Monthly Archives: December 2011

Almost Christmas..

I’m waking every morning at the moment with 3 little voices singing its only ‘x’ days left until Christmas (oldest is way too cool, and involved in exams for this!).  Currently they’re also wondering if there is any possibility of time travel to make the intervening days disappear.  Unfortunately for me, even though I am completely with them on this sentiment, every day closer to Christmas is also a day less towards deadlines :)

My niece will be here after Christmas so I’m hoping to get a second little girl knit finished before she leaves.  Knits for here are really selfish gifts…you can only take it if you let me photograph first!  The first knit I have for her is a version of Ignus Junior in Spud and Chloe sweater.  Its in the Watermelon colour so just right for a girl that is crazy about pink!  The knit I hope to get finished before she leaves is in Madelinetosh Tosh DK.  I’m pretty mad about this colour combination of Citrus and Tern, but these colours are really for me as she only wants pink.  It’ll be a child’s version of Eilonwy but with a swing cardigan that has long sleeves.  It’s a good thing I’ve got such yummy yarns to work with, it makes all the speedy knitting more fun!

Speaking of yarns, I got to try some of Miss Babs yarn this week and she has some seriously delicous colors….have a little peek here to make you jeleous!

Mis babs yarn

Just in case you want a little yarn love yourself, the publisher of my Contemporary Irish Knits Book, Wiley are doing a Christmas giveaway for a sizable batch of Studio Donegal yarn.  You just need to leave a comment by the end of the week here! (Please don’t watch the video, its seriously embarrassing to have to listen to my own voice!!)

KAL winners!

I’ve had so much fun over the last couple of months watching everyone working on projects from Contemporary Irish Knits at the Stolen Stitches group on ravelry.  Thank you everyone for taking part and joining in with us.  The finished projects that have been going up over the last few days are truly wonderful with some amazing photos.  I started with each section having a winner by voting but I added another prize for everyone that has posted their finished photos to the threads to say thank you to you all for being part of it.

The winner of the adult section was maikinchen with a beautiful version of the Straboy hoodie.

The winner of the Children’s section is CelticCastOn with her wonderful Rossbeg.  You may recognize the little girl, her lovely photos are also used in my newest pattern, Igunus Junior!

The final section, Accessories, was won by SmokingHotNeedles for her version of Dangan.

Finally, the bonus prize, drawn at random was won by barbieluvspink.

Your prizes are all winging themselves to you, and now you can all get back to your Christmas knitting!  Somehow I managed to take on enough deadline knitting for the next month or two that I won’t be giving many knitting gifts this Christmas.  I wonder if I can find a sample though to give to my mother, she always appreciates hand knits!


Ignus is the cover photo from my newest booklet Scrumptious Knits.  This booklet is still on pre-order but it’s almost ready.  We’re on the last set of edits and it will be released at the end of the week.  So if you want to take advantage of the reduced pre-order price (and the exclusive bonus pattern Ignus Junior) order quickly!

I had promised you some details about the patterns in the booklet, the first I’ll look at is Ignus.  I’m really happy with how this tunic turned out, it incorporates so many things I love, raglan shoulder shaping, ribbing, just a little cables and a long length.  Over the last year I’ve found myself drawn to longer tops, they are so versatile and flattering to wear with leggings or skinny jeans.  If longer tunic styles isn’t your cup of tea it’s an easy job to shorten this, just omit some of the hip increase rounds, start the ribbing sooner and make it just a couple of inches rather then the depth shown.

Here is a detail of the side cable.  It’s worked into the ribbing pattern and ends just before the bottom of the ribbing.  This cable detail is echoed in the cowl neck sleeve and in the hip ribbing.  The ribbing along the side gives a very flattering fit, it adds a little extra stretch without being clingy.  It’s the same with the sleeves, worked in ribbing it does take a little longer but they fit so nicely it’s worth it!

Here in this detail of the front you can see that it has raglan shoulder shaping.  This is started at the neck and is worked from the top down.  There are a few short rows at the back of the neck to raise it up and the neck is curved to create a good shape.  When the neck shaping is finished you join to work in the round and the rest of the top is worked in the round.  The side shaping is worked on either side of the ribbing as you go so it’s easy to move it up or down to suit your own natural waist.

Finally the cowl neck is worked at the very end.  I love the finishing touch this gives to the tunic.  Until this was added when I was knitting it looked almost naked!  It really needed the extra detail to finish it off.  As with the length of the tunic the length of the cowl is also customizable.  I knit a longer version but just try it on as you go until you get the finish you want.  I’ve got a little secret to tell you about my blocking, I had a bit of a disaster….It got slightly shrunk!!  I ended up stretching the body, cowl and sleeve length back to the original size and it just about worked.  The sleeves ended up a touch shorter than originally but only I’d notice!  It worked really nicely for the cowl, stretching it created really nice drape, so due to my accident I discovered how nice a drape you get in the cowl with extreme blocking!

Get your CIK project up!

Ok, everyone who has been working on a project from Contemporary Irish Knits over the last few months – now is the time to get your project up on the ravelry forum!

You’ve got one more day to do it, get the project up by tomorrow and then on Tuesday voting will start.

For Adult garments post here.

For Children’s garments post here.

For accessories post here.

There are some really beautiful finished pieces up already but I want to see everything up there!!  Then on Tuesday tell everyone you know to come and vote for you, the most loves will win the prices.  We’ll have yarn from Hedgehog Fibres, The Yarn room, Spud & Chloe as well as some pretty stitch markers and other goodies!

How’s that knitting going?

So, we’ve come to the end of the CIK (Contemporary Irish Knits) KAL.  I’ve been watching everyone’s progress over the last few weeks and there are some really gorgeous knits being finished!  Now the time has come to photograph you knits and get it up on my Stolen Stitches group tomorrow to be seen.  Sue is going to put up three different threads; one for adult garments, one for kids garments and one for accessories.  You just need to post your photo, tag it with ‘CIK2011’ and tell everyone about it.  Get your friends voting as the project with the most ‘loves’ will win the prize!

We’ll have a lovely mixture of prizes, which will include yarn, button/stitch marker goodies, patterns and a little surprise.  Remember that you can enter each category for multiple chances to win!

For anyone in the Cork area our wonderful local hand dyer ‘Hedgehog Fibres‘ is having an opening party for her new studio.  I’m really looking forward to this and if anyone local is coming, see you there!  Beata has very kindly donated some hanks of her lovely yarn for one of the KAL prizes so I’ll be picking that up on Saturday as well to send on to the lucky winner!

We took some photos of my original Bakerville hoodie (from Scrumptious Knits) at the same time as the second version.  You might notice some similarities :)  I’m rather fond of this colour grey in cardigans.  In fact if you went through my wardrobe you’d find probably 75% grey for knitwear!  I love grey paired with brighter colours, a bright orange t-shirt with a grey cardigan over it is just a lovely combination.  My first test version of this hoodie was done using some Knit Picks simply cotton sport that I had in my stash.  When I knit a first version I experiment a little with the construction until I get a finished piece that looks good and is as easy to knit as it can be.  After that I got some sportsweight/4-ply Scrumptious Yarn in slate and Dixie knit the sample for the second version of the hoodie.

This hoodie uses one of my favorite construction methods, top down with set in sleeves.  For this you begin with a provisional cast on across the shoulders, work short rows to slope the shoulders and work the back to the armpits (shaping them as you go).  Then the provisional cast-on is undone and the front section is worked just like the back but with the central neck stitches held for later.  At this point the front and back can be joined and worked together in the round.  You can see here how the ribbing is worked down the side of the body with shaping worked at each side of it and a pocket added for good measure.  Note as well that this is the Fyberspates version below, you can see the beautiful shimmer of the silk in the sun.

When the body is finished we begin work on the generously size hood.  This is shaped into a hood by working short row decreases across the top which form lovely seam lines as they are worked.

At the very end you work the front diagonal ribbed panels.  These are worked all the way around until the hood is finished, then the two front panels are worked for a little longer to create a crossover front placket.