Category Archives: Work in Progress

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!

Happy New Year..belated!

Well I’m a few days after the New Year but it’s taken me a little while to process my holiday and life in general. I’m having an amazingly good, restful holiday, lots of sleep, knitting and reading. One of my previous New Year’s resolutions was to begin reading more and I’m making my way through the third Game of Thrones books and loving them. It does require some plastic book holders though to keep the pages open while you knit :-)

Over the last year I’ve been longing to do some sewing, but just couldn’t bring myself to actually buy a machine (I hate buying things I’m not 110% sure I’ll use!). Yesterday I bit the bullet and bought a very basic machine from Lidl that should be just perfect to get me started. After I do a few little tests to see how it works the first big job I hope to tackle is some new curtains for 2 of the boys rooms. They’re not small kids any more but the teddy bear curtains are still hanging. I think this is the year they’ll have to go.

I can’t reveal full details of my year to come yet but it looks like it’s going to be a big one for me with some huge challenges. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. (You know when you get that knot in your stomach but you can’t quite tell which it is?). I think I can manage them, but that’s assuming nothing unexpected happens. So fingers crossed that this year runs as smoothly as possible…here’s hoping!

So, I know this will not be a restful year but I feel hopeful that I’m up to the challenges ahead. I think next Christmas/New Year I’ll be in need of that long sleep filled holiday again!

Have you made any New Year Resolutions? Let me know what they are, I think it helps committing them to writing!

Challanges & treats

I’ve got a busy few months coming up from both a work and personal point of view.  From the family side, we’ve got exams (Junior Cert for oldest, multiple music, gymnastic trials), 2 plays (with multiple nights), 4 music concerts, 2 big gymnastic events and even a confirmation.  My calender is actually starting to look a bit like a joke :-)

Even with all that going on though I think it is still easier than having a baby/toddler.  The constant pressure to be on call, frequent sicknesses and lack of sleep makes everything so much harder.  Admittedly my memory is probably skewed towards the negative as my youngest had a lot of problems….I though I was suffering from post-natal depression but in fact 18 months without a single night of more than a 2 hour sleep stretch just caused severe exhaustion.  Maybe this will be reassuring to any of you who are in the middle of the younger years?  They really do test your limits, while the teen challenges are also tough you can at least face them on a full night of sleep!

Speaking of challenges, I’m currently preparing for a project that I really have to pull out all the stops for.  I’m gathering new sets of skills and pushing myself to try and create some new ideas.  I feel a little like Thomas the Tank Engine (for anyone with little boys)….. “I think I can, I think I can….”

While I’m busy brainstorming for that project I’ve got this little pile of delicious  yarn sitting on my desk, this is my prize for finishing the other work.  This yarn is for a few different projects I’ll be working on over the next few months, I’m looking forward to swatching….

I put this photo up on twitter last week and a few different people were gussing at the yarns… and ideas?  (Hint 2 of them are handspun!).

Spring Collection

Every year when February comes around it feels like winter should really be over. The days are getting brighter but the temperatures doesn’t really qualify as spring yet! I’ve been putting a little pattern collection together over the last few months in preparation for spring. All the patterns are now finished and tech edited ….almost ready to go!
I want to give you all a chance to get this full collection of 3 patterns at a discounted price, I’m putting the collection up for pre-sale until the first pattern is uploaded (at the start of March).

All pattern links will be automatically emailed to you when the new pattern is released.

Stolen Stitches Spring 2013 Collection

$10.00 pre-order price

add to cart


So what do you get?
When you buy the pre-order you’ll get a pdf to download that has photos and details of all the patterns with the pattern releases schedule.
There will be one pattern released at the start of the month over the next three months.
To help you on the road to your new spring wardrobe I’m going to run a KAL for each of the patterns. The KAL will start as soon as the pattern is released and will run until the next pattern comes out the following month. I’ll have lots of spot prizes dotted along the way to keep you encouraged!

The patterns will also be released individually at full price.

Do you want a peek at the patterns in the collection?