Category Archives: Patterns

Dovestone Hills – The Interview

In case you missed it, January is Dovestone Hills month here in the land of Stolen Stitches. I’m very excited to get to share a wonderful interview with the founder of baa ram ewe LYS, Dovestone & Titus yarns; the lovely Verity Britton.  Carol asked her a few choice questions so that you could meet the person behind the yarn:

 

How did baa ram ewe get started? 

We opened baa ram ewe in North Leeds, Yorkshire, back in 2009 with the main aim of being a yarn store that people felt was part of their community and celebrated Yorkshire’s rich wool heritage, whether that was through local sheep breeds, spinners or the many hand knitting companies that are still based here like Sirdar, King Cole and Thomas Ramsden. It was mind-boggling to discover Leeds did not have a yarn shop that wasn’t selling mostly acrylics, or that had modern, wearable designs. So I left my career in radio production and opened baa ram ewe! I had no business experience and it was a bit of a gamble, but from day one we’ve had such incredible support and wonderful customers, many of whom have stayed with us over the years.

What prompted you to begin your own yarn line?

It was a natural progression really. We have always had a passion for beautiful Yorkshire sheep breeds like the Masham and the Wensleydale, and we always dreamt of being able to showcase these to their full potential in our own yarn. But it was a struggle at the start finding a mill that would spin a small enough amount for us, as we only imagined we would sell a little from our shop. The response we had to our Titus when we launched it was incredible, largely down to Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Review, which meant we sold out within days! I always remember us being amazed at getting calls from Times Square in New York with people asking to buy our yarn! It was then that we took the decision to scale up production so that we could meet demand globally. The idea that our passion for showcasing luxurious Yorkshire wool along with the superb quality of local spinners and dyers now resonates across the world still gives me a massive thrill.

Titus Mini Skeins

Titus Mini Skeins

How many different yarns are you now producing?

We have two different ‘brands’ of yarn: Our original Titus which is a 4 ply/fingering weight and a blend of Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester and British Alpaca. Then there’s our Dovestone range which is a blend of Masham, Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester. We have a DK in a lovely shade range which matches the Titus, and our new 5 shades of Dovestone Natural Aran, which celebrates the stunning- and rare- black and brown fleeces of these breeds and makes use of them when traditionally farmers would find them harder to sell.

Your yarn lines are very inspired by Yorkshire, what inspires you about where you live?

The unique combination of landscape and industry is what historically made Yorkshire the centre of the universe when it came to wool production, and what continues to be our inspiration today. On the doorstep of our shop in the city of Leeds are buildings that were once the largest spinning mills in the world, with huge banks of windows and chimneys which still define the skyline. But drive half an hour or so up the road from us and you are in the Yorkshire Dales, a beautiful landscape still peppered with sheep and lush green fields, which provide the fleeces we use for our yarn. All of this inspires us for our signature shade palette, whether it’s the teal green of Eccup, named after the Reservoir up the road from us here or the treacle and ginger mixture of Parkin, a delicious Yorkshire cake which I recommend everyone tries at the earliest opportunity!

The New Yarn Shades

The new yarn shades in Dovestone DK and Titus

Any more in the pipeline that you can share?

Ooo well, we are just about to launch our new products for Spring Summer 2017, so this is good timing! We have three gorgeous new shades of Dovestone DK and Titus: a mustard called Brass Band, a gentle pale lavender called Heathcliff and a perfect Raspberry rose called Rose Window, named after the circular window at York Minster. We’ve used these shades in a brand new design collection from Alison Moreton called the Titus Vintage Collection! The collection is a reworking of vintage Sirdar patterns which we found when given exclusive access to their archive. It’s such a lovely book.

We are also VERY excited about a brand new product we are launching, called Titus pick n mix: a tube of six 12 gramme Titus mini balls in 4 different shade combinations, all inspired by traditional sweets including Liquorice Allsorts, Kali (a Yorkshire word for Sherbert!), Wine Gums and Gobstoppers. Each tube comes with a free fingerless mitt pattern to make too, and they’re a brilliant way of introducing people to our yarns, using just a small amount of each shade, rather than having to buy full 100g hanks.

 

Where can knitters find your yarn?

We always offer a warm welcome to visitors who can make it to our store in Leeds, but we also have an online shop on our website, and now have over 250 retailers around the world, making one big happy baa ram ewe community! We have a store locator page on our site too where you can put in your post or zip code and find your nearest retailer. We sell all over North America, Europe and as far as Japan and Israel, so hopefully, you’ll be able to find somewhere close to you!

Thank you, Verity, for finding the time to answer these questions.


Until the 14th of February if you use code HAPPYDOVES you’ll get 15% off any of the Dovestone individual patterns or off the digital book. As an extra special bonus from baa ram ewe you’ll also get a discount code for 10% off their Dovestone DK yarn for the same time period. That code will be available when you purchase the patterns or digital book.

Carol is also blogging about each of the techniques used in the seamless construction of the garments in the collection. In case you missed it the first up was Caelius and Carol talks in-depth about it here.

So which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments and to be one of the first to know about releases, KAL’s and discounts why not sign up to the newsletter. 

Nadia

Top Down Raglan Construction

Dovestone Knits
In August 2015 I released the book, Dovestone Hills, that coincided with the release of baa ram ewe’s Dovestone DK yarn. Up until now these patterns have only been available as part of the book but over the coming weeks I’ll be releasing the individual patterns one at a time!
Until the 14th of February if you use code HAPPYDOVES you’ll get 15% off any of the Dovestone individual patterns or off the digital book.
As an extra special bonus from baa ram ewe you’ll also get a discount code for 10% off their Dovestone DK yarn for the same time period. That code will be available when you purchase the patterns or digital book.

So watch out for all the patterns, there will be a new one added ever couple of days!

(And the code works for all of them…..)

Top Down Raglan Construction
This seemed a perfect opportunity to talk a bit about different types of seamless construction as there are 4 different seamless methods used in Dovestone Hills. The first that I want to talk about is top down seamless raglan. This was traditionally the most common method of top down knitting as it’s very easy to knit. It doesn’t always create perfect results but with a little bit of knowledge you can easily adjust patterns to suit your body and taste.

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Caelius is the sweater in Dovestone Hills that uses this shoulder construction method. It starts with a cowl neck, uses short rows to shape the back of the neck and then uses raglan increases on either side of a decorative seam. This decorative seam continues down into the a-line body and forms the focus of interest for the sweater.

Top Down Raglan Techniques

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A ‘raglan’ is a shoulder construction where the sleeves come all the way up to the neck. For a raglan to fit correctly you would typically increase/decrease on each side of the body (and at the front and back) and on each side of the sleeve on every right side row or every other round if working in the round. This gives you 8 increases (or decreases).
If you are knitting from the top down the raglan seams are all increases but if you were knitting bottom up the will be decreases.

Increase Types
When you are creating your raglan seam you can use any type of increase that you wish. The most basic would be a kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch), for a bit more refinement you could have a mirrored M1R and M1L and if you were working on a lace cardigan you might opt to use a yo (yarnover) increase as it would fit with the lace.

Adrift uses kfb increases

Vivido used M1L and M1R increases.

You can change the way increases look also by adjusting the number of knit stitches between them. This creates a wider or narrower ‘seam’ along the raglan.
While it looks like Caelius uses yarnovers as the increases it’s actually got a centered decrease with yarnover and then the increases are outside this. The reason for this is so that the pattern can be continued down the body when you no longer need raglan increases.

Rate of Increase
In a traditional raglan you start with neck size you want, increase the body and sleeves every second row or round until you get close to the body stitches you want. The final stitches are then cast-on across the underarm. For some body shapes this works just fine BUT on the smaller and larger end of the spectrum you can have problems. Most body shapes don’t increase the size of their upper arms as fast as the bust size increases. This means that for larger bust sizes using traditional construction the sleeves will be too large.
To correct this I write my patterns with two rates of increases. You start with full raglan increases and then move on to alternating body only rows with full raglan increases so that everything fits right at the bottom of the yoke. If you do a few calculations you can adjust for yourself in the same way to fit a pattern exactly to your body shape.

Short Row Back of Neck

If you work your raglan straight down from the neck you will have the front of the neck the same height as the back. However generally a neckline is more comfortable to wear if the front is a little lower than the back. You can do this by adding short rows across the back of the neck. If you’ve got pattern work near the neck you can even put those short rows lower down the back as well.

Underarm Cast-on

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When you are finished the raglan yoke increases you still need to join the body together. You do this by knitting to the sleeve, using a tapestry needle threaded with waste yarn and slipping all of the sleeve stitches on to the thread (tie it together so you don’t loose the stitches!!)
Now you need to join the underarm. To do this neatly you cast-on the underarm stitches and then join up the back of your body and work on to the other side. Typically patterns suggest a Backwards Loop Cast-On. This is because you can keep working in the same direction with that type of cast-on. However it doesn’t really give the most stable underarm area. I prefer to turn to the wrong side of the work and using a Cable Cast-On which is lovely and firm.

Examples
I’ve designed an awful lot of top down raglan sweaters and cardigans. You can find them on here.
Dusty Road and Santa Rosa Plum are both from last summer and I’m still in love with them both :-)

Santa Rosa Plum

Santa Rosa Plum

Dusty Road

Dusty Road

Do you have a favourite?

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Ridgeback Mountain Giveaway!

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Last summer I designed a hat and cowl set, Ridgeback Mountain Set, for Craftsy. I picked their Highland DK as I really liked the natural brown color and the firm hand. This yarn isn’t soft like merino BUT it feels very comfortable to both knit with and wear and most importantly it will be durable enough to look good for several years.


Both the hat and cowl are knit in the round which has the lovely bonus of all stitches being knit with no purl! The pattern stitches are a subtle 1×1 series of cables. You can knit these directly on the needles without ever needing to grab a cable needle as there are only 2 stitches involved! I love how with just a simple left and right crosses you can create some beautiful textures.

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The hat decreases are all worked into the pattern – you can see that the ‘leaf’ pattern on the crown has the decreases at either edge.

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The cowl is double thickness as it’s knit in the round from side-to-side. This extra thickness gives it great stability so it stands very nicely around the neck. One side of the cowl is stockinette stitch and the other is dense textured stitch. This means that you have a tighter cowl at the back where you want it to tuck inside your coat! When the cowl is finished you undo the provisional cast-on and graft the start and end stitches together for a totally seamless finish.
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Now for the giveaway! Everyone that purchases the pattern for the set in January will be entered into a draw for 3 skeins of the Cloudborn Highland DK yarn that craftsy gave me. Entry is automatic.
I’ll draw the winner on the 1st of February so you can get knitting when the weather is still cold enough to need it!

New Year, plans!

happy-knitting-in-2017Well a new year appears to have started. The beginning of every year is equal parts relaxing and chaotic in our house. The lack of routines makes life much easier as the daily rush is gone. However having so many people around the house (with teens that won’t get up before noon) as well as guests floating in and out adds more than a little chaos!
I think now at this point my head is ready to start planning for the new year. I’ve downloaded all of my year end bank and paypal statements. I’ve added all receipts to the spreadsheet and  I’m ready to tidy up last year and put it away in it’s little box. Once that’s finished my head is ready to indulge in new year planning.

Last Year

KWR COVER

The last 12 months have been busy. I often don’t acknowledge quite how busy unless I go back and review. It looks like I released 37 pattern in total in 2016 (you can take a look at them easily on ravelry here). These included the Irish Yarn Club 2016, a new book (Knitting With Rainbows), 7 patterns with books and magazines, a kit with Craftsy and of course a yarn collaboration with Love Knitting!

ridgeback-hat-and-cowl-kit-1On top of that I had quite a few teaching trips in Ireland and abroad. So it was a busy year for my business but also on a personal level my oldest headed off to college this year as well. Fortunately he was very ready to go and Ireland is small enough that he can visit whenever he needs to!

2017

I don’ t think 2017 will be any quieter than 2016. I’ve already booked tickets for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cologne and Columbus over the next 5 months so I’ll have lots of fun traveling for work to start the year out. I’ve got a stack of knitting that’s ready for photography that I can share with you in the next few months. Irish Yarn Club 2017 is underway with the patterns already started. I have a HUGE surprise that I can reveal by the end of February. I’m terrible at keeping surprises though so I might leave a few hints sneak out before then!  And of course no year is complete without some fun KALs along the way!

At the end of 2016 I did a series of cable tutorials and a blog post on the topic here. In the coming months I wanted to do a set of tutorials on seamless knitting. There are lots of tips and tricks that make seamless knitting much easier that you usually have to learn the hard way so hopefully I can make the learning process a little faster.

What would you like to see?

So I’ve told you as much as I can of 2017 plans. What would you like to see? Is there any special tutorials you’d like covered? Pattern type you’d just love to see? Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re thinking! Happy 2017 to you all!!

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The Great Gingerbread Hunt

 

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Today’s blog post comes with a lovely note from Carol :

‘So I wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer this year so I decided to do a little scavenger hunt for clues! For 4 days (December 19th to 22nd) I will scatter 3 pattern photos with codes in the photo on my ravelry patterns. Every day I’ll put them up around 5 hours before the codes goes live and I’ll take them down that evening. New codes will be put up in different locations on each of the 4 days. This is just a little pre-Christmas gift for you all!’

Are you all excited! To make it fair the release times for the codes will be spread throughout the day so that no one timezone has an advantage.

So what are the prizes?

First Prize (one only): €24 coupon

Second Prize (one only): €12 coupon

Third Prize (60 available): €6 coupon

Every prize is a single use coupon only, so you can’t go back and use one again if you have already won a prize. Also, it has to be used in a single purchase so if you have unused credit in the coupon you can’t go back and use it a second time.

Want some ‘hints’ come check out the ravelry thread!

Timing:

Monday 19th: Live 5pm Irish time
Tuesday 20th: Live 10 pm Irish time
Wednesday 21st: Live 5pm Irish time
Thursday 22nd: Live 10 pm Irish time
For anyone outside the Irish time zone find your local equivalent here.

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How does it work:

  1. Find the code hidden in the pattern pages.
  2. Fill your Ravelry shopping cart.
  3. Fill in your coupon code in the ‘use coupon code’ of your Ravelry shopping cart.
  4. Enjoy your pattern!

 

Note: The coupon won’t be valid until the ‘live’ time for that day. Do be warned the first 2 prize codes will probably be used very quickly!!

Are you ready for some fun? If you don’t have a Ravelry account don’t worry it’s free and you can sign up here. Don’t forget to show Carol what you chose with your coupon and you can share the excitement on all social media with the #gingerbreadhunt. 

 

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Bloomsbury DK

I’ve been hinting over the last few months about some secret projects I was working on. Well now at last the time has come to reveal one of those secrets to you – Bloomsbury DK!

A few months ago Love Knitting asked if I’d like to be involved with a new project with some other designers; the creation of a new yarn line, The Yarn Collective. This venture was completely new to me, I’ve been on the other end of the process, working on finished yarns only before now. This time I was able to be involved from the start, trying out the yarn and picking the colours. The Yarn Collective involves several designers, each getting their own yarn to design the colours for. The first to launch was Melanie Berg last week with the Portland Lace and her lovely SecretKeeper shawl.
It’s my turn this week and I want to introduce you to Bloomsbury DK and the 3 patterns I designed for the yarn. When I started designing the yarns I had a few different things in mind; first I wanted each colour to be one I loved that could stand alone but I also wanted the colours to work together in harmony. To do this I began with a visual inspiration for each set of colours that I worked around.

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Violet, Dango in Fuchsia and Soot

The first set was inspired by the Fuchsia flower. Fuchsias grow wild in west Cork and in fact are often uses as the west Cork symbol. I love the mix of pinks, purples and greys. In the photos you can see a version of the Dango hat in Fuschia that hasn’t been photographed yet. You can see the different colour tones much more easily in the knitted fabric than in the skein.

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Moss, Oz, Indigo and Surf

The next set was based on the deep blues and greens of the sea, especially the deep colours you get when it’s at full swell with huge surfing waves. These are the colours I’m always drawn to; greens and blues.

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Russet, Sand and Copper

The final set is probably knitters (and my!) favourite season, Autumn. Browns, golds and coppers with some subtle dusty beiges. I love how the tones in these three colours just lead into each other.

So that gives you an outline on how I started the colour design process. From there I also wanted to make sure that each individual set related to the others so the neutral tones from each form almost a bridge between them.

Do you have a colour favourite?

Indigo

Indigo

I didn’t expect to love this deep Indigo blue from Dango so much. Knitted up it feels like a gently faded denim jacket, just lovely subtle variations in the navy blue. It’s got so much depth.

Now we can take a look at the patterns I designed for the yarn. There’s no better way to see how  yarn colour behaves then by knitting so I’d suggest giving them a try!


Russler
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First we have Russler, an oversized, side-to-side shawl that is super warm and generously sized. The chevron stitch pattern is great for showing off the interaction between the three different colours – so it’s a bit like wearing Autumn wrapped around your shoulders!


Lignite
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Next we have Lignite.  This is a top-down raglan tunic, with a gentle v-neck. Designed to fit loosely the stripes of grey lace combine with a gentle a-line shape and an asymmetrical short row hem slope. This creates an easy-to-wear top that can be modified for different sizes.


Dango
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Dango is a great uni-sex hat that combines a very subtle spiral cable with a dramatic central focal cable. I can see one of the boys robbing the sample over Christmas!

Yarn for all these patterns is available exclusively through Love Knitting. Keep an eye on the Yarn Collective over the coming days for some more revelations!

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Gift Knits for Men

It’s that time of year where we accomplish major knitting feats as Christmas creeps ever closer. I don’t know about you but knitting for male relatives is always a problem for me, mostly when it comes to inspiration. So to help you all out, here are some of Carol’s beautiful knitting patterns for men that would make excellent gift knits.

Hats

Mason's Hat pattern by Carol Feller in Studio Donegal Soft tweed.

Mason’s Hat from Interweave Knits

Mason’s Hat  is one of Carol’s latest patterns and you can find it in the holiday issue of Interweave Knits. I think it’s hard to find hat patterns for men and this is available in a wide number of sizes up to a 24″ brim. The pattern is also reversible and stretchy which is fantastic in a gift knit. You can pair this up with the scarf for a matching set if you have the time. If you managed to get these off the needles in a jiffy and your looking for other hat patterns, you can also check out Clypea, Stave hat, Tempano and the Coriander hat.

Socks

Claro Sock knitting pattern by Carol Feller in Susquehanna Knitting Company Susquehanna Sock

Claro Socks

Socks are another great gift and these Claro socks are worked from the cuff down and I think they allow the yarn to really shine. You could chose a plain yarn like the ones above or really go to town with a beautiful self striping yarn like the Zaurroball  pair below. I also like patterns that allow you to learn something new along the way and the short row heel and toe construction here really piqued my interest! If your looking for a cabled sock pattern Casadh has beautiful cables that organically twist in and out of each other to hug your feet!

 

Calro in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball®

Calro in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball®

Sweaters

Knockmore sweater in Black Water Abbey 2 Ply Worsted

Knockmore sweater in Black Water Abbey 2 Ply Worsted

I know there are some of you out there who could definitely knit a sweater between now and December 25th and then there are knitters like myself that end up gifting wips on the needles and happily continue to knit away during the xmas break. Knockmore is a beautiful bottom up sweater with saddle shoulders where the sleeves are worked separately and joined to the body at the yoke.  The jumper pictured above is loved so much that it is worn almost every cold winter’s day. If you are looking for something with a little more cables then Straboy could be for you while Terry’s pullover lies nicely between the two.

For the little ones

Lianthite knitting pattern by Carol Feller in Berroco Vintage™ Chunky

Lianthite Jr in Berroco Vintage™ Chunky

I won’t forget the younger men this season and  Liathite Jnr is a favourite around here. This zippered hoodie is worked with chunky yarn and just flies off the needles. The sizing runs from 12 months to 10 years old and is kept interesting with those beautiful cable panels on the front.  If your looking for something for the newest little ones among us, then the Iceling set is a perfect quick knit in aran weight yarn.

Carol has put together this Men’s Collection bundle and is generously offering  25% off both the patterns in the bundle and any of her print books found here. Just use the code MENSKNITS and make sure you grab it before the 10th of December.

What’s your favourite men’s gift? Do you have a favourite pattern from Carol that isn’t mentioned above? Let us know in the comments.

 

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New pattern: Bespin

Last year I got some yarn. But it wasn’t just any yarn, it was a really, really huge single skein of Empire yarn from Jill Makes Stuff.

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My winder wasn’t big enough to hold it all so it was broken down into several smaller cakes.

Every autumn Jill releases several batches of this yarn. Each year I look at it longingly and resist. But last year I eventually went ahead and got myself one of the mighty skeins! The yarn has got a nice high twist and feels very firm when you knit it. As the yarn has such a dense feel to it I wanted to use a more open stitch pattern to lighten it up a little. After some experimenting this is what I settled on, a broken rib pattern with yarnover rows that was dense enough to be warm but still open enough to make the sweater a little lighter.

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If you’re thinking about yarn substitution, Kerry Woollen Mills Aran yarn has a similar weight although Empire is a softer yarn.

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Bespin is knit from the bottom up; it starts with both the front and back hem knit separately (you can see that the back hem is a little longer). These increases in the pattern are shown in both charted and written format so it makes the start easier. Once the hem is finished it’s joined in the round and worked straight to the armhole opening. In the sample shown I’ve got just over 1″ / 2.5 cm of positive ease however I think this is a sweater that would work really well with a generous amount of positive ease, going for 3-4″ / 7.5-10 cm bigger than you bust size should make a great oversized winter sweater.

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Once the body is finished the sleeves are knit in the round also. As they are in stockinette stitch they just fly off the needles!

Finally the body and sleeves are joined in the round. This is a tricky maneuver for the first few rounds as you’re squeezing small sleeves into a bigger yoke circumference. I usually use a much bigger circular needle than necessary and pull a ‘loop’ similar to magic loop out at the middle of the sleeve. I find that this gives enough extra movement to really ease the difficulty of joining the sleeves to the body.

The yoke of this sweater uses raglan shoulder shaping; you can see that the pattern stitch is ‘eaten away’ as you begin working the decreases. By now you will know the pattern stitch very well so it’s easy to see how to maintain the pattern, and for any extra stitches you’ve got you can just work them as knit or purl. The raglan shaping goes through a few different sections (with different decrease rates) so that the yoke is deep enough and each part of the neck fits just right. Each of these sections is detailed with a full stitch count chart for the entire yoke given so you can easily track your work and stitch counts.

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Finally the neck is bound off at the front with decreases worked to shape it. For a deeper neck it’s possible to start the decreases sooner. I opted to use bound-off stitches and decreases at the front rather than short rows as I found it easier to maintain the pattern stitch. If you want to experiment though you could try doing it with short rows also!

I hope you have fun knitting Bespin; do you have any Empire (or another heavy aran) yarn waiting for the perfect project?

The one about Craftsy

With the release of the Ridgeback Craftsy Kit, I thought I could take you on a journey on all things Craftsy. Have you used it? If not or if your looking to find out what’s on offer, this post is for you.

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Kits
Like the Ridgeback set above, I think the one thing that Craftsy is most well known for is craft kits. It’s perfect if you want to recreate the pattern exactly. The yarn is always tailored to the pattern and you always get enough to finish your project.  All you have to do is pick your favourite colour. Carol has three other craft kits available Penrose Tile (shawl), Traveller’s End (cardigan) and the Mendel Sweater.  All of which are on sale at the moment so it’s the perfect time to pick one up for a gift or try your hand at something new.

Penrose Tile Hand knit shawl design by Carol Feller

Penrose Tile Shawl

Patterns

Craftsy also has some special patterns for example this Ross Cowl from Carol is available for free. It’s a perfect introduction to colourwork if you want to try your hand at it. So if you don’t want to buy a kit you can just grab a pattern. Although some patterns are just available initially as a kit.

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Classes

Craftsy is also a great place for online classes and tutorials. These are always fantastic value because they are a one on one session with your favourite designer, that you get to keep forever. Carol has four classes available Essential Short Row Techniques, Celtic Cables and Sweater Surgery. These are perfect to add to your knitter’s tool belt that you can reference whenever you need them. I find a lot of knitters don’t have the time for full classes or can’t get to the venue. These are the answer, plus you can re-watch a technique as many times as you need to. The handy 30 second repeat feature and bookmark/note tool makes it even more useful, you can always find the spot you’re looking for. Carol even has a free Craftsy class if you want to dip your toe in the water. It gives you an idea of how the longer classes are put together and also you get to see Carol’s teaching techniques. You can see what Ssmith94015 thought here:

Great class, learned some new techniques for short rows and how to use them. Helped explain some instructions that I came across in a few patterns and now I know what they were trying to say. Have inspired me to create projects using the short row approach.

But wait there’s more

Craftsy isn’t just for knitters, which is why I love it. I really think that crafters express their creativity over a few mediums and there is everything from cooking, sewing, crochet, art and even gardening.  It’s just one of these places that I go to for a specific reason and I’ve lost half an hour to beautiful quilt supplies.

I hope I have inspired you to check it out, pick up a craft kit or try a class on something new. If there a class you are thinking of taking then let us know in the comments.
Also I am collecting some questions for Carol, so if there is something that you have been itching to ask a knitwear designer or just something you have always wondered then drop it in the comments or over on the Stolen Stitches group on Ravlery.

Thanks for Reading,

Nadia

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Behind the Scenes with the Yarn Club

For the last 3 years I’ve been running the Irish Yarn Club with This Is Knit. I had always wanted to do a club and one that featured Irish hand dyers seemed perfect! A lot of my design work tends to be garments so a club with very focused, smaller pieces seemed like a fun project to work on.
When we are putting the clubs together I try to keep a mix at every level; with yarn type, colours dyed and project types. This keeps it interesting for me designing and makes it more likely for knitters to have a project they can fall in love with.
In last year’s club we decided on 3 different yarn weights; lace weight (Hedgehog Fibres ‘Merino Lace‘), fingering weight (Townhouse Yarns ‘Spire Singles‘) and worsted (Donegal Wool Spinning Company dyed by Dublin Dye Company).

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Each of these yarn had very different properties that would create very different dye effects. To start with Yvonne from Dublin Dye Company did some experimenting with the Donegal yarn. Hand dyers primarily use superwash yarn, which behaves very well with hand dyeing. When a colour is applied it stays pretty much where it is put which allows them to create semi-solid colours and even speckles. However the Donegal yarn was a woollen spun (very hairy!) yarn and obviously not superwash. This means that when dye is applied it immediately gets sucked up into the fibre and spreads quickly. Due to this a semi-solid to solid colour was the best option. The colour that Yvonne created was a wonderful rich green. The base yarn starts off as a darker colour, closer to a beige brown, and when it was dyed even a small amount created a rich, deep colour. In fact the amount of dye needed was closer to what she would generally use to create a pastel shade on a white yarn base!
As this yarn was a worsted weight with less than 200m I wanted a smaller project. I ended up settling on a cabled hat (Sheephaven) with a folded brim that used the complete skein and created a cosy hat that really showed off the colour. I did get caught with yarn amount though – the medium size used the single skein exactly but several knitters were running a little short. Even a slight difference in either the yardage of the skein or in knitting tension is enough to push it over the edge of a single skein.


The next yarn was the lace yarn with Hedgehog Fibres. Working with Beata I knew that she was creating some fantastic speckled yarn at the moment so that seemed like a great dyeing technique to have in the club. I used pinterest to throw out a few colour ideas to her and let her do her magic :-)
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When designing with the laceweight yarn there was a huge amount of yardage, 1200 m! This really opens up the possibilities for different project types. I started experimenting with stitch patterns that enhanced speckled yarn and eventually settled on a drop stitch pattern that showed off the colours and also broke it up a bit.

1 Not everyone likes doing garment type projects so Kompeito had both the option of a sleeveless vest or just a side-to-side shawl.


The final yarn for last years club was a fingering weight gradient yarn dyed by Townhouse Yarns. I was particularly excited about this yarn as I was also starting on my Knitting With Rainbows book! I put a pinterst board together with some colour ideas.
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As you can see we were talking about a big range of colours in the gradient. Because of this I decided to use a slip stitch pattern in the project. Slip stitches are a great way of combining different colours together and work best when there is an obvious difference between each colour. This project comes with 5 little skeins (20g each) of each colour. Before you start knitting you divide each of them in 2 again so you have enough yarn for each of your arm warmers. Proby’s Armwarmers were knit nice and long to take full advantage of the range of colours, I wanted to make sure that as much yarn as possible was used! This project actually ended up in Knitting With Rainbows as it fit right in :-)
So there you have a brief overview of the yarn colour and design process. It’s all about variety and creating the best match of yarn, colour and project.

What kind of projects and yarn will you be hoping for in the 2017 club?

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