Socks, Shawls, and Podcasts

So…knitting podcasts. These are a thing. If you’re like me and have been living under a rock for a few years, you may not know about knitting podcasts. I found out about them through a knitting group on facebook. Omg, guys…wow. I am totally hooked. I had no idea other people were as passionate about knitting as I am. I started with The Grocery Girls, and from them found about a million other podcasts. It’s almost like I’ve been living in another knitting world. I had never knit a pair of socks until a month ago…or a shawl. I’ve now knit 3 pairs of socks, have a stash of sock yarn (although I don’t think a few skeins qualifies as an actual stash), knit my first shawl, and have another shawl ready to be cast on.

I have been knitting for 44 years. Yup, 44 years and never once wanted to knit a pair of socks. You see, when I learned to knit in the dark ages, all we had to knit socks with were dpns. I hate dpns, they are just too fiddly for me. And shawls. I thought shawls were large doilies that only old ladies wore. I have nothing against old ladies…I am well on my way to being one, and judging by my grey hair, I AM one. The shawls I am seeing on these podcasts are stunning. I mean STUNNING, guys. Consequentially, a whole new world has opened up for me, including indie yarn dyers.

Again, I grew up knitting with acrylic, and used said acrylic yarn in knitting items for my Etsy shop, along wth some lovely cotton yarn. No more. I started knitting with pure wool about 2 years ago and have never looked back. But the indie dyed yarn is so amazing, I actually drool over it. I only buy yarn for a purpose, so I do not have a huge stash…all the yarn I possess will be used this year. I am planning (hoping) to knit 12 pairs of socks this year, so that’s how I justify spontaneously buying sock yarn. I can send hours on Ravelry adding projects to my queue, and finding the perfect yarn for each project. If you look in my queue, you will see that every project has a specific yarn and colorway chosen already. I know a lot of people don’t like using Ravelry to organize their projects, but I find it quite convenient.

So, how did I like knitting my first pair of socks? I surprised myself, because I didn’t think I would like it. But I did. I did not use magic loop, like 99% of knitters. Nope, I used a 9″ circular. It took a while to get used to, but only a few rounds. I bought a 2.5mm needle because a few starter sock patterns listed that as the needle size. After watching a bunch of different podcasters, I discovered most people use 2.25mm needles for socks. I’m cheap and didn’t want to buy another circular, plus the patterns should be correct, right? Ha ha…nope. I cast on 64 sts with my 2.5mm and was happy as can be. Then I decided to try on the first sock when I got to the toe shaping. It was a bit big. Not crazy big, but big. I contemplated knitting the other sock the same way so they would match, but decided to frog it and start over with 60 sts. They fit perfectly. So 60 sts on 2.5mm needles is my magic number. I have to say, Mina Philipp (The Knitting Expat) helped me tremendously. If you haven’t seen her, she is basically a human sock knitting machine. She can knit a pair of socks in a day. Mina has designed many, many sock patterns and I used what I learned from watching her podcast to knit my first socks. Mina generally uses a German short row heel (who knew there were so many ways to knit a heel?), and if you purchase any of her patterns, she links to a video tutorial of how to knit the heel. Very helpful, thank you, Mina! For my second pair of socks, I though I would try a heel flap and gusset. The socks were for my husband, and I had heard that the traditional heel was better for men. I hated knitting that heel, lol. The socks fit great, but from now on, it’s a short row heel for everyone.

 

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My first pair of socks. Broken rib pattern with short row heel.

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Alternated colors for heels and toes for a kal.

 

 

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Second pair of socks. Blueberry Waffles with heel flap and gusset.

 

Now let’s talk about shawls. A few designers are quite popular amongst podcaster, 2 of which are Joji Locatelli (who I already followed on fb and instagram), and Melanie Berg. ย The first shawl I knit was Jujuy by Joji Locatelli. I was a bit nervous about knitting a shawl. I don’t know why. I knit my first cardigan when I was 8, so I should be able to handle a shawl, right? I had nothing to worry about. The pattern was super easy to follow, and I loved knitting it. Melanie Berg’s On the Spice Market is next up on my needles and I can’t wait to cast on.

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Jujuy by Joji Locatelli

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Modelled by my daughter

 

One thing I have to say about these podcasts…they have demonstrated how wonderful the knitting community can be. So much generosity and support, and no competition. I feel like I know these people, almost like they’re my friends. I have very few friends who knit, so I love to watch these podcasts while I’m knitting, it’s like my own little knitting circle in my living room. Here is a small list of some of the podcasts I watch. Search on YouTube for more…there are a lot more ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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The Mosaic Collection (and a coupon code)

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If you’ve been following my blog lately, you’ll know that I’ve recently designed a series of mosaic stitch baby blankets. I’ve put all the patterns together and have published an e-book. The book contains seven patterns with lots of photos and several charts to help you knit these modern baby designs. As a thank you for my blog readers, I have a coupon code for you! Enter the code BGBLOG20ย on Ravelry to receive a 20% discount on the e-book. The code expires on December 31, 2018 so if you stumble across this blog any time in 2018, you’ll be able to use the coupon code ๐Ÿ™‚ You can purchase the e-book here.

If you only want to make one of the designs, the patterns can be purchased separately. Please note the coupon code is valid for the e-book only. The following patterns are included in the e-book:

  1. Pandorica Blanket
  2. Lazarus Blanket
  3. Gridlock Blanket
  4. Utopia Blanket
  5. Amelia Blanket
  6. Hello, Sweetie Blanket
  7. Lazarus Pillow Cover

I hope you enjoy this book, and as always please post your projects on Ravelry or tag #bubblegirlknits on Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚

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Gridlock

DSC_2215 copyGridlock is the final design in my Mosaic Collection of knitting patterns. This one is fairly simple and only includes written instructions, as no chart is necessary. I love the checkerboard effect of this pattern. It is written for 3 colours, but you can use only 2 colours or as many as you want, as I did with my rainbow version. ย If you’d like to knit this baby blanket, the pattern is available to purchase on Ravelry. There is a link to the projects notes for the rainbow version of the blanket on the pattern page. As always, please post your projects on Ravelry or tag them with #bubblegirlknits on Instagram so I can see your lovely work ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hello, Sweetie

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Hello, Sweetie is another baby blanket design in my Mosaic Collection. If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you’ll know I named this blanket after River Song. All the designs in my Mosaic Collection are named after something from Doctor Who. The pattern in this blanket appears to be a series of repeating circles, but when you look closely, they are made up of tiny squares. Not what they seem…just like River Song.

 

 

Like most of my patterns, this one includes written instructions as well as 2 charts, one the reverse of the other if you want to reverse the colours from the sample. Mosaic stitch patterns are much easier to knit than stranded colour work, but this one is a bit more intricate than my other designs. It’s not difficult, but does require a bit of concentration.

If you’d like to knit this blanket, you can purchase the pattern here. If you do, please post your project on Ravelry so I can see your beautiful work!

 

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Amelia

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Meet Amelia, the next design in My Mosaic Collection. I think the repeating pattern resembles tiny flowers and is so pretty. This blanket is the prefect size for the stroller or car, but if you’d like to make it bigger, the stitch repeat is stated in the pattern so you can determine how many stitches to cast on. Using a mosaic stitch, only one colour is worked in each row with slip stitches creating the colour pattern. Written instruction and 2 charts are also included. If you’d like to make this blanket, you cam purchase the pattern here. Don’t forget to post your projects to ravelry and tag #bubblegirlknits on Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Utopia

DSC_2358 copyHere is another design in my Mosaic Collection. The Utopia Baby Blanket knitting pattern is a mosaic stitch design comprised of a series of repeating diamonds. I love how the colours I chose contrast so well. This sample was knit with Cascade 220 Superwash in Winter White and Colonial Blue. I wanted the dark blue to be the more prominent colour, but if you’d rather have the white be more prominent, it’s easy to switch the colours because a reverse chart is included with the pattern. As with my other mosaic stitch patterns, there are written instructions plus charts included, and you can choose to follow whichever method you prefer. I hope you like this design as much as I do ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember to post your projects to Ravelry and tag them on instagram with #bubblegirlknits. I’d love to see them!

 

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Lazarus Blanket and Pillow Cover

 

DSC_2089 copyHere is the second design in my Mosaic Collection, the Lazarus Baby Blanket. As stated in my last post, I am obsessed with mosaic stitch knitting. This one is a fairly simple pattern with only an 8 stitch repeat that would be a good start for someone wanting to try colour work or mosaic stitch. ย Like with my Pandorica Baby Blanket pattern, this pattern includes written instructions, along with 2 charts…one being the reverse of the other. Again, I knit this with Cascade 220 Superwash yarn, this time in Winter White and Celestial.ย DSC_2083 copy

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I really liked the look of this pattern, and I though it would be great as a pillow cover so I designed one as well. The Lazarus Pillow Cover is reversible and has a button closure, allowing the pillow form to be removed. It is designed for a 12″ x 12″ pillow form, but is made 1 inch smaller so the pillow is nice and puffy. You will need 6 (14mm) buttons. I used white buttons I had already, but you could really jazz it up with some beautiful metal buttons. You can knit both sides the same, or reverse them as I did. I switched my Colour A and Colour B to reverse the pattern on one of the sides. There are 2 charts to help make reversing the colours easier. If you decide to make either of these designs, please post your projects on Raverly. I’d love to see them!

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