Category Archives: Yarn

Georgian Heights

This summer Jenny from This Is Knit started hand dyeing yarn under the label ‘Townhouse Yarns’. They sent some on for me to try in a very pretty olive green colour. The yarn was soft and light, perfect shawl material.

IMG_0912I decided to use it for a new shawl pattern that uses a slip stitch pattern that I’ve experimented with before. I love the geometric lines through the garter, with a ruffle that finishes with a flourish. The shawl starts with a standard garter stitch tab and then from there you can see how it evolves into a series of st st and garter panels. The end result is called Georgian Heights.

IMG_4324Georgian Heights  is for sale at a discounted price until the 4th of August. Plus as an added bonus all pattern sales before that are entered into a draw for a skein of Townhouse Yarn in the same colour that I used for the pattern!

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Sorting my yarn choices

Last weekend I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed with yarn and design decisions. Definitely a case of too much of a good thing! However laying everything out was very helpful for me as I began grouping and organizing my yarn.

Here’s a little peek at some of my initial decisions.

My bundles of sweater yarn…

sweatersQuite a few options for shawls -

shawlsSome larger wraps/cowls -

wrapsHats -

hats:accessoriesAnd finally socks -

socksNow that I’ve got all my ducks in a row I can begin my planning. I’ve just compiled all 42,000 words for my next book with Potter Craft and I’m making final checks. It feels so good to be almost done :-) It’s turned out so beautifully I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Yarn choices

This morning I’m feeling paralyzed by choice. This is a selection of the yarn from this year that I’ve yet to use. Some came from yarn companies, some are leftovers from the book and others are yarns I’ve purchased. Now that my book projects are finished I’m at the planning stage again and I’ve got a problem – I want to knit it all NOW and it’s causing a mental traffic jam. I hoped pulling it all out would make the decision easier but not so much…

2014 yarn

Yarn porn

I’m currently knee deep in book projects and final preparations for the Dark Pearl KAL but a surprise box from Blue Moon Fiber Arts is making me itch to start on some new projects. The colors and yarn are just out of this world, and looking at the pricing it would be amazingly good value for sweater knitting.
spawn of scum
The first yarn I want to share with you is the Targhee Worsted in Spawn of Scum color. From Blue Moon’s website ‘ Targhee is one of America’s youngest breeds and is named after the National Forest where they grazed in the summer. The forest was named after the Chief of the Bannock tribe of the Northern Paiute. I love the history the breed name holds, so why not keep it as the yarns name.’

This yarn is new to me, it’s feels and looks great in the hank so I’m hoping to get it on the needles soon to check it out. The skeins are huge (250g – 616yds) and at just $32 each you’d have enough yarn for an average size sweater in 2 skeins so really good value!

The next yarn is Silky Victoria. This is a Polwarth wool (also new to me) from South America combined with 15% silk. It also just begs to be knit, this color is copperline (same color that Talamh was knit in). These skeins are also enormous, 695 yards and just $36 a skein. Imagine how little ends you’d have to weave in!
victoria
Just in case you wanted a little more variety here’s some fingering yarn, BFL and some Yaksi!
fingeringSo help me out – what should I try first? What would you knit with it?

Dark Pearl KAL

Much to my astonishment I’m already up to my 150th pattern. I’ve no idea how that happened so quickly, but here we are :-)

To celebrate I’m doing a great big KAL (knit along), Dark Pearl KAL.

IMG_0770_2It’s been a while since I’ve done a KAL so I’m really excited about this one. I got the Sea Pearl yarn from Briar Rose several months ago and I’ve been looking at it longingly wanting to cast on. With so many book projects on the go I didn’t have the time to get started. However a local knitter, Kathy, got me moving with this. She knit the back and sleeves of the cardigan and I knit on the lace front this week. Even though it was a fingering weight it just flew off the needles. The yarn is smooth and easy to work with and the lace pattern is fast to memorize. It took a couple of days to block thanks to the damp weather but at last I’ve got a few photos. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, the extra fabric at the front of the neck draped just right, so it’s easy and fun to wear.

So now for the KAL details – I’ve got the pattern up for pre-sale until the start of June. When you order you’ll get an information sheet detailing sizing, yarn and gauge. There will also be a 10% discount code for Briar Rose Fibers if you want to order Sea Pearl to knit the cardigan with. If you decide to use a different yarn I’ve also given detailed yardage information to help you out.

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The first clue will be sent out in early June and the other 3 clues will be released every 2 weeks. I’ll have a tip/tutorial section with every clue and we’ll have a full discussion going in the ravelry group. If any problems arise along the way I’ll put extra tutorials/videos together to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

At the end of every clue I’ll have a spot prize for all completed clues and a wonderful end prize from Briar Rose at the end of the KAL.

Come and join us!

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Berry Creek

A few months ago a DC yarn store, Looped Yarn Works, approached me to do a design for them. This design was specifically for the Metro Yarn Crawl. Impressively this area boasts an amazing 11 yarn stores, coming from an area where yarn stores are thin on the ground the idea of having enough to do a yarn crawl made me rather envious!

Looped Yarn Works is one of Quince & Co’s flagship stores so they sent me on some lovely Chickadee to do the design in. The resulting pattern that I created was Berry Creek. This pattern was initially exclusive to the store for the duration of the yarn crawl but now I get to release it for everyone else :-) There’s a automatic $1 discount on the pattern until April 21st!

berry creek

I wanted to design a cardigan that was a perfect spring/summer layer. It has been designed with short sleeves, a ribbed lace pattern and smooth a-line side shaping. The ribbed lace flows straight into the ribbed bodice with raglan shoulder shaping and a v-neck. I’ve shown it styled over a longer top (it’s still really cold here in Ireland!) but you could wear it buttoned over a tank for a summer style.

If you like your cardigan with longer sleeves all you’d have to do is start your sleeves separately and then add them instead of casting on your sleeve stitches at the start of the yoke. It wouldn’t be a hard modification to make.

berry creek

So get knitting and let me know on my board what modifications you’re going to make.

Berry Creek

Home from DC

Last week I was visiting Washington DC and several yarn stores. I had such an amazing time and met so many people that I’m still processing it all!

yarn haul

My first stop was at Fibrespace, which is in the heart of Old Town. I haven’t been here in over 20 years, my husband went to college here and I visited once for a week when he was starting his final year in college. Danielle who is the store owner is a whirlwind of activity….while mothering her little girl. I love watching babies being fit in around life, its not easy to do but so very worthwhile. That’s one lucky little girl!

While I was there Dragonfly Fibers gave me some fantastic yarn, Pixie (color: Springtime in Washington), I also got to meet Tanis Gray, thanks for calling in to say hi Tanis! The store also had a huge collection of Neighbourhood Fiber Co. yarn so I picked up some ‘Capital Luxury Sport’ in colour Cooper Circle while I was there!

After a few days here I move a little outside DC to Maryland to visit The Yarn Stop. I met two of the three owners here, Victoria and Lee. Both who went out of their way to make me welcome. I was staying with one of their friend’s Debbie and her husband and their generosity was out of this world, so a big thank you to both of you :-)

As there was so many hand dyers in the area I felt it was my duty to sample as many as possible so I came home with Susquehanna Knitting Company ‘Susquehanna Sock’ in colour ‘spicy brown’ from there.

Before I came home Debbie brought me to two more stores, Second Story Knits (Cephalopod Traveller came home) and Looped Yarn Works (Quince Owl tweet, and Wandering Wool Ausable sock).

Here you can see a close up of the yarn and labels. Now just to get a chance to knit it. I was blown away by the number of yarn stores and hand dyers in the area. It makes a great yarnie destination if you get the chance to visit. They’re even having a yarn crawl next months that would be worth a visit…

yarn details

BTW anyone following me on twitter will see that I just signed a book contract with Potter Craft. I’ll give a few more details in my next blog post..but not too much, wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Irish Yarn Club

It’s probably no surprise to any of you that I really enjoy working with Irish yarn companies and dyers. My first experience of this was with Contemporary Irish Knits which was a huge education for me. When I started visiting the mills I knew absolutely nothing about spinning and the Irish yarn industry. While I’m definitely not an expert now I do know more than when I started out :-)

I still try to use yarns produced or dyed here in Ireland fairly often in my designs but I wanted to do something specifically Irish based again so me and Lisa from This is Knit hatched up a plan…

I am working with This Is Knit to create a Yarn Club that combines luscious Irish Hand Dyed yarn with my designs, created exclusively for the club. Over the past few weeks I’ve had little packages arrive from each of the dyers with beautiful yarn and colours. I’m having so much fun swatching, knitting and planning the prefect projects for the yarn. There will be a variety of projects, they’ll all be accessories and several will be sized from small to large so they would suit anyone in the family. That’s all I’m going to give away for now, after all we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, right?

If you want to join just click here and pick your option, full club (yarn, patterns and shipping) or a pattern only club. The first shipment and pattern will be sent out in January. This Is Knit are sending all the yarn and I will send new patterns via ravelry so you will receive each new one automatically. This also gives you the option of saving it in your ravelry library if you wish.

Please come join us on our adventure, it should be a lot of fun!

A Good Yarn trunk show

I’m coming to the last few days now of my holiday in Florida. I’ve had a great time but I’m such a workaholic I’m really itching to get back to work!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at A Good Yarn. This store has got a fantastic selection and such a supportive group of knitters. I suspect if I lived close by I’d never leave the store.

They also have some of their own exclusive colorways dyed for them by different yarn companies, I got to take home a few skeins of Madelintosh ‘Tosh Light’ in their exclusive ‘Midnight Pass’ colorway. As we are staying close by Midnight Pass it seems like a fitting yarn to take home with me. Now I just need to finish my little stack of commissions and I’ll get to knit with it.


A lovely knitter who came to the book signing brought me the most beautiful bag that she makes and sells on her Etsy store. Thank you so much, I’ll get lots of use out of it :-)

This time next week normal service should resume once I’m back home again. Looking forward to seeing my dog again, I miss him sleeping him n the corner of the sofa.

TNNA recap

I made it back from Columbus, Ohio a week ago. I think I feel almost normal again….it has taken the full week. Traveling for 17 hours to be somewhere for 5 days is tiring by itself but talking all day and well into the night is really what finishes you off! Having said that, I had a really, really great time. I met and talking to many wonderful people, drank some good beer, drooled over new products and made big plans!

So what is TNNA?

It is one of 4 shows run by The National Needlearts Association every year aimed at yarn stores. This one in the summer is the biggest which makes sense as it is in preparation for yarns biggest seasons autumn and winter. It is a trade show, which means that it is aimed at yarn stores. This makes it a very different experience as a designer, instead of selling directly to the customer you are selling to the yarn store who is buying for the customer.

This year was my second year attending but it was the first time that I had a stand. My US distributor, Deep South Fibers has a block of booths that we can reserve from her. I opted to share a booth this year and I was paired with Stephen West who is always lots of fun- plus I got to get a peek at his upcoming book with Quince & Co.

I had the good fortune of having a good friend Liz and her husband help me out with set up. Her husband kindly lugged a bookshelf and table into the show for me which was a huge help! Plus Liz spent the whole day on Friday helping me set up. So a really huge thank you to her, I appreciated it so very much!

As I’ve just released Among Stones, this year was all about promoting this.

Take a look at my stand, the garments may look familiar!  I’m so happy that this is finished and printed…it all feels so very real.  As well as selling my new book I had a lovely hamper from Irish Tourism. I’ve been teaching on some of their knitting tours so they kindly gave me a hamper of Irish yarn to raffle at the show. The winner, Another Yarn, looks really happy! Her store has actually just finished a KAL for Killybegs so it seems very fitting that she was the winner.

A big part of the show as a designer is the chance to actually talk in real life with other designers and meet lots of new ones. This year I was sharing with Rachel (who I just adore) and met Ruth for the first time. With Woolly Wormhead and Verity we made up the Eurozone which we’re just going to keep on growing! I spend ages talking again with Laura who is one of my favorite people in the world :-) and  Anne Kuo Lukito who is busy setting up a new business. I loved meeting Verity and Anzula which give a different perspective on business outside of just designing.

So what did I see?

There was much yarn, needle, button and knitting goodness. Interestingly there seemed to be tons of bright neon yarn, there was even a very cool yarn with light reflector material spun through it to make reflective accessories. Who doesn’t need a hat that glows in the dark right?

I discovered that I am very focused on greens at the moment, every shade from lime through to olive. The only yarns I actually brought home with me this year were Hydeaux Designs ‘Caresse’  and Anzula Yarns ‘Cricket’ . You may notice they are both green…

A couple of booths, Sweet Georgia Yarns, Shalimar Yarns and Shibui Yarns really caught my eye – especially the Silk Cloud yarn…in green of course!

I forget to go back and order some but Moving Mud had the cutest buttons and accessories. The small, flat buttons they were displaying were just beautiful.

I hope you get a taste for what my TNNA weekend was like, I know I met and talked with so many more people but I haven’t quite mentally unpacked the whole weekend yet!

I apologize for not having many photos, due to some phone mix up I ended up having my photos wiped before I got a chance to download them so most of these are thanks to kind photo donations.