"Sapphires" A new sock knitting pattern, or how I learned to stop worrying and love knitted sock design

Oh, I’m so excited! Seriously, big time, excited. Today I launched my first peer reviewed (ie test knit), big time sock pattern. It’s legit yo.

This sock pattern entered my brain when I found myself the owner of some lovely Cascade Heritage Paints in a gorgeous, glowing, blue sapphire color. (It had somehow made itself into my bag at a visit to Webs in Noho, MA… seemed to happen to me a lot). I knit up a pretty cool pattern called Brienne by Purrlescent, but I wanted more. I wanted… more sapphires. Sapphires…

I started looking through books, getting ideas and inspiration. I found what I wanted in a classic Barbara Walker Book of Knitting Patterns. Honestly. These books. My dear MIL gave me a set for Christmas one year, and I am forever in her debt.

The pattern was in a lozenge shape, and I thought that if hooked together correctly, maybe with some ribbing in between, I could make a sock.

So I knit a little test swatch on my favorite rose colored #2 DPNs (I am a knitting nerd do not judge me), found my gauge, did a little math to figure out how many I’d need to cast on, threw caution to the wind and started knitting.

The knitting was the easy part. I took notes as I went. I tried to be specific and organized. I am not that person at heart. In the end I had a lovely sock… and the notes from hell. This is when the real fun started. I looked at sock patterns on Ravelry. In books. I reached out to knitting communities on Facebook (thanks Knitting Heart Pattern Group!) Provided with some inspiration I made an outline and tackled the written form. Really not that hard, just extremely tedious. I don’t know about anyone else, but my eyes tend to glaze when reading knitting patterns unless I’m actually knitting. I talked myself through this section. So far so good.

However, the chart. I knew what they looked like, I knew how to knit from one… but how to CREATE a chart? So internetting I went. Now, I bet *real* knit designers have programs for this sort of thing, but I was improvising. My first time. Learning experience. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this really excellent tutorial and excel template from Color Yarns LLC that I could adapt to my needs. They rock.

So now I had a chart… but how in the world to make all the knitting notations? I sure didn’t see all those dots, y slashes etc etc on my QWERTY keyboard… Back to the internets! This time I found Knitter’s Symbols Fonts by David Xenakis. I was able to download the font, download the crazy looking key sheet, reformat my excel sheet (Font 14, Bold, Column Width 0.16″, Height 0.12″ in case you were wondering) and viola!!! I could begin filling in the chart with my pattern.

I did some figuring and re-figuring on how to explain some aspects of these socks… especially beginning and ending the ovals. It is fairly intuitive but a little tricky to put into words. Once I had a version I was more or less happy with, I tossed it to my plucky test knitters Sherry and Nissa. They knocked this thing out of the park confirming gauge, finding mistakes, and making sure the pattern made sense. Seriously. They are amazing.

The final hurdle? Getting the final .pdf file from 25.7 Mb to 747 Kb. It had to do with embedded image size and resolution. It was solved at midnight. Don’t even ask.

So here we are. Sock pattern number one. I hope to create more in the future – hey – I already know what column width and height to use! Please let me know what you think and if you have any comments or questions – I usually respond quickly! Thanks for the support and help oh internet peoples!

Ravelry Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sapphires
or

Etsy Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/230836398

Enjoy!!

Launching Something New : Knitted Play Bracelets

I’ve been working hard at the Etsy shop recently – updating photos, SEO (should I think about a post on this?), and promoting in and outside of Etsy. I also had an idea for a new product, inspired by my own daughter’s desire to play with my yarn. Not that I am upset about her playing with yarn – she just seems to be taking after me 🙂

Anyhow, she wanted some “lovely jewelry” to wear, and I wanted to make her something that would last through her hard wear and boisterous play. I grabbed a pair of double pointed needles and started knitting i cords. A few days and some cycles through the steam washer later I had something I was happy with, and something I could hardly get her to part with!

I love these little wool bangles – they are bright, colorful, soft and durable. They can be made in a rainbow of colors and variety of sizes. My daughter attends a Waldorf style preschool and toys like these fit right into the sensory toy theory and encouragement of creative play. They’ve also been proving popular with Etsy buyers and folks on Facebook. I especially like the custom orders that have been rolling in.

My next adventure is trying a rainbow pattern in one bracelet… we’ll see how that goes. I’m also toying with the idea of making a tutorial for these guys – any interest?

If YOU want a set of bracelets feel free to contact me in the comments, through my facebook at http://www.facebook.com/knittyvet or Etsy at http://www.knittyvet.etsy.com -Kendra