Saturday, 24 June 2017

Her Grace, Mary, Queen of Scots

...bids you come and have a gander at these...

mary, queen of socks, by yours truly
The blurb:
Mary, Queen of Socks is a companion pattern to Gloriana (my socks inspired by Elizabeth I) and is another design in the series inspired by costume and clothing through the ages. The main beaded motif is an adaptation of embroidered embellishments seen on the gown of a 12- or 13-year-old Mary in a sketch by Clouet c.1555, and the cabled eyelet pattern running parallel to the main motif is a nod towards the famous six ropes of black pearls given to Mary for the occasion of her first marriage (pearls that were coveted, then owned by Elizabeth I). 
This is a toe-up, beaded, lace, and cable sock, with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, and comes in four sizes from small to XL.
black version: the knitting goddess UK 4-ply sock 75/25 in 'onyx'
and holiday yarns flocksock sock in 'bloody mary mix'
white version: ice yarns freddo aplpaca lux in 'silver white'
The main pattern is worked in one colour, and for this version I chose a cream and silver yarn as a nod towards the opulent gown in the Clouet portrait, but my second version used an onyx yarn to represent the colour Mary was known to wear continuously after the death of the first husband. The chains or red that I chose at the side are a not to the (possibly apocryphal) tale that before her beheading, Mary disrobed her customary black to reveal a crimson under-gown - the colour of Catholic martyrdom.

The centrepiece of the sock design is adapted from the gold embroidery found on the 12- or 13-year-old Mary's dress in a portrait by Couet c.1555,
and is flanked by two rows of stylised pearls representing the famous six strings of black pearls given to Mary on her wedding day to Francois, dauphin of France, by Catherine de Medici. These are described as "six cordons of large pearls, strung as paternosters [...] These are for the most part like black muscades (grapes)." You can see one of these strings in a portrait after Clouet (below), and if you want to see all six worn together, check out Elizabeth I in the Armada portrait!
The cables represent something a little more sinister - bindings for captivity, and in my onyx version, showing the colour of the under-dress Mary is reported to have worn under the black satin dress she wore for her execution - crimson red, the colour of blood and Catholic martyrdom.
The sock starts at the toe (with a nice easy cast-on like the Turkish cast-on that I used) where the square motif and pearls are introduced early on:
Knowing my horrifying way with yarn-overs at the best of time, you will no doubt be very impressed with this little effort! I always try to end up working towards my own strengths, or trying to cover up my weaknesses in my own patterns, and I think not shying away from my ancient yo adversary in this instance has... helped. Well, you can see the pattern I was aiming for, at least. I call this a WIN in my book. Or at least a draw!

You have the option to add a bead at the mid-point of the cross in the square part of the main motif, but if you prefer to keep the eyelet pattern complete throughout, or only add beads to the leg of the sock, there's an option for that in the pattern.
I chose the wonderful Fish Lips Kiss heel again, as it just seems to work. Like I said in my Shirley Temple Socks post, I've never made such a well-fitting sock! You do have to pay $1 for the heel pattern, but I will continue to laud it to the heavens and say that I think it'll be the best sock-related $1 you'll ever spend!
The leg section gives a bit of lee-way regarding where you start the pattern at the back. The directions for the heel (which I can't really divulge here, per the instructions of the heel pattern's designer) is to continue after the construction with another inch or stockinette stitch before carrying on with the pattern up the back of the leg.

Well. You can see above that in the white version (above) I started the 'pearl' pattern at the first crossover immediately after the heel (on the same row as the front) but didn't start the main motif pattern until I hit the first round of the internal beaded square. In fact, I did the start of this motif in exactly the same way I started the toe, just with the correct amount of stitches either side! But how and where you start is completely up to you, as long as you're working the same round as the front!
The onyx version continued the pearl motif at the same point as the white version (at the first crossover of the 'pearl' pattern) but waited an inch to start the main motif, which I began at round 1 when I reached it at the front.


I chose to start the colour-work section at the first bind stitch after the heel, and using 2 balls of the contrasting colour, one for each side, I slowly worked the chain cable. The key is to keep the yarn taut, but not too taut. I have one tester who decided to work the entire bind section from the toe to the cuff in a contrasting colour, with a couple of changes to stitch placement on the sole (details on the link to the project HERE), and the effect is also pretty special.

And that's pretty much it. The cuff is more of a recipe than an actual set of instructions; basically you continue the knit stitches as twisted knit stitches, the purls and yo's as purls, and the bind cable as the rest of the sock, but without the cables. Simple!
For the white version I stopped after row 10 and continued:
p1, (ktbl, p2) x2, B3 (or k3 depending on which round you're on), p2, B3/k3, p2, ktbl, p2, ktbl, p1, ktbl x2, (p1, ktbl) x3, p1, ktbl x2.
and for the onyx version I stopped on round 24 and continued:
p1, (ktbl, p2) x2, (k3/B3, p2) x2, ktbl, p2, ktbl, (p1, ktbl) x4.
for about an inch and half or so, binding off with a nice stretchy stitch - I used Jeny's Suprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, but feel free to use your favourite! Of course, you are free to stop the leg for the cuff any place you want, but if you want to keep the wider bind stitches apart, then I'd suggest stopping either between rounds 8 to 12, or rounds 20 to 24. You'll see what I mean if you buy the pattern!
And talking of buying... (see how nicely I slipped that in there??) you can, you can!! and all you need to do is click THIS LINK which will take you to the pattern page on Ravelry (of which you don't need to be a member if you want to buy any patterns there) or you can click the link below which will take you straight to the PayPal page, where you will be asked to part with a paltry €3 (or £2.62. or $3.34 at current exchange rates, plus VAT should you live in the EU) to have the royal pattern in your grasp! AND, because I'm such a nice person, for the first long weekend of the pattern being live, you can have a euro off at check-out if you use the code 'QUEENIE'!


Go on, you know you want to!


With thanks to my Intrepid Ravelry Testers™ ChocolateKate, confiance, crochestist, KnittingNightElf, knotginaj, Mimmyknits, MooseJean, Naehall, Purple TX, renater59, sharpei4kris, SitNKnit, Skalman277, and TigerSharkknits.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

On The Good Ship Woolly Sock

My goodness, but it's been a while! But in my defence I hadn't been near any sticks and string for a while, too... Yup, as defences go, that's quite the lamest you'll hear for a while, but maybe this will appease the yarn gods for a wee bit...

My first published pattern in a couple of years, may I present:

Shirley Temple Socks

shirley temple socks by yours truly in angels and elephants
hand-dyed knitting wool - sock/4-ply in 'pentillie'
The blurb:
A Shirley Temple cocktail is in fact a mocktail of ginger ale, a splash of grenadine, and topped off with a maraschino cherry garnish, said to have been invented to serve to the child actress at Hollywood events... 
The Shirley Temple sock pattern itself is another in my theme of alcoholic drinks, but in a happy twist of fate, it also manages to blend neatly into my other theme of costumes through the ages... Bubbles from the ginger ale, plus a nod to the curls for which Shirley Temple was known!
Yes! Socks! In three different sizes, so less!!

shirley temple socks by yours truly in namolio pure wool in 'oranges'
I'll be honest - these cuties began their journey back in 2013 when I first put scribbled curls to paper, but were put on the back burner when I discovered I didn't hate shawls nearly as much as I used to. :: a gazillion shawls later :: Not nearly as much! 

Looking back, I originally envisioned these as cabled socks with no eyelets in sight (sorrynotsorry) but my naive cable brain couldn't quite get a good swirl going that didn't appear more like the end result of drunken yarn brawl instead of the innocent non-alcoholic little girl curl that I was aiming for.

Eyelets it was. And yes, it was easy enough to make the pattern in eyelets, but it took a while to get the decreases just-so, again just to steer away from the yarn brawl. I got there in the end, but wasn't content just to leave it *there*, I decided that this sock needed to be a mirror pattern! I think my brain was trying to make up for the fact that it had been beaten temporarily knocked-back by the dastardly cables...

So what do we have, then? 

A sock worked from the toe-up, incorporating cute little faux eyelet cable ginger-ale bubbles that fizz up the sides of the socks, an excellent new (for me) heel called the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, and scrolling curls that swirl all the way up from toe to cuff.

A simple cast-on, like the Turkish cast-on can be used, and only after a few rounds the first curl will twirl its way into sight. (Ed. Please note that I will always be the first to admit that eyelets and I are not the best of friends. We get along ok these days, but won't be on calling-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-bewail-the-state-of-the-world terms for a long while yet...)


The 5-stitch bubble edge pattern is also begun in the toe section, and pretty much everything is set-up and ready to go by the beginning of the foot pattern.


The Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist (Ravelry links) is a revelation to me. I won't give too much away, but I've never made such a well-fitting sock before. Like I say on the pattern, I have no affiliation to the designer, but boy, I'm going to be happy I discovered this gem for a very long time! You do have to pay $1 for the heel pattern, but let my voice add to the many others who think it's a real find, and say that it'll be the best sock-related $1 you'll ever spend!

See: that heel is just poetry in yarn!


Where you finish the pattern before the heel will determine where the curls start at the back. I wanted the curl there to appear like the first one in the toe (whether it spins clockwise, or anticlockwise is also determined by where you finished before the heel, and which foot you're working on) without the connection section. It's basically the same round as you'd work on the front, but without the extra yo and decrease to the side that joins one curl up with the next one.


(Note that for my Namolio version I actually used an afterthought/peasant heel, as I didn't want to disturb the colour journey up the sock!)

Once you're ready to start the cuff, there's a small transition section, then it's a simple matter to complete. I bound-off with another new-to-me bind-off: Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-Off (this links to a YouTube video, but there seems to be quite a lot of variants to be found online) and was very pleased with the results!

So, there you have it - my tribute to a Hollywood star, and the drink named after her! And you too can make your very own tribute by clicking right HERE and you'll be whisked off to the Ravelry pattern page, complete with its own linky-loos!

Or, you can click right here on this little button to go straight to the paypal page, because who wants to waste time clicking over to Rav, when you can have this pattern RIGHT NAO!!!


And for only €3!! (Plus VAT, natch!)













Go on, you know you want to! :D


Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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