Monthly Archives: April 2011

Holiday post

I’m reaching the end of a family holiday in Florida – it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve spent this much time in the sun and while it was just wonderful I also remember why I don’t live here anymore! I’m trying to remember what ordinary life is like and I’m really going to miss swimming every day when I get back home.  I also seem to have mountain loads of work piling up for me so suffering from jet lag won’t be an option.

I just got an email yesterday to let me know that the tickets for Knit Nation in London will be on sale May 1st at 8pm. If there are any class you really, really want to take make sure you get booking early to make sure you get your first choices!
knit nation

On other teaching news…I’m going to be doing a few more classes in Crafty Alley in Killarney.  One will be on Finishing Techniques on the 28th of May and the next one will be Top Down Knitting in September.  I’ll post more details on these classes when I get back home, as well as a little peek at my newest pattern in Kristi Porter’s More Knitting In The Sun.

New Pattern – Zola (plus new format)

I’ve just put up my newest pattern – Zola.

zolaI love the loose, draped feel of this cardigan, just perfect for adding a little extra to an outfit during the spring and summer.  This version was knit using a sports weight linen but it would also work well with cotton or another yarn that has lots of drape which the cardigan needs.  The big draped pockets add a little bit of drama to a low key wearable top.

This pattern will be on special offer price of $5 until the end of the month and from May it will go up to the full price of $5.95.

I’ve done something a little different with this pattern, when you download it you’ll get two pdf options.  One is the starndard pdf in full color with photos and the second version is a print only version that is kept to the bare minimum with only text and schematic.  This means that if you are printing out the pattern you can save yourself some ink and just print the essentials.  If you like this idea let me know and I can start rolling it out across all my patterns.

Look what I found!

Just thought I’d share a little of my excitement – yesterday the boys were looking on Amazon and saw that my book cover had been added…
Contemporary Irish Knits

The exciting part about this of course if that you also get to have a sneak peek of one of the patterns!  This is my lovely cousin Claire modeling a fitted cardigan knit in Kerry Woollen Mills aran yarn (petrol color).  This cardigan (actually it it could probably be called a jacket) uses a variation of one of my favorite themes – ribbed cables.  I just love how you can used ribbing to create some great intertwining cables.  This particular photo was take at Jamesfort, Kinsale (in County Cork) overlooking the bay.  Jamesfort is still in the process of being renovated so it makes a great big open space to run little boys and dogs.  Right across the bay is Charlesfort; this is a very different fort, it is completely renovated and has a small museum inside.  Not so good for running through, but very interesting in its own right!


My newest pattern is now available from the Twist Collective, Trousseau.  This shawl was a pleasure to knit, the lace pattern is quick to memorize and the gorgeous Sundara yarn just flows off the needles.

I love the concept of the ‘Pi’ shawl; working outwards from the central point with increase rows being spaced further and further apart. After the first few increases you have a wonderful large canvas to use for your lace stitches without needing to worry about fitting the increases in! This can make for very relaxing knitting as there is less counting as you work though it to ensure you have worked all of the increases every row correctly.
Now you may have noticed looking at the photos that this shawl isn’t actually a full circle ‘Pi’ shawl, well that’s because it’s a half-Pi shawl! This seems like a much more practical shawl to me. A full circle shawl can only be worn folded in two so half of your hard work never get to be seen. The same concept as a full Pi shawl applies but you just start with half the amount of stitches and work back and forth rather than in circles.
The lace pattern used in this shawl is not overly complex but it creates wonderful diagonals and visual interest across the knitting. You can see how with each increase the direction of the lace diagonal changes and the lace panels increase in size and length with each repeat. This lace is easy enough that it can quickly be memorized and the shawl quickly becomes a very relaxing knit. If fact I think it would make an excellent first shawl for a confident beginner.
We have done something a little unusual with the yarn in this project, usually the larger shawl is knit in the heavier yarn but we have actually shown the smaller sample with the heavier yarn – Sundara Yarns ‘DK Silky Cashmere’ in Raspberry. This nicely size shawlette only take 2 skeins (50g each) of this truly delicious yarn (or 320 yds). Almost all of both skeins were used, I think I just had a few feet of yarn left when I finished. This is one of the most beautiful yarns I’ve knit with in a long time; it is so soft and just glides off the needles effortlessly. The yarn holds the lace pattern while you are knitting also; it stayed open and did not need to be blocked aggressively to open it up.
The second shawl was knit from Sundara Yarns ‘Fingering Silky Merino’ in Caribbean. This shawl was a larger size (knit with lighter weight yarn and smaller needles) and used a little under 1 skein (150g). This yarn behaved very differently and more like a wool based yarn being worked in lace. As you are knitting it pulls in on itself with the lace pattern virtually invisible. However after a good soaking and some aggressive blocking and pinning it opened out beautifully to reveal the hidden pattern. I think that blocking lace often feels a little like a butterfly unfurling itself from its cocoon.
Two sizes and yarn weights are detailed (and knit) in the pattern but this is a very easy pattern to modify. A much smaller shawlette can be knit if you used the lighter yarn and smaller needles (from the larger size) and only worked the smaller size or alternatively a larger version could use the heavier yarn with bigger needles but work it until it is the size of the large shawl. The only thing to bear in mind with these modifications is yarn amounts; I’ve given an estimate in the pattern of how much more or less yarn would be needed for variations in the size but every knitter will vary with the yarn amount they use.