Author Archives: carol

Nua-Shades

Let me tell you a Secret

I’ve been hinting about this for a few months but the time has come to share, I’m doing a brand new yarn, Nua! I’ve spent the last year planning the yarn and colours with Fyberspates and last weekend I went to Birmingham to launch the yarn to shops. So if you want to see it in your local yarn shop tell them to get in contact with Fyberspates.
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If you want to get your hands on the yarn I’ll have a small amount of it up for sale on Wednesday 1st of March here on my website. But the following week (10th and 11th March, 2017) I’ll be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival with as much yarn as I can bring :-)….plus I’ll have kits and the Nua Collection Volume 1.

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities


So now that you know how to get the yarn I want to tell you a little bit about it. It’s a non-superwash yarn (I prefer this for garments) in a sport weight with 50g skeins. I love this weight of yarn as it’s useful for so many things; garments aren’t too heavy but it still doesn’t take forever to knit and it’s light enough that colourwork looks really good in it. By keeping the skeins smaller it’s much easier to combine colours without ending up with too much leftovers.
The fibre blend of the yarn is 60% merino, 20% yak and 20% linen and it’s spun in south America. The addition of linen and yak create a very unique yarn. Yak is very, very soft and linen as a plant fibre adds some durability. These two additions to the fibre blend also have some very nice side effects. Yak is a darker fibre (the colour, Bare Necessities shown above is the undyed colour) which means that the whole colour palette of the yarn becomes more muted and subtle. Linen fibre absorbs dye differently which means that the lighter specks of linen show through the yarn which creates a natural tweed effect. My friend Evin described the yarn as ‘sophisticated yet rustic’ which I think sums it up nicely.
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Some of you may recognise Ravi above. This is one of 4 patterns in the Nua Collection Volume 1 that will be released next Wednesday at the same time as the yarn. It is a redesigned version of Ravi (Ravi Nua) as I’ve changed the short rows to German, added extra length and due to the extra length added some increases at the bottom of the hip. If you’ve previously purchased Ravi (on my website or Ravelry) you’ll get €3.00 off either Ravi Nua or Nua Collection Volume 1 (digital version only).
Over the coming days I’ll reveal details of the new patterns coming Wednesday. For anyone curious about names the yarn name NUA means ‘new’ in Irish so it seemed like a very appropriate name!
So does this sound like a yarn you’d like to knit with?
Rolling Bales

Rolling Bales

The Art of Simple

Today we’ve got a lovely treat on the blog, a guest post from my friend Woolly Wormhead (and I’ve got a matching blog post up on her blog today as well!)

Circled #2

A few weeks ago Carol and I were chatting about the idea of doing a blog post swap, which seems such a good idea, considering our shared interests in engineering and construction. After chatting through a few ideas, we settled on refinement and simplicity, something we’ve often talked about before.

Muratura

In my former life as an art teacher, I taught design to exam students, and one of the important discussions that used to come up time and time again was the need to refine. To reduce. To know what to take out. One of the key things I remember from my foundation course was exactly this – it’s a mantra within design school that gets passed down.

Putting that into practice though isn’t necessarily a conscious thing – it’s something that progresses; refinement develops with experience. Even knowing what I do and teaching what I did, I’m still evolving and developing, and that’s always a good thing.

Dancette

It’s too easy to over-design. To get excited and put everything into something. There’s also another aspect that crops up from time to time – the idea that a complicated design is cleverer. That by making something challenging, it’s a better design. From my experience I think it’s something a lot those new to design are faced with, yet all it serves is to, well, complicate things.

Armley Beanie

‘Simple’ gets a bad press sometimes. But it’s not the same as basic. Simple is refined. It’s considered. It’s thoughtful. It says that it can stand alone by itself and stand tall. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; it too can be pretty challenging, both in it’s design process, and in it’s execution. A simple knit design can look easy yet have taken an awful lot of work to make it so. A simple knit design can look complicated, but the designer has cleverly worked out how to make it easy to make.

Tucked

Knowing what to take it really is the key, and having a theme helps greatly. Having been designing for variegated yarns for a while and thoroughly enjoying the process, many of my recent designs have become yet more refined. Something as simple as a line can take on a new meaning when that’s all the design is about; taking the rest of the stuff out allows that element to take the stage.

Rosalind

Designing is a never ending journey; ideas follow through and develop and we follow tangents – that’s the joy of being able to design for ourselves. Pattern writing continually develops and changes as styles change, but also as we grow. We learn, we develop, we explore and we refine. It’s a continual journey, and by embracing the art of the simple, we allow ourselves that much more creative freedom.

Thank you so much Woolly for sharing your thoughts, definitely something to strive for!

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New pattern before EYF 2017!

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Last year at Edinburgh Yarn Festival I picked up enough Wollmeise DK yarn for a sweater. As you can see the choice was overwhelming and I spent an awful lot of time trying to decide on colours! It was a colour combination I just loved but it took me until the end of 2016 before I got an opening to knit it! I know I’m not alone in this but I’m delighted that I used it up before the 2017 EYF begins. This was my first time working with this yarn and I loved the deep, saturated colours. As it’s a superwash yarn that has a very high twist it feels tight and dry running through your fingers and doesn’t have a lot of spring. I thought a cardigan that allowed the colours to shine with garter and stockinette would be best as high twist yarns have fantastic stitch definition with simple stitches.

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Welcome to Slateford!
This top down raglan has a few little interesting details. At the top of the shoulder and on each sleeve top there is a little triangle of garter. It’s easy to knit but gives it just a little accent. Also, at the top of the raglan the sleeves aren’t initially increased. This creates a slight saddle shoulder look and makes the front of the neck sit higher.
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As you work down the body I introduced a second colour (I had a single skein of this colour that I couldn’t resist!). I love the effect of gradually increasing one colour while you decrease the second one. It looks good and is flattering to wear a darker colour on the lower half.

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Do you have any stash that you bought in last year’s festival (either EYF or another one) that you want to use before the year is out?

Side-to-Side Seamless Construction

The next type of construction I want to look at is side-to-side garment construction. This method is a little bit different and can be confusing the first time you try it. It is however an awful lot of fun to work!

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This method starts the cardigan along one edge of the front, works all the way around the body and finishes at the other side of body. There are many more ways of creating side-to-side garments but this is the method we’ll look at here.

You can see an example of this type of construction in the last individual pattern to be released from Dovestone Hills, Capitoline.
(Remember just a few weeks left to use that 15% off coupon HAPPYDOVES for ALL individual Dovestone Hills patterns or the digital book).
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So how does this type of construction work?
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First Front
The key is to think sideways and do all your shaping with short rows! You start along the front edge of one side of the cardigan. Now you work short row ‘wedges’ that repeat all around the neck. The reason for this is so that the top of your neck is smaller than the bottom of the yoke; you want less rows at the neck than lower down.

First Sleeve
Once you have reached the side of the body you put the body stitches on hold. Now you cast on stitches for the sleeve that are added on to the yoke stitches. You work your sleeve from side-to-side but the whole time you also keep doing the yoke short row wedges so you neck will be shaped correctly. When you’re finished you cast off the sleeve stitches. You can of course also use a provisional cast on and then at the end graft both sides of the sleeve together to keep it totally seamless.

Underarm
Once the sleeve is finished you work the body for a little bit without the yoke. This will create an underarm area that can be attached to the bottom of the sleeve for a better fit.

Back
When the underarm is finished you join the yoke and body together and work all the way across the back exactly the same as for the front.

Second Side
The second side is completed exactly the same as the front, working the second sleeve, underarm area and second front of the cardigan. You end by binding off all of the stitches along the front edge.

Extra Shaping
The cardigan construction I’ve described here is a very basic shape. You can however use short rows to modify it for a bit more sophistication!
To create an a-line swing you can work short row triangles along the bottom edge so that the bottom hem is wider than the bust. You can do these either at the front and back or at either side.
The sleeves as worked are straight, but to create a narrower cuff you work short rows with less rows at the cuff so that it’s smaller.


Variations

Yoke only

ravi-yoke

In the cardigan, Ravi, I use a variation on this construction type. I’ve worked the yoke only from side to side and then from that I picked up stitches for the body and sleeves that are worked down from the yoke. With this type of construction it is very easy to see what you’re trying to achieve with the short rows in the yoke!



Side-to-Side Skills Needed: Short Rows
As you can see, the key skill needed for this type of construction is short rows. I often use garter stitch as it really looks great worked vertically! My favorite method of short rows in Garter is German Short Rows. You can see a small tutorial on that here.

Examples

Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011

Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011

Ravi

Ravi

Capitoline

Capitoline

It has been so much fun discussing the construction techniques of The Dovestone Hills Collection! Which has been your favourite? I
f you are looking for more tutorials you can find them on my YouTube channel here or drop me a comment below if there is a technique you would like to see more of on the blog.

Seamless Saddle Shoulder Construction

Basics

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Saddle shoulder construction at its most basic involves 2 saddles (strips of fabric) at the top of each shoulder that continue on to the sleeves. The body is connected at the front and the back to these saddles.
Obviously saddle shoulder sweaters can be constructed in pieces with the saddle continued from the top of the sleeve and then the front and back seamed on to the saddle at each side. However my preference (as always!) is to construct saddles seamlessly.

Top Down

Viminal

Viminal

Here’s a breakdown of the different steps that you’ll need to work your top down saddle shoulder sweater. This method creates a very polished finish and is fantastic for combining 2 colours. This is the method I uses for Viminal.

…remember you can still get 15% off any of the Dovestone Hills Individual patterns or digital book until the 14th of February if you use code HAPPYDOVES this includes Viminal!

Saddles

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To create top-down saddle shoulders you start by working ‘strips’ of knitting for each saddle. These start at the side of the neck and end at the edge of the shoulder. When they’re finished you put those stitches on waste yarn or holders and they will form the top of the sleeve caps.

Back

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Now we will work on the back and pick up stitches. If you lay the 2 saddles flat you can see how you pick up the stitches; first from the left shoulder, next you cast on neck stitches and then finally pick up stitches from the right shoulder.

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After stitches are picked up we work short rows on each side so that the neck edge is higher than the outer edges. This is to create a shoulder slope as our shoulders are naturally sloped not flat.

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Once that is complete you just work straight down until you reach the point where you want to increase stitches at the underarm. You increase slowly first and then more rapidly to create a nicely curved underarm. These stitches are then held until later.

Front
This is worked in a similar way to the back but you will need to include neck shaping as well. For a sweater you’ll shape the neck with increases and a cast-on but for a cardigan you’ll never join the two sides of the front.

Body
When the back and front are complete to the underarm you will join each side by casting on stitches at the underarm area. From there you work the body straight down to the bottom of the sweater, adding any shaping you might like.

Sleeves
When the body has been complete you go back to work the sleeves. You’ve got live stitches held at the top from the saddle stitches. If you put those on a needle and pick up stitches from each side you’re ready to go. The saddle stitches will form the centre of the top of the sleeve cap and you then work short rows back and forth, adding one extra stitch every time you turn. When the sleeve cap has reached the underarm stitches you join it in the round and work your sleeve all the way down to your cuff, decreasing as you need.

Bottom Up
The bottom up saddle shoulder construction I’ve used before are a little more complex than top-down. Elizabeth Zimmermann created a very interesting method that I used for my Woodburne Cardigan.

Woodburn Cardigan

Woodburne Cardigan

This method involves using a series of alternating decreases for the body and sleeves until you reach the saddle. Then each saddle is worked back and forth, one at a time, using short rows to decrease the stitches at each side of the saddle and create the saddle shoulder. If you’ve every created a standard sock heel where you work back and forth, decreasing on each turn it is a very similar method.

Tips
Picking Up Stitches
There are a few skills you’ll need to master in order to create top down saddle shoulder sweaters. The first is picking up stitches so that the ‘seam’ at each side of your saddle is neat and attractive. You can find a tutorial on that here.

Short Rows
The second skill that’s important for this construction is short rows. These are used in 2 places; the shoulder slopes and the set-in sleeve cap shaping. To create a well-fitted sloped shoulder you work short rows at the front and back of the body after you pick up stitches from the saddles. The second place is at the set-in sleeve cap. Short rows are used to create the curve so the sleeve cap fits the top of your arm correctly. You can use any type of short row you wish. Typically I’ve used standard wrap & turn short rows but leave the ‘wrap’ in place to form a seamline. More recently I’ve been experimenting with German Short Rows and I love how they work! For a full primer on short rows you can take a look at my Craftsy Essential Short Row class here (this is a 50% off coupon, valid for 3 months). For some basic short row tutorials just check out my website here.

Examples

Whistle Stop is a saddle shoulder cardigan that uses a slightly different construction, the saddle is much wider at the top so one half goes all the way across the back behind the neck. This cardigan was started with a provisional cast-on at the centre of the neck so that both sides could be knit towards the shoulders.

Whistle Stop

Whistle Stop

Knockmore is a bottom up sweater that uses the same construction technique as Woodburne Cardigan above.

Knockmore

Knockmore

Have you tried a saddle shoulder construction before? I think its a really fun technique to try out!

Kindness and Honesty

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Well this morning was going to be the next post in my seamless tutorial series but I just have to speak up. As a business owner, woman, mother and human being I’m waking up every morning almost afraid to turn on my phone or computer to see what’s happened overnight in the US. It feels a little like the entire world has been turned upside down right now and has ceased to make any sense.
In theory, sitting cosily here in the south of Ireland, I shouldn’t be impacted by this. BUT you know the world is a very, very small place AND all other 5 members of my family hold duel citizenship with the US. But apart for that, you can’t just stand by while the world crumbles around your ears. I am not political but this is no longer about politics, this is just about being human and wanting a better world.
I felt so proud to be a knitter on Saturday watching all those woman and Pussyhats marching. We will not stand by. We have strength. We will not say that this is ok. Its time for people to make noise and be heard. I have spent the last 19 years trying to drive home basic good behaviours in my children and I expect that at the very least from world leaders. I can’t ignore bad behaviour as a human being in this world any less than I can ignore it in my children.

Love, Kindness & Respect
This is the basis of everything. If you respect and show kindness to other human beings, animals and the world we live in, the rest follows. We all have different backgrounds, viewpoints and perspectives but we need to listen. We need to be tolerant. If you start with kindness and respect the rest will follow.

Equality
Often people think that equality means that everything, for everyone, should be exactly the same. One favourite parenting theories I heard years ago that stuck is “equality does not mean that you give the same to every child you give every child what they need”. This might mean that your 3 year old needs to go to bed at 8 o’clock and your 10 year old goes to bed an hour later. You are giving each of them what then need, it is fair but it is not the same.
For me as a woman equality for me means that I get to pick how I live my life and respected for that choice whatever that may be. The same goes for the rest of the world. I opted to have children but that was my choice. It is not better or worse than the decision not to have children but it was the choice I made.
Having small children was quite frankly the hardest work I have ever done. I thought I had severe depression but in fact it was just chronic sleep deprivation (having a fourth child who doesn’t do longer than 2 hours of sleep for 18 months from illness will do that to you). You don’t get to hand them back or take much of a break. And the whole time you’re trying to figure out if you’re doing it right. The idea that mothering work isn’t valued because you aren’t handed a pay check at the end of the day is insane. Having mothers and caregivers who instil the values we want to see in our future society in our children is invaluable.

Honesty & Truth
Sometimes it’s hard to be honest. It isn’t always easy to tell the truth but it’s important. You cannot make informed decisions on half-truths and lies. Just because a fact is inconvenient or hard to deal with doesn’t change that it is a fact. If you don’t like a fact you don’t get to censor it, you deal with it, debate it, figure out a solution to it and compromise if you need to. You don’t get to delete it.

After that brief interlude it’ll be back to business with the next tutorial later this week. I love what I do and my business but sometimes the personal just won’t take a backseat!

Top Down Raglan Construction

Dovestone Knits
In August 2015 I released the book, Dovestone Hills, that coincided with the release of baa ram ewe’s Dovestone DK yarn. Up until now these patterns have only been available as part of the book but over the coming weeks I’ll be releasing the individual patterns one at a time!
Until the 14th of February if you use code HAPPYDOVES you’ll get 15% off any of the Dovestone individual patterns or off the digital book.
As an extra special bonus from baa ram ewe you’ll also get a discount code for 10% off their Dovestone DK yarn for the same time period. That code will be available when you purchase the patterns or digital book.

So watch out for all the patterns, there will be a new one added ever couple of days!

(And the code works for all of them…..)

Top Down Raglan Construction
This seemed a perfect opportunity to talk a bit about different types of seamless construction as there are 4 different seamless methods used in Dovestone Hills. The first that I want to talk about is top down seamless raglan. This was traditionally the most common method of top down knitting as it’s very easy to knit. It doesn’t always create perfect results but with a little bit of knowledge you can easily adjust patterns to suit your body and taste.

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Caelius is the sweater in Dovestone Hills that uses this shoulder construction method. It starts with a cowl neck, uses short rows to shape the back of the neck and then uses raglan increases on either side of a decorative seam. This decorative seam continues down into the a-line body and forms the focus of interest for the sweater.

Top Down Raglan Techniques

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A ‘raglan’ is a shoulder construction where the sleeves come all the way up to the neck. For a raglan to fit correctly you would typically increase/decrease on each side of the body (and at the front and back) and on each side of the sleeve on every right side row or every other round if working in the round. This gives you 8 increases (or decreases).
If you are knitting from the top down the raglan seams are all increases but if you were knitting bottom up the will be decreases.

Increase Types
When you are creating your raglan seam you can use any type of increase that you wish. The most basic would be a kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch), for a bit more refinement you could have a mirrored M1R and M1L and if you were working on a lace cardigan you might opt to use a yo (yarnover) increase as it would fit with the lace.

Adrift uses kfb increases

Vivido used M1L and M1R increases.

You can change the way increases look also by adjusting the number of knit stitches between them. This creates a wider or narrower ‘seam’ along the raglan.
While it looks like Caelius uses yarnovers as the increases it’s actually got a centered decrease with yarnover and then the increases are outside this. The reason for this is so that the pattern can be continued down the body when you no longer need raglan increases.

Rate of Increase
In a traditional raglan you start with neck size you want, increase the body and sleeves every second row or round until you get close to the body stitches you want. The final stitches are then cast-on across the underarm. For some body shapes this works just fine BUT on the smaller and larger end of the spectrum you can have problems. Most body shapes don’t increase the size of their upper arms as fast as the bust size increases. This means that for larger bust sizes using traditional construction the sleeves will be too large.
To correct this I write my patterns with two rates of increases. You start with full raglan increases and then move on to alternating body only rows with full raglan increases so that everything fits right at the bottom of the yoke. If you do a few calculations you can adjust for yourself in the same way to fit a pattern exactly to your body shape.

Short Row Back of Neck

If you work your raglan straight down from the neck you will have the front of the neck the same height as the back. However generally a neckline is more comfortable to wear if the front is a little lower than the back. You can do this by adding short rows across the back of the neck. If you’ve got pattern work near the neck you can even put those short rows lower down the back as well.

Underarm Cast-on

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When you are finished the raglan yoke increases you still need to join the body together. You do this by knitting to the sleeve, using a tapestry needle threaded with waste yarn and slipping all of the sleeve stitches on to the thread (tie it together so you don’t loose the stitches!!)
Now you need to join the underarm. To do this neatly you cast-on the underarm stitches and then join up the back of your body and work on to the other side. Typically patterns suggest a Backwards Loop Cast-On. This is because you can keep working in the same direction with that type of cast-on. However it doesn’t really give the most stable underarm area. I prefer to turn to the wrong side of the work and using a Cable Cast-On which is lovely and firm.

Examples
I’ve designed an awful lot of top down raglan sweaters and cardigans. You can find them on here.
Dusty Road and Santa Rosa Plum are both from last summer and I’m still in love with them both :-)

Santa Rosa Plum

Santa Rosa Plum

Dusty Road

Dusty Road

Do you have a favourite?

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Ridgeback Mountain Giveaway!

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Last summer I designed a hat and cowl set, Ridgeback Mountain Set, for Craftsy. I picked their Highland DK as I really liked the natural brown color and the firm hand. This yarn isn’t soft like merino BUT it feels very comfortable to both knit with and wear and most importantly it will be durable enough to look good for several years.


Both the hat and cowl are knit in the round which has the lovely bonus of all stitches being knit with no purl! The pattern stitches are a subtle 1×1 series of cables. You can knit these directly on the needles without ever needing to grab a cable needle as there are only 2 stitches involved! I love how with just a simple left and right crosses you can create some beautiful textures.

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The hat decreases are all worked into the pattern – you can see that the ‘leaf’ pattern on the crown has the decreases at either edge.

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The cowl is double thickness as it’s knit in the round from side-to-side. This extra thickness gives it great stability so it stands very nicely around the neck. One side of the cowl is stockinette stitch and the other is dense textured stitch. This means that you have a tighter cowl at the back where you want it to tuck inside your coat! When the cowl is finished you undo the provisional cast-on and graft the start and end stitches together for a totally seamless finish.
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Now for the giveaway! Everyone that purchases the pattern for the set in January will be entered into a draw for 3 skeins of the Cloudborn Highland DK yarn that craftsy gave me. Entry is automatic.
I’ll draw the winner on the 1st of February so you can get knitting when the weather is still cold enough to need it!

New Year, plans!

happy-knitting-in-2017Well a new year appears to have started. The beginning of every year is equal parts relaxing and chaotic in our house. The lack of routines makes life much easier as the daily rush is gone. However having so many people around the house (with teens that won’t get up before noon) as well as guests floating in and out adds more than a little chaos!
I think now at this point my head is ready to start planning for the new year. I’ve downloaded all of my year end bank and paypal statements. I’ve added all receipts to the spreadsheet and  I’m ready to tidy up last year and put it away in it’s little box. Once that’s finished my head is ready to indulge in new year planning.

Last Year

KWR COVER

The last 12 months have been busy. I often don’t acknowledge quite how busy unless I go back and review. It looks like I released 37 pattern in total in 2016 (you can take a look at them easily on ravelry here). These included the Irish Yarn Club 2016, a new book (Knitting With Rainbows), 7 patterns with books and magazines, a kit with Craftsy and of course a yarn collaboration with Love Knitting!

ridgeback-hat-and-cowl-kit-1On top of that I had quite a few teaching trips in Ireland and abroad. So it was a busy year for my business but also on a personal level my oldest headed off to college this year as well. Fortunately he was very ready to go and Ireland is small enough that he can visit whenever he needs to!

2017

I don’ t think 2017 will be any quieter than 2016. I’ve already booked tickets for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cologne and Columbus over the next 5 months so I’ll have lots of fun traveling for work to start the year out. I’ve got a stack of knitting that’s ready for photography that I can share with you in the next few months. Irish Yarn Club 2017 is underway with the patterns already started. I have a HUGE surprise that I can reveal by the end of February. I’m terrible at keeping surprises though so I might leave a few hints sneak out before then!  And of course no year is complete without some fun KALs along the way!

At the end of 2016 I did a series of cable tutorials and a blog post on the topic here. In the coming months I wanted to do a set of tutorials on seamless knitting. There are lots of tips and tricks that make seamless knitting much easier that you usually have to learn the hard way so hopefully I can make the learning process a little faster.

What would you like to see?

So I’ve told you as much as I can of 2017 plans. What would you like to see? Is there any special tutorials you’d like covered? Pattern type you’d just love to see? Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re thinking! Happy 2017 to you all!!

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Happy Holidays everyone

beauty
Well it looks like we’re almost at the end of another wonderful year. I’m getting ready for a relaxing few weeks where I can indulge in the things that I love and plan for the coming year. This year we’ve got a quieter Christmas than usual, my parents and sister’s family are in Amsterdam so it’s just our 6 for Christmas day. When you get used to several years of 13 plus for Christmas then 6 feels tiny! It will make for a very restful holiday I think though, which can’t be a bad thing.


Last Christmas I did a giveaway for Aeschne on Christmas day. This felt like such a Christmas sweater that it made the perfect gift.
This year I did the Gingerbread hunt which was a wonderful success. In fact on the final day every one of the codes was used within 5 minutes!! I felt though that I really wanted to give back to you wonderful knitters before the end of the year. At the start of this year, in January, we had a very rough month. Both cars broke down and we had a very sick little puppy who recovered badly when she was neutered. I did a big ‘fix my car’ sale and you guys bailed me out when I was really in need. I’m grateful for the kindness of the extended knitting community in times of need so it seemed like a good time to give a little back.

For the next few weeks I’m planning on knitting, hopefully reading and playing lots of games with the family. We’ve got shelves and shelves of games in our house that never get enough use but at Christmas they come into their own. I hope that stepping back for a few weeks from normal operation mode will allow my brain to dig up a few exciting design ideas! I’ll be checking in online every few days but bigger queries will be dealt with after the holiday season. The coming year is going to be very busy; I’ll be bouncing from Birmingham to Edinburgh, on to Cologne and hitting Columbus by June. There will be fantastic sales, lots of teaching, and a great big surprise that I can share with you within a few months.

What are your Christmas plans? Do you have any holiday traditions in your family that you just love?