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Friday, September 12, 2014

Sitting Knitting's 1st Birthday!

Last year, at Wonderwool Wales, I met Rachel who told me she was planning to open a yarn shop in Sutton Coldfield and she wondered if I'd be interested in teaching once she got up and running. I taught my first workshop at Sitting Knitting earlier this summer and it's a beautiful shop tucked away in a courtyard with a little garden outside.

This weekend, Sitting Knitting celebrate their first birthday. If you live in the Birmingham area, pop in to the shop tomorrow for discounts and cake. One thing that struck me when I was at Sitting Knitting teaching was the lovely community of knitters Rachel has built around her shop. 

Just before we left for Spain Rachel contacted me to ask if I'd like to design a shawl to celebrate the shop's anniversary. She wanted the shawl to be knitted in John Arbon Textile's Knit By Numbers which I love so of course I said yes. While I was in Spain, Nicky knitted up the sample for me and this week we revealed 'Beloved':

'Beloved' is a crescent shawl worked in two skeins of Knit By Numbers which is a soft merino spun in Devon (not all that far from where I live actually). The shawl starts with a very attractive cast on/increase row (more details on that further down). A stocking stitch section is worked while you get used to the shaping. Then it flows into a wide lace section and a scalloped edging.

As you can see from these photos 'Beloved' can be worn as a scarf or as a shawl. The yarn is DK so it knits up fast on 4.5mm and 5mm needles. This will be a great accessory this winter. 'Beloved' is available as a kit from Sitting Knitting. The kit includes the pattern and 2 skeins of Knit by Numbers in a choice of colours. For those who can't get to the shop, Rachel is also offering this kit by mail order with free postage. Contact Rachel through her Facebook page to order.

Last year I came across a blogpost by US designer Corrina Ferguson about a pretty way to start a crescent shawl. After working a long tail cast on, you work double increases in to row 1. I decided to give it a go and it creates a really attractive cast on edge. I used this cast on method for 'Beloved'.

You start with a long tail cast on holding two needles together as seen below (there a lots of video tutorials online for the long tail cast on but here's my favourite from Instead of just casting on onto one needle, you hold two needles together. Be careful that the yarn doesn't go between the two needles. I actually use two needles and the long tail cast on for almost all my knitting.

This is what your stitches look like after casting on. You then pull one needle out and get ready to work row 1. Normally with a long tail cast on the first row is a wrong side row (so it would be row 2 of your pattern) but on this occasion we'll treat row 1 as a right side row.

On row 1 (knit one, yarn over (yarn forward), knit one) into each stitch. This means you're doing a double increase on each stitch and you'll end up with three times as many stitches as you cast on. Here's what it looks like after row 1.

I wondered if using other cast on methods would make a difference so I tried the cable cast on method. I worked a double increase into each stitch then worked a few rows of stocking stitch. Below you can see the bottom swatch is the long tail cast on and the top swatch is the cable cast on. They were worked on the same needles, same yarn, and same number of stitches. I stretched them both as much as I could when I blocked the swatches. The cable cast on is shorter than the long tail cast on edge. Now, in this swatch it's not much but I didn't have that many stitches, it'll make more of a difference with a larger number of stitches.

I've nick-named this method the 'triple cast on' and here's it is used with stocking stitch:

and with a lace pattern:

You can favourite 'Beloved' on Ravelry and link up your projects and order the kit from Sitting Knitting. All you have to do is choose a colour. The pattern is not available separately.

I'd like to congratulate Rachel and Sitting Knitting on their first anniversary. I'll be back at Sitting Knitting in November to teach my Selbu mittens class

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