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Friday, February 17, 2017

Workshop Focus - The Wool Merchant

Last autumn, The Wool Merchant opened their shop at 'The Shops at Dartington' near Totnes in Devon. Dartington is a lovely shopping are with some fab shops. The Wool Merchant is located in the Craft Centre and the shop is looking lovely.


I'll be teaching some workshops at The Wool Merchant this year, including Slip Stitch and Fair Isle Colouwork, Triangle Shawls, Lace Improvers, Continental Knitting, Professional Finishing Techniques and project workshops. You can see the full Wool Merchant programme here.




The first workshop, Lace Knitting for beginners (Easy Lace Knitting) is next week on Friday 24 February. In this class you'll learn everything you need to knit beautiful lace shawls. Contact The Wool Merchant to book for any of the classes.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Malabrigo Book 11


A couple of weeks ago a beautiful pattern book, Malabrigo Book 11 Anniversario, arrived. I had completely forgotten that I'd contributed to this book so it was a lovely surprise to see my pattern in print. 


My design is called Bleeker and is knitted in two skeins of Malabrigo Mechita which is a gorgeous 4ply/sock/fingering weight singles yarn and perfect for shawls.


The shape is an asymmetrical triangle and the shawl is lovely and big. Bleeker is perfect to wear as a shawl or as a scarf. There's lots of relaxing garter stitch interrupted by some easy lace. If you're new to this shape of shawl, you will get the hang of the shaping quickly.

There's lot of other lovely designs in this book. Look for Book 11 Anniversario at your local Malabrigo stockist.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mini Tip Tutorial - Picking Up Stitches

First, I'm sorry this week's Mini Tip Tutorial is a day late. Last week was busy and this week is even worse which means everything is running a bit late. There won't be a Mini Tip Tutorial next week because I'm preparing for and then I'll be away at Unravel this week.

This week we're looking at how to pick up stitches. In the video below I show you how to pick up stitches along rows of stitches like you would for a button band. I also show how to pick up stitches into slipped edge stitches. This is commonly used in shawls but are only suitable if the pick up ratio is 1 stitch for every two rows because when you slip the first stitch of every row you end up with one slipped stitch for every two rows.


You can also watch the video here.

In the video I also show how I pick up stitches for top down heel flaps. This was a thing that suddenly popped in to my head as I was filming so I didn't have a sock to show how it would look on an actual sock. Below is a top down sock heel worked in stocking stitch. I slipped the first stitch of every row so I had one slipped stitch for every two rows. Can you see the row of crossed stitches at the edge of the heel flap? 



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, February 10, 2017

Biarritz


Feminine and graceful, this cape is worked from the top down combining several lace patterns for the main semi-circle with garter stitch front sections. For a shorter cape, work fewer repeats of Chart D.



Biarritz is the final design in the Lace Wear Volume Two collection and as you can see I modelled this one myself as my daughters are both away at uni. It's way out of my comfort zone to model it myself but when I posted the image below on social media I got a lot of support. I am tall and a plus size so this is a very generous size cape/shawl.




Biarritz is a big shawl or cape. I actually designed this to be worn as a cape but it's also a shawl. Wear it over your shoulders with a shawl pin or bunch it up around your neck. The choice is yours.




Biarritz takes five balls of Lang Merino 200 in the colour 0390 Lavender plus one ball 0324 Light Blue for the edging. Each ball is 50g so it's a total of 300g of yarn needed.



Get 30% off Biarritz until 17 February 2017 by using the coupon code: biarritz30


I will have printed copies of this pattern as well as yarn next week at Unravel.



Have a fabulous weekend!

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Unravel


The next 10 days will be very very busy. This weekend I'm off to Dorset to teach Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl at The Slipped Stitch in Sherborne. I'm so excited at teaching at this gorgeous shop. It's always fun teaching at new to me shops.

Next week we're off to Surrey for Unravel which is the first show of the year for me and one of the three shows I do each year.


Unravel takes place on 17/18/19 February at The Maltings which is a gorgeous venue in the beautiful town of Farnham. I'm hoping we'll have time for a walk around Farnham on Friday morning before the show opens.


These photos are from last year's Unravel. Today I'm busy planning which yarn to order. My order goes in this afternoon. I'm also going through everything else I need to order which I haven't yet. So much to remember. Next week will be all about packing and getting everything ready. 


 At this year's show I will have all my new patterns and yarn to knit them including several colours of Lang. I love knitting with Lang Merino 200. It's a gorgeous soft, silky feeling yarn and is perfect for stripey shawls or lace shawls.


Of course I'll have a big selection of Schoppel yarns including Zauberball, Laceball, Best Of.. and 6 Karat. These colourful little balls of joy are always a favourite at shows. I'll of course have a large selection of patterns as well as copies of my book, Beaded Lace Knitting, Tattysquawk shawl pins, seed beads and crochet hooks to attach the beads to your knitting.


Are you planning a trip to Unravel? The Saturday tends to be very busy and Sunday is the quietest, especially Sunday afternoon which is always quiet at every single show I do. The list of exhibitors this year is very exciting and I'm currently planning my list of must see stalls. 


 So will I see you at Unravel? Do come and say hello!  I love meeting you and I especially love it when people bring me shawls that they've knitted from my patterns. By the way, there's a new pattern coming tomorrow. Do sign up to my newsletter (link below) if you haven't already and you'll get a 30% discount on all new patterns.


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Monday, February 06, 2017

Monday Mini Tip Tutorial - How to block a large crescent shawl

In today's tutorial I'm blocking Dartmeet which is a large crescent shawl with short rows on either side. But the tips I share in this tutorial can be used to block any crescent shape. I did a tutorial last summer on how to block my Gondola shawl which is a smaller crescent shawl. You can watch that tutorial here.



What you need:
  • a flat surface to block on - table, floor, bed.
  • something to keep your surface dry that you can stick pins into. I use Knit Pro blocking mats (Knit Pro is called Knitters Pride in the US) but you can use towels, blankets, exercise or camping mats.
  • pins.
I also use Knit Pro Knit Blockers which are useful but not essential. I've got two packs as one isn't enough.

Before blocking, I soaked the shawl in lukewarm water with a little bit of wool wash for about 10 mins. Squeeze out the excess water in a towel. Be careful when lifting and handling a wet shawl that's full of water, especially if it's a big heavy shawl as it can stretch out of shape.





Dartmeet is still 30% off until 8 February using the coupon code: dartmeetsub.

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, February 03, 2017

Workshop Focus - Continental Knitting

In this week's Workshop Focus, I thought I'd share a bit about what I'm teaching in February. I'm only teaching three workshops this month because I've also got Unravel coming up on 17/18/19 February. Two of the workshops are Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl.


When I first moved here I used to knit in my lunch break at work and everyone who saw me used to comment on how I was knitting. I'd never realised that there were different ways of knitting. I thought everyone knitted like me. Turns out there are lots of ways of knitting but our knitted fabric all looks the same.

I've been teaching Continental Knitting for 8-9 years now and it's one of my most popular workshops. It's suitable for any experience level. I've had knitters in my workshops who've knitted for a couple of months and some who've knitted for around 70 years. Age ranges from 20s to 80s. So you're never too old or too young, too experienced or too inexperienced to learn how to knit the continental way.

So why would you want to learn to knit the continental way? The advantage of continental knitting is how we hold the yarn. By holding the yarn in our left hand, the movement we make to knit each stitch is very small, especially when working knit stitches.

There are different ways of purling. Most continental knitters do continental purl. The yarn is still in the left hand but is held in front of the needle (just like in English style knitting). I knit a way called Norwegian purl and we hold the yarn at the back for purl stitches as well as knit stitches. It does take slightly longer to learn but it does mean that when you knit combined knit/purl stitch patterns like rib or moss stitch, you can knit faster as you're not moving the yarn all the time. I teach Norwegian purl in my classes but if you struggle with that or you just fancy learning the regular continental way of purling, I will teach you that too.

The average continental knitter is quicker than the average English style knitter. It's also useful to know a couple of different ways of knitting, so that you can adjust our style of knitting to your project. Knitting in the round, for example, is very quick if you knit the continental way. If you like doing stranded colour work (fair isle knitting), you will find it quicker to hold one colour in each hand. And if you suffer from repetitive strain injury (or worry about getting it), learning a different way of knitting may help you as you'll use different muscles.

So do you fancy learning how to knit the continental way? I'm teaching my Continental Knitting workshop at The Slipped Stitch in Sherborne, Dorset on Saturday 11 January and at Spin A Yarn in Bovey Tracey, Devon on 28 February. Contact the shops to book if you're interested. All my Continental Knitting workshops in yarn shops also include my Online Continental Knitting workshop as an added freebee.


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