knitting

New Pattern! The Moon and the Sky Shawl

It’s taken me a while to share this but I’m pleased to say that my latest design The Moon and the Sky Shawl is up on Ravelry 🙂

The Moon and the Sky Shawl

This design came about after the purchase of some Theseus Lace yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns in the Steel colourway. As soon as I got my hands it’s luscious squishyness I had visions of a delicate, cobwebby shawl and I just had to drop everything else and cast on a swatch! Made up of 75% merino and 25% silk this glossy, fine laceweight yarn is a dream to knit with.

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The pattern alternates between stockinette and lace panels, with the lace repeat worked over 6 stitches and 8 rows, with little size 8 beads placed with a crochet hook as you go along.

IMG_0378Lace close up

What I also love about this yarn is the way the colour varies in tone to create subtle silvery stripes in the stockinette panels…

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As the finished shawl is quite large it be worn in a variety of ways.

Moon and SkyShawl as scarf

Side viewWrap

Here it is ‘in action’ when I wore it to Mr. A’s annual work conference…

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…and with the shoes… 😉

Moon & Sky Shoes

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Amanda at Dissemiknit for tech editing this pattern for me, and to my lovely test knitters on Ravelry who gave lots of valuable feedback and provided some great photo’s for the project page – do go and check them out!

Happy knitting x

knitting

New Pattern! The Beekeeper Shawl

I’m really pleased to say that my new design The Beekeeper Shawl is now up on Ravelry 🙂

Beekeeper Shawl

The design started last year when I feel in love with the beautiful honeybee stitch. It’s so much fun to work and it looks so pretty! You can find a full tutorial on this stitch here.

Honeybee Stitch

The wings of the shawl are worked in a simple ‘alternating leaf’ lace pattern.

Beekeeper Lace Pattern

I actually finished making the shawl whilst on holiday in Greece last year, it felt strange working on a shawl in 30+ degree heat but I wish I could have that view whilst working on every project!

Beekeeper

The trouble was that when I got home I didn’t write up the pattern straight away so it took me an age to decipher my notes and get it into some form of legible pattern. On that note I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Amanda at Dissemiknit for doing such a brilliant job tech editing it for me!

I made my shawl using Jillybean ‘Knot another Granny‘ sport weight yarn, but it also works really well in a plainer coloured yarn. The shawl below was made by Linda (BreezyHDK on Ravelry), one of the ladies that volunteered to test knit the pattern for me. Don’t you just love the colour she chose?

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© BreezyHDK (Photo used with kind permission)

This design process has been a massive learning curve for me, but I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to get on and do some more now!

Happy knitting x

knitting

A Visit to the Chanel to Westwood Knitwear Exhibition

I had been meaning to go to the Chanel to Westwood Knitwear exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey ever since it opened last September. Nicky Barfoot posted a blog about the exhibition a few weeks ago – do check Nicky’s blog out as the collection inspired her to re-work some beautiful 1940’s vintage patterns and the results are beautiful! So on that reminder I dug out the leaflet and realised it ended on 18th Jan. Eek! Luckily I was working in London last Thursday, which also happens to be late night opening at the museum. I left work a little early and took the 30 min walk to the venue over Tower Bridge. There is something magical about London at dusk…

London at Dusk

On display at the museum was the private collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield who have a passion for collecting knitted and crocheted garments.

Below are some of my favourite pieces / collections from the exhibition. (Photography was not permitted in the museum so most of the pictures below have been taken from the FashionTextile – Chanel to Westwood Pinterest Board)

 Les Sportives – A collection of knitted swim and leisurewear. The 1920’s brought new freedom to younger people after the first world war. Their lifestyles became more active and knitwear needed to be functional in fit and movement as well as fashionable. My favorite piece from this collection was the fine knit blue and white floral bathing suit at the front.

FTM - Swimwear

Fashionable Folk – The trend of folklore and traditional European themes was strong in the 1930’s and 40’s.

FTM - Folk

Make Do and Mend – During the Second World War the government encouraged the re-use of clothing. This collection showcased sweaters that had been re-made by unravelling old ones and using the yarns to make new multicolored garments. My favourite was second from the left, it had a really interesting stitch pattern but unfortunately you can’t see it from this photo.

FTM - Make do and mend

The Fair Isle collection

Fair Isle - FTM

The Novelty Knits – perhaps my favourite collection from the whole exhibition were these brightly colored, bold sweaters from the 1970’s and 80’s.

FTM - 1970's

The Ice Cream Sundae pullover by Dana Originals was especially striking.

Ice Cream Sundae Jumper

I’m so glad I managed to catch this exhibition before it ended, it was well worth the visit. I also found some inspired items in the gift shop, but will save those for another blog post!

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Knitting Weekend

This weekend was spent in the beautiful setting of the Ammerdown Centre in Somerset with Fiona Morris and 4 other students on the City & Guilds Hand Knit Textiles course. And what a brilliant weekend it was!

We started on Thursday evening and got to know each other over dinner before heading to our work room. Fiona then spent a couple of hours talking about how to put together design submissions for magazines and shared lots of examples of her designs and swatches. Inspiring stuff!

On Friday morning we gathered after breakfast and the exercise set for the morning was all about colour matching. This was perfect for me as my current module is all about colour and yarn wrapping. Fiona introduced us to a couple of websites Design Seeds and Colour Lovers, which offer inspiration and ideas for colour palettes. We were each asked to select an image and recreate the colour palette by mixing up gouache paints. Here are my finished stripes, I was quite pleased with the results although the dark brown / purple colour was the trickiest to achieve.

Colour matching

In the afternoon we all got on with our C&G coursework. For me this involved painting more stripes based on yarn wrappings. Module 4 is more design based than knitting so I was quite envious of those who were able to whip out their needles and work on samples. The good thing was though that one of the other ladies is a module ahead of me so I was able to look at what she had done and also see what was in store for module 5. It definitely gave me the kick I needed to crack on! All in all it was a productive day and it was nice to end it with a knit and a natter over a glass of wine in the evening.

On Saturday we looked at Fair Isle knitting and Fiona showed us lot’s of examples of fair isle swatches and explained how to choose contrasting colours that would work together. We also looked at examples of  Fair Isle ‘purl when you can’ which adds texture to the pattern. The technique is to purl instead of knit a stitch if the colour of the stitch about to be knit is the same as the one below.

Fair isle talk then turned to steeking. A couple of us had never steeked before and I have to admit the thought of taking a pair of scissors to my knitting filled me with horror! However, Fiona had the perfect little mug hug project for us to practice the technique. I neglected to pack my dpn’s but did have a long circular needle so was also able to learn the magic loop method of knitting in the round.

Magic loop

Below shows the crocheted edge that protects the stitches of the line to be cut. Then it was time to take a deep breath….

Crochet edge for steek

….snip, snip and voila – it’s flat!

Fair Isle tension

As someone who has always pulled the fair isle floats too tightly, the handy tip of pulling the stitches in between the floats down the needle before working the contrasting colour stitch worked wonders! It’s not perfect but I am happy 🙂

Sunday came around far too quickly, and whilst a couple of ladies carried on with their C&G work there were a few of us keen to learn the Mobius Strip cast on which used for making a figure of 8 scarf or cowl that knits out from the centre outwards. I really couldn’t get the hang of how to wrap the yarn at first, but finally got there!

Mobius cast on

Over the weekend I had worked a Ribbon lace swatch from one of Barbara Walkers books so before we went for lunch on Sunday we blocked it using a hand steamer. I so need to invest in one of those, it opened up the lace beautifully!

Lace blocking

Before hitting the road on Sunday Fiona was kind enough to help me with a pattern chart for a shawl that I have been stalling on for ages. I wasn’t sure how to split out the different sections to make it clear and she gave me some suggestions so I am hoping to get it finally written up this week.

All in all it was a really inspiring and motivating weekend at Ammerdown. Our group was lovely and it was so nice to spend some time with like minded people who are as mad about knitting as I am! I really do hope we can do it again next year.

knitting

Knitting Pretty

I am a little bit addicted to lace knitting at the moment, especially lacy shawls. I have lost hours to Ravelry over the past few months drooling over some beautiful designs and wishing there were more hours in the day I could devote to knitting pretty things.

One design that I just had to drop everything for and cast on was Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits. It just so happened I had the perfect yarn in my stash too – Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace is a dusky pink colour.

I need to take some better pictures, but this is how it turned out.

Sweet Dreams Boo Knits

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I chose to make a small size as I wanted it to be more of a scarf than a big shawl and I am really pleased with the results. I used 4mm needles on a laceweight yarn so it is really light and has a lovely drape when worn. I didn’t make it with the beads, but in hindsight I wish I had included them.

Speaking of beads, I have been working on a shawl design for the past 5 weeks or so. There are only 4 more rows to go but I haven’t been able to finish it this weekend as the most annoying thing happened – I ran out of beads! I need about 10 to complete the final row before I start the edging. I ordered them on Thursday so really hoping they arrive tomorrow so I can get this one off the needles this week.

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My next project is going to be a lacy scarf in the teal yarn purchased at Ally Pally last week, The gauge swatch is done and the initial design charted on Envisioknit.

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The rest of this weekend has been taken up with working on the C&G coursework. I have been procrastinating on Module 4 for ages, but am really excited as on Thursday I am going on a residential weekend with some of the other students. Here is my project box, full of promise and ready to go!

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knitting

A Marvellous Day at Ally Pally

A lovely day was had yesterday at the annual Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace. The show is the largest textiles and craft event in the UK and as well as being a chance to stock up on ‘essential’ supplies, there are many exhibitions, workshops, fashion shows, demonstrations and lectures on offer.

On walking into the main entrance hall you see the ‘PicKnit in the Pergola’, an amazing display of hand knitted flowers, birds, butterflies and a pond! It is a project by the UK Hand Knitting Association and each wildlife item has been made and donated by volunteers. The Pergola is touring the country in order to raise awareness and funding for the Livability Home Design Appeal, a charity that provides support and opportunities for disabled people in the UK.

Picknit in the Pergola

I went through to the main exhibition area to the the knitted Textile Awards exhibition which showcases knitted work in 2 categories – graduate and open.

One of my favourite showcases was of mounted dogs heads, a playful take on taxidermy by Nicky Barfoot. Here is ‘Pickle’.

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And here is ‘Willoughby Brown’ by Heather Drage – a knitting shop owner from Salisbury.

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I also managed to catch one of the fashion shows and fell in love with this orange ladies cable coat by Patons. Isn’t it stunning!

Patons ladies cable coat

Moving on from the exhibitions to the stalls…and here is a selection of the days purchases…

Ally Pally purchases

Top left – Copperfield Yarns, hand dyed by Oliver Twists, silk and baby camel. My most extravagant purchase of the day but if you felt the softness you would totally understand

Middle left – Scrumptious 4 ply / sport superwash by Fyberspates. I had to buy this as I have a handbag and gloves in the same colour. This is going to be a matching scarf.

Right – a selection of buttons by Cool Crafting – just look at them, need I say anything more?!

Bottom – Rowan Creative Linen. A beautiful colour for Halloween

I also purchased a 10 ball bag of Rowan Pure wool, in a dusky pink shade. No idea what I will make from it yet though…

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And finally, a book – ‘A Handknit Romance’ by Jennie Atkinson. A gorgeous book full of vintage inspired knitting patterns. I can’t wait to have a proper look through this but what immediately struck me when browsing though it at the stand was the beautiful photography and presentation of this book. Each pattern is accompanied by a note about where the inspiration for the design came from. And I was lucky enough to have Jennie sign it for me too!

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Speaking of autographs, guess who else I met – none other than the textile queen Zhandra Rhodes! What a lovely way to end the day 🙂

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knitting

New Pattern! Whispering Pines Beret

I am pleased to announce the Whispering Pines Beret pattern is now available on Ravelry!

Whispering Pines Beret

Whispering Pines

 

The beret is worked in the round from the bottom up in a 2 ply laceweight yarn and is made up of a lacy bead stitch and embossed leaf stitch pattern.

Originally inspired by a trip to Paris back in February, the pattern evolved after much swatching and getting to grips with the maths! I used Envisioknit to help with the written instructions and charting. I really do rate Envisioknit, I have been using it for a while now and it is easy to use and has always done everything that I want it to do.

Another great outcome of this design was finding such a great tech editor, thank you Amanda for your help with making the pattern so clear and easy to follow!

And thank you also to Meg, Malena, Sabine and Lisa for test knitting the pattern. This was my first experience of using a test knitting group on Ravelry and your feedback has been really useful.

The pattern is available to purchase here

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 3

Module 3 of the course has been marked and returned and aside from my dippy mistake of joining my slip stitch seaming sample the wrong way up the rest was ok. Here is a summary of the work I presented.

Activity 1: Shaping in Knitting

This activity called for a number of samples to demonstrate different methods of increasing and decreasing.

Increase samples (left to right)

  • Yarn Over Increase (eyelet)
  • Make 1 Increase (M1)
  • Bar Increase
  • Row below increase

Increase Samples

Decrease samples (left to right)

  • Knit decrease (ssk & k2tog)
  • Slip decrease
  • Knit 2 together through back loop (K2tog-tbl)
  • Bias decrease

Decrease samples

Double Decrease samples (left to right)

  • K3tog
  • SS1-K2tog-psso (Slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over)
  • S2tog-k1-psso (Slip 2 together, knit 1, pass slipped stitches over)

Double decreases

Activity 2 – Joining Seams

Sample 1 – 3 needle cast off (front and back)

3 needle bind off

Sample 2 – Mattress Stitch (selvedge to selvedge)

Mattress Stitch

Sample 3 – Mattress Stitch (top edge to top edge)#

Mattress St top edge

Sample 4 – Backstitch

Backstitch f&b

Sample 5 – Grafting

Grafting f&b

I struggled to get to grips with this one and need to practice it a bit more. You can see on the back on the sample where I went a bit wrong, although it didn’t show on the front.

Sample 6 – 3 needle i-cord bind off

Icord Bind Off

(Not sure why the photos make it look like 2 completely different colours!)

Activity 3 – Knit & Purl Patterns

Knit and Purl samples (left to right)

  • Broken Rib pattern
  • Ridged rib pattern
  • Checkerboard
  • Inverness Diamonds
  • Oblique Rib
  • 1 x 1 Rib
  • 2 x 2 rib
  • Coloured stripes
  • Moss diamonds
  • Mistake rib
  • Garter / reverse stockinette stitch
  • Moss st / stockinette stitch

Knit & Purls 1Knit & Purls 2

Activity 4 – Crossed / Travelling Stitch Patterns

The first sample I worked was taken from the ‘Tree of Life  Afghan’ by Nicky Epstein

Travelling x st patterns

The second was a traditional lattice pattern.

Activity 5 – Cables

I do love a good cable!

Samples (clockwise)

  • Honeycomb
  • Triple twist cable
  • Ornamental cable

Cables

Activity 6 – Raised & Embossed Patterns

Raised Pattern Samples (clockwise)

  • Popcorn
  • Diagonal bobble
  • Nosegay

Raised Patterns

Embossed Patterns (top to bottom)

  • Puff stitch
  • Leaf pattern

Embossed Patterns

Activity 7 – Yarn File Continued

Following from module 1 this activity explored some of the more unusual yarns available. Samples and information on how the fibre is produced, properties, care etc were required.

Sample 1 – Alpaca

Alpaca

Sample 2 – Angora (responsibly sourced of course)

Angora

Sample 3 – Cashmere

Cashmere

Sample 4 – Camel

Camel

Sample 5 – Yak

Yak

Sample 6 – Possum

I found it impossible to get 100% possum fibre. The yarn I used was 60% merino, 40% possum.

Possum

Activity 8 – Designer Makers

Again, continuing on the underpinning knowledge started in module 1, this activity was to research another designer maker and write a report including samples of their work. I chose to write my report on Kate Davies, one of my favourite designers.

Activity 9 – Storage, Care and Use of Knitting Resources

The final activity was to imagine setting up a knitwear design studio and image what kind of requirements and equipment you would need.

So that was module 3! Now to get cracking on with module 4…

 

Gardening, knitting

Hello Sunshine!

I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging lately, but now I am back I would like to share some of the fun stuff I have been up to 🙂

Firstly, I finally finished module 3 of the C&G knitting course – hooray! Big lesson learnt there is to start writing things up as I go along and not leave it to the very end and having to decipher my notes. It took me twice as long to write the module up then it did to knit the samples! Anyway, that is all done and posted off and I am now on to module 4. I am quite excited about this one as it is all about Colour. Having a look through the activity contents this one is more heavily weighted towards design than knitting and the first activity is to gather a selection of inspirational images to reflect the theme of colour.

Whilst I am doing that I am also in the middle of knitting up a hat design inspired by a recent trip to Paris. Here’s a progress shot.

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I hadn’t intended to design another hat at first, the pattern I was working on kind of decided it for me. I was inspired to try a travelling stitch pattern as I had knit a couple of samples for module 3 and one of them was the ‘Tree of Life‘ from the afghan by Nicky Epstein.

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I like the way you can ‘draw’ with a travelling stitch, like Nicky has done with the tree branches so that is what I am exploring in my next design.

And what about Spring Haze? Well, I have resigned myself that my Spring Haze wrap is going to be a very long WIP, I have changed the design for the main part and it needs a lot of attention which I haven’t been able to give it lately. But I am still working on it, even if it is very slowly…

I am super excited about about is the return of summer – which starts officially next weekend when the clocks go forward! This weekend has been typical of the weather in England, woke up yesterday to glorious sunshine so my husband and I hot footed it to the garden centre for supplies for our yearly garden overhaul.

We got some lovely plants including this:

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It’s called a ‘Fritillaria Meleagris’ or ‘Snakes Head Fritillary’. I love the snakeskin pattern on the petals – so pretty!

We also got some of these:

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A ‘Senetti’ plant. The actual colour is more purple than this but my phone camera made it bright blue! This one is definitely going in my colour file 🙂

On the way back we stopped at the shop for BBQ supplies, our reward for a hard days work in the garden. But as you have probably guessed, on our way home the skys clouded over the heavens opened. Typical!

In other news I have been getting out and about over the past month, I had an amazing trip to Paris, visited the new Birmingham Library and caught the Hannah Hoch exhibition at Whitechapel last week, all of which I will write about soon.

I also have a trip planned for New York and Boston coming up too which I am sooo excited about. If anyone has any suggestions as to interesting places to visit please do let me know!