Today I wanted to share with you the lovely businesses who have so generously donated prizes for milo may. These businesses are all small indie businesses located in the Southern Hemisphere, either Australia or New Zealand. We have a small knitting population comparatively to that in the Northern Hemisphere, and the isolation from the majority of the knitting community can at times be tough, particularly when there are images of TNNA flashing all over the inter webs.
Having said that, the wonderful thing about our Down Under Knitting Community is just how supportive it is; from the indie yarn dyers, to the designers, to the sheep farmers and indie wool companies, to the knitters themselves. The tyranny of distance really does sometimes work in our favour.
So a huge thank you to all these lovely businesses. Please visit the links and give them our love. Without them we would not have the community we do. xx
Little Plum Yarn
The lovely Sharon from Little Plum Yarn has been a long time sponsor of Milo May. Sharon dyes the most amazingly vibrant colourways; colourways that really do make other knitters ask, "Wow! Where did you get that yarn?" Her dyeing technique adds an amazing amount of depth and tone to her colours that is rarely seen. It is no secret that I am pretty smitten with Sharon's work.
Sharon runs pre-orders for her colourways through her Ravelry group and also stocks on her Facebook page.
PRIZE: 2 skeins (200g) of glorious DK Superwash Merino in a colour way to be selected by the winner.
This prize will be randomly drawn from all those who complete a milo and post a photo. For each milo you complete, you get an extra entry.
Briony from Gradient has managed to achieve the enviable task of moving her business from one country to another. I think that's a pretty amazing feat! As her business name suggest, Briony spends her business hours creating gorgeous gradient dyed yarn, an incredibly time consuming process. I really love her grey gradients. Stunning stuff! Briony is also just about to launch into the realms of design, with patterns designed to match her yarns being launched this May.
You can purchase Briony's yarn from her etsy store as well as follow her progress in her Ravelry group and on Facebook.
PRIZE: A special Rainbow Pack: 200g of hand-dyed gradient in "Spring Rainbow" (pictured below) on White Gum Wool 8ply and a pdf copy of the Rainbow Dress pattern. The winner for this prize will be chosen by the Rainbow Girl for the best use of colour.
PRIZE: 100g of hand-dyed gradient in a boyish colour (TBA) on White Gum Wool 8ply.
The winner will be randomly selected from all those who complete a milo.
I have known Fiona for many many years. She used to live in the same country as me, 20 or kilometres away. Our eldest daughters are the same age and we spent many hours chatting about knitting, sewing, cloth nappies and the like. She's loads of fun and a very talented crafter. She once taught me how to work a long-tail cast on. I keep trying to tempt her to move back to Australia with reminders of how beautiful and perfect our coast line is. Fiona makes super wonderful project bags and she usually has current stock available for purchase at any time. These are the perfect size for a milo and have one awesome feature that I love, they are zipped. I'm a beach knitter and let me tell you those zips have protected my knits from a bucketful of sand on many an occasion!
You can purchase Zippy Wippies via the Facebook page.
PRIZE: One custom made Zippy Wippy bag.
The winner will be randomly selected from those who complete a milo.
Koru Designs Aotearoa
So check this out. Paula hand-dyes her own yarn to sell, designs her own patterns AND home schools six children. Paula has been a wonderful supporter of Down Under Designers and Dyers over the years, and it is so exciting to see her launching her own career. Her yarns are stunning and her designs thus far are beautiful. I love the way she seeks to capture that seaside New Zealand essence in her designs. I also love that Paula tells me milo is a staple garment in her household!
You can follow Koru Designs Aotearoa on Facebook to find out when Paula is stocking as well as keep up with all the things Paula is creating on her Ravelry group.
PRIZE: 200g hand-dyed skein of DK Superwash in colourway 'Carol'
PRIZE: 200g hand-dyed skein of DK Superwash in colourway 'Dagda'.
Nunnaba Artisan Fibres and Handspun Yarn
I discovered Jenna's yarns recently via White Gum Wool. I will openly admit to doing a bit of stalking of the indie dyers who dye using this base. When I visited her etsy store I couldn't help but order some yarn. She had a pre-order for her yarns of the month, beautiful grungy manly colours named the Man Cave. So earthy and beautiful. Jenna also dyes art/spinning batts.
You can find Jenna's lovely yarns in her etsy store and Facebook page.
PRIZE: 2 skeins (200g) of hand-dyed gradient on White Gum Wool 8ply.
Red Riding Hood Yarns
Hannah and I have had a long association in this yarnie lark. I'm designing two patterns for her Winter Yarn Club this year just as I did in 2012. Quite a few of my samples for my patterns have been knit in Hannah's yarns over the years. Not surprisingly, given her name, she dyes the perfect red. Hannah's colourways are vibrant, generally following a themed release. It's always fun to see what she comes up with and her yarns are exceptionally popular, selling out in a flash. There's a good reason for that.
Hannah stocks exclusively on her Facebook page where you'll get all the goss on her updates. You can also keep up via her Ravelry group.
PRIZE: 200g of hand-dyed yarn on the "Bon Worsted" base in a colourway of the winner's choice.
Little Brown Owl
Lori has been a cottage licence holder of mine for many years, so if you're ever looking for someone to knit one of my patterns up for you, she is one of the go-to ladies. Lori is also the face behind the Milo May Market; a huge market full of milos that happens at the end of May. (More details to come.) When she's not busy knitting and child wrangling, she also manages to whip up a few project bags for sale. These wee drawstring bags are all one-of-a-kind and sell out very quickly!
You can find Lori on her Facebook Page.
PRIZE: one small size custom made Project bag. This bag is big enough to hold a 200g ball.
Colour By Me/Tres/
Agnes has quite a unique business idea. You see, she custom dyes yarn to your exact yardage specification. No more leftovers, no excuses for it hibernating in your stash waiting for the perfect project. The philosophy behind Colour By Me/tes/ is that you begin with the project you want to knit, and she can create the right amount of yarn for that project. Her gradients are bright and vibrant with subtle and gradual colour changes. I'm looking forward to seeing a milo knit up in this yarn!
You can find Agnes on Facebook where you can order custom dyed yarn. She also has a Ravelry group.
PRIZE: Custom length Spectrum gradient suitable for milo (120 - 348m) on 100% Superwash Merino DK.
Tansy Yarn Company
Deanne is going to be a very busy bee this month. Not only is she busy dyeing up yarn for her business but she's also participating as a business for the Milo May Market. Tansy Yarn Company stock a wide array of products from hand-dyed yarns to Pom Pom Magazine to hand knits to buttons and project bags. Some of those hand knits you will find there, are those from my patterns as Deanne is a licence holder.
You can find Tansy Yarn Company at their website www.tansy.com.au and on Facebook.
PRIZE: 200g of hand-dyed yarn and buttons to match.
Let Them Knit
Casey from Let Them Knit says two of her favourite things are yarn and cake. Could you have guessed! Casey custom dyes gradient yarns as well as variegated yarns. You can purchase them either in-stock through her regular stocking or have them custom dyed.
You can find Let Them Knit on Facebook.
PRIZE: 100g hand-dyed gradient yarn.
Li'l Red Webs - Handcrafted
Moni from L'il Red Webs - Handcrafted specialises in handcrafting fabric creations that make knitters' lives easier; project bags, stitch marker pouches, yarn tidies and tablet cushions. Her fabric selection is bright and whimsical. L'il Red Webs operates on a custom made basis, so you can choose the fabric that is just perfect for you!
You can find and order from L'il Red Webs - Handcrafted via their Facebook Page.
PRIZE: Project bag
Justyna is not an Aussie or a Kiwi but I am really really stoked to have her on board as part of this Knit-A-Long. Justyna is a knitwear designer from Poland and I adore her work. She is a terrific supporter of other designers, which is so refreshing and lovely to see. Her designs have a beautiful asthetic, mixing texture and colour superbly.
You can find Justyna's designs on Ravelry. You can also find her on her website www.letesknits.com, Facebook as well as a host of other social media sites. Visit the Lete's Knits webpage to find all the links.
PRIZE: one ebook of winner's choice.
PRIZE: three single patterns of winner's choice.
Meraki Studio New Zealand
I have known the lovely Jo from Meraki Studio for quite some time. She is one of those super talented people who has a finger in lots of craft pots. She knits, she dyes yarn, she sews, she makes sells gorgeous needle cases and she has just recently released her first knitting pattern! My Knit Picks tips and cables still live in an needle case that Jo made for me many moons ago.
You can find Meraki Studio New Zealand on Facebook as well as keep up with all things Jo is creating via her Ravelry group.
PRIZE: custom dye spot for the colourway Eden on Dewdrop sock.
Mystery KALs (Knit-A-Longs) are pretty hot property at the moment.
They're all over the place on Ravelry, Instagram and all the knitty crafty interwebs hangouts.
I did a mystery KAL quite a few years ago with the Sorella and Fratello patterns. It was a lot of fun, but just between you and me it was a bit daunting. I was a wee bit nervous about whether those who participated would actually like the patterns. What if everyone complained and said they didn't like them?
Anyway, all these mystery KALs got me thinking about a KAL where you knew what you were going to be knitting, you knew exactly what you were going to end up with at the end of the KAL but it was still a new unreleased pattern. And just like a mystery KAL you were only given a wee part of the pattern each week. Does that sound like fun? Like something you'd like to be a part of?
I thought it did so I've come up with this:
That wee cardie is knit in a yarn that you've heard me banging on quite a bit about; White Gum Wool. These are the Fairy Wren and the Gum Grey colourways. I am pretty enamoured by this Gum Grey, it's a terrific unisex colour perfect for wee babies and bigger people alike. I'm currently knitting a bigger version of this using the Gum Grey again and a stunning red (Hawthorn) from White Gum Wool. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a little peek.
So here's how the KAL works:
To run this KAL I'm teaming up with two wonderful yarnies, both of which I'm very excited about. And even more excited about is that they are both providing some excellent goodies as a prize.
Firstly, the wonderfully generous Nan from White Gum Wool. If you haven't caught up on the story behind White Gum Wool, read my older post here and visit the White Gum Wool page here.
And secondly, the very stalkable Rebecca from Augustbird. (Yes, stalkable really is a word!) Rebecca's stunning website is one that I visit regularly sometimes just for the *sigh* factor. She is a very talented dyer who has been producing some glorious colourways using White Gum Wool as a base. A little birdy told me that there will be a stocking there this Sunday with some very special colourways that would be just perfect for this KAL.
So here's how the KAL is going to run:
The KAL will run for about three weeks, but the pattern will remain up on my blog and you can finish at your own pace if you are a more leisurely knitter.
Each week I shall be releasing a new section or non-clue of the pattern and chatting about the different techniques used in the pattern as well as giving you some tips on other aspects of knitting that arise as we knit-a-long. I'll be knitting along with you, sharing my progress photos and if need be taking some close up shots to guide you through each section.
Each week after the non-clue is released, I encourage to chat away or ask any questions in the comments section. Feel free to also jump in and answer any questions that you know the answer to!
The pattern we will be knitting will be the little cardigan you see in this post. I think it will make the perfect baby gift, quick and fun to knit.
It's very easy, so easy that if you're a beginner you can probably join in and learn. If you've never knit a garment before this is the perfect pattern to begin with. The techniques are easy and attainable. For the more intermediate and experienced knitter, this is still one to join in on as we'll be looking at some of my favourite finishing techniques and other tips. And who doesn't knitting a cute baby cardie?
The sizes on offer will be a 15" and 16" chest, which equate to a newborn and 3 month size. These sizes will be offered free.
At the completion of the KAL, or maybe even sooner, the pattern with the full size range from 15" to 30" chest (equates to a newborn to about 12 years or older) will be available for purchase from my Ravelry store.
The pattern has been written for White Gum Wool and I would highly recommend using it.
Nan offers free shipping which is a great incentive to try out this yarn. Either size requires less than a ball for the Main colour. The contrast colour only requires 50-60 yards for these sizes.
This is a cardie, that because of its simplicity would work beautifully with a solid matched with a semi-solid or variegated colourway, such as Rebecca from Augustbird produces. As I mentioned earlier, Rebecca will be stocking some White Gum Wool in her store this Sunday but do get in quick as it will sell out very quickly!
Everyone who completes the KAL AND posts a picture on their Ravelry page linking to the pattern page, will go into the prize draw. Winners will be drawn randomly and will win:
First: Four 100g balls of White Gum Wool of the winner's choice.
Second: A 100g skein of Augustbird yarn on a White Gum Wool base.
I plan to kick the KAL off in just over a week's time, which gives you plenty of time for yarn purchasing.
Tomorrow I will pop up the details for swatching, needle sizes and notions.
So who is joining me?
and not chicken dinners!
Apparently, in the land of the internets it was Tuesday yesterday when I was supposed to draw the Eucalan giveaway. Hmm, I must have been channelling my inner Scottish heritage, imagining that I was a Northern Hemispherer and thought it was indeed Tuesday today. So let's just pretend it is Tuesday and I might make you a lovely chicken dinner.
I asked my iPhone random number generator app to throw some numbers at me as winners. Do you know that it actually gave me the same number twice in a row! I guess that is quite random. Very random, I say. And I have to say I have NEVER seen that before. Have you? Instead of giving the same person two prizes, I went for an extra draw. That seemed fairer, really.
Our winners today are (in order of prizes) : Lianne (who is knitting with some BWM), Michelle (indulging in some Madelinetosh DK) and Trudi (who is a polygamist knitter flirting with Wollmeise and Fibrewebs).
Ladies, you shall find an email in your inbox very shortly requesting your postal address.
I do so love hearing what yarns everyone is knitting with. Sometimes it reminds me of yarns I want to try and others, I remember, hey I have that yarn in my stash! I should knit with it soon! Do you know I've never knit with Wollmeise. Can honestly say I don't think I've ever seen it in real life. Perhaps one day I'll rectify that.
I'm currently knitting with some Malabrigo Rios in the Paris Night colourway, falling totally in love with the variance of shades that is Malabrigo Rios. Have you knit with this? What did you think of it? This one is destined to be Lily's new school cardigan and I am a wee bit jealous that it is not for me. It really is rather beautiful. I am using a really simple pattern, well actually, the one you see above. I think the simplicity will capture the colour variance most beautifully and make me sigh longingly every time I see it.
I have also been knitting with lots of White Gum Wool. *sigh* so beautiful, very beautiful! I've just knit three pieces in a row with it, and I seriously can't get enough. I'm about to order some more as Toby is in need of a new cardie and has selected his colours from the colour card this morning. He chose well. And Brianna, if you're still trying to decide on colours; get them all...although I have to admit I am quite smitten with the ghost gum, the very pale grey. So very very pretty.
The cardigan above is knit in the Fairy Wren colourway and it's a little something I've prepared for my The Craft Sessions classes later this year. You'll have to wait until next month to find out a bit more about that.
I'm back into the swing of writing some patterns. yippee! Currently, there are two with the testers. This cowl above, which is also available in a shorter form. And a cardigan to match the bloom dress, which I am very excited about. You can imagine how long I've been meaning to write this pattern for, umm, let's think about it, err, about 4 or so years!
Over the next few weeks I'll tell you a little more about that as I have a little something in the works to coincide with that pattern's release.
Then I think it's time to knit a little something for me.
What do you think?
Which pattern would you like to see become a grown up one next?
Are you a new year resolution maker?
I'm not really, mainly because, like most people, I've discovered I'm not really very good at sticking to resolutions. There just seems to be something about a resolution that seems to be more of a challenge to defy rather than to achieve. Or maybe it's that I set the bar too high, given that the year starts in full on holiday mode, where it tends to stay for the next month. Makes it a little hard to stick to optimistic ideals.
What my little family does like to do is set ourselves environmental or eco challenges. These are all about changing patterns of consumption and hopefully changing our longterm habits. We've done things like no clothes buying, no using the car in town, not buying takeaways and buying minimal packaged food.
This year our focus is on reusing and recycling rather than purchasing. Thinking about what we have here that can be repurposed to meet any needs we have. How can we use the excess of things we have?
I've started the year thinking about old towels and what to do with them. We don't have a dog so they don't become dog towels and to be honest there are only so many rags you can actually use. (I have an extraordinary amount of old flat terry nappies already serving this purpose). But we do have a lot of old towels, some past their prime well and truly and others that are just that bit too cardboardish and stiff to do the job properly.
I thought I'd hit on a golden idea when I decided to cut them up into strips, refashioning my own yarn so to speak, and knit them up into big thick squishy bath mats. The idea seemed like pure genius at the time. Pure genuis. And bath mats is one thing we do actually need.
Unfortunately, I didn't factor in the fluff. All that fluff shedding. Not so great. I'm hoping that it will cease after a bit and it will indeed make it as a useful bath mat.
I knit this on my 25mm/US#50 needles in nice squishy garter stitch. I'm guessing it's going to take about four or five towels to make a good size bath mat.
Another use I've found for my old towels is as the padding in these trivets.
I made them with some scraps of fabric leftover from clothes making and simply randomly patchworked them together. One layer of towel was enough to create a good trivet or pot holder. I used some scraps of corduroy for the backing and quilted the three layers together, finishing them off with a bit of leftover bias binding.
There's some very old scraps in there, but I can also see some more recent ones; chevron from a pair of shorts for Toby, gingham and rabbits from a geranium dress for Lily, whales from PJ shorts for Andy and Toby, green floral from a Wiksten tank for me and green spots from a geranium dress for Sage. The mushrooms is from a mei tai baby carrier I made when Toby was little and some fabric from Lily's kyoto. I gifted two of these at Christmas but I do love how my kids will coordinate with the kitchen accessories and how they provide a wee bit of reminiscent fodder. I can see myself always making these from now on. No more store-bought pot holders for us!
I did experiment with two layers, which made a very thick pot holder. The downside was that it was a bit more difficult to quilt.
If you're keen to give something like this a try, there are some excellent instructions over at My Poppet
If you've got any bright ideas for using up old towels, I'd love to hear them.
What other household items do you recycle/make/repurpose? Give me all your hot tips, please!
I want to share with you a lovely story that aired on ABC TV's Landline the weekend before last. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my link to this already. If you haven't watched this, please do.
Even if you're not from the 'country' or interested in anything remotely farmy, do watch this.
This is not just about farming or sheep, this is a story that is both uplifting and inspiring. It's about following your passion and believing in yourself. This is a story that will make you smile, and if you're a bit of a softie like me, you might even have a tear in your eye at the end.
It runs for a little over 16 minutes so won't take long.
ABCTV - Landline: A Sheep Called Alice
So did you watch?
Incredible, isn't it!
I've been playing with Nan Bray's wool for a little while now, swatching and knitting and seeing what it looks like in different stitch patterns. Patting and patting and patting it endlessly, not quite believing just how lovely and beautiful it is. If you joined me at The Craft Sessions, you no doubt got to meet some of the White Gum Wool and will know that I'm working on a pattern with it. And you may have seen the lovely yarn sample card with the most perfect yellow yarn ever. So I know Nan's wool and I appreciated that it was ethically produced, and I've a wee bit of an email correspondence with her, but I did not know her story. I did not know the full extent of just how ethical and lovely her approach to farming sheep is.
I love every thing about Nan's approach to farming, but I particularly love how she studied the sheep and saw from their feeding patterns that they knew the weeds to self-medicate, they just knew! I love that she treats them well and gets such amazing wool as a result. I love that this woman has decided to have a crack at sheep rearing and wool production, challenging so many long standing conventions and has succeeded so very very well. I loved her relationship with her stockman Davy and the faith he so clearly has in her. I found it incredible, that given his age, generation and experience, he was so readily able to listen to Nan and even learn from her. This is a man that has a mountain of experience and I think that would have been an incredible open-minded thing to do.
What wonderful people! They both brought a tear to my eye they were so inspiring.
I have to say, most of all, I love that the sheep don't have their tails docked. For some reason, that really resonated with me.
Until I discovered Nan's wool I was beginning to feel a little bit flat about the Australian yarn industry. At heart, I am a bit of a hippy greenie, I love something with an organic or ethical flavour. Add in some chai and mung beans and I'm set.
With the closing of WOOLganics and the demise of Pear Tree, I was pretty disheartened about the lack of a great Australian true gutsy wool base. For the country who famously rode to prosperity on the back of sheep, it seemed unfortunate that we were losing such great yarns. How could this be?
It also seemed a little like Australian yarn had lost its way and more and more knitters seemed to be turning to overseas yarn, with new and amazing yarns popping up every second day it seemed. The Aussie knitter knitting with a local yarn was becoming a rare thing, and I found that really sad. So much of the crafting revolution focuses on the ethical and the local aspect of crafting, and yet here we were the country of wool, losing such amazing yarns. It didn't seem right. How can the US have all these US born and bred yarns to suddenly showcase and here, we seemed to have forgotten about that sheep's back full of history. It's an unfair comparison, given the size and population of countries like the US in comparison to Australia, but it was hard not to think it.
We have so many terrific indie dyers down under but more and more I see them dyeing superwash merino, for some time there was no real option to be found for a beautiful plump hand wash yarn, let alone one with green credentials. Superwash has its place, but for me my true love will always be a true wool, left un-chemically treated and pure. So I've been heartened to see indie dyers dyeing up Nan's gorgeous wool and giving it their colour love. I have a few skeins here begging to be knit, and I look forward to seeing more indie dyers embracing the natural yarns now that we have two fabulous product on our shelves.
I came across Nan's yarns about the same time Susannah told me she had bought WOOLganics. That was one happy time, I must say! I think these two amazing women bring a much needed product to the Australian market, they fill that void that I feel was so dearly missing; a great ethical product that is wonderful to work with. A true real wool that is easy to access and can be (or should be) found in your LYS. It's renewed a bit of a spark for me, rekindled my love for knitting and yes, I've unearthed my hoarded WOOLganics and have been knitting with it. I will be talking a little bit more about a little something I have in the works in a future post.
If you're interested in purchasing either White Gum Wool or WOOLganics yarns, here are a couple of links to their web pages.
White Gum Wool
WOOLganics Organic Knitters Yarn
What I'd love to know is what other true "local" yarns do my readers love?
Are green or ethical considerations important to you when selecting your yarn?
It doesn't matter whether you're from Australia, New Zealand, the US or the Shetland Islands, I'd love to hear what local yarns you knit with and love. After all, local love anywhere is worth celebrating.
P.S. As an aside, I started writing this post a couple of days ago and only just had time to finish it this morning. As I was writing it, a knock came at the door and it was the postie delivering me those six balls of gorgeous yarn you see at the top of this post. How lovely is that!
Given the frustrations I expressed the other week about my lack of design output this year, you can probably guess I'm pretty happy to have a new pattern out there! And yes, I am.
This is Tully, so named for my niece. This is her birthday cardigan (her birthday was in July), but I have to admit it is still in my possession. Oops! Now the pattern is finalised and I know I need it no longer for any final checks or photos, it can go to her. Luckily she lives in a cooler part of the country!
Tully is very classic in shape and style. I love the way it sits so nicely upon the shoulders and I do so love a well formed set-in sleeves.
For a long time, I've avoided designing a set-in sleeve simply because a lot of seamless knitters avoid them. Why? I'm not sure. I guess there's a comfortable familiarity with a raglan, and of course the ease of its construction. Perhaps it's the techniques. I do know that there are knitters out there who avoid patterns with short rows or kitchener stitch. Ironically, many of my online knitter friends began their knitting career with longies and soaker patterns, both contain short rows and kitchener stitch!
I guess I also avoided short rows in a pattern because of my style of pattern writing. I like to totally guide the knitter, leaving nothing to guesswork and I consider communication within a pattern paramount. Despite the many different ways to work short rows, there was not one technique that I would consider fail-safe or perfect. Each of them had their own little idiosyncrasy that either annoyed me or I knew annoyed other knitters. And then I discovered German short rows.
While this pattern doesn't have any kitchener stitch, it certainly does have short rows. That shoulder shaping that helps the cardie hug the shoulders is created with German short rows.
Have you tried German short rows?
You really should!
If you're one of those knitters who is a bit apprehensive about short rows, you really should check them out, they are soooo easy!
Here's a link to my favourite you tube videos that show how to work short rows :
Short rows part 1 and Short rows part 2.
I also use the more traditional wrap and turn short row technique to shape the sleeve caps after picking up stitches around the armholes. But you know what, they're pretty easy here because I don't pick up the wraps, I just leave them as is and they create a nice edging around the armhole. So the whole pain in the neck part about wrap and turn, picking up the wraps, is avoided.
This is the third set in sleeve garment I've designed. You've not seen the other two as I've not publicly released the pattern nor photos of the garment. Each of them uses a different technique for working set-in sleeves. So I guess you could say, I've been experimenting with this technique and finding out works best for me and my style. I'll talk more about more experiments with set-in sleeves in my Introduction to Seamless Design class at The Craft Sessions, but suffice to say, at the moment I think the finish of this technique is the most pleasing. And yes, if you're attending my class I will take the other designs along.
The reality though is that a set-in sleeve cardie is no more difficult to knit than a vest such as What Big Eyes You Have or Zigvest. In fact, it's actually easier as you're not having to deal with charts will working the bodice/yoke section. So if you've successfully knit that style of vest, you will have no problems with this pattern.
One of the things I really like about this pattern, as did my testers, was the way I laid out the instructions for the two front pieces. The layout allows you to knit the two pieces either simultaneously or individually, which I love and am really proud of. It was a bit of an inspired moment! If you knit this pattern I'd love to know what you think of that aspect of the layout as it is one I'll probably use again.
Check out those sleeves! I really love them. Lily was adamant that this cardie needed those sleeves. Because I know you like choice there is an option in the pattern for knitting them straighter, as a few of the testers did. The number of buttons is also optional. Despite the prototype being a full buttoned cardie, I personally prefer a single button closure, but I know for smaller kiddies a lot of mums prefer cardies that fully button. After all, we do need to keep those little chests and tums warm!
So finally, my dear little Tully you can have your cardie! I hope it keeps you warm and toasty my sweet girl, and wear it knowing that Lily and I thought carefully about what was the perfect design for you!
Tully can be purchased via Ravelry for $6AUD.
And as a very special introductory offer for all my blog readers, if you use the code blogreader at the check out you will get an automatic discount of 30% off Tully for the next week. The discount code will expire at the end of the day Friday October 11th AEDST.
I've been talking a lot with Lily about what some of her favourite winter knits are. There's a reason for that.
It's cold, yes but she's also been exploring her extensive wardrobe of knits and wearing lots of different things. It's so lovely to see her wearing knits that I knit her a couple of years ago, knits that are getting a second go at being loved. Funnily enough, today I am wearing a jumper that I must have knit about 10-12 years ago, one that has never really seen the light of day, one that I've never really worn. Today I am enjoying it.... despite the fact that most of the ends in it haven't been sewn in and it's quite ill-fitting, but in a bit of an o-k way. Given it's a striped jumper with six different colours, there's a lot of unsewn ends.
I think I am truly blessed that my girl loves to wear my knitting and she is very keen to do a guest blog post where she shares with you her favourite five winter knits. In this list, I must admit, there are a couple of garments that I have not yet published patterns for! oops!
I tried to have the same conversation with Toby but the answer went something like this; "ALL of the knits, Mummy!" as he wrapped his arms around me and peppered me with kisses. He's a boy that aims to please, my cuddly little one. The eternal charmer.
Instead, I decided to look inside his comparatively emptier wardrobe and think about what it is that he is wearing, and what it is that we choose for him to wear, and what HE chooses. Yes, these can be two very different things, indeed!
Number one: beear
This would have to be my absolute favourite on Toby. He wears it so well.
I love the retro feel to it, the deceptively simple colourwork and the circular yoke. Tobes likes it too, he tells me the pattern is really cool. And he is boy who know cool, he exudes it.
Number two: tobias
This one gets worn A LOT. This is actually the second Tobias I have knitted for Toby, the first one was green but unfortunately he outgrew it before I got the pattern written up. I love that this cardie is in my favourite yarn WOOLganics, and the orange is such a great colour! A perfect leprechaun colour, which was pretty much where I got the inspiration for this design from. Yep, it's what I think a leprechaun would wear; if they wore a wool jumper.
Tobias is the woollie that my husband will pick every time when he dresses Toby. Toby likes everything about this cardie too, particularly the pockets. It has been worn, covered in muck and leaves and dirt and rewashed more times than I care to remember.
Number three: ziggy
When Toby grew out of his first Ziggy, I was really sad. I so loved him in that jumper, I loved the colour on him so much. And I was really proud of the design.
Ziggy is so much fun to knit and it's such a cool design I had to knit him another one. I knew this one had to be yellow though. A fellow Raveler had knit her gorgeous wee man a yellow one, and I had loved it since the moment I saw it.
Tobes of course loves the zig-zags best of all!
Number four: milo
Of course, there had to be a milo in the list!
This milo is a few years old and is perhaps a wee bit short but Tobes still regularly reaches for it when he's told to put something warmer on.
Vests like milos are great for little boys (and girls too), kids are often soo eager to take off jumpers once they start running around, or even once parents' backs are turned, but vests they tend to forget they're even wearing. So they stay on and the part of them that needs keeping warm the most, their torso; their little chest and back, stays warm.
I need to knit Toby another milo in a yarn like this one.
"What do you like about milos, Toby?"
"That they're only short. They only come up to here," he points to his shoulders. See, straight from the milo boy's mouth himself!
Number five: griffin
Griffin is another favourite in our house. I love it because its noro. Andy loves the 70s feel and I suspect Toby loves it for the same reason he loves milos, the short sleeves. Although I have seen him take this one off when inside and he thinks I'm not looking, but never a milo.
It's a super quick and interesting knit. I think saddle shoulder constructions are a great fit for little boys. Needless to say, I am exploring that construction technique some more.
So that's my top five knits for my boy this winter.
What about your kids?
What are their favourites this winter?
Is there something that you've loved so much on them that you've knit it twice for them?
You know, no matter how much you enjoy and love your chosen craft I think there's always one or two things about it that are a bit of proverbial pain. The things that really bug you about it and become a bit of a bane for you. For knitters it seems to be things like knitting tension squares, sewing up seams or even weaving in ends. I don't really mind any of those things, for me my bane is pilling.
Oh my lordy, how I shudder at the sight of pilled knitwear. I cannot stand the way it blurs the fabric and you lose the stitch definition. Lovely defined stitches are like sunshine.
Pilling is a bit like an unmade bed for me, it's just one of those things I can't bear the sight of. I have to change it. Making beds is pretty easy but I have to tell you over the years I have battled the pill in a pretty major way. I've tried everything from picking them off to ezy-combs to razors to those little battery operated depillers you can get in the haby sections of supermarkets and big sewing stores. While I've had limited success it has been tedious though, mind numbingly tedious.AQnd given my love for super-soft merino yarns, that was a bit of a problem.
And then I discovered something almost akin to magic.
An Electric Depiller.
An electric depiller that made the whole process bearable; not just bearable, but almost possibly pleasurable. There is something super satisfying in seeing your pilled knitted item rejuvenated and brought back to life, as if it was new again. Something oh so very satisfying. Perhaps even a little addictive.
I love the ease of this little machine. I've given mine a really good work out over the years and I know I've blogged about it at least once and also raved on about it on Facebook and Instagram quite recently. I really do just love this little machine that much.
It means my kids can wear my sample garments as much as they like, get them as pilly and dirty as they are want to do. A good wash and depill and they are ready for action again, or to even front up at a trunk show. THAT really is testament to how well this thing works.
I use my depiller regularly. At the moment it has a semi-permanent place plugged in near my dining table. This week I've on a number of occasions given the kids jumpers a quick depill before they set off for kinder and school. I've depilled so well that in preparation for this post, I couldn't find a pilled garment anywhere.
But I did find Lily's favourite rug. This rug is so loved and cuddled and snuggled; she can't sleep without it. If your kid is going to love a knitted rug so much it's probably not a great idea to knit it in a loose garter stitch in the softest organic merino you can find.
It is oh so beautiful but it does pill like crazy. Hugging tends to do that.
My electric depiller of choice is the Classic 50 Fabric Shaver from The Fabric Care Company, a company with a commitment to Australian products.
What I love about this depiller is that you can buy extra blades, which means this becomes less of a disposable product. For me, both those factors about this company are important. I'd much rather purchase from a company with a commitment to quality production.
The lovely people at The Fabric Care Company have generously given me a Classic 50 Shaver with a spare blade to give away to my blog readers. I was a bit stoked that they gave me a new one to keep for myself as well!
To enter all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me:
What is the bane of your crafting existence?
Entries will close in a week's time, Wednesday August 7th at midnight AEST.
Entries are only open to residents of Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier this month I released a new pattern. A fun little slouchie beanie called Scrap Heap.
I had so much fun working on this design because I got to work with a sweet little up and coming designer, my wee eight year old Lily. She is so much fun to work with, she has a mountain of ideas and is always super keen to put me to work. Ever since she has been little she has been sketching out her "designs" in my visual diary with the expectation that I would knit them. Most of them are pretty out there and haven't seen the light of day, much to her chagrin. Every now and again she still asks me when I'm going to knit her teepee dress; a design she drew when she was about three! I am such a mean mummy!
This time, I asked her to help me though. She wanted me to knit a couple of beanies for two of her friends' birthdays; two brothers who happen to have their birthdays in the same month. She wanted something that really captured their personalities. One of these brothers you may be familiar with already, his name is Griffin. Remember him? That may give you a bit of an idea of the design brief before us.
We settled on a striped slouch beanie and Lily selected the colours from my 8ply scrap tub. Yes, I have a whole tub of 8ply leftovers that are slowly being transformed into a blanket. Slowly. Then we decided to personalise it and I set Lily the job of designing a duplicate stitch image for each of the beanies. She thought monsters would work and quickly had her sketches organised.
Next with some knitters graph paper she set about creating the duplicate chart pattern. Meanwhile I knitted away.
I finished knitting and then late one night while she was in bed I duplicate stitched the monsters on. They were soooo ace I was really really tempted to go and wake her to show her then but I controlled that crazy crafting urge, having done it to my husband too many times with nary the response I was hoping for, and resisted waking her. Next morning, I shared our work with her and she was so stoked, one of her big excited grins appeared and she started chattering ten to the dozen, a sure sign that she was very happy and pleased with them.
We decided they were too cute not to share, so the pattern had to be written up. Given that I'd used leftovers to make our beanies, it seemed only fitting that I grade the pattern in a number of different weights so it can be used that way by lots of knitters. I graded it for five different yarn weights; sport/5ply, dk/8ply, worsted/10ply, /heavy worsted/aran and chunky/12ply and five different head sizes; 16", 18", 20", 22" and 24" so it will fit most people from baby size up until a large adult.
Beyond the awesome duplicate charts that come with this pattern, there are a couple of other cool things about it.
It has a little colour bar down the side of the first page of the pattern itself to help you with your colour sequence, I used five colours in both beanies and had fun switching them in and out over the two round stripes.
As I used such short stripes, I also used a jogless stripe technique that is fully detailed in the pattern so that the stripes matched nicely around the circumference of the hats.
One of the other things that is a bit of a pain with stripes is the transition between each stripe in ribbing, in the purl section you get the two different yarns wrapping around each other on the right side. If you're using a thicker stripe, this can be easily disguised by just knitting the first round of each new stripe. Given these were two round stripes, that wasn't going to work so I decided to try and minimise it by making the knit section of the rib slightly thicker. I really quite like a 3x2 rib, it seems to transition well into stocking stitch almost seamlessly.
So there you have it. Scrap Heap, the perfect project for all those scraps and for peeps who really can't be bothered using them to knit a blanket. This would be a great hat to knit for charity; and as with all my patterns you can use it to do so.
Additionally, for the remainder of July if you've ever purchased a pattern from me before, this pattern is free. Just take it through the ravelry cart checkout and the price will automatically be deducted.
For all those details and to purchase or get your free copy, pop over here.
P.S. Stayed tuned as later this week I have a VERY exciting giveaway to announce!!
Every year round about now I get a wee bit jealous of Northern Hemisphere crafters. I get a wee bit disillusioned about how far away we crafters in the Southern Hemisphere are. I get a wee bit sad that we don't have exciting stuff like Squam or for a knitwear designer like me, the TNNA Trade Shows. That's because right about now, in the Northern Hemisphere it seems that that is ALL anyone is talking about. And you know, it sounds amazingly wonderful and incredibly inspiring!
So when Felicia rang me one day to tell me about The Craft Sessions and to ask if I wanted to teach there, I think I'd said yes before she'd even finished explaining what it was all about. I am so very excited by what these girls have planned, it is going to be so very very very AMAZING!!!
So what is The Craft Sessions?
It's a crafty weekend retreat.
For me, that's all I needed to hear.
But for those who need to know more, it's going to be an amazing weekend of craft, workshops, great food and connecting with fellow crafters.
It's a weekend away in the Yarra Valley where you can immerse yourself in your craft/s; knitting, sewing, stitching, printing and making.
When is it?
October 25th - 27th 2013.
Where can I find out more?
you can find out all you need to know about The Craft Sessions including the wonderful line up of teachers at the official website over here.
Is this something that you would be interested in?
Do you think you'll be going along?
Keep in touch
Who am I?
Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
Print Patterns for LYS available from:
Stuff I talk about: