Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unique Feet

Once upon a time, many years ago we had a club called the Ram Club and it was all about men's socks (and, for a brief period, men's accessories). Our designer Charles Voth came to us one day with an idea for this club and my initial reaction was "Well, I doubt it'll be very popular but if you don't mind designing for what might just be a few customers...we'll give it a try!". I was wrong. Very wrong. It ended up being a huge hit. I had no idea how many people out there were looking for interesting patterns for socks in larger sizes. We had a good number of members who were men themselves but we also had plenty of female members who were knitting for men or simply enjoyed the wider size range that these patterns offer. After a few years we discontinued the club because many of our loyal members had either run out of feet that needed covering or had acquired such a prodigious sock yarn stash that they needed some time to work through it. We didn't stop designing men's sock patterns, though. Charles, along with several of our other favorite designers and a few new ones, kept working on men's sock patterns and eventually we had enough good ones that we were ready to put together a book. This book, Unique Feet, contains 15 sock patterns that range from basic ribbed to cabled kilt stockings and from rustic boot socks to corporate dress socks to totally wacky super hero socks! All of the patterns include instructions for multiple sizes and we have included both toe up and top down patterns. 
We recommend buying the book directly from our publisher, Cooperative Press. When you buy the hardcopy book you get the e-book thrown in for free which is awesome because it means you get a physical book to enjoy flipping through and admire on the shelf, but you also get the instant gratification of an e-book plus the convenience of being able to access your patterns anywhere from your phone/tablet/laptop. Or you can save a few bucks and get the e-book alone either from the Cooperative Press page or via Ravelry. To see details about all the socks featured in the book, please click the Ravelry link. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Great Doctor Who Scarf Project

If you are a Doctor Who fan (and who isn't these days?) and a knitter then you have almost certainly heard about the Doctor Who Scarf. This epic garter stitch scarf was worn by the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and has become one of the best known symbols of classic Doctor Who. Whether you are going all the way and doing the full 12ft long scarf or knitting a project that is more scarf-inspired (like these awesome stockings) its crucial that you get the colors just right. There have been plenty of suggestions for yarn brands and colors that will work but it can be hard to find all the colors you need all in the same base so we had a customer come to us with a challenge- to dye up a set of Doctor Who Scarf colors on our Super Wool DK yarn.

-borrowed from

We used the extensively research site as a guide. They even have a list of pantone colors that are supposed to be a perfect match to the original scarf. Armed with my official Pantone color cards I was able to create dye recipes to perfectly match the colors. Unfortunately though the colors are a match, they still aren't quite "right". As the customer put it, they aren't as "dull and lifeless" as the originals. I think that this is, in part, because we only ever saw the scarf under studio lighting and through the filter of 1970s video recording equipment. And lets just say that back then TV wasn't exactly HD. According to the website the scarf itself was actually  a bit brighter and more saturated, but the scarf- as we saw it- was more dulled down. So the big question: replicate the scarf as it originally existed in-real-life or the way it looked on screen. 

Here you can see the way my original recipes turned out. I have two photos for each skein in order to try to show the color as accurately as possible but, as usual, different computer monitors will show the colors differently. Keep in mind the the background of the photos is a piece of heavy white computer paper. 

My next step is to try the same color recipes but less saturated to give it a more faded look. If that doesn't give us the perfect results I may try the recipes on our Green Sheep Fingering base and see how it looks on a non-superwash wool. 

If you find yourself in need of a 12 foot long, one foot wide behemoth of a wool scarf (and after this remarkably cold winter it doesn't sound like a bad idea), you can get your own kit here. Each color is also available individually for purchase on any of our base yarns. Keep in mind that on our other bases the color will turn out slightly different. If you are searching for extreme accuracy please contact us before ordering so we can discuss your yarn base options and, if necessary, tailor our recipes to your needs.