Thursday, 26 May 2016

Free knitting pattern; Top down sock with an interesting short row heel and toe

1. To change the size of the sock, add more stitches to the back of the sock where they will be plain stockinette. Just remember to account for them when you work the heel, so the heel is always worked over 50% of your new total stitches.

2. Abbreviations are standard, please refer to Knitty’s list if you’re not sure of any techniques or abbreviations.

Cast on 65 stitches.
Divide the stitches as follows;
4 DPN’s; Needle 1; 33 sts. Needles 2 and 3 (back of the sock) 16 sts each
Magic loop/two circs; Needle 1 33 sts. Needle 2 (back of the sock) 32 sts
Rounds start at the start of Needle 1 unless otherwise noted.
Work p1, k1 for 1 to 1.5 inches, as preferred.

After finishing the ribbing, work one knit round. On the next round, work the lace chevron pattern over needle one, and keep the other two needles in plain stocking stitch (knit every row.) See chart below for the pattern.

Continue the leg as set, until you’re happy with the length. I like a leg of about six inches total.
End on a patterned round of the chart. Finish at the end of Needle 1, as we’ll start the heel straight away.

You’ll be working the heel over the plain stitches (needle 2 and 3 for DPN’s; needle 2 for circs and magic loop) If needed, rearrange your needles so that the pattern stitches are over two needles with the third needle for the plain stitches, so it’s easier to work the short rows.

Short Row Heel

We’ll be working a quick and pleasing short-row heel over the 32 plain stitches. The pattern uses increases and decreases to cut out all those fiddly wraps and turns. This is going to seem odd – but stick with it!
Row 1 (RS) Slip1, knit 31, make one leftwise (m1l). Turn
Row 2 (WS) Slip 1, p30, make one purlwise (m1p). Turn.

Continue in this manner, working one less stitch on each row before making the increase. Finish on the row when you purl 16 stitches.
Turning row 1 (RS) Slip 1, knit 15, ssk, k1. Turn.
Turning row 2 (WS) Slip 1, p15, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Continue in this manner, working one more stitch on each row before making the decrease until you have worked all of your heel stitches up, ending with a WS row. You will now have 32 stitches on your needle again.

Now you can start working in the round again – continuing just where you left off on the patterned stitches on the front of the sock.

Continue working the foot as set, with the pattern on the top of the foot.

How to work out when to start the toe

You’re going to work a short-row toe exactly the same as the heel. So, to work out when to start the toe, measure the depth of the heel. That will be the length of the toe. So subtract that from the full length that you want your sock to be - in my case, nine inches from the tip of the heel. Allow half-an-inch less if you like the toe to be snug.

I like to finish knitting the pattern on the top of the foot one inch before I start my toe so it doesn’t get uncomfortable in my shoe.

Knitting the toe

Work the toe exactly the same as the heel. Once complete, use Kitchener stitch to graft the two sets of 32 stitches together. I like to work the toe starting on the top of the foot so my graft is under my toes, because my grafting can be…imperfect.
Weave in your ends, and make another to match.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Book review; Sock Architecture by Lara Neel

Co-operative press, 2015. Available on Amazon or direct from the publisher.

View the patterns on Ravelry here

I love the ingenuity of socks most of all, and I've been playing around with some interesting toe and heel constructions from a book in my collections, which I thoroughly recommend; Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture. I first picked up a copy because I had so enjoyed working my first Fish Lips Kiss short row heel, and wanted to see what else was out there. I thought maybe a couple of toes, a couple of heels – how many could there be?

This book has – I kid you not – 17 top down toes, 68 top down heels, 17 toe-up toes and 26 toe up heels. None of those are a typo. 68 top down heels. Without adding variations for stitch pattern or colour, you could make 1,156 unique top-down socks, and 442 toe up. I am still impressed by that.The book is clear, precise, and full of informative pictures. There are 17 full patterns to practise on, three of which I've made already, and I've really enjoyed playing with some of the other heel and toe constructions. I paid around £14.00 for the book on Amazon, and I think that works out at less than half a penny per sock that could be knitted from it.  The designed patterns are thoughtful, adjustable and unusual, and full of careful notes on adjusting to size and shapes of feet including wider, pointier, higher, etc.

The only downside to the book, for me, is her tendency to over explain some techniques, which I found slightly annoying. As a learner, I want to grasp the overall concept, then deal with the details – you may be different. It didn't stand in the way of me constructing some really very neat heels and toes, and all the instructions worked – but it was a little niggle.

Just to note; I received nothing for this review, I bought the book out of my own change!
Overall – 4.5 out of 5. Once you get started you’ll just keep coming back to this excellent collection.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


I've had some great inspiration for new yarn colours over the last week from my garden which after a very cold spring is finally getting in gear!

We have a pretty small plot, about nine metres square, which was new turf and a measly tiny patiowhen we moved in. Three years later and it's getting there, finally - is any garden ever finished?  -  and at this time of year it's just coming to life with the brilliant colours I love. Here's some pictures of the flowers and the yarns they inspired:

Welcome to the new Burrow & Soar shop blog!

Welcome to the new shop blog for Burrow & Soar on Etsy!

I'll be using this space to post pictures of new and upcoming yarns, show you some of the processes I use to create yarns, share some of my inspirations and interesting projects, yarns and give-aways I find around the web. 

I'll also share any upcoming guild events and shows I'll be attending, so if you like to see yarns in real life before you treat yourself - come along! 

You can find my shop at