There’s a very exciting launch today – Kate Davies, The Book of Haps! Just in case that wasn’t exciting enough I’m also on the cover :-)
Over the next few days Kate will be revealing the other designs in the book. I haven’t seen them yet so I’m eagerly awaiting them as well! To preorder your copy go to Kate’s website here. And keep an eye out on ravelry for each day’s reveal!
Copyright Tom Barr
Last year Kate Davies asked me to be part of this very special project where she wanted to explore the concept of a Hap as an everyday piece of clothing. Each of us used this as a starting point to design a shawl that we would like to use for everyday wear.
As I started thinking about the concept I began to realise that my surrounds needed to be my inspiration. There is nothing I enjoy more on a daily basis than walking my dogs in the Irish countryside. Kate has put my essay on the topic up on her blog here.
This is how the colours and shapes of the shawl came together. The cream and green curves across the top of the shawl echo the hills and crazy green countryside during an Irish summer. As I was designing the road outside our house was littered with Monbretia flowers. They grow wild everywhere here along with blackberries. So the orange welts and bobble edging finish the full shawl concept out.
Fortunately for me one of the most amazing dyers in the world works within 30 minutes of my house, so using yarn from Hedgehog Fibres helped keep the full shawl concept local! I used her Sock Yarn; Silence for the light colour, Swamp for the green and Copper Penny for the bright orange pops. Copper Penny has got some green running through it as well so it blends particularly nicely with the Swamp.
I’m so very honoured to be part of this project, keep watching out for the upcoming shawls and fantastic designers!
We’re just getting started with yarn choices and sizing on the ravelry board here. So some on and join us so you can have a great summer cardigan :-)
Tina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts had been planning to do some gradients colours for a while and as you all know I’m a little gradient obsessed. We schemed for a while and came up with this yarn and colour combination (Marine Silk Sport in Plum Crazy) for a perfect summer cardigan, Santa Rosa Plum. My challenge now was to do justice to the yarn and create a cardigan that would be perfect summer evenings.
I settled on a top down raglan cardigan with wide lace panels.
The raglan shaping happens between the lace panels which creates a really interesting visual detail with minimal knitting work. Always a bonus :-) As the number of stitches in lace panel doesn’t change this makes it much easier to work than most lace in garments, no increases or decreases.
After the yoke is done the waist shaping happens inside the lace panels so they are again allowed to move across the cardigan. This way the lace creates a feature but all the shaping happens in the st st portion of the garment.
Working with gradients has it’s own set of challenges. You want to try and balance the color use out and smooth the transitions. This is a little easier for you all as the overall yardage has already been calculated by me which means you can use divide your different colours evenly so that the gradient runs through the whole cardigan. A big part of the pattern notes deals with this, explaining how to reserve enough yarn for sleeves and the alternating stripes between the colours. Discussions in the ravelry group will also be very helpful if you run into problems.
Blue Moon has been very busy, they’ve put together some custom gradient kits and written a lovely blog post about the KAL. When you purchase the pattern you’ll get an exclusive 15% discount on the KAL yarn (Marine Silk Sport). What colour do you think you’ll knit your cardigan in, looking at this basket I’m actually tempted by them all!
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!
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.
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)
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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!
Now take this set – you can see that in black and white there’s a big variety of tones.
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!
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.)
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!
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?
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!)
I’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 :-)
As 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 :-)
Well everyone I’ve had a rather eventful start to the year. My lovely little puppy was neutered this week but reacted badly to the medication so we had 3 days of 24 hour nursing. Fortunately she’s made a full recovery and is in great shape now!
Over the last 10 days not one but both of our cars have ended up in the garage with my husband driving a rental, while I’m begging and borrowing my mothers car for school pick-ups. Both repairs are very expensive so I thought it would be the perfect time for a January sale!
From now (16th January) until midnight on the 21st (GMT) you can get 40% off all my self-published patterns and e-books. You can find all of them here on my website or on the ravelry page. Just use code FIXMYCAR (put pattern in cart, click ‘use coupon code’ and put the code in).
You can use this great sale to pick up the newly self-published Cannan Hood (previously a club pattern for The Woolen Rabbit).
Thank you all so much for your ongoing support, I appreciate it so very much!
Feel free to share the coupon code with family and friends.