Category Archives: Yarn

More Manos Pretties!

Well I’ve had a busy week adding new patterns! Until the end of September all of these 3 patterns (whether you purchase on my site or ravelry) have an automatic 15% discount.

Earlier this week I shared the first of my Manos Del Uruguay patterns, Clypea which is a striped hat using a slip stitch pattern between the stripes.
The next day I released a fun shawl, Mylio.


This shawl is knit from the top down and uses extra increases along the edges to create a wide wing effect. The central increases work along each side of the lace panel, stepping out a full repeat every time you’ve completed a lace repeat for an interesting stepped effect. Outside the lace panel this shawl is worked in garter stitch and has a delicate, fun ruffle at the bottom edge.

The final one of this pattern trio is Strombus.



This is a top down cardigan that uses short row set in sleeves and has a double-breasted front panel that buttons across itself. This cardigan is knit more loosely to allow it to flow and swing, the side panels are in garter stitch and widen as you go down the body to create a swinging a-line. I’ve show this cardigan with several inches of positive ease but it will also work well a little more closely fitted if that’s how you like to wear your cardigans!

Manos patterns

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!

Knitting With Rainbows – KAL

Shanakiel 4
Well everyone Knitting With Rainbows is now out in the world. You can get it either in print (with a download code) or digitally. The first few projects are starting to appear on ravlery so why don’t you join in the fun and potentially win some prizes?

This KAL (knitalong) will start on Friday and run until Monday the 10th of October. The general thread about the KAL is here. I will run it through my group on ravlery, as you progress you can post progress photos and chat in the WIP (work in progress) thread here every Friday until it’s over I’ll pick a random photo from the progress photos that week who’ll receive a code to download a pattern! When the KAL is complete on the 10th of October I’ll pick a winner from the finished photos here – so make sure you get your photos up!

To keep track of it all please tag your projects on Ravelry, and hashtag across social media, with #knittingwithrainbows

Have fun!

Knitting With Rainbows presale!

Some of you may have spotted the pre-sale of my newest book, Knitting With Rainbows.
KWR COVER
This is a project that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Several years ago I got a gradient kit from Fiber Optics…
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It looks just beautiful in the little plastic display box but I felt very intimidated. The skeins were so small, and I wasn’t sure how best to use the yarn so that it looks as beautiful in the finished knit as it did in the box. So it sat there for quite a while. However somewhere in the back of my head the idea for a book on gradients was germinating; a book that would explore the gradient types available (there are a lot!), figure out how ways that use them well and offered pattern choices and future suggestions for making the most of gradient yarns (both individual single skeins as well as mini-skein sets).
That was how this book was born. It’s grown in size from what I though it would be but it’s turned out just as I hoped. My son’s girlfriend, Eimear O’Callaghan, has created some very beautiful gradient graphics to illustrate the book, my husband has done an amazing job laying out the book and my son had done a lovely editing job with my rough videos from the photo shoot :-)

The book will be released on the 1st of September but you can now pre-order your print (with complementary digital download code from ravelry) copy before then. All books will be shipped from the 1st of September and you’ll receive your digital download code on the same day. As a pre-sale bonus use code PRERAINBOW to get free shipping before 1st of September :-)

To keep you excited I’m releasing the pattern details of a new pattern on ravelry every day until the launch.

Here are the first 3 patterns that are up:

Shanakiel
Shanakiel

Proby’s
Probys armwarmers
Half Moon Street
Half Moon Street

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 :-)

New pattern & KAL almost here!!

Anyone out there who has been following me on Instagram or Twitter will have spotted my newest pattern – Dusty Road!

A few months ago Anzula told me that they were releasing a brand new yarn, Ava, and would love me to design something for the TNNA fashion show. In May we got the yarn and my sample knitter knit like the wind :-) The end result, Dusty Road, is both stunning and wearable. It’s a top down raglan sweater with lace details on the sleeves. The body has a side panel of lace running down each side with gentle waist shaping.

Anyone with a sharp eye will spot that I’ve used the same lace pattern on the sleeves of Dusty Road that appears in my newest KAL, Santa Rosa Plum. Sometimes as a designer your fall for a stitch pattern and just want to see it used in a few different ways; once just isn’t enough :-) I’ve just added a new tutorial here showing how to work a yarnover between knit and purl stitches (which is used both of these patterns).

AND…are you all ready? The Santa Rosa Plum KAL is starting this Saturday! First clue will go up then and everyone is ready to go!

Making Lists

So it would appear I’ve got a lot going on. Between family commitments, travel (both me and my husband), teaching, book, magazine and yarn company projects I’m stretched pretty thin.

However, I do appear to be just about holding it together. Certain things (such as regular housework!) aren’t always getting done but I’m staying on top of everything.

The only reason I’m actually still sane is lists and reminders. Every day I write and rewrite lists. I break projects into short lists and cross them off as I go. At the end of the day all unfinished business gets scooped up and rewritten into the next day’s list. That’s the theory at least. Some weeks my head is much more in the game and I go charging through lists, other weeks the list looks the same at the end as it did at the start.

Combining that with calendar/reminder apps means that I don’t forget stuff. If I get a text from school that someone is finished early – pop it into the calendar with a reminder far enough in advance that I can deal with it. Putting all these little things in as automatic reminders has saved me so much mental space. It’s such a relief to not have the worry of forgetting about something hanging over me!

My lists extend into projects as well – my Gradient book list is getting shorter by the minute… just take a look at my growing pile of finished samples. Just a few more left to go and we’re ready for photography :-)

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My biggest job now is expanding on the book text and getting the remainder of the illustrations done. My ‘Painting with Rainbows’ class from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival class has formed the backbone of the book structure. The divisions I’ve used for different types of gradients in the class will form each section of the book with pattern examples of each type. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a really useful, pretty little book!

In other work, I’ve got 2 new published patterns to share with you!

© Nicole Mlakar

The first is from Pom-Pom magazine, issue 17. I was so proud to be part of this magazine, and very flattered to have my pattern, Nouri, on the front cover. It’s a simple but effective design; the great linen yarn is just perfect to get the drape and heaviness that it needed. Knit in the round from the bottom up there is a large lace detail up one side. At the armholes you divide for the front and back, each side is knit separately and short rows shape the sleeves and shoulders before they’re rejoined. The yarn used is Quince & Co, Kertrel – watch out for a giveaway here for some yarn to make your own Nouri sweater very shortly!

The second pattern I’ve had published recently is Parcel.

© Crissy Jarvis

This is a pattern that was first published in the Twist Collective in Winter 2010 using Classic Elite Magnolia yarn.
They have reknit it in Black Trillium Fibre studio Sublime for a completely different look that gives it a great update. This yarn really makes the delicate twisting cables in this sweater pop, plus that scooped neckline is so flattering to wear. To get some inspiration on different yarns and shapes in this sweater take a look at some of the projects that knitters have added to ravelry.

Just in case you think that’s not enough check back here on Thursday for some very exciting news I’ve got to share with you :-)

 

Summer KAL here we come!

Have you spotted my new KAL – Santa Rosa Plum?

We’re just getting started with yarn choices and sizing on the ravelry board here.  So some on and join us so you can have a great summer cardigan :-)

Tina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts had been planning to do some gradients colours for a while and as you all know I’m a little gradient obsessed. We schemed for a while and came up with this yarn and colour combination (Marine Silk Sport in Plum Crazy) for a perfect summer cardigan, Santa Rosa Plum. My challenge now was to do justice to the yarn and create a cardigan that would be perfect summer evenings.

I settled on a top down raglan cardigan with wide lace panels.

The raglan shaping happens between the lace panels which creates a really interesting visual detail with minimal knitting work. Always a bonus :-) As the number of stitches in lace panel doesn’t change this makes it much easier to work than most lace in garments, no increases or decreases.

After the yoke is done the waist shaping happens inside the lace panels so they are again allowed to move across the cardigan. This way the lace creates a feature but all the shaping happens in the st st portion of the garment.

Working with gradients has it’s own set of challenges. You want to try and balance the color use out and smooth the transitions. This is a little easier for you all as the overall yardage has already been calculated by me which means you can use divide your different colours evenly so that the gradient runs through the whole cardigan. A big part of the pattern notes deals with this, explaining how to reserve enough yarn for sleeves and the alternating stripes between the colours. Discussions in the ravelry group will also be very helpful if you run into problems.

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Blue Moon has been very busy, they’ve put together some custom gradient kits and written a lovely blog post about the KAL. When you purchase the pattern you’ll get an exclusive 15% discount on the KAL yarn (Marine Silk Sport). What colour do you think you’ll knit your cardigan in, looking at this basket I’m actually tempted by them all!

 

Cloudborn

Recently Craftsy has begun producing their own brand of yarn which has a HUGE range. They sent me a cute little bag with samples of each yarn in the ‘Cloudborn’ yarn range.

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There is a big variety of yarns in this new range, in fact so many that it was initially overwhelming. I have however narrowed it down to a few favourites to get started with :-) The prices are very reasonable so there isn’t a huge cost investment in trying them out.

IMG_4211I don’t know yet what I’m going to knit with the Superwash Merino Bulky but it feels amazing, soft and fat. The double stranded twist in the yarn gives it a very distinctive look and texture. I think this will be a good one for big chunky oversized hats or even a heavy winter jacket/cardigan? It would be a lovely one to knit my free pattern, Iced with. I knit the swatch using 8 mm (US size 11) needles and got a gauge of 10.5 sts and 17 rows per 4″.

IMG_4235Coming down the thickness ladder the next one I tested out is the Highland Worsted. IMG_4213

Again this yarn has got a high twist but it’s not a super soft as the chunky yarn (but it’s not scratchy either, but durable feeling). I think this will be a great yarn for sweaters and larger projects. It’s got a nice bounce and stitch definition that should show cables off really nicely. The swatch was knit with 4 mm (US size 6) needles and I got a gauge of 20 sts and 32 rows per 4″.

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Here we have the Merino Alpaca Sport.

IMG_4216This one wins on softness. I want this one for a cowl or maybe a big oversized scarf or shawl. It feels good next to the skin but I’m always wary of using alpaca in garments, it frequently loves to grow so use it in a project where growth is a good thing rather than a problem (or knit it at a tight gauge to reduce the issue). The swatch was knit with 4 mm (US size 6) needles and I got a gauge of 21 sts and 32 rows per 4″.

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The baby sister of the Highland worsted is the Highland Superwash Twist Sock.

IMG_4219This yarn has got a very visible high twist, which should be really good for durability. Sock yarn is very versatile, it can of course be used for knitting socks but frequently it’s the go-to yarn for shawls both solid color and striped. If you combined one of their solids with a handpainted yarn it would be a great combination for Penrose Tile.

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The swatch was knit with 3.5 mm (US size 4) needles and I got a gauge of 24 sts and 36 rows per 4″.

Over the coming months I’ve got a few more kits coming out with the Cloudborn Yarn, the range is large enough that it may keep me busy for a while!

What yarn do you think you’ll try first?

The links given in this post are affiliate links for Cloudborn Yarns.