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Happy New Year!

1 Jan

Well, goodbye 2012. It was nice knowing you!
It’s been an exciting year for me. In the spring I set myself a goal of having 20 patterns available on Ravelry, which I achieved as the year drew to a close. I’ll have 10 more coming out in February, which were finished some months ago – more on that soon.
Over the summer we published issue 50 of The Knitter, with a frankly bonkers 50 patterns, and redesigned the magazine.
My only regret was all that work meant I could only take a one week holiday while
Storm had 7 weeks at home before starting school.
I made some new friends, and got to know some others better.
My journey as a minimalist is now in its third year. At Christmas this meant having an emptied car driving home after the festivities, and actually being able to see out of the back window for a change! Being a minimalist doesn’t mean all white interiors and a penchant for Philippe Starck (at least, not to me). It means fewer possessions, and more real life. Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist are both great places to start if you’re curious.

While letting go of possessions has felt relatively easy, one of my biggest challenges as a minimalist is reducing my commitments. For about four months over the summer my workload meant I barely had a moment to just ‘be’, and also resulted in much reduced blogging here.

So my goal for 2013 is to look at balance, say no a little, and have some more fun and get some more adventure in my life!
I’ll have 2 pattern collections coming out this year, but first up is a very exciting trip to New York for Vogue Knitting Live.
In the meantime, here are my key moments of 2012. I hope you had a good one, and wish you all the best for 2013,

Rosee
Xxxxx

1) Storm starting school. And starting to read and write. Just wow.
First school packed lunch. Awww.
2) Making new friends and renewing old bonds
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3) The death of one of my oldest friends – in itself a terrible loss, but with some surprising silver linings.

4) Starting and finishing (!) quilts for my dad and Storm

5) Being able to call myself a designer – after 20 plus years of dreaming about it

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6) Watching my husband launch his fledgling breadmaking business
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7) Helping Storm learn to swim and being able to share my passion for swimming with her

8) Handmade birthdays and a minimalist Christmas
Christmas chutney!
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9) Being constantly reminded that happiness in work, family and friends is more important than anything money can buy
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10) And this picture… (thanks Steven)
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We have a winner!

21 Nov

Hello my lovelies. Sorry not to announce this sooner. It’s amazing how silly little things like sending a magazine to the press can get in the way of the best laid plans!

Anyway, to keep it short and sweet, we had 17 lovely entries to the Blue Sky Alpacas yarn giveaway and I’m happy to say that ‘stormandateacup’ (who made the 6th comment) is the winner.

Obligatory random number generator shot;

And here’s a wee reminder of what you’ve won…

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Nom nom nom!

Thanks to everyone who entered. You all rock!

Pumpkins and yarn: Giveaway

4 Nov

Why hello there!

How was your Halloween? Storm still hasn’t worked out that she can go trick or treating, so we had probably our last year of staying home, pumpkin shining outside, to welcome the neighbourhood ghosties and goulies.

Instead of being dragged around the streets in the pouring rain, we handed out sweets (Storm dressed as a witch) to the small number of kiddos who darkened our door.

Woooooooooo!

Witchy!

During the day Storm had one of her friends around from school, and we got the little ‘uns to draw their idea of a perfect pumpkin, which we then carved out.

Mine was OK I think…

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…but I should have got a pic of the pumpkin wee Frankie’s dad carved. He’s a model sculptor for animation and honestly, I have never seen anything like it!

Anyhoo, as it’s Halloween (well, was) I have a little giveaway of some pumpkin yarn!

The nice peeps at Blue Sky Alpacas are offering the yarn to make one of my Popsicle Shawls

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…in a suitably seasonal colour.

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Normally this yarn  – yummy Organic Cotton Worsted – comes in hanks. I wound it up to make a third shawl for Mollie Makes, but ran out of time when a deadline moved.

So, rather than hoard it, in the spirit of minimalism, and sharing, I’m giving it away!

For a chance of making it yours, just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner at random on November 10.

Happy hauntings!

Popsicle Shawls in Mollie Makes

28 Sep

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A little over a year ago a pretty little craft mag was launched. Mollie Makes has taken the making world by storm, with its heady mix of beautiful projects, inspiring features and one to ones with some of the world’s top crafters.

I was a subscriber from issue one, so I’m absolutely chuffed to say that I’m in the latest issue. Hurrah!

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My Popsicle Shawls are a fresh twist on a classic – a mini shawl that thanks to a little clever shaping, won’t fall off your blinking shoulders!

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I wanted to create a design that was easy to wear, simple to make, and grew quickly. You can knit up a Popsicle in a couple of evenings, and all the stitches are very straightforward.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton Worsted (nom), and the pattern uses 6mm needles so blink and you’ll miss it!

The first one I knitted – the lime shawl, started life as a mini strip of garter stitch. I was trying (again) to teach my daughter to knit, and this is what we ended up with after a little while.

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But she quickly lost interest (she’s allowed, she’s four) and I sat and stared at this 2cm strip for a few minutes, thinking, ‘well, I’ve knitted that, I don’t want to undo it, what can I do with it?’

Then I remembered a neat technique to pick up around the 2 short sides of a rectangle, and knit out to create a shawl shape. So I looked up Elizabeth Zimmerman‘s Pi Shawl formula, which I’d been wanting to try, and started from there, developing the shape to fit around the shoulders properly.

The increases are all partnered with dropped stitches to create long eyelets, and add a bit of interest, but unless you’re an absolute beginner, this shouldn’t be beyond you!

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Once I’d made the lime shawl, I had another go with blue, and refined the design a bit, to make the lower edge more ruffled. A bit girlier perhaps.

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I roped in my stylish friend Helen for the photo shoot (check out the feather necklace) and her hubby Tim helped out with holding reflectors and gave me some tips for getting the best shot (he is a much better photographer than me).

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We also had two pint-sized helpers – Storm (mine) and Jet (Helen and Tim’s little girl), plus their new baby. We were quite a sight!

We shot in front of a wall painted by Bristol street artist Inkie, who you might have heard of in connection with Bristol’s famous street art gallery See No Evil.

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And if you haven’t encountered See No Evil, look it up – it’s amazing.

Ttfn and happy knitting!

New designs in Simply Knitting

7 Aug

 

Oh hello there! I’ve been a bit busy of late, hence the tumbleweed blowing across your screen for the last little while.

Here’s why…

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The new issue of Simply Knitting is out this week and I’ve got three patterns in it. Huzzah!

First up is Zest, an ombre cushion, with a flash of colour just for fun.

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It’s knitted in Rowan Big Wool on 10mm needles, so it goes super fast – the whole thing took just a couple of evenings to knit. You start from one corner with just 3 stitches and increase out to the widest point, before decreasing again.

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The back is envelope style, which means no sewing on buttons or any faffing at all really.

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If you want to make the whole thing in one colour it takes less than three balls.

Also in this issue is Play Time, a dress for little girls, modelled by a familiar face, if you’re a ‘regular’ here at Nana Taught Me How…

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I used PeterPan Sweetheart DK, which is machine washable (hurrah!) and super-soft against young sensitive skin.

It’s sized from 9 months to 6 years, and the smallest size is quite a bit shorter than the others so your crawling tot won’t get tangled up in a long skirt.

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I bought dresses for Storm she never got to wear because she was a late walker – crawling and long skirts do NOT mix.

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Thanks to Frances Jago for her sterling knitting, Phil Sowels for the lovely photography of lil’ Storm, and Sarah Clark and Al for helping me wrangle her on the shoot. That lollipop was the only thing keeping her from escaping!

Last, but not least is Happy Days, a cheerful polka dot cardigan with cute picot edgings.

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The magazine has helpfully included a step-by-step tutorial for Fair Isle knitting in case you’re new to it.

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And it’s on the cover. Whoop!

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So, a busy month!

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I’ll have more design news very soon. Ttfn!

Isla dress: New child’s dress pattern in The Knitter

15 Jun

Word up peeps. Just dropping in to say I’ve got a new pattern out this week in issue 46 of The Knitter, whatevs.

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Isla is a kiddo’s dress in Rowan’s lovely new Wool Cotton 4 ply, which is a fantastic yarn for spring/ summer, and most importantly for the Head Laundryperson in your house if you have a nipper, it’s machine washable.

It’s sized from age 2 to 10 and doesn’t take much yarn – even the largest size is 5 balls of the main colour, with tiny amounts for the colourwork.

Storm was kind enough to lend her modelling skills to the shoot…

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With hindsight, I should have added extra length to her ‘sample size’ as she is way taller than an average 3 to 4 year old – so it look super short. But it’s easy to lengthen if, like me, you’re the proud parent of a baby giraffe!

Look, matchy matchy!

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The bottom section is knit in the round and there’s hardly any shaping so it’s a great first Fair Isle project too.

Most exciting for me, this pattern is now available online to buy from The Making Spot, along with some of my old designs. Welcome to the 21st century peeps! Not that I’m saying don’t buy the mag, but, if you want to cast on, like NOW, you can – hurrah!

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More design news coming up really soon…

PS. Thanks to Al, James and Sarah for helping Storm have a great time on the shoot, Frances, for her amazing knitting, and Phil for taking such lovely pix.

Ma’am Mat: New design in The Knitter

12 May

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Apparently it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year. Did you know that? Me either 😉

Anyhoo, to celebrate, I got all patriotic for a little design for The Knitter which is out about now.

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In the mag it’s known as the Jubilee Placemat, but I would have loved to have been able to call it the Ma’am Mat. As in Ma’amite. Arf.

It’s knitted in Excelana‘s new DK weight yarn which comes in some lovely vintage colours.

I had great fun finding the props for the photoshoot – the mug was my fave (from Cancer Research UK – £3!) and is now residing in my kitchen cupboard, where it has become my ‘mug of choice’. (Minimalism alert – Al managed to break my purple Pantone mug about a week after I bought it so we are on an even keel mug-wise, you’ll be relieved to hear.)

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The mat is worked flat and then the edging is picked up and worked in the round. It would probably take a couple of evenings to make and uses less than one ball of each colour – you’ll have plenty left of the red and the white, not so much of the blue.

Annoyingly, I brought it home and now can’t find it, so for now I’m stuck admiring these brilliant pictures (styled by Sarah Clark at The Knitter, who is just top at that kind of thing – thanks Sarah!).

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I suspect on Jubilee weekend itself a lot of peep’s breakfasts won’t be quite as civilised as this one, what with the four day holiday, ahem.

Happy knitting!