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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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