Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Mini Tip - Weaving In Ends

Today's Mini Tip Tutorial is about weaving in ends in the middle of a row. I often hear knitters say that they've been told to never join yarns in the middle of a row. Always join a new yarn at the beginning of a row. If you're going to be seaming the edge, then this is good advice but that doesn't mean you should never join in a new yarn in the middle of a row.

I've got a new shawl design coming very soon and in this shawl, you have to join in a new yarn in the middle of a row so therefore you will also have to weave in two ends in the middle of a row. There may also be other times, when you've knitted partway across a long row, and suddenly realised you're running out of yarn and you don't want to unpick back to the beginning of the row. Don't worry, you can easily weave in ends in the middle of a row.

I'm weaving in two ends on a shawl that is worked in garter stitch but this works the same for stocking stitch.

You can also watch the video here.

If you're interested in the shawl I'm working on in the video, do subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you receive a 30% off discount when the pattern is released. 

If you're interested in learning more about Finishing in general, do consider taking my Online Professional Finishing Techniques course which you can take at any time and at your own pace. You keep indefinite access to the class material.

Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. You can see all the previous Monday Mini Tips and other tutorials on my Tutorials page. 

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Let's Knit 114 - Lace Cardigan

Let's Knit issue 114 which came out around Christmas time included one of my designs. The magazine arrived while I was away in Norway and I completely forgot to blog about it. The next issue is out next week so you may still be able to get this in the shops or you can still order it on the Let's Knit website.

This is what Let's Knit say about the cardigan: 'Distract yourself from the gloomy weather with a bright cardigan and a pattern you can really get stuck into! There’s lace, short row shaping, a one row button hole and a smocking technique to try and just look at the finished result. There are both written and charted instructions for the stitch pattern.'

The cardigan is worked flat from the bottom up and then seamed. There's short row shoulder shaping, waist shaping, a fun and easy to follow smocked lace pattern and one row button hole. If you find the finishing involved in knitting a garment flat and then seaming it daunting, do check out my Online Professional Finishing Workshop or I'll also be teaching this at the Wool Merchant, Dartington, Devon on 6 June 2017. In my Finishing workshops (whether online or in person) I teach you all my secrets for a perfect finish including mattress stitch, short row shoulder shaping (wrap and turn short rows and German short rows, picking up stitches, one row button holes, setting in a sleeve cap and more.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial - Sweater Surgery Part 2

Last week I showed you how I shortened this sweater and today I'll be sharing how I made the sweater narrower. This is the Sochi 2014 sweater by Dale Garn which was designed for the Norwegian team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. My mum knitted this sweater for my husband and the sweater was on the big side when he first got it. Since then he's lost weight and the sweater was far too big. I shortened it by 6cm/2 1/4 in and took 8cm/3in off the circumference. 

You can see last week's tutorial here.

In today's tutorial I share techniques I teach in my Fair Isle Knitting/Steeking workshop and Professional Finishing Techniques workshop. I'm teaching both of these classes at several venues this year. See all my classes here. 

The first thing I did on this sweater was to cut a section off the length. This left me with a round of live stitches which I left on two circular needles (you can put these on a piece of waste yarn if preferred) while I cut a section out of each side of the sweater.

I worked out where the side seam would be. To do this I found the final increase at the top of the sleeve. The two increases were worked after the first stitch and before the last stitch of the round, so once I found the two stitches between the increases, I could follow that line to the top of the sleeve and down to the side of the body. I used a red yarn to mark the side.

I then measured 2cm/3/4 in either side of the side and inserted two more rows of red yarn, to mark where I wanted the seam to be. Just inside these two lines, I crocheted a seam (as I would in a steeked sweater). I then cut a section of fabric off inside the crocheted seams. After I'd cut the excess fabric off, I seamed the sides together using mattress stitch.

Please note: This tutorial isn't meant to be an in depth demonstration of each technique but an overview of how I used various techniques to make this sweater smaller. Please bear that in mind as you watch the video. The yarn is dark and it may be hard to see what I am doing and I do apologise for that. If I was doing this just for tutorial purposes I would have chosen a lighter colour and contrasting yarn to seam with.

Now that the sweater is seamed, I can re-knit the rib from the live stitches at the bottom of the body. 

I also unpicked the collar and re-knitted it. The collar was picked up from stitches around the neck. There is a zip inserted into the collar. I've never attached zips to knitwear before so was nervous about doing this. I did this part of the sweater surgery in Norway so didn't film it. But here's how I did it:
  1. Stitches were picked up for the collar. The collar was knitted and then folded over and seamed. I undid the seam and unfolded the collar.
  2. I undid the seam for the zip just for the section I'd be re-knitting.
  3. I unravelled the collar back to the first row. I then worked a row of decreases. I decreased about a quarter of the stitches. 
  4. I re-knitted the collar and then folded and stitched it down again.
  5. I re-attached the zip to the collar.
I thought I might have to shorten the sleeves too but once I'd made the collar tighter, that automatically pulled the sleeves up enough and they're now the perfect length.

I forgot to get a before picture of this sweater on Simon but here's the after picture. Trust me, it's a much better fit now and he wore it a lot in Norway and he's even worn it since we came home. Last winter he didn't wear it at all because it was too big.

Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. You can see all the previous Monday Mini Tips and other tutorials on my Tutorials page. 

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nordllys - New Pattern & Kits

I'm excited to reveal my first design of 2017. Nordlys is the latest addition to the Lace Wear Volume Two collection and can be purchased separately or as part of the collection. If you've already purchased the collection, you will automatically receive this pattern (check your inbox for e-mail notification).

Inspired by the colours in the Aurora Borealis, or Nordlys as it’s called in Norway, this design, converts from an infinity scarf to a shrug. Beads add a touch of twinkle. Nordlys is worked flat as a rectangle and the short ends are seamed.
Pattern is 20% off until 22 January 2017. No coupon code is needed.

The beads which add shimmer to the design, are added using the crochet hook method. For a video tutorial click here. You may also find some of my other tutorials helpful, see them here
I've put together a few kits for Nordlys. You can pre-order kits now for the original colour I used and I've also put together a few other colours which I think will work really well with this design. If you've signed up to the YarnAddict Newsletter, do check today's newsletter for a discount on both the pattern and kit.

I knitted Nordlys in Schoppel Zauberball but some of the kits I've put together use Zauberball 100. These yarns feel the same to knit with and look identical. Zauberball has slightly more meterage than the Zauberball 100 but you will still have plenty of yarn.
Nordlys kits will be shipped by the end of January at the latest, but hopefully sooner and these are the colourways I've put together for you.
                                   Nordlys 2308 (the original)                 Nordlys 1505
                           Nordlys 1699                      Nordlys 2270                                  

See all the Nordlys kits here.

I've called Nordlys an infinity shrug. It's worked flat then the short edges are joined to form a loop. You can wear it in a long loop around your neck or twist it around your neck twice. If you allow it to drop down across your back, it's a delightful shrug. I'm actually wearing mine like that now and it's keeping me toasty warm while I work at my desk. And this morning when I popped out I wore it as a scarf, wrapped twice around my neck.

Nordlys is currently available as a pdf pattern either separately or part of the Lace Wear Volume Two collection (please remember that if you live in the EU, you will be charged your local VAT rate on pdf patterns).

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Workshop Focus - Purlescence

I'm really excited to be back at Purlescence to teach some workshops this year. Since the last time I was there, they've moved to a new location just outside Newbury in Berkshire (they're close to the M4).

I'm kicking off my 2017 Workshop Programme with two workshops at Purlescence on 21 and 22 January. There are still spaces on both workshops. 

The stitch pattern in the centre of the Maxine shawl from my book, 
Beaded Lace Knitting, is a Shetland lace pattern.

On 21 January, I'm teaching a brand new class for 2017 - Shetland Lace Knitting. Whether you're a lace knitter or not, you'll probably know that Shetland is famous for it's delicate lace shawls. Originally local women would spin very, very fine yarn from the finest local fleeces then knit delicate shawls. The finer and more intricate the shawls were, the more money they were worth. Lots of trading ships came past Shetland and the local women would sell these fine shawls to traders coming through.

There are some stitch patterns that are specific to Shetland and in this class, you'll learn how to knit some of those stitch patterns. If you're brave enough, you'll get a chance to knit a lace pattern with lace stitches on both right and wrong side rows. But if you find the thought of that too scary, don't worry, there will be easier stitch patterns you can work on too. We'll also look at shawl shapes and some basic lace knitting skills like reading charts. 

A delicate lace swatch using Shetland lace patterns.

If you've knitted lace before, this class will enhance and develop your lace knitting skills but if you're new to lace knitting, this class will get you off to a great start. I've developed materials to fit a variety of skill levels. All you need is to be confident in basic knitting skills.

You get more details and book your workshop here (choose from the drop down menu).

On 22 January, I'll be teaching my Fair Isle and Steeking workshop. In the morning you'll knit a fair isle tube while practicing stranded colour work techniques such as holding one colour in each hand, getting the floats the correct tension, how to avoid long floats, how to knit in the round using the magic loop technique or double pointed needles, and how to read a fair isle chart. So that you can knit with one colour in each hand, I'll spend a few minutes teaching you how to knit continental (just the knit stitch).

When you knit a fair isle sweater it's common to knit the whole sweater in the round, then cut holes for the sleeves or cut down the front of a sweater to turn it into a cardigan. This is very common practice in Norway in particular. It sounds scary but it's really not. You can also use steeking techniques to make a sweater smaller and I'll show you how in next Monday's Mini Tip Tutorial.

A steeked Norwegian sweater knitted by my Mum when my daughters were little.

In the afternoon, we'll re-enforce the steek using crochet (don't worry if you haven't crocheted before, this is easy) and then cut it. We'll then pick up stitches and knit an edging that completely covers the cut edge and work an i-cord cast off.

You don't need any previous fair isle knitting skills to take this class but if you have done some fair isle knitting before and want to learn about steeking, I'm sure you'll learn some new stuff in the fair isle part of the class too.

You can see more details about this class and book here (choose from the drop down menu).

If you've got any questions about these classes, do ask in the comments.

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial - Sweater Surgery Part 1

Today's tutorial is a bit more than a mini tip so I've split it into two parts. Two years ago my Mum knitted my husband the Sochi Olympic sweater from Dale Garn. Simon really liked it but it was a tiny bit on the big side. Since then he's lost weight and the sweater is now far too big. As we're spending Christmas in Norway this year he wanted me to try to make the sweater smaller so it fits better and he can wear it on holiday.

The sweater is worked in the round with raglan yoke. There are no side seams. The sweater is too wide and too long so here's a list of what I have to do to make it smaller:
  • shorten the length of the body by 6cm/2 1/4in
  • possibly shorten the length of the sleeves - I ended up not having to do this
  • take a total of 8cm/3in off the width of the body (4cm/1.5in on the front and 4cm/1.5in on the back)
  • make the collar smaller
In today's tutorial, I'll share a video on how I shortened this sweater. Next week I'll show how I took 8cm off the circumference. I'll be using techniques I teach in my Steeking and Finishing classes (I'll be teaching these in 2017 - see my classes here).

The aim of this tutorial is to show I I use various techniques to alter the sweater. I'm not intending to do an in-depth tutorial of each technique. The sweater is worked in a navy blue yarn. It's been very dark and gloomy here in the last week and I don't have professional video lighting equipment, so the videos are a bit dark and I do apologise if you're struggling to see what I'm doing. I was struggling to see it too.

First, I measured how much I needed to shorten the body by. I then cut a stitch and used a knitting needle to slip all the live stitches on to. In the video below I show how I did this. Once all the stitches were safely on a needle, I unravelled the bit I'd cut off and re-knitted the rib. I left the stitches on two circular needles while I cut a section out of each side of the sweater. I then re-knitted the rib from the top down.

One thing to be aware of when unravelling a round/row is to keep an eye out on where you've woven in any loose ends. If you find you're unravelling or cutting an area where you've woven in ends, you will need to carefully undo this and re-weave them in later.

The rib after I'd re-knitted it.

I thought I would have to shorten the sleeves too but once I'd made the collar a bit smaller, the sleeves were fine. If I'd had to shorten the sleeves, I would have done it in the same way.

Next week I'll show you how I made the sweater narrower by cutting and seaming the sides. 

Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. You can see all the previous Monday Mini Tips and other tutorials on my Tutorials page. 

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A Year Of Holidays!

As I said in part 1 of my 2016 review (read it here), 2016 was a great year for us as a family. So in this post I thought I'd share a few of the things we did.

We do love our holidays. My parents both turned 70 this year and took the whole family on a cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

This was our first cruise and the highlight was sailing out of Venice at the start of the cruise. We also spent three days in Venice after the cruise.

Other highlights of this holiday was spending a week with my nephews, visiting Dubrovnik and Santorini.

We had a week's holiday at home in Cornwall in August which was fairly low key and then in September we took the girls to Budapest for a week. 

It was our first time in Budapest but I hope it won't be the last.

We ended the year in Norway visiting my family and we've had a great two weeks. We're travelling home today.

It was a big day for birthdays for our family this year. As well as my parents both turning 70, Vanessa turned 21, Emily turned 18, Simon turned 50 and his dad turned 80.

Simon has done a temporary job for the last year and a few days before we left for Norway he had an interview to make that job permanent. This included a tough interview and selection process with weeks of preparations beforehand. Quite a stressful time but he got the job.

Vanessa is in her final year of university and also had a job interview just before Christmas. She got the job too. She also got her driver'slicence this year.

Emily started university and moved to Cardiff in September. So far she seems to be enjoying it.
Venice was the highlight of my year.

Even though 2016 has been a tough year globally and politically, for our family its been a great year with lots of travelling. 

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