Author: Shinybees

I'm a multi-crafter from the North West of England, living in South Africa.

Episode 38: Socks by Day, Science by Night – An Interview with Louise Tilbrook

'Silver Birch' by Louise Tilbrook, from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 7, Winter 2013. Image Copyright Juju Vail.

‘Silver Birch’ by Louise Tilbrook, from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 7, Winter 2013. Image Copyright Juju Vail.

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Welcome back for another episode of the show! The post-EYF fog is just about clearing and it’s time to get back into the swing of things with the podcast.

Enablers’ Corner

Just a couple of Edinburgh Yarn Festival purchases to share with you this week in the low-fat version of everyone’s favourite segment. There were many, many yarns to choose from and I did not indulge too badly in the shopping department.

Shetland Throw. Image Copyright Knockando Woolmill.

Shetland Throw. Image Copyright Knockando Woolmill.

First up was a lovely blanket from Knockando Woolmill. If you want to check out their online shop, you can find it here.

Want to visit the Woolmill from your armchair? Here you go!

Then there were 4 skeins of DK yarn from Whistlebare Yarns in Northumberland, a 60% mohair, 40% Wensleydale blend.

Entrepreneur Interview: Louise Tilbrook

We welcome the lovely Louise Tilbrook to the podcast to talk about her work as a designer. Louise specialises in beautiful cabled and textured unite socks, knit both top down and toe up. By day she is a scientist, and her design work is a part time venture.

'Seatoller Socks' by Louise Tilbrook. Image Copyright Louise Tilbrook.

‘Seatoller Socks’ by Louise Tilbrook. Image Copyright Louise Tilbrook.

Louise mentioned a Brighton meet up – you can find details here. They will be visiting Yarn and Knitting, a great indie yarn shop in Brighton, owned by Kate.

You can find Louise’s Ravelry group here, and a link to all her published designs here.

Sock Surgery Square

The Sock Surgery

Clare returns with a great round up of top tips for toe-up socks. Her blog post on this is here.

Kate continues with her toe-up socks knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply. We have a giveaway of a ball of this yarn with the Sock Surgery this month. The giveaway was kindly sponsored by Fluph, Dundee’s greatest yarn shop and all round mecca for woolly goodness. You can buy the yarn on the Fluph website here.



That’s all for this week. As always, feedback is appreciated, and you can contact me via Ravelry or the contact page.

Happy knitting!

Episode 37: Wardrobe Malfunction – What to Do When Your Knitting is Not Finished in Time


Image Details: ‘wardrobe’ by Jen Collins, via Flickr.

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This episode has a lot of excitement for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. There’s also my top tips for what you can do if you don’t finish knitting your wardrobe in time for knitty events. Clare and Kate return to talk about finishing and caring for your socks and we have a wee giveaway from our favourite Edinburgh indie vintage yarn queen, Jess James of Ginger Twist Studio.

Enablers’ Corner

Five ways to overcome knitting wardrobe malfunctions

Not managed to knit all of your planned wardrobe for the knitting festival? Unsure what to do now? Never fear, I am here with some solutions to your knitty problem. Here are five (plus one) ways to overcome a wardrobe malfunction.

1) Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. This is your chance to show off your signature shawls and other knitted pieces, preferably all at once. Go wild with the woollen hats, scarves, cowls, wristees and leg warmers.

2) Go shop-bought. Choose something a little unusual with a stitch pattern that looks hand knitted and nobody will guess that it isn’t. Steer clear of acrylic v necks and you are laughing. Add hand-knitted accessories to double up on the effect.

3) Wear handmade from a different genre. Maybe consider adding accessories that are handmade by someone else, such as clothes. You can also explore a different genre. I highly recommend the beautiful scarves woven by Dorothy Stewart. You can’t go wrong with hand dyed, hand woven 100% silk when it comes to statement accessorising.

4) Consider a sample sale. You can quite often pick up ready-knitted items from knitwear companies when they have finished with them and this takes no knitting time on your part whatsoever. If there are no samples available and you have a little extra time, employ a sample knitter to do the hard work for you!

5) Knit something mega chunky. Clearly there will be an element of seasonality to this – maybe only something for winter. Owligan by Kate Davies is a great example – 9mm needles and chunky yarn held double makes for very quick knitting if you simply must have a garment. Alternatively, try a bit of arm knitting for a fast infinity scarf.

Plus one – all of the above incur expense and any unplanned expense will naturally create a deficit in the available gin and yarn budget. Therefore, a free option is to find your fastest knitting friend and arrange a swap with them. New wardrobe, zero cost. Winner.



This week we have a giveaway of ‘Flumps Chunky’ in the colour way ‘Little Cat Feet’ from Ginger’s Hand Dyed at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. It comes in at 100m per 100g and retails at £16.50 per skein.

'Little Cat Feet' on Flumps Chunky by Ginger Twist Studio.

‘Little Cat Feet’ on Flumps Chunky by Ginger Twist Studio.

To enter, head over to the Ravelry group and and let me know which of the colours in Flumps Chunky you like best. Winners will be drawn by random number generator.

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Sweet Shop in the colour way 'Blueberry Bon Bon'. Image Copyright West Yorkshire Spinners.

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Sweet Shop in the colour way ‘Blueberry Bon Bon’. Image Copyright West Yorkshire Spinners.

Sock Surgery

Kate is now knitting her toe up sock in the Planum pattern by Clare, in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the colour way Blueberry Bon Bon.

'Planum' by Clare Devine. Image Copyright Clare Devine.

‘Planum’ by Clare Devine. Image Copyright Clare Devine.

It’s all about finishing and caring for hand knits this week. Clare advocates giving your socks a gentle wash and a block before first wear, using a mild wash such as Soak or Eucalan and sock blockers if available. Hand washing is they key to maintaining the colours, especially in hand dyed versions, although many people do use the wool cycle with mild detergent to good effect.

Jo suggests a mass wash in the bath. Of knitwear. Not yourself.


This month the Sock Surgery is sponsored by Fluph, Dundee’s premier yarnery. West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply is available both in-store and online (shipping worldwide) at


That’s all we have time for this week. You can get in touch via the blog, email or any of my social media streams. Feel free to come and join the group on Ravelry and chat with other listeners.

Episode 36: The One With The Circus Music and a Trip to New Lanark Mill

They don't muck about round here.

They don’t muck about round here.

We’re back with a slightly belated episode with lots of comedy circus fun for you to enjoy. Expect a good ab workout to occur during this high-comedy show. Grab your knitting and a tissue to wipe away the tears of laughter!

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PodRetreat 2015

Story time this week where there is a roundup of all the happenings at PodRetreat2015, including patio chairs, statues of Elvis and fuse box infernos. If you want several good reasons why you shouldn’t buy French cars or Welsh farmhouses, you’ll find them here.

Don't. Buy. French. Cars.

Don’t. Buy. French. Cars.

The car broke down. This was a bad thing. The fact we weren’t involved in a serious accident? Miraculous.



The RAC man was terribly nice and arrived quickly to hook up the car in the pouring rain whilst we melted in the cab.

Priorities. All to calm the nerves, of course. Wigan Central.

Priorities. All to calm the nerves, of course. Wigan Central.

If you find yourself in a bind and need some decent real ale and a pork pie, Wigan Central is the place to go, owned by Prospect Brewery. Highly recommend the Nutty Slack and Pickaxe Porter.

Get the brews in.

Get the brews in.

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Enablers’ Corner

In Enablers’ Corner, we visit New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site in Scotland and learn a bit about the mill and social impact it had. There’s a quick description of the facilities on offer there as well as inforation about the yarn they spin, which is the main thing we all want to know about, after all.

Izzy McLeod meets The Shining.

Izzy McLeod meets The Shining.

The Mill is situated about 40km south-east of Glasgow in Scotland and was built in 1786 by David Dale, in partnership with Richard Arkwright. The mills, land and village were sold on in 19th Century to a partnership which included Dale’s son-in-law, Robert Owen.

Owen was a philanthropist and social reformer, who proved it was possible to have healthy, clean conditions, with a happy workforce and still be a profitable business. He pioneered improvement of conditions within the mill and introduced free healthcare and education. He also built the first infants’ school in Britain in 1817.

There are many things to see and do at the mill these days, including the visitor centre, rides, walks, picnics and a comprehensive learning and outreach program. The Prestonpans Tapestry is currently being exhibited at the mill, a 104m wide, volunteer stitched work of art. There’s a hotel and youth hostel on site and the Clyde Walkway also runs through the village. There is a beautiful garden on the roof of one of the mills which offers outstanding views of the surroundings.

Frog on the fountain in the roof garden.

Frog on the fountain in the roof garden.

The mill still produces knitting yarn for sale, from British wool, which is not only very reasonably priced, but also all the profits go back into the upkeep of the mill. What’s not to love?

The Pattern Pick

Finally, the Famous Shinybees Pattern Pick returns and it’s a bit of a crazy one on the subject of ‘ball’. Warning: may cause you to laugh so hard you urinate.


Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoyed the episode. Please feel free to get in contact with any feedback or just for a crafty natter. Educational points about the differences between terms in English and that language the Americans speak always welcomed!

Show notes as always are on the blog at

Episode 35: Cast Offs For Socks

Sock Surgery Square

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Thanks for all the feedback following Kate Davies’ interview in Episode 34. Kate has some great Yokes tote bags in her shop at the moment. Consider yourselves enabled!

'Face Over The Forth' by Chris Combe, via Flickr.

‘Face Over The Forth’ by Chris Combe, via Flickr.

Enablers’ Corner

The Golden Skein have teamed up with Edinburgh Yarn Festival to create a special, one-off yarn club inspired by Edinburgh. Dubbed the ‘Linne Foirthe Club’, it will follow the standard format of the Power of 3 club from The Golden Skein. Three different hand dyers have been commissioned to create an exclusive colour way each, using the inspiration photo above as their starting point. This club is a great way to get a taste of the festival and the Scottish yarn scene if you are missing out this year, or equally it would be a wonderful souvenir, and you can narrow down your festival purchases to weights other than 4ply. This is my plan!

There are a very limited number remaining. You can claim your spot here.

The Sock Surgery

This week it’s all about casting off your socks as we end the first month of the Sock Surgery. Clare and Kate are back to discuss the different options available to you to when finishing your top-down socks.

Clare is initially completely confused by the concept of a side door. A side door is not a back door. A back door is on the back of the house. The side door is on the side of the house. Usually reserved for posh northerners who don’t live in a terraced row. There are no wiki links to explain this curious northern practice.

First up on the actual subject of socks is Kitchener stitch. Kate complained of getting little extra ‘ears’ of yarn at the start and end. Clare usually eliminates hers by pulling it through when weaving in the ends. Paula of Knitting Pipeline podcast talks about another method here.

Clare has done a great pdf download on Kitchener stitch which you can find here.

Everyone loves a video tutorial and here’s one from perennial favourite, The Knit Witch.

Joy of The Knitting Goddess published this great blog tutorial about how to do Kitchener stitch without a darning needle. Clever!

The other method to cast off your socks is to decrease to a point and cinch the end closed, like a hat. Essentially, this involves threading the yarn through the remaining stitches and pulling it tight.

When it comes to toe-up socks, the following cast-offs are briefly discussed. Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. This can turn out a little bit frilly looking, but it is definitely stretchy. Clare loves Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sewn Bind Off, as it is easier to control the tension and removes the frill, whilst maintaining the stretch.

Agony Aunt

Our question this week comes from PokedAGoblin:

My question is about two at a time socks with magic loop.

I’ve made two pairs of two at a time socks now, and both times, when I have got to the heel, I have had to take them off the magic loop needle(s) and put them on dpns, to do the heels and then put them back on to the magic loop needle. I couldn’t figure out how to do the heels on magic loop. Both patterns happened to use a heel flap construction.

Clare recommends the following resources:

How to do heel flaps two at a time.

Great all round two at a time for toe up socks.

She also advocates just taking them off the magic loop and using another method if that is faster e.g. DPNs.

Tarsi Grande

Kate reflects on her first month of Sock Surgery

Kate’s been knitting Tarsi Grande by Clare Devine (shown above) in BaT’at Hand Dyed Yarns “Hullabaloo”, specially dyed for The Golden Skein in the Winter 2014 club.

It’s produced a really interesting effect in terms of the fact the texture is a little lost in the heavy variegation, however, the fact the sock is textured has played with the patterning of the yarn.

The Tarsi Grande sock uses a French Toe.


That’s all for this week. Come and join in the February chat in the new Sock Surgery chat thread on 19th February for the toe up sock fun.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 34: Making it as a Knitwear Designer – An Interview With Kate Davies

Kate Davies Yokes


This week we welcome writer and designer Kate Davies onto the show for her first ever podcast interview. Based in Scotland, just off the West Highland Way, Kate is a prolific designer, responsible for a number of indie design classics. She has also written for a number of publications as well as authoring two books of her own: Colours of Shetland (2012) and Yokes (2014).

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Episode 33: How to Fix Your Socks When They Go Wrong and a Review of 23cm Asymmetric Mini Circulars for Socks

Kinki Amibari Asymmetric Circular Needles. Image Copyright Tangled Yarn.

Kinki Amibari Asymmetric Circular Needles. Image Copyright Tangled Yarn.

It’s very socktacular this week with the return of the Sock Surgery. The show kicks off with a review of the 9.5″ (9″) / 23cm asymmetric circular needles from Kinki Amibari, kindly given for review by Rachel at Clare will also be reviewing these on her blog in the near future. My verdict: quite good fun for knitting socks, very disco handbag friendly. If you want to be in with a chance to win a set of these, head over to the Ravelry group to enter!


#FreeYourSkeins2015 Friday Pattern of the Week: ‘Artesian’ by Romi Hill

'Artesian' by Romi Hill. Image Copyright Romi Hill.

‘Artesian’ by Romi Hill. Image Copyright Romi Hill.

Perfect combination of form and structure

This week’s pattern of the week from #FreeYourSkeins2015 is ‘Artesian’ by Romi Hill. It’s easy to see why: flowing lace panels which stretch over the edge of the shawl, coupled with crisp stitch definition and the perfect balance between pretty and architectural in the detail.

It’s a versatile pattern that could cope with an array of semi solid yarns in a variety of bases. I do have many suitable yarns in the stash that would do this pattern justice.

'Ocean Deep' in Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock.

‘Ocean Deep’ in Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock.

I eventually opted for the Ocean Deep colour way from Nurturing Fibres, which was part of the Elements Club (vintage unremembered! Circa 2012/3 I would imagine). It’s a long repeat gradient dyed yarn, which I think could add an element of depth and interest to the piece, without overpowering the lace panels. The Supertwist sock is 100% high twist South African merino, which holds these saturated colours well, and is a little heavier that your average high twist base, which should allow it to drape nicely under its own weight.

What would you knit with this yarn?