever more. 

If you'd like to vote on the eight shortlisted designs, you can find the entire line up on the Unwind Brighton blog linked above. I'm thrilled to be in such good company, as the rest of the designs are gorgeous!

Fiber Friday: Porpoise Fur Socks

So, those socks I started at the Small Wool Gathering last Sunday evening?
Autopilot socks
Finished. I know, right? There are bonuses to knitting worsted weight socks...but here they are, all done,
with almost perfectly matched stripes (pats spinning self on the back),
a great fitting heel,
Autopilot socks
and absolutely no yarn left over.
Autopilot socks
Pattern: Autopilot Socks by Amy R. Singer
Yarn: handspun Porpoise Fur Cheviot in "FRET BFP-RFP". I split the length of fiber down the middle vertically, spun the singles with a short forward draw, and chain plied.
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm circular needles, magic looped
Gauge: dunno. I just started with a smaller needle size then I would normally use to get a tight fabric, cast on a bunch of stitches for the toe and increased until it was big enough.

Now I am very sad because I can not find my matching skeins of Turkey Day Cheviot which are also going to be turned into matchy matchy striped socks. Also for me. Bliss!

SWG Recap, in brief

This past Friday I hopped in a car and drove with Alli and Karen to Peddington Manor near Berkeley, for The Small Wool Gathering, an event that grew out of the cancellation of this autumn's Plug-and-Play Pembrokeshire retreat.

I picked the girls up just before lunch and we headed westward, with stops at Avebury,
and a lovely shop in Bath, called (appropriately enough) Wool.
Finally we arrived at the SWG, to be greeted by handknit washclothes and big fluffy beds,
not to mention divine food in copious amounts.
Saturday morning, after a much-longer-then-planned-or-anticipated run (10K does not equal 5K in any universe),
I sat down to Amy's latest sock class - Autopilot Socks (pattern here).
Yarn and fancy Alice in Wonderland stitch markers from Inked Yarn on Etsy, one of the fabulous GLYC sponsors

I've knit a lot of socks, in a lot of different ways, and I think I have a new favorite go-to pattern. This is a toe-up recipe that you knit to your own specific measurements (determined mostly by trying the socks on as you go) and uses a new-to-me short row technique that I love. On Sunday afternoon, I cast on for a pair in handspun worsted weight (more on those later).

Saturday afternoon we had a class on photographing your knitting, aka digital cameras for non-photographers who use macro all the time. Part of the class was lecture, part was practical, which had us wandering around the grounds of the Manor draping knitwear over walls, fences, plants, horses, and (in my case) recycling bins.
Then there was more glorious food and hanging about with yarn. By the end of the evening on Saturday I had a sleeve and a half done on my sweater project:
Sunday morning was spinning, more specifically spinning silk. Aka: porpoise's spinning kryptonite. We learned all about where silk comes from and how it is commercially farmed in China. Then we got to dive into some silk hankies. I've played a bit with hankies before, but this is the first time I've ever gotten real live yarn out of them.
There was also some gorgeous tussah silk top from Sweet Georgia in the goody bags, which is going to be next up.

Sunday afternoon was all about the hanging around and knitting/spinning/napping. We had grand plans to go for a walk with Jacqui (who lives nearby), but come time it was pissing down rain and we all just hung around instead. I cast on a sock, and by the end of Sunday, this is what I had completed:
Sweater for Mom, spindleful of silk hankies spun up, 4 oz of Hello Yarn Finn spun up, and most of a sock. I finished the sock yesterday and am most of the way through sock two, thanks to an after school Year 4 music concert and hanging about watching Harry Potter movies with Boo, who was home sick. Sadly most of my good pictures are on my real camera, which is somewhere in Basingstoke with my spinning wheel, and I had to abandon it to Catherine's mercy when we needed to fit a fourth person in the car on the way home. Plans are afoot to sneak down her way and retrieve it soon.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, with a chance to catch up with a number of P3 almunae, meet some new folks who were brave enough to join us, great classes from Amy, and wonderful catering/organization from Catherine and Jenny. Thanks so much to all of you - I had a blast!

And we have a winner!

Hooray Carroll! The random number generator picked your comment for the copy of American Sock Knitting. I'll PM you on Ravelry and get your mailing address, and I will post out the book to you as soon as I can.

Thanks to all the commenters - I loved your ideas about sock designs. It's been a while since I actually designed a pair of socks, and I think your comments have sparked some ideas!

Have just noticed that pre-orders have been extended to the 25th of July, so apologies to anyone who comes along after this post!

New pattern: Snowy Pines

I am very excited to announce that I have a sock pattern coming out in the new book American Sock Knitting.
Photo (c) American Gift Knitting

This book is a collection of 13 sock patterns inspired by different states, including socks from Ohio, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey and Massachusetts. There is so much variety in the collection - cables, lace, colorwork - so there's something to appeal to everyone.  The book also includes some travelogues from Beth's favorite places and five recipes reflecting different regions of the United States.

My contribution, Snowy Pines, was inspired by the woods near my grandparent's house in Maine. It is a great project for a new sock knitter - it's worked in worsted weight yarn (so nice and fast to knit!) from the top down, and includes a stranded colorwork pine tree and snowflake design.

The book is now in preorders until July 15th with a reduced price and free US shipping, and copies will be shipping out soon after that. And since I'm going to have an extra copy, why don't we have a little contest?

Post in the comments about your favorite place, and what sort of sock would be inspired by that place - for example, would it have a lacy motif? Maybe something more rugged, like cables? Or would you need a particular yarn color to capture that place in a sock? I leave the entries open until the end of preorders, July 15th, and then draw a winner. Please note that I won't be getting my hands on the book until mid-August, so there will be a bit of delay in getting it out to you.

And now? Back to carding...