Category Archives: Work in Progress

Working on those gradients

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!
IMG_5921I’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:
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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.
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(Yes, that really is a giant cockerel mural behind her….)
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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 :-)

Blog tours and coming patterns

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!


Dragon Flames

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’.

IMG_3519Now 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.

IMG_3525I’m starting on my next cardigan now with Anzula Cole…more on that next week!

Gradient cardigan process -4

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.

IMG_3518So 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.

IMG_3513I’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.

Gradient cardigan process 3

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.

IMG_3487I 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??

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Gradient Cardigan Process 2

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.

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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…

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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.

IMG_3481Here’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.

Gradient cardigan progress 1

I wanted to knit a cardigan with the gradient yarn but the key for me was using the gradient somewhere that was not going to be a critical spot when the gradient ran out. I don’t want it to look right for one size but then dramatically different for all the other sizes! Plus I want to completely use up the gradient, with the other yarn only being used when it was finished.

Now I think that a gradient is going to work best with a stitch pattern that flows and weaves. I’ve seen it used a few times with feather and fan lace stitch which works great but I wanted to try something different. I’ve been experimenting with a zigazag stitch pattern that I think I’ll use. It creates a great texture but it’s very fast to work.

IMG_3472I’m going to start the sweater at the center of the back and go out each side, that way hopefully it’ll look like the gradient is growing out in both directions. Here you can see that I’m almost finished with one 1/2 of the first gradient (it’s halved so that it’ll be equal on each side of the back) and I’m getting ready to wind the next skein.

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Dragonfly Fibers

It would appear that I’ve fallen down the Dragonfly Fibers rabbit hole :-) Not a bad place to be actually! Last month the Ribbon Tool Shawl which used their yarn, Pixie, was released in the spring Interweave Knits. It’s a great shawl to learn German short rows in garter with and they’re running a KAL in their ravelry group. In fact anyone who finished before the 14th of April gets a 10% yarn discount coupon. So if you’re working on this shawl make sure you join into their KAL (actually you’d have enough time even if you started now).

Ribbon Tool Shawl

Following on from this design Dragonfly Fibers wanted to know if I’d like to do a design for their stand at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. They’ve got some wonderful gradient kits (take a peek here) so I thought a cardigan that begins with a gradient would look wonderful. dragonfly gradient

They’ve put together a gradient for me that runs from yellow right through to their Rodeo red. I’ve wanted to use a gradient set for so long that I’m really excited about this. If anyone is interested I can post little update on my progress as I’m working. I don’t often get to do that but designing can be an isolating job and it’s be kind of nice to have you all along for the journey!

Modifying an older cardigan

A few years ago I knit a version of Leitmotif cardigan for myself. I used a heavier yarn and I wanted to lengthen the sleeves a bit. While I love the cardigan I find I’m not getting much use from it. I’ve got a couple of problem, the first is that the front doesn’t have closures.

IMG_3300The front edges are knit in st st and edged with I-cord bind off. In the sample I used hooks and eyes for a clean line but I knit the front of mine longer to cross over. I’m thinking about undoing the I-cord bind off and working I-cord buttonholes along the front edge so that I can add buttons.

The second issue I have is that I knit the sleeves too long and wide. The yarn I used is heavier than the yarn in the pattern and I didn’t add extra decreases to compensate. So my sleeves are too long and wide. This means that every time I wear it the sleeves get in the way!

IMG_3304Fortunately these sleeves were knit from the top down. So what I need to do I think is to rip out the extra 1 1/2″ of length I don’t want and then another couple of inches more so that I can work a few more decrease rounds.

While none of these changes will take more than a few hours I’m really, really slow to get around to doing them. The cardigan has been sitting on the back of the sofa for 2 weeks now and I’m managing very successfully to ignore it every night :-) Please give me a great big shove to got finish the job! Maybe I just need the temperature to drop a few degrees so that I am in serious need of an new cardigan…..

Photoshoots and animals

I’m approaching the last few weeks before my book deadline, the last project is being knit, swatches are being worked and most importantly photos are being taken. I’ve been traveling around Cork meeting different models and getting all the book projects recorded. It’s fun and scary in equal measure!

However it would seem that animal life in Ireland are very eager to photobomb…

first it was the cows.

cowsthen someone arrived with a horsebox and two dogs…admittedly they were very cute so who could object :-)dogsNext time out we headed to Kanturk

kanturk castleApparently we were disturbing this poor bird’s resting place, but he stayed quietly in the corner while we photographed.

birdAs you can see it’s been pretty busy around here…but unfortunately I can’t share much of it with you yet. I think the wait will be worth it though, the book is shaping up very nicely so it should be worth the wait!