Friday, October 31, 2014

2015 Lace Clubs

For 2015 I'm excited to announce two new yarn clubs. Each club will ship every other month so if you fancy a monthly club parcel, you can join both clubs. And you'll get a £10 discount if you do (£10 will be refunded via Paypal within 48 hours of joining both clubs).

New for 2015 is my Beads & Lace Club. I love designing lace projects which include beads so I thought why not do a club exclusively for beaded lace. 

Each month you will receive a kit comprising of a skein of luxury lace yarn, beads and an exclusive lace pattern. You will also receive extras such as a project bag and useful notions. A crochet hook for adding beads will be included in the first parcel
This club is designed for knitters who are familiar with lace knitting and who want to take their lace knitting to the next level. Projects will be rated intermediate and will include charted and written instructions. Each project, which will be mainly shawls and scarves, will have beads added using the crochet hook method.

Parcels will be sent out in February, April and June 2015. Total value of the club is over £100 and price includes postage.

The parcels will be shipped around the middle of the month with the first club parcels being shipped mid February 2015. Signup now. 

Sign up before 15 November and get £5 off, use discount code 'beads&lace15'.

The Easy Lace Club is back. This club is designed for knitters who are new to lace knitting or experienced lace knitters who like quick and easy projects. To help you tackle lace knitting you will get a printed copy of The Lace Basics Booklet (which has recently been updated and expanded) which will teach you all the lace knitting essentials.

Each month you will receive a kit comprising of a skein of luxury 4ply/fingering weight yarn and an exclusive lace pattern.You will also receive extras such as a project bag and useful notions.

The projects for this club, which will be mainly shawls and scarves, will be easy and will be exclusive to the club until July 2015.

Total value of the club is over £80 and the price includes postage.
The parcels will be shipped around the middle of the month with the first club parcels being shipped mid January 2015. Signup now. Spaces are limited.

Sign up before 15 November and get £5 off, use discount code 'easylace15'.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Mittens!

Thank you to all those who've bought my 'Vinter Votter' pattern. It's been selling like hot cakes since Monday. And now I've got another 'Selbu' inspired mitten pattern for you. 

These mittens are called 'Vaffel Votter'. Vaffel means Waffles in Norwegian and the main motif on these mittens remind me of Norwegian waffles (hm, all this talk of waffles is making me peckish. Wonder if Em will make us some waffles for lunch, she's home this week as it's half term holidays). Votter is the Norwegian word for mittens so 'Vaffel Votter' = Waffel Mittens.

The pattern comes in 2 sizes which will fit a range of hands from small ladies to large ladies/medium men. I'm modelling the large pair (green/yellow) below and Simon and I have the same size hands. Full size details on the pattern page.

I used Navia Duo for these mittens. I love this yarn from the Faroe Islands. It's a 4ply/fingering weight blend of  Faroese wool, Shetland wool and Australian lambs wool. It is perfect for stranded colourwork and it's still soft (and non-itchy). It doesn't feel all that soft when you knit with it but give it a bit of a soak in a good wool wash (I use Soak) afterwards and it softens up beautifully. I must admit I'm having a bit of love affair with this yarn at the moment. I'm hoping to be able to offer some kits for this pattern using Navia yarn soon.

I'm keeping the yellow/green pair for myself but I'm tempted to knit myself a grey/purple pair too. These mittens have a folded over picot hem. If you prefer a less feminine look, then instead of working the picot round, purl a round instead.

The thumb is an after thought thumb worked in a single colour which is a very easy to knit and fits great. Just don't make the same mistake as I did. One of the small mittens doesn't have a thumb. I got so carried away with knitting, I forgot to put in the waste yarn for the thumb. I recommend marking the chart row where you'll put the thumb waste yarn in, just so you don't forget.

If you're coming to my 'Selbu Mittens' classes at Sitting Knitting this Sunday or La Mercerie on Sunday 16th November then you'll get this pattern as part of the class.

'Vaffel Votter' is 50% off on Ravelry until Sunday 2 November 2014. No coupon code needed. It will be listed on Patternfish too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vinter Votter

Norway's 'Selbu' mittens are world famous. Traditionally these mittens are worked in black and white but these days we have such a huge choice in colours so why not inject some colour into these mittens. I've got a few 'Selbu'-inspired mittens coming up and the first ones are 'Vinter Votter'.

The information below is taken from
The history of Selbuvotten (= Selbu mitten) started on a cold winter Sunday in 1857, when
shepherd girl Marit Emstad and her sister arrived at the regular Sunday church service. The
girls were wearing homemade knitted mittens, something that attracted no special attention,
but it was the mitten patterns and expression that virtually revolutionized Norwegian
knitting traditions.

'Vinter' is winter in Norwegian and 'votter' is mittens. 'Vinter Votter' feature a traditional Norwegian snowflake motif. 

'Selbu' mittens normally have a shaped thumb gusset and patterned thumb but I decided to make things easier by working an 'after thought' thumb. It's easy and the fit is great. I also don't like working stranded colourwork on small things like fingers so I left the thumb plain.

Vanessa was a bit unsure of the photo below and above. Photographing mittens is not easy. You've got to make it look natural but show all the design details. Not sure I got the balance right in these two photos.

The pattern is written for Lang Merino 200 which is the yarn I used for the mittens above (green/charcoal) but I have a feeling this yarn may have been discontinued. I bought my yarn at Spin A Yarn a few weeks ago but when I search online it's difficult to find. You can of course use other yarns that knit up to the same tension. A slight difference in tension may not make too much of a difference but it will alter the size of the mittens. I recommend you try the mittens on as you knit them if you knit to a different tension. 

The Lang Merino 200 is the same thickness as most sock yarns with 200m per 50gr ball.

The plum/grey mittens above are knitted in Quince & Co Chickadee which is a slightly thicker yarn so knits up to a slightly bigger tension. Which was fine as these mittens are mine and I've got big hands.

'Vinter Votter' comes in 2 sizes. 
Small: Circumference - hand: 19cm/7½in and length: 23cm/9in 
Medium: Circumference - hand: 21.5cm/8½in and length: 24cm/9½in 
Both sizes are based on the tension achieved with Lang Merino 200.

'Vinter Votter' is available as a pdf through Ravelry  and Craftsy now and will also be available on Patternfish soon. A bit thank you to Gwen who knitted the Lang pair for me.

Until 2 Nov 2014, get 50% off 'Vinter Votter' if purchased on Ravelry. No coupon code needed.

New to stranded colourwork? New to mittens? I'm teaching my 'Selbu' mittens class this Sunday at Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield (there may be a space left) and at La Mercerie in Cowbridge, South Wales, on Sunday 16 November. In the class you'll learn how to knit in the round using double pointed needles and circulars, how to knit the continental way, how to knit with one colour in each hand (or if you're already a continental knitter, how to hold both yarns in your left hand), how to read charts, mitten shaping. You'll get my 'Vaffel Votter' (another new pattern coming on Wednesday) to take home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yorkshire & Yarndale

Yorkshire and  Yarndale seems like ages ago now but it's only about 3 weeks ago, I think. We had another great visit to Yorkshire. Last week we were able to stay for 5 days after Yarndale to explore Yorkshire. Unfortunately we weren't able to do that this time. But we did travel up a day early so we had the Friday to explore. This time we chose to stay in Bradford and I must admit I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd heard mixed things about Bradford from Yorkshire friends. But we loved Bradford. Our hotel was central but in a quiet area (well, quiet for a city anyway). It was a short walk into the City Park area and we loved the free city busy. We decided to visit the National Media Museum and could have easily spent all day there. I highly recommend it.  But we only had the morning free. 

For lunch we headed to the City Park and no, it's not flooded. That's the water feature.

After lunch we drove up to Skipton and accidentally chose the scenic route and it took us ages. Yarndale is held in an auction mart, basically a cattle market, so transforming it into a yarn boutique is a challenge. This is after we'd put up the wall coverings and had all our stuff dumped.

But transform it we did and I was happy with the result. 

We had our new Midnight Stole sample on display. My original sample was knitted i hand-dyed yarn and was much admired and I wondered if the new Moon Night sample would be as popular (by the way, there'll be Midnight Stole kits in the shop this week) and it was.

Our other feature shawl was Delphine which was also much admired.

We had a fabulous show! It seemed slightly quieter than last year but I think that was because the show was larger and better organised this year. Last year the organisers were taken by surprise by how many knitters turned up. They listened to stall holders and visitors and implemented some changes for this year.

Sales-wise, we did about the same as last year so it was a successful show for us. Join top with Woolfest!

Lucy of Attic 24 had appealed to her blog readers for crocheted mandalas and they made a colourful display at one end of the auction mart.

There were a lot of them:

If you came to our stall at Yarndale then thank you very much for your support. If you missed out then there's lots of yarn in the shop now.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What have I been knitting?

I seem to have completely lost the plot when it comes to blogging. I've got a couple of blog posts, including one about Yarndale, half-written in my draft folder but I'm in the middle of several deadlines, book editing and this is my busiest time teaching, so blogging has taken a back seat. I have done lots of knitting though. I've got a pile of designs which I'd like to self-publish before the end of this year or early next year so I'm slowly working my way through those too.

I sent out a newsletter yesterday with a 15% discount. I've got new colours, beads, kits, shawl pins and some other stuff in the shop. Use code: oct15 to claim your 15% discount. Valid until midnight Monday 20th October

To try to get back into blogging groove, I thought I'd share a few things I've been knitting. Below is the next pattern to be published: my 'Vinter Votter'. Vinter is winter in Norwegian and votter is mittens. So these are winter mittens. These mittens are inspired by traditional 'Selbu' mittens and feature snow flake motifs which are so popular in Norwegian mittens. 

The plum/light grey (it looks white but is grey) is Quince & Co Chickadee and knitted up to a slightly larger tension than the pattern states which makes these mittens perfect for me and I'm keeping this pair for myself. The grey/green pair is the official sample pair and were knitted by Gwen in Lang merino. More details when the pattern is ready which will be very soon, hopefully in the next few days.

I've been working on more mittens. I've been wanting to knit something with Navia Duo for a long time. I've used it for swatching a few times and it's lovely. So I cast on for a new pair of mittens inspired by Norwegian waffles. All Norwegian homes have a waffle maker and the motif on these mittens remind me of the traditional waffle shape. This is the large size which is quite large. They would fit a man quite nicely. They're slightly large for me and I've got man size hands. I'm working on a smaller pair too. I've just finished re-charting the smaller size this morning and now I need to dig out some yarn to knit them in.

Although I love mittens and will actually wear them when the weather gets colder and I'm especially looking forward to wearing them in Norway at Christmas but I wear fingerless mittens most of the time. My hands are always cold. I've had a stitch pattern in my head for a while so I charted it out and it knitted up exactly like I hoped it would. The yarn is Navia Duo again.

Here's the front of the mitten:

And here's the back:

Before we left for Yorkshire last month I cast on for a crescent shawl. I used a slightly different construction method than I've done before and added some short rows. I didn't check how the size was working out till I cast off a few days after we got back but I love the size of this. It's bigger than I thought it would be.  I bought the yarn in Jersey last March and I got Vanessa to model it for me when she was home last weekend. I'm working on finishing the pattern so I can send it to the tech editor. I'll talk more about it when it's ready for publication. I'm really looking forward to wearing it this winter. I think it'll be my favourite scarf.

I've been very tempted by Navia lately and I've been dreaming of doing something with neon pink and silver grey. I couldn't resist a bright blue either and a few days ago I cast on for this scarf. I've got a bit further by now and I'm loving it. I had a outline plan when I started but I'm designing on the go.

I've also got a new circular shawl on the needles which I'm designing 'on the go'. I did take photos but they seem to have vanished so I'll share some photos another time.

I've also got a couple of simple projects on the go but I'm not sure if I'll finish them or not yet. Not quite sure if they're working out as I hoped, so I've put them on hold for now.

This weekend I'll mainly focus on mittens I think. What's on your needles this weekend?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Kick Start Your Autumn Knitting

Its finally getting a bit colder in the UK. Many knitters are excited about this. I must admit I'm not. I'm very sad to see the end of summer. We've had some very autumnal, stormy weather this week so I think summer is well and truly over. 

I've got lots to tell you about but since we got back from Yarndale it's been crazy. I've had deadlines, been teaching and I'm in the middle of book editing. So today I just wanted to tell you about a little discount to kick start your autumn knitting.

Use code: knitautumn to get 15% off any order from my online shop & 25% off any pattern order of 4 patterns or more in my Ravelry Pattern ShopBoth valid until 15 Oct.

There are kits, beads, knitting needles, shawl pins and yarn.

I've got lots of knitting to share but until next time I'll leave you with a sneak peak of what I cast on tonight. I got a bit further than that and it's looking good but it got too late to take photos.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ready for Yarndale

Who's coming to Yarndale this weekend?  Its been a busy week getting ready. Remind me next time I do a show not to schedule any design deadlines in the 2 weeks before/after the sjow. Its been crazy. But yesterday we headed to Yorkshire.  

The big box of yarn above arrived full of Schoppel and Lang yarns.  Here are a few of my favourites. 

I love this 6 Karat colour combo. There will definitely be a new shawl design in this combo.

New to me is Lang Mille Colori Sock and Lace. Its a beautiful sock yarn with long stripes. Here's a bright colour combo:

And a slightly less bright but very pretty pair:

Lang also do these cute little 25gr balls of lace in some fab colours.  The green and blue ones will definitely become a new design too.

 Of course I had to re-stock the Zauberball yarns. We sold lots of these pretties at Woolfest. 

These are my favourite colours, especially the green above. In fact it nearly became my travel project. 

A big box of colourful goodness.  We will hace our Lotus Yarns as well of course. 

And we'll have beads, crochet hooks, circular needles & a few other knitting accessories & lots of patterns. 

I cast on for a new knitting project which I'll blog more about another time.

We loaded the car. Our car is quite small and it takes careful planning to fit it all in. Tge bike was dropped off at Vanessa's in Bristol on the way.  We had a lovely lunch with her.

Will we see you at Yarndale this weekend?