25th January is an important day in the calendar to Scots both home and abroad. It’s when we celebrate our National Bard – Robert Burns – pioneer of the Romantic Movement and Lover of the Lassies.
Many will mark the occasion with a Burns Supper, a tradition that dates back to 1801, at which haggis, neeps, tatties, and whisky are typically served, and a great many of Burn’s works are performed and speeches given. The list of these are substantial but once the Selkirk Grace has been made they include Address to a Haggis, The Immortal Memory, Address to the Lassies, and Reply to the Laddies. For more detail on the programme of a Burns Supper we’d recommend visiting here: Burns_supper
So, the logical next step would be to look for Burns inspired craft patterns, right?
First up we found this incredible portrait cross stitch chart on etsy from TinyHouseStitchery:
The we took a trip over to LoveCrafts where we discovered this tea cosy by Susan Cowper:
Ruth Bailey and Jackie Holt have taken it one step further with their Knit Your Own Scotland book which contains this pattern of the Bard. I think I’m going to have to make him:
We’re a little late to all the reviews and wrap ups that traditionally happen at the end of the year or beginning of the new; but I’m sure we can be forgiven due to our tardiness being caused by our change over from Perth Festival of Yarn to The Scottish Yarn Festival! Still, it’s better late than never and in this post we wanted to share some of your makes with what you’ve found at our events, or special collaborations, during 2022.
We decided to pick a random twelve in a nod to how many months we have in the year, and we’ve made our selection from those we’ve been tagged in on social media, as well as trying to represent both knitting and crochet. So, without further ado, here are your wonderful creations from the past year which we hope will inspire you all as you plan your projects for 2023.
The wonderful @woolkinsonknits made a hat with a DK weight skein of ‘Hot Fuss’ by Edelweiss Fibres which was released as part of our 2022 Hit Parade Collab Club.
@unaroodesigns snapped up a cone of DK weight Castlemilk Moorit x Teeswater from Caithness Yarns at our inaugural Scottish Wool Producers Showcase in April and made herself this fab and functional Over It Slipover by Lily Kate Makes.
Our long time girl crush @needleandfred came up from Manchester to visit us at Perth Festival of Yarn this year as she was taking a year out from vending responsibilities, but she honoured us not only by creating our Official Commemorative Skein for the event but also by rocking up wearing a Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits in said colourway!
@laurenknitsx picked up the 2020 Advent Calendar Kit from Wee County Yarns in September and in no time at all had whizzed up this wonderful Christmas Socking for her little one.
@bobbleandbadger_yarns couldn’t resist a skein of fingering weight Bride of Frankenstein from BuzzinYarns to make these vibrant socks.
@h_crochetsthings hooked up this beanie from their own pattern back in February with a DK skein of Summer Nights by @kalokshekellen from Perth 2021.
@eliza_b_makes was another crocheter quick off the mark with her cosy wrist warmers. She used a @zeensandroger pattern from Inside Crochet and yarn from @zakamiyarns
@hannahkross was specifically on the hunt for a skein of sock yarn she could knit with while taking part in the Kiltwalk this autumn. She chose this skein of self-striping from @fibrepunk
@life_at_westering paired her beautiful Zakami Yarn with the Bridesmaid Shawl by Michelle DuNaier which looks perfect with their woollen coat.
@karolines.knits was looking to explore no-nylon sock yarns and after speaking with the inspirational @annfieldangoras crafted these Morrison Socks by Jenny Blumenstein in just over a week.
We were honoured to have esteemed designer and author, @purlemma, join us at Perth last year. Emma created her Merrow Berries pattern especially to showcase the Haste Ye Back collection of mini skeins we put together as a collaboration with ten Scottish dyers in 2021.
@commuter_knitter snapped up a fingering weight skein of sock yarn from @atthisyarns to use as the main colour in her pair of ‘Perth Socks.’
We’d love to feature more of your makes on our Community page throughout the coming year, so please do continue to tag us in your social media posts with anything you have made with yarn or fibre from any of the events we have curated for you since 2016. Where possible we’ve added the Instagram handles of all makers so that you can go and give them some love and see what other crafty endeavours they’ve been up to.
Today I’m going to focus on the one knitting pattern that I have – hands down – returned to the most. The humble Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes is known to most avid sock knitters on the internet; and I have knit 15+ pairs using this pattern with a slight tweak to insert an afterthought heel.
The reason I have knit so many pairs is that, apart from the pattern repeats being therapeutic, they fit My Favourite Person’s feet with just the right amount of ‘snug’; so much so that he clearly stated very early on into his hand knit sock wearing journey / appreciation that all his future socks should be made this way.
There’s just a certain something about the giving and receiving of hand knit socks, and as some of his six pairs were in various states of wear as a result of now being all that will grace his feet, I decided this summer that I would make as many pairs of Vanilla Latte Socks as I could between then and Christmas, then present them as a bundle.
Fellow yarnivores, I managed seven pairs, caving in and releasing one pair to him a month early, and only managing to get photos to share after two pairs had been put on.
You may be wondering what’s on my needles now after all those socks…..
for more about the pattern
Vanilla Latte Socks is sadly discontinued, however it is only a 2 round repeat and is easy enough to work out from pictures online. To date it has 19,058 projects listed in this pattern on Ravelry, and there are over 1000+ uses of #vanillalattesocks on Instagram.
for more about the yarns used
The joy of this pattern is that you can use any sock yarn and get a great looking result. My Favourite Person is a bin man and walks on average 20 miles a day, 4 days a week in safety boots, wearing his hand knit socks. For this reason I only use commercial sock yarns of 75% wool and 25% nylon for him. All the examples pictured are a mixture of Opal, Regia Schachenmayr, Rico Superba, Drops Fabel, and Wollbutt. All good local yarns shops stock an inspiring and budget friendly range of commercial sock yarns which may include some of these brands, and sometimes you will come across them at our festivals too.
Many of our fibre-crafting friends in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and across the World are today celebrating Lucia Day, a custom which goes back 400 years. The day is commemorated with candlelit processions – 13 December is the shortest day in the Julian Calendar – and fika, including gingerbread biscuits and special s-shaped saffron buns called Lussekatt.
Back in 2018 we we honoured to be joined by Swedish knitwear designer and tech editor, Anna Friberg, who is also known as Yarnesty. Perhaps best known for her sock designs and classes, Anna designed the Sankta Lucia Socks which are available in English, French, and Swedish on Ravelry, and as a seasonal promotion all her patterns are 24% off until Christmas Eve.
Anna isn’t the only knitwear designer to have been inspired by the Lucia Day celebrations; Finnish born Sari Nordlund has a mystery knitalong happening right now for her Lucia Socks which feature intricate twisted stitches. The fourth and final clue to the pattern will be released on 19 December and Team Perth can’t wait to see the complete pair revealed.
for more about the santka lucia socks
The Santka Lucia Socks by Anna Friberg are available from Ravelry here: sankta-lucia-socks
If you are unable to use Ravelry please contact Anna by email at email@example.com
for more about the lucia socks
The Lucia Socks by Sari Nordlund are also available from Ravelry: lucia-socks
Sari also has a YouTube channel. Her most recent episode is below.
Cables are my favourite design feature in knitting. I love their timelessness, their nod to my Celtic heritage, how they can be both simple and intricate. A cable hat pattern is often a go-to for me when I’m thinking about gift knitting.
Amongst the modest purchases I made at Perth Festival of Yarn this year was a skein of DK weight Dye Candy yarn in ‘Tortie Not Tabby’ which I knew at first sight had to come home with me. Both my cats are tortoiseshell and a hat in this yarn would be perfect as a winter gift for my close friend who cares for them when I have to be away from home. I knew I wanted to make a hat with a slight pattern that would complement the speckling of the yarn; cables seemed the perfect answer.
Pemberley Cables by Sweet Yarns was exactly what I had in mind and worked up a dream on my needles. This will be a pattern I return to many times.
for more about the yarn
Dye Candy is veteran independent yarn dyer, Hutch, who is based in Northern Ireland. You can find their website here: dyecandy
Forming a carefully curated library of timeless patterns is as essential as building up your own yarn collection. The patterns that make up my own tend to be those that first come to mind when I’m thinking about gift knitting, and more often than not, they are also the perfect solution to that age old question, “what can I make with this single hand dyed skein that I couldn’t do without?”
I went in search of a classic fingering weight ribbed hat to cast on ahead of my long journey on the Megabus to Yarningham last July and found ‘Ribbed Toque #120’ by Michelle Porter (Fondle Designs.) Then I had a good rummage in my yarn collection before picking out a skein of ‘You Can’t Seee Meee’ by Lime & Violet. Completed long after I made it home, and following my turn to catch The Virus, it’s snug and ready for the chilly Scottish winter ahead:
Since that time I’ve made one for My Favourite Person, who needs functional garments as he works in all weathers all year round. His was made from a cone of JC Rennie Shetland Bluestone which I found in a local charity shop for the princely sum of 50p!
But I didn’t stop there. My third – and maybe not – final version of the year is this one in ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ by BuzzinYarns, which will be given to a friend as a winter gift alongside a pre-loved book next month.
For more about the pattern
Ribbed Toque #120 by Michelle Porter is available free* from LoveCrafts here: ribbed-toque
For more about buzzinyarns
BuzzinYarns is Karen, a Scottish yarn dyer, and recipient of the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2022 Perth Festival of Yarn. You can find her current collections here: buzzinyarns
One of my favourite things about being a Festival Director is following our Community when they are deciding what to make to wear to our events, and then seeing those finished items in person. I am always inspired by what I see and love hearing the stories behind your pattern and yarn choices when we come together.
Each year I focus on making myself a new shawl to wear at Perth. I do so much running around that a shawl is a practical choice, and I love spending my down time at home snuggled up with my cats and a book while swaddled in knitted fabric. This year I couldn’t choose between two designs, so what else is a girl to do but to make both!
Having had my first squish of Aister ‘oo’ at our Scottish Wool Producers Showcase in April, I came home with enough yarn to make my own Khyber Pass by Simone Kereit – also known online as OwlCat Designs. It’s unusual that I want similar colours to the original design, but I couldn’t think of a more perfect colour pairing than that Simone had chosen, so I picked up Bessaquoy, Nort Blue Geo, and Blinnd Moorie.
Here I am on Saturday at the Festival. Our amazing photographer, Lightpress Design, captured the back of my shaw while I said hello to the Knitting Patternista and Mad Madam Mel at the Podcaster Meet-Up, then got me to pose with my best exhausted but proud face.
Here are the not so glamourous “just off the needles” and “blocking in progress shots to show the fabulous stitch definition that Aister ‘oo’ gives.
Khyber Pass is only available to purchase on Ravelry. If that is not accessible to you we would recommend using the contact form on their website to ask for an alternative.
for more about aister ‘oo’
Aister ‘oo’ will be making their return to the Scottish Wool Producers Showcase on 25 March 2023. If you can’t wait that long then you can find out more about their story and see their current colour range here https://www.mackenziesfarmshop.co.uk/pages/aister-oo
If you’re a garment-making yarnie, you’ve almost certainly heard the term “size inclusivity”. In the knitting and crochet world, this is generally accepted to mean that, at a minimum, the finished garment will fit a person whose full bust measurement is somewhere between 30-60” (75-150cm).
Despite a much-needed and laudable increase in size inclusive garment patterns in the last few years, there are still plenty of people who struggle to create garments that fit them well. Ironically, it’s often the exact same people who struggle to find ready-to-wear clothes that fit them, and who maybe turned to making their own in the hopes of a better fit – which makes sense, because clothing companies and garment designers are using similar size charts to grade their patterns. But it’s not very fair, is it?
What’s even more unfair is that there isn’t a simple solution to this one. It’s not a case of grading to a bigger size range (and even that, I have to acknowledge, is only simple in concept); it’s a case of constantly evaluating every pattern, every construction method, every design we come up with in order to find new ways to make it fit bodies that don’t fit the size charts.
Sometimes that modification might be really easy, like knitting a few more rows to make a garment longer, or something that’s already well established, like adding bust or waist shaping. But there are plenty more innovations yet to be discovered, and some of them are so simple, but somehow not yet the standard.
Drop shoulder garments are having a bit of a moment, and it’s easy to see why; their simple construction method is accessible both to designers and knitters, making it easy to place design elements or take a first step into garment knitting. However, I had never been able to make one myself as a knitter, because the sleeves were always too tight for my big biceps, and having a seam there just made it all the more painful to wear. It was only once I started thinking about designing my own garments that I realised the oh-so-simple (once you think of it!) solution: just mix and match!
Because a drop shoulder garment’s body meets its sleeves in a simple straight opening with no shaping, it’s really easy to do that. The designer is already grading the body and sleeves separately; if you want to put a larger (or smaller) sleeve on the same body size, all you need to do is leave a larger (or smaller) opening.
Isn’t it simple once you think of it? And the best part is, once you understand how this little hack works, you can apply it to any traditionally constructed drop shoulder pattern, so long as there’s a size that’ll fit your body and another that’ll fit your arms.
But – and of course there’s a but – this is still putting the onus on the knitter to make a modification in order to get a good fit, and that’s the kind of thing that can really wear a person down and make them fall out of love with their craft.
So, what I’m hoping for is that designers will join me in adopting mix and match body and sleeve sizing for their drop shoulder designs as standard, allowing knitters to pick and choose and find a fit that works for them. It means a little more thought in how to structure the pattern’s instructions, how to label your sizes, and how to communicate sizing information pre-purchase, but it also means a much wider audience will feel confident that your pattern will fit them.
There are of course many other ways in which bodies don’t fit the standard size charts, and that’s why there’s a catch-all term to group them together: shape inclusivity. It’s a big area with a lot of different needs, but by listening to fat yarncrafters when they talk about their own bodies and fit challenges, I’m hopeful that us designers can come up with more and more ways to be innovative and inclusive.
Here are my top tips on things to look for to identify size and shape inclusive patterns:
An inclusive size range of at least 30-60” / 75-150cm at the full bust (note – this is the body measurement, not the finished garment)
Patterns that share the schematic and measurements pre-purchase, so you can be certain of a good fit
Patterns that include instructions and yardage alterations for modifications / options, such as altering the length, adding waist or bust shaping, or mix and match body and sleeve sizing
Information about the designer’s starting point / fit model; do they start with a straight size model and size up, or do they start with a fat model?
Patterns shown on a range of body types; check to see how the areas you struggle to get a good fit on look on each of the bodies (e.g. do the larger bodies have wide gaping necklines compared to the smaller bodies?)
Designers who have thought to communicate all this with you pre-purchase are usually actively working to be both size and shape inclusive, and there’s a much better chance that you’ll be able to achieve a good fit with their patterns.
About the Author
Victoria Marchant has been designing knitting patterns for fat bodies since 2020. She specialises in novel construction methods that allow knitters to mix and match body and sleeve sizing so that whether your body fits the size chart or not, you can get a perfect fit every time.
Roseability’s innovative mix and match body and sleeve sizing and drop shoulder construction is forging a new path in size and shape inclusivity. With 12 body and 12 sleeve sizes, a total of 144 combined size options, Roseability also includes instructions to adjust the length of both the body and the sleeves, including a short-sleeved tee option. All of this information is given pre-purchase, along with a swatch guide and schematic. This makes it possible for you to work out exactly which size to knit, exactly how much yarn you’ll need, and exactly which needles will give you gauge, so you can be confident that you’ll obtain the results you want before making the purchase.