This week I've released two new patterns, both of which I am really pleased with.
These two patterns were originally part of the Red Riding Hood Yarns Winter Yarn Club this year. The themes for the packages were all decades. In each package, the recipient received yarn, pattern, a knitting accessory and a little edible goodie.
I chose the 1960s as my month. I did naturally think I would choose the 70s but to be honest I'm already quite influenced by kids clothes of the 1970s, perhaps as I was born in that era and have fond memories of hand knits growing up, so I didn't really think that would be much of a challenge. And really, my pattern Griffin pretty much perfectly captures the 1970s essence and I didn't think I could improve on that!
I also knew that in designing these garments I wanted to capture what the kids wore in this era. When we think about 60s fashion, the visions that come to mind are very much adult. Very adult in some respects.
Clothing for kids was different then, it was more about serving the purpose rather than following trends. Clothes for kids weren't one-season wonders like they are now for so many kids. Kids really didn't wear mini-me versions of adult clothing. Thank goodness. There were some fashion trends that did transcend the age barrier but they were more things like hem lengths and fabric selection.
Maybe I'm romanticising but I think the difference in kids clothes between now and then also reflects a difference in approaches to childhood. Were kids more carefree and independent then? Were they given more space to roam? Spent more time outdoors? Weren't so dictated by after-school activities? Allowed to just BE children more than they are now? I get that impression, but then as I said maybe I'm just romanticising.
The girl's pattern was the easier of the two to develop an idea for. My older sisters were born in the 60. I remember a professional portrait photo of a little dark haired girl in a sailor dress and her brother in a wee waistcoat, which is where the idea for this sprang from.
The sailor theme was a constant part of children's fashion for a large part of the last century, so even though it isn't specifically 60s; for me, it was. Little girls began dressing in sailor dresses around the 1930s and the trend continued strong right through until the end of the 1960s at least. I have to say, it is a pretty cute trend and it has had some resurgence since then, firstly in the 1980s and I have seen some recent spatterings of its influence.
Another thing I remember from our hand-me down baby clothes (and given I was the third girl you can bet most of my clothes as a baby were hand-me-downs) were the embroidered hemlines of baby clothes from this era. I'm thinking particularly of a pale pink dress with a pleated skirt and embroidery that fluttered through those pleats. There were plenty of other skirts and dresses with such embroidery.
When I decided this dress need something more than a plain hem, along with the modified Old Shale lace I went with, I used the contrast colour as a homage to that embroidery. I really love how it turned out.
The skirt is meant to be mini-length in line with the fashion of the time. I have to admit though, my modern day prudence did see me make the mini-length a fair bit longer than it would have been in the 60s. I still remember dresses in the 70s that really only just covered my bum!
I also deliberately made the sailor jumper flap a bit narrower, to give it a more modern feel. If you prefer it wider, that could definitely be easily achieved by making the neck-ties wider or working some increases into the neck-ties as you move into the flap going over the shoulder.
Isn't jumper flap a weird name? I was sure it would have some fancy official name but it seems not, jumper flap it is. Well, at least that's what all my research turned up.
I have to add that even though we styled these photos with bare legs and arms, Lily hasn't worn this dress in this way since. It looks gorgeous plain and simple like this, but for more practical wear it gets worn over a long sleeved t-shirt.
The boys pattern was definitely more difficult. I resisted the urge for a sailor inspired boys jumper, I thought that would be a bit twee and possibly wouldn't translate to what our kids wear these days. Who knows, but I decided to go for something a bit different.
I looked at loads of photos of kids clothes from the 1960s. The thin vertical stripes kept catching my eye and I decided to go with a simple crew neck jumper with thin stripes on just one side. Hannah from RRHY requested that the boys pattern could also be made as a vest. Experience tells me that many parents aren't that keen on a crew neck vest for their kids, so I changed tack and went for a v-neck cardigan. This cardigan, however, does begin with saddle shoulders which I have found just work fabulously for wee boys.
If you've knit my Griffin pattern you will be familiar with the unusual way I like to construct my saddle shoulders. I don't like having lots of yarn ends to weave in if it's not necessary so my technique is a all-in-one approach, which is quite fun.
The styling for this cardigan is deliberately simple; a classic fit that's finished off with 2x2 rib.
The single stripes are worked using a crochet technique called Surface Slip Stitch. You can work these stripes with leftovers, which I love. The yarn I used was leftovers from the RRHY Winter Yarn Club of 2012 which is pretty cool. if you want to know more about Surface Slip Stitch, there is a simple tutorial for working it here on my website.
This cardigan has gotten loads of wear. In fact, my husband says it is his favourite design of mine. He too loves the simplicity, as it seems do many people. Of the two patterns, this one does seem to have been the most popular which did surprise me. I honestly was worried it was a little plain. But really it has reinforced my ideas about simplicity in designs. I really do like simple clean lines.
Both of these patterns are knit from the top-down and are seamless.
And they are both available for purchase via my Ravelry store.
The instalment this week is a wee bit late. Let's blame Easter for that.
Did you have a lovely Easter break? We did. We spent it with family, which was lovely but it did involve a two and a half hour drive home with two kids on a chocolate come-down (not pretty) and a dash to get back in time for an out-of hours doctors appointment for my husband (not cheap) followed by a trip into the city to find a pharmacist open to dispense his antibiotics (not fun). He has an infected ear, but is now on the mend. The kids are back at school today after a big sleep, so once again it is quiet and peaceful, albeit a bit messy.
Today's non-clue involves a little tricky-ish part (not really that tricky) followed by some lovely stocking stitch knitting. As we've finished the yoke it's now time to knit the body and the sleeves. To do this, we're going to separate the body stitches from those that we'll use to knit the sleeves. You will need the two pieces of waste yarn that the Needles and Notions section mentioned.
For those who have not knit my patterns before or are newer knitters, I want to emphasis that there are four kfabs in the row where you separate. These are worked either side of the sleeves stitches that are put on hold. Please make sure you remember to knit them. These kfabs tighten the stitches either side of the sleeves where often slackness appears due to the separation process. They also help to prevent little holes under the arms, which can be quite common with top down garments. I believe you should never have to darn up underarm holes, the pattern should prevent them. This is the first step in doing so.
About waste yarn
Waste yarn can be any scrap yarn that you have left over from other projects. A piece about 12"/30cm long is a good length. The best yarn to use for waste yarn is one that will not felt, so cotton or a superwash yarn is ideal. I like to use a waste yarn that is a different colour from the yarn I'm knitting with.
I have to confess that I don't actually use waste yarn very often anymore. I slip my sleeve stitches onto a Clover Circular Stitch holder and the needle I'm going to knit the sleeves with. You can sort of see them in this photo.
Integrated button bands
Once we've split the stitches into the body and sleeves, we will keep knitting the body, as pictured above.
You may have noticed at the bottom of the yoke the instructions that had you working 3 knit stitches and then slipping a stitch at each edge of the front. This continues to occur in this section.
The instructions read as:
Body row 1: (WS) k3, wyib sl1 purl-wise, purl to last 4 sts, k4.
Body row 2: (RS) k3, wyif sl1 purl-wise, knit to end of row.
You will notice that this creates a garter stitch edging on each of the fronts which continues down from the garter yoke. You may notice that where the slipped stitch is worked you get a long elongated stitch on one of the insides but it is barely noticeable on the other side. Like this:
You may have even wondered if you'd done something wrong as they weren't the same. You can probably guess the reason I'm showing you this photo is to let you know that they're not meant to be the same. These slipped stitches are purely functional.
What do they do?
Stocking stitch and garter stitch create stitches that are different in height. The stocking stitch is much taller than the garter stitch. Now imagine you're stacking two rows of blocks of different heights side by side. This is effectively what is happening when you knit garter and stocking stitch side by side. The garter stitch edging does stretch out vertically to accommodate the stocking stitch but one of the side effects of this is that the garter stitch edge will flip inwards. You may have knit a cardigan before with garter stitch edges where this happened. Sometimes blocking can prevent the flipping but not always and even when blocked the flipping can still happen.
Working a slipped stitch between the garter and stocking sections works as a transition stitch by creating a stitch that is taller than the garter stitch yet shorter than the stocking stitch. It helps to prevent this flipping. Even unblocked this way won't flip as much, when blocked it's foolproof.
You can work this little trick into any garter stitch edging you come across in any other pattern. Neat huh!
I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook on Friday showing the best place to measure the yoke length. It reminded me that I should included one for the length of the cardie this week. When measuring, it's best to do it on a flat surface and make sure the front and back of the neckline are lined up. Having said that, I will admit that I often measure in the car or the park, neither of which provide terrifically flat surfaces. I love that knitting really is quite adaptable like that. A wee bit out in length for the body is not going to be too drastic.
My wee cardie in Augustbird Pebbly Beach and White Gum Wool Everlasting is all done. I cheated a bit and knit ahead. I'm now working on the sample garment for the bigger sizes for the full pattern. I'm knitting it in White Gum Wool Gum Grey and Hawthorn. You can see the colours above. Below is my finished baby size cardie In the 3-6 month size awaiting buttons and blocking.
Last night I also knit the leftovers from my wee cardie into a square in my mitred blanket. It's now up to 76 squares. Almost a fifth done.
And below that is this week's pattern instalment.
Any questions? Comments? Concerns?
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?
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.
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!!
Hello from my new blogging centre.
It seems strange to say goodbye to my old blog, but at the same time it does make far more sense to be blogging from my own website. We'll see how it goes!
It's a wee bit exciting that my first post on my new blog site is about my latest adult design, Lizzie.
Lizzie is the grown up version of my girl's pattern, Elizabeth.
Lizzie is a great light-weight cardigan; lacy and airy and so light and beautiful to wear. She knits up quickly in a 5ply/sport weight yarn. I used the very lush Madelinetosh Pashmina for the sample in the photos. Oh my! This really is such a lovely yarn!
This cardigan is simple and seamless with an interesting construction. Cables, lace and fluttery sleeves make for both textural and visual delight.
The lace is a fairly simple 6 stitch pattern, but tips are included in the pattern for those who are inexperienced or lacking in confidence with lace. Both charts and written instructions are included for the lace sections.
I really enjoyed both the knitting and designing of this cardigan. Being an adult garment, it does take more time and effort than a child's but the lace kept it from getting too boring. I really love this lace pattern, it's quite textural while knitting but blocks out beautifully. It's a lace pattern that is also very easy to read and recall as you're knitting.
I've been wanting to knit this cardie for a long time; pretty much ever since I knitted the Elizabeth cardie. I'm so pleased I finally got around to it! It's such a comfy and wonderful cardie to wear.
Lizzie is now available for purchase via the Ravelry cart for $6.
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Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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