Is everyone out there as busy knitting for Christmas gifts as I am? I’ve got a secret one going for a Knitmas gift exchange I’m on. It’s fun and nerve wrecking doing a secret knit for someone you only know virtually! Obviously I can’t use one of my own patterns, that would be a dead giveaway so it gives me a chance to look around at some other small pattern items I’ve been looking at through the year. As a designer I don’t often get a chance to knit other designers patterns so it’s quite a treat to get a chance to do it. That’s all I’m going to give away for now…
On an unrelated note, I will need to restructure my business by the end of the year. For the most part this won’t have a significant impact on you as the end user except it will involve a slight price increase. From January 1st my pattern prices will increase from $6 to $6.50. It’s not a huge jump but I just wanted to give you all warning! Also, from a few weeks ago I have changed the checkout on the ravelry shopping cart so that it asks you for your address. I won’t use this in any way but it’s now become a legal requirement within the EU as they are changing the way VAT works. Previously the country I ran my business from determined the VAT (value added tax) rate that I charged. From 1st of January, 2015 new regulations will come into effect which changes this to the country of purchase. This means that I’ve got to know where the patterns are going and charge the correct rate of VAT accordingly.
If you want to stock up on some patterns before the price increase comes into effect watch out for a newsletter discount sale I’ll be running very shortly. Make sure you’re on my newsletter list so you’ll hear about it on time!
Some of you out there may have spotted a new pattern from me this week – Landscape Waves.
You may have figured out by now that I really do love Blue Moon yarns. This particular yarn was fantastic to work with, it’s a brand new yarn they’re stocking called Targhee Worsted. I have not come across this breed of sheep before, but the yarn it produces is wonderful. The yarn is firm and fairly rustic but yet is soft enough to be comfortable next to the skin and it’s spun with a tight twist to make a plump firm yarn that is fantastic for knitting cables. The color I chose was ‘Spawn of Scum’ which is a vibrant green with wonderful rich undertones. In fact I kept these skeins on the corner of my desk for ages before I knit them as the color made me so happy :-)
Now to the cardigan itself. It was knit from the top down starting with the cabled collar. There is raglan shoulder shaping but you may notice that the front is a little different. The front edges are picked up and worked using short rows after the yoke is finished. The remainder of the cardigan is worked as an a-line with big chunky cables running down the sides. The version shown is the shorter version (I ran out of yarn!) but I’ve given the option in the pattern for a longer version that is the same width at the bottom but the increases are more gradual.
The cardigan itself has no fastenings as it can be worn either open or folded across. The shawl pin I’ve shown is from This Is Knit and works really well to fasten the cardigan.
In case you were wondering about the creepy backdrop to the photos, there’s a currently abandoned nursing home close to us that we took the photos outside of. So there was a great array of random debris around!
Have you seen that the 2015 installment for the Irish Yarn Club is up for sale?
This is the second year that I’m doing this collaboration with This Is Knit. It’s a match made in heaven really; I get to design and knit with delicious yarn from Irish hand dyers and at the same time work with a yarn store that has superb customer service that has supported me right from the start.
This club works in 2 ways, full club or pattern only. If you opt for the full club you will get 3 installments of yarn (every 2 months, starting in February) and a link to a pattern pdf that uses that yarn. For the pattern only club, pretty much as it says on the tin, you get a link to the pattern pdf when the pattern is released, every 2 months with 3 patterns in total.
Last year there were 3 fingering weight yarns from Hedgehog Fibres, Coolree and Dublin Dye Company. This year it’s slightly different, we’ll have 3 different yarn weights; sports weight, fingering and lace from Dublin Dye Company, Townhouse Yarns and Hedgehog Fibres. Every one of the colors used are custom dyed especially for the club so they’re extra special. I’m currently working on some pattern ideas for the yarn, I’m still experimenting as I want to make sure that each pattern complements the yarn perfectly. There will be a variety of projects, last year (you can see the patterns here) there was a hat, shawl and socks.
So come and join us this year! What small project will you be hoping to see in the club?
PS: First clue from the Capall Dubh KAL was released today!
On Sunday evening I launched the pre-sale for my autumn KAL – Capall Dubh. This started out over the summer when my friend Sue was thinking of knitting a new cardigan. I offered to do the designing and she was going to knit a version of it. I’ve got several beautiful piles of Blue Moon Fibers yarn here so it seemed the perfect yarn for the project.
I knew I wanted a simple enough cardigan that it could be used for everyday wear. BUT I wanted to have enough detail that it was fun to knit. The basic shape of the cardigan is simple, top down body with set-in sleeves from the top down. But I was playing around with pattern stitches and loved the Cherry tree one. I began by using it as the first panel across the top of the shoulder and then I liked it so much it got added to the back as well!
You can see in this photo the stitch panel at the shoulder, I also worked ‘welts’ at each side of the stitch pattern so it really stood out as a focal point for the cardigan. They can of course be omitted if you wanted a more subtle effect.
The front is a gentle scooped neckline that is finished afterwards with ribbing and the buttonbands use small delicate buttons.
I knit the version shown above in Silky Victoria. This is a light dk/sportsweight yarn that is knit with larger needles to give it a lighter more open feel. This plays well with the lacy cable stitch at the back panel.
The version that Sue is knitting uses Gaea Sport. This is quite a heavy sport weight yarn and as the yardage is a little less you’ll need slightly more yarn (weight wise). You can see it in progress here in Smoke on the Water colorway:
As everyone is picking yarns, choosing colors and starting to swatch there’s quite a buzz going on the ravelry board! Come on over and join us.
Just to tease you all I’m only going to give you glimpse of the cardigan :-0
I’ve just finished this cardigan that was knit with the most wonderful new yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts – Silky Victoria. It’s got delicate cabled lace, top down construction with short row set-in sleeves. Plus there is currently a second version being knit in Gaea – Sport if you prefer your yarn to be of the 100% wool variety!
Watch out for a newsletter update next week, with more photos, a pre-order link and a yarn discount!
Last year I met Verity, the owner of Baa Ram Ewe at TNNA in Columbus. She was bubbly, energetic and very, very Yorkshire! She had just launched a brand new Yorkshire yarn, Titus. This yarn is made from a blend of local fibres (50% Wensleydale, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, 30% UK Alpaca) and it is dyed in colours that reflect the Yorkshire countryside.
Originally she was selling several of my patterns that knit up well in Titus yarn in their original pattern format. However several of the samples have been reknit in Titus and we’re putting special Titus patterns together for Baa Ram Ewe. I’ve got a few of the photos to share from last week when we did the first photoshoot.
First up is Autumn Whispers.
Next one is Akoya.
Watch out over the coming months for the next few patterns, we may even have a few surprises for you!
Last September I designed a shawl called Penrose Tile for the second issue of Ply magazine (blog post here). This is a spinning magazine so the shawl was knit using hand spun yarn. It was my first time knitting with hand spun and I loved it. They created a variegated yarn with a complementary solid color that I used to create a garter stitch/lace shawl that used the two yarns in a series of garter stitch short row stripes with lace panels.
The shawl was very popular and that issue of the magazine quickly sold out with the result that I’ve had a lot of request for this shawl pattern over the last few months. I’ve been preparing for the re-release by knitting the shawl again in hand dyed yarn. Yvonne from Dublin Dye Company kindly custom dyed two colors for me, Ripple and Mustard (good think it’s not for eating!) that work really nicely together in her new Swing Sock yarn.
The updated shawl pattern has just been released and there is a bonus coupon for a 15% discount included for Dublin Dye Company. They have just updated their etsy store to include some lovely swing sock color combinations that would be just prefect for Penrose Tile.
We’ve been throwing some color combination ideas around on twitter if you’re looking for some inspiration!
This summer Jenny from This Is Knit started hand dyeing yarn under the label ‘Townhouse Yarns’. They sent some on for me to try in a very pretty olive green colour. The yarn was soft and light, perfect shawl material.
I decided to use it for a new shawl pattern that uses a slip stitch pattern that I’ve experimented with before. I love the geometric lines through the garter, with a ruffle that finishes with a flourish. The shawl starts with a standard garter stitch tab and then from there you can see how it evolves into a series of st st and garter panels. The end result is called Georgian Heights.
Georgian Heights is for sale at a discounted price until the 4th of August. Plus as an added bonus all pattern sales before that are entered into a draw for a skein of Townhouse Yarn in the same colour that I used for the pattern!
The Briar Rose KAL is getting off to a great start, knitters are picking their yarns and photos are popping up every day as the yarn is arriving. If you’ve joined the KAL drop by and introduce yourself!
This is always my favorite part of a KAL, the excitement is building and great friendships are started. Apparently on one of my previous KALs (Ravi) two knitters made friends in real life and are still knitting together!
Do you all remember the Irish Yarn Club? I’ve been busy in the background with this, every 2 months a new pattern has been released and yesterday I just sent out the last one. I really enjoyed this project, This Is Knit, is one of my favourite yarn shops and they did a fantastic job organising the yarn. And I got a chance to knit with some of the great yarn being dyed in Ireland.
We hope to do another club for 2015 so the planning will have to start soon…anyone out there with preferences? What type of yarn would you like to see? Lace/fingering/heavier? All the same type or a mixture? The benefit of fingering is that there are loads of projects that can be done with just one skein so the club cost doesn’t get too high. Would you like to see more yarn each installment with 2 skeins instead of 1 with bigger patterns? What kind of patterns would you love to get? Let me know your thoughts, it’ll be a big help with planning!
Would you like a sneak peek of the patterns that were released in the 2014 club?
First up was a hat, Tempano with Hedgehog Fibres yarn.
The second pattern was a shawl, Dunderry, using Coolree Yarns.
The final pattern that was released yesterday was toe up socks, Talium, using Dublin Dye Company Merino Sock.
Much to my astonishment I’m already up to my 150th pattern. I’ve no idea how that happened so quickly, but here we are :-)
To celebrate I’m doing a great big KAL (knit along), Dark Pearl KAL.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a KAL so I’m really excited about this one. I got the Sea Pearl yarn from Briar Rose several months ago and I’ve been looking at it longingly wanting to cast on. With so many book projects on the go I didn’t have the time to get started. However a local knitter, Kathy, got me moving with this. She knit the back and sleeves of the cardigan and I knit on the lace front this week. Even though it was a fingering weight it just flew off the needles. The yarn is smooth and easy to work with and the lace pattern is fast to memorize. It took a couple of days to block thanks to the damp weather but at last I’ve got a few photos. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, the extra fabric at the front of the neck draped just right, so it’s easy and fun to wear.
So now for the KAL details – I’ve got the pattern up for pre-sale until the start of June. When you order you’ll get an information sheet detailing sizing, yarn and gauge. There will also be a 10% discount code for Briar Rose Fibers if you want to order Sea Pearl to knit the cardigan with. If you decide to use a different yarn I’ve also given detailed yardage information to help you out.
The first clue will be sent out in early June and the other 3 clues will be released every 2 weeks. I’ll have a tip/tutorial section with every clue and we’ll have a full discussion going in the ravelry group. If any problems arise along the way I’ll put extra tutorials/videos together to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.
At the end of every clue I’ll have a spot prize for all completed clues and a wonderful end prize from Briar Rose at the end of the KAL.
Come and join us!