Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Knitter issue 101

The Knitter issue 101 is in the shops in the UK now and I've got two designs in this issue. For this month, I designed a modern take on the twin set: a vest and a matching poncho.



The Finola vest is worked from the bottom up in the round, to the underarms. The front and back are then worked separately to the shoulders which are joined by working a three needle cast off. This means there's no sewing up. Just knit on the neck and arm hole edgings and weave in your ends and you're ready to block the garment. The Finola vest features a pretty little lace pattern at the hem, which matches the poncho, and has waist shaping.


 

The Finola poncho has an asymmetrical shape with one side shorter than the other. You start working the poncho flat with increases to get to the full stitch count. Once you reach the full stitch count, you continue working in the round.



I used Artesano Alpaca DK for this design combo. At the time I had no idea what was happening at Artesano and I think the company went into receivership around the time the magazine was going to print. The Knitter suggests using King Cole Baby Alpaca DK which is very similar to Artesano Alpaca DK. You can of course use an alternative yarn, just make sure you match the tension. You can read about what happened with Artesano here.



You can wear these two garments together or separately. The choice is yours. 

The Knitter issue 101 is in the shops in the UK now.


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Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Mini Tip - Loopy Edging

Last week, I released Capri which is currently 25% off. No coupon code needed. The discount is valid until 26 August (not October as I said in my newsletter last week - apologies for that mistake). Read more last week's blog post about Capri.



For Capri I worked the centre triangle first and then I picked up stitches to knit the lace border. The centre triangle is worked from the bottom up and starts with just one stitch. The easiest way to cast on one stitch is to make a slip knot. On every row, I started with a yarn over (aka yarn forward). 



After I've finished the centre triangle, I picked up stitches in the yarn overs along two edges and worked the lace from the top down.



In today's Mini Tip video I show you how to work a yarn over at the beginning of a row. I demonstrate how to do this both in continental style and English style knitting. I then show you how to pick up stitches in the yarn overs.


You can also watch the video here.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below. 

Previous Monday Mini Tip posts and other tutorials can be found on my Tutorials page.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Capri


I'm so excited because as well as releasing a new pattern today, I'm also officially launching my new logo. I've already added the new logo to my Ravelry group and Facebook page but this is the first patterns with my new logo. I just need to find the time to go back and replace it on all my old patterns.

This is my new banner which will be used for my website and patterns.
These will be used for business cards and other business stationery.


I'm also releasing a new pattern today and I'm so excited about this pattern because the Capri shawl is beautiful. I was inspired by traditional Shetland hap shawls but I wanted a modern, elegant look. 


Capri is a triangular shawl blends simple garter stitch with a bold lace pattern for a modern shawl based on traditional Shetland hap construction. First you knit the centre triangle from the bottom up. You work a yarn over at the beginning of every row which gives you a loopy edging. For the lace, you pick up a stitch in each of those yarn overs then knit the lace border from the top down, just like any top down triangle with a centre spine. I will be doing a Monday Mini Tip Tutorial on how this shawl is shaped and how to pick up stitches into the yarn over loops on Monday.


 200g of luxurious 4ply/fingering weight yarn is used to create this exquisite shawl. I used two skeins of La Bien Aimee - Merino Light for the centre triangle and MCN Light for the lace border. Both are gorgeous yarns. If you prefer to use an alternative yarn, then you need two skeins of sock yarn or 4ply/fingering weight yarn which have approx 400m per 100g skein.


Capri is 25% off until 26 August 2016. No coupon code needed. Cast on Capri now, and you'll have a cozy shawl which you can also wear as a scarf when the cold weather hits in the next few months.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday WIP - Almost monogamous knitter

I've been sticking to two projects for the last week. I released part 3 of the Gondola KAL last week and I quickly knitted through that part myself. Things have been crazy since so I've not had time to even think about the final part yet. I am putting it off until next week to allow knitters time to catch up. Below is my shawl at the moment.


The other project I've been plugging away on is my Zauberball shawl. I think I'm nearly 2/3 through this shawl and although I'm enjoying it, I'm kind of dreaming of something new. I found a shawl I designed about four years ago and never got around to release. Pattern is half written so I want to re-knit it, to work out the full pattern and to make a few changes. I've got my yarn picked out but I'm trying to finish the Zauberball or at least the Gondola shawl first. I'm thinking it might be perfect for our trip to Budapest in September. I love how the Zauberball is looking. I'm using two different colourways.


A friend came to visit yesterday and she brought me some beautiful flowers. I love having fresh flowers in the house. My Zauberball project is getting big so I've moved it into my Fringe Field Bag which I keep next to my knitting chair. It sits on the floor and the balls stay in there when I knit. They do some other beautiful colours and I'm lusting after a grey and the new blue Field Bag.


I'm busy working on three new patterns at the moment. They're all in the tech editing phase. I'm not sure which one to publish first. Two are part of Lace Wear Volume TWO which I wasn't going to release until September but I'm tempted to get it out before the end of August. Watch this space.


To make sure you're the first to know when these patterns are released and to get an exclusive discount on Lace Wear Volume Two (which will be released in the same way as Volume One - one pattern at a time with the price increasing for each pattern), do sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Mini Tip - De-mystifying Charts

I know lots of knitters hate charts but for a lot of knitters that's because they're not sure how to read the charts, they find them confusing or they don't have the confidence to read the charts correctly.  I include 'how to read charts' in many of my classes and by the end of those classes, those who were reluctant to use charts to start with are usually happy. However, I do know that some knitters have tried charts and still prefer written instructions which is absolutely fine. I provide charts and written instructions for most of my patterns, except for fair isle (stranded) colour work patterns which only have charts.

Charts are basically a representation of what your knitting looks like with the right side facing and once you know a few basics, they're not too hard.


  • Charts are read from the bottom to the top, so row 1 will be at the bottom of the chart.
  • Right side rows are read from right to left.
  • Wrong side rows are read from left to right.
  • If you're knitting in the round, then all rows are read from right to left.
  • Each square is a stitch and each symbol has a meaning.
The various symbols used in charts, is what confuses knitters the most. Unfortunately there is no standard set of symbols used in knitting charts. Each designer or publisher can use their own symbols. I use a software called Stitch Mastery which is a really easy to use software with some great features. 

The software I use includes a set of standard symbols for the most common stitches but I can also create my own symbols for less common stitches. My challenge is to make sure I use the same symbol every time I use a stitch for which I've created a custom symbol. 

All charts should have a chart key or legend which will list the abbreviation or a description for each symbol. I list the abbreviations in my chart keys. You then need to go to the abbreviations list to find out what that abbreviation means.



Below is a basic lace chart. You can use the key above to work out what the symbols mean. On this chart I've shown both right and wrong side rows. The wrong side rows are all purl stitches.
If the wrong side rows are plain, then it's normal to take those out of the chart. Which will make the chart look like this:
It's the same chart as the one above but all the wrong side rows are gone. So you will read all the rows from right to left as they are all right side rows. For charts where wrong side rows have been taken out, there will be an instruction for what to do on wrong side rows.

The red box in the charts above, marks the pattern repeat. In written instructions this is usually marked by brackets or 'repeat from *' instruction.

If you were to knit the chart above and work two pattern repeats, you would cast on 26 stitches. You would knit the row to the end of the pattern repeat (read line between column 14/15) then work the 12 stitches in the pattern repeat again. Then knit the last stitch.

One thing that confuses many knitters when it comes to charts, is if there are areas of no stitches. This can happen because the stitch count is increasing or decreasing on that row. Charts for triangular, half hexagon, top down crescent usually have no stitch areas. 

In the chart below, which creates a triangle shape, you will be working two stitches more per right side row. These extra stitches need to be accounted for, so we fill in the empty areas with a no stitch symbol. My charting software uses either a grey square or a cross to signify no stitch. I find the grey square easier to read than the cross so that's what I use. 

 However, if the no stitch symbol is at beginning and/or end of the row, I have the option to make that area white. To me it makes the chart look cleaner. The chart above is the same chart as the one below.

Sometimes the no stitch symbol may come in the middle of a row and I agree that this is more confusing. The chart below has two grey squares in row 3. In lace knitting every yarn over is an increase and will have to be balanced  out by a decrease, unless you wish to increase the stitch count (as in the triangle chart above). Usually the decreases are on the same row as the yarn over but sometimes it can be on a later row as in the chart below. On row 3 I'm working two decreases which leaves me with two stitches less after finishing row 3. I need to show this in the chart somehow so I've put in two grey squares. I would add this to the chart key so it's clear that grey squares = no stitch. The yarn overs have been placed on row 5 which has 4 yarn overs and only two decreases. After row 5 the stitch count will be back to normal.

This is a bit of a crash course in chart reading and although, I've focused on lace charts, it applies to all types of knitting charts. The only way to get used to knitting from charts, is to give it a go. Practice makes perfect! Choose an easier chart to start with or a chart which has written instructions also, so you can refer between the two if you get stuck.

There are lots of ways to keep track of which row you are on in a chart. Many knitters use washi tape, highlighters, a ruler, or magnetic strips to keep track of which row they're on. I used to colour in the rows I'd worked with pencil so I could rub the pencil out again if I was knitting the chart more than once. These days, I only struggle if it's a big (lots of rows and stitches) chart with lots of symbols. I have a magnetic board with magnetic strips I use on those occasions when I need a little bit of help.

Do you have any questions about chart reading? Do you like knitting from charts? Tell me why or why not in the comments below.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Venezia from Lace Wear Volume One

I'm so excited to release the final pattern in the Lace Wear Volume One CollectionMy vision for this collection was to create patterns which used shawl shapes to create more wearable garments. I often hear knitters say they love knitting shawls but they don't wear them or they have too many shawls. My answer is the Lace Wear Volume One Collection. 


The final pattern to be released is Venezia. I wore this on one of the formal evenings on our recent cruise.

A hexagon shape is transformed into a stunning delicate garment by two seams. An interesting bead detail are added to the edging to add a bit of weight to the garment, enabling it to hang beautifully.




If purchased as a single pattern, Venezia is 25% off until 19 August 2016. No coupon code needed. 



Venezia comes in one size which will fit a variety of sizes. My daughter, Emily, who's modelling Venezia is nearly as tall as me (I'm 5ft 10.5/178cm) and a UK size 12 whereas I'm a UK size 20 and the garment fits us both. If you are petite you may wish to make it slightly smaller. You can easily make this garment smaller or bigger, by working fewer or more repeats of Charts A or B.



 Venezia is available as a single pattern and as part of the Lace Wear Volume One Collection. Please be aware that if you live in the EU, your local VAT rate will be added to the pattern price.



Look out for Lace Wear Volume Two which will launch in the next few weeks.



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Thursday, August 11, 2016

3 Bags Full - Wool Market & Workshop in Liskeard

On 30th September Liskeard (my town) in Cornwall is hosting it's annual Wool Market - 4-8pm in the Public Hall, Liskeard. I'll be there selling my patterns, Beaded Lace Knitting and yarn.

In the two weeks following the Wool Market, 3 Bags Full have organised a series of workshops. I'm teaching my Fair Isle Knitting and Steeking Workshop on 4 October. This class is perfect if you'd like to learn how to tackle stranded colourwork (also known as fair isle knitting) using two hands, which means I'll also teach you how to knit continental.



In the morning we'll practice fair isle knitting in the round. And in the afternoon you'll learn how to re-enforce the steek and then cut it. The idea of cutting your knitting sounds horrific to many knitters but when you know how to do it, it's really not that scary. I'll take you through all the techniques you need to know and give you the confidence to cut.

Steeking is used in fair isle sweaters to allow them to be worked in the round to the shoulders. Holes are then cut for the sleeves or a sweater can be cut down the front to create a cardigan. Even though steeks are normally used in fair isle knitting, it can be used for other things too. You can use it for stocking stitch sweaters too. Or if you knitted a sweater but decide you prefer a cardigan, use the steeking techniques to cut your sweater.



I've also used steeking techniques to alter a cardigan a friend knitted. You can read about that here.

You can book the 3 Bags Full Fair Isle Kniting and Steeking Class here. Do check out the other classes available too.

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