Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ravi KAL coming to an end…

Ravi prizes

We’re almost at the end of an amazing KAL.  I want to give all the knitters out there a huge thank you for being part of this.  The support you offered each other was wonderful.  Now I want to give something back to you.  I’m going to enter everyone who has put a photo of their finished Ravi up here into a draw.  All photos need be be up by the end of the month and I’ll draw a winner on the 1st of September.  I’ve got a selection of the prizes shown above, there will be a few of my patterns, a copy of Scrumptious Knits, a handful of pretty buttons and very kindly from Blue Moon Fiber a skein of the amazing ‘Worthy – Fingering‘.  This yarn is brand new and is one of the softest most luscious yarns I’ve ever held.  In fact it’s so new that it’s not even up in her online store yet!  I’ll have 3 different prizes for knitters, so the swag shown above will be divided in 3 with first drawn to get first choice, etc.

There are many knitters on the KAL who have never knit a sweater for themselves, and many others who have never finished one!  The support and encouragement kept people going even when it came to the dreaded sleeves!  Hopefully for all of you knitters who are almost at the finish line the added incentive will help you finish the sleeves, weave in the ends and sew on the buttons.  If you don’t like taking photos of yourself just go ahead and photograph it on a hanger, I’d love to see all those finished cardigans in their splendid technicolor glory :-)

Portulaca cardigans in progress

When you put a pattern up for sale (whether it is on your own website or in a magazine) it always feels like a jump into the dark. Even though it’s been test knit and tech edited there is always some part of you that wonders if it is going to make sense to everyone reading it! This is probably why I feel extra happy when I start to see finished knits appearing. Not only does it mean that knitters liked the design enough to spend many weeks working on it but my instructions make enough sense that the can produce a finished piece from it!
This sensation was double with my Craftsy Celtic Cable class.  I had both the pattern and a video class for people to follow.  Would it all make sense to people, and would my meaning translate to video?

Well it would appear that the answer to both is yes :-)  Over the last few weeks finished cardigans in all sizes with different yarns have started appearing and they look just amazing!  I’ve got a few below to show you and admire…

MNKnitter knit with her own handspun!

dextermaine knit from madelinetosh tosh vintage for a sleek look.

parrotpurl knit from Fibranatura Shepherd’s Own.

Running a class like this on Craftsy has been an eye opener for me in terms of how knitters approach a new project.  Based on the questions that I’m asked most frequently there seems to be a few common areas that knitters are running into problems.  Not surprisingly the first most frequent question is in relation to yarn and yarn weight.  After that there are lot of questions on gauge, how to adjust needle size for gauge differences and how to deal with correct stitch gauge but incorrect row gauge.  After these initial question the only other significant one is about the set-up row for the cable stitches and then everyone just seems to be off on a roll and there is little to no questions.  So if you’re intimidated about starting maybe you should take heart in that; it appears that once you get yourself past the first few hurdles the cardigan is fairly smooth sailing :-)

My son’s knitting

Over the last few years 3 of my 4 boys have learned to knit.  The first knit a hat and some swatches, the next knit himself a pullover and half a bag and the third one knit a chicken and started a scarf.

After coming back from summer camp in Dublin my oldest got much admiration for the hat he both knit and dyed with Kool Aid.  Knitting suddenly became desirable again :-)  So this blog post is to share his second ever knit – have to say I’m mighty proud of him!  A big thanks to Woolly Wormhead who’s hat design Aeonium he knit.

He used some Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride I had in my stash for a few years, glad to see it put to good use! He knit it for a friend’s birthday but is sad to be saying goodbye to it now.

Also, on a recent trip to Killarney he brought me a poor injured sheep for my office.


This week I’m excited to have a new design in the Fall 2012 Twist Collective.  It’s always such an honor to be included in their magazine, it’s so well produced and they take so much care with all the little details.

The design I did for this issue is Osage which is a tailored jacket.  You can also find it on Ravelry here.

This jacket has been in my imagination for a long time, I drew the curve of the front edge and collar in a notebook a few years ago.  I knew the shape I wanted but didn’t yet know how to design the shape exactly the way I wanted.  The whole design grew out of that front curve.  This happens to me a lot with design, I won’t have a complete design plan in my head but I will have a basic shape or feel and the rest of the design just falls in place around it.

That curve and collar felt elegant, with a retro feel, so I wanted it to be tailored with a clean shape.  The yarn we used was Briggs & Little Heritage.  This is a real ‘woolly’ wool with a firm dense texture, combining this with a moss stitch pattern created a firm, flat, uncurling fabric that could be moulded to the curves I needed.

Due to the style I wanted for this jacket I opted to knit it in pieces.  Anyone who knows my work will know that this is pretty unusual for me :-)  It really did fit with the tailored style though, as firm seams would help it hold it’s shape.  I think that it also makes each of the individual curves easier to work as you’re only working on one or two shaping elements at one time.

To preserve the clean lines of the front I wanted it to just fasten with one giant button which would be the central decorative element.  This is a great way to use up that one large special button you’ve got in your stash!  However you do need more than a single fastening to close the front of a jacket so the other snaps or hooks (your preference) are hidden at the top inside.  You could of course also add a second button hole and button if you wished – just because I like a single button look doesn’t mean you will!  So go knit your own tailored Fall jacket and add your own personal twist.

Swifty Goodness

I hate spending money on myself. It appears to be a trait both me and my husband share :-) There is no problem with the kids; classes, instruments, school uniforms, shoes…..not even an issue. But if it’s not 100% necessary (think that new oven in the kitchen!) then we have problems. A swift fell into this category for me, I have a ball winder and with my son we happily wound our yarn cakes. A swift would be nice (so I didn’t have to wait for him to come home from school) but definitely not necessary. Don’t ask me what made me break down (maybe it was the prettiness of this swift!) but last week I went and ordered a sunflower swift.

Now interestingly I haven’t actually wound any yarn yet, the same son who did all the winding for me before appears to have claimed it for his own and is now harassing me for more skeins to wind, I appear to have created a monster.

Now I just need a kick to go replace my computer.  The desktop I’ve got works just fine but it’s very slow and very prone to hanging so I seem to spend a lot of time for it to stop ‘not responding’.  Again it falls into the ‘not necessary’ category but it would make life easier.  (I did at least get a new backup drive…not that I’ve actually used it yet).

So I think I need to be a little less cheap with myself and allow myself great working tools…right?

At the moment I’m busy cooking up a little something with Hedgehog Fibres.  She is the most amazing hand dyer that works within 15 miles of me.  She produces truly amazing colours and if you haven’t tried them yet you should definitely indulge!  So keep an eye out for our special surprise….