What George Knits – Speedy Knits for Speedy Gifts

socks01Now that the madness of Christmas is over, I can reflect on one of my favourite Gift Knits this year. Socks! Not 4ply ones (I wasn’t that well prepared) but wonderfully quick and fun Double Knit ones.

This year me and my boyfriend spent Christmas at our friends house. Being grateful guests and because it was the season of giving, they all got presents. I’m sure I can speak for many knitters that we reach for our needles and cast on when it comes to present giving. Not only do we get the enjoyment out of making the thing, it is nice to give someone something unique and hand crafted.

Socks have become something of a revelation to me, I have only ever knitted one other pair before these. I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t knitted a sock to give it a go, they aren’t that scary. My recommendations would be to start with a DK/Worsted pattern. Its quick, the needles are larger, everything is done with that little bit more ease. They also make great warm boot socks, or just lounging about at home on the sofa with a cup of tea socks. For these ones I used a great free pattern called Rye by Tin Can Knits. Another pattern I haven’t tried but looks fun is Bob, designed by Rachel Coopy for the release of her DK sock yarn, its also free, so you have no excuse! But do ask us when you are next in store for pattern advice, we can help with pattern support or provide 1 to 1 lessons to help get you started.

Next the yarn! I know some people find it hard choosing yarn to knit for other people, but I like to imagine their personality and go from there. Hence I have here a bright kooky pair and a more sophisticated classy pair to match our friends characters.

In terms of DK weight yarns suitable for socks, we have a bunch at Knit with attitude. A sock needs a bit of strength and also ideally needs to be easy to wash. Two great yarns I used were: CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK which is a tough Superwash Merino and Nylon blend and comes in 10 shades. These little 50g balls are perfect for adding fun touches to the heel, toe and cuff. Another good yarn is Fyberspates Vivacious DK a super soft 100g Superwash Merino. We have just expanded our colour range of this yarn to include some fun new shades. I must admit I am tempted to knit another pair for myself in one of the new greens.

socks03

This pair was knit with Fyberspates Vivacious DK in Sunshine for the main colour and the counter colour was Coop Knits Socks Yeah! DK in Anemoi.

socks02

This pair was knit all in Coop Knits Socks Yeah! DK, using Dionysus for the main colour and Tartarus for the counter colour.

So what are you waiting for, cast on a sock! They make fun gifts. They are easy to transport and make great travel projects, I knit most of mine on the commute! They have interesting construction and shaping. The main thing is they are a lot easier than you might expect.

 

Book Review: Socks Yeah! Volume One by Rachel Coopey

One of the best things about working in a knitting shop is getting a first crack at new yarns and books when they come in the door! We are loving Socks Yeah! Volume One, the latest self published title from Rachel Coopey which accompanies her recent yarn line of the same name. We asked Natalie to review it for the blog.

Socks Yeah! Volume One

I am a long time sock knitter, and I have loved having Socks Yeah! in the shop. It’s a perfect workhorse sock yarn with 20% nylon for added strength, and the 50g skeins mean that there are extra possibilities for colour mixing and matching without ending up with loads of leftovers. It was no surprise that Rachel would eventually release an accompanying book for it, and she did not disappoint! The book has 12 sock patterns, as well as tips and tricks in the back to help you out.

hilda

hortensia

Clearly Rachel had colourful socks in mind when she decided to put out her yarn in 50g skeins, and this book shows it. Of the 12 patterns only 3 are shown in a solid colour! If solid socks is more your jam though, most of them would also look lovely knitted up in a solid colour, as most of it is contrasting heels, toes and cuffs which aren’t as intrinstic to the design than something that uses stranded colourwork. 11 of the patterns are heavily patterned in some way (texture, stripes, colourwork etc), with a bonus reprint of the Dave pattern from the Coop Knits Socks Vol. 2 book. Dave is a perfect plain entry level sock pattern for a knitter who hasn’t done socks, or a classic vanilla pattern for those plain socks we all need to knit once in a while.

So whatever your comfort level, Rachel’s got a sock pattern for you! The hard part is choosing which one to knit first…

coraline

 

Back to school with our classes

There’s new notebooks in the shops, and all the kids are wearing too-big uniforms, that means it’s time for back to school! If you’re itching to learn something new, but aren’t part of the school age set, why not a knitting class?

We’ve got a full range of knitting and crochet classes available, from never knit before before beginners to our renown master classes with some very exciting teachers. We’ll be announcing the master classes over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for those! In the mean time you can get started or brush up on skills.

First up we have the basics. Our learn to knit classes span two weeks, for 2 hours from 6:30-8:30 each evening. The next one is Thursdays October 22 and 29, and another session on Tuesdays November 3 and 10. This class is perfect for absolute beginners who have never picked up a needle before, or if it’s been a long time and you’d like a refresher. you will learn to cast on, the knit stitch, casting off, and some finishing techniques.

If you’ve got a handle on the basics but are looking to expand your knitting skills we have a few great options that will help you level up. The first one is Tech knitting – how to read knitting patterns. What’s a k2tog and how do you ktbl? This class will take the mystery out of all those abbreviations and help make sense of what it all means. The next class is on Saturday October 17, from 1-2:30pm.

The next levelling up class that is great for knitters of all levels is Sewing Up and Finishing. This class covers many techniques to give your finished knits a really polished and professional look. Feel free to bring any projects that need finishing along to the class and the instructor will take a look at it and advice on the best methods. The date for this class is Tuesday October 27, from 6:30-9:30pm.

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We’ve also got two sock knitting classes if you are looking to take on the ultimate knitting accessories. One is a mini sock, which means you’ll have all the skills needed to tackle a full sized sock on your own. The date for this class is Wednesday October 21, from 7-9pm.

If you want to turn socks on their head, why not try knitting them from the toe up? This clever method means that you’ll never have to worry about running out of yarn, you can knit them until you run out! It’s also a great way to learn a few more unusual knitting techniques that are handy for a variety of other projects as well. This class runs for two weeks on Thursdays November 5th and 12th, from 7-9pm.

If knitting isn’t catching your fancy, we also have learn to crochet classes. Our next class is this Saturday September 26, from 10:30-1pm. You’ll learn all everything to make one of the most common crochet pieces, the granny square! This is a great building block for future crochet projects and skills.

If you have a little crochet experience and are looking for a next project, why not learn to make a stuffed toy? The Edward’s Menagerie book is a great collection of animals that are sure to appeal to children and adults. Even better, they are great skill builders. This class includes the book, so you don’t have to choose to make just one! This class is on October 10, from 3-5pm.

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Of course, if you’ve got a specific technique in mind, or have gotten stuck on a project we are always available for a one on one private lesson as well. Just let us know and we will arrange an instructor for a time that works for you!

Check out our class page for more information on each class and booking information. Don’t worry if you can’t make a time, we’ll be adding lots more in the coming weeks as well. We hope to see you soon!

 

It’s All About Socks!

We’re going slightly sock crazy over at Knit with attitude these days! Admittedly there has been a lot of focus on summer tops here on the blog with the Summer Top KAL happening, but really, what knitting project is more suitable for summer than socks? Small, light-weight and so portable you could even bring it to the beach (if you happen to be near one). I personally love a sock project as my public transport knitting, as it is almost impossible to bump into anyone while enjoying some quality time on the bus or tube.

Dawlish - CoopKnits Socks

Dawlish – CoopKnits Socks

Laverne - CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

Laverne – CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

If you happen to be one of those who still think of old ladies when thinking socks you really have to readjust your conceptions, sock knitting is super-cool and allows you to dive into a whole new pool of stitch combinations and techniques. We’re talking three dimensional constructs here!

Rachel Coopey

Rachel Coopey

One designer that has been receiving a lot of attention lately is Rachel Coopey, and let me assure you the buzz is well deserved. Her edgy designs grew quite a fanbase with her first printed collection Coop Knits Socks, and with the recent Coop Knits Volume 2 Rachel confirmed her position as the Queen of Socks – the applause does not seem to be dying out anytime soon.

CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

In both of the CoopKnits Socks collections well-written instructions are accompanied by Jesse Wild’s beautiful photographs which really brings each individual design to the front.
Rachel’s creative designs often incorporate a variety of skills, including cabling, grafting, lace and twisted stitches, providing a great opportunity to try out new techniques. 
Each design is beautifully balanced and well thought out, giving both experienced and novice knitters the chance to create wonderful, wearable socks that are enormously enjoyable to knit. Not only that, but every print book contains a code to enable you to download the eBook free of charge.

Brighton - CoopKnits Socks

Brighton – CoopKnits Socks

Wilbert - CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

Wilbert – CoopKnits Socks Volume 2

At Knit with attitude we just can’t decide on which of these we will cast on for first, however, we all agree on which yarn to use. Remember the lush newcomer mentioned in the last blog post, Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply? Quite a few of Rachel’s designs feature this tightly spun Merino yarn, hard wearing and washable, ensuring a long life for your favourite socks.

Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply

Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply

If you have already dipped your toe in the world of sock knitting but want to take your skills to the next level, perhaps you would like to turn things on their head and learn to knit socks from the toe up? We have a very exciting course coming up later this month – Toe Up Sock Knitting with Jane Lithgow.

Jane Lithgow

Jane Lithgow

Jane was taught to knit by her grandmother at the age of four and over the years has had a go at pretty much everything knitting related from punk inspired mohair sweaters in her youth to blankets and bootees for her niece and nephew when they were babies. However, her particular passion is for socks, a self confessed sock knitting geek, with lots of samples and sock related stories to show and share! Above all, Jane is an experienced, enthusiastic and patient knitting teacher who loves to pass on her skills and love of the craft.

Artesano Definition Sock Yarn

There are a few spaces left for grabs, so it is still possible to get in touch to secure your spot. The Toe Up Sock Course is on Sundays 19th and 26th of April, the fee is £60 which includes the Artesano Definition Sock Yarn and a set of double pointed needles, everything you need to complete your first pair of Toe Up Socks – one of many I guess, as sock knitting is highly addictive!

Milfoil - CoopKnits Socks

Milfoil – CoopKnits Socks