Review: Beaded Lace Knitting

I’ve been send a new book, Beaded Lace Knitting by Anniken Allis to review. (The book is also available in Amazon in the US and UK). Anniken is one of the most prolific (she had nearly 400 patterns!) current designers out there, originally from Norway she now lives in the UK. While Anniken has a wide ranging design style she is best know for her lace knitting especially her shawls. So it does seem fitting that her first book is on lace knitting.

Digging into the book the first part that struck me was the clear and very extensive technique section. Its all illustrated with photos and it contains several cast-ons and bind offs including Provisional Cast-On, Invisible Cast-On, multiple circular cast-ons, Russian Bind-Off and sewn Bind-Off. Basically if you want to improve your lace knitting skills there should be enough in the book to give you a good boost.

In addition to this each of the projects has a skill rating, with the skill level moving from 1 to 3 through the book. These move from basic lace and beads through to more complex all-over lace with extensive beading. Remember as well though that beads are always optional so most of the knitting in the book can probably be done with or without beads.

Now a quick look at the projects. There are 25 projects in total, ranging from lace shawl and lace garments through to lace accessories. Projects in the book have both charted and written instructions so it’s accessible to a wider audience.

I’ve run through the book picking my favourites from each of the levels, although when I did this I realised that often my choices are determined by colour as much as pattern!

From level 1 I love Alexia. A shallow triangular shawl it’s designed to be easily modified for different yarn amounts. It’s worked in 2 halves so all you need to do is weigh  your yarn before you start and then work half to the widest point and the other half to the end.

Alexia

From Level 2, Helena I think is just beautiful. Worked from the centre out, I love the swirling central lace motif. The edge is finished with a knitted on beaded edging. It would take a while but I think it’s pretty enough to justify the hours worked on it :-)

Finally for level 3; Josephine. This pattern is a delicate crescent shaped shawl worked from the bottom up. It’s got lace worked on both the right and wrong side row along the bottom as well as beading. The body of the shawl uses decreases and short rows to create the crescent shape.

Josephine

Now for the giveaway! Post your favourite project in the comments below and I’ll pick a winner next Sunday (28th June) to send a copy of the book to. I’m afraid that the publisher will only send to the US though, so only US postal address :-(

TNNA recap

So a couple of weeks ago I went to Columbus, Ohio once again for TNNA (The national needlearts association). It’s an intense, full-on experience every year and this was no exception! I was sharing a room with two of my favourite knitting pals, Woolly Wormhead & Ann Kingstone, always fun when you can work and play on the same weekend :-)

I’ve got very few photos from the weekend so please forgive the very poor quality, grainy and fuzzy phone photos I’ve got to use.To add to the oddness of the weekend there was also a trumpet convention and a haunting/zombie convention. In fact I had the pleasure of being walked to the Crown Plaza on Saturday by a well dressed zombie before their zombie ball :-)IMG_0524

Also on Friday night I had my new cardigan, Rakuda, in the fashion show with Anzula yarns.You can see the cardigan in action here. (Yes I’ve eventually started using Instagram!)

My new US distributor is Fyberspates, so this year I shared a stand with them and Rachel Coopey.

They were just the most wonderful booth mates, it makes such a difference; it was definitely a weekend of fun more than work!

IMG_0522On the final night, when it was all over I did manage to take a few photos as we sat around the table eating:

IMG_0535Here we’ve got Jeni and Sean from Fyberspates, Rachel Coopey and Jennifer Wood (who I just met that night but is such a delight!).

While my photos are not the best Jeni did manage to bring (and use!) a much better camera so her Facebook feed is worth a look.

I do have some wonderful yarn and other goodies that I’ll be knitting with and reviewing in the coming weeks also….

Lorna's Laces 'Cloudgate' http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/lornas-laces-cloudgate

Lorna’s Laces ‘Cloudgate’

IMG_3604Spin Cycle ‘Dyed in the wool’

IMG_3599Anzula Croquet

IMG_1268And finally Fix-a-Stitch that I’ll try out in the next few weeks….hopefully on a ‘minor’ mistake :-0

At the end of this week I’m heading on holiday BUT when I come back I’ll have a little surprise for you that I’ve been working on with Baa Ram Ewe….

Dovestone Knits

 

Feamainn Shawl – Final IYC 2015 pattern

Well the final pattern of the Irish Yarn Club has been released – Feamainn Shawl. This was a pleasure to knit, the colours made me so happy :-)

Feamainn

(Club can still be purchased pattern only).

I am not usually a big lace weight knitter, when it’s very fine I find that my small finger starts cramping from holding the tension in the yarn. However for the Yarn Club I wanted to find a yarn with more yardage for a larger project and lace was the only way to do that. The Hedgehog Fibres Silk/Merino lace was a little heavier as laceweight goes. This make a big difference to me, it felt very comfortable to work with, no finger cramping!

feamainn

The colours of the yarn swim between blues and greens and are rich and vibrant. It felt like a deep rich sea colour so the lace pattern I used has echoes of waves and seaweed. It starts at the top with a garter stitch tab, working down in a standard triangular lace shape but with a lace spine that runs the full length. It flows from st st into linear lace and finishing with a wider lace edging.

feamainn

If you only want a single pattern from the Yarn Club then next month they will be released individually.

Rakuda winners

Just a quick post to say congratulations to Birgit, Catherine and Touran on winning copies of Rakuda. Can’t want to see how it turns out for you :-)

I’ll have a few quite weeks on the blog here – this week my husband is traveling and my older boys have school exams. Tensions are high in the house!

Wednesday night we’ll be doing a parent swap, with my husband arriving home at 10 and my plane to Columbus for TNNA will be leaving before 8 in the morning. So please everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that everything runs smoothly.

New patterns plus surprises

This blog post is really almost a little news roundup. I’m busy in the planning stages for my trip to TNNA at Columbus next week. This is equal parts work and fun; I get to meet all my friends, fondle new yarns while at the same time selling my patterns to yarn stores. This year I’m extending my autumn/fall KAL to yarn stores. If you’re a yarn store (or if you’ve got one close to you that might be interested) you can register your interest with the newsletter here.

Barkentine

My first pattern with Yarn Stories, Barkentine, was released this week. You may notice that this season I’m just loving loose, drop shoulder lace tops. They just seem the perfect seasonal addition to the wardrobe at them moment! The lace running up the side of Barkentine was designed to echo the sea, for all your maritime adventures :-)

The KAL for Spritz Stripes is moving along very quickly – we’re already on clue 3! Many of the knitters were just astonished when they realised how much the lace grows in this sweater….watch them transform from crop tops to full length sweaters :-) These before and after photos are well worth a look.

Now for the surprise. I just released Rakuda which uses a very distinctive yarn, Cole. I would love to see a couple of versions of this in different yarns (or different colors of Cole if you’ve got some available). Leave a comment below telling me what size you’ll knit and what yarn you’ve got that will work for the pattern….. details of the pattern below. Please don’t enter if you don’t have time in the coming month to knit it!

Leave a comment by Saturday 23 May and I’ll pick 3 winners who get a copy of the pattern.

SIZE
To Fit Actual Bust Circumference up to:
31.5 (35.5, 37.5, 40, 44, 46, 48.5, 52.5, 54.5)” / 80 (90, 95.5, 101.5, 112, 117, 123, 133.5, 138.5) cm.
5-7” / 12.5 – 18 cm positive ease recommended.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Bust Circumference:
36.5 (40.5, 42.5, 45, 49, 51, 53.5, 57.5, 59.5)” / 92.5 (103, 108, 114.5, 124.5, 129.5, 136, 146, 151) cm.
Size 40.5” / 103 cm modelled with 5”/ 12.5 cm positive ease.
Length: 25 (26, 26.25, 26.5, 27.75, 28.25, 28.75, 30, 30.75)” / 63.5 (66, 66.5, 67.5, 70.5, 72, 73, 76, 78) cm.

MATERIALS
Yarn

Anzula Luxury Fibers ‘Cole’
100% Superwash Merino; 180 yds /164 m per 3.5 oz /100 g skein); Color: Pewter; 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9) skeins

Needles & Notions
2 US size 8 / 5 mm circular needles, 40”/ 100 cm long
2 US size 10.5 / 7 mm circular needles, 40”/ 100 cm long
Set of US size 8 / 5 mm dpns (if not using magic loop for sleeves)
Always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed, as every knitter’s gauge is unique.
Tapestry needle, stitch markers, stitch holder, one 1.25” / 3 cm diameter button.

Gauge
16 sts and 21 rows = 4”/10cm in St St with smaller needle
16 sts and 30 rows = 4”/10cm in Garter Stitch with smaller needle
15 sts and 18 rows = 4”/10cm in Over-Sized Lace

 

New summer lace cardigan

Rakuda

When I went to TNNA last December Anzula asked if I’d like to pick a yarn to design with and Rakuda is the finished product.  They have got some very delicious yarns so it was a difficult choice. One of their newer yarns, Cole, jumped out at me. It was a little unusual, an aran weight yarn that is 70% silk and 30% camel. Instead of having a smooth, shiny feel as a lot of silk blends this was a more rustic, slubby version of silk with that delicious silk smell. It was such a distinctive yarn it really called to me.

As I started swatching I realised that the heavy qualities of silk really needed an open pattern that allowed it to drape. When I tried it with this large over-sized lace I loved how it looked and felt; both heavy and open at the same time! However I wanted to make sure that it still held it’s shape so I used garter stitch to anchor the cardigan together.

It ended up creating a cardigan that’s super fast to knit but very wearable for in-between weather. It is knit flat from the bottom up in one piece, German short rows shape the garter stitch shoulder slopes. Sleeves are worked in the round from the top down once the body is complete.

When choosing a size to knit for this cardigan several inches of positive ease are a good idea. The cardigan is naturally draped so a few inches of positive ease helps that happen. The size pictured is the 40.5″ finished size which has around 6″ positive ease.

Here are all the available sizes for Rakuda – you can see that I’ve give recommendations for the size (to fit bust is the size of your own bust) with the actual dimensions of the finished cardigan below that.
To Fit Actual Bust Circumference up to:
31.5 (35.5, 37.5, 40, 44, 46, 48.5, 52.5, 54.5)” / 80 (90, 95.5, 101.5, 112, 117, 123, 133.5, 138.5) cm.
5-7” / 12.5 – 18 cm positive ease recommended.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Bust Circumference:
36.5 (40.5, 42.5, 45, 49, 51, 53.5, 57.5, 59.5)” / 92.5 (103, 108, 114.5, 124.5, 129.5, 136, 146, 151) cm.
Size 40.5” / 103 cm modelled with 5”/ 12.5 cm positive ease.
Length: 25 (26, 26.25, 26.5, 27.75, 28.25, 28.75, 30, 30.75)” / 63.5 (66, 66.5, 67.5, 70.5, 72, 73, 76, 78) cm.

Spritz Stripes upper body

My Spritz Stripes KAL is moving right along – I’m always so excited to see everyone’s progress :-) We’re now on clue 2 and we’ve already have a few knitters get to the finish point!

I’m very impressed with all of you knitting out there – there are a few difficult details in the sweater but everyone is just powering right on. The body was worked straight up but the stitch pattern increases and decreases within each pattern repeat so it requires careful attention to the stitch count ….. with occasional unknitting to keep it all in check.

The second clue is for the back section of the upper body. This uses a similar but slightly different stitch pattern than for the body. This is so that there are no changes in the stitch count to allow for easier neck and shoulder shaping. It’s enough keeping track of lace with short rows without adding varied stitch counts into the mix!

If any of you out there are working on this KAL but having difficulty with the short rows in lace you could take a look at my Craftsy Short Row Techniques class that covers this in one of the lessons (here’s a 50% discount link). Short rows in lace actually work surprisingly well – as there are so many decrease and increase stitches you’d never notice a loose stitch from a short row!

You will find though that when you do short rows across the shoulder with each row getting progressively shorter (and also working a different row in the lace) when you get to the final full row it’s going to be on a different row of the lace for each short row step. You can either embrace this as a feature of short rows in lace or if it bugs you you could also just do the final row in stockinette stitch.

Before my trip to Columbus for TNNA at the end of this month I’m releasing a new pattern in Anzula yarn, Cole. Keep an eye out for it; should be released within the next couple of days…. here’s a quick peek!

Anzula

Dragon Flames is released!

So my Dragon Flames cardigan is finished and has been released!

Dragon Flames

If you’ve been following along on my blog gradient adventure you have already watched the creation process. Last week my husband brought the cardigan with him to Florida when visiting family and his sister kindly modeled it for us! I think Florida was the perfect spot for this cardigan, the bright oranges and rusts just come to life with the the bright tropical colors.

Dragon Flames

I don’t know what plant this was in the garden but the color is just perfect with the cardigan!

Dragon Flames

Dragonfly fibers have put a few kits together for this cardigan in a variety of colors. One of my favorites is the Cheshire Cat gradient…

cheshire

Or maybe Siberian Iris?

If you don’t have any gradient yarn available I think that a variegated yarn or a self-striping yarn worked from the middle out would be amazing! What color would you like to do your version in?

If you’re going to the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival you can see the original sample in person at the Dragonfly Fibers stand and I think they may have a few kits with them!

 

Spritz Stripes double yo

I’ve had a few questions about the ‘double yo’ in the Spritz Stripes pattern. In this sweater you’re knitting a lace pattern in the round. At the end of round 4 you have a yarnover and then at the beginning of round 5 there is another yarnover. I’ve done a little photo tutorial on how I managed this. It does produce a slightly larger hole every 6 rounds at this position but it’s not excessive.

step 1Here’s the 1st step. You’re at the end of rnd 4, you’ve worked a p2tog and the next stitch is yo. So just leave the yarn in front and this will create the yarnover automatically.

step 2Here’s the next step. You slip over your start of round marker and get set to begin round 5. This round starts with a yarnover. So what you want to do is bring your yarn over the needle (this finishes the yo for you at the end of rnd 4) and wrap it around the needle once to get ready to work a knit stitch (yarn at the back of the work).

step 3The second stitch to be worked on round 5 is k2tog, so this is what it’s going to look like. A yarnover at the very end of rnd 4, the marker, a yo at the start of rnd 5 and then k2tog.

When you reach this double yarnover at the end of round 5 be careful to work them both separately so you don’t lose a stitch at either the start or end of the round.

Dragon Flames

So the Gradient cardigan is done! I hope you enjoyed joining the creative process with me. Looking at the colors change from yellow through to red I think that this cardigan just has to be called ‘Dragon Flames’.

IMG_3519Now that it’s finished it’s traveling to Florida with my husband who’ll take some photos of it there. From there it’ll head to DC to Dragonfly Fibers so if you’re heading to Maryland Sheep & Wool next month you’ll be able to pet it in person and pick up a kit :-)

Very shortly Dragonfly Fibers will also be putting kits up for pre-sale on their website so keep an eye out if you want to knit one for yourself. They’ve got some great gradient colors – I was also very tempted by their blue gradient.

IMG_3525I’m starting on my next cardigan now with Anzula Cole…more on that next week!