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    Entries in patterns (17)


    Going underground

    All Photos credit Juju Vail for The London Craft Guide

    If you're a UK knitter you may have heard of the Great London Yarn Crawl, organised by my friends Rachel & Alli. Having run the yarn crawl for a couple of years, they decided that they would be in the perfect position to write a crafty guide to London. There are loads of great yarn, fabric & haberdashery shops in the city and soon you'll be able to find out where they are & lots more.

    I can't wait to see the book. There are 9 patterns from different designers - mostly knitting, 2 sewing, and I have a little bit of crochet in mine too. From a photo posted to Instagram, it looks like the book will also have mini craft crawls too. I know (as a non-Londoner) I will be trying those out as there are so many interesting bits of London I haven't visited, and this gives me the perfect excuse.

    I kept my bag simple - there are no tricky techniques or difficult to get hold of materials and the zip is as simple as it can be. I used 3 fat quarters of Liberty fabric - as it's such a famous London brand - but I had loads of fabric left. There is a matching purse, and both the purse & bag are small enough that you could hand sew them if you wanted to. I did an interview which is on the yarn in the city blog here, so I won't repeat myself. But I really like this pattern, and am thrilled to see the photos. The book will be launched at Unravel, Farnham Maltings (19th-21st Feb 2016). I'll be going on the Saturday - I might see you there?




    New pattern - Chevron wonders

    I have a hat pattern in Knit Now Issue 44, and it's a goodie :)

    Photo © Practical Publishing

    It's knit using JC Rennie Supersoft lambswool 4ply, which comes in a huge range of brilliant colours. It's a yarn that blooms & softens a lot when it's washed, so it's much softer worn than it feels in the ball. My favourite bit is how the crown shaping worked out:

    Photo © Practical Publishing

    The shaping is emphasised by the striping, and it's a really striking feature on an easy to wear slouchy beanie.

    This design changed quite a lot from the original submission - I was away from home when the call was sent out, so I raised my nieces crayons:

    As you can see, originally the stripes were going to be equal depth and there was going to be a corrugated rib. But when the colours came through, I found that they sort of killed each other's vibrancy when they were used equally. They are so lovely individually but somehow lessened each other. I swatched various combinations, emailed Kate Heppell, the editor at Knit Now with some different ideas. She said to just go ahead with my favourite - which turned into the hat above.

    Using the colours in different proportions makes them pop out & sing against each other. I decided to keep it simple, use single colour ribbing & highlight the texture with garter stripes. I kept the rolled brim as it brings in the contrast colour & softens the line of the brim. Originally the crown was one colour with a pompom. But the decreases formed such a striking star shape that I decided to celebrate it with narrow stripes to show it off! I really like this hat, and plan to make on efor me - I have some grey & yellow Navia wool that would look fabulous. I might try knitting the body with the stripes but not chevrons to see if you still get the star effect on the top anyway. Or maybe I'll see how the original idea works out!


    We've had lurgies descend here, which is why I've been so sluggish on the blogging front. I'll try to do better! Speak soon xx


    Bobby socks - from design submission to publication

    I thought you might be interested in how a pattern goes from an idea to being in a magazine. I'll use my latest pattern, Bobby socks, in Crochet Gifts 4 as an example.

    Photo ©Practical Publishing. Cute, no?

    It started off as an idea sent to Knit Now for a crochet supplement. As I have worked for them a lot, it's a very informal submission. Even so, it still includes a sketch and a swatch along with suggestions about how it would be worn, the type of yarn to use & general construction ideas. I am ridiculously pleased with the sketches, even though people who can actually draw might think they're pathetic. But they are ecognisable as what they are supposed to be! For sketching challenged people like me, that's a triumph :)

    As it turned out, the socks weren't selected for the Knit Now supplement, but Crochet Gifts is also published by Practical Publishing, and Hugh got in touch to to say he would like them for issue 4. That was fine by me! 

    As we both liked the idea of a cotton blend sock yarn, and the colour was fine, I used the Rico Superba stretch that I had swatched in. The sock went pretty much as planned, starting from the toe up, using linked trebles for the body of the sock (no more difficult than standard trebles, but a more continuous fabric). The sock is worked in a continuous spiral and has an afterthought heel. The stitches only really vary in the round after the heel space, so that I could add height at the sides of the foot to keep the top of the sock level. The only difference from the submission is that I didn't add a ribbed cuff - the lacey edging is worked over the linked double crochet. I did change the initial idea of a short row heel to an afterthought heel. The reason for that is that you can easily change the depth of an afterthought heel, which is especially important for people like me who have a very high instep/heel. I like trainer socks, but always find that they get pulled down under my heel when I wear them. Being able to make the heel as deep as I need means that these socks have stayed firmly in place when I have worn them after getting the samples back. The yarn stretched more than I expected in wear, so if you are making these it's worth making them shorter than you think is right! 

    I love that the magazine photographed the socks with wedge sandals. So many people (knitters especially!) assume that crochet socks are bulky and uncomfortable. But they really are very wearable, so I'm glad that they showed them worn in cute shoes :) 

    And since I have the samples back, and a reluctant 12 yr old photographer - here's how I'm likely to wear them most of the time. And they are really comfy!

     The next stage in this pattern's life will be self publishing in about 6 months time. I will probably add more sizes to the pattern & another 1 or 2 edging options, keeping the basic sock the same. I like the idea of using a contrast yarn for the edging so will try that out if I get the time too. I think these would be cute little girl socks, so I'll definitely add child sizes to the pattern. I'll need to re-photograph the samples and change the layout of the pattern to fit my pattern template. Self publishing adds quite a lot of work (I hate layouts!) so I don't do it for all my patterns. I think this is one that would be worth the extra work though.

    Let me know if you've made crochet socks before & if you have any favourite patterns :)


    New patterns - Knit Now 36

    both photos ©Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing

    I haven't really told you about my patterns yet. I talked about the Cumulus wrap in my last post and linked to the Fyberspates blog, but I haven't told you about the Cool for Cats Hat. I love it!

    The yarn used was Blacker yarns Swan Falkland dk, which I had heard about but not really used before. Its gorgeous! It looked a bit uninspiring in the ball, but has brilliant stitch definition and is both sringy and soft. It would make a gorgeous jumper. It really worked well for this hat. I was asked to knit the hat flat & seamed, which is not my normal thing, but I lots & lots of people are not comfortable knitting in the round. Knit Now is unusual in the UK as a lot of their patterns are worked in the round, including the garments and Kate (the editor) wanted to make sure that flat knitters weren't being left out.

    The stitch pattern I used for the hat is one of my favourites - it's quick & easy to do and gives an interesting textured pattern that looks more complicated than it is. It's a good unisex pattern. While this style of hat is more often seen on children it also looks really cute on adults. I think you need a fairly round head though - I think it looked a little better on me than on the model in the magazine & I have a quite round head! The pattern also gave me a chance to use my favourite mattress stitch seam, and the magazine has included a tutorial beneath the pattern which is a new thing for them & is great.

    The Cumulus wrap will be a really useful year round wrap. When Jen at Fyberspates asked me to talk a little more about the design for her blog, this is what I said:


    I had the design in mind before we found the yarn. I liked the idea of using intarsia, (a technique often associated with difficult, complex knitting), for a very simple, graphic design. The stripes evolve from a few starting stitches and give lots of opportunity to play with colour effects. The yarn & the colour was always going to be key to how the design worked out. When Kate (editor, Knit Now mag) suggested Cumulus, I loved the idea. I'd seen the yarn at Unravel, and thought that using a yarn that people would possibly associate with complex lace shawls in a pared down graphic design would be interesting. The colours chosen felt quite grown up & strong, which went well with the simple stripes. 
    The finished wrap is feather light & warm. Optional beaded tassels help to weight the ends to make it as easy to wear as a cardigan. Large enough to wear as a wrap on summer holiday evening walks by the sea - or to be a luxury long warm scarf in winter, the alpaca blend yarn makes this design a year round knit.


    I have some crochet socks out really soon, and I'm looking forward to telling you about them :)



    Thornbury beanie - a new crochet pattern

    Recently I taught a beginner crochet class on how to crochet a beanie. I always try to write my own patterns for classes to avoid any copyright difficulties, and so Tina (the owner of The Wool Stop) and I decided on the yarn to use & I whipped up a simple hat. And so, the Thornbury beanie was born. It was promptly stolen by one of my 12 year old boys. And then my husband asked for one.

    Following the course, most of the attendees have made more than one hat already. They seem to be addictive! The yarn that we used is a great price and comes in really interesting colours. We used Rico Creative melange chunky (the darker coloured hat), you only need 1 ball and it comes in at under £4. For a hat. Bargain! I also used West Yorkshire Spinner's Blue faced leicester variations roving yarn, which is gorgeous. It's the lighter coloured one in the photos. If you can get hold of some - do so!

    The pattern is written with beginners in mind, and includes ideas for personalising/ changing the shape to a slouch or tam style hat. The pattern download will cost you a bargain £1!

    You can buy the Thornbury beanie pattern by clicking the button. This will take you to my Ravelry store - you don't need to be a member or Ravelry to buy, and you can pay with Paypal. 

    Let me know if you make a Thornbury beanie of your own. And then be careful who you show it to - they might want one of their own!