Monday, October 05, 2015

My Current Knitting

Last week all my knitting time was spent on finishing my deadline shawl. It took longer than I'd planned. I had to finish it on Friday evening so I could block it before I went to bed and post it first thing Saturday morning and I did it! I was blocking this shawl at 11pm on Friday evening!

I was travelling this weekend and I'll be travelling again this weekend, both trips are for a Continental Knitting workshop at Sitting Knitting, so I thought I ought to cast on for a sock so I had something easy to knit on. I chose a ball of Regia Arne and Carlos colourway. Arne and Carlos are a Norwegian design duo and they created a series of Norwegian inspired colour ways for Regia. I think I've got three of their colours in my stash. I'm knitting toe up socks for myself, using my basic Creme Caramel pattern but instead of a regular 2x2 rib, I've gone with a 2x2 garter stitch rib. Every other round is regular rib and every other round you knit. Instead of the Creme Caramel heel and gusset, I'm going to do an afterthought heel.

I've only for a few rounds left on my stripy socks, so I'm going to make an effort and try to finish it this week.

I've managed to do a bit more work on my Sweet Georgia poncho. I'm using a gradient set and I'm on the second colour. I couldn't get the colour right in these photos.

I'm really keen to cast on for a new two colour shawl. I've got a few yarn possibilities lined up but I can't decide. I'm putting it on hold for this week.

What are you knitting this week?

Friday, October 02, 2015

Cutting your knitting?

Traditionally steeking is used in fair isle/stranded colour work sweaters like Norwegian ski sweaters. You knit the garment in the round and then cut holes for the sleeves. You can also knit a sweater and cut all the way down the front to turn it into a cardigan.

Why do you need to knit fair isle in the round? Because it's much easier. I find knitting fair isle on purl rows really fiddly and I prefer to work in the round when I knit fair isle garments.

When I design garments worked in the round, whether they're fair isle or not, I have to make decisions about how to handle armholes/sleeves and the yoke. My options are basically working a circular yoke, a raglan yoke, splitting the sweater at the underarm and knitting front and back flat separately or knitting the sweater as a tube to the shoulders and then cutting the holes for the sleeves.

Although cutting holes for sleeves and cutting down the front of a sweater to turn it into a cardigan are mainly used for fair isle sweaters, there's no reason you can't use it for other types of stitch patterns too.

For example, if you knitted a stocking stitch sweater but you decide you prefer cardigans, cut down the front of the sweater, add button bands and you've got a cardigan.

It can also be used to make corrections to a garment, like cutting off excess fabric. Here's how I used it to correct a cardigan for a friend.

I cut off the 'waterfall' fronts on my friend's cardigan and added button bands.

My Mum knitted this beautiful sweater for Simon for Christmas last year. Both Simon and I have lost a lot of weight this year and the sweater is getting too big for him. Once he's finished loosing weight I'm planning to perform a little bit of surgery on this sweater. I'll use the steeking method to cut out a section of the body to make the sweater smaller. Ofcourse I'll share this on the blog when I do it. It won't be for a while yet as there's no point doing it until Simon has finished losing weight.

Intrigued by steeking? Fancy learning more? I'm teaching Steeking in Liskeard on Wednesday 7 October. Get the details and book here.

I'm also teaching a full day combined fair isle and steeking at the Artesano Academy in Berkshire in February 2016. Get more details and book here. I'm teaching a series of classes at the Artesano Academy next year.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


We're back from a 5 day trip to Yorkshire and we had a fabulous time. Our main purpose for the trip was to attend Yarndale but we always drive up a day early. The drive up went well and we had no hold ups so we decided to stop at an English Heritage property, Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster. 

Walking around the house and gardens was just what we needed after a day of motorway driving. It was sunny and warm and the property was beautiful! We only spent about an hour there but I'll definitely go back if we're in the area again.

On Friday we decided to explore York. We spent a day in York two years ago and I really liked York. Simon wanted to visit the National Railway Museum so that was our first stop. I'm not into trains but I enjoyed it. There are some amazing engines there and a little reminder of home.

We walked around York and visited the Shambles, which is an old narrow street area of York. We found an alpaca on a street corner.

In the afternoon we weren't quite sure what to do so we walked over to Clifford's Tower. It turned out to be another English Heritage property and as we have a membership we went in. The views across York from the top of the walls are amazing.

We walked past York Minster on the way back to the car.

Late afternoon we headed to Skipton and the Yarndale venue which is a cattle/sheep market. This was our empty stall. I find it quite daunting turning up at a show venue and turning this into something nice looking which will invite knitters to browse and shop.

 We emptied the car and covered the walls which took longer than we thought it would.

We took a long time to set up and we ended up leaving on Friday evening and coming back on Saturday morning to put the shawl samples out.

All in all, I'm happy with the result. We had plenty of space for people to browse and tried to display as many shawls and patterns as possible.

Midnight (the blue shawl) and Delphine (the red shawl) were much admired. 

Here's our sock yarn table and shawl pins.

At the back of the stall we set up a table with patterns, books and beads.

And on the other side we put all the lace yarn.

Saturday was frantic! We were busy all day and sales were great. On Sunday morning we arrived early and managed to fit in a walk around the show ground before opening. 

We watched the alpacas having breakfast. They're so cute!

Here are two photos trying to show the scale of the show. It was huge this year! Can you spot our stall? Sunday was much quieter and I managed to run off for a few minutes to get some buttons from Textile Garden and a key ring from Herdy.

On Monday we headed back south. It was our 24th wedding anniversary so we decided to stop in Worcestershire and found a nice country pub where we had lunch then we headed to the nearby Witley Court which is another English Heritage property.

We only spent about an hour here. There were beautiful walks which we didn't really take advantage of. The house is a ruin with only the outside walls intact but it was obviously an impressive house at one time.

The fountain was very impressive and the gardens were beautiful!

Next to the house was a baroque church which is still in use. It was a fairly small church but the ceiling and walls were beautiful.

We got home on Monday evening. I've got a very busy week this week, but I'm hoping to find some time to get the YarnAddict Shop up and running again. I'll be at the 3 Bags Full Wool Market in Liskeard Public Hall on Friday from 4-8pm and this weekend I'm off to Sitting Knitting to teach on Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal Shawl

One of my favourite Debbie Bliss yarns is Fine Donegal, a tweed 4ply (fingering weight) yarn. In this shawl, which is available as a pattern leaflet from Debbie Bliss stockists, garter stitch stripes and lace is combined for a shawl with a modern, fresh look.

This crescent shawl is worked from the top down and starts with a garter stitch tab. If you have never worked a garter stitch tab before there are lots of tutorials online, just search for 'garter stitch tab'. 

Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal Tweed, 95% wool/5% cashmere, 380m per 100g x 1 skein each of red and grey 
4mm circular needles, 80cm long(120cm long circular needles may be useful for the second half of the shawl)

Wingspan: 210cm
Depth (at centre back): 52cm

15 sts and 32 rows over garter stitch to measure 10x10cm after blocking.

Here's the Ravelry listing so you can queue it. You'll want this shawl for your winter wardrobe.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Introducing Iona

September's Easy Lace Club parcels have recently been sent out. This month the members got a colourful ball of Zauberball and a pattern for a shawl that can be turned into a shrug. I've wanted to do this for months. I like the half hexagon shape because it sits nicely on your shoulders and I wondered how easy it was to turn it into a shrug.

Here's Emily wearing it as a shrug. I've been wearing it a few times over the last week. It hangs on the back of my office chair and if I get chilly while I work, I pop it on. I'm a large size 20 and Emily is a very fit, slim size 10 and the shrug fits us both. 

The best thing about Iona is that it can easily be transformed from a shrug into a shawl into a scarf. Two buttons transforms Iona from a shawl/scarf to a shrug.

Iona is exclusive to the Easy Lace Club members until January 2016. So I'm sorry but unless you're a club member you will have to wait till next year to get the pattern. 

This time of year I'm normally promoting next year's club but due to work I have coming up and projects I know I'll be working on next year I've decided not to do a club next year. Or at least not for the first half of the year. Instead I'm planning exclusive kits every 2-3 months. But more about that later.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yarndale Prep

On Monday I met with the lovely Tattysquawk in Fowey. We had a long chat over a hot chocolate and I came home with 15 more of her gorgeous shawl pins for Yarndale. While we chatted Tatty said I was the Last Minute Queen! And she is so right! I'm always doing things at the last minute and although it does add a lot of stress to my life, I also thrive on it.

As I've already mentioned Tattysquawk, let's look at her shawl pins first. I love these pins. They're made from aluminium wire and they're very light weight and smooth. Perfect to wear with delicate lace and thicker knitwear. And they're a very good price and hand-made in Cornwall. I'm just so thrilled to be able to offer a locally made product.

Yarndale is this weekend and we're leaving tomorrow to drive up to Yorkshire. Friday we'll have the day off and explore Yorkshire. We haven't decided what to do yet but I've got a few ideas. Then Friday evening we'll drive to Skipton to set up for the show. Yarndale is Saturday and Sunday and on Monday we drive home.

Here's everything that's going on my stall, all packed up and ready to load in the car:

Over the last week, I've had regular deliveries of yarn shawl pins, books, patterns and knitting notions. I've been busy sorting, labelling, counting, pricing and packing stuff and I thought I'd share a bit of a preview of what will be on my stall this year. You can find me on stall 130.

As usual I have a large selection of Zauberball and Lace Ball from Schoppel. It's one of my favourite affordable sock and lace yarns. The yarn is great quality, lovely to knit with and the colours are so much fun. I have quite a few patterns for this yarn now.

I've also got 6 Karat and Admiral Cat Print, which is also made by Schoppel. 6 Karat is a beautiful merino/silk blend and is between a sock yarn and a lace weight yarn. It has 600m per 100g and is perfect if you'd like to try a finer yarn but still find lace weight a bit scary.

When we went to Spain I'd just published Pandora and I kept thinking about how lovely it would look knitted up in 6 Karat. I did originally start Pandora in 6 Karat last year but I only did the centre section then went off it. So when I decided to get this design going again I chose Kettle Yarn Co Westminster. 6 Karat (600m/100g) is slightly finer than Westminster (533m/100g). When I cast on for Pandora I was hoping to finish it in time for Yarndale. By the time we got home from Spain I wasn't sure that was a realistic option but I've now finished it and it is blocking today. And it will be on display this weekend.

I have had two shipments of Lotus Yarns in the last two weeks which means I'll have lots more Moon Night, Cashmere Fingering, Silky Cashmere Fingering and Forest Dew. 

I have lots of patterns for all these yarns and I'm so happy to have more choice. These are not cheap yarns but they are exceptional quality and you know you're knitting with a luxury cashmere or cashmere blend yarn (except Moon Night which is merino blend). And the shawl patterns I have for Lotus only take 1 or 2 skeins so it's still affordable for a luxury knit.

Navia is from the Faroe Islands and the first impression most people have when they touch this yarn is that it's not very soft but it does soften up a lot when you knit with it. Wash it with a bit of wool wash like Soak after knitting and before you block it and it'll be beautifully soft. I am quite sensitive to wool and can't stand itchy wool around my neck but last winter I lived in Portwrinkle.

In addition to yarn patterns and of course my book, Beaded Lace Knitting, which I'm happy to sign, I'll also have crochet hooks for adding beads, Debbie Abrahams Beads and row counters.

I'm on stall 130 so do come by and say hello.

See you in Yorkshire x

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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Wheal Shawl

Yesterday issue 89 of The Knitter arrived and I was thrilled to see a little pattern booklet with my Wheal Shawl included.

The Wheal Shawl is a sweet little shawlette knitted in Kettle Yarn Co Islington and takes just one skein of sock yarn (400m/100g - 4ply/fingering weight yarn). Islington is a luscious blend of Bluefaced Leicester and Silk and is lovely to knit with. 

This little shawlette alternates garter stitch with simple lace in an asymmetrical triangle. Perfect as a quick one skein stash buster or as a first lace shawl project. Wear this wrapped around your neck as a scarf or around your shoulders to keep the chill off.

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as well as exclusive subscriber offers?