The Inspiration Behind: Bobbles and Bezoars Socks

The Inspiration Behind: Bobbles and Bezoars Socks

Find the pattern on Ravelry: Bobbles and Bezoars

The Idea

I can still remember that feeling a few months back when Malia of Malia Mayed It asked me if would like to collaborate with her. YES! YES! YES! I said immediately. But then I got nervous, super nervous. Because designing with self-striping yarn is no joke. The pattern can’t be too busy because the yarn is already a design in itself, but it also can’t be too simple because no one will want to purchase a pattern for something they can make on their own.

Malia and I chatted for a few weeks to sort out the right direction for the yarn. She even said she could create a brand-new colorway– I felt so special, but also felt more anxious, because I had to get this right for her!

Looking at the timeline of developing a new colorway, designing a sock, and testing the pattern… we were settling in at a comfortable early February. What about Valentine’s Day? We thought. And being HUGE Harry Potter fans… what about a HP/V-day mashup?! Then Malia came up with a colorway to-die-for.

When I first saw Romilda Vane’s Box of Chocolates, I squealed. This was mid-dye process. If you’ve never seen the incredible work that goes into dyeing self-striping yarn, I encourage you to Google it. I was already in love! When Malia showed me the colorway wound up into her impressive gobstopper balls, I nearly passed out. Okay, pressure was really on to make something magical!

The Design Process

The day before I left for an out of town trip, the yarn arrived in my mailbox. I quickly took some “before” pictures of the yarn all gorgeous (did you know Malia also sends light bulb stitch markers that match your yarn?) and then packed my yarn, needles, and various notions into my Harry Potter project bag.

The next day it was showtime. Time to design this sock! I had about five hours in the car to knit, rip, and play with the yarn. If you’ve ever designed a knitting pattern, it’s a lot like perfecting a recipe or writing a blog post. You try it one way, then another, and then again until it’s just right.

I had designed the sock a million different ways in my head before I got the yarn; so I had settled on a stitch pattern I thought would work, but you never know until the needles click. My first swatches are always ugly little ducklings, barely salvageable and hardly akin to what the final product will be. I’m sure Malia was terrified when she saw my swatch for the first time. Even though my design swatches are messy, I appreciate them because I can see the work and progress to get to the end product. {The swatch for this project declined photos- R.I.P.}

This sock went through four different stitch patterns before I settled on the current one. I tried the teeny bobbles on the sock 5-6 different ways to find the easiest approach for knitters. The first time required a p3tog and it was so miserable that I knew no one would want to knit those rows. Don’t worry! It’s much more enjoyable now!

I finalized the pattern on that road trip and slipped the swatch off the needles for safe keeping. You never know when you’ll need the swatch again. {As previously mentioned, this swatch had lived it’s whole little life once the second sock was off the needles and is no longer around… ahem.} The next day as we drove back home, I cast on for the first sock. It flew off the needles!

Test Mode

I had so many lovely test knitters that were willing to knit these socks quickly. Many used Malia’s yarn in a multitude of her amazing colorways. Others used gorgeous self-striping skeins housed in their stash. Each sock worked up as beautiful and unique as the knitters themselves!

These ladies are mostly avid sock knitters, but some were knitting second or third pairs. They said they found the pattern easy to memorize and fun to make- music to my ears!

Find all of their incredible variations to this pattern here.

The Name

In keeping with the Harry Potter theme, I drew the name from the sixth Harry Potter book and movie- the very same one where Romilda Vane gives Harry her box of chocolates. {It’s a pretty funny scene if you’d like to watch.}

Romilda gives Harry a box of chocolates filled with love potion, but greedy Ron gets his hands on him first! The love potion is so strong that Harry decides he better take Ron to the potions master, Professor Slughorn, to get an antidote.

Once the antidote takes effect, Ron is down in the dumps with all those lost feel-good hormones. But when Slughorn tries to cheer Ron up with a bit of mead, Ron starts to foam at the mouth, clearly poisoned! Harry saves the day with quick thinking and a bezoar.

A bezoar is the stone from the stomach of a ruminant animal and actually does exist! It’s even rumored to be an effective remedy for poisons, although I wouldn’t trust them to be as handy as they are at Hogwarts.

So these little bobbles on the sock represent the small stone that saves Ron. Thank goodness for bezoars! If you were wondering about pronunciation, there is some debate. The American interpretation is BEE-zohr, but the Brits say beh-ZOHR. You can also go with the fancy French-like beh-zwah.

I hope you enjoy my latest sock pattern! They’re perfect for when you want something easy to memorize, but more interesting than a vanilla sock.

You can find the Bobbles and Bezoars sock pattern on Ravelry on February 14th, 2019.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

The Spincycle Hat

The Spincycle Hat

A few months ago on a trip to Washington state, I stopped in a LYS {local yarn store} seeking out what else… locally made yarn. This was a well-stocked shop, so I had my options. But then I saw it… SPINCYCLE! Oh the holy grail of yarn! {This was around the time Andrea Mowry released The Throwback and Nightshift patterns out of Spincycle.}

If you’ve ever picked up a skein of Spincycle, you know that it’s a special yarn. What Kate and Rachel started as a small-batch hand-spinning business has grown into full-blown in-house-mill production! These fabulous ladies design, dye, spin, and package their yarns in their warehouse in Bellingham, WA. Their fiber comes from American farms primarily in Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota- cool!

We know that yarns so carefully sourced can come with a higher price tag- one that is certainly justified. So I agonized to pick out just one perfect skein of Spincycle. Now I’m not typically a yellow person, but when I saw the name “Beets and Bears” wrapped around skein so distinctly the color of Dwight Schrute’s {awful} button up shirts, I had to have it!

The journey from yarn to hat wasn’t a quick one. I had to toy with it. Swatch a few times. Cast on, rip out {with mohair!}, and cast on again. After all, I wanted to get it right with my precious yarn! I almost gave up on it several times. But in the end it was worth it. So I give you: The Spincycle Hat.

Pattern:

This pattern is written as an adult small {18 1/2″ hat circumference, to fit a 20-21″ head}. Adjust the size by adding or taking away stitches in multiples of 8. The crown decreases will work out for any size, as long as you have a multiple of 8.

Materials:

  • 1 200-yard skein of Spincycle Versus DK-weight wool
  • 1 50-gram skein of lace weight mohair
  • US 5 (3.75mm) needles to work in the round

Gauge:

4 .5 sts per inch in 2×2 rib, stretched width-wise with Spincycle and mohair held together. {Or 4 sts per inch after blocking.}

Special Stitches:

RT | Right Twist | Knit two together, do not slide off left needle. Knit first stitch again. Slide both stitches off left needle. Video here.

Four-Round Repeat:

  1. (K2, p2)- repeat around.
  2. Repeat rnd 1.
  3. Repeat rnd 1.
  4. (K2, p2, RT, p2)- repeat around.

The pattern begins!

Cast on 88 stitches {long-tail is good} with mohair and Spincycle held together. Join in the round.

Work the Four-Round Repeat 15 times total (7 inches), or until you have reached the crown of the head.

Decreases: these will work for any multiple of 8. The number of stitches cast on divided by 8 will equal the number of decreases in each decrease round.

  1. (K2, p2, k2, p2tog)- repeat around. – 11 stitches decreased.
  2. (K2, p2, k2, p1)- repeat around. Or just knits the knits and purl the purls!
  3. (K2tog, p2, k2, p1)- repeat around. – 11 stitches decreased.
  4. (K1, p2, RT, p1)- repeat around.
  5. (K1, p2tog, k2, p1)- repeat around. – 11 stitches decreased.
  6. (K1, p1, k2, p1)- repeat around.
  7. (Ssk, k1, ssk)- repeat around. – 22 stitches decreased.
  8. (K1, RT)- repeat around.
  9. Knit.
  10. (K3, k2tog, k1)- repeat to last three sts, k3. – 5 stitches decreased.
  11. (K2tog, k3)- repeat to last three sts, k2tog, k1. – 6 stitches decreased.
  12. Knit.
  13. (K2tog)- repeat around. – 11 stitches remain.

Cut yarn and draw through remaining stitches. Weave in ends. Wet block, squeeze in a towel, and give the hat a good stretch before you lay it flat to dry. Top with a pom pom if desired!

As always, my free patterns are able to be free because they are written in simple form, one size, and not tested by multiple knitters. Although I try my best to make the pattern error-free, there could be some mistakes. Kindly let me know and I will correct them!

I hope you enjoy The Spincycle Hat and are able to covet your previous skeins even more in accessory form. If you share your makes on Instagram, make sure to tag me {@knittynatty} and use the hashtag #thespincyclehat.

Favorite or queue The Spincycle Hat on Ravelry here.

Love in Stitches,

Knitty Natty