Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Introducing Pandora

I'm so proud to introduce Pandora to you. This circular beauty was started at the beginning of the year and I had a few hick ups along the way. At one point I ripped out about 80% of the shawl and started again. But it's finally ready for you to enjoy. And isn't she beautiful?

Pandora is worked from the centre out and starts with a beautiful, antique flower pattern which I found in an old lace book. Older books don't always have the easiest charts to follow and I had to interpret this one to make it work. But I love the result. 

After the circular flower in the centre, the shawl changes into a hexagon shape. Pandora is worked in the round and you can just use a regular cast on and join to work in the round but if you use Emily Ocker's circular cast on or the disappearing loop cast on (both have photo tutorials in my book, Beaded Lace Knitting Amazon affiliate link). But you can also find countless tutorials online including video tutorials on You Tube. Just search for the cast on names.

Pandora is the fifth and final shawl in The Between The Lines collection. If you've already purchased the collection, you will have automatically received the link to download the pattern. If you would like to purchase the collection, you can do so at £10 (plus your local VAT if you're in the EU).

The Between The Lines collection has five shawls which all use two skeins of sock yarn in different colours. The yarn for Pandora is slightly finer than the other sock yarns at 533m per 100g skein. I used Kettle Yarn Co Westminster which is a beautiful blend of baby camel and silk and creates a luxurious, soft, silky fabric with amazing drape. I'm looking forward to wrapping myself up in Pandora this winter.

To celebrate the completion of The Between the Lines Collection, you can purchase the collection for 10% off until end of August 2015. Use code: Pandora. 

Only want to purchase Pandora as a single pattern? The pattern is 25% off until end of August 2015. No coupon code needed.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Twist It

There's a new British magazine in the shops. It's called Twist It and it caught my eye in the newsagent this week. I was looking for the latest issue of The Knitter so I could read the review of my book, Beaded Lace Knitting. Next to it was Twist It. And as I'm addicted to knitting magazines I bought a copy.

Twist It is published by Immediate Media who also publish The Knitter, Simply Knitting, Knit Today, Mollie Makes and many more craft magazines. According to the editor's column the first issue was published last year so I'm not sure if this is an annual issue or if it'll be more frequent.

The first thing I spotted was an interview with my friend, designer Tina Barrett. Tina lives near me in Cornwall and is such a fun and lovely person. She has had a huge variety of designs published in British magazines in the past 15 years and has written several books. She's designed garments for adults and children, toys and her latest focus is Cornish ganseys. Tina has recently started The Cornish Gansey Company which specialises in gansey patterns originating from Cornwall. She sells patterns and kits for gansey garments and accessories. She's also got a new book, Geometric Knitting, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

All the patterns in the book, as far as I can tell, have previously been published in a variety of publications but there is still a good variety of patterns. I like almost all of them but here are my favourites:

A shrug by Drops:

A Norwegian inspired sweater by Navia:

Norwegian inspired mittens by Sublime:

Twist It has 33 patterns which include garments for men and women, children, accessories, home wares and a bag. There are cables, texture, colourwork and lace. 

In my opinion, Twist It has a young vibe and the patterns are on trend. That doesn't mean it's just for younger knitters though. I think many knitters my age (mid-40s) and older will enjoy this magazine if they like knits that are on trend. As well as the 33 patterns there are also features and interviews with five designers including Tina Barrett, Kerry Lord and Jared Flood. There's also a feature on hats and a style section.

I really like this magazine and I'll definitely read it from cover to cover and I'll look out for the next issue. I was thinking about taking it on holiday next week but the problem with doing that is that I tend to leave magazines behind on holiday (especially knitting magazines so my Mum can read them as we're staying in their Spanish apartment) but I'd really like to keep this one. 

Twist It is in the newsagents now or you can buy it online.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Knitter 88

My book, Beaded Lace Knitting(Amazon affiliate link), is reviewed in this month's The Knitter (issue 88). It's in the shops now. I picked up my copy earlier this week. I don't have a design in this issue but there are lots of stunning lace designs. I'm in love with the sweater on the cover!

Three books are reviewed on The Knitter's Great Reads pages and Beaded Lace Knitting (Amazon affiliate link) gets glowing reviews.

And don't forget I'm on Periscope. I'm YarnAddictAnni on there. I think you can only watch scopes (live video) in the app which is available on Android phones/tablets and IPhones/IPads. At the moment I'm doing little live chats and peaks into my workday. I'm planning to do mini tutorials in the future, talk about new designs and in the next few days, I'll tell you which knitting projects I'm taking on holiday.

Have you signed up to my newsletter? I'm sending out my first new style/content newsletter today and I'm quite excited about it. I'd love your feedback on it. 

I've got a new customer service e-mail address. If you have a question or feedback about a pattern, a workshop or anything in the YarnAddict Shop then please e-mail me on yarnaddictcs@gmail.com. If you'd like to discuss teaching at your shop/event (I'm taking bookings for 2016 now) or design commissons then please e-mail annikenallis25@gmail.com. Please use the correct e-mail address as it'll make it easier for me to manage my e-mail workload.

I'm working hard on a new system so I can reply to you much quicker as I realise in the past I've been way to slow to reply to e-mails. Please do not use ahallis@yahoo.co.uk as this e-mail address will no longer be in use. If you've e-mailed me on the Yahoo e-mail and not had a reply, please re-send it to yarnaddictcs@gmail.com as I've had a problem with e-mails not coming through to me on the Yahoo e-mail.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Work Week

How was your weekend? If you read my blog last week or follow me on other social media, you may have noticed that I joined Periscope last week. I did a scope (that's what a broadcast is called) last week to figure out the technical stuff. Things like how to set up my tablet, could you hear me etc. I figured all that out, although the first few minutes of my scope was sideways as I didn't realise that Periscope films in portrait. I tried doing it in landscape.

Anyway, I enjoyed it and all weekend I've been wanting to hop on Periscope for another scope. The advantage of Periscope is that it's live so you can talk back to me by writing me messages which show up on screen. I've been thinking about what to use Periscope for and I thought this week, as I'm working in my home office every day this week, I'd do a 'my work day' series. Every day I'll pop in at random times to give you a peek into my work day. What does a designer do all day? I want to show you a selection of what I do so I'll pop on when I feel like I've got something new to show you. If you can't catch a live scope, you can watch the replay for up to 24 hours.

For this morning's scope, which will happen as soon as I hit 'publish' on this blog post, I'll be working on writing up a new pattern, Pandora, which I need to get off to my tech editor today. I'm not going to go through the entire pattern writing process as this is a long pattern and a lot of it is written already but I'll show you how I add the final details, like written instructions for the charts and a few other things.

Emily and I did a photoshoot for Pandora yesterday. I still need to edit the photos but these are some I snapped on my phone. Pandora is worked from the centre out and when I publish it, I'll do a tutorial on how to do the circular cast on. You can also find two circular cast ons, Emily Ocker's circular cast on and the Disappearing Loop circular cast on in my book, Beaded Lace Knitting (this is the Amazon associate link - it's available on Kindle too).

Pandora is knitted in Kettle Yarn Co's Westminster which is a blend of camel and silk and it's a fine sock yarn (533m per 100g skein) and you need 2 skeins (1000m/200g) in total. I'm hoping to publish this pattern by 25 August but it'll depend on how long the tech editing process takes which depends on how many mistakes I make in the first draft and it is a long pattern. 

Pandora is part of the Between The Lines Collection which is currently £8 until I publish Pandora, then it'll be £10 as Pandora is the final pattern in this collection (please note that if you're in the EU, your local VAT will be added to the pattern price. This money goes to your local government and is beyond my control).

This afternoon, I'll be back on Periscope with a tutorial on how to add a waste yarn to your sock for an afterthought heel. I'll also show you how to take out the waste yarn later. And later this week, I'll show you how to work a German short row heel.

Enjoy your day x

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Few Of My Favourite Things - Knitting Gadgets

This is the start of a new blog series where I share my favourite things. I'm mainly thinking about gadgets, both knitting related and stationery related.

First up is my 'can't live without' knitting notions and gardgets. These are the things I use almost on a daily basis. First up is a good row counter. I use the Clover Mini Kacha Kacha which is the best manual row counter I've come across. It locks so won't add rows while it's in your knitting bag.

There are lots of other row counters out there, both cheaper and more expensive. You can get electronic ones and mobile phone and tablet apps. On my mobile phone and my tablet I have an app called County. It comes as a free version and a paid version. On the free version you can only have one project but on the paid version you can create several projects and use it to keep track of several projects at the same time. I usually carry my phone or my tablet with me so I could easily use this app but I prefer the manual row counter.

Recently, I've seen an electronic row counter that you wear on your finger. I haven't seen this gadget in any shops yet but I've been told it's easy to buy on Ebay. I'm planning to get hold of it so I can try it out. I'll report back once I've tried it.

The second item I can't live without is stitch markers. Stitch markers come in two main varieties. Ring markers and removable markers. 

Above from left: Removable markers (from Fringe Supply Company), ringer markers with beads and oval silver markers (both from Fripperies & Bibelots) and finally, padlock removable markers.

Ring markers are a solid ring which sits on your needle. When you get to a marker you just slip it across to your other needle and continue knitting. I use ring markers to separate pattern repeats, mark where I want to do waist shaping, mark beginning of a round and to help me with counting if I'm casting on a lot of stitches. This week I had to cast on 200 stitches for a new sweater design. I placed a marker after every 50 stitches which made counting much easier and quicker.

There are lots of different ring markers from basic plastic rings to fancy handmade markers with dangly beads and custom made charms. I've bought some beautiful hand-made markers over the years but I prefer fairly plain ones. My favourite are solid coloured rings with one seed bead. I buy mine from Fripperies & Bibelots but lots of other sellers do similar ones.

In the picture below, I've used a bright pink marker to mark the beginning of the round and then the oval silver markers to mark where I'm decreasing for the waist. Each time I've decreased I've added a removable marker so I can easily count how many decrease rounds I've done. You can also use the plastic padlock markers for this.

One warning regarding the plastic padlock markers. I mainly use Knit Pro and Clover padlock markers. These are easily available online and in yarn shops. I did buy a few packs of different coloured, cheaper ones on Etsy. Although these were a lot cheaper, I've found that they break very easily and I won't be buying them again. In the future I'll only buy Clover and Knit Pro padlock markers.

I take my knitting everywhere with me, so I need a few knitting notions to take along with me as well. I always have a Tool Tin from The Sexy Knitter in my handbag. Earlier this year she did five tins with photos of my designs and yarn as a limited edition. These are shown below.

The picture below shows what the Tool Tins come with. There is a cable needle, stitch holder, tiny snips, a tape measure, tapestry needles, a tiny crochet hook (to pick up dropped stitches) and hand-made origami stitch markers. I also add a few of the padlock stitch markers and some Fripperies & Bibelot stitch markers.

I'll share more favourites soon.

What are you favourite knitting notions? Please tell me in the comments.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Periscope Debut

Earlier this week I joined the new craze in social media, Periscope.  It's an app that you can download to your phone and tablet. You can watch people broadcasting live scopes (a scope is what a Periscope broadcast is called). You can also watch a scope for a few hours after it was first broadcast.

I broadcast my first scope this afternoon. It was just a trial to see if I could work out how to do it. Make sure the camera worked, I could be heard, the best way to set up my tablet etc. I had 20 viewers watch live and they gave me lots of encouragement. The great thing about Periscope is that you can type messages to the person broadcasting. Your messages shows up on screen which enables the broadcaster to interact with viewers live.  I really enjoyed it, although I was nervous and as it was live, a few things went slightly wrong. 

At the time of writing this, you can still view my first scope but I'm not sure how long its available for. I'm YarnAddictAnni on Periscope. Download Periscope on your smart phone or tablet and search for YarnAddictAnni.

I'll be doing more live scopes soon. I'm planning tutorials, chats about new designs, yarns, things I'm working on etc. If there is anything you would like me to talk about, please let me know in the comments.

Are you on Periscope? If so, let me know your username and say hello next time I do a scope.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Staycation 2

Last Friday we headed up the motorway to Cardiff. Vanessa is doing a student work placement there for a year and we'd promised we'd come and see her over the summer. I really like Cardiff but this was our first visit in the summer and the weather was beautiful. We actually had proper summer weather.

I cast on for a new shawl design which I was hoping would be a quick knit and made the most of motorway knitting while Simon was driving. I'm just casting off this shawl at the moment. Only took 4 days plus 2 rows and the cast off today.

We were meeting Vanessa in Cardiff Bay after work and we got there a couple of hours early so we walked around the main shopping area in Cardiff. So many amazing shops!

Then we went down to Cardiff Bay to meet Vanessa. We walked halfway around the bay, past the Norwegian Church. I've walked past here before but I've never been inside so this time we took a look inside.

We had dinner before we left Cardiff Bay and afterwards we headed out to Penarth and walked on the beautiful pier. It was a warm sunny evening.

On Saturday we got up at 4.30am and drove to Bristol for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. We've seen this event on the local news several times and keep saying we ought to go one year. So when Vanessa mentioned that in coincided with our visit, we decided to go. 

We got there for 6.30am. That's Vanessa and I in the centre of the photo above. I think we look good for a 4.30am start. Below is what we were looking at.

The Balloon Fiesta was amazing. So many hot air balloons and the weather couldn't have been better.

We stayed till 9.30am and by then most of the balloons had drifted away from our view. We hadn't had breakfast and most of the food on offer at the Fiesta was expensive and greasy. 

We headed in to Bristol's Cabot Circus for brunch. Followed by a bit of shopping and a walk along the river.

There are lots of Shaun The Sheep statues scattered around Bristol at the moment. We didn't go specifically searching for them but we came across nine during our walk around the city and at Cribbs Causeway shopping centre where we finished the day with a bit of shopping, a meal and a flat tire.

After a lot of stress Simon managed to change the tire. We have only had the car for 6 months and we needed a special gadget to remove the old tire and it wasn't where we expected it to be. But we found it eventually and got home safely. We had a fabulous two days with Vanessa.

Our final day of our Staycation was spent shopping and having lunch with Emily in Exeter.