Tag: socks

Pattern release: Pearls on a String socks

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I’m very excited to release the pattern for my newest design, the Pearls on a String socks. These socks feature a simple repeating cable pattern over the leg and foot that is easy to memorize and even easier work without a cable needle, making these socks a fun pair to whip up on the go. Usually naming a pattern is the hardest part of the design process for me. The pattern detail reminded me of beads on a string, and as I was working with Long Dog Yarn in the Freshwater Pearl colorway, the name for this design really just worked itself out for me.

I always find myself preferring sock patterns that are easy to customize to my preferences, and these would definitely fit the bill. The pattern is written from the top-down and worked using the magic loop method, but it would be very easy to convert the pattern to toe up and working with DPNS or two-at-a-time, if those are your preferred methods for sock knitting.


You can now find the pattern on Ravelry, and to celebrate the release, I’m offering a 20% discount on the pattern until midnight, Sunday, Nov. 13.

What’s up, doc?

Last Friday was my Ph.D. defense. After a bit of a major anxiety freak out the week before, I actually went into the defense not feeling completely out of my mind with nerves (although I did wake up around 6am the morning of, but it meant I got some knitting in before I had to head to campus). Once the actual event got going, the nerves melted away and science brain kicked in. So I can now proudly declare that I am Dr. Brandy Velten, Ph.D. I still have a strong impulse to call up every agency that sends me physical mail and change my salutation to Dr., but I haven’t. Yet.

Since earning my freedom from the academic grind house that is graduate school, I’ve been diving back into my knitting and dyeing.

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I’ve got a new shawl design on the needles that I’m really enjoying at the moment. A nice simple background with a pop of color and texture that makes it a fun tv-watching knit with some bits of intrigue thrown in to look forward to every few rows. And because my shawl collection isn’t reaching outrageous proportions as it is, I’m anxious to get this one off the needles to accompany me on our evening walks with Rufus as the temperatures are (kinda, sorta, just a bit) getting cooler in these parts.

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A little while back, I couldn’t help myself from dying up a few Halloween-inspired colorways for the Long Dog Yarn shop. One particularly caught my fancy, so I had to steal a skein of Boo! for myself to knit up a pair of festive Halloween socks. The medium length color changes in the skein make up some striping stripes that I’m totally digging. I’m really looking forward to some mindless knitting time on these beauties!


Linking up with KCCO and Ginny.

Tutorial: Short row heel

In my upcoming sock pattern, I make use of the short row heel technique, which is one of my favorite heels because I don’t have to figure out gusset increases/decreases and I prefer the fit. But I know some people are completely intimidated by short rows and heels, so the two together may seem a wee bit overwhelming.

Fear not! Here’s a photo tutorial run-down on how I prefer to work my short row heels. This tutorial is done on a sock worked toe-up, but it would work exactly the same for a cuff-down sock, too.

Knit to the position in the pattern where you will start the heel. On your heel stitches, knit across to the last two stitches.

Now you will wrap and turn the next stitch on the left needle. To create the wrap on the knit side, move the yarn to the front, as if you were going to work a purl stitch. Then slip the stitch from the left needle onto the right needle, keeping the yarn in front of the slipped stitch.

Now, bring the yarn around to the back of the slip stitched – ta da! You’ve wrapped your stitch. Then slip the stitch you wrapped back into the left needle. You should see the horizontal wrap around the base of the stitch.

Now turn your work to the purl side. The yarn should be already in place to work purl stitches.

Purl across the row to the last two stitches.

Now we will work a wrap on the purl side. To do this, bring the yarn to the back, as if you were going to work a knit stitch. Then, just like before, slip the stitch from the left needle onto the right needle, being sure to keep the yarn to the back of the slipped stitch. Then bring the yarn back to the front.

With the yarn in the front now, slip the stitch back to the left needle from the right needle, creating a wrap around it.

Now you will turn the work a knit row and the yarn will be in the back of the stitches ready for you to go. You should see the wrap you just created at the base of the stitch on the needle now in your right hand.
If everything’s gone as planned, should have 1 unworked stitch and 1 wrapped stitch on both sides of the heel.

Now, knit across the row until you reach the stitch just before the wrapped stitch.

Wrap this stitch like you did before on the knit side, then turn the work to work across the purl side. You should see a bit of a gap between the wrapped stitches. This character, along with the horizontal wrap of yarn across the base of the stitch, will help you identify them as you continue working the heel

Now work across the purl side of the heel until you reach the stitch just before the wrapped stitch.

Wrap this stitch and turn sock to work across knit side of heel.

Now you should have 1 unworked edge stitch and 2 wrapped stitched on both sides of the heel.

Keep working across the heel to the stitch just before the last wrapped stitch and performing a wrap&turn. Work in this fashion until you have your desired number of stitches left unwrapped in the middle of the heel. Generally, I aim for about 1/3 of my total heel stitches in the middle between the wrapped stitches.

You will stop working the wrap and turns after a purl row (ready to work a knit row). You should have an equal number of wrapped stitches on either side of the center stitches plus that one unwrapped stitch on either end. In this example, I have 10 wrapped stitches on either side of the heel and 9 center stitches because I have a relatively narrow heel. If you have a wider heel, leave more center stitches for yourself. It may take a couple tries to figure out what fit you prefer.

So now we’ve created one wedge of the heel (in this example, this wedge will sit on the bottom of my heel) and we have to work back out creating a matching wedge (the wedge that will sit across the back of the heel).

So, knit across your center heel stitches until you reach your first wrapped stitch. Now you will pick up the wrap you created and work it with the stitch it is wrapped around to close up the gap.

To work the wrap, insert your right needle into the front of the wrap from the bottom towards the top.

Then insert the right needle into the stitch on the left needle to work it exactly as you would normally work a knit stitch.

Then work the stitch as normal, but pull the new stitch through both the stitch on the left needle and the wrap you picked up with your right needle.

The next stitch on the left needle is another wrapped stitch. You are going to wrap this stitch again, creating a double wrap, and turn the sock to work the purl side.

Now, purl across to the first wrapped stitch. You will now pick up the wrap and work it with the purl stitch it is wrapped around.

Place the right needle through the back of the wrap (behind the purl stitch) from the top to the bottom.

Then place the picked up wrap on the left needle right in front of the purl stitch you are preparing to work.

Now work the wrap and the stitch as if it were a working a purl2together decrease.

The next stitch on the left needle is a wrapped purl stitch. You are going to wrap this stitch again (creating another double wrapped stitch) and turn to work across a knit row.

So now you have picked up one wrapped stitch on either side of the center stitches of the heel and created one double wrapped stitch on each side.

Knit across the row until you reach the double wrapped stitch. You will pick up both wraps as before with the single wrap…

…and work the wraps with the knit stitch.

Then, wrap the next stitch on the left needle (creating a double wrap) and turn to work across the purl side.

Purl across the row to the first double wrapped stitch. As you did previously with the single wrap, pick up both wraps and place the in front of the purl stitch.

Purl through all three loops on the left needle closing up the gap created by the wraps. Then wrap the next stitch on the left needle (creating a double wrap) and turn to work across the knit side.

On the right side of the heel you should be able to see how the top wedge is joining with the bottom wedge, closing up the gaps of the wrap and turns and creating the heel pocket.

You will continue working across the heel, back and forth, picking up the double wraps and then wrapping the next stitch. Do this until you reach the very last double wrapped stitch on a knit row. Pick up the double wraps and work them with the stitch. You should be left with the one, lonely unwrapped edge stitch. Wrap the edge stitch and turn the work to across the purl side.

Purl across the row to the last double wrapped stitch, pick up the wraps and purl with the stitch. Then wrap and turn the last edge stitch.

Knit across the heel, being sure to pick up and work the last wrapped stitch.

And that’s it! Your short row heel is now (hopefully) successfully complete! Just be sure that when you work your first full round of the sock, you pick up the very last wrap you created on your final heel purl row.

I find that wrapping and then working the wraps of those very last edge stitches help close up the potential gap between the heel and the front of the leg that has a pesky habit of occuring with short row heels.

If you are like me and hate figuring out when to start gusset increases or hate picking up the gusset stitches on your heel flap, you can adjust almost any sock pattern to work a short row heel. I think they work the best on stretchier sock patterns, like ribbed or lacy socks, especially if you have a bit of an instep because this heel doesn’t create any extra height for the gusset.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or didn’t understand a particular step. And happy (sock) knitting!



Riverside Studio yarns

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Yesterday I came home to a splendid present in my mailbox – a package of yarn from Kathryn at Riverside Studios. Inside were two lovely skeins that will become the samples of the new sock pattern I am currently designing.

Here’s how the story goes:

Almost exactly a year ago, I was in Montreal for a conference. I wanted to pick up a skein of yarn while I was there, something that inspired memories of my trip and was preferably local to the area. I ended up with a beautiful leafy green skein of Kathryn’s merino single-ply fingering yarn that reminded me of the lovely afternoon spent hiking up Mont Royal the day I arrived in Montreal. Plus, Kathryn’s studio is located in Quebec and her yarns are all sourced from within Canada. I basically couldn’t get any more local if I tried.

I had saved the yarn, waiting for the perfect pattern to use it. I tried a couple patterns, but nothing stuck. Then a few weeks ago, I started working up my own design, inspired by my trip to Montreal and Kathryn’s beautiful yarn. When I had finished, I decided to take a chance and contact Kathryn to see if she would provide some sock yarn to allow me to write up the pattern for publication.

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And she said yes! My first ever collaboration with a dyer for my very own design. I’m pretty darn excited about it all. I asked for a skein of green similar to the one I had originally used to design the pattern, as well as an autumnal, golden yellow. Working with Kathryn was so easy and lovely. I would do it again in a heartbeat. She prepared the skeins for me in just a few days and she even worked to create a new corlorway for the yellow skein to be just as I requested. I’ve even been tasked with naming it. I have a couple ideas in mind… but I’m keeping them to myself for now.

I was so excited to get the yarn, that I immediately cast on the first sample pair of socks. They are working up so beautifully! I can’t wait to watch these socks and the pattern design progress.

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And Kathryn, if you are out there reading this, I’ve said it many times already, but thank you again! Thank you for taking a chance on a newbie designer like myself. Your trust and belief in me and my ideas are worth more than I can say.

Voila… happy feet.

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Project: May Socks

Pattern: None

Yarn: Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes in colorway “What is it all about?”

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Finishing up my socks this month was super easy and super fast. These socks practically knit themselves. I used my basic plain, vanilla sock pattern, working from the cuff down. After I had already started, I decided I wanted to do the heel and toes in a contrast color, so I had a small delay waiting for the black yarn to arrive, but as soon as it did, I was back to knitting like a fiend.

I picked up this yarn at this year’s Toronto’s Knitters Frolic. Usually, I tour around the festival a bit deciding on the yarns I want to splurge on, but there were only two skeins of this colorway left, so I immediately scooped it up and held it close and tight. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition to pick up a lovely skein (or two) of Turtlepurl yarn each year at the Frolic. I just love basically all of the colorways (it really can be hard to chose) and I like that I’m supporting a smaller Canadian dyer.

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I have just enough yarn left to knit up another pair of these beauties, so this pair will be shipped off to Austin, Texas for my sister’s birthday. Austin isn’t usually a place where you need wool socks, no matter the time of the year, but both my sister and I tend to suffer from cold-feet syndrome, so I know she’ll get some good use out of these handknit socks.

And, be sure to check out the other great socks made this month for Liesl’s challenge.

Linking up with KCCO.

Rainbow power

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This week…

Knitting: My May socks for Liesl’s challenge are chugging right along. And they make me happy. I’ll be sitting on the subway, lost in my own little world, just chugging out some gray stockinette, and then POW! Rainbow power!

I don’t know why self-striping yarn has such a power over me, but it really is something a bit magical. The stripes, they just appear. I oddly derive such satisfaction at just watching the stripes appear. And from my own personal experience, I have to say that rainbow stripes are some of the best stripes you can have magically manifest from your needles. This pair will be a birthday present for my sister, who, I’m sure, will be so impressed at my superhuman ability to make stripes spontaneously appear in my knitting.

Reading: I’ve fallen so behind on reading. Lately my mind has just been taken over with knitting design. I’ve been reading up a lot on design principles and tips on self-publishing, as well as just sketching, diagraming, and collecting inspirations. And I haven’t budgeted very well for my personal reading time, which has left me about 50 pages into Shadow Scale, the sequel to the great Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This stalling is in no way a reflection of the book, but just priorities at the moment. I will get back on schedule, soon, I hope, if I want to make my Good Reads goal for this year.

Linking up with yarn along & KCCO.


Stitch Surfer Socks

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Project: April Stitch Surfer Socks

Pattern: Stitch Sufer

Yarn: Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes and Knit Picks Stroll Fingering Solid

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I’ve finished my socks for Liesl’s sock challenge with time to spare this month. I was still in a rather yellow state of mind after last month’s socks. I had almost a full skein of the yarn left, so I dug through my sock yarn scraps (which I apparently think will just spontaneously knit itself into a beekeeper quilt without me) and found some complimentary yarn which just happened to be rather stripy. Perfect chance to try out Stitch Surfer, as it had been on my sock queue for a good while.

The pattern was …fine. It made sense and it was relatively easy to follow once you got started. But I’m not totally in love with it. There are aspects, like the visible wrap and turn on the bottom/back of the socks that I’m not a fan of. And the heel did not make any sense to me in the pattern. I worked it for the first sock, but it was way to short and squat for my liking. I don’t know if I just didn’t work it correctly, as this was a new way to work heels to me, or if that’s just the way it is. Either way, I ripped it out and worked a regular short row heel.

The pattern takes a really creative approach to sock construction, though. And for me it had a nice integration of mindless stockinette + interesting design elements to keep the knitting entertaining without being too complicated. It’s this balance that makes for perfect commuting knitting.

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I also ran into an issue with row gauge. For reasons that, to me, seem to defy basic physics, my row gauge changed when I switched the colors for the second sock. I think the problem arouse from the slight difference in thickness between the two yarns, but I still do not understand why simply working them in a different order changed the row height. It caused my curves to not exactly match up across the two socks, especially on the leg, although they have the same measurements. It’s not something you really notice without close examination, but it bothers me just a bit.

Overall, I like these socks. They are pretty funky and fun. They are bright and happy. And the project allowed me to explore a completely new and totally creative way to build socks. Plus, this pattern is a really great way to use up the larger chunks of left over sock yarn I find myself with because apparently my feet are freakishly teeny tiny.

I’m really looking forward to knitting up next month’s socks. I picked up some brand new striped Turtletoes yarn at this past weekend’s Toronto Knitter’s Frolic and let me just say it is splendid and happy and, and, well, just look at it..

Photo Apr 25, 8 48 39 PMI’m hoping to stretch this into two pairs of socks, one for myself and one for my sister. Because who doesn’t need bright rainbow striped socks to cheer them up every once in awhile?

March Fruit Loop Socks

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Project: March Fruit Loop Socks

Pattern: Froot Loop

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Solids

One thing that I did manage to work on during the strike last month were my March socks for Liesl’s monthly sock challenge. And I finished them just in time.

For March, I chose something bright and happy to help shoo away the grey wintery blues. I don’t usually buy solid sock yarns. I think my brain just sees all the beautiful colors of handdyed skeins and, like some kind of psychotic bird, can’t help but hoarding them all. But I also often am drawn to sock patterns that just don’t work well with those sorts of yarns, like Froot Loop, where the beautiful stitch patterns would be completely lost in a variegated yarn. This pattern has been in my queue for a long while now, but I didn’t have a yarn suitable for it in my stash. Until I bought this yellow skein of Stroll on a whim when it was on sale a little while back. And it just matched up – cheery bright yellow and lacey cables like sprouting vines – perfect socks for welcoming spring (soon, I hope!)

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I really enjoyed this pattern. The eyelet lace pattern is one of my favorite to work and it provides interest without being too holey. I don’t like a lot of lace socks because I find them too open for my tastes in socks, and as a person whose feet are just always cold, even in the summer, I need my socks to do their job and keep my feet warm. But be pretty. Is that too much to ask?

But this pattern is a great one (and it’s free – hello!). It would make a fantastic pair of gift socks because it looks complicated and beautiful, but is relatively simple. The repeating pattern is so easy to follow and work on mindlessly without getting bored. Those are some of my favorite characteristics of sock patterns. And because they are ribbed, these socks are also forgiving in the width department.

And I have enough yarn left over that I’ve started a pair of Stitch Surfers with some left over self-striping yarn for my April socks.

February Storm Socks


Project: February Storm Socks

Pattern: Storm

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in Indigo Heather

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For my February socks for Liesl’s sock challenge, I decided to give into dark, freezing Canadian winter and knit up some cabled, tweedy socks. I added this yarn to my stash during Knit Picks Cyber Monday sale because I had been envying tweed sock yarn for awhile, and horrible Canadian Februarys are the perfect time to break it out for a pair of warm winter socks.

Storm had been on my queue for awhile, so this project also allows me to make some progress with Emily’s Love your Library challenge (I’ve had a slow start on the challenge, but things are starting to pick up now). So that’s one project off the queue and using stash yarn, too!

Storm was easy to choose as my pattern because it’s free and it had a nice simplicity to it with ribbed cables that play well with the tweed flecks of the yarn without the two battling each other for attention. Plus, the cables add in a little bit of interest so the pattern never gets too boring, but it was very easy to memorize.


The only thing I changed in the pattern was to work short row heels rather than the heel flap & gusset the pattern called for. I’m kind of in love with short row heels right now because they are so fast and don’t require me to work gusset decreases. And they work very well for ribbed socks patterns like this where you have built in stretch from the ribbed pattern and don’t need the extra space from the gusset.

I finished these socks just in time (I blame all the sweaters/cardigans that have been hogging my attention lately). I think for March I’ll go with some cheerier socks. Something that reminds me that spring actually will come. Soon. I hope.

January Hedgerow socks






Project: January Hedgerow Socks

Pattern: Hedgerow socks

Yarn: Malabrigo sock in Lotus

I decided a little while back that my Effervesce socks were not going to be finished in time for this month’s sock challenge. So I broke out a skein of Malabrigo and chose a simple, comforting ribbed sock pattern and went to town. I finished these up just in time for my January socks for Liesl’s challenge.

I enjoyed this pattern. It plays with the regular ribbing design and keeps things interesting by adding in a bit of texture using different stitches. I altered the pattern just a smidge and worked a short row heel rather than the heel flap + gusset. It took me a couple tries to get my picked up wraps looking pretty, but now that I have it figured out, I am definitely a fan of these simple heels.

These socks are a happy addition to my sock drawer and they are doing their job keeping my toes warm on this snowy Saturday.