A Knitterly Crossword Puzzle!

Do you like crossword puzzles? I do! I Iove almost any type of word puzzle. So, this week I’ve made a knitting-themed crossword puzzle. You can download it here.

If you get stuck on any of the answers, I’ll start a thread in the #SockStar Facebook group where we can help each other out. You can find the #SockStar Facebook group here.

Also, the August Anniversary Pattern sale starts today! Several patterns that will be celebrating anniversaries this month are 20% off until August 31st, 2019. You can find the bundle of sale patterns and links here.

New Pattern Alert!

Say hello to Pretty On the Inside!

Pretty On The Inside is a completely reversible sock. Even the heel and toe are reversible. You knit one pair of socks, but have two pair when you’re done! The colourwork effect is achieved with slipped stitches, so only one colour is used each round. There are no floats and no stranded colourwork. 

Pretty On The Inside is worked cuff-down and is just simple enough that you can binge watch your favourite show while bringing them to life. This sock features a reversible, garter-stitch, short-row heel and reversible,  garter-stitch, star toe. Instructions are included for 5 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.

The stitch pattern is both written and charted, and the instructions are needle-neutral so you can use your preferred method for working in the round.

You can download Pretty On The Inside with a 20% discount until Monday August 12th, 2019 (no coupon code required, the discount will be applied automagically at checkout).

Say Hello To Circumvent!

Circumvent has been released into the world…

Circumvent is an experiment in sock construction that challenges the idea that socks have to be either cuff-down or toe-up. This pattern is designed to complement self-striping, self-patterning, or heavily variegated yarn, though it’s just as interesting in a solid or tonal.

The heel is worked first, and is round with evenly distributed increases. This heel is most comfortable for feet with narrow ankles and insteps.

Because our bodies are all so beautifully different from each other, and we have so many wonderfully diverse foot anatomies, there is an alternate heel option that may accommodate a wider instep and ankle. Have fun trying them both to see which one works for your foot.

After the heel, the leg is worked as it would be for a toe-up sock, then the foot and toe are worked as they would be for a cuff-down sock.

This is an advanced-intermediate pattern. Knowledge of sock and foot anatomies as well as the ability to read stitches is required.

You can download Circumvent with a 20% discount until Wednesday July 31st, 2019 (no coupon code required, the discount will be applied automagically at checkout).

Let’s Have A Pattern Sale!

In honour of my upcoming 7th anniversary as a knitwear designer, I'm having monthly anniversary sales. Right now, 6 of the patterns that are celebrating anniversaries this month are 20% off until Wednesday July 31st, 2019 (no coupon code required). You can find the bundle of July Anniversary Sale Patterns on Ravelry by clicking here, or on my website by clicking here.

Name This Pattern & Win This Pattern!

This pattern will be released on July 25th and needs a good name! Currently it's affectionately referred to as 'July 25th' which is a sad name for a sock pattern.

Suggest a name, and if I choose it, I will give you this pattern and one other pattern of your choice from my back catalogue.

To enter, leave your suggestion(s) in the comments on either the Instagram post, Facebook post, or #SockStar Facebook group post. The winner will be announced on all three platforms on Friday July 19th, 2019 and again in my Newsletter on July 25th, 2019.

Happy Knitting!

Say Hello To Ex Animo!

Ex Animo has been released into the world!

Ex Animo (pronounced: X-on-ee-moh) is Latin for ‘from the heart’. These socks are intended to be a knitted hug for your feet, a woolly expression of love and support. The all-over ribbing is designed to accommodate every part of your foot, and the arch shaping provides a little bit of extra structure and support through the instep.

Ex Animo is worked from the cuff down and features a non-euclidian heel that doesn’t required any gusset stitches to be picked up, arch shaping immediately after the heel turn, and a rounded toe. The entire sock is worked in 2x2 ribbing, including the toe which is grafted closed.

Instructions are included for 5 circumferences and the foot length is customizable. The shaping instructions are both written and charted, and the instructions are needle neutral so you can use your preferred needle style and method for working in the round.

You can download Ex Animo with a 20% discount until Monday July 1st, 2019 (no coupon required)!

Neko Bamboo Flex Needles Review

Disclaimer: This product was given to me for the purpose of reviewing them. I did not pay for the product. All opinions in this article are mine and I have not received any form of payment or compensation other than the needles. The links in this article are not affiliate links, I don’t benefit in any way if you click them.

neko bamboo needle review.jpg

Recently, I was gifted a set of Neko Bamboo Flex Needles from Neko. I’ve previously tried their Neko curved DPNs, so I’m going to start by saying that the Bamboo Flex Needles are a completely different knitting experience than the curved DPNs, so whether your opinion of the plastic curved DPNs is good or bad, I recommend trying the Bamboo Flex Needles before forming an opinion.  

How Do They Work?

Bamboo Flex DPNs are a set of 3 needles with bamboo tips and a flexible plastic cable between the tips, quite similar to the Addi Flexi-Flips. These needles are designed specifically for working small circumference in the round (think: socks, mitts, baby hats, baby sleeves). The stitches are divided between 2 needles and the third needle is used for knitting. These needles aim to combine the benefits of working with DPNs: short needles and no long cables, with the benefits of working with magic loop: only 2 needles with stitches, less frequent and less fiddly needle changes.  

The bamboo flex needles and the package they arrived in

The bamboo flex needles and the package they arrived in

I used these needles to work a sock with unique heel construction and after using them for 8-10 hours, here’s what I learned:

What I Like

  • The bamboo feels lovely! I don’t know why, but for the past 2 years or so, I’ve gravitated to metal needles and I’d forgotten how warm bamboo needles are and how gentle they are on the hands.  

  • According to their website, the bamboo and plastic used in these needles is eco-friendly and the plastic is fully recyclable.

  • The cables are colour coded so you know what size they are. I love this feature and hope it becomes an industry standard. If your needles become intermingled (it happens to all of us), you won’t have to use a needle gauge to put the sets back together.  

  • These are great cable needles when you’re in a pinch. I had another project with cables on the go while I was testing these needles and I found myself reaching for the bamboo flex needle more than once when I was working cables and it did a great job. (I’ve since learned that Neko actually makes cable needles).  

  • They’re very portable and the curved shape and sticky cable means that stitches won’t fall off the needles when you’re not using them and while they’re in transit.  

  • The joins are super-smooth. The joins are so smooth that it’s difficult to distinguish a seam where they are attached. No snagging stitches. Not once.

What Could Be Improved

  • Like their plastic curved DPNs, the bamboo flex needles are not available in quarter sizes. This is a problem for me because I usually use 2.25 mm (US 1) needles when I knit socks. I reliably get a gauge of 8 stitches per round in stockinette. I wasn’t able to get gauge with the 2.5 mm (US 1.5) needles they sent me. To compensate, I went down a circumference size on the sock I was making, but this is a deal breaker for me because I’m set in my ways and like a reliable gauge.

  • The tips could be sharper. I wouldn’t use these tips for lace or cabling without a needle.

  • The cable is ‘sticky’ which is great if you are a knitter who tends to drop stitches, but it means frequently stopping to help move the stitches along the cable toward the tip of the needle. I found this frustrating, as it interrupted my flow, slowing me down.

  • If you lose a needle, the remaining 2 needles aren’t particularly useful anymore (except they make great cable needles). This method of working in the round requires 3 needles. Unless you have multiple sets and can sub a spare needle in when necessary.  

In Summary

Compared to Neko’s plastic curved DPNs, I really prefer the bamboo flex needles. The quality of the needles is great, the bamboo feels therapeutic and the joins are smooth. To add them to my regular needle rotation, I’d need a wider range of available sizes, a less ‘sticky’ cable and sharper tips.

Have you tried the new bamboo flex needles by Neko? What do you think?

New Pattern Alert!

Rain-Streaked Windows has been released into the world…

This stitch pattern combined with the colour of this yarn reminds me of the long, diagonal streaks created by raindrops landing on the side windows of a car in motion.

Rain-Streaked Windows is worked cuff down and features a dip stitch pattern that is mirrored on the other sock. If you’ve never worked dip stitches before, the pattern includes a link to a video of me demonstrating the technique.

Rain-Streaked Windows features heel flap and gusset construction, with the stitch pattern continuing on the heel flap of the sock. The dip stitches continue on the top of the foot, and the sock ends with a rounded toe that is grafted closed.

This pattern has been tech edited and test knit. Instructions are included for 5 circumferences, and foot length is customizable. Instructions for the stitch pattern are both written and charted and are needle-neutral so you can use your preferred needle style and method of knitting in the round.

You can download Rain-Streaked Windows with a 20% discount until Monday May 27th, 2019. You can find the pattern here.  

In Other News…

The covers for my book, Footnotes have been revealed! I'm so excited to release this book into the world!  

You can find a lookbook with photos of all the socks in the book here.  If you'd like to sign up to be notified when the ebook and paperback are available for pre-order and release, you can sign up here. 

I'm in the final stages of checking proofs from various printers, making last minutes edits, and figuring out the logistics of getting wholesale orders to the LYSs around the world who want to stock them. 

Producing 1 pattern is a much different process than producing a book of 11 patterns. One thing I've learned is that shipping proof copies from anywhere outside Canada to anywhere inside Canada is a longer-than-expected process. For this reason, I've moved the release date from June 1st to June 13th.  I really want to ensure the best quality possible before it's released.   

A Mother's Day Sale With A Bonus

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and in celebration of women who nurture (people, animals, or something else), Mitochondrial is 20% off until Sunday May 12th, 2019 (no coupon code required) with bonus, printable sock wrappers.

These sock wrappers aren’t just for socks, they’re great for wrapping any small knitted gift. Mitochondrial is worked cuff down and features a double helix DNA strand cable on the front of the leg and top of the foot of the sock. The ribbed cuff disappears in a ‘V’ shape on the back of the leg just before the heel flap. Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and foot length is customizable. The stitch pattern is both written and charted. The instructions are needle-neutral to accommodate your preferred needle style and method of working in the round.

Do You Wear Your Heart On Your Feet? ❤️👣

Heart & Sole is 20% off until Thursday February 14th, 2019 (no coupon code required).

A knitterly alternative to wearing your heart on your sleeve, you can express your love for hand knit socks, yarn, and someone special with this cozy, fun sock pattern that uses mosaic knitting to create heart motifs along the front and back leg of the socks.

Slipped stitches are used to create the heart motifs, which means there is no stranded colour work and each row is knit using only one colour.

The heel is added after the rest of the sock is finished so the alternating stripe pattern is not interrupted. Instructions are included for 3 circumferences, and the foot length is customizable. You can find Heart & Sole here.

When you love a dog, you have a lot of very good days and one very bad day.
— W. Bruce Cameron

This past week has been a difficult one at chez Gervais, our sweet Maggie passed away on Saturday. I feel like I’ve lost a soul mate and the light in the world is a little bit dimmer right now. She was the best companion and an amazing friend. I felt the need to memorialize her on my website. Sleep well, Maggie. Rest in peace.

New Pattern Release: Advanced Edition!

Equanimity has been released into the world…

Equanimity is the ability to remain calm and composed while under stress.

Manifesting this design from a picture in my head to a finished pair of socks with a pattern has tested my equanimity more than any other sock I’ve designed.

Equanimity was originally written as a stranded colour work pattern, but the test knitters and myself really weren't enjoying catching floats on the purl rows and the sample knitter became so frustrated that she packed up and delivered a ½ finished sock to my doorstep late on a cold November night. As one test knitter gently said, "This pattern is not for the faint of heart." It was widely agreed that the design was great and a pattern needed to exist for it, but it wasn't working as written.  

So, since Equanimity was not achieving my goals which are to always create designs and write patterns that you love, allow you to express your creativity, help you to relax with a hobby that soothes your soul, and results in a beautiful, finished pair of socks, I halted the test knit and went back to the drawing board (in this case the drawing board is graph paper). I re-worked the pattern to use mosaic knitting because more slipped stitches means fewer long floats (and the frustration they can cause) on purl rows, and working with one colour on each round is more relaxing than working with 2 colours on each round, and the pattern still results in a beautiful finished pair of socks. 

You can download Equanimity with a 20% discount until Monday January 28th, 2019 - no coupon code required. You can find the pattern here.

In Other News…

If you're a fan of the Outlander (the books, the seires, or both), then you'll love this blog post by The Loopy Ewe that features Outlander inspired knits.  I'm proud and honoured that Sassenach was chosen as one of the featured patterns.  The patterns are lovely, and Sassenach is in great company.  

My friend and fellow designer, Lindsay, featured an interview with me on her blog recently.  Lindsay is the super talented, environmentally conscious knitwear designer behind the Knit Eco Chic brand and I'm thrilled to make an appearance on her website.  If you'd like to learn more about me and see some photos of my pets, you can find the blog post here. Those 2 troublemakers kitties in the above photo are our cats, Sammy and Dean.