Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday WIP - Secret Knitting

Since last week's WIP update, I've finished the pink sweater I was working on. That'll be posted to the magazine today and I'll reveal all in a few month's time. 

I've also done some work on my purple hap shawl. I'm enjoying this shawl but it's on hold right now while I'm working on another deadline project. Last Friday, we took a train trip to Newquay and had lunch on the beach where I got this photo:

Here's the start of my next secret deadline project. I'm really excited about this one as it's a construction I don't do that often. I'm leaving for a trip to Artesano in Berkshire this afternoon (where I'm teaching three classes this week), and this is coming on my trip with me. I've cast on for a sleeve too for when I need some easy knitting. The sleeve is worked in the round in stocking stitch.

I've also spent some time knitting swatches for new designs. This is one I'll be grading and writing the pattern for today. One of my wonderful sample knitters is knitting up the sample for me and I'm really excited about this design as it's a little bit different.

Are you still knitting now the weather is warming up? As a teenager in Norway I used to knit a lot but mainly in the autumn and winter evenings when it was too dark to go horse-riding (my main activity outside of school in those days). In the summer I rarely knitted as I stayed at the stables for longer and went out in the evenings to see my friends.

Now I'm rather obsessed with knitting, and it's my job, I knit all the time, regardless of the weather. I quite enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine now with my knitting and a cold drink.

What's on your needles this week?

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Mini Tip: Casting on lots of stitches

Today's Mini Tip really is a mini tip and for this week, there won't be a Periscope tutorial to go with it. I did however, explain this with a little video on Instagram recently.

I often hear knitters complaining about casting on hundreds of stitches and the main complaint is counting all those stitches as you cast on and  then re-count them to make sure you counted correctly.

So when casting on for over 100 stitches, I put a marker every 50 stitches. You can choose a multiple that suits you and put a marker every 10 stitches, 20 stitches or whatever suits you. The more stitches I cast on, the more frequently I place the markers. I also double check each stitch count before continuing.

That's today's very short Mini Tip. You can see the other Mini Tips on my Tutorials page (scroll down a bit).

This week is a crazy week with four workshops - Mar Menor & Daisy Shawls at Spin A Yarn tomorrow and then three workshops (Knitting Short Rows, Easy Lace Knitting and Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl) at Artesano later in the week - there are still spaces on all those workshops - contact the shops to book. As a result I've got very little time to work in the office which means less time for blogging as I've also got several patterns to write up before I leave for Berkshire on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday WIP: Don't be afraid to rip

This week has been dominated by deadline knitting and changing my mind. As I finished two projects last week, I decided I'd cast on for something new, even though I knew I had some urgent commission knitting coming up.

I had a hard time choosing my yarn. I had decided I wanted to use three colours but in the end I settled on only two as I decided a three skein project (sock yarns) would be too big and take too long. Both yarns are from La Bien Aimee.
Above are the three ideas I started. I didn't get past the swatching stage before I ripped it out and moved on. These are all good ideas and I may go with one of them later for another project but I wasn't feeling it for this design. And if I'm having doubts this early in the project, it's better to rip it out and start again.

I finally decided to do a triangular hap style shawl and I'm making good progress.

On Saturday I spent the morning writing up two patterns for one commission. I'm knitting one myself and the other one is knitted by one of my wonderful sample knitters. I cast on for my project at lunch time on Saturday. It's worked in the round so it's very quick. I knitted on it on and off on Saturday and on Sunday I knitted all afternoon and most of the evening - Simon was ill so I just had a quiet day. I spent a few hours knitting in the sunshine in the garden. On Monday I found out that the deadline wasn't as soon a I'd expected so I put it aside to work on the hap on Monday.

My first day of knitting in the garden this year.

Yesterday I was teaching a Two Socks At A Time class at Spin A Yarn so on Saturday I decided to cast on for a pair of socks. I'm using a cotton blend yarn and these socks will be for Emily as she's requested socks to go with her Doc Martens boots.                                                                                                                                                         
By the way, I'm teaching several workshops this summer at Spin A Yarn in Devon and at Artesano in Berkshire. Why not learn a new skill this summer. Check out my schedule here.    

Today I'll be alternating between the pink deadline project and the hap shawl. I've also got two pairs socks for me on the go. One pair, I've got 1/2 the second sock left to knit so I may have a go at finishing that this week too.

What's on your needles this week? Share in the comments below.

Next week is my 10 year Blogging Anniversary and I'll be having a few special offers next week to celebrate. At the moment, to kick of the celebrations, I'm offering 30% off my patterns in my Ravelry Pattern Shop. Use coupon code: 10 years. Valid until the end of May. 

Are you signed up to my newsletter? If you're not, then you missed out on a 17% one day only discount yesterday, in celebration of Norway's National Day. Sign up so you don't miss out on future offers.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mini Tip Monday - Slipping Stitches

Today's Mini Tip is about slipping stitches, particularly slipping edge stitches to create a really neat edge. But I'll also talk briefly about slipping stitches mid row too.

You can see previous Mini Tip Monday blog posts here (scroll down a bit). 

First let's look at the difference slipping the edge stitches makes to the look of the edge. Below I've slipped the stitches on the right side and knitted or purled the stitches on the left side. The difference is most obvious in the garter stitch which is the bottom and top section of the swatches. From the bottom, I've worked a few rows in garter stitch then stocking (stockinette) stitch then reverse stocking (stockinette) stitch and finally a few more rows in garter stitch.

 Knitted/purled stitches this side.Slipped stitches this side.

 Let's look at the rules.

  •  When you're working in stocking (stockinette) stitch or reverse stocking stitch (ie knit one row, purl one row) you will slip the first stitch knitwise if you're on a knit row and purlwise (with the yarn in front) if you're on a purl row.
  • When you're working in garter stitch (knit every row) you will slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front.
It's when working in garter stitch that I see the mistakes in how the first stitch is slipped most often.

When deciding how to slip an edge stitch, it depends on how you worked that stitch on the row before. The first stitch of any row is the last stitch of the previous row:
  • If you knitted the last stitch then you will need to slip it purlwise with the yarn in front on the next row. 
  • If you purled the last stitch, then you will need to slip it knitwise on the next row.
When you work in garter stitch, you knit every stitch. Therefore, you will slip the first stitch of the row purlwise with the yarn in front.

On shawls, scarves, button bands, or any piece of knitting which is not going to be seamed, I prefer to start the row with a slipped stitch. Most of my shawls have two or three stitches at the beginning and end of every row in garter stitch.

Please note: if you're going to be sewing up the edge, then knit or purl the first stitch depending on whether you're on a knit or a purl row. Don't slip it as it'll make doing mattress stitch more difficult.

I did a Periscope tutorial on slipping stitches and you can watch it here. 

Let's look at how to slip the first stitch if you're working in garter stitch. Its difficult to show this in photo form. It'll be much clearer on Periscope.

First, let's look at how you do it if you knit English style - please remember that I'm not very good at English style knitting.

Insert the right needle into the first stitch purlwise but make sure that you hold the yarn in front.

Slip the stitch off to the right needle then take the yarn BETWEEN the needles to the back. This is important and where most knitter make mistakes. It's very tempting to take the yarn around the side to the back but if you do that, it'll look like you haven't slipped the stitch at all.

You're know ready to knit the next stitch.

Let's look at how you slip the first stitch if you knit continental. Take the right needle under the working yarn then insert the right needle into the first stitch purlwise.

Slip the stitch off onto the right needle, then take the right needle under the working yarn so that you're ready to knit the next stitch (I struggled to take a photo that showed this clearly but I show how to do it on the Periscope tutorial).

Let's briefly talk about what to do if you're slipping stitches in the middle of a row. Whether you slip the stitch purlwise or knitwise depends on why you're slipping it. 

If you're just simply moving the stitch from one needle to the other, as in wrap and turn short rows, slip stitch patterns and slip stitch colourwork, you slip the stitch purlwise.

Slipping a stitch knitwise in the middle of a row will twist it. If you're slipping a stitch as part of a decrease, you will normally slip it knitwise, unless otherwise stated.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. Make sure you watch the Periscope video for more information.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Introducing Periscope

Have you discovered the new social media app, Periscope? I came across Periscope last autumn and decided to jump right in. I'd been thinking about doing regular You Tube chats but I had some reservations, mainly time related as editing and uploading You Tube videos is time consuming.

So when I came across Periscope it seemed like the perfect solution. So what is Periscope? It's an app which allows anyone to broadcast live to their followers. Doing a live broadcast is called 'a scope'. To watch people's broadcasts you need either the Periscope app on your smart phone or tablet (it may not be available on older devices) or you can watch on the Periscope website. 

Broadcasts can be watched live or on replay. Periscope are developing a new service that will save broadcasts. You used to only be able to watch a replay for 24 hours but that's changing.

I did a few scopes last autumn but then my tablet died and I bought a new tablet but the Periscope app didn't work as well on my new tablet. 

However, I've now got a new mobile phone and this morning I did a Periscope broadcast on my new phone and it worked perfectly.
This morning I shared a look through my new design journal. You can watch my broadcast here.

I'm planning to start scoping 2-3 times a week. I will do Periscope tutorials on Mondays to go with Monday Mini Tip. If you can join me live, then you can ask me questions about the techniques I'm sharing. 

I'll also talk about new designs, what's on my needles, new yarns and other knitting related things I'm discovering. There may be a few planner and stationery related topics as that's another area of interest for me. I may try to do a few 'out and about' scopes from Cornwall and when I'm travelling.

I'll also do scopes specifically dedicated to you asking me questions. 

I'm aiming to keep my scopes short - max 15-20 minutes. I'll probably mainly be scoping between 3 and 4pm UK time. As the evenings get lighter I may try a few evening scopes. It's hard to get a time that suits everyone. I like to finish working in the office at 4pm so my aim is to scope just before I finish work for the day. Keep an eye on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds where I'll post details of each scope.

I'm definitely not a Periscope expert. I'm still new to this app and I've got a lot to learn. Do you want to join me on this journey? Download the Periscope app on your smart phone or tablet or watch on the Periscope website. My username is @YarnAddictAnni (as it is on Instagram and Twitter too). If you catch me live, do say hello and ask me questions. One of the main aims of scoping for me is to get to know my followers and fellow knitters better.

If you are already active on Periscope and scope regularly, share your username below. If you have any favourite people you follow on Periscope who scope about knitting, sewing, quilting, stationery, planning or small business advice, then do share in the comments below.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday WIP: Knitting In Scotland

Last week Simon turned 50 and his sister gave him flights for the two of us to go and visit her and her husband for a long weekend. We flew up there on Friday and home on Monday. They live on the Moray Firth, near Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. It's a beautiful area and we had a great time. The weather was warm and sunny a lot of the time, although it doesn't look very sunny in the photos below.

Clockwise from top left: Keith to Dufftown Railway (also called the Whiskey Line as it passes several well known distilleries), Sunset at Findhorn, Spey Bay (where we saw a seal in the distance) and the Caledonian Canal.

I took a sock in progress and my Yarn Therapist shawl to work on. I was knitting on the sock in the car on the way to the airport and decided I didn't like it and ripped it back. I had originally done a lacy rib which was going to be too big and I'm now doing a garter rib instead. I'm a bit further than the photo below. I'm probably at approx the same place I was when I ripped it back.

I did lots of knitting on my Yarn Therapist shawl and I've just started casting off this morning. I can't wait to block it later as the shape is a bit of an experiment. I'd hoped it would have been slightly bigger though.

Before we left for Scotland, I worked hard to finish my Lang poncho (which will probably become part of the Lace Wear Volume One Collection) before we left but I didn't manage it. I only had 24 rows of lace and 8 rows of garter stitch left to do which I did yesterday and the poncho is blocking right now. I'm so excited about how this has turned out and it took me about 10 days (of knitting) to finish it. Pretty good considering I used 200g of 4ply (fngering weight) yarn.

I didn't do any major shopping in Scotland. I didn't even look up yarn shops to visit as the trip was Simon's birthday present and I knew he wanted to spend time with his sister. We live opposite ends of the country so they don't see each other that often.

But I bought too little tins at a market stall in Inverness and two zipped woven pouches by Amy Britton. I got those at the airport and they're beautiful. I'm using the smallest one to keep my on the go phone charger and headphones safe in my bag.

Having finished two projects since I came back, I'm rearing to cast on for something new although I do have some deadlines coming up and yarn for my book arriving soon. I've got an idea for a design which I can't get out of my head so last night I went through my sock yarn (fingering weight) stash and pulled out a few pretty skeins.

Top left is La Bien Aimee and top right is Malabrigo (the two skeins on the sides are the same colourway) but I'm worried the two darker skeins will be too dark and the bottom picture is two skeins of Kettle Yarn Co and the one on the right is Juno Fibre Arts which is currently not trading.

I'm really keen on the La Bien Aimee yarn but I'm thinking the yellow is too bright. I'm wondering about using the green Malabrigo instead. Decisions, decisions!

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Friday, May 06, 2016

The Knitter & Knit Today

This week, I've got two new designs to share with you. Last week two magazines popped in to my letter box. First up is The Knitter issue 97 which is full of pretty lace designs and I love the fair isle sweater on the cover.

My contribution to this issue is a lace weight sweater, Fugue, with a lacy hem and lace at the neck. It's simple, elegant and classic. A lot of knitters are put off knitting with lace weight yarn, thinking it'll take too long but for this design you will be using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles which aren't too thin. You also get a lot of yarn in each skein which means that the smallest size (XS) only requires two 100g skeins. Size S and M needs 3 skeins and sizes L and XL needs 4 skeins. Finer yarns are much better value for money than thicker yarns.

Fugue is worked in the round to the under arm where front and back are split and worked flat to the shoulders. The shoulders are joined by working a three needle cast off and stitches are picked up around the armhole for the sleeves which are worked in the round from the top down with short row shaping for the sleeve caps. Once you've finished the knitting, you just have to weave in the ends and block it! No more finishing! 

I've also got a design in Knit Today 125 and sadly, this is the final issue of Knit Today. Which is such a shame because the magazine has improved so much under the current editor, Rosee Woodland. 

My contribution is a simple lacy scarf, Fade Out, which is worked in one skein of Knitpicks Chroma Fingering. This scarf is perfect for knitters new to lace knitting or more experienced knitters looking for a quick one skein pattern. The pattern has both chart and written instructions.

Both magazines are in the shops in the UK now!

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