Tag Archives: lace

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…


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.


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.


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


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…


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.


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



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.


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


And it’s on the cover. Whoop!


So, a busy month!


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


Mini book review: Jane Austen’s Sewing Box

6 Feb


Oooo, I do love a charity shop find. I’m a bit obsessed with embroidery at the moment, so when I spotted this gem for £3.50 I couldn’t resist.

Jane Austen’s Sewing Box, by Jennifer Forest is an absolute treasure trove of crafty happiness.

Jennifer’s charming book looks at what arts and crafts meant to Regency women, as reflected in Jane Austen’s novels and letters. There are 18 lovely projects, which include pin cushions, thread cases, and pillow covers, but for me it is the story behind each of these objects which elevates JASB to a higher level.

The hidden code of craft at this time is absolutely fascinating. Women in high society were expected to stitch (by hand) linen shirts and trousers for their brothers and husbands, nursery sets for poor village families, and also be highly skilled in embroidery. But plain sewing was strictly done behind closed doors. Only the ‘finer’ crafts were appropriate for company.

I have just embarked on my most ambitious embroidery project to date, and my stitching skills are woeful compared to what would have been seen as acceptable in the 1800s, but to read this now gives me a real sense of connection to women in the past.

I wonder what they would think of the craft culture of today…




Fabulous pattern Friday: Rock Island by Jared Flood

12 Aug

Wow, is it Friday again already? I’ve been a bit slack on the blogging front this week, thanks to, well, staying up til 1am watching the news, but I couldn’t neglect Fabulous Pattern Friday…

(By the way, remember the Beekeeper’s Quilt from last Friday? It’s now at almost 400 projects on Ravelry. Which is frankly INSANE for a two week old pattern!)

Anyway, this week I’m looking at a slightly older design – Rock Island, by Jared Flood, aka brooklyntweed.

Rock Island

Jared has a huge following, thanks to a flair for creating very wearable designs, which are still technically interesting to make. He’s also a talented photographer, and launched a wonderful new yarn (called Shelter) to much acclaim last autumn.

Rock Island

Rock Island is a pretty challenging knit – laceweight yarn, with lace stitches on the right and wrong side of the shawl. But there are heaps of helpful tips on Ravelry if you’d like to make it.

And almost 1,000 people are. Which is pretty incredible.

Rock Island
It’s available as a downloadable PDF for $6, about £4. Money well spent! I can’t wait to see what he does next…

All images copyright and courtesy of Jared Flood. Find more at his website http://brooklyntweed.net/

Read more about this pattern on The Knitter website at lunchtime today.

How to knit lace without having a breakdown…

14 May

If you’ve been knitting a little while, you probably know about the trend for knitting shawls. Ooo look, here’s one I made…

Shawls might seem like an old-fashioned thing to make. But think again. Wear a triangle shawl back to front and you’ve got an on trend neckerchief. Zany! Plus lace knitting is interesting, challenging, and you get a lot of knitting out of an 800m skein of cashmere for not much dollar. Mmmmm, cashmere.

But lace knitting isn’t exactly a piece of cake. If you’re a lace virgin you need help. So here are my top tips. I’ll share some of my favourite patterns at the end, so read on! Continue reading

Weather to dye for…

23 Apr

Excuse the terrible pun, but when the sun is shining this much it often makes me want to get my yarn dyes out. The heat makes getting soaking wet wool dry a much easier task!
This time I had a go at kettle-dyeing with some organic merino 4ply from Yarnundyed whose owner sent some samples into us at The Knitter to play with. That’s on the left in this picture.

On the right is a fairly high twist laceweight angora merino blend, which I got from the lovely Jeni of Fyberspates at Wonderwool.

I normally get my white yarn from the excellent Bluefaced.com so it’s been interesting to have a go with some new things. The organic yarn had a lovely texture and bloom after colouring, while the laceweight took the deep red particularly well.

I’d bought a large amount of the laceweight from Jeni, thinking I’d use it when I teach a dyeing class at Get Knitted in September so I’m pleased with the results, and I’m keen to try some more from Yarnundyed too.

During the class we’ll be creating custom-dyed self-striping sock and semi-solid laceweight yarns, and experimenting with all sorts of other yarns too, so if you fancy having a go at dyeing you can sign up now!