Author Archives: carol

I-Cord Love

When I design there are a few techniques that I return to over and over again; one is short rows and the other one is I-Cord edging. I think by now most people know how much I love Short Rows but I often don’t sing the praises of I-Cord edging! Several years ago I did a few I-Cord video tutorials however at the time my camera only recorded in very low res. This prompted me to redo the videos over the last few days and as a bonus I’ve added one more on I-Cord buttonholes.
For such a simple idea I-Cord edging creates a flexible and very polished, professional finish for knits. At it’s most basic you can use I-Cord on it’s own to create cords that can be used as ties or braided. You can see it used in a braid in the pattern Dalchini.

A basic I-Cord loop can also be used to create a bottonhole, just work the cord and sew it on! It is however going to only be useful for larger buttons as the loop won’t be small enough for little ones.

You can see how to work a basic I-Cord in my video tutorial here.
Now that you’ve got the basics of what an I-Cord is it’s time to move on to the really useful techniques; I-Cord bind-off and applied I-Cord.
You can see the I-Cord Edging used around the neck here for Nishibi.

When worked as and edging, you are working the I-Cord along the edge of the work while at the same time decreasing the stitches in your work. It just means that the last stitch of the I-Cord is worked with the next stitch of your bind off.
Take a look at it in action in this video here.

The final I-Cord technique that I’ve done a video for is the I-Cord buttonhole. This is actually a combination of the previous 2, as you are working an applied I-Cord you create I-Cord loops that act as buttonholes. You can watch the video here.
I’ve used these I-Cord buttonholes on my newest KAL, Sugarcane Cardigan. The front Garter Stitch cardigan edging is finished using and I-Cord edging and the integrated buttonholes are worked along the bind-off.

Now that you fully understand how special and wonderful I-Cords are come join me to celebrate them! I’ve put a full collection of my I-Cord patterns here. If you use code ICORDMAGIC you’ll get 20% off all the patterns until the 2nd of May. Go enjoy!

What’s on the Needles

Spritz Stripes
When I’m working at knitting shows I love wearing my handknits. There is however a slight problem; it’s usually really HOT! My solution is wearing handknit garments that are lightweight and airy.

For the last few years I’ve worn Spritz Stripes for every show. It’s the perfect sweater for over a light tank top and gives you just the right amount of warmth. The version I’ve been wearing is knit in Madelintosh Tosh Light which is a heavy fingering weight yarn. I wanted to knit a brand new version in my Nua yarn. However Nua is a sport weight yarn so the gauge won’t be the same.

I did a gauge swatch and found that I got 14 sts instead of 16 sts per 4″ in the lace pattern. Fortunately the row gauge seems to be the same which will make calculations just a little easier! When I’m done I’ll do a new version of the pattern in the new gauge. As an added bonus it’ll mean that it knits up that much faster!

Ravi Junior


A few months ago I knit a new version of Ravi Junior in Angry Monkey. The beautiful model is Evin’s little boy (photos by Evin also).

This sample took just over 2 skeins of yarn and it makes such a cute baby gift!

Nadia’s Akoya

Nadia has been busy knitting up a version of Akoya in Nua (Bare Necessities). She’s just getting started with it but I think even with the ribbing it is going to be so lovely in this natural colour!

Secret Nua


Well as the title says – this is a secret knit… I’m really happy with how the collar turned out so I’ll just give you a small peek of that.

Santa Rosa Plum Colour Choices

Last summer Santa Rosa Plum was the spring KAL. The cardigan for the KAL was knit in a custom gradient from Blue Moon Fiber Arts but there were a few single colour versions that were just beautiful (you can see all of them here). The gauge for this cardigan is the same as for Nua yarn so I want to get a sample knit in Nua. However I keep swinging between doing a single colour and putting a Nua gradient together. What do you think? Here is a potential colour choice.

Sugarcane KAL
The yarn shipment for the Sugarcane Cardigan KAL is on it’s way to me right now so I should be able to start shipping the preorders out by the end of the week! Are you joining in? Still lots of time to get your yarn order in.
The discussion is starting already on the ravelry group here and I’ve put a little video together discussing choices for finishing the collar.

My Brand New Shop & KAL

Did anyone notice that I have a brand new online shop? This something I’ve been thinking about and planning for most of the last year. I wanted a way to simplify the purchase process for knitters once I had physical products so that both physical and digital can all be done in a single shopping cart. The system we’ve put in place does this and we’ve got the extra special bonus of being able to add your pattern into your ravelry library after checkout!

As well as having a single shopping cart I also wanted the patterns to be more searchable. With this system I’ve just tagged every pattern with it’s attributes so you can search using all sorts of different criteria. For instance if you just want dk weight patterns – find them here.

Do you want just cables? Take a look here.

As a designer and knitter this makes me inexplicably happy. It’s almost like rediscovering all my patterns anew, remembering lost treasures.

As a way of christening the new shop I’m starting a brand new Spring KAL; Sugarcane Cardigan. This is set-up like my previous KALs, with the pattern initially going on pre-sale while you gather your yarn and start swatching. Then each clue is released every 2 weeks with support on the ravelry board here. The only difference now is that you can choose to buy the pattern either on my shop or through ravelry and I’ve got the option to preorder yarn for a cardigan kit.

So a little bit about the cardigan; it’s a top down raglan with a gentle v-neck shaping. The lace at the back is initially a 2 row simple repeat until the bottom of the yoke and then it becomes a full lace pattern. The waist shaping is worked at the back between the lace panels but I’ve given a modification to move the shaping to the side. The sleeves are given in both 3/4 sleeve (as pictured) and long sleeve options. The front collar is pictured as a shawl collar with I-cord edging and integrated buttonholes. I’ve got a few more option as well; a narrow collar with an open front or omitting buttonholes and using a Jul or shawl pin closure. Lots of fun stuff to discuss on the forums so come on and join in!

Save

Save

My trip to Cologne

This year I made the trip to Cologne for the H+H Cologne trade show. This is a huge handcraft and hobby show that is probably the largest in the world. There is a wide variety of stands; haberdashery, buttons, fabric, but the biggest number of stands were yarn. There were 4 different halls on multiple levels so it was really, really easy to lose your orientation!

The weekend for me was so much fun for me; both personally and from a business perspective. Trips to trade shows are a lovely way of making connections as well as getting a feel for what’s happening in the wider knitting world. Conversations can be slower and the atmosphere is less frantic than a retail show.

Here is a little photo review of the weekend I spent at the show. Much of the weekend was spent on the Chester Wool stand with my Nua yarn where I had a little display, although I did get a wander around the show also. You might notice the 3 versions of Ravi Junior that look just wonderful in different shades of Nua yarn!

I spent much of my free time over the weekend with Woolly Wormhead who makes a great travel companion! We were both pretty excited to arrive in Cologne for the first time.

We were amazed at the size of the cathedral……

 

At the show there was a crocheted teepee:

A knitted cheese counter:

And new to me yarn from Cowgirlblues:And of course it wouldn’t have been a weekend away without a glass of wine to finish things off!

Cologne I do hope I see you again next year.

Save

The Secret Power of being an Introvert

Ever since I can remember I’ve been aware that I’m quiet. As a teenager my friend’s mother said that Carol is quiet but not shy – if she’s got something to say she’ll go ahead and say it. This phrase really stuck with me, it acknowledged who I was without it sounding like a negative. Anyone who lives in western culture is aware that being an extrovert is seen as a good thing. Reserved, soft spoken and quieter qualities are usually treated as something that need to be corrected. I’ve always had an issue with this. I don’t think your personality type should ever put unnecessary boundaries around you but it’s important to accept that certain activities will just come easier for some people.

Last weekend I was traveling to Cologne for the big H+H trade show and I started reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. It was recommended by several people to me but it took me a few years to get around to actually buying the book! I haven’t finished it yet but it confirmed a lot of beliefs I already had.

The job as a designer I choose to do involves for 90% of the time creative work alone. I spend intense hours thinking, planning, writing and knitting. As an introvert (with definite extroverted tendencies on the side!!) I love this time. I can dig into my brain and find an inner peace that allows me to create and articulate what’s going on in my head. Obviously my job doesn’t just involve working at home; I also teach classes and attend many shows both retail and trade. I also enjoy these parts of the job but find them much harder work. As a child, I took many drama and public speaking classes and I learned how speak in public and create a persona (or side of myself) that feels very comfortable standing up and speaking in public.

For designers that are more extroverted I suspect that the balance of the jobs they choose to do is reversed; with more time spent teaching and doing shows than at home with alone work. Neither of these choices are wrong but knowing who you are, your own natural abilities and tendencies is very helpful. It’s always important to stretch your comfort zones but denying your basic makeup is really just fooling yourself! It gets pretty tiring to play at being an extrovert for too long :-) I’m pretty happy with where I’m at, I’ve no desire to be other than I am so please extroverts of the world don’t feel like you need to change and ‘fix’ me!

Have you found your inner peace with your personality type?

Save

Save

Tribeca Tunic

Copyright Harper Point Photography

This is Tribeca Tunic my latest published pattern for knit.wear Spring/Summer 2017. Sometimes designs go through a few changes before they reach their final end form. I often find that I fall in love with a stitch pattern but it takes a few sketches and swatches before it finally settles on what it’s going to become.
When I began swatching this stitch pattern originally I tried it out on a much heavier yarn. One benefit of testing on thicker yarn is that you can get a nice big swatch very quickly!

 
Swatch

When the idea went ahead it had changed to a much finer, light sport weight yarn, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport.

You can see how dramatically different the stitch pattern looks in the lighter yarn. It was however ideal for the final sweater, the lighter yarn gave great drape to the tunic which meant that even though it is oversize it flows very naturally on the body.

This top is knit in the round from the bottom up. It’s oversized so you rely on the drape of the fabric to create flow and shape. At the armhole the front and back of the sweater are separated and worked separately. At the shoulder short rows are used to create a slope and then they are joined with a 3-needle bind-off.  You can see the shoulders are drop shoulders and create a relaxed garment shape.

When the body is finished stitches are picked up around the neck and a deep cowl neck is worked. If you want an open neck instead just finish off here with a narrow edging.

The sleeves are picked up from around the armholes and worked down in the round. I’ve opted to leave them as 3/4 length but it would again be an easy change to make them longer, just try it on as you go and add any decreases necessary!

At the moment I find myself drawn to looser, more flowing tops with lots of drape. Do you have a favourite garment shape that you like to wear?

Save

Win some Nua!

I want to have a little giveaway for anyone who has bought Nua Collection Volume 1 (digital or print) or any of the individual patterns; Dangle, Boherboy, Ravi Nua or Finglas. If you have already bought any of these I’ll enter you into a giveaway for 2 skeins of Nua yarn (in your choice of colour) and a project bag.

If you don’t have the Nua Collection Volume 1 yet then go ahead and use code Nua20 for either print or digital to get 20% off the price. This will be valid until the end of March. All knitters who have purchased before the end of March will be entered into the draw for the yarn and bag. I’ll pick the winner on the 4th of April when I come back from Germany.

2 Skeins of yarn are just perfect for either a pair of Finglas mitts or a single colour Boherboy. We’ve had a sudden cold snap of weather here in Ireland. Yesterday it looked like spring with primroses and magnolia trees blooming then today it’s dropped down to freezing with threats of snow! I think the weather might just push me to knit my own version of Finglas mitts although my colour of choice will be Frog on the Wall I think.

What colour will you pick?

Coming to EYF with me

I’m coming in to the last few days preparing for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. My bags are ‘nearly’ packed and I don’t think I can squeeze much more in! I’ve got banners, yarn, bags, plastic stands and a table cloth to hide it all under!
I’ve just put my physical shop here on hold. Once I come back it will be opened again on Monday 13th of March. At that time I’ll also add up any bags and kits that come home from Edinburgh with me.

If you’re coming to the festival here’s a little preview of will be coming with me.

First up there will be lots and lots of Nua yarn….

I’ll also have a big stack of Nua Collection Volume 1 with me.

Both Finglas and Boherboy have been printed so I’ll have kits at the show that will have a special organic cotton drawstring project bag, yarn and a printed pattern. Every printed pattern will come with a download code so you get both the print and digital version of the pattern together. (This is the same for all my self-published books).

Just in case you only want the lovely organic cotton project bag I’ll have extra for sale separately as well!

I’ll have all the samples from Knitting With Rainbows at the show for you to play with as well as a big stack of the books!

I’ve got a huge love for well made project bags. A few months ago I asked Sara (Sweensie Crafts) if she could do some special bags for the show and she did an amazing job! These are Japanese Knot bags. They have one handle longer than the other so they can fold over each other and held in place. This means that they are ideal to hang around your wrist to knit while you move and without any velcro or zips there is nothing to snag your yarn. As an extra special bonus the outside of the bags is made from a felted wool blend so they are sturdy and soft. Most of the bags are small size but there are a few medium ones if you’re fast enough to get them!

If you’re coming to the festival please drop by to say hello! I’m looking forward to meeting you all. Let me know if you want a book signed or would like to chat about yarn :-)

See you all soon!

How the Nua Colours Happened

I spent a lot of last year thinking about colours, colour combinations and colour names. I’ve never moved beyond picking up colours from the shelf before so this was heady stuff! When I think about colours I usually find myself putting them into two catagories; the solid basic colours that work with everything and the brighter contrast colours that give a pop of colour.

Here are more neutral and muted Nua shades:

Here are our 4 pops of colour in Nua:

When I was designing the Nua colours I thought about how I’d be using them in designs; often what you want is primary a neutral background shade and then a few brights that complement the neutral and really contrast nicely with it. So it’s all about the interaction between the colours.

What helped a lot with designing the colours is starting with a darker yarn base.

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities


Nua’s Bare Necessities is the natural, undyed colour. You can see that it is definitely not a neutral, white base! What this means is that when all of the colours are dyed over this base they influence the final colour of the yarn. I was actually really happy about this. I like subtle, heathered colours so having this dark undertone felt like my kind of colour.

Hatter's Teal Party

Hatter’s Teal Party


Now take a close look at the yarn. You can see lighter, almost white flecks through it. This is the linen showing through. Linen is a plant fibre rather than animal fibre and it has an influence on how they yarn absorbs the dye. The final dyed yarn really show this, and the linen addition naturally creates a heathered yarn.

Now for the names! I’ve got quite a few questions on where they came from. The yarn naming process is a family affair that happened when we were on holidays last summer. We wanted yarn names that were easy to remember and just a little bit fun! My husband, Joe, loves naming things so he just kept throwing names at me until I’d say, ‘yes! That’s the one.’ So Rolling Bales was from an earlier summer memory with all of the kids hopping across bales and rolling them from side to side. My youngest named the red, his choice was ‘Angry Demon Monkey’ but it got shortened to ‘Angry Monkey’ (he wasn’t impressed!). The light grey reminded me of beautiful grey kittens – so ‘Kitten Fluff’. ‘August Storms’ has got a great mixture of grey, dark blue with a hint of purple that perfectly represent angry rolling thunderstorm clouds on a hot summer day. ‘Mosquito Coast’ is a lovely deep olive green that hits of army green, deep lush foliage and so the name came about by free association. The last few are fairly directly word associations with the colours. Capall is Irish for horse (brown); Frog On The Wall, well frog!; Bare Necessities is the bare undyed colour; and finally Hatter’s Teal Party just because it was fun!

So did any of the yarn names make you giggle?

Welcome to Nua!

CollectionCover

Well it’s almost here….Wednesday 1st of March I’m releasing my Nua yarn on the website and Nua Collection Volume 1.

This new yarn has been a while coming, the design process for a yarn is fairly long with lots of shipping back and forth of samples until the colours are exactly right! I’ll tell you a little more about the colour choices in the next few days but right now I want to introduce the new collection to you. It was very important to me to have patterns ready at the same time as the yarn. I don’t think a yarn can be fully appreciated until you see it knitted up. You can see what the colours look like properly and how the yarn behaves with different stitch types. In the collection I wanted to show a variety of project types so you can see how versatile the yarn is. I’m also working on a cabled cardigan and Nua is behaving very nicely with cables as well :-)

Ravi Nua

Ravi Nua in Rolling Bales

The first project I tried in the new yarn was Ravi. This is one of my favourite patterns and fortunately it uses the same weight yarn :-) When I reknit patterns I find it hard not to tweak them and this time was no different so the updated pattern has become Ravi Nua. I changed the short row type to German as this is fantastic for Garter Stitch. In addition I added a few inches of length. This had the knock on effect of making the cardigan hips need some increases which also meant the short row hem had to be adjusted a little. I love the finished end product and I love what a lovely soft halo Nua develops when it’s used with garter stitch!
IMG_8628
After Ravi I wanted to try out the yarn on a smaller project so Finglas was the next pattern. I’ve developed quite a love of biased knitting, just by adding increases and decreases you completely change the direction of the knitting. This means that with these mitts working a biased panel on the front and back creates a sloped edge on the top and the bottom. My youngest son wants to keep these so badly, he even insisted on modelling them :-)
IMG_8496

Next up is a cosy wrap, Dangle. This is an extra long wrap that can easily double up as an oversized scarf. The chevron garter stitch pattern really shows off the interplay of the different colours together. Drop stitch rows of Angry Money (red!) are peppered throughout the wrap to add pops of colour.

IMG_8854

Finally we have Boherboy, a textured cowl that comes in 2 versions; a single colour version that has just knit/purl stitches and a 3 colour version that alternates colours with the knit and purl.

IMG_8824

Boherboy

Boherboy

The soft, bouncy nature of the yarn makes it really perfect for stranded colourwork. I think my next collection is going to have a bit of colourwork going on!

What pattern and colour do you think you’ll try out first?

Save

Save

Save