Monday, November 23, 2015

A Woolly Kind Of Weekend

After a busy week last week, with a workshop on Friday, I had plans for a relaxing weekend. Due to my pain levels being quite high on Saturday I did very little except knit which meant I got a lot of knitting done.

I finished a deadline shawl which I needed to finish by today. I finished that yesterday morning which meant that I was able to cast on for a much anticipated new design. I've been yearning to knit with one a tweedy yarn lately and chose Fab Funky Fibres Gradient Superwash Merino/Donegal Nep. I'm knitting a shawl that will also double as a shrug and I made good progress on this yesterday morning and during our church service.

We've had a lot of damp, wet, foggy, dark, miserable weather here lately but on Friday the temperatures dipped by several degrees which meant the arrival of sunnier but very cold weather. Sunny, cold weather happens to be my favourite winter weather because you can wrap up warm and still get out to enjoy the sunshine. 

So on Sunday afternoon we decided to make the most of the sunny weather and headed to a local beach to walk our dog. I was wrapped up well in wool - I wore a shop bought wool blend sweater and poncho, hand-knitted shawl (Costa Blanca) and my new hand-knitted handwarmers (pattern coming in a few weeks) and my Celtic & Co sheep skin boots.

After our walk we popped in to the Seaton Beach Cafe. They have an ourdoor undercover seating area with heating where you can shelter from the weather and also bring your dog. We relaxed for a while and I enjoyed a tasty hot chocolate and got a few rounds knitted on my Regia toe up socks.

In the evening, while we watched TV, I decided to focus on finishing a new poncho. I'm knitting in a gradient set from Sweet Georgia Yarns which I got from A Yarn Story in Bath. The hot pink is from Hedgehog Fibres (also from A Yarn Story). I'm knitting this for myself but if I'm happy with it, it will become a pattern in the new year.

I've got another busy week ahead of me and I'm happy I managed to have a relaxing weekend. This week, I'm teaching twice. Tomorrow I'm off to Spin A Yarn for a Toe Up Socks workshop and on Friday I'm teaching my Persephone workshop for the first time, also at Spin A Yarn. (If you can't make it to the workshop you can still buy the Persephone pattern).

All my patterns in my Ravelry Pattern Shop are 3 for the price of 2 until end of November and you can use the coupon code as many times as you wish. The coupon code is: novemberpattern. There's also 10% off everything in my YarnAddict Shop (including signed books - Beaded Lace Knitting) with discount code: novemberyarn. This is also valid until end of November 2015. I've got a little bit more yarn to add, hopefully this afternoon and some Tattysquawk shawl pins to add.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crescent Bay

Catherine who owns Caterpillargreen Yarns is a yarn dyeing genius. As a former indie dyer I know how much hard work dyeing yarn is and dyeing striping yarns is even more work. Caterpillargreen Yarns specialise in yarns that are designed to work with shawls which have rows which gradually get longer. They're specifically dyed to work well for top down triangular shawls with a centre spine and I first used this yarn in my Amalfi shawl.

Crescent Bay shows off the cleverly dyed Caterpillargreen yarn to perfection. Rainbow ombre stripes are separated by grey in a shallow, asymmetrical triangular crescent. Beaded picots add a touch of glamour.

Caterpillargreen Yarns are very sought after and not easy to get hold of. I recommend you sign up to their newsletter so you will get informed of future shop updates. But if you're desperate to knit Crescent Bay and can't get hold of Caterpillargreen yarn, you can of course use one colour for the grey garter stitch sections and another colour or several colours for the coloured lace sections. There are 10 coloured sections in total. It would make this a perfect stash busting project or perhaps a way of using mini skeins offered by various indie dyers. You will need just under 600m in total of sock yarn (4ply/fingering weight yarn).

I used a new type of beads in this shawl. They're called Long Magatama beads and I got them from GJ Beads in Truro. But you can use regular seed beads (size 6) if you prefer. You could even use miracle beads (6mm) which you can buy from most bead shops but I buy mine from Frampton Beads. 

I've worn this shawl quite a lot already this autumn and it is one of my favourites because it wraps around your neck in a really snug way and the yarn has cashmere in it s it's soo soft. Want to knit Crescent Bay? The pattern is 25% off until Wednesday 25 November 2015. No coupon code needed. If you subscribe to my newsletter, check today's newsletter for a bigger discount. If you don't subscribe, you can subscribe here. I have regular offers and you'll be the first to know about new stuff happening!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Busy November

I can't believe we're halfway through November already. This autumn is my busiest ever in terms of workshops. By the end of this year I will have taught 34 workshops this year, 19 of those are from September to December. I have definitely over-booked myself and I must admit this autumn has been a struggle in terms of managing my workload and I am behind on design and admin work. I love teaching and I love my design work but I do also have health problems and 19 workshops in 3 months is definitely too much for me. 

Last weekend I was in Wales. We spent Saturday in Cardiff with Vanessa and on Sunday I headed to La Mercerie in Cowbridge to teach my Rosecraddoc shawl. I had a group of very enthusiastic ladies and we all had a great day.

I am very busy planning 2016 and I'm trying to be sensible and pace myself more carefully. I've got a couple of big projects starting in early 2016 which I'm very excited about but which I can't talk about yet and I've been busy filling up my calendar with workshops. As well as my regular venues I'm adding new ones. If you are a yarn shop owner and you've been thinking about asking me to teach in 2016, please contact me as soon as possible as I will soon be fully booked for 2016. If you would like me to teach near you, why not ask your local yarn shop owner to contact me re workshops or if you are a member of a knitting/spinning group or guild,  ask your leaders to contact me.

I will do a blog post soon about all the classes happening next year. I'm still busy updating my website. But there are still exciting workshops happening this year. If you're interested in any of the contact the individual shop to ask about availability.

This week, on Friday, I'll be at Spin A Yarn to teach my St Aubin's Bay shawl. This is a new class for this autumn and I'm looking forward to teaching this class. St Aubin's Bay was my most popular shawl of autumn 2014 and early 2015. It's a fun stripy shawl with short rows to create the crescent shape. In Friday's class you'll learn everything you need to know to knit the St Aubin's Bay shawl plus you'll get to start your own St Aubin's Bay in the afternoon.

Next week I'll be back at Spin A Yarn twice. On Tuesday I'll teach my always popular Toe Up Socks workshop. This class is based on my Creme Caramel sock pattern. In fact, you'll be given the Creme Caramel pattern to take home with you. In class we'll knit a mini sock.

On Friday next week, I'll be teaching my Persephone shawl at Spin A Yarn. Persephone is another top down crescent shawl which has been very popular. The main feature of Persephone is the giant yarn overs and you'll learn all about knitting those and the shaping of this shawl in the class plus in the afternoon you'll get to start your own Persephone shawl.

The first weekend in December, I'll be at Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield to teach my Christmas Baubles class. This is another new class for this year and I'm also teaching it at Spin A Yarn on 11 December. In this class, you'll learn to knit in the round on double pointed and circular needles (using the magic loop technique), fair isle knitting techniques holding the yarn in both hands, adding beads and you'll get to choose one of my four new Christmas Baubles patterns to knit in class.

My final class this year is on 15 December at Spin A Yarn, I'll be teaching Norwegian Selbu Mittens. This class is perfect, not only if you wish to learn to knit mittens but also if you want to learn fair isle knitting.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Introducing Violetta

Violetta is the third and final new shawl I designed for my Mastering Lace Knitting Retreat last month and I'm delighted to be able to share it with you all. Violetta is worked from the top down with increases creating a half hexagon shape which wraps around your shoulders really nicely.

Violetta’s delicate all over lace pattern is complemented by beads in the wide border and scalloped edging. This airy half hexagon shawl is easy to wear as a shawl or as a scarf and is perfect for showing off a skein of luxury yarn.

I knitted Violetta in Lotus Forest Dew which will be available in the shop when it re-opens, hopefully next week but any lace weight yarn which has 700-800m per 100g skein will be suitable.

Violetta is 25% off until 18 November 2015. No coupon code needed. But if you subscribe to my newsletter, do check yesterday's newsletter first as there's an extra discount for you.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fine Finishing

Last week I sent out my weekly YarnAddict Newsletter with my top finishing tips. Just in case you're not subscribed to my newsletter, I thought I'd share them here today. Not subscribed to my newsletter? Sign up today. I only send it out once a week and I won't share your info with anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time. This week's newsletter, which will be sent out on Thursday will have a subscriber only offer.

1. Think about how you will seam the sweater and other finishing details BEFORE you start knitting. Where you shape can make seaming easier. I always work increases and decreases two stitches in from the edge which leaves a clear channel between the first and second stitch (at the beginning and end of the row) for mattress stitch.

Mattress stitch creates a very neat, even seam and is so easy to do 
when following my step by step how to photo tutorial

2. Do not weave in loose ends until AFTER you've done everything else. Make sure you seam any seams that will need doing, knit any collars, button bands, edgings etc before you weave in loose ends. Any ends that will interfere with seams and picking up stitches are best left till the end.

3. Block/press all sweater pieces before you start seaming them. It'll make fitting the different pieces together much easier.

4. Avoid 'stair step' shoulder shaping and shoulder seams and learn how to work short row shoulder shaping and the three needle cast/bind off. Working short rows to shape the shoulders create a smoother, more even curve and makes seaming the shoulders much easier. Or avoid shoulder seams all together and work a three needle cast/bind off.

German short row shoulders joined using a three needle cast off. 
All taught in this course.

5. Take my Online Finishing School For Hand-Knitters course. 
Enrol by end of November 2015 and pay only $25 (approx £16). On 1 December the price will increase to US $30 (approx £20 depending on exchange rate at time of enrolment).

Learn to pick up stitches for neat button bands and collars.

In my Online Finishing School For Hand-Knitters you will learn
  • shaping tricks which make sewing up quicker and easier
  • how to work short row shoulders (wrap & turn short rows and German short rows) 
  • three needle cast/bind off
  • how to sew up your garment using mattress stitch
  • how to set in sleeve caps
  • how to block and press your garment and weave in ends
  • how to pick up for neck and button bands
  • one row button hole
Diana from Devon came to a in-store Pro Finishing Class and said: Anniken's Finishing Course was brilliant!  Having been a knitter for over 60 years, I wondered if this old dog had any learn new tricks to learn.  Well,  I learnt many new techniques and most importantly how to finish and sew together like a pro.  Sewing totally invisible  seams (even when done in a contrasting colour) was amazing and so easy! Thanks Anniken for imparting so much knowledge on so many aspects of knitting.

Helen J has taken my Online Finishing School for Hand-Knitters and says"Anniken's easy to follow instructions means i can confidently say my finished garments look great. One very happy knitter!"

Enrol by end of November 2015 and pay only $25 (approx £16). On 1 December the price will increase to US $30 (approx £20 depending on exchange rate at time of enrolment).

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Monday, November 09, 2015

Weekend of Knitting

This weekend was mainly about knitting. I arrived back from Norway on Thursday evening and on Friday I was teaching at Social Fabric which is about an hours drive away. I had a small but great class. Needless to say, after a day of travelling (I left my parents house at 9.30am and arrived home in Cornwall at 8pm) and a day of teaching I was completely exhausted and in a lot of pain on Saturday. I'd already planned a quiet weekend and I stuck to my plans.

My first job was to finish off a deadline shawl which I'd hoped to finish on holiday but I had a few rows of the final pattern repeat plus the 10 row edging left to knit (and I had about 350 stitches at the end so they were long rows). I finished the shawl mid-afternoon on Saturday.

I cast no for a pair of fingerless mitts in Regia sock yarn before I left for Norway. This was my insurance knitting project I could work on if I finished my two deadline projects while I was away. I'd cast on and knitted about 6 rounds of rib before I left. Late Saturday afternoon I picked this project up and worked on it all evening and by bedtime I had finished the first mitt.

Yesterday I worked on the second mitt and by the evening they were done. I designed these to go with my new winter coat. I love wearing fingerless mitts in the winter. They keep my hands warm but I can still do things like get money out of my purse, drive (the fingerless nature means I can grip the steering wheel) etc.

I need a new shawl to go with my coat too so I cast on with this gorgeous Countess Ablaze Tia Merino in a colour that matches my coat. I'm using the same lace pattern as I used in the mitts and I will be adding a ball of the Regia sock yarn to this shawl. I made great progress on this yesterday evening. The pattern will be published in due course, hopefully in December but it may be January. I'm trying to make as much progress on this as I can before I get my next deadline knit on the needles later this week. I also have a lot of swatching to do this week. Fortunately this is easy enough to knit on while I'm out and about and watching TV.

I also did a few more rounds on my Regia Arne and Carlos sock in church yesterday. 
The green marker shows my progress.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Introducing Valentina + discount

Valentina is the second new design I created for my Mastering Lace Knitting Retreat. The third one will be published next week.

Valentina is a crescent shape and is worked from the top down. I recommend starting with a Garter Tab but that's not essential. You can just cast on and knit one row before commencing the pattern but a Garter Tab definitely looks better.

Increases along the edges on every other row creates a wide crescent shape. Perfect to wrap around your neck several times. Beads are added for a bit of extra bling.  Valentina is perfect to wear over an evening dress or around your neck as a scarf on a chilly day. Valentina is knitted in 6 Karat which is a merino/silk blend heavy lace yarn with 600m per 100g.  

Valentina is 25% off until 9 November 2015. No coupon code needed.

On Friday I'm teaching a Crescent Shawls workshop at Social Fabric and in that class you'll learn to create this and several other crescent shapes.

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