Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Knitting 2014

It's the busiest time of year for knitters, as we try to finish off handcrafted gifts for everyone. Here are four hot off the presses patterns that make perfect last-minute knitted gifts:



Dipped Mitts are cute and quick to knit. Colour-block patterns are so on trend, and a great way to use up ends of yarn. This is one to break out your brightest, boldest colours for. 

Available to download from Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.




Blaze mitts are another eye-catching fairsle design. The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed, which is a gorgeous alpaca blend that's lightly felted, giving a lovely vintage look.

Available to download from Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.




Superchunky Cabled Hat is super quick to knit. It's knitted with worsted weight yarn held double, you could knit it up in an afternoon if you put your mind to it! A classic design that would make a good first cabled project.

Available on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.



Arrochar Hat is another winter classic. Fairisle snowflakes and soft, cosy yarn make this a lovely Christmas gift. 

Available to download from Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.


Our First Ebook

Proud to announce the release of our first Ebook, Warmth



Warmth is a collection of our cosiest, comfiest patterns - perfect for keeping the winter chill at bay! 

Buachaille Scarf is a chunky lace and cable creation in chunky, undyed bluefaced leicester yarn.

Heron Cardigan is a classic cabled cardigan in a luxurious cashmere blend yarn.
Snowcloud Cardigan is our bestselling pattern - a wearable hug. Chunky yarn and double moss stitch accents make this a winter classic.
Lomond Hat is a cute and quick to knit accessory. Perfect gifting material!
Felted Lace Wrap is an elegant way to keep the heat in. Felting gives this a gorgeous vintage look.


Available as always from Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Ravelry Giftalong


This year's Indie Designer Giftalong is well underway now on Ravelry, you can get involved in the forums here. We catch up with a few of the designers involved, Julie Gilliver of Three Foot Warrior and Annie Blayney of AnnieBeeKnits.

Julie Gilliver designs gorgeous kids knits, we ask her a few questions about her work:


 How long have you been designing knitting patterns for? What made you start?


Designing began for me in 2010.  After having my second little boy I decided I really wanted to knit some classic styled v neck vests.  I could not find anything available that was knit top down, that would allow me to play yardage chicken with the precious yarns I had, and if need be add contrast bands at the end.  A friend who had been designing for a little while encouraged me to try writing a pattern for it myself and offered me fabulous support.  So after a bit of hard work Explorer Vest (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/explorer-vest) was born.


What is your favourite thing to knit?

I would have to say that items featuring lace tend to grab my interest a lot.  I am a bit of a tomboy and have a houseful of boys, so tend to be very neutral with most things that I knit, but a do have a wee side of me that loves to be able to add subtle lace into some of the things I wear or into gifts for wee girls. 


Which of your designs do you love the most and why?


Choosing one that I love most would be an extremely hard thing to do as they all feel like an achievement.  Also lovely new projects being posted on Ravelry have a tendency to sway me between patterns one day to the next.
My favourite at the moment would have to be my latest release 'Hidden Garden'  I love the little details that make it feel special, especially the lace panels up the side. 

Do you have any patterns in the pipeline for 2015 that you can tell us about?


LOL, my list of ideas for next year is constantly growing.  I do have a couple new ones set for release in the next month, Sunburst - a girls open front cardigan  sunburst and Fox Trail - a unisex cardigan featuring cabled sleeves.  Both other these will be available in multiple weights in sizes newborn to 10 years.
I am also extremely excited about a new girls tunic pattern that is going to go into testing at the start of the New Year. 



          














What would you say is the best thing about being a knitting designer? And what is most frustrating?


Being able to create something new and turn the ideas in my head into actual garments that other people can create is an amazing things to me.  Having been a sewer for years creating has always been something I enjoyed but working out how to write so that other people can understand (instead of just my random notes that half the time I cant even understand ;P) and seeing other peoples creations from these patterns come to life.

The most frustrating would have to be the lack of time.  Trying to balance my time between my family, the things I want to be able to knit and finding the time for design work.  I love to be able to knit new things for me especially since my boys need a lot less woollies these days, but there is never enough time.  I also find it hard to find the quiet time to work on the tricky parts of pattern writing with the noise my household tends to create.

Tell us a bit about your life outside of knitting


I am currently a SAHM  to 3 very energetic boys who are 7, 5 and 3.  I have 2 boys at school and the youngest has just started afternoon Kindergarten, so a reasonable amount of my time includes playing chauffeur and caretaker to my little monkey's, but is one of the most rewarding things i have done (even when it is frustrating).  We live in a rural town of New Zealand, where you can go slightly down the road and there are paddocks with cows and sheep right next to the houses.  We also have the advantage of living right under a mountain range and have ready access to bush walks and lots of natural beauty.  It is something I am pleased we are able to share with our children. 
I have a crazy obsession with foxes, I love them and some of my friends just laugh at me now when i start mentioning anything about them :)  It is not uncommon referred to as the 'Man' of the house as my wonderful husband is a computer geek and doesn't tend to want to get his hands dirty so  I am the one who is usually fixing and building things, and generally working on renovating our 1930's house.

You can find Julie Gilliver on Ravelry, on her blog and on Facebook

AnnieBee also gives us her views about pattern design....

How long have you been designing knitting patterns for? What made you start?


The first pattern I ever really designed was, by lucky chance, also my first professional publication -- the Chawton Mittens that were published in Interweave's inaugural issue of Jane Austen Knits back in 2011. (I've finally gotten around to re-releasing the pattern under my own branding, just in time for the GAL, actually.) I saw the call for submissions, and the mittens sprang to mind very clearly; it was just a question of whether I had the technical skill to realize the vision. I submitted the idea and swatch on a whim, with encouragement from friends -- I  didn't actually think it would be accepted, but I thought maybe I'd work up the design and publish it myself anyway. When I heard that they actually wanted to publish it, I was absolutely stunned. I was so flattered, and excited, and also more than a little scared of what the process would entail! In the end, though, a charted mitten pattern is a lot of charting but not a lot of instruction writing, so in lots of ways it was an ideal introduction to pattern writing, and it was tremendously helpful to have the team at Interweave guiding me through the process. That has stood me in good stead for the patterns I've since designed and published on my own! 



What is your favourite thing to knit?


I knit a lot of shawlettes. Ironically, my interest in shawls started with finely patterned lace, and has since veered more towards structure and texture, in heavier yarns. That's definitely where my designs have gone -- I am really passionate about colour and texture, and shawls seem to be a great way of playing with those things. I absolutely love supporting indie dyers, but I'm not a sock knitter (I have health issues that affect my feet, making handknit socks problematic), and shawlettes are perfect for using those fingering-weight yarns that so many dyers produce. Plus, a skein or two of special yarn goes a long way in a shawl, whereas my budget can't stretch to sweater quantities of hand-dyed yarn as often. 


Which of your designs do you love the most and why?


Which do I love most? Which of my toes do I love most? Which of my eyes do I love better? I have no way to answer this. Each of my designs has stretched me in a different way. They all seem to stem from an idea for a structure or technique, whether it's the continuous cables that frame the cameos in the Chawton Mittens, or the single-row stripes in Brightness and Contrast that address colour stacking and muddiness. They may seem to be very disparate designs, on the surface, but the unifying thread is definitely that technical element. Any design that successfully solves a problem or tackles a technique is a success in my book, and I'm proud of them all! 



Do you have any knitting patterns in the pipeline for 2015 that you can tell us about?


Well, speaking of technique and structure, I have a pair of mittens that's been percolating in my brain for the better part of a year now, with what I *think* is a unique structure. The palm is knit flat, first, and then stitches are picked up around the sides and top, and worked with some shaping wizardry to wrap around the hand. The stitches are finally grafted together in the middle of the back of the hand, and then the thumb and cuff are worked. I just received some gorgeous yarn as pattern support, so as soon as my Christmas knitting is done, I will be working up the final version of those mittens. They're definitely the most complicated, writing-intensive pattern I've designed, and they'll be a challenge for my technical editor, but the result is going to be sooooooper neat. 


What would you say is the best thing about being a knitting designer? And what is most frustrating?


The best thing about being a knitting designer has to be seeing finished projects that people have made with the pattern that came out of your head. I have a huge soft spot for spin-off projects, too, where people take my design ideas and run with them in their own direction. There's one knitter who made a sweater using Kate Davies' Paper Dolls pattern, but instead of the paper doll yoke, she knit cameos inspired by my Chawton Mittens. That sweater has to be just about the coolest thing I've ever seen, and I'm so thrilled to have been even a small part of the process. 

The most challenging thing about being a knitting designer? Well, not to get overly political, but I'd have to say that achieving any kind of living wage from design seems like an impossible feat, from where I'm standing. I consider a pattern a success if it makes enough to cover my costs of production (including yarn costs, hiring the technical editor, and so on), which is not a very high bar. I'm grateful that I have a day job that allows me the yarn budget and the leisure time to devote to knitting, and to cover the initial outlay of costs for designing. Anyone who can actually make a career out of this is, frankly, my hero.


Tell us a bit about your life outside knitting


The day job I mentioned? I'm a conference coordinator at a thinktank, so I spend my days booking travel and catering and things like that. It's great work, but event planning is always one of those jobs on the 'most stressful occupations' lists, despite the fact that it's far from life-or-death. Knitting is definitely my means of relaxation and my creative outlet! I live outside of Toronto, in a city called Kitchener -- a great name for a city with a fantastic knitting community! -- with my husband and my extraordinarily ridiculous dog. I'm part of a really fantastic knitting group called the Uptown Knit Mob, which is a tremendous source of friendship and inspiration. (We just had an exhibit at the gallery space at our LYS, showing the blankets we've made for each other. The blankets have their own blog, because, of course they do.) 

You can find AnnieBee on Ravelry, on her blog and follow her on twitter as @anniebeeknits

Friday, 17 October 2014

Sweet and Simple Cushion

A cute cushion cover that knits up quickly using chunky pencil roving. This is a simple knit which uses a couple of clever techniques to give a neat finish. You cast on using a figure-8 cast on so there is no seam at the bottom. Then you use a three-needle bind off at the top with the cushion pad inside so there is no seaming at all. This is a quick knit that would make a great housewarming gift, maybe knit up two or three in complementary colours.

Yarn: Corriedale Pencil Roving

2 x 200g skeins at 130m/143yds per skein



Gauge: 8.5sts and 11 rows = 10cm in stocking stitch with 10mm/US 15 needles



Needles: One 10mm/US 15 100cm/40”

circular needle for working magic loop, one spare straight needle.



Extras: Two stitch markers, crochet hook for weaving in ends, one 40cm x 40cm cushion pad




Dimensions:

To fit a 40cm x 40cm cushion pad.



Notation:

k = knit

p = purl

pm = place marker

slm = slip marker

ssk = slip two stitches knitwise onto right hand needle, then knit them together with left hand needle.

k2tog = knit the next two stitches together.

s = slip purlwise



Instructions


Cast on 72 stitches using a figure 8 cast-on, with 36 stitches on each side of the needle. Place marker for beginning of round, and one 36 stitches from the beginning of the round to mark the halfway point.



Work stockinette stitch in the round ( i.e. knit every round) using magic loop method, until the cushion measures 42cm from cast on. Your cushion pad should fit comfortably inside the cover, without the need to stretch it. Put the cushion inside the cover now, and we will bind off with it inside.



Starting from the beginning of the round, we'll cast off stitches using a three-needle bind off. A youtube video showing how to work the three-needle bind off can be found here. However, instead of having stitches on two dpns, we will be knitting together stitches from the two points of you circular needle, and rather than turning the work so that the right sides are facing, we will continue with the two wrong sides facing in. This will leave a ridge at the top which makes a cute feature.



Written instructions for the three-needle bind off are as follows:

Remove stitch marker for beginning of round. Push the first and last stitches in the round to the tips of the needle points, then knit these two stitches together with your spare straight needle.

Push the second and second from last stitches in the round to the ends of the needles, and knit these two stitches together using your spare straight needle.

Slip the original stitch on your straight needle over the stitch you've just worked, as in a normal bind off.

Continue this process: knit the next two stitches at the tips of your circular needle together, then pass the previous stitch on your straight needle over this one.

When you reach the last stitch on your straight needle, cut the yarn leaving a 20cm tail, pass this through the loop on your straight needle and pull it tight.



Thread the loose ends into the cushion cover using your crochet hook and you're done!


And a quick plug: Queen's Park Cardigan is now available to purchase on Ravelry, Craftsy and in my Etsy shop.


  It's a fitted cardigan with a flattering drape front in a pretty lace pattern. This is a simple but stunning knit that could be dressed up or down. Queen's Park Cardigan is knitted from the top down with set in sleeves, neat twisted rib edgings and an oversized blanket front. Using sportweight yarn on larger than normal needles and blocking creates an airy fabric with beautiful drape. The lace pattern is simple and suitable for a first lace project, with only a four row repeat. Instructions for 8 sizes are given: to fit bust 28-30 (32-34, 36-38, 40-42, 44-46, 48-50, 52-54, 56-58)”.



Thursday, 31 July 2014

So many patterns!

Lots of news on the pattern front!

Just released yesterday is Kelvingrove Sweater: a cute, nautical Summer knit in a cotton/linen blend. Kelvingrove is knit from the top down, in the round with set-in sleeves. It comes in 10 sizes to fit bust 32" - 56" and has guidance on how to customize the pattern for a perfect fit. And the best part? It's free on Ravelry for the next week (after that it will be the princely sum of $4).





Available on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.


 Bellahouston is a gorgeous fairisle sweater dress to keep you cosy this winter. It's just up for testing at the moment, so if you want to volunteer as a test knitter head over to the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers group.






It's also available in 10 sizes, to fit bust 32 - 56, with extensive guidance on customization.

And finally, a wee teaser. Testing of Queen's Park Cardigan is well underway and I hope to release the pattern in the next month or two. Here's some pictures!









What else is in the pipeline? A cute fingering weight, slightly lacy shrug and a worsted weight mens cabled pullover, both of which will hopefully be available in time for Christmas!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Buchanan Street Sweater

Released a new pattern today! Buchanan Street Sweater is a classic wardrobe staple. It's a flattering longer length with some little tricks for a perfect fit. For example, there are more stitches at the front than the back (I don't know why more patterns don't do this!) and there is extensive guidance on how to change the fit of the shoulders, sleeves and where the waist sits. I really love an "almost plain" sweater, and this one totally fits the bill for me. The pretty stitch detail at the shoulders adds just enough interest without it being overly fussy. 

Here's some pictures!









It's available to download on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Chunky Fairisle Cushion

 

A quick to knit, stylish cushion. This would make a perfect housewarming gift. I cheated a little to avoid a jog in the round, so this is perhaps a pattern that fairisle purists should avoid. Rather than steeking, I didn't knot new colours to old as I knitted, but knotted them all up pretty firmly at the end to cinch it all together. I also (and this was very naughty) didn't weave in the fifty odd loose ends, but just trimmed the knots and left them inside the cushion. Please feel free to back away from this pattern in horror, but I think it all looks ok, and for time-poor knitters it'll certainly do the job!



Yarn

Shetland Heather Aran by Jamiesons of Shetland:

2 balls Gingersnap = C1

1 ball Teviot = C2

1 ball Broch = C3

1 ball Natural White = C4

1 ball Sholmit = C5

1 ball Moorit = C6

1 ball Mooskit = C7



Each ball = 101yds / 92m

Measurements

To fit a 50cm x 50cm (20” x 20”) cushion



Needles

One 5mm / US 8 40”/100cm circular needle.



Gauge

15sts x 19 rows = 10cm / 4”



Extras:

One darning needle


Directions

With C7, cast on 144 stitches and join in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Work one of the charts below. I prefer working from a colour chart, but have included a black and white version suitable for black and white printing. Bind off all stitches using C7. I didn't knot in new colours as you would normally do for fairisle knitting. After binding off I knotted ends together in pairs as follows. Turn the cushion cover inside out and work from bottom to top, pull the first pair of loose ends farily tight and knot them together using a reef knot, then do the same for the second pair you come to, and keep going until all loose ends are knotted together in pairs. Then I just trimmed the loose ends (and felt guilty).

Now, lay the cushion cover out flat with the beginning of the round at the right edge. Join the front and back of the bound off edge together using the joining method in the “techniques” section below.

Block the cushion cover as follows, or using your favourite blocking method. Soak the cushion in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent for at least 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Roll the cushion cover up in a towel and twist it gently to remove some more water. Lay the cushion cover out flat and gently stretch it to 50cm x 50cm (20” x 20”). Leave until completely dry.

Put the cushion pad into the cushion cover and join together the cast on edges, starting from the beginning of the round, in the same way you joined the bound off edge.


Charts


Techniques


Joining bound off and cast on edges
This cushion is knit in the round, sewn up along the top, blocked, a cushion pad inserted, and then sewn up along the bottom. I sewed the top and bottom up as follows:

Lay cushion cover flat, with beginning of round at the right. We will join the first stitch at the front right with the first stitch at the back, then the second stitch at the front with the second stitch at the back etc. until all front stitches are joined to the back stitches.

To do this, thread a darning needle with a long thread in colour C7. Secure the thread to the wrong side of the cushion at the beginning of the round by sewing over one spot a few times. Then bring the needle behind the first stitch at the front from right to left, then behind the first stitch at the back from right to left (as you look at it). Pull the thread tight. Then bring the needle behind the second stitch at the front from right to left, then the second back stitch from right to left, pull the thread tight. Keep going across from right to left until all stitches are joined.



    1. Thread needle behind a stitch
     



2. Thread loose




3. Thread pulled tight






4. When it's done!



Written instructions are not ideal, so please watch the video tutorial here: http://newstitchaday.com/how-to-knit-seaming-two-bind-off-edges-together/
They join two pieces of knitting together, whereas we just have the one which we are joining the front and back of, but the principle holds!

Pattern copyright Littletheorem. Do not reproduce in whole or in part without the author's written permission.