Winner & new pattern!

Announcing the winner – Whistle Stop – thank you Jennifer, there’s a pattern winging it’s way to you :-)

If you want to get your own copy of the pattern you can find it’s pattern page on my website here or on ravlery here.

It’s time to give you a few details on the construction now. The cardigan begins at the center of the saddle on the back with a provisional cast-on. First you knit the saddle for the right side and hold the edge/sleeve sts and then you go back the the cast-on and work the left saddle out the other way. If you check your skeins at the start you can find 2 that are fairly close together in color and use one of each to work the saddle for each side. This will help give as close a match there as possible.

Now each of the saddles are held to be worked with the sleeves at the end. I marked each of the saddle skeins as right and left and kept them to work the sleeves when the body was finished. That way I could ensure that the color from the saddle would match up when I began the sleeve.

Once the saddle is finished you begin work on the back – stitches are picked up along the saddle and rows are worked (with increases) all the way to the underarm. When this is finished you will do the same for both the right and left front sides. Once they are all complete to the armhole you will join them with underarm stitches and work the whole body together flat. The yarn from the left front will be used to work the full row – but it can be a bit tricky for all 3 sections to be at the same place with the color run!

Dyeshavi on Ravelry:

I wound off some yarn to try color-matching the fronts to the backs. It didn’t quite work, because of the long color repeats and the fronts using less yardage than the back. But I also don’t mind that they’re not an exact match and love that long stretch of acid green on the back.

Groundhog67:

The pattern was such a fun knit and I really liked the construction. The yarn/color I chose turned out a little different from what I expected – less muted, more color variations, and more regularly striped – but worked well with the pattern in the end! Because the yarn had so many different transitioning colors, the only color management I did was continuing the arms with the skeins I had used for the saddles (I had 4 x 100g skeins to be on the safe side – used only about half but from all 4 skeins).Cardigan](http://www.ravelry.com/projects/groundhog67/cardigan)

Naming my new pattern

As I explore gradients further I find myself experimenting with patterns. I’m nearly ready to release the latest gradient pattern….BUT I don’t have a name :-) If you’ve got a name suggestion leave it in the comments and if I pick it you’ll get a free copy of the pattern….even if I land on another name I’ll do a raffle for all the comments.



This pattern uses a gradient yarn that gradates in a series of stripes. The short sleeved version uses Spincycle Dyed in the Wool and the long sleeved version uses Kauni Effectyarn.
Using yarn that runs through a series of colours brings it’s own set of issues and potential pitfalls. When I release the pattern I’ll talk a bit more about the constuction used and how you can juggle your yarn so that you get as much colour continuation as possible. Maybe some of my testers might like to tell you a little bit about their experiences knitting it…
But for now I need a name!


New April patterns

So even though it’s only 11 days into April I’ve already got 2 patterns to share with you :-)

The first pattern, Kompeito, is the April installment of the Irish Yarn Club 2016.

I wanted a bright, speckled yarn from Hedgehog Fibres and she delivered a fantastic yarn with pops of colour. The challenge for me now was to design a pattern that enhanced the yarn.

I decided on a drop stitch pattern as that works really nicely to distribute and break up the colour. I started at one tip, increasing slowly to the back width. Here I’ve included an optional armhole before working the back. There are a few short row wedges worked across the back to give it a little width at the bottom and then the other side is decreased at the end. A few width options are given so it’ll fit a wide range of shoulder widths. If you work the armholes and want to wear it as a shawl/scarf just turn it around and use the opening as a spot to hold the shawl tails!

The next pattern is a tank top, Jessica Tank, from Knit.wear Spring/Summer 2016.

I just love the photos of this top, I think they’re just stunning!

This tank uses a simple cable wave up each side to create a slinky hourglass shape by working waist shaping inside it. The clean lines would make this a great top for workwear under a jacket. The sample is knit in MillaMia merino but if you wanted a lighter weight top you could swap to a cotton or linen yarn for a very different look.

 

 

 

Cloudborn

Recently Craftsy has begun producing their own brand of yarn which has a HUGE range. They sent me a cute little bag with samples of each yarn in the ‘Cloudborn’ yarn range.

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There is a big variety of yarns in this new range, in fact so many that it was initially overwhelming. I have however narrowed it down to a few favourites to get started with :-) The prices are very reasonable so there isn’t a huge cost investment in trying them out.

IMG_4211I don’t know yet what I’m going to knit with the Superwash Merino Bulky but it feels amazing, soft and fat. The double stranded twist in the yarn gives it a very distinctive look and texture. I think this will be a good one for big chunky oversized hats or even a heavy winter jacket/cardigan? It would be a lovely one to knit my free pattern, Iced with. I knit the swatch using 8 mm (US size 11) needles and got a gauge of 10.5 sts and 17 rows per 4″.

IMG_4235Coming down the thickness ladder the next one I tested out is the Highland Worsted. IMG_4213

Again this yarn has got a high twist but it’s not a super soft as the chunky yarn (but it’s not scratchy either, but durable feeling). I think this will be a great yarn for sweaters and larger projects. It’s got a nice bounce and stitch definition that should show cables off really nicely. The swatch was knit with 4 mm (US size 6) needles and I got a gauge of 20 sts and 32 rows per 4″.

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Here we have the Merino Alpaca Sport.

IMG_4216This one wins on softness. I want this one for a cowl or maybe a big oversized scarf or shawl. It feels good next to the skin but I’m always wary of using alpaca in garments, it frequently loves to grow so use it in a project where growth is a good thing rather than a problem (or knit it at a tight gauge to reduce the issue). The swatch was knit with 4 mm (US size 6) needles and I got a gauge of 21 sts and 32 rows per 4″.

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The baby sister of the Highland worsted is the Highland Superwash Twist Sock.

IMG_4219This yarn has got a very visible high twist, which should be really good for durability. Sock yarn is very versatile, it can of course be used for knitting socks but frequently it’s the go-to yarn for shawls both solid color and striped. If you combined one of their solids with a handpainted yarn it would be a great combination for Penrose Tile.

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The swatch was knit with 3.5 mm (US size 4) needles and I got a gauge of 24 sts and 36 rows per 4″.

Over the coming months I’ve got a few more kits coming out with the Cloudborn Yarn, the range is large enough that it may keep me busy for a while!

What yarn do you think you’ll try first?

The links given in this post are affiliate links for Cloudborn Yarns.

Summer Knits

I love knitting for the summer. Light cottons, linen and silk yarn with openwork patterns that let the breeze through. Over the years I’ve designed quite a few patterns that make great summer knits so here’s a run through some of my favourites!

To get your summer knitting off to a good start take 25% off all these patterns from today (April 3rd) until the end of day 7th of April (GMT), just use code SPRINGBREAK for your discount. (Use add to cart, and then click ‘use coupon code’ before you checkout). If you want to purchase directly on raverly see all the patterns here.


Summer Affair


Adrift


Spritz Stripes


Huevos


Gilligan


Meves


Isidro

Sandy Cove

Isidro for the spring

Isidro was a slow burning project for me. I had never tried Silky Tweed before but I was very curious. I loved the feel of knitting with it when I got it in my hands; it’s got a dry crisp feel but still flows smoothly enough to be enjoyable to knit with.
When I swatched the clustered star stitch it looked just perfect in this yarn and soon the sweater idea grew up around the stitch!
This became my travel sweater last summer. My swatch and design notebook travelled with me to Ohio for the initial design stage and then by the time we went to Costa Rica I was ready to start knitting the textured stitch. This sweater went up and down over mountains, sat in many airports as well as in my sister-in-laws garden :-)

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In fact Isidro was finished before we left Costa Rica so the modelled shots were done with a family friend who was knock dead gorgeous! Now every time I look at the photos I feel a little nostalgic for the magic of last summer. Even though the editing and testing stage was finished last autumn it felt like such a spring/summer sweater that I decided to wait until the right season to release it.

Now lets take a look at Isidro’s construction. It starts in the round at the bottom, working a wide folded hem. From here you work the body up to the armholes with waist shaping within the side panels.

Once you reach the underarms the body is divided into front and back, with each knit separately. The sleeve stitches are cast on and you work each side of the upper body together with the sleeves. Short rows are used to shape both the sleeves and the shoulders. Finally there is a shallow curved neckline (not quite as wide as a boatneck) that is finished with an I-cord bind-off.

The sweater as work has around 1” of positive ease but it would also look great a little more oversized. If you want to change the waist shaping (move it up/down or even remove it) you can do so easily as it all happens along the sides.

I hope you enjoy knitting your version as much as I did, and that it will also hold lots of happy memories for you.

Craft Month

So it’s National Craft month, there are a lot of celebrations throughout the year but I think craft is well worth celebrating! Craft for me is primarily about knitting (due to the fact that there’s only 24 hours in the day!) but I do love to learn new skills. Living in the country in Ireland with several children in school I’ve found online classes the easiest way to learn. I can drop in and out and take notes in the spots where I know I’ll want to go back to.

crafty monthAs many of you know I teach several classes for Craftsy which have got a really nice format for learning (and teaching on). The classes are professionally recorded and edited, and the layout makes it easy to ask and answer questions. If you haven’t tried one out I’d suggest giving it a go!

If you’d like to try one of my classes here are some links for 50% off:

Essential Short Row Techniques
Sweater Surgery
Celtic Cables

Anyone who buys classes over the first 2 weeks of March will be in with a chance to donate $1000 to an craft based charity of their choice. (Plus I’ll be in with a chance to win a surprise as well :-))

I know a lot of you out there are very skilled knitters and may not want any knitting classes. There is however a whole range of crafts covered; from jewelry making and gardening to drawing and some fantastic cooking classes.

This one in particular has my mouth watering; all the boys love Mexican food so I wouldn’t mind upping my game a little!

Although I think that this might make a wonderful birthday present for my oldest boy, as he’s rather anime crazy!

So any new crafty or skill you’d like to build during crafty month? Have fun learning!

Gradients Part 2: Stave Gradient Sweater

If you read through my blog post, Gradients Part 1, you’ll know that I’m loving gradients right now!

If you want to learn more about gradients with me over the coming months then read on!

The first type of gradients I want to look at is DIY gradient sets. What I mean by that is a set you’ve put together yourself from stash or combined different colours together. For the contrast between the colours to be obvious you want to use a range of tones, from light to dark. When I talk about ‘tone’ I mean the depth of the colour rather than the colour itself. To see the tones of the colours you have chosen you can take a black and white photo which will will remove the colour and just show you the tone.

Here is a photo with a set of yarns that have got a range of colours – but look at it in black and white, they’re very similar in tone!
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Now take this set –  you can see that in black and white there’s a big variety of tones.
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To demonstrate working with a DIY gradient set I designed a new pattern, Stave Sweater.

This sweater uses Navia Duo yarn that is a nice sticky yarn that is perfect for stranded colourwork.
The colours range from cream, through light grey to dark grey. This colour palette makes it very obvious what I’m talking about when I’m discussing ‘tone’ – it’s effectively like looking at a black and white photo!
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However you can of course use a big variety of colours in this sweater; just watch your tone variation (perhaps check in b&w)! I’m starting a thread on my raverly board here where you can share your colour choices (show us both the colour and b&w photos).

Now that I’ve discussed the colour choices the next step is figuring out how to blend the colours. This sweater uses a textured stranded technique that scatters purl stitches within the work. If you look carefully at the colourwork, when you have a purl stitch on a row that the colour changes it shows both the old and new colour together on that row. This allows for a more subtle blending of the colours rather than a harsh division.

I’ve put a little video together talking through the Stave Sweater; I show the 2 different ways the same texture colourwork pattern is used and I walk through the construction.

I hope you enjoyed the first gradient colourwork installment, check back for more!
If you need some guidance on 2 handed colourwork Lorilee Beltman’s class ‘Knit Faster with Continental Knitting‘ has got some great pointers. (Note that this is an affiliate link.)

Lots of new patterns

I’ve somehow ended up with 4 new patterns released in the last week or so. That took me a little by surprise :-) One was a self-published pattern (Genip), the next is the first pattern for the Irish Yarn Club 2016 (Sheephaven) and 2 are from the new Interweave Knits Spring 2016 (Orangery Shawl and Yorkshire Capelet).

First up I’ll tell you a little about my new self-published hat, Genip

A few months ago when Stephen West was visiting Hedgehog Fibres I went down to say hi at the trunk show. Luckily for me they’re only a short drive from me! I completely fell for the neon bright Envy in Merino Aran. It’s insanely intense and super soft. I spend a lot of December traveling and this yarn came along with me. It got knit and ripped a few times before I settled on the final product. However it did end up exactly right, gently curving short row ear flaps, and a fast to knit but interesting texture. It’s proving popular and the first knitter was finished her hat within 24 hours!

Next up are the 2 Interweave Knit Spring design
Interweave Knits Spring 2016 Digital Edition
Interweave Knits Spring 2016
First is the Orangery Shawl

I love the simple effectiveness of this shawl. It combines 3 different greens, and the first section is just a semi-circle pi shawl with alternating colours. It finishes with a biased garter edging that works through all the colours. How great would this be in gradients?

The second from Interweave Knit Spring is the  Yorkshire Capelet

This capelet is knit in the wonderful Dovestone DK. It’s knit from the top down with simple lace and garter stitch raglan panels. It finishes with garter stitch short rows designed to lie over one shoulder.
(A little bonus……Save 30% at Interweave with Offer Code 30SWEET until February 14th!)

The final new pattern I’ve got is the first Irish Yarn Club 2016 pattern, Sheephaven.

IMG_2899I’m really excited about this first club installment. It’s the first time we’ve had a yarn that was both produced in Ireland AND hand-dyed in Ireland. The yarn is produced in Donegal by the Donegal Wool Spinning Company and was then dyed by the Dublin Dye Company. The hand dyeing process had the added bonus of softening the yarn with washing and really letting it bloom!

The hat used a diagonal cable pattern that becomes a series of single cables at the crown. The double rib means that every ounce of this skein is used up. Only yarn left for a tiny pom-pom :-)

IMG_2892As with the other hat Sheephaven has got loads of finished hats in just a few days. Everyone seems to be loving the yarn/pattern combo :-)