Magic loop: yes, it is!

After my success with two-colour brioche for the It's New To Me KAL back in October, I decided to keep up my upskilling momentum and try another new technique that I've been vaguely meaning to try for years: magic loop!

If you're not familiar with it, magic loop is a method of knitting a small circumference in the round; an alternative to using double-pointed needles (which I'm prone to dropping).

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A perfect pair of socks

The Gift-A-Long has been an absolute whirlwind so far, with a whopping 13,000 finished projects as of this morning! I've been busy hosting the Hand & Arm Things thread, plus giving out prizes for project photos each Thursday.

I even managed to finish a GAL project of my own, a pair of Grellow Love socks knit in leftover Vintage Purls Sock. Just to make things tricky for myself, I experimented with making a stop-motion video of my second sock, snapping a frame after each half-inch (very roughly) of knitting:

I made a stop-motion vid of my second Grellow Love sock to help push me along. Yay for trying new things! I used the OSnap! app on my phone to create the video. There will definitely be more experiments to come, but I'll probably go slightly less ambitious next time. 😁 The excellent sock pattern is by @knitsharelove. ✨ #newtoy #stopmotion #sockfootage #sockknitting #toeupsocks #knitsharelove #vintagepurls #giftalong2016 #secondsocksyndromeisnotthebossofme

A video posted by Amy van de Laar πŸŽ„ (@amyvdlaar) on Dec 12, 2016 at 3:34pm PST


It came out pretty good for my first stop-motion attempt! I did have a bit of trouble with consistent lighting, since I recorded it over the course of a few days and at different times of day. I used the iPhone app OSnap!, which can also be used to make time-lapse videos. I can tell I'm going to have a lot of fun with this app. :)

Back to the socks, here's what the finished pair looks like - I really love the contrast toes and heels. I have plenty of odds and ends of sock yarn left, so I'm keen to make more pairs using this pattern. It's a nice easy one, especially once you've knit the first sock.

A triumphal shot of both socks. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Except for the fiddly toe-up cast on, this was a very straightforward knit for this semi-newbie sock knitter. I liked the Fleegle heel construction (which I hadn't tried before), and they fit bloody well too! The pattern is Grellow Love by @knitsharelove, and the yarn is Sock by @vintagepurls. πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ #giftalong2016 #sockknitting #knitsocks #knittingfromstash #knitsharelove #vintagepurls #grellowlovesocks

A photo posted by Amy van de Laar πŸŽ„ (@amyvdlaar) on Dec 14, 2016 at 1:18pm PST

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I'm not sure I'll have time to tackle another Gift-A-Long project, since I still have one-third of a giant lace shawl to knit this month. But if you fancy jumping in with a project or two, the GAL is still on until December 31st!

It's Gift-A-Long time!

Would you like to join the Indie Design Gift-A-Long? It’s just begun, and the giant pattern sale is go! Over 300 designers are taking part this year, and there are giant searchable Ravelry bundles and Pinterest boards full of patterns for your browsing pleasure.

My own discounted patterns are collected here - they're 25% off with the coupon code giftalong2016, from now until the end of November.

This is the third year I've taken part in the Gift-A-Long, and this year I'm a moderator which is both fun and (so far) really busy. I’m co-hosting the Hand & Arm Things KAL and will also be on Prize Patrol once a week, handing out pattern coupons to people who post project photos at just the right time. ;) Come and join in if you're keen to start a new project!

Here are some of the GAL's stats, in a pretty graphic put together by our stats queen Kimberly Golynskiy:

I have my first project picked out, which is a pair of Grellow Love socks. I've dug out some leftovers and little scraps of Vintage Purls Sock and Knitsch Sock, so I can do crazy-coloured contrasting heels and toes...

Grellow Love by Claire Devine

My main project right now is a secret laceweight wrap, but I think I should have time to at least make some short socks as well. They can be my comparatively-straightforward project to work on in between bouts of lace knitting and GAL chatting. :)

The Gift-A-Long is here!

The annual Indie Design Gift-A-Long has begun! Come and join us in the Ravelry group for a knitting/crocheting party, and get some handmade gifts sorted. To kick things off, the participating designers (all 335 of us) are having a 25%-off sale on some of our designs. The sale lasts until Friday 27th of November, but the Gift-A-Long runs until the end of the year with games and prizes to be won.

My on-sale patterns are collected here!


For my first Gift-A-Long post, I'd like to highlight a few patterns by fellow Downunder designers. I can vouch for the Scott Base Socks as an excellent and practical sock pattern, as I made a pair for myself last year. :)

The following beauties are all by NZ or Australian designers, and all are in the 25%-off sale this week. Click the links to see more.

Nardoo by Ambah O'Brien
 

Awhitu by Kelly Brooker, photo Β© Briony Singleton

Koru by Libby Jonson

Spirit of Ahuriri by Brenda Green

Daybreak by Nim Teasdale

Socks!

I'm in the midst of a sock-knitting phase, brought on partly by the cold weather (we're getting frosts in the mornings!) and partly by the urge to knit up some of my sizeable stash of sock yarn.

I'm a relative beginner at knitting socks, so I've been reading up on how to get a good fit on blogs and the Ravelry forums. I found the Kiwiyarns Knits series of blog posts 'Secrets of the Socks' especially useful (and inspiring, with all the pretty yarn photos). Part 1 is about super-twist sock yarn, Part 2 is about sock structure and fit, and Part 3 is about different kinds of sock yarn, and how hard-wearing they are.

So far I've been using merino/nylon blend yarn from Vintage Purls, double-pointed needles, and simple patterns. The pair I'm currently working on is the most decorative - the stitch pattern isn't just simple stocking stitch - and I think it's a great pattern for variegated yarn: the toe-up version of Scott Base from Sezza Knits.



Today I'm wearing a pair of DK-weight socks, which are lovely and thick and warm. They're Basic Adult Toe-Up Socks, in Vintage Purls Max. The colour is called 'Mauveine', a bright glowing purple! This is my second pair using this pattern/yarn combo - I made my first pair last winter.


Yesterday Dad took some cute photos of me playing with Hazel and showing off my blue stripy socks. These are Super Simple Socks (a free top-down pattern by Tash of HRYC), again in Vintage Purls Sock. I want to make more in higher-contrast stripes - maybe black and yellow bee-stripes. :)