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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Happy new year to everyone. We're starting the new year with a BIG WINTER SALE. All the yarns currently on the website have been reduced. So if you're feeling cold and are snowed in take a look.

In fact we've got snow today. The whole of the UK have been stuck in a big chill since before Christmas and although it's been very cold and icy here this is the first snow we've had. The girls were out walking the dog at 8.30am and were out for 1.5 hours. Emily came home and went out again with her friends and now it's nearly 2pm and I've not seen her since about 10.30am so I'm sure she's having fun somewhere.

I'm still ill. Have had a dreadful cold since before Christmas. I'm finally starting to feel a little better. But due to the cold we did very little over Christmas and New Year which was a shame as Simon and the girls had 2 weeks off. We did manage one trip to the cinema and shopping last week. Simon and I saw Nativity which was really funny and the girls saw the new animated Christmas Carol in 3D which they loved.

At this time of the year most people do a year review and I've seen some do a review of the last decade. I'm not doing a decade review as my memory is awful and I can't remember what I did in 2001. But one thing I do remember is that the last decade did not get off to a good start for me. I started year 2000 on sick leave after my neck being injured again (the first time was in 1984) in a car accident in October 1999. I had to leave work in the end and was given ill health retirement. At the age of 30 this was all very depressing. Later in 2000 I was diagnosed with Malignant melanoma which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Fortunately mine was minor and I had the mole removed and didn't need any further treatment, just 3 years of check ups 4 times a year. I've never recovered from my neck injury though and I'm still on 3 different types of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and take over 20 tablets a day.

So altough the decade got off to a bad start it got better. Ibecame a Christian in the last decade. I can't remember exactly which year. We'd been attending our local C of E church for a while and I decided to go on an Alpha course. It was a gradual conversion for me. After two alpha courses things just made sense and I gave my life to God. After that things started to change. I re-discovered knitting towards the middle of the decade after a long break. And I've not looked back since.

The last year has been amazing and I've had lots of pattern published in Yarn Forward and Let's Knit. I'll be adding more magazines to that list this year and hopefully I'll be branching out into crochet design.

So here's a review of my favorite published patterns in the last year, in no particular order:

We'll start with the Trinity Shawlette, which I designed for p/hop. P/hop is short for 'pennies per hour of pleasure' and raises money for Medisins sans Frontiers. You download the pattern and donate money (you choose how much) to the fundraising effort. The shawlette is knitted out of one skein of sock yarn, or you can easier make it bigger and use more of your sock yarn. It's easy to substitute other weights of yarn too. The pattern includes 3 stitch patterns and you can mix and match the 3 or use them separately and knit 3 different shawls. Here's my Organic Merino version.
Next up is the Sophia Shawl in Silk Merino Lace published in Yarn Forward back in the summer. I did a Rowan Kidsilk Haze version too (which I knitted with yarn from a Secret Santa swap and yarn swapped on Ravelry). The shawl is triangular with a knitted on border and optional beads. this pattern will be for sale on Ravelry and my website soon.Taliah was my 2nd design for Let's Knit and was published back in the autumn. It's a 'semi ciruclar shawl' consisting of 3 triangles and is knitted in Silky Merino lace.
Another one of my Yarn Forward shawls this year was 'Regatta' which is a rectangular stole with a knitted on border. The main stitch pattern resembles sails and the yarn was Luscious Lace (which is in the sale by the way.) The pattern will be for sale on Ravelry and my website soon.
One of my favorite sweaters was published nearly a year ago and was Louisa, published in Yarn Forward and knitted in a Lang mohair blend yarn. I love this sweater which I'd originally planned as a sleeveless top. It has a big cable running up the front which then divides and continues up both sides of the deep v-neck and cables around the armhole. I was determined to knit myself a sleeveless version of this but I've not had the time.
Here's the modeled shot from the magazine.
Another favorite sweater was published just before Christmas and it's 'Megan' from Let's Knit. Knitted in King Cole Baby Alpaca which is a gorgeous yarn, this is another one I'd love to knit for myself. It's cosy, stylish, warm and trendy and easy to knit. The magazine is probably still in the shops now so hurry up if you want to knit it. And King Cole Baby Alpaca is a very reasonably priced yarn so perfect for beating hte January blues.
The next pattern, the 'Mountain Peaks Set' was published in December too in Yarn Forward. This stitch pattern is such fun to knit and very unusual and challenging. I knitted the scarf and handwarmers ( which come in 3 sizes) in my own Organic Merino which is a gorgeous yarn to knit with and i'm planning to dye more of it tomorrow.
In August, Kal Media who publish Yarn Forward, published The Knitting Collection, a superb collection of patterns. I was lucky to have the 'Golitha Falls' Shawl included. Here is the Supreme Lace (I'll have more of that in stock soon) version knitted by Vanessa. You can buy the pattern from my website and from Ravelry.
Another of my sweaters for Let's Knit las autumn was 'Mel' knitted in Debbie Bliss Fez, which I loved knitting with. It doens't look too exciting on my dress for but modelled in the mag it looked great and is a perfect layering piece for winter.
and now to my first design for Let's Knit, Daniella, which is knitted in one of my favorite commercial yarns, Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. This sweater features a pretty lace pattern and is lovely to knit.
I've designed very few socks this year but I've managed a few pairs. One of my favorite pairs of sock is the Colosseum pair I knitted for Simon when we were in Spain in September. It's quick and easy to knit but doesn't get boring. The yarn is my own Super Merino or Merino Plus. The pattern is for sale on Ravelry and my website.
Another sock design I loved this last year was the celtic cables socks I designed for Let's Knit. I took a celtic cable and translated it into colourwork.
If you're still reading you deserve a reward. Fancy a yarn bargain check out the sale and if you type Big Chill in the discount coupon box you'll get an additional 10% off your purchase. This discount is limited and will last as long as the cold weather last and is exclusive to blog readers so don't forget to use it.
I'm looking forward to a great 2010. I've got lots of exciting plans this year. My workshops at Spin A Yarn is now taking bookings. Contact the shop if you want to book a place. Be quick as they book up fast. I'm hoping to teach workshops at other venues this year too, if you want to book me for your shop or knitting group or knitting even, check out my prospectus here. Workshops can be tailormade to suit any requirements.
I've got plans for 2 books. One I've got several designs ready for now so it's time to start looking for a publisher. I've been saying for months that in the new year I'll look for a publisher and it's now the new year so time to stop putting it off and go for it. It's quite scary though. I've done very little knitting over Christmas because of the dreadful cold and sinusitis I've had and most of my knitting time was spent finishing two magazine designs. I managed to fit in some crochet and started a giant granny square blanket. I'll take some pics for next time.


Piecepatcher said...

What a lovely stroll through your accomplishments!. It would seem that you've turned the bad situation with your accident and job loss into a great new lifestyle. I'm sure there are many many people who are glad you're designing and dying yarns.
Best wishes for your next venture into publishing some books!
God bless's a wonderful thing to use and share the gifts God's given you..thanks

Tama said...

What a year! What a decade! You have accomplished soooooo much! It sounds like things are just getting better and better.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful talents with all of us.

Get well soon!

psalm127 said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. It is amazing how things work out. Do you ever wonder if you would have been designing if you weren't medicaly retired? You have done such amazing work and have inspired me over the years. Thanks

Sarah said...

Happy New Year Anni - what a fab end to the decade and all your plans for 2010 sound such fun :)

Shani said...

reading through your entry - you are quite an inspiration - and what struck home is how we both turned to knitting in a crisis, can't be a coincidence me thinks..

Best wishes and here is to a fabulous 2010, and put mine (and Fibre Monster's) name down for a copy of the book(s).


Joyce across the Pond said...

What a decade it has been for you...may God richly bless you during the next decade. I have been knitting since I was about 7 (now almost 65) and am mesmerized by all the new methods and yarn available....Ravelry is a great site but the American yarns are confusing...I come from an era when you went to a dull(compared to now on line) wool shop, chose a pattern and then the wool and you went home and knitted it...think now the yarn comes first...and there are so so many incredible yarns available. Best Wishes from Northern Ireland.

Ann said...

Happy New Year to you & your family. Your plans for 2010 sounds very exciting & I wish you all the best.