Well 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.
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!
On 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!
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!!
Well it looks like we’re almost at the end of another wonderful year. I’m getting ready for a relaxing few weeks where I can indulge in the things that I love and plan for the coming year. This year we’ve got a quieter Christmas than usual, my parents and sister’s family are in Amsterdam so it’s just our 6 for Christmas day. When you get used to several years of 13 plus for Christmas then 6 feels tiny! It will make for a very restful holiday I think though, which can’t be a bad thing.
Last Christmas I did a giveaway for Aeschne on Christmas day. This felt like such a Christmas sweater that it made the perfect gift.
This year I did the Gingerbread hunt which was a wonderful success. In fact on the final day every one of the codes was used within 5 minutes!! I felt though that I really wanted to give back to you wonderful knitters before the end of the year. At the start of this year, in January, we had a very rough month. Both cars broke down and we had a very sick little puppy who recovered badly when she was neutered. I did a big ‘fix my car’ sale and you guys bailed me out when I was really in need. I’m grateful for the kindness of the extended knitting community in times of need so it seemed like a good time to give a little back.
For the next few weeks I’m planning on knitting, hopefully reading and playing lots of games with the family. We’ve got shelves and shelves of games in our house that never get enough use but at Christmas they come into their own. I hope that stepping back for a few weeks from normal operation mode will allow my brain to dig up a few exciting design ideas! I’ll be checking in online every few days but bigger queries will be dealt with after the holiday season. The coming year is going to be very busy; I’ll be bouncing from Birmingham to Edinburgh, on to Cologne and hitting Columbus by June. There will be fantastic sales, lots of teaching, and a great big surprise that I can share with you within a few months.
What are your Christmas plans? Do you have any holiday traditions in your family that you just love?
A few months ago Rooster Yarns (who distribute Manos Del Uruguay yarns) asked if I’d like to do a few patterns in their yarn. I really enjoy working with these yarns so I jumped at the chance!
I opted to work with Serena yarn which is a lightweight blend of alpaca and cotton. It’s an unusual yarn blend and can easily be worked in a wide range of gauges. The three patterns I designed give a pretty good idea of the different ways it can be knit up.
The first pattern I want to share with you is Clypea.
This is knit using smaller 3mm needles to keep the gauge of the yarn a bit tighter so it will hold the shape of the hat. It creates a super soft and fluffy fabric that is very stretchy. The hat is pictured here on my brother-in-law but due to the slouchy style and stretchy fit this hat also very comfortably fits my head also.
The colour range of this yarn is very subtle which really makes combining colours very easy – just pick your favourites and start knitting!
The hat starts with a folded brim, I used the brighter yellow colour for the inner layer so the edge just peaks through at the fold. Then each time you change the colour a simple slip stitch pattern worked for a few rows creates a very interesting colourwork pattern with no stranding! I love slip stitch patterns for colour blending, it’s simple to do and works really well.
The hat is knit nice and long as the light fabric makes it slouch really nicely. The crown decreases are all done in the brighter yellow colour again to tie the whole hat together. Overall I’m pretty fond of this one!
For everyone with children we’re in the back to school mode here. I had children starting school last week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and on Saturday my oldest went up to college in Dublin. Add to that an envelope packing marathon to get all the Knitting With Rainbows pre-sale orders out last week and it seems strangely calm this morning.
The 2 dogs are snoring on the sofa near me, birds are tweeting outside and there is no one in the house but me. It feels very strange after a summer filled with people. Normally in August I’m counting down the days until I get peace again. But this year feels different. Instead of quiet the house actually feels empty. Perhaps this is because the boys aren’t very young any more so instead of constant demands for my attention they go about their own business a lot of the time. I’m also increasingly aware of how fast time goes – within 8 years my youngest will be finished school so I have to be careful not to wish that time away.
So now that my house is quiet again – what will I get up to?
You may have noticed that Knitting With Rainbows is now available digitally as well as in print (which comes with a download code).
I’m so happy that this book has been well received. It was a very different book from my usual self-published ones. Instead of just patterns this book has a lot of information on gradient yarn, stitch patterns and suggestions for how to use gradient yarns to full advantage. The print book turned out amazing, the colours are bright and vivid and it’s a pleasure to flick though!
If you want to see any of the samples in person, get a book signed or chat about yarn options come along from 3 to 5 this Saturday 10th September at This Is Knit.
Over the next few weeks I’ve got a few more big projects that I’m working on that I can’t reveal yet. Keep checking back though as I’ll let you know about them as soon as I can :-)
So last weekend we had a wonderful photo shoot for the gradient book – I think it’s going to be called ‘Knitting with Rainbows’. Very fittingly we found some fantastic graffiti downtown in Cork that makes the perfect backdrop for the book. We also found this spot behind the disused Beamish & Crawford brewery. It was across the river so we couldn’t reach it, but so beautiful!
I’ve been working like a crazy person for the last few weeks putting tutorials together and reviewing pattern edits. In my head up to this point I keep saying ‘it’s just going to be a small book‘, just a few patterns and tutorials. Well apparently I can’t do anything small! I’ve got 11 patterns, additional stitch patterns and tutorials and at the very minimum I think this book will be around 80 pages long. It would explain why feeling somewhat overwhelmed, a little bit panicked and exhaused. I haven’t acknowledged what a substantial project I was taking on. It is however going to be an information packed and very pretty book. My son’s girlfriend is a very talented illustrator and next week she is getting started on book illustrations and I can’t wait to see them. I’ll share some with you as she works along.
Just to give you a flavour of the book, 2 patterns have already been produced and are out in the world. The first is Probys Armwarmers which was the last pattern from the Irish Yarn Club 2016. (All patterns are also on ravlery now from that club). This pattern is a great example of how a slip stitch pattern can be used to blend a gradient kit that has big jumps between the colours.
The first version was in Townhouse Yarns:
I’ve also had a sample made using a second yarn to give an idea of what another set of colours would look like.
The second version uses Fyberspates yarn:
The second pattern that you’ve seen before is Stave Hat. I’ve previously published the child’s sweater version of this chart and the hat has been used in my Textured Colourwork classes. This hat uses textured colourwork (purls worked into a stranded pattern) to blend the colours together. It works really well for either a gradient set that has big colour jumps or for a collection of colours you have put together yourself that you want to blend smoothly.
(Yes, that really is a giant cockerel mural behind her….)
So if we keep working at this pace I think the book will be ready to go by the autumn. I hope you’re all getting as excited about this as I am – it’s getting real now :-)
Last weekend I traveled to Dublin for my Short Row Knits book launch with This Is Knit. It was such an enjoyable day; there was so much love and support from friends and customers I cannot thank you all enough! This Is Knit did a lovely blog post about the event here. I never get photos when I’m doing events, I think I’ll have to find myself a full time photographer to bring along with me :-)
The Short Row Knits blog tour is still running along, with some lovely reviews and great giveaways. Yesterday there was a review from Ann Kingstone and you can find upcoming (or past) stops here.
Next week I’m going to have a new pattern coming out, BUT I’m having a hard time coming up with a name. It’s a cosy, heavily cabled cardigan that uses Imperial Ranch Columbia Yarn. The yarn is rustic but soft, with a subtle colour that can be worn with everything.
I think the name should be rustic and a bit American west – the closest I could come up with was ‘Hickory Chips’.
Do you have any ideas? I’m offering a free pattern if you can find a I name I use!
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’.
Now 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.
I’m starting on my next cardigan now with Anzula Cole…more on that next week!
It’s been a busy week and while I’ve been knitting away on my gradient cardigan I haven’t actually been keeping you all posted!
First up I want to congratulate Cassy who won the raffle for ‘Knits for Boys‘, have fun knitting.
So this is the finished garter stitch front on one side (with the second almost done), there’s a short row shoulder slope, a little short row wedge to give the collar room to turn the corner and then the collar is just knit right up to where it will sit at the back of the neck.
I’ve now nearly finished knitting the second side. There’s a reason why I really, really need to knit the first sample myself with unusual constructions. When I started knitting I totally forgot to reverse the direction of the zigzag so it looks rather awful first time around :-)
I’ll get the sleeves finished in the next few days. I think they will be top down set-in with short row sleeve caps. Then it’ll be ready to send to the tech editor and test knitters. This yarn is a real pleasure to knit with, smooth but with nice body so it feels like it’s got some substance. My kind of yarn.
I’m moving right along with this cardigan, the gradient yarn is spurring me on to knit quickly so I can see it progressing.
I’m happy with how the garter stitch short row ‘turn’ worked from the back to the front.
I never thought that’s I get so much use from my maths; to calculate the number of short rows to turn the corner you just need to find out 1/4 of the circle circumference. You’ve got the radius with the number of stitches so it all fits neatly together :-)
Now that the corner is turned I’m working straight up for the front. Originally I was thinking about going back to st st and the zigzag stitch worked up the front but I’m really liking the striped gradient in garter stitch. What do you all think of a garter stitch front into a wide folded collar??
I’m making my way through the back and I’ve got a number of issues coming up.
The first is the transition between the colors. You can see here that for the first transition I just finished one color and started the next.
Even though the colors are close the tradition is harsher than I’d like. For the next one I’m going to start alternating with the new skein when 1/4 of the yarn is left which will hopefully create a smoother translation. I think I like this a bit better…
The next issue is moving from the back to the front. At the rate the yarn is being used I think there will still be a good bit of the gradient yarn left when the width of the back is finished. I’m trying to figure out how to ‘turn the corner’ so to speak to the front so that the gradient is allowed to flow. If I keep going with the zigzag pattern I’ll run into a problem – when working this in short rows I’m going to get disjointed sections within the stitch patterns. So that makes me wonder how I could transition for the short row bend from back to front by using a different contrasting stitch pattern….maybe garter stitch? That would look pretty cool with the gradients in short rows. The I could leave that garter short row triangle to stand alone and start up with the zigzag to work up the front of the garment.
Here’s a little sketch of how that would flow. This is what I use walks with my dog for – I mentally ‘verbalize’ the problem and troubleshoot different ways of making it work and flow. This is the part of my job that’s the hardest but the most satisfying when it works. You come up with something totally unique rather than a standard design-by-numbers approach.