Tag Archives: ravi

Let me tell you a Secret

I’ve been hinting about this for a few months but the time has come to share, I’m doing a brand new yarn, Nua! I’ve spent the last year planning the yarn and colours with Fyberspates and last weekend I went to Birmingham to launch the yarn to shops. So if you want to see it in your local yarn shop tell them to get in contact with Fyberspates.
If you want to get your hands on the yarn I’ll have a small amount of it up for sale on Wednesday 1st of March here on my website. But the following week (10th and 11th March, 2017) I’ll be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival with as much yarn as I can bring :-)….plus I’ll have kits and the Nua Collection Volume 1.

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities

So now that you know how to get the yarn I want to tell you a little bit about it. It’s a non-superwash yarn (I prefer this for garments) in a sport weight with 50g skeins. I love this weight of yarn as it’s useful for so many things; garments aren’t too heavy but it still doesn’t take forever to knit and it’s light enough that colourwork looks really good in it. By keeping the skeins smaller it’s much easier to combine colours without ending up with too much leftovers.
The fibre blend of the yarn is 60% merino, 20% yak and 20% linen and it’s spun in south America. The addition of linen and yak create a very unique yarn. Yak is very, very soft and linen as a plant fibre adds some durability. These two additions to the fibre blend also have some very nice side effects. Yak is a darker fibre (the colour, Bare Necessities shown above is the undyed colour) which means that the whole colour palette of the yarn becomes more muted and subtle. Linen fibre absorbs dye differently which means that the lighter specks of linen show through the yarn which creates a natural tweed effect. My friend Evin described the yarn as ‘sophisticated yet rustic’ which I think sums it up nicely.
Some of you may recognise Ravi above. This is one of 4 patterns in the Nua Collection Volume 1 that will be released next Wednesday at the same time as the yarn. It is a redesigned version of Ravi (Ravi Nua) as I’ve changed the short rows to German, added extra length and due to the extra length added some increases at the bottom of the hip. If you’ve previously purchased Ravi (on my website or Ravelry) you’ll get €3.00 off either Ravi Nua or Nua Collection Volume 1 (digital version only).
Over the coming days I’ll reveal details of the new patterns coming Wednesday. For anyone curious about names the yarn name NUA means ‘new’ in Irish so it seemed like a very appropriate name!
So does this sound like a yarn you’d like to knit with?
Rolling Bales

Rolling Bales

Side-to-Side Seamless Construction

The next type of construction I want to look at is side-to-side garment construction. This method is a little bit different and can be confusing the first time you try it. It is however an awful lot of fun to work!

This method starts the cardigan along one edge of the front, works all the way around the body and finishes at the other side of body. There are many more ways of creating side-to-side garments but this is the method we’ll look at here.

You can see an example of this type of construction in the last individual pattern to be released from Dovestone Hills, Capitoline.
(Remember just a few weeks left to use that 15% off coupon HAPPYDOVES for ALL individual Dovestone Hills patterns or the digital book).

So how does this type of construction work?

First Front
The key is to think sideways and do all your shaping with short rows! You start along the front edge of one side of the cardigan. Now you work short row ‘wedges’ that repeat all around the neck. The reason for this is so that the top of your neck is smaller than the bottom of the yoke; you want less rows at the neck than lower down.

First Sleeve
Once you have reached the side of the body you put the body stitches on hold. Now you cast on stitches for the sleeve that are added on to the yoke stitches. You work your sleeve from side-to-side but the whole time you also keep doing the yoke short row wedges so you neck will be shaped correctly. When you’re finished you cast off the sleeve stitches. You can of course also use a provisional cast on and then at the end graft both sides of the sleeve together to keep it totally seamless.

Once the sleeve is finished you work the body for a little bit without the yoke. This will create an underarm area that can be attached to the bottom of the sleeve for a better fit.

When the underarm is finished you join the yoke and body together and work all the way across the back exactly the same as for the front.

Second Side
The second side is completed exactly the same as the front, working the second sleeve, underarm area and second front of the cardigan. You end by binding off all of the stitches along the front edge.

Extra Shaping
The cardigan construction I’ve described here is a very basic shape. You can however use short rows to modify it for a bit more sophistication!
To create an a-line swing you can work short row triangles along the bottom edge so that the bottom hem is wider than the bust. You can do these either at the front and back or at either side.
The sleeves as worked are straight, but to create a narrower cuff you work short rows with less rows at the cuff so that it’s smaller.


Yoke only


In the cardigan, Ravi, I use a variation on this construction type. I’ve worked the yoke only from side to side and then from that I picked up stitches for the body and sleeves that are worked down from the yoke. With this type of construction it is very easy to see what you’re trying to achieve with the short rows in the yoke!

Side-to-Side Skills Needed: Short Rows
As you can see, the key skill needed for this type of construction is short rows. I often use garter stitch as it really looks great worked vertically! My favorite method of short rows in Garter is German Short Rows. You can see a small tutorial on that here.


Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011

Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011





It has been so much fun discussing the construction techniques of The Dovestone Hills Collection! Which has been your favourite? I
f you are looking for more tutorials you can find them on my YouTube channel here or drop me a comment below if there is a technique you would like to see more of on the blog.

If I had one Question…………

Last week I opened a thread on Ravelry and asked on social media if you had any questions that you would like to ask Carol. Today’s blog post has the answers that you seek; from design questions to how she likes to unwind to her favourite pattern. Read on and enjoy:

If Carol had to go to a desert island and take only one pattern of hers to make which one would it be!?

I’m very bad at redoing things, in fact I almost never re-knit patterns that I’ve done. If I had to pick a favourite pattern, it would probably be Ravi BUT if I was actually on a desert island I’d think just keep knitting new stuff and designing even if it was just for me!


Ravi in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock

How has your travels/being an expat in the past influenced your knitting?

I’ve spent most of my life in Ireland and only lived for a few years in Florida. However I think having an American husband in Ireland gives me a slightly outsider view.

Growing up in Ireland I never really appreciated all things Irish. In fact at 16-18 all I wanted to do was leave! Originally I wanted to go to Australia. I met my husband at 19 and we got married and went to Florida a few years later. There’s nothing like living outside your country to help you appreciate its uniqueness. It began to dawn on me how special it actually is to be Irish with such a strong culture and traditions. When our first-born was 16 months we moved back to Ireland and it felt really good to be back here. I don’t think I’d have ever appreciated it I hadn’t left for a few years.

In terms of influencing my knitting – I don’t really know? I think it probably makes me more open to multiple influences, drawing inspiration from everywhere. Also the global internet community does that also as much as travel.

How did Carol make the transition from designer on the side to full-time notable designer extraordinaire?

Accidentally! I’m not good at standing still; I don’t like managing businesses just growing them. This means that my head is already planning the next project before I’m even finished the one I’m working on.

When I started I was so obsessed with just designing that I didn’t really worry about how I was viewed. I can only impact what I produce; creating the best knitting and patterns I’m capable of at that time. Whether people like my work and patterns or hate them is something I have no control over. I focus on what I can control; the patterns and giving the best customer support I’m able to. I want to open possibilities up for people. We spend so much time knocking ourselves down that I want to focus on building and believing and having fun! Designer and knitters can often be their own worst critics, often shutting themselves down before they even start – just stop! Focus on what you do well and figure out what you need to do to improve. There’s enough people in the world who’ll knock you so don’t do it to yourself as well!

Which yarn is your favourite to work with and why?  

I don’t have a favourite yarn but I do like most natural fibres.

I like wool and merino, with a preference for non-superwash. In summer I love linen for it’s drape quality. My favourite yarn weight would be sports weight as it’s light enough for shawls and accessories but still knits up quickly enough for a good weight garment.


Killybegs in Studio Donegal Aran Tweed

What pattern are you most proud of?

When I can solve a design problem, a pattern makes me happy. The first time I had to work over and over on a yoke and eventually got it just right was Killybegs. So this will probably sit in my memory as a special one. The way the decreases work into the cabled yoke for this still makes me happy :-)

What is your favourite part of your job?

Variety! I’d never be happy doing a job where it was the same thing every day. I love that I can jump from spreadsheet work, to blog post writing to sketching and knitting. And as an added bonus I get to travel and teach! I find teaching very hard work and exhausting but the feedback and understanding I get from classes that can be built into my patterns is fantastic.

How did you decide to become a knitwear designer?

I never really decided, it happened by accident. After the birth of my fourth son I had sold a business and was going to be a full-time mother. I get bored (even with the insanity of a baby) easily and wanted to try something new so I started knitting again thanks to This Is Knit in Dublin. I couldn’t stop knitting obsessively and that very quickly lead to designing. It made me so happy to design and write patterns that it wasn’t a choice at that point, I was just miserable when I wasn’t knitting.

In fact, it even made me step away from a PhD that I was thinking of starting! I was back in college doing tutorials with civil engineering students and had plans to do a PhD in a combination of engineering and architecture. After a few months teaching I resented every night I had to prepare practice questions for the students instead of knitting. This meant that I went in to my supervisor to tell him that I wasn’t going to pursue it as I was going to do knitting instead. His expression at that moment was priceless!!

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

Everything! Usually it’s something I want to wear that I can’t find. I’ll get a picture of a knit I want and then I’ll create it. Other times I get a new yarn and experimenting with stitch dictionaries and you’ll start to see how it works best. Every yarn has different strong and weak points but you don’t discover them until you kit with it.

Autumn is my favourite time of year in shops; I’ll just wander getting a feel for current colour trends, shapes, and what kind styles are popular this year. While I knit all kinds of items, cardigans and sweaters are always my favourite.


Trousseau Shawl in Sundara Yarn

If you could work in any other occupation what would it be and why? 

I occasionally get an engineering pang when I pass a building site. I liked being out on site. However the thought of retraining and not knitting holds no appeal!

What’s your favourite ice-cream?

I’m not a huge ice-cream fan and can only eat it in small amounts. I do however still dream about a homemade ice-cream that we found in Sarasota, Florida when I was pregnant. It was a dark chocolate peanut butter mix from an Italian store that was just amazing!

What music do you like to listen too?

I don’t listen to a lot of music, except in the car, as I can’t work with music on. That’s not popular when you’re in a bigger office! I tend to be fairly old school and like some of the classics, Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens always make me happy with a bit of Violent Femmes, Florence and The Machine and Taj Mahal on the side. (Perhaps a little of the White Stripes for good measure).

How does she unwind? 

Knitting and a glass of wine – ideally under a warm blanket in front of the fire with my puppy curled up next to me. Perfection!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Carol a little better. If you want to join in the conversation you can find Carol on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. At the moment the biggest conversations are on Ravelry in the Luwan KAL group and the Wrap Up Winter KAL thread. You can of course leave questions or your thoughts on today’s blog post in the comments below.




New Year Happenings

Happy New Year to all you out there who read my blog!  So much happened in the last year it feels like it lasted an awful lot longer than 12 months.  I started the year getting my Fyberspates ‘Scrumptious Knits‘ book printed.  This was a big step for me as I’ve never printed such a large quantity of books. In May I reached my 100th pattern milestone and ran the Ravi KAL which was so much fun thanks to all the knitter who participated and gave it a life of its own.  The next month I went to Denver to record my Craftsy classes, Short Rows and Celtic Cables.  This was probably one of the most different things I’ve ever done but was such a fantastic experience.  The year was then rounded out with my Woodburne cardigan KAL and my first contribution to Brooklyn Tweed’s wool people – Hathaway.

Outside of work this year we actually took a full 3 week holiday (a good and bad thing!) and I reduced my commitment level over the summer so there was less conflict with the boys.  I managed to start exercising last year but it somehow fizzled out over the summer and when I hurt my knee a few months ago it totally stopped even my walking.  So as soon as the boys go back to school next week I’m getting back to my exercise…does downloading a new Pilates app count as good intentions??

So what’s happening next year?  I’ll be starting with 2 classes at one of my favorite venues, This Is Knit in Dublin.  There are still a few places left if you want to join us….

I’ve already finished a spring collection and the photos have even been done when Joe was back in Florida!  There will be a new smaller KAL coming up at the end of the month and a bigger one at the end of the spring.  And my biggest commitment right now is another self-published book for TNNA this June.  I’m busy slaving away on the designs so that we’ll have enough time to photograph, edit, test and layout the book (and of course time to print!).  It always amazes me how far ahead of the actual deadline everything needs to be finished so that you have enough time.  One of those situations where you think you have all the time in the world but if you actually plug the timing into a calender you realize how tight it will be!

So happy New Year to you all, may next year be good to you and congratulations to my KAL winners from the Woodburne KAL.  Well deserved, there are some amazing finished cardigans there, go take a look!

Ravi KAL coming to an end…

Ravi prizes

We’re almost at the end of an amazing KAL.  I want to give all the knitters out there a huge thank you for being part of this.  The support you offered each other was wonderful.  Now I want to give something back to you.  I’m going to enter everyone who has put a photo of their finished Ravi up here into a draw.  All photos need be be up by the end of the month and I’ll draw a winner on the 1st of September.  I’ve got a selection of the prizes shown above, there will be a few of my patterns, a copy of Scrumptious Knits, a handful of pretty buttons and very kindly from Blue Moon Fiber a skein of the amazing ‘Worthy – Fingering‘.  This yarn is brand new and is one of the softest most luscious yarns I’ve ever held.  In fact it’s so new that it’s not even up in her online store yet!  I’ll have 3 different prizes for knitters, so the swag shown above will be divided in 3 with first drawn to get first choice, etc.

There are many knitters on the KAL who have never knit a sweater for themselves, and many others who have never finished one!  The support and encouragement kept people going even when it came to the dreaded sleeves!  Hopefully for all of you knitters who are almost at the finish line the added incentive will help you finish the sleeves, weave in the ends and sew on the buttons.  If you don’t like taking photos of yourself just go ahead and photograph it on a hanger, I’d love to see all those finished cardigans in their splendid technicolor glory :-)

Expanding Ripples Scarf

You may have noticed that I don’t knit all that many scarfs.  Lots of cardigans, a good few shawls but pretty much no scarfs!  With most scarfs knit from end to end there is something unappealing for me about so many rows and so much turning of the work.  That’s actually how the Expanding Ripples Scarf came about.  I wanted to knit a ruffled scarf but without have to work just a handful of stitches on each row.  This scarf is worked from the long side to the other side in a relatively tightly knit strip at the center and then the ‘expanding ripples’ are picked up all around and increased dramatically to create a ruffle all around the scarf.

I knit it really long so that it can be worn doubled over and will loop through itself.  However it’s really easy to modify this with a shorter cast on and by increasing the outer ruffles if you want to.  This was my first time trying out Manos del Uruguay ‘Lace’.  It was just perfect for this project, as lace goes it’s on the heavier side and the fluffy halo from the alpaca gives an extra dimension to the scarf.

This was published in the second edition of Interweave Knits newest magazine – Knit.Wear Spring 2012.  I like the concept behind this magazine, simple clean lines but very interesting knitting with multiple ways to wear many of the garments.  Plus I just adore the photography for the magazine, also clean but very atmospheric.

Here is my own very poor photo from before I blocked it.  I think the ruffles have retained their shape a little more than in the other photos?

For anyone out there waiting for the first clue on the Ravi KAL….watch your inbox later today :-)  You should also keep an eye on the KAL board on Ravelry, there’s a great buzz over there.