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.
Yes, it is May already! Here in Australia the weather is transitioning to winter. The days are shorter; we often find ourselves cycling into the dark. The nights are cooler, we've cracked out the flannelette sheets and stoked up the fire at night. And the rain has come. After an incredibly dry Spring and Summer, the rain is very very welcome. I love the Australian bush after a rainfall, the foliage colours are so vibrant. The brightness of the Australian light really does make it feel almost magical.
May for me, now means Milo May. A month to celebrate the milo pattern and all its diversity and potential. Since milo was released five years ago, there has been over 7600 projects posted on Ravelry. Every time I see how many milo projects there are it really just blows me away. I can still so vividly remember the nervousness that I felt when I released it, my first paid pattern. I can still remember the discussion I had with my husband where we talked about how awesome it would be if milo sold 50 copies. 50 copies, we thought, Imagine that! How amazing would that be!
This year marks the fourth annual Milo May. Over the years there have been some amazing milos knit. I love how knitters have taken this humble vest pattern, added a massive dash of their incredible creativity and handcrafted some amazing knits. We've had beautiful colourwork. Some stunning cable work. And even for those who have knit the pattern as is, some gorgeous yarn choices have been made.
So how do you join in....
Milo May is hosted on my Ravelry group, which you can find the link to here. There is a very chatty thread over there, where we talk about all things milo and a lot of other stuff that may have no relation whatsoever to milo. And that is fine too.
Join the group.
Knit up a milo. (or two or three or even more ~ last year one amazing knitter knit a milo for every day of May!)
Create a project page for your milo linking to the pattern.
Tag your milo #milomay2014.
Use the #milomay2014 tag on other social media too.
We will close off entries a few days into June to allow for stragglers to finish weaving in ends, block and get photos. Then we have a prize draw. Some prizes will be randomly selected, some will be for something more specific and some will be chosen by the milo boy himself. He really likes that part!
If you've not knit a garment or are just learning, fear not. Milo is an incredibly easy knit and is perfect for beginner knitters. You would not believe how many people tell me milo was their first knitting project.
The prizes you ask? What are the prizes?
They are amazing! As well as my regular and much loved sponsor, Little Plum Yarn, this year I have had a number of donations from a whole heap of other knitty indie type businesses. I'm pulling all the information together and shall post tomorrow with all the details. It is pretty special though, and I can honestly say this year's milo may is going to be fabulous.
I've got a few other things cooked up for milo may but first up, I'd like to chat about a subject close to my heart.
How to choose the right size.
Milo is designed to be a fairly fitted vest. The reason that it is perfect for kids and they don't tend to take it off is because it is fitted. They don't notice that they are wearing it. Being fitted keeps their little chest and tummy warm, and that makes mummies and grannies very happy. We like to see kids with warm little chests.
To ensure that the milo you are knitting fits, two things are pretty crucial. You know I'm going to say it, but the first one is swatching. For milo, you need to swatch in the round in both stocking stitch and garter stitch. Maybe whip up a little matching beanie as part of your swatching process... but it will have to be in the same yarn. An Otis Baby Hat by Joy Boath would serve the purpose or a simple beanie with a garter section or brim. Not sure how to swatch in the round. Read here.
The second thing you absolutely must do is measure the child you are knitting for if possible. Measure against the skin or underclothes for an accurate measurement. Choose the size that equates to that measurement. Don't freak if when you compare it to the approximate age it is quite different. That is normal. Most kids aren't average and aren't the same size. My 5 year old son is 22" chest. My 8 year old daughter is 23.5".
If you want your child to get more than one year out of their knit, and who doesn't, do not go up a size. Add extra length instead. Kids grow upwards far quicker than they ever grow outwards. They need more length not width for growing room. My kids outgrow length in their knits, they never outgrow width. My daughter is still comfortably wearing the 21" (which I knit to 6 years length) I knit three years ago. I possibly should knit her a new one this year as it is possibly getting too short!
Another fitting tip:
If on the other hand your child is older than the approximate age for which they measure, knit the bodice based on their age. Then when you increase into the garter stitch section work extra increases so that the stitch count is equal to the size that matches their chest measurement. Does that makes sense?
Is there anything you've wondered about milos?
Something you'd like to know how to do that you've seen on milos floating around?
Psst: if you don't have the milo pattern, now is the time to buy it. It's discounted by $1AUD for the whole of May. Discount is subtracted automatically at the checkout.
Happy Milo May everyone!
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?
I'll be honest with you.
I meant to knit this milo 12 months ago.
This was supposed to be the milo I knit for milo may 2012, but I didn't do it. Instead, the lure of the noro sucked me in yet again and I knit a milo in silk garden lite for my niece.
While I'm being honest with you, I'll admit that I hadn't knit a milo for the milo boy since June 2011. Yep, that's two years ago. And when Toby put a milo on at the start of the cooler weather this year, this was pretty obvious!
I knit this milo over three days, such a quick and easy knit. I still enjoy knitting milos even after all these years and even though this was my 21st milo.
During milo may, I had someone ask on facebook if I had to ever refer to the pattern when I was knitting a milo. You know, I thought this was an awesome question. It seems to be a common belief amongst knitters, judging by questions by friends who knit as well as those who send emails, that designers do retain an intimate knowledge of their patterns.
Maybe other designers do, I'm not sure, but I certainly don't. I think I'd be surprised if they do. I'd love to hear your point of view if you are a designer. Do you remember more of your older patterns than I do?
So while I do know the structure of this pattern pretty much off by heart when knitting a milo, there is no way I can possibly remember the stitch counts or the lengths for all the sizes, particularly as I haven't knit them all. I've had so many numbers for other patterns, another 50 or so to be precise, go through my head since I wrote this pattern. In fact, when knitting this milo I did insert the stitch marker in the wrong place simply because I didn't actually follow the pattern that closely!
It's the same when answering an email/pm about a pattern. I'm not sure that knitters realise that this is involved as it is. It does mean getting out a copy of the pattern and re-reading it every time a new question or query is asked. It's very rare I can actually answer a query without having to refer or double check with the pattern.
Needles: 3.75mm and 4mm Knit Picks fixed circulars.
Yarn: Vintage Purls Max (75% merino/25% nylon) 227yards/100grams Colourway: Lemon Squeezy
Size: 21" knit to size 5 length for my big four and a half year old
No matter how much I love this yarn, and oh my god, I do adore this yarn; it probably wasn’t the best choice for a milo. It has nothing to do with the colour and more to do with the drapey aspect of this yarn.
That’s not to say I’m not happy with this milo, I most certainly am! This colour is superb for when he runs off through the bush…. I. will. not. lose. him. anywhere! Even when he chooses to wear an outfit that camouflages perfectly with the surrounding landscape…
There is absolutely nothing wrong with knitting a milo in a yarn such as this; one which is superwash and has plenty of body and drape. It’s just not my personal preference for a milo. For a milo, I like something that is more sturdy, perhaps even nubbly or tweedy. I definitely prefer a handwash. I think that it sits better around the shoulders and the chest too, if it’s less likely to suffer the fate of stretching that often comes with a superwash yarn.
It's hard to believe it's already almost half way through May. Almost. How did that happen? It seems like it was barely February yesterday!
May around these parts means Milo May; a super dooper knit-a-long of milos in my Ravelry group.
Have you joined in yet?
This is the third, I believe, Milo May that we've held and it's always great fun! I love seeing all the different milos created and am always inspired by new ideas and a new spin on the pattern. I love the way so many knitters use milo as a blank canvas.
Just the other day, I saw a little girl at kinder wearing a milo (gosh, that always makes me feel soooo good when I see a random knit knit by someone I don't know) and her granny who knit the milo had left off the cable added a little garter pocket near the hem with some cute feature buttons.
I am so lucky to have on board as my sponsor again this year, Little Plum Yarn.
I absolutely adore Sharon's dyeing. She has such beautiful depth and consistency in her colourways. The green above is one of my favourites, I have some in my stash just hanging to become a cardigan for me.
Sharon has very kindly donated two skeins of glorious superwash dk yarn in the winner's choice of colourway. So how do you win? Or even enter to win?
It's quite simple. Just knit a milo in May and post pictures of your FO over in my Ravelry group. There's a chatter thread over there too, for lots of inspiration and support.
Here in Australia, May is the month when Toby really starts wearing his milos again. I've noticed that, unfortunately, they're all pretty much too short! He's chosen a very bright yellow for a new one, and has also requested one with some wild animals on it (preferably Tasmanian devils!). I'd really like to knit him a new noro one (always looking for an excuse to buy some more noro ~ it's the one yarn that really doesn't hibernate in the stash!) but I'm not sure I'll manage to accomplish all that in the next couple of weeks. Heck, I know I won't!
Lily wore her noro milo to school yesterday which looked very cute with her skirt, and knee high socks! She's a bit of a school uniform rebel and likes to push the boundaries. They're not strict about uniform at her school, which I love, I'd much rather the teachers focussed on the important aspects of education, not whether her jumper is the right colour, or her socks the right length! Anyway, I digress......
So if you feel the need for a quick knit or a new milo, pop on over and join in. If you've never knit a milo before, this is a good chance to and you'll see why it is so addictive. Would you believe there are knitters out there, and that is plural, who have knit over 50 milos!
There are currently 5967 milo projects in the Ravelry database. I'd love love love to see it hit 6000 by the end of May!
You can the pattern, milo here.
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Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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