Category Archives: Design work

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

When I was in school I learned this poem and out of all the poems, novels and plays I studied this one has stuck with me. There are so many times in life where you are presented with options and want to do both. You stand at a crossroads and must choose. This also happens with design work; every step along the way is a decision. Each choice is not necessarily good or bad – just different.
When I spent a year in art college we ended the year with a project. We picked a topic and then spend the next several months examining it from different angles. There were charcoal drawings, pastel drawings, long lost sculptures and paper texture work. I’ve recently rediscover a lot of this in my parents attic and it’s made me a little nostalgic! (And yes, my project was on a prawn…it smelled really, really dreadful after several months even with freezes between uses.)




Over the coming months I’m starting a new project. I’m gradually piecing together in my head how I want it to work. It will be an exploration of colour combinations and gradients. I want to do more than a single design, it feels like this is a project that needs to take as many forks on the road as possible. There will be swatches, tutorials, patterns and project options. I think an e-book released over a series of weeks or months a chapter at a time that travels on the exploration journey with me would be the most useful for knitters.

Anyone want to join me on this journey?

Selfish knitting

It doesn’t happen very often but I’ve actually knit a sweater that I intend to wear occasionally. It’s the curse of being a knitwear designer; it’s so important to keep samples in good condition that you never wear them! This time I wanted to try a different colour combination for Caelius and make a few little changes.

This version is knit in the colour Chevin with stripes in Coal. This combination is more dramatic than the original Bramley Baths and Yorkstone which is much more subtle. You may notice that the edges are still curling a lot, it was very cold yesterday so I was eager to wear the sweater even though it’s not yet blocked! With a sweater that has rolled edges blocking can be used to reduce the amount of curl, I still leave a little bit but it controls it somewhat.

The stripes on the sleeves are a little different from the original, they start further down the sleeve and the second stripe is narrower. This happened accidentally; I was knitting while traveling and I was so busy talking that I went beyond the stripe position! So I modified and changed the position rather than reknit. It still fits the same way, it just looks a little different.

Are you knitting anything from Dovestone Hills yet?


It has been a few years since I’ve published with the Twist Collective and I’m honoured to be part of it again with their winter 2015 issue. My pattern for this issue is Vinca, a top down shawl that uses a textured stitch pattern with a gradient yarn.

Copyright Chrissy Jarvis

In this pattern I was introduced to a new to me yarn, Lilt Sock, by Black Trillium Fibres. It was great timing for me as I’m currently going through a gradient yarn obsession :-) The gradient was in the color periwinkle which blends very smoothly from one colour to the next, with very subtle color shifts from one mini-skein to the next.

When working with gradient yarns I like stitch patterns that bias the fabric, using a series of increases and decreases to gently undulate the knitting so that the transition from one color to the next isn’t a straight line.
This shawl starts at the back of the neck with a delicate cream yarn in garter stitch and then flows into the leaf stitch pattern. This stitch pattern increases outwards at each side of the work and when you get to the bottom edge the pattern is exploded into a larger version before ending with garter stitch.

To create this shawl without a gradient kit you could put together your own series of colors that transitioned well from one to the other. If the colors weren’t close enough together you could also try blending the join by alternating the colors for a few rows of the work when you started a new color to smooth the transition. This is what I did with the Dragon Flames cardigan. When I got to the final quarter of each skein I began alternating rows with the next color.

New pattern – Shaniko!

I’d like to thank all of you for your naming help, I’ve been inundated with names here on my blog, on ravelry, facebook and instagram!
I’ve decided on the name – Shaniko. I both like the sound of the name and the history behind it which seems very fitting!
Congrats to Andrea for picking the winner.
However I want everyone to win on this one so until the 8th of November code ‘IMPERIAL’ will get 20% off the pattern price for everyone :-) You just need to ‘add to cart’ and then you’ll have the option on checkout to use a coupon code.


This is actually one of the longest patterns I’ve ever written, I wanted to demystify more complex patterns so full stitch counts outside each of the charts are given on the raglan and at the waist shaping. Each of the 5 charts is also written out for anyone who dislikes charts and I’ve given details of German Short Rows for working the collar. For short rows in Moss Stitch its definitely the nicest way of working short rows!

Hope you enjoy; this is a great cardigan to keep your mind busy on cables and is super warm when you’re finished.

Work & puppy love

Anyone who has been following my instagram feed is probably fairly aware by now that I’ve got a new puppy. Because when your youngest is 9 and definitely no longer a baby you need a little crazy in the house :-)
She’s only been with us a few weeks but the joy Lizzie has brought to our house is immeasurable. Every child lights up when they see her and if she comes to collect them from school it might as well be Santa! Even the old man in the house is enjoying his new companion.
kenny& puppy

I’ve now got a constant companion; she sits at my feet when I cook or knit….
sits under my elbow when I’m on the couch in the evening or licks my ear….

She’s even been helping out with homework…

As you can probably guess I’m pretty smitten, a big thank you to DAWG who does such an amazing job fostering dogs and puppies and making sure the world knows how special they all are. And also to West Cork Animals where our first dog came from. Please if you are looking for a new dog go to your local dog rescue, there are so many wonderful little animals that need your love and care.


Short rows & KALs

So September is turning out to be a super busy month! On the 1st of September I launched my Mithral KAL in partnership with Fyberspates. Tons of wonderful LYS have signed on and the buzz is just fantastic! If a store is near you go ahead and check them out. You can also purchase the pattern directly from me as always. Until the end of September the KAL will come with the Mithral Hat. This uses the same yarn as the sweater and the same lace pattern so you create a useable swatch!!
Come join us on ravelry here, lot of introductions going on.

First clue is released on October 1st so get your yarn ready to swatch!

If you’ve been following my instagram and twitter feed you may be noticing a few sneaky looks at my upcoming Short Row Knits Book – it’s being ofered for an amazingly low price on Amazon right now and it’s sitting at number 1 in knitting books :-)

Short Row Knits

To watch patterns as they’re added daily you can check the ravelry page out for the book here. The book will officially be released in the US on the 15th of September. The European release date is a little later but to celebrate we’re going to have a rockin’ book launch at This Is Knit in Dublin on the 17th of October. Come book your spot :-)


Palatino, the next pattern from Dovestone Hills was a wonderful surprise to me. It was designed as a hat to match the Esquilino cowl. It is knit from side-to-side with the same ribbed cable pattern as the cowl. However as this is a hat I used short rows at the crown to shape it. As with the cowl you begin with a provisional cast-on. The the hat is knit in a series of wedges that use German Short rows to shape the top (these are very easy to work in both knit and purl) until the correct length and it is grafted together at the end.

The surprise came for me at the end; I had finished the wedges and the grafting was done. I was drawing a needle through the edge stitches in the center of the crown when I saw it; the short rows in the cables created a wonderful star flower at the centre of the crown. It’s my favourite part of the hat and it was a complete surprise :-)

If you need help with German short rows or just want to learn more about Short Rows both my craftsy short row class or my upcoming Short Row book would both be useful to you.



The time has come to take a look at the next accessory from Dovestone Hills; Esquilino. This is a cowl that is knit from side-to-side and uses a repeating ribbed cable pattern. The pattern comes in 2 sizes; small and large. The larger size is shown in the book and it’s a perfect length for wrapping around your neck twice. My absolutely favourite cowl length! It’s got all of the advantages of a scarf but none of the problems of it flying away. (I’ve actually also given directions in the book on how to adapt this pattern to work it as a scarf also).

Last September I was teaching a group of knitters in Ballymaloe and this cowl was actually initially designed for that class. For the class sample I knit a short (neck size) version in Cushendale DK.IMG_5583 IMG_5602

You can see here what the cowl looks like before it’s been grafted; you’ve got the live stitches still on one end and the provisional cast-on at the other. If you’ve never grafted in ribbing before you’ll be delighted to hear that I give step-by-step details in the book! IMG_0995

Interweave Fall 2015

Did any one notice that the new Interweave Knits (Fall 2015) came out this week?

Interweave Knits Fall 2015 Digital Edition (affiliate link)

I’ve got 2 sweaters in this issue:

First is Dee Sweater

This is knit using one of my favourite yarns, Blue Moon Fibers Targhee (also used for my Landscape Waves last year). This sweater is knit from the top down, starting with the waffle stitch saddle shoulders. From there the front and back were knit from each side and joined in the round for the body. The body is knit in one piece to the hem where it is split for front and back and worked in waffle stitch. If you wanted a longer sweater it would be fairly easy to work more length here.
Afterwards the sleeves are knit using short rows to shape the sleeve caps from the top down. The waffle stitch panel continues right from top where the saddle stitches are still live.

My second sweater is the Paddock Cardigan

This cardigan uses Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, I used this for the first time in my Short Row Knits book (you’ll see that sweater soon!) This yarn has nice body to it and is delightfully soft and enjoyable to work with.

This sweater is knit in one piece from the bottom up and uses raglan shoulder shaping. The cables used are a zig-zag infinite cable that runs around the hem and has a central cable at the top of the back.

There are some beautiful knits in this issue…Romi’s shawl (Squall Line) is a special favourite of mine!



Welcome to the next in my Dovestone Hills patterns; Capitoline (view on ravelry here). Remember that today is the last day that you can use the coupon code DOVESTONE (either free euro shipping or 20% ravelry sale).

This sweater is knit completely from side to side. You begin at one side of the front, casting on all of the stitches for the complete yoke and body. From there you work from side-to-side, working short rows at the yoke so that the yoke is the correct size.

When you reach the sleeves you cast on the sleeves stitches provisionally, work the bottom of the sleeve then the sleeve and yoke are worked together. When the sleeve is finished you graft the start and end of the sleeve together for an invisible seam. For anyone who hates grafting a standard seam will work just fine as well!

When the sleeve is finished we go back and work the side of the body under the sleeve. this is worked using a simple lace stitch with short rows to create an a-line shape at the side of the body.

Now we make our way around the back of the body, again with short row yoke shaping. We work the second sleeve the same way as the first and finally we finish at the other side of the front. And magic, you’ve got a cardigan :-)