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

How I knit my socks… Toe Up

On a recent post I asked my Instagram followers if they’d like to see my “recipe” for sock knitting. I expected maybe one person to say they’d like that, but I received many words of affirmation for this post!

These socks use Lolodidit’s “Helping Hippos” colorway.

So here is the secret sauce… how I knit my socks: Toe Up Edition*.

This is my toe up recipe for my current go-to socks. I can just pick up a ball of yarn and my US 1 (2.25mm) needles and go to town. No physical pattern required. Don’t worry fledgling sock knitters; I knit my first sock pre-Ravelry {circa 2006} so I’ve had lots of time to try things out and memorize my favorite sock.

For comparison, I wear a women’s size US 8 shoe (in tennis shoes) and have a average to narrow foot. These are the counts I use for what I consider to be a typical Indie-dyed sock yarn base: 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon. This base is quite a bit thinner than commercial sock yarns or 80%/20% bases, so if you’re a fan of those go to my Quickie Socks recipe.

*I plan to have a Cuff Down version and have already released a Quickie Socks version.

Materials

  • 1 100g ball of 75/25 superwash merino nylon fingering weight {I hand wind mine into two equal balls with the help of a scale.}
  • US 1 2.25mm 32″ circular needles {Chiagoo Red Lace is my preferred needles of the moment.}
  • A handful of light bulb stitch markers
  • Progress keeper
  • Scissors and tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Abbreviations

  • k2tog- knit two together
  • kf&b- knit front and back in same stitch.
  • n1- needle one (for magic loop method)
  • n2- needle two (for magic loop method)
  • sts- stitches
  • tbl- through back loop

Before you begin…

I like to knit my socks in tandem, that is I start one sock, then start the other. I make the toe of one sock, then the toe of the other. They chase each other, alternating all the way to the end. This way I finish the socks at roughly the same time and I usually have a sock that is at easy place I can just pick up and knit.

In order to knit socks this way, I have two sets of those 32″ US 1 needles {no two-at-a-time juggling over here!} and I split my yarn into 50-gram balls. I purchased a kitchen scale from Target long ago that I have never used for food. As I hand wind the yarn from my Amish swift, I occasionally weigh the ball on the scale. Voila! Two equal(ish) balls of yarn!

I knit my socks using the Magic Loop Method and write my patterns this way as well. Basically, magic loop is just dividing your stitches- half your stitches on Needle One (n1) and half your stitches on Needle Two (n2). If you don’t like to knit using magic loop, don’t worry! You can place a marker halfway through your round to indicate where “n1” ends and “n2” begins.

Toe

First, cast on 32 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast On. You’ll have 16 stitches on each needle.

Knit one round, taking care to knit the stitches on the second needle through the back loop. {I have learned that there is a new method of Judy’s Magic Cast On that doesn’t require this, but I’m still doing it the old way.}

Begin increase rounds.

  1. K1, kf&b, knit to last two stitches on n1, kf&b, k1. Repeat for n2. – 4 sts increased.
  2. Knit.

Repeat the two increase rounds above until you have 64 total stitches or 32 stitches on each needle.

Toe complete!

Foot

The foot is a breeze! You just knit and knit until you reach the point you need to start your heel. While I can’t give you the perfect formula to find out how many inches you need to fit your foot {this takes many pairs of socks to figure out} I can give you some tips on how to make sure your socks match!

This is where those light bulb stitch markers come into play. As you knit your first round on the foot, place a marker in the round below– the last round of the toe. Now you know that the round above the stitch marker is Round One of the foot. Huzzah!

I like to mark the rounds of my foot every 20 rounds, so I place markers in Rnds 20, 40, and 60 of my foot. Including the one that marks the last round of the toe, I need a total of four markers. I just hook those markers into the first marker so they’re there when I need them.

Some people like to mark every 10 rounds- it’s up to you! Do what makes sock knitting most convenient for your lifestyle. Socks are one of the most convenient projects.

My foot is complete with a total of 65 rounds. I know I need 65 rounds with this base (75/25) because I’ve recently made lots of socks in similar yarn. When I make socks for family members, I keep track of how many rounds they need for their foot on my Ravelry project page. When I need to knit them another pair of socks, I refer to Ravelry!

I keep a progress keeper (the cookie from Sucre Sucre Miniatures) on my sock to mark progress for the week. I find this extremely motivating! Since I record podcasts on Wednesdays, I move my progress keeper every Wednesday. It’s fun to see how much of a sock you can knit in one week!

Heel

I am a Fish Lips Kiss Heel girl. I am a big supporter of the contrast color heel, even when I’m not knitting self-striping socks. These are my quirks. I invite you try them at least once!

You can find the Fish Lips Kiss Heel on Ravelry from the Sox Therapist for just $1. In the pattern, she has a wealth of information on how to find the correct placement for you heel. {You have permission to skip that for now if it overwhelms you. I did.} What I love about this heel is that it’s quick! It’s also symmetrical which means it works for toe-up and cuff-down down socks alike.

Since we already have our stitches divided in half, we can start the heel on n1. When joining the contrast color, I like to cross old (main color) over new (heel color) so I don’t have a gap in the corner of the heel.

Here is the first row of the FLK heel completed. Find the pattern here.

Here I have completed the first half of the heel. Since I have 32 stitches for the heel, I’ve got 10 twin stitches on either side, plus two unwrapped stitches on the outside, and 10 unwrapped stitches in the middle.

Completed heel with two twin stitches on either side.

Slip these twin stitches back to the left-hand needle. This is not part of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel instructions. I believe she has you do another round before you take care of these twin stitches, but we need to bring our main color back!

Now you’re ready to knit with the main color again. It’s right there! Cut your contrast color, pick up the main color, and knit each of the twin stitches as if they are one stitch.

Carry on knitting across the row and knit the other two twin stitches as if they are one stitch. We’re back to straight knitting again for the leg!

Heel complete!

Leg

Sometimes I knit short legs, sometimes I knit long legs. It all depends on my mood, the amount of yarn I have, and how many days I have left until the end of the month. {I try to start and finish a pair of socks each month.}

This pair I knit shorter legs {40 rounds}, but a standard length would look something like 60 rounds. This is before the ribbing.

Again, I place a marker in the last round of the heel. Then another one on Round 20.

Forty rounds for the leg complete!

Cuff

My cuffs seem to follow the path of the leg. Sometimes I go for classic ribbing like 1×1 or 2×2. Frequently I’ll throw in a twisted 1×1 rib for fun {and regret it whilst knitting}. This pair I got a little crazy and went for the neat but impractical 3×1 rib. Who knows what I was feeling the day I started this ribbing? {I’m wearing a different pair of short leg socks with 3×1 ribbing and they seem to be staying up alright!}

Knit 20 rounds in your choice of ribbing.

Cuff complete!

Binding Off

I used to be a cuff down girl. I still knit socks this way on occasion (usually when designing), so I have the stretchy cast-on and kitchener bind off down pat. It took me my first few pairs of toe-up socks to figure out a bind off that works for me.

Set Up (work only once):

  1. Knit two stitches in pattern.
  2. Insert left needle into the back of both stitches.
  3. K2tog tbl.

Repeat the following:

  1. Knit next stitch in pattern.
  2. Place yarn in back if it is not already.
  3. Insert left needle into the back of both stitches.
  4. K2tog tbl.

Steps 1-4 if the next stitch is KNIT:

The key to this bind off is that you’re knitting the stitch in pattern, whether knit or purl, but you’re always putting your yarn in back to knit the stitches together. Repeat steps 1-4 until you have one stitch remaining.

Steps 1-4 if the next stitch is PURL:

Everyone has a different method to repair the stair step-like gap that occurs when we knit in the round. I like to put my left needle into the first bound off stitch from the round. Then I knit the stitch as one. Finally lift the second stitch over the first stitch on the needle like a classic bind off. Cut yarn and pull through all the way.

See how nice and stretchy this bind off is!

Finishing

Weave in ends. Make sure NOT to weave any ends on bottom of the foot- ouch! Take care to weave in the contrast color heel to its same color.

I wash my socks with cool water and Soak formula. Then I rinse them and squeeze them dry in a towel.

I have found that blocking my socks on wooden blockers always makes them look nice. {I get mine at DFW Fiber Fest, but the same vendor sells on eBay!} I just do this the first time, not every time I was them after that.

All done!

Did you know that wool socks don’t need to be washed every time you wear them? Before you say, “EW!”… wool is naturally anti-microbial, so your socks won’t get stinky from a normal day’s wear. I just take off my hand-knit socks and let them air out overnight. I probably wear mine 4-5 times before they get another Soak bath. I know that Molly, from A Homespun House will wear hers 17 times!

Last year I knit 18 pairs of socks. I expect my 2019 recipe might look different than my 2018 recipe. I’m eager to try the afterthought heel to see how the fit compares to the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I’ve also considered dropping down to a 60-stitch foot and leg to see if I like that better. Finding the right sock fit is a life long journey.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Rebranding: Love in Stitches

Rebranding: Love in Stitches

At the end of November I announced a change to the blog. New format. New inspiration. And it’s been great! What I didn’t say at the time was… it was all leading up to this- I’m rebranding!

Woah! Natalie, new name? Why do you have to confuse us like that? Don’t worry, I am still Knitty Natty; and I think I always will be! However, for the direction I want to take my platforms, a name change was needed. Read on!

Why the name change?

Currently, all my social media platforms are “Knitty Natty”- Knitty Natty Designs, Knitty Natty at Home, and I’m @knittynatty on Instagram. Trust me, I’m still Knitty Natty! I even have work friend who refuses to call me anything but “Knitty” and I embrace it fully.

Knitty Natty (not talking about myself in the first person) is not going anywhere. My Instagram handle will remain @knittynatty, because that’s who I am. I like that my handle references my name, Natalie, because I’m one of those that like to know people by their first name. {Did you know that the sound of your own name actually lights up the pleasure center of your brain? The very sound makes you feel special!}

But you know when “Knitty Natty” is not so great? When you design crochet patterns. Which I have and will continue to do. “Knitty Natty Designs” can be misleading because it could turn crocheters away. Plus, after hearing my business name read out loud on a podcast {along with a long list of other designers that all had “designs” in their name} I couldn’t stand the sound of it. “Knitty Natty Designs” just didn’t flow!

Around the same time this idea of changing my design name floated into my brain, I considered switching my mini-podcast from IGTV to YouTube. I would need a podcast name! Anything with my Instagram handle in it just sound haughty. Knitty Natty Podcast? No way! So my noggin started churning.

“What if I had a name change across platforms? It would coincide with a change in the blog, a move to YouTube, and the impending release of new crochet patterns…” I thought.

I struggled to come up with a name for a few weeks. And then it hit me! From the beginning, I’ve signed my blog posts “Love in stitches, Knitty Natty”. For lack of a better word… I love the way “love in stitches” rolls off the tongue. It also has multiple connotations {read more below}. Love in Stitches doesn’t discriminate- I can knit, crochet, and even needlepoint and I’m still on brand.

But what I love most about my new name is that “Love in Stitches” isn’t about me; it’s about total adoration for a craft. This name allows for growth and collaboration. One day “Love in Stitches” could include others. I’m excited to see where it goes!

What exactly is “Love in Stitches”?

Right now the “Love in Stitches” brand name has replaced “Knitty Natty at Home” as my blog title. Tomorrow {1/10} the Love in Stitches Podcast will launch on my YouTube channel. And very soon, Knitty Natty Designs will morph into simply “Love in Stitches”.

Multiple Meanings.

The phrase “love in stitches” has so many meanings. You can take these words any way you like, depending on the situation.

You can show love in the stitches that you knit or crochet for others.

You can feel love when you’re physically wrapped those hand-stitched objects.

Being “in stitches” is an idiom that means “convulsed with laughter.” While I prefer not to convulse, I do love to laugh with others while I knit.

A “stitch” can also mean a small measure of time. While I couldn’t find a formal definition that matched, I’m sure many of you have heard the idiom, “a stitch in time.”

I try to spread a little love in small doses in our yarny community. Each time I post on Instagram or upload a video, I feel reciprocal appreciation for the craft. Platforms like this blog are my way of weaving some joy into the world.

I hope you love the new name as much as I do. Remember, nothing has changed except a pseudonym and a new podcast! Just a whole lot of good and potential.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

2018 Year in Review

I have a very production-focused personality. I make goals for myself every day, every hour… every minute? I feel wasteful if a day has gone by that I haven’t “done” something purposeful. Luckily, knitting and crochet make me feel very productive and 2018 was quite a success!

Ravelry has a fun feature where you can filter your projects to see which ones were finished in a specific year. {You must have input your projects and the date completed first!} Just go to your project page and choose the drop down menu called “filter your projects”. After that, select “year completed” and choose 2018.

In total, I completed 70 projects this year. Eighteen pairs of socks, nine shawls, five cowls, five sweaters, five hats, eight dishcloths/potholders, three blankets, and seventeen in the “other” category. Forty-five projects were knit and 25 projects were crochet- color me shocked! You can find ALL of my 2018 projects here.

Below I’ve sorted each project by category and linked the pattern page if I used a pattern. I also included a picture of my very favorite finished object in each grouping. If you want to see and hear about my favorite project in little more detail, I made a special video episode on YouTube here. Enjoy!

Socks {18}

Coming in at the first with the “most number made” are socks! This year I designed three pairs of socks and put up a sock recipe on my blog. Socks are the clear winners for 2018. They are the most portable project because they are small, simple, and, with the fine yarn, give you hours of entertainment.

My favorite pair of socks I made this year are the Clark Socks by Jaclyn Salem. The pattern is gorgeous with its cables running down the front and back, yet easy to memorize with the cleverly placed purl bumps.

Sweaters {5}

I had a goal this year to knit six sweaters… so I didn’t completely fail. However, a few other sweaters in my #2018makenine never even got on the needles. Next year!

My favorite sweater I made this year is Aureed by Meiju K-P. I wear this cardigan nearly every week. I’ve learned that fingering weight sweaters suit me best and that a BFL base is light-weight and won’t stretch out!

Shawls {9}

In second place, my 2018 “second most made” project was shawls! Gosh I love a good shawl. As shawls are accessories, you can use fun colors in crazy combinations. I had a really hard time choosing my favorite shawl this year…

But I think I have to go with the Flatiron Shawl by Toni Lipsey. I loved it so much I made two! This project definitely drew me back into crochet. I never knew you could get so much drape with a crochet piece. {Hint: natural fiber, big hook, small yarn = winning.}

Cowls {5}

Cowls didn’t get a ton of love this year. {Sorry, cowls. I’m on a shawl kick.} But I have to say I do enjoy wearing the ones I made this year. A couple went on as gifts!

My favorite cowl is my Gina’s Brioche Cowl by Purl Soho. It’s so squishy and bright! I made some modifications to adapt this cowl to fingering weight yarn and you can find them all on my project page.

Hats {5}

Hats didn’t get too much attention this year either. I guess I did realize that… if it’s nice, make it twice! I made two different patterns twice.

I loved my 2×2 Ribbed for His Pleasure by Tinksdarkerside mostly because I gifted them to my husband and brother {no, they do not and will not ever know what the pattern is called!}. My husband, Kent, picked out the yarn himself on a yarn crawl and wears his hat regularly. That makes me smile!

Dishcloths/Potholders {8}

Dishcloths and potholders are always high in number each year. I made 16 total dishcloths and potholders in eight different projects. I don’t think I kept a single one!

My favorite dishcloth is the Monogrammed Alphabet for Knitters by Heather Kate. These make THE BEST wedding gift. Sometimes I’ll make the couples’ last name and sometimes I do each of their first initials. I have fun matching the cotton to the colors they’ve chosen in their wedding registry!

Blankets {3)

I can’t believe I finished three blankets this year! Granted… not all blankets are like the sock-weight scrap blankets I’m currently working on {aka forever WIPs}. One was a small stroller set, one was a deadline crochet, but my favorite…

Was a Stephen West garter stitch masterpiece! The Garter Squish by Stephen West. I made the entire blanket out of worsted weight scraps and magic knots. I exclusively knit on it while watching Lost. {We have yet to finish the show though… }

Other {17}

I made a variety of silly and different things this year. I designed a glass bottle cozy, knit a gorgeous stocking, and even made a slightly modified bra! What?!

My top make in the “other” category is the Float Tote by Knitty Natty Designs- that’s me! This was the first design I ever had tested and published for purchase. I’m so very proud of it! I created this bag with the intent to use it for stocking knitting, but I’ve used it for so much more than that. Any project that uses three or more skeins I’ve put in these totes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little round up of 2018 projects. It was a lot of fun to look back on the projects I created this year. I made so many more things that I remembered!

Don’t forget you can view all my 2018 projects on Ravelry here and watch the video review of my favorite projects + knitting goals for new year here.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Quickie Socks

I’ve discovered the most amazing thing… how to knit the fastest socks in the world. Socks that you can still wear in shoes, but make amazingly squishy house socks, too. The secret is in the formula… 80% merino, 20% nylon. Boom.

I stumbled up the Quickie Socks by pure accident when I started a pair of socks out of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock base. I cast on with my usual US 1 needles and 64 stitches and my sock turned out HUGE! So I went down to 56 stitches… still too big. Then I went to 48 stitches and it was perfect. Socks on 48 stitches fly!

Materials:

  • 100 grams of an 80/20 sock yarn- so plump!
  • US 2 (2.75mm) needles- I like magic loop on 32″ circulars.
  • Darning needle, light bulb stitch markers, scissors, and other common notions.

Gauge:

My gauge with this yarn and needle size is roughly 7 stitches per inch. When I use what I consider a “typical sock yarn” in a 75/25 base, I get 8 stitches per inch.

Pattern:

1. Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on 24 stitches (12 per needle).

2. KNIT ONE ROUND!

3. Increase every other round as follows:

  • Rnd 1: K1, kf&b, knit to last two sts on first needle, kf&b, k1. Repeat for second needle.- 4 sts increased.
  • Rnd 2: Knit.

4. Keep on increasing until you get to 48 stitches. My foot is narrow, so the 7″ circumference created by these 48 stitches is perfect for me. You might need 56 or 64 stitches. Just keep increasing until you reach the desired circumference!

5. Knit the foot until you’re ready to knit the heel. I wear a women’s 8 shoe and I only needed 61 rounds in this thicker base to reach my heel. {With 75/25 I need 68 rounds from toe to heel.} I like to put a lightbulb stitch marker in the last round of the toe, and every 20 rounds after that to make it easy to count rounds and match my two socks.

6. Work the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. This is my current favorite heel. It’s so quick and easy to work with any stitch count. With my 48 stitches I had 24 stitches for the heel. On the first pass, I had 7 twin stitches on each side, 8 unwrapped stitches in the middle, and 1 unwrapped stitch on each end.

The pattern costs just $1! You have my permission to skip through the sizing pages (if you don’t need them) and carry on with pattern around page 8.

7. Knit 40 rounds for the leg. Again, I like to use lightbulb stitch markers to mark the last row of the heel and each 20 rounds after that. I know some people like to mark every 10 rounds!

8. Knit 15 rounds of twisted 1×1 rib. I like to change this up depending on my mood when I knit the first sock. Sometimes it’s 2×2 rib, sometimes regular 1×1- the ribbing is up to you, but 15 rounds does the trick!

9. Stretchy Bind Off. I like to do a stretchy bind off as follows.

  • Knit the first two stitches in pattern.
  • Move yarn back.
  • Insert left needle into the front of these two stitches and k2tog tbl.

For the rest of the bind of just repeat the following…

  • Knit the next stitch in pattern.
  • Move yarn back (if not already).
  • Insert left needle into the front of these two stitches and k2tog tbl.

10. Weave in those ends! Make sure you don’t weave them in on the bottom of the foot. Not comfy.

That’s it! These are seriously so quick! I think it’s the smaller stitch count than usual. And a bit smaller row count.

Here are some quick maths… usually I have 64 sts with 68 rounds for my foot and 60ish total rounds for the leg, which equals 8,192 stitches (not including the heels or toes) for one sock. However, at 48 sts with 61 rounds for my foot and 55 rounds for the leg… we’re at 5,568. That saves a lot of time!

I hope you enjoy making quick pairs of socks! Maybe for Christmas gifts next year? I will have more sock recipes coming your way soon!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Scrappy Granny: Photo Tutorial

Scrappy Granny: Photo Tutorial

Scrappy Granny  is the very first pattern I ever published to Ravelry! Of course, granny squares have been around forever so this pattern is more of a “how I make my granny squares” tutorial.

These tiny grannies use a D (3.25mm) hook and fingering weight yarn. So round up your sock scraps or your advent yarn and let’s get started!

Find the FREE PRINTABLE PDF on Ravelry here.

Materials:

8-10 grams of fingering weight yarn

3.25mm (D) crochet hook

Notes:

While my squares took only 8 grams of sock yarn (4-ply superwash merino), yours might take more. Make sure to have at least 10 grams (for insurance) and use your kitchen scale to weigh your scraps!

My squares measure 4.5” wide.

Terms:

ch = chain

dc = double crochet (US terminology)

rnd = round

sl st = slip stitch

Pattern: 

Start with a magic circle. Magic circle (or magic ring) tutorial from the very talented B.hooked Crochet: https://bit.ly/2KBk3Bc

Rnd 1: 

Ch3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), dc2 into circle, ch2. * Dc3, ch2; repeat from * two more times. Join with a sl st to top of first ch3.

You just made four dc3 clusters and four ch2 corners- yay!

Rnd 2:

 Sl st in next two dc and 1st corner. 

Slip stitch in these first two dc.

First Corner: Ch3, dc2, ch2, dc3. 

Corner: Dc3, ch2, dc3 in next corner space. Repeat Corner in each ch2 space around. 
Join with a sl st in top of first ch3.

Now you have eight dc3 clusters and… well still four ch2 corners. We’re making a square after all. Did you notice those center spaces? Read on!

Rnd 3: 

Sl st in next two dc and 1st corner.  First corner: Ch3, dc2, ch2, dc3. 

Center: Dc3 in center space. 

Corner: Dc3, ch2, dc3 in next corner space. Alternate Center and Corner around. 
Join with a sl st in top of first ch3.

Okay, we’re getting into the rhythm now. You should have 12 dc3 clusters- 4 which make the centers and 8 which make the corners. Do you still have four ch2 corner spaces? Good, you’re on the right track.

Rnd 4 and following rnds: 

Sl st in next two dc and 1st corner. First Corner: Ch3, dc2, ch2, dc3. 

Centers: Dc3 in each center space. 

Corner: Dc3, ch2, dc3 in next corner space. Repeat Centers and Corner around. 
Join with a sl st in top of first ch3.

Rnd 4 complete.

Round 5:  Repeat Rnd 4. On Rnd 5 you’ll have three center spaces.

Round 6-7:  Repeat Rnd 4. On Rnd 6 you’ll have four center spaces. Rnd 7 has five center spaces. You can continue on this way until you reach the desired size!

My squares have seven total rounds with 5 center spaces. Once you reach the desired size, cut yarn, pull through last stitch, and weave in ends.

I love my sweet, little granny squares! One day I hope to join all of them into a nice lap blanket. Maybe with some light grey? Who knows! You can view all of my Harry Potter themed granny squares on my project page.

You can download the FREE ONE PAGE PRINTABLE of this pattern from Ravelry here.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Thistleberry Sweater

Thistleberry Sweater

The Thistleberry Sweater pattern  by Coco.Crochet.Lee came out yesterday! I had the pleasure of test crocheting this pattern and I LOVED the experience.

I made the medium size with a C (2.75mm) hook and 9 skeins of Loops and Threads Joy DK. See my Ravelry project page here.

Three Reasons Why You Should Crochet the Thistleberry Sweater RIGHT NOW

  1. It makes the perfect holiday outfit. A sweet ruffle and fancy cables means you can dress this sweater up for your next holiday party!
  2. CROCHET SWEATER ARE SO FAST. Knitters, I’m so serious. Crochet sweaters should be the new thing. I made my sweater way too long (oops!) and still finished it in three weeks.
  3. Learn cables! If you have tried crochet cables yet, this sweater is a great introductory pattern for the technique. The repeat is simple and only on the front of the sweater. My strategy was to make all the other pieces first and then reward myself with some fun and challenging cable work.

I’m definitely a capital K Knitter, but I’ve been crocheting for nearly 10 years. I haven’t ventured out much to try stitches other than the basics. This sweater taught me how to rib and how to cable. I even learned how to count my rows! After the first few rows of the back, I could read my crochet and no longer felt like I had to count each stitch in the fear that I’d forgotten to crochet the last one.

I learned some lessons too and here’s what I would change next time…

  • Try sport or fingering weight. Even though I got close to gauge with my DK-weight yarn, I wasn’t pleased with the fabric. {*Ahem* Could it be because you chose 100% acrylic, Natalie?} I’d love to make this sweater again in a lighter fabric, just not too airy because you don’t want to lose stitch definition in the cables.
  • USE WOOL YOU FOOL. Please, no one ever let me make a 100% acrylic sweater again. Why must I repeatedly learn from my mistakes? Acrylic is the perfect yarn for so many items- blankets, toys, baby gifts. However, acrylic does not give or drape or breathe… which can make you feel like a hot link sausage in your beautiful red cabled sweater.
  • Shaping. Sometimes your body is just not the same blueprint as that sweater pattern you love. When I choose a sweater size that matches my bust measurements, my hips are going to suffocate. Beginning with a larger size and adding a few spaced out decreases at the waist would be a super easy addition to this sweater. Don’t be afraid to modify a pattern to fit your body!

Lee has adjusted the pattern to have a more traditional neckline instead of the off-the-shoulder look that mine resulted in. So don’t worry if you’d like your neckline to be more modest, Lee’s got you covered!

Next winter I want to make one of these in white. Then I’ll really be dreaming of a white Christmas here in Texas!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Change is gonna come…

Dear lovely readers, yarn-lovers and muggles alike,

I’m writing this blog post to announce some changes coming to the Knitty Natty at Home blog. Good changes! Exciting changes!

I’ve been writing in my current format {almost} weekly for nine months. This structure is similar to knitting podcasts with WIPs and FOs in addition to the personal elements of cooking, reading, and faith. In July I started an Instagram TV Channel (IGTV) where I share my current knitting and crochet projects every Wednesday in a 10-minute video. I LOVE recording these videos each week.

Lately when I’ve sat down to work on my blog posts, I feel like I’m repeating myself. “I’m just logging the same things that I share in my videos,” I thought. Blogging has felt less organic than it did just a few months ago.

So here’s the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: The blog format is changing! Instead of posting lengthy  blogs each week, I will write shorter posts more spontaneously. Sometimes this will be multiple times a week, sometimes not at all. I will still talk about knitting and crochet- ALWAYS. If a good book or great recipe comes across my radar, I’ll post about that too. Primarily this is a knitting and crochet blog so that will remain the focus.

I’m hoping to include an occasional free pattern or pattern recipe along the way. I’ll share those too!

If you’re eager to keep up with my knitting and crochet projects and designs, Instagram is the best place to follow my journey {@knittynatty}. Additionally, I’m launching my YouTube channel next week for Vlogmas and continuing my weekly mini-podcasts on Instagram {for now! I’m toying with the idea of a big rebranding in the New Year… so keep an eye out for that. Eek!

Thank you so much for faithfully reading my thoughts on this blog. I’m always shocked when someone tells me in person that they love to read my posts. I suppose it was silly to think that I’m in my little corner of the internet all alone!

Love in stitches,

Natalie

Design and Desserts

Design and Desserts

This week has been heavy- with design, desserts, and heartache.

This week I have a HO, I work on a hat and my mystery shawl, I talk about the design process, I cook some tasty food and desserts, discuss great tragedy, and start a new book. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

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One finished sock and one more to go!

I’ve got a half-finished object this week: my new sock design. This is a faded sock designed to be knit with scraps. It’s knit with reverse stockinette, but the real kicker is… you knit the leg inside out! MAGIC. This pattern will include toe-up and cuff-down versions. It will be available December 1st!


WIP’s- Focus Projects

IMG_7619
Halfway through Clue 3 of the Texture Time shawl by Stephen West.

I’ve been trucking along on my Texture Time shawl, but alas, I am still on Clue 3. The mystery knit-along is over so I hope to finish the shawl before the end of the month. I decided to introduce a new color in this section- called “Wavy Wings”. I love the way the neon yellow makes this shawl more Stephen West-esque.

IMG_7669
Starting another No Huddle Hat.

I’m also working on a second No Huddle Hat– the name of my third design in the Fall Means Football- Subtle Fanwear Collection. These colors are much more subtle than my first Oregon-inspired hat. They are turning out quite beautiful though! This pattern will be released on November 20th.


Something New

Sunday I attempted to work out a crochet design that I’ve had in my head for a little while. I got so excited while putting together colors from my stash. I drew out little sketches in pencil. I finally sat down with a my hook in hand… and hated the result!

Such is life. I typically go through two struggle stages when designing a pattern. The first is when I start knitting or crochet. I always have an image in my head, but the actual item never ends up coming out the same way. So I go through the painful process of knitting and ripping back, crocheting and pulling out… repeat as needed. Then I have an amazing AHA! moment {usually on day three or four of this process} and smoothly sail through the project.

The second struggle is in the pattern writing process. Currently, I like to type up as much of the pattern as I can before I begin. Then as I’m working, I keep my computer beside me and fill in rows as I knit or crochet the project. It’s a still a pretty rough draft when the product is finished. As I start to refine the wording, I have many days of going back and forth on sections of the pattern. I wonder: “What makes the most sense?” and “How will this read?” Then I get that same AHA! breakthrough feeling when I finally feel like I’m communicating well in the pattern.

I really enjoy designing. I can’t stop! I’ve got so many ideas in my head. At first they are feel like all great ideas… but many have to filter out. Either they’ve been done before or they aren’t looking like I had imagined. It’s a really fulfilling creative process.

So, I think I’ll put this crochet design on the back burner for a bit. I haven’t given up on it, but it’s not quite at the moment of clarity that I need. I’ve got other ideas ready to come forward in the nearer future.


What God’s Teaching Me

This week I’ve just been gutted with tragedy by proxy. My close friends are experiencing horrible trials and losses. A devastating accident in local news shook me. One of my favorite yarn dyers has lost her entire town to fire.

My own small family circle couldn’t be happier though. Things are not just going well, God’s timing has been exceptional in our lives lately.

The juxtaposition of these events hurts my heart even more.

Life is hard. So, so, so hard. There is nothing that we have done to earn more “good” and nothing that anyone else has done to deserve more “bad”. And yet, this week happened. None of us knew how it would look when our alarms went off on Monday morning.

Speaking of thankfulness around Thanksgiving is expected, even cliche. This year though, I’m thankful for different things. I’m hyper-aware that everything could be lost in an instant. Therefore, I’m crying when I see a ambulance zoom by on my way to work because I’m thankful that my husband is home in bed safe and asleep. I’m having trouble falling asleep in my comfortable bed each night because I know people who have just lost everything they own.

My heart is so heavy as I pray for my friends who have lost much; and then in the same breathe praise God for the things that we still have.

If you’re able to help Cathy of Hooker’s Corner, please donate here.

Lord, thank you for what you give and take away. Thank you for understanding that when I pray those words, I don’t always mean it. I’m not thankful for what has been taken from my friends. I can’t understand it. I want to protect them and I want to be protected. I’m afraid of what is coming tomorrow. Lord, surround my friends with your love and resources. Heal their hearts through their tragedies. Provide me with paths to love them more. Calm my heart so I can help them. Thank you for blessing us so that we can bless others. Amen.


What We’re Cooking

It was my turn to cook this week. I made everything from Eat at Home!

IMG_7642
Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes, made easy in the crockpot.

IMG_7660
Honey Orange Cashew Pork; not my fave, but husband-approved!

IMG_7636
Marshmallow Brownies topped with crispy rice, peanut butter and chocolate- so delicious!

IMG_7635
When you have extra marshmallows and rice crispy cereal… you make Rice Crispy Treats!


What I’m Reading

The previous book that I was reading, The Girl with the Red Balloon, got sucked back up into the digital library. When I went to borrow it again, neither of my libraries actually owned it. It seems that the book was on some kind of trial period with the library… and since I was only kind of interested in the story anyway, I decided to let it go and start something new.

hitchhikers

Many times my books selections are influenced by what is currently available. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was ready for download {and I’d heard of it before} so I’ve decided to give it a go. It turns out my husband’s read all of the books in the series and loved them. So I’m even more encouraged to read it now. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty