Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Knitter 105 - Candyfloss

Look out for issue 105 of The Knitter as I've got a beautiful shawl, Candyfloss, in this issue.

Candyfloss is a beautiful semi-circle shawl which is knitted in Walk Collection Delicate Merino which has 600m per 100g skein (which makes it a heavy lace weight yarn). It's a gorgeous yarn and this was my first experience with a Walk Collection yarn but hopefully not the last time. Jen knitted the sample for me and she did a great job as always.

This is what The Knitter said: A semicircle is an attractive shape for a shawl, and this pretty design by Anniken Allis is easy to wear and will add warmth and style to your outfit. She has knitted her shawl using a variegated merino wool yarn from German independent dyer Walk Collection; because skeins are handdyed in small batches, each colourway is available in limited numbers.

Look out for The Knitter in the shops in the UK this week. My issue came last week and it's full of gorgeous patterns. I'm looking forward to sitting down to read it properly.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Fabulous Weekend!

 First, I do apologise for not doing a Mini Tip Tutorial today. I just ran out of time to prepare it last week. I was teaching one day and on Friday I travelled to Birmingham. I ended up having to try to fit in a week's worth of work in 2.5 days. 

So let me tell you about my day at Sitting Knitting instead.

I travelled up to Birmingham on Friday morning and got there about lunchtime. Which gave me plenty of time for a bit of shopping. I didn't buy anything exciting, just a few small bits and pieces but I enjoyed it very much. 

In the evening I met up with the lovely Amy, who I designed Forever  (above) for. I hadn't seen Amy's shawl and it was great to see the shawl in real life. It looks even more beautiful than it looks in the photos. Amy chose some beautiful sparkly beads which don't show up in the photos. We were in a dark restaurant so I wasn't able to take photos. Amy is such an inspirational person. She's only been knitting for 3 years and she knitted a beautiful beaded shawl, Forever, for her wedding plus shawls for her bridesmaids - I think there was five - in just a few months. It just proves that knitters don't need years of experience to tackle lace patterns. The confidence to try new things and learn new techniques is more important than years of knitting experience.

Amy gave me the beautiful present (above) as a thank you for designing Forever for her. The project bag which I just love is made by a friend of hers. The beautiful yarn is hand-dyed by Little Yellow Uke and comes with a pretty little stitch marker too. As well as dyeing yarn, Zena also has a podcast which you can watch here. I love the colourway of the yarn. Amy also got me a set of beautiful stitch markers and a stitch marker holder from Yarn & Craft. They have some beautiful things on their website and I'll definitely be exploring their site more. It was so great to see Amy again and we had a lovely evening catching up.

I'm ready for a busy day.  I'm wearing Portofino. Photo taken by Rachel.

On Saturday, I headed to Sitting Knitting for a busy day of chatting to knitters about my patterns and knitting in general. It got very busy in the afternoon.

A couple of knitters brought Gondolas to show me. Kate knitted her Gondola in a DK yarn and used 5mm needles and it resulted in a bigger shawl and it's so beautiful. Zena (aka Little Yellow Uke) kindly modelled the shawl (above). I also loved this purple Gondola (below) and especially the matt lilac beads.

The shop was buzzing in the afternoon and Becky was busy taking photos. She was so discreet, I didn't even notice her taking photos. You can find Becky's Instagram page here. She takes lots of beautiful photos. 

Me chatting to knitters. Photo by Becky.

Photo by Becky.

I brought several samples to show off as well as a selection of patterns. Above and below is Peaceful - there's currently 3 kits left for this shawl. 

Photo by Becky.

Simplicity on the left and Dakota on the right. Photo by Becky.

I did manage to sit down and knit a few rounds on my sock and chat to a few people. I'm knitting with Sitting Knitting's own hand-dyed yarn. Rachel does a range of beautiful colourways.

Photo by Becky.

Below my sock takes a break. 

Photo by Becky.

It's impossible to spend a day in a yarn shop and not buy anything. I didn't have much space in my suitcase but I gave in to temptation and got another skein of Rachel's hand-dyed yarn in a delicate pastel colourway and a pink pom pom. I need to knit a hat before we go to Norway for Christmas. Rachel had a couple of Sockhead hats in the shop and they fitted me perfectly, so I'll be knitting myself one. I am thinking I may use Rachel's hand-dyed yarn but I'm not 100% sure yet.

I had a fab day and always enjoy spending time at Sitting Knitting. Thank you to everyone who popped in to see me. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. If you live in the Birmingham area do pop in to Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield. It's well worth a visit.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Glamorous Shawl in Let's Knit

Issue 113 of Let's Knit is in the shops in the UK now and I've got a shawl/shrug pattern in this issue. Every party needs a bit of glitz and glam and this shawl has both in abundance! It’s wonderfully elegant and would bring knitted grace to any outfit. Choose from wearing it as a regular shawl or fasten the buttons to create a beautiful shrug.

This shawl is knitted in Debonnaire Shimmer Sock and took two skeins. The shawl is easy to make larger or smaller. You can work fewer or more repeats of Chart B but you may need more yarn if you make it bigger.

The shawl has a half hexagon shape and two buttons are fastened to the bottom of the two 'spines'. Fold the front edges of the shawl over and fasten the buttons to a yarn over hole on the front edge and it transforms it into a shrug.

Shimmer Sock was lovely to knit with. It's a beautiful, luxurious sock (4ply) yarn with sparkles. Perfect for the party season. Debonnaire yarns are hand-dyed by the lovely Erica who I've met at lots of shows. She's got a huge range of hand-dyed luxury yarns and I'm so grateful to her for providing the yarn for this design.

Let's Knit issue 113 is in the shops in the UK now.

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Will you join me on Saturday?

This Saturday, I'll be back at Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. 

I'll bring a selection of my patterns, samples and copies of my book, Beaded Lace Knitting. My patterns will actually be cheaper to buy in print at Sitting Knitting than as pdf downloads online. (Pattern downloads have VAT added to the purchase price now so if you buy my patterns online (and live in the UK), you pay around £4.20 but retail price is £3.50).

If you buy my book on Saturday, I'll sign it for you. If you want to be guaranteed to get a copy, do let me know and I'll reserve one for you. Perfect as a Christmas present for yourself or your knitting BFF.

I'll be around all day to help you with choosing patterns and yarns and I'm happy to help with any knitting problems you have. 

There will be cake, drinks and Sitting Knitting's exclusive hand-dyed yarn (which is fabulous). I'll bring my sock WIP I'm knitting using the Sitting Knitting sock yarn as well as my Creme Brulee and Creme Caramel sock patterns which are perfect for knitters new to sock knitting. I'm happy to help you get started on your sock knitting journey.

Sounds like it's going to be a fun day! Bring your Christmas spirit and join me for a fabulous day filled with yarn and knitting.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Peaceful - New pattern & kit

This shawl reminds me of the peace and tranquility of a calm beach with small waves lapping on the shore. Relaxing garter stitch is combined with a bold lace pattern and an interesting shape, for a large shawl which is perfect for keeping you warm on a cold winter’s day. 

Peaceful is 20% off until 7 December 2016. No coupon code needed

Pre-order the Peaceful Kit now! Full price for the yarn and pattern is approx £39.50. Pre-order this kit now for £33.50. Kit includes yarn in the colours seen in the pattern (8 balls in total) as well as the pattern in print and pdf. Knitting needles are not included. Get the details and pre-order here.

The Peaceful shawl is very long but if you prefer a shorter shawl, you can work the edging any time you've completed the lace pattern.

 I used the Tattysquawk Sail shawl pin when Emily modelled Peaceful for me. Tattysquawk shawl pins are available in the YarnAddict Online Shop now!

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial - Fixing Lace Mistakes

We all make mistakes! One of the most important things to learn when you learn to knit is to learn to fix your mistakes and to read your knitting. 

Last week I discovered I had made a mistake in my knitting. I'd missed out two rows of the stitch pattern. It was only the diamond motif in my pattern so it wasn't the complete row, only a few sections. I had a choice: I could either rip back four rows and re-knit it completely or I could just unpick each section and re-knit it. I decided the second option would be quicker and I filmed what I did.

Above is what my knitting looked like with the four rows unravelled and the stitches loose. In the video I show you how to unpick the stitches without dropping the loops like in the above picture and how to re-knit them.

You can also watch the video here.

I do recommend practicing fixing mistakes like this so when it happens and you need to fix a mistake for real, you've got the confidence to try it. Yes, there's a risk you mess up but if you do, you just unravel it all and re-knit it. It's not the end of the world!

Of course if you put regular lifelines in, you've got less to worry about because if you do mess it up, you can just unravel to the lifeline and re-knit. I've put a list of previous tutorials below which includes a tutorial on using lifeines.

I've got lots of tutorials on my Tutorials page, but these may interest you in relation to today's topic:

Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. You can see all the previous Monday Mini Tips and other tutorials on my Tutorials page. 

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Noro Silk Garden Solo

Noro, a Japanese yarn company, is known for rustic texture and fabulous self-striping colourway but they also produce some solid coloursways. Laughing Hens asked if I was interested in trying the new Silk Garden Sock Solo and of course I said yes. Earlier this year I had two designs published using Silk Garden Sock (see below) so I'm familiar with this yarn and I was curious what the solid colours would look like. I love the rich blue colour I've been trying out but the other colours in the range look gorgeous too.

Silk Garden Sock Solo is a rustic yarn with an uneven, slubby texture which I really like but if you prefer smooth, even yarns then this isn't for you. There are a few things you ought to keep in mind when choosing which project to use this yarn for. Although it's called 'Sock' it's thicker than most of the other sock yarns on the market. A 100g ball has 300m (400m is average for sock yarns). This means that it's slightly thicker than most sock yarns.

First, I knitted up a swatch in stocking stitch with a few rows of garter stitch. The texture of this yarn works perfectly with both garter stitch and stocking stitch, creating an interesting, rustic fabric. The yarn has good drape and is a blend of 40% wool 25% silk, 25% polyamide and 10% mohair. It is a single ply yarn and hand wash only. Because of this, I wouldn't personally use it for socks but it's perfect for garments, shawls and other accessories.

I also knitted a simple lace swatch. I used 4mm needles and could probably have used bigger needles to get a more open look to the lace. This yarn is suited for simple lace patterns. Lace patterns that have too much detail will get lost in the texture of the yarn. I designed two shawls in the regular Silk Garden Sock which were published earlier in the year. 

The Assymetric Lace Shawl was published in the Noro Silk Garden: The 20th Anniversary Collection which is a beautiful book. 

I also designed the Hybrid Triangular Shawl for the Noro Sping/Summer 2016, issue 8 magazine. This shawl in particular would look a lot better in the Solo colourways as the solid colours would show the lace off better. The stripes do obscure the lace pattern in the original shawl.

I've really enjoyed knitting with this yarn and I would love to use it in a project. You can purchase the yarn and see all the colourways in the range from Laughing Hens. If you're a Noro fan you'll love these new solid colours and if you're new to Noro, Silk Garden Sock Solo is a good yarn to start with.

Laughing Hens provided the yarn for this review but all the views expressed are my honest opinions and I was not paid to do this review. 

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