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

The Magic Of The Garter Stitch Tab

To me, the garter stitch tab is a little bit of knitting magic. This little triangle is a handy technique to have in your knitter technique toolbox for top-down shawls and today I’m going to show you why I love it so much.

No Holes Here

When you start a top down shawl you usually start at the very centre and work increases out from that centre point. If like me you like to learn from mistakes then pick up some spare yarn, cast on 3 stitches and try to work increases either side of those edge stitches and centre stitch. You will quickly notice a gap or what seems like a hole forms from where you began working the increases. This is where the garter tab works it’s magic.

 

In a shawl pattern, you want the shawl to flow and expand in the centre so that the shawl doesn’t pull or have any gaps or holes that enlarge on blocking. The garter tab inserts a piece of fabric to allow the shawl to sit flat and drape. In a pattern, you usually see the tab written as:

 

CO 3 sts. Knit 6 rows. Do not turn on final row, rotate corner 90 degrees, pick up 3 sts along purl bumps, rotate corner 90 degrees & pick up 3 cast on sts.

 

Carol has a lovely tutorial video of this tab in action over here but I wanted to show you some patterns that use this tab to its full advantage.

 

Inspiration

 

If you want to try a pattern or two that use this technique these are a few of my favourites:

Rose Song is a quick knit lace shawl that is perfect for a last minute gift. Using bulk yarn on 8mm needles you can try out the garter tab and have a shawl in a weekend. The bulky yarn makes this a perfect choice for your first attempt at a tab as it’s easy to see the loops that need picking up when you rotate 90 degrees.

Penrose Tile

If you would like something a little more challenging then let me suggest Penrose Tile. This has a garter tab starting point using alternating skeins of yarn for the stripes which slips seamlessly into the background of the shawl upon completion leaving you with a sense of knitterly accomplishment.

Feamainn Shawl knitting pattern by Carol Feller

Feamainn Shawl

For something a little lighter this summer season, Feamainn uses laceweight yarn on 3.5 mm needles to produce a shawl with a striking lace centre panel where the garter tab is again almost invisible and allows the lace panel to sit flat at the top.

You can also inspire me by leaving a pattern idea in the comments below. What’s your favourite knitter technique that you keep in your toolbox? Is there a technique that you are having trouble with? Let me know I’d love to help.

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

A Nua Kind Of Inspiration

I know so many of you are excited about Nua and have ordered it in garment quantities, so I’m here today to share my thoughts or in other words be that knitty enabler on your shoulder and recommend some patterns. I hope this inspires you to not just pet with your new yarn but to cast on and play too!

Ravi in Nua colourway Rolling Bales

Shawls

It’s funny how shawl patterns can stay in your mind, it’s almost like they are waiting for just the right type of yarn to run through your fingers. When I touched Nua for the first time, my mind went straight to these two shawls. Maenad , with is long shallow construction is easy to wear and interesting but relaxing to knit. I was thinking of combining Bare Necessities and Capall together as a bi-colour option to make that lace border really pop.

Penrose Tile

Now I know some of you have itchy lace knitting fingers and if you wanted a little more lace in your shawl construction then Penrose Tile is perfect. You can choose to knit this in one or two colours but I’m dreaming of a dramatic red Angry Monkey shawl. With short rows and lace worked in a modular construction, this shawl takes you on a beautiful construction journey from start to finish.

Garments

I have to admit when Carol let me play (cough) I mean knit with Nua, my mind instantly went to Akoya and I wanted to knit it in Bare Necessities. The beautifully fitted construction with cable and lace panels along with the sleeve detail! Oh my, I was hooked. So much so, I’m currently working on a tension square. 

Akoya

Now I realise that some of you might like the lace but want a little more length in their cardigan so I suggest having a look at Santa Rosa Plum. My vision of the Santa Rosa cardigan in Nua is a blue gradient where you start with the beautiful soft tones of Kitten Fluff before working in Unexpected Macaw and ending in the deep tones of August Storms. You can tell I thought about this for a while, can’t you? Just have a look at those colours together below:

Nua yarn in colourways Kitten Fluff, Unexpected Mccaw and August Storms.

I know there are some of you who prefer working in the round to really enjoy a new yarn and to you, I say, pop on over and have a look at Dusty Road. I think this would be a fantastic Spring sweater in the rolling bales colourway. The deep warm yellow would show off the delicate lace sleeves perfectly.

And don’t forget the little ones

Finally, to those generous souls among us, who prefer to try out a new yarn on sweaters for the little humans, I suggest Ravi Junior.  in the mosquito coast colourway. The simplicity of the Ravi cardigan is perfect to show off the blend of fibres in Nua and is also perfect as a gift knit. Baby knits are a good way to try out new construction methods without the pressure of finishing an adult sized sweater.

Ravi Junior

Carol also has some Nua up for grabs in a lovely competition and a discount code for Nua Collection Volume 1 in her latest blog post here and to top it off there is a nice project bag up for grabs too! You can also pick up all of the above mentioned Nua colourways over here. Have I inspired you? Why not tell me what garment you’re dreaming of in the lovely Nua yarn?

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?

EYF Through the Eyes of an Exhibitor


As some of you may know, last weekend I was at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in the Corn Exchange. I thought that it might be a interesting if you got to see the festival through the eyes of an exhibitor.
When I’m working at events I always forget to take many photos so several of the photos in this post of courtesy of my friend who always remembers the photos; Evin – thank you!

Pre EYF

Before I started I hadn’t fully anticipated the amount of preparation that would be needed to do a show in a different country. To start with there is just the logistical problem of getting all of the stock to Edinburgh. It ended up getting there through a variety of methods; some was shipped directly to the venue, Rachel Coopey (Coop Knits) really saved me and let me ship more yarn and several boxes of books to her! Finally all of the items I needed for the display came in my luggage and was hauled around planes and buses by me and my friend Sue. There were all sorts of items I only thought of at the last minute that made a huge difference; money aprons were probably the top of that list! Small things that are also tricky abroad – how do you get enough change to run a cash shop? When I get sterling cash from and Irish bank I only get notes, which isn’t very useful when you need coins!

I spent a bit of time thinking about how to display nicely but still pack it into a suitcase. A stack of Ikea foldable boxes did the job well stacked into a little pile on the table. I almost forgot a few white sheets to cover the table but they were thrown in at the last minute. My youngest trimmed an old broom handle down to use to hang the yarn. It turned out really well (and he even carved ‘NUA YARN’ into one end of it!).

I got a new credit card reader so I could take card payments in person as well as extra roaming credit from my Irish phone network.
Several weeks before the show all the orders for special show items were ordered; print copies of the Nua Collection Volume 1, print copies of patterns for kits, printing up of cloth project bags and a special order of project bags from Sara.
It was a whole lot of work but it meant I had everything I wanted to display on the day.
In fact the only item we had to go and buy on the day was some dressmaker pins as the double sided tape wasn’t working well!

Arrival

My friend Sue was with me at the show helping me out. To be honest it would have been completely impossible (as well as miserable) to do it alone. The fact that she’s a show pro was a huge bonus (her husband’s company Mountain Man do many beer festivals!), she’s probably more comfortable working in crowds than I am!
I wanted 2 things for the display; visible from a distance and light enough to pack. EYF is a very crowded festival and I wanted enough signs to hang at the top of the stand so we could be found as far away as possible. The lightweight pvc banner with the open yarn hanging from the bottom did a great job of this!

Finished set up at @edinyarnfest. Come visit us tomorrow!

A post shared by Carol Feller (@feller.carol) on


On the other side of the stand I featured my books and the samples from my newest book, Knitting With Rainbows. Having a huge gradient shawl on display did however mean that I got many, many questions about a kit….I think Half Moon Street might be completely awesome in a Nua kit….what do you think??

The Show


The show was so overwhelmingly wonderful. So many customers, friends, fellow designers and vendors that I wanted to talk to. Friday felt just too short; I had knitters come show me their beautiful versions of my patterns, thank me for my Craftsy Short Row class and fondle the new yarn. Friday was packed solid with people from 9 until 5.30. For several hours Sue and me couldn’t actually even get under the table to get extra yarn out! Mica is a complete and utter superstar, helping me to sort wifi issues and get my credit card payments working. Saturday was a little quieter but I was still reeling from Friday! As Nua is so new it was invaluable to hear everyone’s feedback and watch peoples reaction as they grabbed the yarn. The general response was ‘oh it’s SO soft’ :-) This made me so very happy to hear!
Knowing how to display the combination of yarn and books was tricky for a first show. As the yarn is just starting out there was a smaller number of samples on the stand so this meant that it caused a bit of confusion with one side of the stand having gradient samples from the book. I think on my next show once there are more Nua samples it will be easier to show the Nua with patterns and have my other books in a display on it’s own.

Friday night as we were sorting out the stand for the morning we got tossed out but fortunately we had ceilidh so we could walk around the corner and get some food and drink. Being able to unwind after a day on your feet is really lovely. It did mean that I didn’t really have any dancing energy left, but Nadia did manage to drag me out for one dance!

I got to spend a bit of time with Woolly Wormhead, Jen (it was the first time we met IRL!), Lisa and Jen from This Is Knit and across the table was Justyna Lorkowska and her husband Martin.

So many wonderful people there that night, I wanted so much more time (and energy). I didn’t even make it to 11, we needed to get ourselves to be so that we were able to stand for the next day.
What did you get up to on Friday night? Any Edinburgh adventures?


Packing up

After the show is over, it feels like a mad race to get packed up as fast as possible. Fortunately there were lots of us there so it went extremely quickly. All of the display and some loose yarn got packed in my suitcase and the remaining yarn was boxed up to go back with Rachel (and I should have it back here to go up in the shop early next week!). I would have loved to somehow jam it all into suitcases but there wasn’t any way I could have hauled them back to the airport with me!
The beer and burger that night were just perfect. A final night of relaxation after weeks of preparation and 3 frantic days of work.

Reflection

It was so worth doing this show; I’d do it again in a heartbeat :-) Thank you so much Jo and Mica for your kindness, organisation and utter professionalism.
Watching knitters pick up, feel and love on Nua was just fantastic. One of the most special things that happened was knitters returning to the stand. Most did a quick swing around the whole show, marking stands they wanted to come back to. On Saturday morning we had several knitters return before the rush to get sweater quantities of Nua. Know that your yarn was the standout for them is just fantastic!

I’ve got small amount of Nua in the shop right now (the rest will go up early next week when the box arrives) and I’ve added the Japanese Knot project bags that came home with me. Next week I’ll also add kits for Boherboy and Finglas.