Monday, March 02, 2015

A Weekend In Wales

Before I tell you about our lovely weekend in Wales, I just want to mention that my online Professional Finishing Course for knitters started today. You can still join. Today is 'Introduction and Time Table' and some optional knitting homework (which is designed to help you practice some of the skills taught but if you have a sweater that needs sewing up you don't need to do the knitting homework). Remember, you can watch the lessons which are a combination of videos and pdfs whenever and wherever it suits you. You can watch them on the day they go live or in a years time. You can go back and watch them as often as you like. You get indefinite access. You can sign up here.

We came home last night from a lovely weekend in Wales. On Saturday we left early so we would arrive in Cardiff at lunchtime. After lunch Simon and Emily went to a museum and Vanessa and I headed off to Calon Yarns. I've tried to get there before on my trips to Cardiff but never managed it. I'm so glad we made the effort this time. 

It was their regular Saturday afternoon Knit Club when we got there so we joined in the knitting and chatting and were made to feel very welcome! Of course I had to have a browse through the shop to see what goodies were for sale. The first thing that caught my eye was Kate Davies' 'Yokes'. I've heard lots of good things about this book but I never have time to knit sweaters for myself so didn't think there was much point in buying the book. But the book has some interesting essays and historical info as well as the designs, which are beautiful, so I bought it anyway. 

I also got tempted by some Jamieson & Smith. I'm thinking I may make some more Selbu inspired mittens. I've got a mitten design all charted up and ready to cast on for ...when I have time.

On Sunday, Simon and the girls spent the day in Cardiff while I headed out to Cowbridge to teach at La Mercerie. This is my third visit to La Mercerie in the last year and this time we were doing Toe Up Socks on circular needles (magic loop technique). I had a great group of knitters. Most of whom I'd met before. They all managed to make a teeny tiny mini sock by the end of the day. Here are a few of them.

Hopefully I'll be back at La Mercerie again later this year so if you live in South Wales look out for more classes there. La Mercerie is a lovely shop with a big selection of various yarns. They have an especially excellent selection of the Old Piggery hand-dyed yarns. Last time I was at La Mercerie I bought a project bag made by Sue, owner of the Old Piggery, and this time I got tempted by one of her yarns, Donegal 4ply, which was an exclusive colourway, Turkish Delight. I'm thinking of a small shawl but haven't quite decided yet.

If you fancy learning how to knit Toe Up Socks using the magic loop technique, I'll be at Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham on 22 March.

As if that wasn't enough yarn, today these three beauties arrived from Tanis Fiber Arts in Canada. It got here in less than a week and with no customs charges! I'm already dreaming of what to make with these lovely sock yarn skeins. With all this new yarn I'd better get knitting. I need to finish a few things so I can cast on new things.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Goodies & Knitting

We're back from Unravel and what a fantastic show it was. This was our first Unravel so I was unsure of what to expect but it was great. Sales exceeded expectations, the organisation was great and it was lovely to see so many new and regular customers. I also met lots of people I chat to on social media. Thank you to all of you who stopped by for a chat or to buy.

We sold so much on Friday and Saturday, we had to re-organise things a bit for Sunday so it looked like we were still fully stocked.

On Sunday I managed to have a couple of quick walks around the building to check out the other vendors. There were a couple of people I wanted to say hello to and a couple of stalls I wanted to purchase from. I got 2 skeins of delicious Islington sock yarn from Kettle Yarn Co which will probably become a two colour shawl. I bought the Unravel bag on the first day before the show opened as I love the illustration on the front. Didn't want to miss out. I also picked up a purple leather pencil case from the Farnham Maltings shop and a pretty notions purse from Skein Queen who was right opposite our stall. Talk about staring at temptation all weekend.

One of the things I knew I had to stock up on was Soak and Flatter from Purlescence (I always buy my Soak from them). I always wash my knits in Soak before I block them and with the blocking frenzy before Unravel I had run out. After blocking, I spray the knits lightly with Flatter. I also spray my fabric with Flatter when I'm pressing stuff while sewing.

I also got some buttons from the Textile Garden but forgot to photograph them. I think the little bag of buttons is still in my handbag.

When I got home there was a lovely parcel from the Fringe Supply Co waiting for me. Inside was a wooden needle gauge, 3 little notebooks, skin balm, a Fashionary sketch book (more on that in a later post) and a Fringe Supply Co project bag.

In the car on the way up to Surrey, on the way home (even after it got dark) and in a few quite moments at the show I knitted away on my toe up sock. The yarn is Fab Funky Fibres in a lovely rainbow colourway separated by green stripes. Love, love, love this colourway! I'm over halfway up the leg now. An hour or two of knitting and sock no 1 should be finished.

Want to learn to knit socks from the toe up? I'm teaching my Toe Up Socks class at La Mercerie in South Wales this Sunday (1 March) and at Sitting Knitting in Birmingham on Sunday 22  March.

In this class you'll learn how to knit socks from the toe up on circular needles using the magic loop technique. Perfect if you're not keen on double pointed needles. I'll teach you how to work a closed cast on for the toe, increase for the toe and gusset, work the heel turn and square heel flap and finish off the cuff with a stretchy cast off. At the end of the day, if you're brave enough, you can have a go at knitting two socks at a time. You'll get an adult size sock pattern to take home. Today, I've been working on improving my basic toe up sock pattern to make it a bit more knitter friendly in time for Sunday. 

Will you join me at La Mercerie and Sitting Knitting?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Unravel 2015

We're just finishing day 1 of Unravel in Farnham, Surrey. Its been a busy day. Have met lots of lovely knitters. 

We'll be here on Saturday and Sunday too.  You can find us upstairs in the Barley Room, right in the middle of the room.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you're doing x

Monday, February 16, 2015

The one course every knitter needs

I often get asked 'If I only do one course, which one should I take?' My answer is Professional Finishing Techniques. If you're a sweater knitter it's essential to know the techniques taught in this class to ensure your sweater looks fab. But even if you're not a sweater knitter, the techniques you learn can be applied to other projects.

Should you take an in-person class or an online class? The choice is yours. The advantage of an in-person class is that the teacher is there to see what you're doing and can offer suggestions easier. But with an online class you keep the material indefinitely and can watch the class in your own time and however many times you like. So you can watch the whole course as the lessons go live and then go back and watch individual lessons when you actually need them. You can also ask questions in the class room space. If you need me to look at anything specific then you can post a photo or even a video right there in the online class room space.

I'm teaching Professional Finishing Techniques at Social Fabric on 7 April. At the moment there's only 1 space left on this workshop.

I'm also running the Professional Finishing Techniques as an online course starting 2 March. This course will run for 2 weeks withe lessons going live daily or every other day. If you're busy for the 2 weeks the course is running then you can watch it at a later date. You can watch the lessons wherever or whenever it suits you, whichever time zone you're in. As long as you have the internet and a device (smart phone, tablet, laptop, PC) you're good to go. Lessons are a mixture of videos, pdfs and photo tutorials.

Sign up by Monday 23 February 2015 and pay only US $25 (which is approx £16 depending on exchange rate at time of enrollment). From 24 February the fee will increase to $30 (approx £20 depending on exchange rate at time of enrollment). You can sign up at any time until the course ends.

The sweater above is 'Hither' from Knitscene and is available for purchase.

Here's what a couple of former students said:
Leslie attended my Professional Finishing Techniques at Social Fabric in 2013 and said: "A 'eureka' day with Anniken. So simple and so obvious when you know how!!! My finishing will now be an exact science, rather than 'hit and miss'."

 Helen J has taken my online Professional Finishing Techniques and says: "Anniken's easy to follow instructions means i can confidently say my finished garments look great. One very happy knitter!"

Don't miss out on the early sign up discounted fee and sign up now. See you in class x

Friday, February 13, 2015

Updated patterns

After I finished Caprice recently I decided it would be perfect for Schoppel 6 Karat. So Michelle knitted up a new version for me. I love this silver and black version. It has silver miracle beads. 6 Karat is slightly thinner than the original yarn and it's knitted on slightly smaller needles but it blocks out to the same size. I think that's because of the silk content. I'll have both the Caprice pattern and 6 Karat at Unravel next week. Caprice is part of the Between The Lines collection which you can pre-order at £8 (the price will go up once all the patterns have been released). If you purchase the collection now you will get Caprice & St Aubin's Bay straight away and the other patterns once they are released.

A few of my older patterns are having a make over too. Golitha Falls has had a new sample knitted by Anita. I love this Eggplant Lotus Forest Dew version. I've got to keep it looking good for Unravel next week but I'm so desperate to wear it as it's my favourite colour. Golitha Falls is a light as air, classic top down triangular shawl with an all over lace pattern and a beaded edging. It has both written and charted pattern. The updated pattern has new charts, new layout and improved instructions and it's been freshly tech edited by Karen.

Carmen was one of the first lace shawls I designed and the current version is knitted in YarnAddict Silky Camel 4ply which is a heavenly yarn. Carmen is a classic top down triangle with an easy lace pattern. The new pattern has improved instructions, new charts and new layout. It has also been freshly tech edited by Karen. This is the perfect pattern for new lace knitters or a quick knit for experienced lace knitters.

There are a few more patterns in the process of being improved and some old magazine designs which are being re-knitted and pattern re-written. More news on those in due course.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Irma - £1 off

Irma was first published in The Knitter in 2013 and now it's available from Ravelry. The original version was knitted in beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Jillybean.

For this re-launch I had it knitted up in Lotus Yarns Moon Night. A big thank you to Judy who knitted up the new sample for me.

Irma is named after my grandmother and is a Norwegian name. This shawl is very delicate and fine enough to pull through a wedding ring. It has an airy, light, heirloom quality.

Three different lace patterns are combined with shaping using Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi formula to create a semi circular shawl. The new sample is knitted in Lotus Moon Night which is a blend of lambswool and cashmere. Moon Night has 1200m per 100gr but some colourways come in 50gr balls. This new sample only used a tiny amount from the second 50gr ball so if you wanted a slightly smaller shawl, take out one repeat of Chart C, one 50gr balls should be enough. Or if you want to knit it from a slightly thicker lace yarn, you'll be fine with a yarn that has 700-800m per 100gr.

I'll have this sample and patterns on display at Unravel next week. I'm busy getting a few other old patterns updated and some new patterns ready. If you're not going to Unravel, you can get Irma here. Irma is £1 off until 18 February 2015. No coupon code needed.

Monday, February 09, 2015


Last year I came across Caterpillargreen's beautiful yarn on Instagram and I managed to snag a skein of their beautiful striping shawl yarn in the Fingerpaint colourway. This yarn is designed to work with top  down triangular shawls (with a centre spine) so that each stripe ends up being roughly the same width. There are a combination of wide and thinner stripes. I decided to add a centre lace panel and a lacy edging to my shawl.

Amalfi is worked from the top down, just like a top down triangular shawl, but instead of single 'spine' stitch there's a panel of lace stitches. The shawl ends with a lacy edging.

Of course Amalfi would also look fabulous knitted up in variegated yarn and solid/semisolid yarn. Or why not do a bit of stash busting and create your own stripes with left over sock yarn. You'll need around 600m in total. Many indie dyers now do 150gr/600m skeins.

Amalfi is big, soft, cozy and it kept me warm this morning while I ran some errands. I've got my eye on some more of Caterpillargreen's gorgeous yarn.

Amalfi is £1 off until Sunday 15 February. No coupon code needed. Your discount will be applied automatically.