New Craftsy Class Giveaway!

I’ve been dropping hints about my new craftsy class for few weeks now and it’s getting very close to launch! I’m doing a giveaway for this new class, Essential Short Row Techniques, just enter the raffle on the Craftsy form here. The class will be launched in early March and I’ll post a link for you all once it’s live :-)

Essential Short Row TechniquesThis giveaway will be open until Sunday 1st March and the winner will be drawn on Monday the 2nd.

A few years ago I did a free mini-class with Craftsy on Short Rows. This class is the starting point for the new class. I covered short row basics in that class but it was information only (no interaction from me). Students still had a lot of questions on short rows. What do you do with short rows in reverse stockinette? What about ribbing or in the round or even with a lace pattern? My new class will look at all of these situations so you’ll be able to work short rows with all sorts of patterns. There is a lesson on German short rows, one of my new favorites! I’ll show you how to create slopes on either the right or left side of a fabric and how to change the slope with short rows. I’ll show you how to work a hat from side-to-side with short rows and how to work 2 different types of short row heel/toe.

This class will take you from basic short rows in stockinette stitch to being about to use short rows in almost any knitting situation! As you can probably tell I’m very, very immersed in Short Rows this year between this new Craftsy class and my Short Row Knits book. Actually the two go very nicely together as you can see the techniques in action on Craftsy and then use the book patterns to practice them with.

A little peek into the future..

I’ll admit that the title sounds like I could give more away than I actually can :-)

I’m sitting here with the final round of edits for my Short Row Knits book…

book dummy

I can’t quite believe that it’s almost done. Plus I’m just bursting to show you all the book. At the start of next month my newest Craftsy class will be out though and you’ll even get to have a sneak peek at a few of the new knits in the class!

One thing I can show you though is a little look at a new spring KAL I’m working on. It’s in a lightweight yarn, and will be a sweater with lace stripes. I’m very excited at how this is working up, won’t be too long before I can share the finished product with you.

lace stripe

One of the downsides to working on so many big projects at once is that there is a lot less to share with you here. Not only is there this new book, I’m also finishing a big collection for a brand new yarn (you’re going to love it!!), many magazine patterns, Irish Yarn Club patterns and a few more little surprises. I’m not quite sure how I managed to take on so much work at once, but hopefully once I get through the next couple of months without collapsing I’ll have some rocking work to show you all :-) So bear with me while I go into a pattern writing coma.

Cooking for families

I feel like this post should start with …. and now for something completely different :-)

I can’t believe how much of my life is spent cooking. I don’t dislike cooking but its a pretty functional activity for me. A few years ago my oldest son became vegetarian, not a big deal in itself but when added to a family of 6, one dairy intolerant (or used to be!), fussy eaters with 4 different meal times it adds to the complexity.

I’ve tried slow cookers, sometimes good but it still doesn’t always solve my multiple diet issues. I often do simple pasta/rice with each part added separately with parts taken out for everyone. (Tomato sauce and quorn, tomato sauce and meat and plain meat). I know that a common suggestion is to cook in big batches and then freeze but to be honest I’m not crazy about this. Often reheated food just doesn’t taste as good and I’ve got a tendency to forget that I’ve got food in the freezer!

When I look for new receipts I have a few criteria:

Most importantly it can’t have too many steps. If something takes 2 hours hands on preparation then it’s a non-runner.

If the ingredients are similar to what we already eat it means that it’ll be more easily accepted.

I want it to punch above it’s weight. It should be easy to prepare, without too many ingredients and taste amazing.

Flicking through an older Sunday Times magazine this weekend I came across a simple carrot and lentil soup. It ticked the first 2 boxes so I thought I’d give it a shot.

(c) BBC Good Food

The result was amazing. Very, very simple to prepare. I had everything in my cupboard and everyone except my soup hater loved it. The version I found in the magazine is similar to the one linked above but it had larger portions, it used 1kg of carrots.

Now for some reason I though it was a good idea to hand grate 1kg of carrots. Lets just say that my arm is still feeling it…. I think the food processor will be coming out next time.

Do you have any recipes that you love and are easy to prepare? Please share I’d love to add a few more!

Exciting week!

Last week I was one of 4 finalists for the Craftsy Blogger awards and I’m delighted to tell you all that I won runner up :-) Thank you everyone that voted for me, I was very, very pleased – this was a first for me!

Craftsy Blogger Awards - Runner Up Best Instructor's Blog Badge

I had another exciting announcement last week as well – the book I’ve been working on for the last 18 months is now up for pre-sale – Short Row Knits.

short row knits coverThis book was such a pleasure to write. I use short rows for so many of my knits it made complete sense to write a book on the subject! The book starts with the basics, describing different ways of working short rows in stockinette stitch. From there I also look at using short rows with different stitch patterns, in reverse stockinette and in garter stitch. However learning how to work short rows is only the first step, the more interesting part is figuring out where and how to use them! I’ve worked through different ways of varying slopes, how you can use those slopes to shape shawls, socks, balls, hoods, bust shaping, shoulder slopes and hips (to name a few!). Every pattern in the book uses short rows in some way and it details which short row method I’ve suggested.  So if you want to know more about the workings of short rows this is a good book for you (or even if you just want to knit the short row patterns!).

For anyone who likes to learn in-person with some hands on knitting I’ll be teaching a short row class at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. There are a few spots left and I’ll be working through some of the short row techniques from the book (plus sneak peaks of the book patterns!).

Dragonfly Fibers Giveaway Winner!

Anna C with her Pixie yarn color choice of That Ol’ Chestnut is the winner of the Dragonfly Fibers giveaway, congratulations!

Ribbon Tool Shawl

The latest Interweave Knits, Spring 2015 has just been released and I’ve got a shawl in it – Ribbon Tool Shawl.

(c) Harper Point

Last spring when I was in Washington DC Dragonfly Fibers gave me a gift of some Pixie yarn. It was in the color, ‘Springtime in Washington’, a delicate pink with darker brown and black tones splashed through it. Pale pink is not a color I’m normally drawn to but there was something about the delicate color with those darker undertones that really appealed to me. When the call for designs for the spring Interweave came out this yarn looked like the perfect match.  This shawl was designed to make the most use of garter stitch using German Short Rows to gently slope the shawl. The shaping is created entirely with short rows and then the lace edge is knitted on sideways.

I’ve got a special treat for all of you -  Dragonfly Fibers have offered a yarn giveaway for my readers of their Pixie yarn that Ribbon Tool Shawl is made in.

What do you have to do?

To be entered in the draw, go to the website to pick the color of Pixie they would use to make the shawl. Then put your pick in the comments below. I will enter all comments into a raffle and the winner will be sent the yarn! Get your comment in before 10 in the morning (GMT) on Wednesday 4th of February. I’ll do a random drawing for the winner later that morning.

Best of luck!

Ribbon Tool Shawl

(c) Harper Point

February Mini-KAL

Well everyone it looks like Talamh won the KAL vote! However as Ravi was so close I’m going to add it as well for a discount.
If you want to get 40% off either pattern before 1st of February just use the coupon code ‘febminikal’. We’ll get started with the KAL on the 1st of February on my ravelry board.

So grab your pattern and yarn and get swatching!

Talamh

I’ve got more news to tell you as well but you’ll have to wait a day or two before I share :-)

Mini-KAL

To start of the new year I’m running a mini-kal on my ravely board. It seems like a perfect way to start the new year :-)

This KAL it will be an existing pattern rather than a new one, I had a few people throw out ideas so I put up a poll here where you can vote on your favourite. If you’d like to join in go and pick what you want to knit and place your vote! I’m going to announce the winner on Wednesday and I’ll give a discount code from the winning pattern. Then we can get started on the knitting in February.

So what pattern are at the top of the vote?

Top of the pile is Talamh:

Talamh

In joint second place there is Penrose Tile:

Penrose tile

And Ravi.

Ravi

New Year, new pattern!

I want to wish you all a very (early!) Happy New Year. I love this time of year so much, in Ireland everything shuts down for a full 2 weeks; there is much food, drinking and of course sleep! I’ve just said goodbye to my sister and her family at the airport and a handful of 17-18 year olds have filled our house. The next few nights will be filled with more games, drinks and late nights :-)
I’ll be traveling for work early on Monday morning, I’m excited and nervous about it so I hope that the anticipation doesn’t impede the holiday too much.

To thank you all for the most amazing year I’m have a New Year sale starting early (like right now) that will run until the end of the 7th of January. With code ‘NEWYEAR’ you can get 30% off your purchase as a big thank you.

This code will also apply to a redesign of an old favorite (Adrift), that has reworked in a fingering weight yarn as Titus Adrift. Titus yarn is really perfect for this, a lofty blend of wool and alpaca that’s happy being blocked more aggressively. In fingering weight it knits up a little bit faster and it’s slightly heavier for extra warmth.

Any observant knitters out there will see that my prices have changed from dollars to euros. This shouldn’t cause you any problems as all payments are processed through paypal. If you want to check the value in your currency you can take a look on my ravelry store where they do a price conversion for comparison. My standard pattern price was $6.00 and at the currency exchange on the day I made the switch this translated to just over €5.00 so there is no change in price.

This change to euro is to help me with the new EU VAT legislation which uses the place of consumption of the service (pdf) as the VAT rate that must be charged. About 30% of my customers are from the EU but I don’t want to increase EU prices so I’m going to absorbing the VAT cost with no price change to you.

Titus Adrift

Knitmas time

Every year the Irish knitters have a Christmas gift exchange (Knitmas). I always feel I’m too busy and should pull out but I just can’t resist! This year I sent a box of goodies to my recipient that included a little bag made by Sara. She does such beautiful work and she was happy to custom make 2 bags for me – one was going to be sent but I kept the other one :-)
IMG_3329
As you can see the bags are very, very cute. They make a really good knitting bag, they’re small enough for a little project, they fold up flat when not used and the bag sits upright when used which is great to keep your project yarn in.
IMG_3330
This year my amazing elf was Evin O’Keeffe. Rather than repeat her I’ll direct you to a post giving details of my goodies :-) If you’ve been following my twitter feed you’ll see the trail of tweets as I opened each gift! (Much to my excitement I was the receiver of a pair of hand knit socks.) What I would like to show you all though is her first book that she included in her gift. I had been just about to buy the book the night before so her gift beat me to it! She set up a publishing company, Anchor and Bee, earlier this year and Bake, Knit, Sew is the first title to be published.
IMG_3333This book is a lovely blend of knitting, sewing and baking projects as the title would suggest! I’ve picked out each of my favourites below to give you a flavour for the book. As well as the lovely projects the photography is a delight to look at, Evin is a very talented photographer with a very keen eye for food photography. Lemon cakes are one of my favourites, and this Lemon Drizzle Cake looks like a winner. I’m try to see if I can convince one of the boys to bake it for me over the holidays!

IMG_3336Next project up is the knitted Honeycomb teacosy. It’s really cute and a perfect match between style and function. Who wouldn’t want a honeycomb on their teapot.IMG_3340Finally I come to the sewn project. Now as I’ve said before I am not a sewer. I’ve bought a machine but I’ve yet to even thread the bobbin (shame on me). However this cute apron may just get me moving!

IMG_3341Go on and check her book out!

Short Row magic

For anyone who has been following my work you probably know that I really, really love short rows. Many of my designs use short rows, I’ve written multiple tutorials on short rows, taught a Craftsy class on short rows as well as many in-person classes.

penrose tile 1

Why do I love them?

I’ve often asked myself this, and I think it’s because they are so versatile. You can take a flat bit of knitting and without changing your stitch count you can create curves, slopes and even three-dimensionality shapes. Short rows are everything that’s good about knitting, you can make your knitting your own custom designed to fit you.

It would appear that my love for short rows doesn’t show any sign of subsiding any time soon. While the basics of short rows are not very complex there is so much to learn beyond the basics. I regularly learn and/or figure out new ways of creating them, new shaping ideas and new designs that can use them.

small back detailIn a few months I’ll be teaching a short row class for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. While I’ve taught this class before I’ve been learning so many new short row methods and uses that I’m creating a very new class. The basics are still there but I’m adding in lots that is new; creating shapes with different short row steps, German short rows, short row shawl curves and sock heels.

If you can’t make it to Edinburgh this spring I’ll have a few short row surprises coming for you as well. You will however have to wait a few months to find out….I wish I was able to spill the beans on these new projects but I’ll just have to be patient :-)