Thank you for visiting my blog. If you have a question about a pattern or any other query, please e-mail me on I'm not able to answer patterns questions via blog comments.

You may also find my tutorials helpful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Workshop Focus: Would you like to learn lace knitting?

When you think of lace knitting, what goes through your mind? Shawls? Tricky? Making mistakes? Worrying about unpicking if you do make a mistake? Lace knitting is easier than it looks. I always feel slightly guilty when I say that, because if you're struggling to get to grips with lace knitting or you're knitting a lace pattern and you're finding it hard, hearing that it's easier than it looks may not make you very happy. But with the right help you to get you started, it really is easier than it looks.

The key to lace knitting for most knitters is to learn to read charts and to learn to read your knitting. Most knitters can learn to read charts if they're taught how and if they practice. But our brains work differently and some knitters just don't get on with charts no matter how hard they try and that's fine. Learning to read your knitting, however, takes more work and a lot of practice. Look at what happens when you work various stitches and you will gradually learn to read your knitting.

The best way to learn to knit lace is in a workshop. Next week I'm teaching my Easy Lace Knitting workshop at Spin a Yarn and there are still spaces available. In my class we start with the basics. Through practice I show you how to work the most common stitches used in lace knitting as well as how to read charts, fix simple mistakes and we talk about shawl shapes. In the afternoon, you actually get to cast on for a shawl. I bring a few patterns for small shawls for you to choose from and I help you get started and show you any other techniques needed in the pattern.

For a lot of knitters lace knitting means shawls and although shawls are incredibly popular, many knitters prefer to knit garments. In my lace knitting classes we do start a shawl during the afternoon but the skills you learn will also apply to knitting lace garments. 

My goal is to give you the confidence to tackle a lace pattern on your own and to gradually grow your confidence to tackle more complicated patterns. 

On 30th April, I'm teaching my first workshop, Beaded Lace Knitting, at Truro Wool in Truro, Cornwall. I'm so excited about this as I've wanted to teach more classes in Cornwall (which is where I live). Although in this class we will focus on beaded lace knitting, this class is suitable for knitters who're just interested in regular lace knitting too. I'll show you three ways of adding beads to your knitting which you can use in regular knitting or in lace knitting. I will also teach you how to read lace charts, fix simple mistakes and work the most common stitches used in lace knitting. 

Whether you're new to lace knitting or if you've already done some lace knitting, you will still learn a lot from this class. In the afternoon we'll cast on for a beaded lace shawl. I'll bring a selection of small shawl patterns for you to choose from. You can book your space at the Beaded Lace Knitting Workshop at Truro Wool by contacting the shop.

Carol said this after attending one of my lace classes: Thank you for your workshop yesterday. I had a very enjoyable day after a scary start when I realised that not only did everyone else know what they were doing but most of them were wearing their previous projects! Thank you for your patience and I can now work out what some of the other patterns are going on about now, (which had previously had me baffled by the second row!). 

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial & a new pattern - Carnival

I'm so excited to release Carnival. Today's pattern release also includes a Monday Mini Tip Tutorial. Carnival has a unique shape. Double yarn overs are used to create a triangular shape to start with before the shape changes (scroll down to the bottom of this post for a blocking photo) which creates a very wearable shawl which wraps around your neck easily.

Sometimes you see a fun, colourful, variegated skein of yarn which you just have to have! But what do you knit with it? Carnival is a fun shawlette with an interesting shape and an easy lace pattern which is perfect for that skein of fun, variegated yarn. 

This version of Carnival was knitted by one of my wonderful sample knitters, Liz, in Zauberball 100 2305 and takes just one ball.

I originally designed and knitted this shawl last summer. I bought a skein of Botany Lace as an impulse buy while I was teaching at Spin A Yarn. I fell in love with the colour but it's hard to find a pattern for multi-coloured yarn so I decided to design a shawl which had an easy lace pattern and an interesting shape.

I think Carnival works really well in both the multi-coloured Botany Lace and the self-striping Zauberball 100. I love both these colourways. Carnival takes just one 100g/400m skein. I had about 10g of yarn left but my sample knitter only had a tiny amount of yarn left. The dramatic loopy edging is made up of six yarn overs. If you're worried about running out of yarn, do four yarn overs instead. There's a note in the pattern about it.

Carnival is shaped by working double yarn over increases at three 'spines'. In today's Mini Tip Tutorial video I show you how to use double yarn overs to create this shape. I did have a bit of a technical issue with my phone while I was filming it, so the last bit where I talk about the loopy edging was filmed later than the rest.

You can also watch the video here.

If you've signed up to my YarnAddict Newsletter, do look out for your 30% discount. If you're not a subscriber, you'll automatically get 20% discount when you purchase the pattern. The discount will be added automatically at the check out. You can buy the pattern here.

So all you have to do now is to choose which yarn to knit it in

Below is a blocking photo of Carnival. I do have a free How to Block course coming up. I'm hoping to launch it in April/May and it will include a video of how I blocked Carnival. Below is a blocking photo.

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. 

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns

Subscribe to the YarnAddict News

Friday, March 17, 2017

Does fear hold you back?

A couple of days ago I posted a long pep talk on Instagram but I think the message is so important I thought I'd talk about it here too. One of the things I see the most in my workshops is that lack of confidence and fear of making mistakes hold people back. I'm sure this is true in other areas of our lives too and not just knitting and I know fear and lack of confidence has held me back in the past.

Does fear hold you back? Do you worry about knitting something in case you make a mistake? Have you asked yourself why you're worried? Do you avoid taking a workshop you want to take just in case you're not good enough? Do you worry that everyone else in the class will be a better knitter than you?

I have a very good friend who although she isn't a very experienced knitter, she's way more capable than she thinks. She doesn't worry about knitting something that looks challenging but any decisions regarding her knitting she asks me first. Almost every time we meet she asks me to remind her of techniques she'll need for her current knitting project. I know she can do it but she doesn't trust herself to do it or she doesn't think she can remember how to do it. Lack of confidence is holding her back in her knitting life but also in other parts of her life.

Don't let fear hold you back. What's the worst that can happen? You cast on for something that you struggle with or you make a big mistake. What's the worst thing that can happen? You just rip it out & re-knit it or knit something else.

If you love knitting, re-knitting something won't matter as you get to do something you enjoy.

If you want to knit something but feel you don't have the skills, try it. You may surprise yourself. Take a pattern one row at a time. Don't get overwhelmed by the task ahead. I know experts say that you should read the pattern and make sure you understand what you need to do and yes, there is some truth to that but sometimes reading the pattern before we cast on, makes us panic and worry we can't do it. There may be a technique coming up that you're unsure about. 

Often, a knitting technique or instruction that doesn't make sense on paper will become clearer if you just try it. Get your knitting out and just follow the pattern and see if it works. If it doesn't, rip it out, ask for advice or look up the technique online or in a reference book and try again.

Would you like to take a knitting workshop but you worry that it'll be too difficult for you? You worry that everyone else will be a better and faster knitter than you? They're probably not but if they are so what? You're all there to learn. 

Some of the feedback I get regularly from the knitters in my workshops is that I'm very good at catering to all abilities and I make sure everyone is working at their own pace and level and benefit from the workshop. My classes can be quite intense. I do pack them with lots of learning. I want you to go away feeling like you've learnt something but I also want to give you the confidence to knit what you want to knit. 

Carol came to my Shetland Lace Knitting class at Purlescence in January. I can't remember if she had done any lace knitting before. Everybody else in the class had done some lace knitting and some of them had done quite a bit of lace knitting. After the class Carol saidThank you for your workshop yesterday. I had a very enjoyable day after a scary start when I realised that not only did everyone else know what they were doing but most of them were wearing their previous projects! Thank you for your patience and I can now work out what some of the other patterns are going on about now, ( which had previously had me baffled by the second row!). 

Knitting should be fun and relaxing. You may want your knitting to challenge you at times so you feel you've really achieved something but you may just want your knitting to help you relax after a busy day at work or looking after the family. Whatever your reason for knitting is, you should enjoy it! I know there are always times when we get bored with a project but have to finish it because we're knitting it for someone else or we want to wear what we're knitting. Sometimes you just have to power through and get it done but if your knitting doesn't give you pleasure, re-evaluate what you knit.

A few of the ladies in my Top Down Raglan Sweater workshop at Spin A Yarn on Tuesday e-mailed me with some feedback. As it's a brand new class, I told them I'd like their feedback so I can improve the class or fine-tune it if needed. So far I've had lots of very positive feedback. You can read more about the Top Down Raglan Sweater workshop in this Workshop Focus blogpost.

One of the ladies in Tuesday's class, Sue, brought her teddy, Tinkerbell, who she's had since she was a little girl. Tinkerbell was once very fluffy but has lost her fur over the years so need a sweater to keep her warm. It turned out that the sample we made in class was a perfect fit for Tinkerbell. Sue finished the sweater when she got home and added a little knitted skirt to turn it into a dress. Doesn't Tinkerbell look cute? 

Karen, who's been to several of my classes and who travels from the Midlands to come to classes at Spin A Yarn, said: Thank you very much for all the skill and effort which you put into preparing your workshops. I enjoyed the top-down sweater day, and will certainly try to put it all into practice.  It's fun to think about these things from a completely different perspective, and I can understand the advantages to starting at the top.  Now i must go and work out all the numbers and start knitting!

Gail said: I really enjoyed the workshop on Tuesday and learnt a great deal. You explained things very clearly. Until I apply what I learnt including the formulas I don't know what I don't know. I am a confident knitter and I found the class a good pace for me and your explanations clear.

I'm teaching the Top Down Raglan Workshop at La Mercerie in Cowbridge, near Cardiff on Sunday and at Purlescence in April (I'm also teaching Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl the same weekend). After my last weekend of workshops at Purlescence in January, I got feedback from some of the ladies. A few of them came to my workshops on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Lucie said:  just wanted to say thank you for the workshops at Purlesence last weekend. I really enjoyed them, and learnt a lot - I've already started a pair of fair isle gloves!

Franziska has been to several of my workshops in Devon said: thank you for another great class. I always learn so much more than I expect going in. In particular your talking me through what the different increases and decreases are supposed to look like and learning to read the pattern I am knitting, rather than just the description and chart, was amazingly helpful.

Have you been thinking about taking a knitting workshop? All my workshops up to July are now on my website, I've got a fully booked autumn schedule too and I'll get that up soon.

New pattern coming on Monday together with a tutorial. Sign up to the Newsletter to get 30% discount next week.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Workshop Focus - Top Down Raglan Sweater

Knitting sweaters from the top down is becoming increasingly popular. The easiest way to knit a sweater from the top down is to do a raglan or circular yoke construction. One of my new classes this year is the Top Down Raglan Sweater workshop and I taught it for the first time yesterday at Spin A Yarn.

My aim with this class is for you to be comfortable with how to knit a basic raglan sweater from the top down. You will practice 

  • how to work in the round on magic loop
  • how to shape the back neck by working German Short Rows
  • how to do the raglan yoke shaping
  • how to divide for the sleeves and lower body
  • how to shape the sleeves
We'll also go through how to work out your own size and you'll get a worksheet as well as a spreadsheet (which I'll send to you by e-mail if you want it). This class is suitable for knitters who are confident in basic knitting skills and willing to try new techniques.

It's always interesting to teach a class for the first time. It's hard to know exactly how much we'll get done and exactly which level to pitch it at. Because I've taught at Spin A Yarn for so many years, there's always a few in every class that have been to my workshops before but it's always great to see new ladies and I wish there were more men in my classes. It's been years since I had a man in one of my classes.

Sue was one of the ladies in yesterday's class and she's taken other classes with me in the past and she told me I was the best knitting teacher she'd taken a class with and that I'd given her the confidence to knit a fabulous, sweater/poncho with a fairly complicated cable pattern. I didn't teach her how to knit cables but I helped her believe she could do it and to give it a go. That made me so happy! I love it when knitters tell me that my classes gave them the confidence to knit something they've been nervous about before. That's the aim with my workshops and patterns! I want to give you the confidence to knit what you want to knit!

On Sunday, I'm teaching the Top Down Raglan Sweater workshop at La Mercerie in Cowbridge, South Wales and in April I'm teaching both Top Down Raglan Sweater and Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl at Purlescence near Newbury, Berkshire (just off the M4). Contact the shops if you're interested in any of those workshops.

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekend Bonanza

This weekend only I'm offering 40% off any pattern or pattern collection in my Ravelry Pattern Shop. Use the discount code: bonanza. This is valid until midnight UK Sunday 12 March 2017. You can use the discount as many times as you wish and please feel free to share it with your friends.

I'm also running a giveawy on Instagram this weekend. Look for the photo above in my Instagram profile. Read the rules and re-post the photo according to the rules and you can win the Zauberball, Laceball and beads in the bottom left hand corner.

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen me working on this shawl over the last two weeks. It was getting really big and I was really enjoying it.

I've had a slight nagging doubt that the short rows were wrong but I waited until I was about to start the final third before I mock-blocked it (stretched it out dry, and on the needles) to see how it was looking. Basically it curves the wrong way which won't work with the edging. Also the top edging wasn't working as I'd hoped.

So on Monday I ripped it back and it was back to this. Because I cut the yarn every time I changed between the greys and pink, I've got lots of little balls so now I've got to try to choose the right size balls for each section. I'm making a few other small changes to the pattern too as I am re-knitting it anyway it made sense.

This is where I'm back to now. So far all good. I'm getting close to the first short rows so hopefully this time they'll work better. I've also changed the edging to stripes instead of the dark grey as I that way it'll use the same amount of both greys. I'm also making it slightly narrower at the widest. so I can make it a tiny bit longer. There's a lot of knitting ahead of me. I'd hoped to release this pattern at the end of March but it won't be till April now.

A lot of design is trial and error and sometimes things don't work out as I thought they would. If I'd swatched this properly with the short rows so basically knitted a mini version I would have known it wouldn't have worked. Lesson learnt .... although I'll probably make the same mistake again some day in the future. At least I'm enjoying knitting this so don't mind knitting it all again.

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns

Monday, March 06, 2017

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial - Neat Colour Changes

Do you love knitting stripey shawls but don't like how your edges look when you change colour? In today's tutorial I'll show you how I change colour when I knit stripes.

I usually slip the first stitch of every row when I knit shawls, and you can see how I do it here. The main rule to remember when slipping stitches is if you're working in garter stitch, slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front, then take the yarn between the needles to the back if you're knitting the next stitch (or doing Norwegian purl).

I always do two or three stitches in garter stitch at the edges in my shawls and scarves. So the first and last two or three stitches are in garter stitch.

When I started designing stripey shawls, I was looking for a way to join in a new colour that looked as neat as slipping the first stitch of each row.  

Fenella is the shawl I use to show how this technique looks in the video.

Here's how I join in a new colour. In this example I'm changing colours every right side row. The wrong side row before I change colour, I knit/purl to the last stitch, slip the last stitch purlwise with the yarn in front. Turn so you're ready to work the right side row. On the right side row, just knit the first stitch with the new colour. You may wish to leave the first stitch slightly looser so that it'll stretch as much as your fabric needs to. Just give your fabric a stretch then carry on working the right side row.

When I was filming the video, the postman arrived halfway through filming so when I start demonstrating the actual technique, it was a separate video and the transition isn't that smooth.

You can also watch this video here.

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. 

Would you like weekly news from the YarnAddict Studio
as well as exclusive subscriber offers like 30% off new patterns