All Change

The Spring issue of Sockupied is out! I have been waiting for this one for what seems like AGES because in it, I am the featured designer! Woot!! I was interviewed way back in September last year (seems like FOREVER ago). I also have a sock pattern in it using the same stranding technique as De Stijl, this one is called Deuce after my darling pug.  I’m mightly excited and pleased about it but as there have been some major changes around Socktopus HQ in the last couple months  some of the information is out of date.

First – there is no Knit Love Club for 2013.  More on this below.

Second – Sokkusu will no longer be available from Socktopus. Don’t worry – you will still be able to get your Sokkusu fix later this year (probably summer ish). The yarn business has been hived off and is being taken under my partner (not employee, as indicated in the article!) Ai-Ling Lee’s capable wings – though now she will be flying solo with Sokkusu as we have decided to part ways.  I had been planning to move the dye studio to Hong Kong but, when taking a long hard look at things, it just didn’t make sense. Particularly not the shipping of Sokkusu-O undyed from Europe to Hong Kong so I could dye it, only to have it shipped back to Europe. Ling has been doing a stellar job so it made sense for Ling to spread her wings and see what she could do with Sokkusu, under her own brand. The yarn will still be called Sokkusu, just under a new mama brand helmed by Ling. Ling hasn’t yet settled on a name for her new venture, but as soon as she has I will let you all know. I wish her every success – and for those of you who have been privileged to fondle her colourways over the last year and half, you know she is going to rock! 😀

Third – there will be no more Knit Nations for the foreseeable future…. unless there is a move back to London. It is simply too difficult to organise from this end of the world.  However… if there are those of you out there who want to take on the mantle of Knit Nation, do get in touch.

I am still designing, though at a much slower pace so that I can enjoy my little one who is turning one in just 12 days time (?!? how on earth that happened so fast I will never know). For the first time in years, I am not at the computer every single day for hours at a time.  And for the first time in 5 years, I no longer bring my laptop with me when I travel.  I always had to bring my laptop because I always had deadlines, designs, etc and had to work even when on holiday.  So I am looking forward to no longer having to lug it around, though it has now been replaced by the ipad (better than drugs when trying to induce a calm stupor in child on plane!).

As for future Knit Love Club’s – I have decided to take a break from designing for the Knit Love Club  for now and enjoy my daughter while she is still wee and not yet at school.  There are possibilities – maybe Ling might be game to do a club with me next year, maybe she might want to go another direction.  I just don’t know at this stage. However, what I do know is that it will be a colourful adventure, whatever  path Ling chooses to go down.

For now, I have a couple designs in the works for 2013, both mystery designs.  The first is  a mystery sock coming up in June for the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous group on Ravelry. The second is a long overdue Socktopus Mystery Shawl Knitalong (SMSKAL) for later this summer (also  available on Ravelry).  It goes without saying I will be using Ling’s Sokkusu for both! I cannot wait to see what colourways she will dream up for me. Cloud 9 all the way.  I hope you will join me on these mystery design adventures!

Next up, my annual retrospective for 2012.

Baby’s got wings


My littlest one is now almost four months old. I can’t believe that solid food is coming up in a couple of months. The days go by so quickly; everything is filled, and to a certain extent taken over, by this little bundle of sweetness.  Next round of vaccinations to come next week. Her TB shot is almost healed though it’s still shiny and pinkish.

She’s hit the 6.5 kg mark and loves to stand up and grab my hair. Hard. She keeps trying to crawl though she needs to figure out how to make her arms help her move as her legs and feet do all the pushing so she mostly just goes in a circle. On her back she wriggles like a fish to move around. She continues to sleep like a trooper and I’m slowly moving her bedtime earlier (it’s now 9pm from 10pm and I’m gunning for 8pm) and she sleeps a solid 11 hours.

New this month:
-lots and lots of talking – and shouting and screeching (no other word for it). She seems to be testing her voice as she’ll screech with her eyes closed then peek an eye open to see who’s watching her. It’s hard to pretend not to notice when I’m doubled over laughing at her not very subtle efforts to get attention.
-1/2 naps two hours after waking.
-grabbing my hair with a vice-like grip. funny thing is, when she touches her own hair it’s with an open palm and the lightest caress.
-went swimming for the first time which she took to like a duck to water. We got her a little inflatable donut so she can lie in it and keep her face out of water while still being in the right position to frog kick. She also really likes ‘walking’ in the water and jumping

-flirting with people – out and about she’ll look at waiters, doctors, anyone and smile at them until they return the smile then she’ll beam at them.
-sucking her hands and finding her thumb.

Amandine's first flight

We also took a little trip to Taipei to visit my friend Cam. It was a triple bonus – not only did I get to see Cam, who I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, I got to visit Taipei, where I hadn’t been for over 20 years, and had the pleasure of  the sterling company of my friend Alice who’d been travelling with Cam in Thailand before heading to Taiwan. It was also a good toe in the water for travelling with the little one as I had my two wingmen with me for the flight over as I joined them when they were transiting through Hong Kong.

Amandine was a dream on the plane and got lots of googoos and gagas from everyone. I had no idea how awesome it is to travel with a baby – the immigration officer literally melted like putty in front of us and ran around getting Amandine’s visa sorted for us (since I’d done it wrong) all the while saying “Auntie will make it all better for you”. When at Taipei 101 at the back of the long snaking queue to get to the observation deck, the security officer took one look at Amandine in her stroller and said that we should go up to the front by the lifts where they would ‘arrange things for us’.  The security guard by the lift asked us to wait, again said they would ‘arrange things for us’, then promptly let us on the next lift.  Pretty awesome.  I only wish I’d had the wits to ask for an upgrade when the Cathay ladies were making googly eyes at Amandine at the check-in desk.  😉

If you haven’t seen Janel Laidman’s new venture The Sock Report head on over there for their inaugural issue. It’s all about sock yarn love and has a host of of gorgeous patterns (including one for a wee owl!) and articles.  I love the Cambium sock pattern by Kristi Geraci – the texture is amazing. There’s even an article on how to make a shadow wrap heel and our very own Sokkusu is featured in two patterns – Marigold by Susanna IC, and Bivalve by Kirsten Kapur! Wooot!

Knitting continues apace, well, maybe less apace and continues whenever Amandine naps or plays on her own; these are the Knit Love Club socks for April (modelled by my lovely neighbour Melissa), The Tideway and Merrivale, both inspired by the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race in London.

The Tideway

Merrivale

Party’s ready to start – so where’s the party girl?

Feb 8, Blueberry’s official due date, has now come and gone (okay, maybe not quite gone in some timezones…).

I figured I ought to pack my hospital stuff, so I did… and now they sit there in the bedroom looking all ready to party but with nowhere to go!

I’m not sure if I’m having the beginnings of contractions – sort of very mild cramping that happens every hour or so… nothing that I can’t talk through or ignore. Will keep an eye out and see. Could just be braxton-hicks contractions (fakey ones).

Meimei & Deuce’s walker is coming today so that when the time comes, we have a dog sitter that the furry monkeys will be familiar with to make sure they’re being cared for while we’re all headless chickens running amok towards and at the hospital.

We found out something interesting about Meimei via Tarquin‘s owner. He’s done some research and is pretty sure that the dogs christened ‘black fluffies’ by HKDR, and Lamma Island Retrievers by me, are actually Belgian Groenendael Sheepdogs. It’s pretty amazing – the character traits are pretty spot on. From Wikipedia:

“Belgian Shepherd Dogs are described as highly intelligent, alert, sensitive to everything going on around them and form very strong relationship bonds. They are said to be loyal, intelligent, fun, highly trainable and well suited to family life. They should receive plenty of socializing as puppies and will benefit from regular activity and close interaction with people throughout their lifespan. Their herding heritage gives them a comparatively high energy level, and mental as well as physical exercise is necessary to keep a Belgian happy and healthy.

Belgian Shepherds do well in sports such as obedience training and dog agility. They are used as assistance and search and rescue dogs, as well as police, military and narcotics dogs.”

Well she certainly is quite clever and needs alot of mental stimulation to keep her from using her brains for mischief (like figuring out how to get the lid off the rubbish can). She also likes to herd us when we walk with her – she always waits for the last straggler of the group and makes sure we are all together.  It’s a bit sad too- knowing that someone must have abandoned at least one Belgian Sheepdog on Lamma Island for there to have been so many stray litters. Must find Meimei some kind of agility course for her to train on.

Meanwhile some Socktopus Sokkusu news – we have a limited edition colourway for Valentine’s 2012 – “My Funny Valentine”. It’s a heartfelt deep rich red with veins of purple.

There are still some skeins left, perfect for a shawl or pair of socks for a loved one or dear friend!  You can find it in the Socktopus Shop here.

We’ll also have a special pop-up this Friday with some of our popular, but resting, pinks and reds including Pout, Strawberry & Pinkly.

Knit Nation Merchandise Clearance Sale

We’re also making room in our stock room for more yarn – and so we’re having a clearance sale on all our Knit Nation merchandise.  All the mugs and bags are now 50% off; mugs were £8 each and are now £4 each, and bingo bags are £3 down from £6. You can stock up here.

Knit Love Club 2011 Patterns

For those of you waiting on the release of last year’s Knit Love Club patterns, we’ll be releasing them individually as follows for £4.50 each:

1 March: Gnomely
1 May: Fiyero
1 July: Zories
1 September: Blueberry Jig
1 November: Vignoble & Methuselah
1 December: Breadcrumbs & Lussekatter

We are also offering a KLC 2011 Pattern Yearbook ebook. You’ll automatically receive each pattern on its release date via a Ravelry PDF download.  The KLC 2011 ebook is available for £27.  You can purchase the 2011 Pattern Yearbook using the link below:

And for the first 2012 Knit Love Club patterns, as the pattern pack has now been sent out, I thought I’d show you the first two patterns for the year.

[spoiler]

For the February Knit Love Club kit, I created a slipped stitch pattern called Fanque’s Circus , designed to show off highly variegated yarns, and used those for both patterns.   The club colourway is called Thunder & Blazes, which inspired the whole circus theme (Thunder & Blazes is the march that signals the entrance of the clowns).

The first of the two patterns for February is Fanque’s Circus Socks, a pretty sock with a picot cuff.

The second pattern is Fanque’s Circus Mittens – a pair of cozy mittens using the same stitch pattern. Here is Ling modelling her pair (photo also courtesty of Ling).

The following two photos are courtesy of Heli Rajavaara, and also show the mittens in a solid colour. I think they look quite pretty in solid too.

I’m really excited to see our club members’s WIPs and FOs for the yarn and Feb patterns.

[/spoiler]

Now to wait and see about Blueberry. She needs to get her dancing shoes on. The music’s on, the dance floor’s waiting….. the party is raring to go. Just waiting for the party girl now!

KLC 2012: Sign ups open!

It’s time! It’s time!  Join us for our 5th year of sock club fun and frolics. This year you will be getting sock yarn every two months (posted at the end of Jan, Mar, May, July, Sep & Nov), and to spice things up a little on the pattern front,  instead of only one pattern to go with your yarn, you will have TWO with every kit.

All the kits will have a sock pattern, some will be a double sock pattern featuring two versions of sock – a knit-with-your-friends-and-maybe-a-beer-or-wine-or-three simpler version, and a shhhh-I’m-concentrating-don’t-look-or-speak-with-me version – and a couple will be a sock pattern and an accessories pattern that works with the Club yarn.  Each skein of yarn will be enough to knit one of the two patterns.

What you will get in the Knit Love Club:

  • 6 parcels of Sokkusu-Original sock yarn, each skein giving 433 yards (396 m) per 120g of delectable high twist yet nice and soft 3 ply 100% superwash merino yarn.
  • 12 patterns (2 to go with each skein)
  • A bonus skein
  • An accompanying bonus pattern
  • A souvenir year book containing all the year’s patterns, and members’ bios (for those members who opt in)
  • All of which are exclusive to club members. Exclusivity on the patterns and yarn ends at the close of the club year

THE DETAILS

1) Designs: The designs will be by Alice (that’s me!) and exclusive to the club for the duration of the club year.

2) Yarn: Exclusive and specially milled for Socktopus – Sokkusu-O! It is a lovely rounded 3-ply sock yarn (100% superwash merino) with a nice tight twist in a perfect fingering weight.

3) Colourways: Exclusively dyed for the Knit Love Club.

4) Patterns: All patterns are sent via the interwebz as PDF downloads from Ravelry.  You don’t need to be a member to receive the patterns – they will be sent to the email address you register with Paypal when you pay your membership fee.

At the end of the year, members will receive a yearbook – a bound soft cover book (in technicolour!) of the year’s patterns, as well as member pages for those members who opt in.

5) Bonus: There will be one bonus skein and pattern that may or may not be a KAL sent out sometime during the year.

6) Schedule: The sock yarn parcels will be sent out during the 4th week of Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov 2012.

7) Club forum: There is a Club social group on Ravelry.com which you can find here.  I encourage you to join Ravelry if you haven’t yet – it’s a fantastic and free resource and a fun place to meet like minded people.

The Nitty Gritty

The membership fee for 12 months of fun, 6 skeins of delectable yarn and 12 patterns, plus extras, is £168 for UK members, £180 for EU members, and because we won’t need to charge VAT for non UK/EU members, £170 for the Rest of the World (USA, Canada and countries not in the UK and EU).

The links below will take you to Ravelry’s Paypal site to pay for your membership.  Please ensure that the email address you provide to Paypal has no typos and that you will have access to it for the whole of the 2012 Club year as all your patterns will be sent to that address.  You can also pay using a debit or credit card without a Paypal account; simply follow the link on the bottom right of Ravelry’s Paypal page.

Please read the PDF Welcome which you will be able to download on purchase, particularly the yellow box on page 2.  We will contact all members in December to update/confirm their shipping address.

UK Members: £168 including postage and VAT.

EU Members: £180 including postage and VAT.


ROW Members (Rest of World including USA, Canada and countries not in the UK and EU): £170 including postage (no VAT).

400+hours

Clue 1 of the Spriteling Socktopus Mystery Shawl Knitalong (SMSKAL) comes out tomorrow. You can still join the KAL via Ravelry or through the link above.

Went to Lewes again yesterday for the second photo shoot.  As usual I completely forgot to take any photos! Gah! Thankfully I took some before I left, after I’d collected all the socks.  Ling’s son A helped put the ones needing blocking on sock blockers for me.  It’s pretty mindblowing to be holding so many hours of work in your hands.  All those socks work out to a combined total of over 400 hours of work from 15 different knitters. All of which have had their close-ups taken, and are now in the hands of GMC for a trip to the London Book Fair.

I couldn’t have made the photoshoot deadline without the knitterly assistance of my sample knitters.  They are truly all kinds of awesome.

 

I have to admit to  not finishing the socks I assigned myself to knit for the photoshoot. Luckily though I had enough knit up to take the necessary close ups.  Can you guess which one it was?

The next photoshoot will be on location.  I had my heart set on wandering round London, but I think it might prove rather difficult with the weather and changing facilities for the model.  Had a meeting yesterday with the book’s art director and she showed me some of the locations she’s used before. They’re pretty lovely.  She also told me who the photographer will be.  I am super impressed, and actually not a little intimidated! He’s more a fashion photographer than a stills photographer. I hope he says stuff like ‘Work it!’ ‘You’re a tiger! Be a tiger!’, though i might end up giggling too much and getting thrown off the set!  Am excited to see who the model is going to be.  GMC had a great Canadian model with the most amazing red hair – but sadly she’s gone back to Canuck-land.  We will also have a couple stand ins because some of the socks are slightly smaller and need a smaller foot.  All in all am feeling quite inspired now that I know what stylistic direction the book is taking, and assured that I’m in very good hands.

Today I finally get to start the roll out for my clubs – yarn first, samples knit, then pattern layout. Looking forward to getting what’s in my mind’s eye out onto the yarn.  Speaking of clubs – did you see Clara Parkes mentions the Knit Love Club in her most recent Knitters Review? It just made my day.

KLC Yearbooks!

It’s been a long wait, but finally the Knit Love Club 2010 yearbooks have landed.

I’m really pleased that I took the extra time to use inDesign for the layout.  The end result (if I may say so myself) is pretty awesome.

The inner pages are an easy on the eye recycled paper, with (forgive me Jaq) alot of my favourite yellowish green.

They will be parcelled up next week and shipped out to their respective new homes.  Yay!