Spectra, Socks and Sitka Spruce!

My knitting needles have been busy this month so I thought I would share a few of my recent FO’s 🙂

First up is Spectra by Stephen West. If you are a returning reader you may recall me telling you about the shawl workshop that I attended at the Sheep Shop in December with none other than Mr. West himself! As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, local yarn dyer Sparkleduck held a trunk show at the shop tempting us with an abundance of beautiful yarns…so I combined the handiwork of designer and dyer and this was the end result:


I flippin’ love it! The design was easy once I got the hang of the short row shaping and the constant colour changing of the yarn kept it interesting. The border section was knit in 100% superwash merino wool in the colour Inky, and the middle sections is 75% superwash merino wool, 20% nylon and 5% stellina which gives it a little sparkle 🙂 The colourway is called Enchantment and I could go on for hours about how pretty it is…but here’s a picture instead!

Spectra Instagram

Another lovely feature that the short row shaping provides is the way that it curls when left to drape.

Spectra drape (2)

And the finished item is a very generous size.

Spectra scarf

Here’s another close up of those gorgeous colours before I move on…

Spectra colour

In my last post I was so excited to say that I had just finished my first ever sock! I promised a better picture and here it is:


And now I have 2 🙂

Finished socks

Knit in aran weight wool on 4mm dpns they are very cosy, and aren’t those colours just lovely? I really like how they all fade into each other. I made the socks from a kit from Rosies Moments  purchased at my visit to Festiwool back in November. I have now cast on a 2nd pair for which I will use the same pattern but after those I will be branching out and trying a pair from this book.

Toe up sock knitting book

If I can master this technique I am hoping it will spell the end of never having a suitable travel project to hand!

And last but not least I finished the Sitka Spruce by Tin Can Knits hat at the weekend. Early last year my friend Vero and I had a day of yarn dyeing and I dyed some mohair yarn that had been sitting in my stash for quite a while. I dyed it orange at first but it came out sooo bright it was almost luminous! So I overdyed it in a brown colour and had a much better result. The dye took to the yarn in a way that I could have never imagined and produced a really deep colour that in some lights is a deep rusty reddish brown but in others is still a vibrant orange.

Sikta Spruce Pattern

And here is the back.

Sikta Spruce back

See what I mean about the difference in the colour?! Both pictures were taken around the same time but look totally different! And check out the mohair halo – it’s going to be so warm to wear, this one is definitely coming to Iceland next month!

There were 2 options for the hat, a beanie or a slouchy. I opted for the slouchy fit but deliberately went down a needle size as I was concerned that the fuzziness of the mohair would mask the stitch pattern. The end result is somewhere inbetween the sizes, although verging more on the beanie side. Luckily the gamble paid off as it fits just perfectly!

Jem Arrowsmith Sikta Spruce

Until next time, happy knitting! x

29 thoughts on “Spectra, Socks and Sitka Spruce!”

  1. I flippin’ love that scarf too! I remember not being all that impressed when you first revealed this was what you were going to make – I didn’t quite see what had caught your eye – but your colour choices and photos have made me go WOW!!! It is fabulous isn’t it – and the way it curls is just lovely! The beanie/slouchie does fit very well and the colour looks great on you too – you will wow them in Iceland! I am going to be very interested in your socks knitted two at a time from the toe up. I’m really hoping it will be easier – and it makes more sense to me to fit them that way, because then you can adjust the overall length to really suit…… I’m hopeful Jem – maybe I might get a pair of socks finished before I retire my knitting needles! 🙂

    1. Thanks Pauline! I loved using that yarn as it was always fun to see what colours would emerge in each section, it was a great incentive to keep knitting to the end! I’m hoping I get to grips with the toe up socks too, I like the idea of being able to keep knitting until I run out of yarn and not have to play the guessing game. I’ll let you know how I get on! X

    2. Wow, I love your color choices for Spectra! I made that awhile back and loved it – it is a fun knit. And I admire how Stephen West writes his patterns – very clear and concise.

  2. Wowee, that scarf is a knockout and the hat, too. You are a very productive knitter. I’m working on a triangle shawl – the third try with the same yarn – that I’ll be happy to finish by March!

  3. Your Spectra is awesome! I was looking at to pattern only last weekend but thought the short rows would require too much concentration but you have inspired me! The colours are beautiful….I”m on the lookout now for the right yarn. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you! It’s a great pattern and the short rows are ok once you get used to them. I found it a good TV knitting project as the pattern is easy to memorise and having a quick colour changing yarn helped as I always wanted to see what colours were up next. I had a few late nights with this one – it got addictive!

  4. Oh oh oh! Your Spectra is so beautiful! The combination of yarns is gorgeous. Makes me want to learn how to do short rows! And congrats on the socks too; they look so warm and cozy. I’ve never done socks, mostly because I hate sock weight yarn. Maybe I could do them in an Aran!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I had little experience in short rows before this project but once you get the hang of them they are ok! I was a bit daunted by socks but making them in aran is a great introduction as they are really quick and super cosy too, I would definitely recommend giving them a try 🙂

  5. I’ve got the Spectra Shawl on my “to do” list. Your Spectra is amazing, but like you, my experience in short-row shaping is minimal. I guess it’s time to just “do it.”

  6. What a great month of knits! Your Spectra is totally stunning… The colours make me think of mother of pearl, and I didn’t realise until now that the yarn has sparkles through it too! Amazing! Plus I’m always a big fan of cosy socks and anything in that gorgeous rich shade of orange. You’ll truly be the belle of the knitwear ball in Iceland 😀

  7. Gorgeous shawl! I have the very same “Toe-up 2-at-a-time socks” book, and I’ve been dying to try a pair. Maybe we could start ourselves a small KAL for Toe-up 2-at-a-time first timers! 🙂

  8. Love the colour of your hat, dying is such fun as you never know how it is going to come out, you really scored with this one!

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