Category Archives: knitting

Knit for Victory

About 18 months ago I taught myself to knit. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for a long time, I had always seen it as a beautiful craft and a potentially very satisfying creative outlet. With a bit of encouragement and coaching from my sister, I took the first tentative steps, and I quickly fell in love with it as a hobby. It has lived up to all its promise and I’m still completely hooked. Speaking of hooks, this summer I diversified into crochet. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s the perfect pastime: creative, contemplative, manual, organic, solitary, but also social.

 

I’ve previously posted a knitting pattern on this blog. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to knit a pair of socks by a previous happy recipient who wears them in bed. He wants another pair but, he specified, he wants a pair decorated with the EU stars. I duly delivered the first of the pair and at the time of writing I am working on the second. I tweeted a picture of the first and it found its way into the Brexit camp’s echo chamber. They don’t like it. It offends them, and they began queueing up to tell me about it.



“knitting against democracy”


I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying I find this. I knit because I love to, and I knit the EU flag because it’s a way to make a statement, isn’t it? It won’t change the world or reverse Brexit, but it feels good. But oh my God it feels so much better when I know it annoys Leavers!

A number of people on Twitter have asked me for the pattern. This isn’t going to be a pattern as such, but the following should give you all you need to knit these yourself, it’s actually very easy.

It’s based on a standard sock pattern. I got mine from a really good book which I recommend, Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.

Buying a book may be overkill but what I like about this book is that it gives you a basic formula that you can follow for any size sock in any size yarn on any size needles, once you have the gauge. I have the Kindle version on my phone for quick consultation. I also recommend following Youtube tutorials the first time you attempt socks – a very good one I’ve used is the one below.

Once you have your basic sock pattern, then the rest is straightforward. Get your blue and yellow sock yarns (I use Regia 4-ply) , knit a sock as you would normally in a blue yarn but switch to yellow for the heels and the toes (for the toes I do two rows in alternating yellow and blue before switching to just yellow, and I start these at the beginning of the decreases). Then, for the star pattern, at about twelve rows beneath the ribbing I simply do the stranded colour work following the pattern below. Again, Youtube is full of helpful tutorials if you’re new to colourwork.

Sizing can be tricky so it’s important to get the gauge right. I’m using Regia 4-ply sock yarn with 3.5mm needles and 64 stitches in a round, so I have room for 8 stars following the pattern above. It’s relatively simple to adapt the pattern to a smaller sock size either by reducing the number of stars and increasing the space between them, or by adapting the star pattern. Doodling new knitting patterns is what meetings are for, right? There’s also an app for that.

My 64-stitch round on 3.5mm needles gives me a sock that is pretty loose even on my size 11 feet so you might want to go with something smaller. Be careful with the colourwork – if you strand too tightly, your sock will lose elasticity and will be hard to put on; strand too loosely and a toe might get caught in a floater (a ‘floating’ length of yarn in the colour not being used – mitigate this by twisting the two coloured yarns around each other every four or five stitches). Experience is the only way to get this right. Just experiment.

The traditional way to knit socks is on four double-pointed needles (or three if you’re American). I’ve switched to using the magic loop method which I really recommend, it’s a lot quicker and neater.

Obviously, this pattern can easily be adapted to hats or scarves or mittens or gloves or anything else. If creativity strikes, please share your results in the comments.

I’ve put a gallery of my knits up on Flickr, and I intend to keep adding to it. I’d be delighted to hear from other knitters especially the craftivist type.

Knitting

Knitting pattern: the fairisle euroberet!

Calling all members of the Bresistance! Show your love for Europe with this unisex fairisle euroberet! May be worn Citizen Smith-style, Che Guevara-style, or René-off-of-Allo-Allo-style – however you wear it, it’s guaranteed to troll a kipper.

 

Disclaimer: this is my first attempt to write up a pattern, and it won’t lead you by the nose. I am assuming some experience with stranded colourwork and basic increasing/decreasing on the part of the reader, and that you will be comfortable adapting the pattern on the fly to suit your needs and address any errors. My beret (pictured at top and below) was improvised, and so is this pattern. If you don’t recognise an abbreviation, you probably won’t want to knit this pattern (but if you’re curious please search them on youtube where there are hundreds of great tutorials).

The beauty of a beret, knit from the top down, is that you don’t have to be too fussy about sizing. The only bit you have to get right is the very final four rows of ribbing which have to fit the head you’re knitting for. If you get to the end of the pattern and you find you’re still a bit too big, just add another decrease round or two.

The beret is knit in the round from the top down (beginning with an i-cord). Start using DPNs and transfer to circular needles as appropriate (once I’d complete the i-cord I transferred to a single set of long circular needles and used the magic loop method throughout). At the top and the bottom of the star section, there are long floats of up to 15 stitches, I recommend trapping the floating yarn every five stitches using a twist. Be careful to avoid making your floats too tight or the fabric will pucker.

Yarn: DK weight (I used Cascade 220 Superwash 821 Daffodil, Cascade 220 Superwash 1925 Cobalt Heather, Cascade 220 Superwash 1951 Sapphire Heather)

Gauge: 24 stitches x 24 rows per 10cm

Needles: 3.5mm circular, 3.5mm DPNs

1. With 3.5mm DPN, CO six stitches in light blue yarn

2. Knit an i-cord of around 2cm or 3cm

3. Arrange stitches evenly on 3 DPNs (2 stitches on each) or transfer to long 3.5mm circular needles (to knit in the round using the magic loop method). Next row is Row 1.

4. Row 1: k6, PM.

5. Row 2: kfb* x 6 (12 stitches total), SM

6. Now, knit rows 3-50 following the pattern with row 3 at the top (click on the thumbnail below). Each row in the pattern is repeated twelve times to complete a single round. SM (slip your marker) at the end of each round. At its maximum breadth, you will have 192 stitches per row.

On increase rows, M marks the increase. Use any increase you like – I used kfb, m1l and m1r. For the decrease rows, a backslash / marks decrease stitches (I used k2tog).

Chances are your head is smaller than mine, in which case you might want to repeat row 50 once or even twice until you arrive at a size that fits you more comfortably.

7. To finish, knit five rows in k1 p1 rib

8. Cast off in rib using an elastic bind-off (eg http://slipslipknit.com/?page_id=92). Weave in ends.

 

Also published on Ravelry.