Tag Archives: yarn love

Miss Margaret Socks – newly released!


little Miss Margaret!

Miss Margaret is my latest pattern. She was released yesterday for Three Irish Girls’ Sock Yarnista club. She’ll be available for purchase for non-club members shortly at Three Irish Girls.

She is a cuff down sock with an easy to remember spiral stitch pattern. I’ve added beads for a little “bling” but she’s just as pretty without. The spiral pattern melts into a cabled heel flap and is framed by prettily cabled gussets for a great fit.

The pink sample is shown in Scarlett O’Hara by Yarn Love, colorway: Petal.

Intermediate difficulty: pattern assumes familiarity with cables and charts. Bead work is done using a small crochet hook, so you don’t have to pre-string the beads.

• 4 oz/410 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in Yarn Love’s Scarlett O’ Hara. Color – Petal.
• US size1 or 2.25 mm needles (2 circulars, 5 DPNS or 1 long circular for magic loop.)
• Taspestry needle
• Stitch markers (optional)

Extra notions:
• Small gauge steel crochet hook – size 14
• Seed beads size 6 or 8 (You will need 60-80 per sock depending upon how long you knit the cuff.)
• 2 small cable needles (You may cable without cable needles if you prefer.)

• Beading (explained in the pattern)
• Cables
• Short rows

• The heel flap, gusset, and instep st patterns are given as charts only for clarity.
• You may pre-string the beads if you prefer.


Filed under Finished Objects, Knitting, Patterns

Killer Poppies

The socks are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare. Not a full blown one, mind you. Just the kind where you knit half a sock, run into an issue and spend the next 5 days redesigning it. You may already have guessed it, but the Poppy/Sunflower socks are turning out to be Killer Poppy Socks.

I hit the first snag on Wednesday night. I’d forgotten to take into account the increasing that needs to happen between the heel of the sock and the calf. Now you might not realize it, but there is a significant increase in leg circumference over the length of a typical sock cuff. Since stranded color work has so much less stretch than regular knitting, you can no longer rely on the intrinsic stretch of the fabric to bail you out.  You must design them in.

The second snag I should have anticipated, since I ran into something really similar on my Grecian Goddess socks, but I didn’t. Anticipate the problem, that is. I certainly ran head long into it. This problem being that I am anal, and I want my pattern to reach a certain place on the colorwork chart at a certain place on the foot. Which isn’t a big deal, right? I mean seriously, you just start at the toe and stop knitting when the sock is long enough. Well, that works very well with a minor amount of wrangling when the designer is knitting for their own foot. Considering that not the entire world has the exact same foot size as I do means that the pattern would essentially be usuable (in it’s best form) by only me. So all of you reading this would be out of luck pattern wise. I am a nice person, and I want you to enjoy the pattern, too. So back to the drawing board.

Once I discovered these issues all knitting came to a screeching halt. I didn’t even have an auxiliary project on the needles to help me out. Sure, I was 50% of the way through another pair of socks, but one sock was fully done and the other wasn’t even cast on. Casting on was just way too much work. So I sat around restlessly for two hours that night trying to figure out what to do. So I thought….and thought…….and thought………….for 5 days before I worked it out.

The good news is that the pattern should work. I’ve completely redone the charts – so now the stitch count is correct and it should fit me at the calf area. The bad news is that I’ve changed the starting point of the sock. It originally was a toe up and now we’re going cuff down. That means the 50% of a sock that I have done right now is going to be ripped out. Completely.

So I just ripped out 2 weeks of design/knitting work in favor of the last 5 days worth of brain wrangling.  And just in case you think that I have magic fingers, and knitting charts just flow out of them without effort I’ll leave you with this. It’s essentially an unedited chart “doodle” which was created during several design brainstorm sessions. Doesn’t it make you truly appreciate the clarity and cleanliness of a finished pattern? (And these are just the most recent changes/charts/doodles….several iterations were already erased/doodled over.)

Just so those of you who are waiting for the pattern don’t lose hope – here’s a picture of all the component yarns for the new redeisign: (Colors are: Marigold, Violet Vale, Ancient Forest)


Filed under Creativity, Knitting

Pretty Poppies or Sunflowers?

Forward progress has been slow, but it is happening on the Pretty Poppies Socks. But they are now no longer poppies. Why? Mostly because the word Sunflower just looked so much better charted out as opposed to poppy or poppies. So here are what the socks look like currently:

More progress would have been made if I hadn’t ripped out the original heel. The first go ’round continued the Salt & Pepper pattern from the foot. But it was too tight and thick. The shaping was dumpy and I was unhappy. Heels are a pressure/rub point for nearly everyone and you have to get that part right or the socks stink to wear. So I switched to a two color garter. You can see it in this shot:

I’m still not happy with the heel, though. Not because the shaping is wonky this time around (Although the ssk row isn’t as straight as I’d like it to be due to the color changes. But that should block out.) This time I think the combination of the instep pattern, the gusset stripes and the striped heel are too overwhelming. There’s no where for the eye to rest. Luckily, you can work the entire heel in one color and end up in the same place you started from (Beginning of round, where the other working yarn strand is waiting.). So the next sock is going to have a plain green heel. That should clear things up substantially.

I will try to get more knitting done this evening….right after grocery shopping, present shopping, dinner and applying the first clear coat to my kitchen table legs. It’s going to be a busy night!


Filed under Creativity, Knitting

Pretty Poppies Socks

I’m back from Sock Summit and sort of almost recovered from the insanity that is planning, working and cleaning up after a retail yarn show. It was great to meet lots of you at the Summit, and you know I always enjoy the yarn show – even if I don’t sleep for a month!

So I’m in just a bit of a holding pattern after the show, while I wait for a large order of base yarn to come in. After being in such a wonderfully chaotic, creative environment, it’s hard not to design something new. So currently on my needles I have my Pretty Poppies socks.

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

The idea is that the flower grows out of the toe, up the foot and finally blooms on the leg. Yarn is: Yarn Love’s Diana in Violet Vale (Background color: non repeating, medium saturated purple, semi solid) and Scarlett O’Hara in Ancient Forest (Accent color: non repeating, moderately saturated green, semi solid). The flower will of course be another color, but I haven’t quite decided what color I’ll choose. I’m leaning towards a new tri color that I dyed up for Sock Summit called Marigold. Notice the entire floral motif thing we’ve got going here?


Filed under Creativity, Dyeing, Knitting

Socks….lots and lots of socks.

I’ve been meaning to blog more, but not doing a good job of it for the past several (read 6-9) months. I’m attempting to fix that now, and get back on my Monday blogging schedule again. I have been busy in my off time. If by off time you allow that I’m running a hand dyeing business, branching into designing, teaching dyeing, and prepping to vend at Sock Summit.

I do have pretties to show you. Maybe I won’t post them all now, but snippets….to entice you to come back. (Some of these links will direct you to Ravelry.com. If you’re not a member there yet, you need to be. Don’t fuss, just sign up. You’ll be glad you did!)

I’m going to start with the most recent pattern added to the Katie Franceschi collection. It’s available for purchase (Immediate download, no less! Yay, instant gratification!)

Winding Path Socks

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Designed especially to accentuate the particular beauty of hand-dyed yarns. No more knitting with the most gorgeous skein ever only to discover that it does wicked, wicked things when you actually knit it. The pattern contains specific guidance for choosing an appropriate yarn. Both examples are knit with high contrast, multi-color yarns. Generally speaking highly saturated colors with high contrast to each other present the largest challenge when knitting with hand dyed/ painted yarns. Ironically, the multi-color skeins are often the ones that catch your eye and draw you in!

The socks are worked toe up, with a generous gusset for a great fit. (The gusset is that triangle along the side of the foot.) The stitch pattern does a great job of breaking up and re-distributing the bold colors – which gives the sock an over all even sprinkling of color. Notice how there aren’t large blotches of any single color anywhere. Those blotches are referred to as pooling or flashing and are usually very distracting. Then I finished off the sock with a simple cable. It’s eye catching and keeps you interested as the knitting progresses. Yes, the pair is asymmetrical. The cable travels up the outside of each sock. You could place the cable on same side for each sock, but it looks….very odd when you wear them!

As a bonus, there are four widths included in the pattern. And instructions for using both fingering weight and sport weight yarns. You can knit these up for practically any adult foot size! The sport weight option makes these a good choice for a fast gift!


When I’m designing, I usually knit up more than one version of the sock. The first pair is the design template, and the second pair is polished and pristine (Well, mostly pristine.) for photography. You can see the prototype pair for this pattern in my Ravelry Projects. If you keep tabs on my projects at Ravlery, you’ll most likely see my design projects in progress.

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

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Twinkle Mitts, Mitten & Cowl – new pattern release, Jan 2009

Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl - January 2009 from Yarn Love
Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl – January 2009 from Yarn Love

New Pattern release from Yarn Love!

Our newest pattern: the Twinkle Set will be released January 2009. The pattern includes instruction for average adult sizing of fingerless mitts (pictured), full mittens, and a cowl (also pictured. Shown at left in Malabrigo Chunky Merino colors Roanoke & Lettuce.  Only available at Eat.Sleep.Knit. – please check them out! They are one of our retailers and have an amazing customer rewards program. (I happily shop with Erin & Dad, too!)

The given gauge is perfect with our Charlotte Bronte Aran merino, as well.




Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky

Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky


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Product development & Christmas

E & G's Christmas Tunics - michael miller's Yule Christmas & Dots
E & G’s Christmas Tunics – michael miller’s Yule Christmas & Dots


It’s really early here. Hubby got up before 6 am to go into work before we get a monster snow storm. The idea is that he go in early and then come home later this morning, safely, before the snow really starts to fly. We’ll see how it goes. The commute is the downside to living in a quaint, small town 30 miles away from downtown… This will be our 7th snow since the beginning of November & in case your child burned your calendar and you’ve been  living under a rock, it’s mid December.


Yarn that stripes like Noro

Besides the usual Christmas busyness and familial obligations, I’ve decided that *now* is the best Blanks knit in the new dyeing style!time to pursue new product development. Nothing beats holiday stress like a huge amount of work that may or may not pan out. In my defense, I started working on this project 2 months ago. I need to contract out some very specific, custom fiber work in order to make this venture successful. I found one contractor on the West coast and proceeded to ship yarn with them so they could get a sample worked up and firm pricing. It took 3 weeks for them to acknowledge receipt of the yarn. Then 2 1/2 more to work up a sample. We are currently sitting at 4+ weeks that they’ve had the sample but won’t ship it.

On second thought, I’ll think I’ll skip hiring you.

So the search has continued. I’ve found others who will work, but of course, they are booked up solidly through Christmas. My poor retailer will have been waiting three months before the product is even in production. In the meantime, I’ve been making not-quite-perfect samples for myself and limping through the new dyeing technique. Hopefully, this will come together in a big  ball of beautiful symmetry after Christmas.

Home Improvement

The office is finally usable! We moved the computer desk back down here the weekend before last…so we could put the Christmas tree up in the living room. Since we have been working every available weekend since the end of June, it feels like a *huge* accomplishment. And it’s pretty. Seriously pretty. We have a deep chocolate accent wall, and the other three are painted a warm, harvest gold. The ceiling is finally “real”, instead of an ugly & way too low suspended number. The best part about it, is we have two additional full sized closets in here – completely fitted out with shelves, organizers and crates. Yes!

Things I want

Now onto a random list of things I want & you probably do, too.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Club – it’s taking all my restraint not to sign up.

Mystic Monk Coffee – amazing & fresh roasted. I have the two big, two small pack coming my way.

Twisted Fiber Arts – I love her work & collect it. It’s so beautiful!

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My house smells like spiced pumpkin scones!

Wow. It’s been a while since I blogged, eh? I’ve always had this problem with journaling. If I get out of the habit, it’s months before I get back to it. I must not be very committed to writing down my thoughts.

It was a busy summer. It was an even busier fall. Let’s not even get into what the Thanksgiving and Christmas season are shaping up to be.

Most recently, I returned from Stitches East in Baltimore. Sharon and I were both there with Yarn Love and Three Irish Girls. Our  booth looked beautiful….but I don’t have photos. The camera unfortunately, suffered an injury on the plane which caused LCD screen to die. Technically, you can still take photographs via the viewfinder, but you can’t make adjustments to any settings because those options are always displayed on the screen. It makes for Zen Photography (i.e. Crappy Photos!). Oh well. We are getting a new camera next week. One that’s well rated….and actually inexpensive for the sheer number of favorable reviews about it.

Now, I’m working on getting the above sweater pattern ready for public consumption…including technical editing, photography, and layout. This is all new to me, since my only other published pattern was very simple and edited by the kind people over at Knitty.

Here are few pictures of things I knit over the summer to keep you going until the next time I actually blog:

Boo Socks in Twinkling Pink & Fresh Celery:

NeverMore Socks in Bump in The Night:

Netherfield Hand Knit Socks in Netherfield (Dutchess Dk yarn):

Sensational Colorwork Socks in Cove and Fresh Celery:

(These were by far the most popular sample I took to Stitches!)

Revenge of the Mummies Socks in Robin Hood and Delicate Aquamarine:

That’s not everything, but it’s all I’m going to post right now. Enjoy until another bout of motivation takes hold and I post more!

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Remodelling on my mind

I just remodelled the blog. Yet again. I can’t find something I’m really in love with. I liked the last theme, but the single column was just too narrow. It made embedding pictures all weird and funky looking. The problem is I am not tech savvy and really don’t want to invest much time into redoing the blog. I do seem to be installing new design templates weekly, though, so I guess I am investing time in it.

Yesterday was full of new colorway creation. Above is the latest. More to follow. I have some lovely Nanner yarn to show you…right after I take pictures of it. You can’t really tell from the photos, but there’s a bit of bright aqua/teal in this colorway to give it some pop. I can’t show you that particular shade immediately as the ugly ties are still on the skein. I’ll post more pictures once things are re-skeined and spiffied up for their close up.


Filed under Dyeing

The week (or slightly more) in review.

Storm from my front yardIt’s been busy around the Franceschi ranch this week. Lots of partying, dyeing, and storms. We’ve had storms and rain off and on all week resulting in very humid, sticky and oppressive conditions. Welcome to the wettest summer I can remember folks. Let me tell you it’s not so great for the hairstyling. Luckily, I have a new flat iron that’s keeping my 3″ tresses in shape!

dYEing – roving!

I’ve been dyeing my rear off this week. I managed to pull together a 20 pound roving order – which granted New Semi solid Yarn Love Colorsis a smaller order poundage wise, but considering it takes 3-4 times as long to dye roving as yarn means that I’m a genius of a workaholic. And it’s only Thursday. Not only that, but I’ve also been working up new semi-solid colorways for the Fall 2008 line. And I’m not talking one or two semi-solids, I’m talking a whole range. Right now, I have 9 colors that I’m happy with and are definitely in, but there are more colors that need attending to. Like red. And purple. And black. Red and purple and black are completely absent from the line up.

The nice thing about these semi solids is that their component colors are made up of colors that exactly match one or more multi-color colorways already in the line. So let’s say you want to knit a pair of socks for Aunt Marge – but she’s not so into the wild colors – and you happen to have 20 grams of Bloom leftover from a previous pair of socks. We’ll you’re in luck – you can either choose the melon colored semi solid or the light, spring green semi solid and tuck that leftover multi-color in for the toes and heels. Aunt Marge will love it so much you’ll make her will.  


ceLeBratIOn – our 4th

Katie on the 4thWe had a fun 4th. We started the day by taking all three kiddos to see Wall E. They really liked it – especially X. He’s into robots, currently. Yes, the last 30 minutes of the film, myself, my husband and all the seats in between us were his jungle gym, but all in all, it was a good outing. Promptly after the film, we adjourned to my parents for a very decadent lunch, followed by slip and sliding. I was in my suit because pushing three toddlers down the slip and slide water sprinkled slide for 3 hours tends to result in wet clothing. I even went down one of the slip and slides myself. (Don’t tell!) After the slip and sliding, it was home for a nap (only X slept) and then we did fireworks over at the cousin’s house. By the time we got to bed we were pretty well exhausted. It only took us three days to recover from the revelry.


X on the 4th

The Girlies on the 4th

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Filed under Dyeing, Life