January always makes me want new beginnings and challenges. How about you?
It is time for haircuts, deep cleaning, and new projects. I’ve already re-organised the stash. The bathroom is all sparkly clean. Now, you’ll find me haunting wool stores, looking for the perfect patterns (or making my own if they don’t exist yet), sketching, swatching, and casting on lots of new, exciting projects. What inspires this?
In January, everything slows down after the Christmas rush of baking, family, and finishing those lovely, gifty knits – the creative energy starts flowing. Most often I have some time off work, which gives my mind that breathing space to relax properly. I know I’m finally fully relaxed when I start to think up new project ideas. (This comes just after the moment of complete boredom when you wonder what you used to do with your time before you worked!)
For me, part of this creativity is learning new things and finding new ways to do the same old stuff. Knitting is where I play with this – trying out new skills and challenges. This year I intend to tackle brioche knitting, which I’ve not done before. This is also when the design bug strikes!
The Amber Waves sock design was born about this time last year, filling that January creativity gap – I hope they inspire you as much as they did me.
They started with this beautiful, lush wool from the Knitting Goddess, a present from my husband.
Its perfect, golden sunshine colour acts as an antidote to the dull days of winter. The luxe fibre content does it’s part too, chasing away cold toes – alpaca, silk, cashmere, and yum. This wool is a complete dream to knit and wear. It’s soft and fluffy with a slight halo. And alpaca has insulating properties, just sayin’. The longer you wear them, the warmer you get.
I dove into my different stitch dictionaries looking for something as special as the yarn. When I surfaced, I had found this lovely overall Waves cable pattern and that Double Hearts twisted stitches cable pattern. Both cable patterns have a 16-row vertical repeat, which means they line up and it doesn’t take too long to work a full repeat.
Cables on socks, especially small 2 stitch cables, can be particularly annoying to work, as adding a cable needle to the mix can sometimes cause needle management issues. If you’ve not tried it before, why not use these socks as an excuse to try cabling without a cable needle? The pattern includes written instructions for working twisted st cables with a cable needle.
I’ll be publishing a tutorial on my blog shortly on how to work them without a cable needle – for now, check out Ysolda’s blog on it here: http://ysolda.com/blog/2014/5/8/technique-thursday-cabling-without-a-cable-needle.
I love how you can’t tell where the Twisted Hearts pattern ends or begins, like a Celtic cable, but quite delicate. The cabled heart shapes, while potentially cheesy, lend the socks a significance – the hearts are subtle. Someone you love could wear the socks without quite realising just how much love you’ve put in them, while being cosily enveloped in it.
I wanted a completely seamless knit, so I went for a toe-up construction, with an Afterthought Heel. The pattern has a link to a tutorial for Judy’s Magic Cast-on to get you started casting on, if you’ve not done it before. More importantly, there is a full tutorial of the Afterthought Heel process with written and pictorial instructions for each step. I promise it’s simpler than you think – you may never go back.
I hope this sock satisfies all your own desires to do new things in January and that the tutorials help you get there. Happy knitting!
(If you’d like to receive updates and subscriber-only offers from me, sign up for my newsletter here: http://www.petitchoufleurknits.co.uk. Soon, I’m planning to stop blogging new patterns and just announce via my newsletter. Blogs will be for new tutorials mostly.)