Tag Archives: stranded

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!


Peerie Flooers finished! And a little colouring in

6 Oct

It took me six days in the end to knit my Peerie Flooers (Rav link) hat. I was, as I said earlier, pretty obsessed!


The thing about colourwork is that it’s addictive. As the pattern unfolds with every row, you get hooked on seeing what’s going to happen next.


Making this hat (designed by the very talented Kate Davies) has got me thinking even more about colour than usual.


I recently had the pleasure of swatching some Fair Isle style motifs in John Arbon‘s new yarn with vintage knitwear expert Susan Crawford, Excelana.


It’s a beautiful yarn, perfect for colourwork. The challenge for a designer lies in making a relatively limited palette (there are eight colours in Excelana so far) work in harmony.

When working with a limited colour range, or in fact, any colour range, there is a great trick for making it easier. I think I first read about it in Alice Starmore‘s seminal Book of Fair Isle Knitting, but it’s a widely used technique.

Simply take your colour range and put it into black and white.

The easiest way is to take a picture using the black and white setting on your digital camera, but I prefer to take it in colour and then desaturate it in Photoshop, so that I can refer back to it.

This allows you to see the relative light or dark values of the colours. By having this extra info, you can then easily avoid putting colours which are of the same light/dark value next to each other, where a lack of contrast would make the patterning hard to see.

After that, despite all the colour ‘rules’ you may have heard of, everything else is just a matter of taste.

Having knitted Peerie Flooers in a combination of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply and Rowan Fine Tweed, I’m now looking at a new design using the Rowan yarn.

Here’s what happens when you take the colours away…



Time to play!

Peerie Flooers: Hat obsession

30 Sep

It’s 1am and I should be in bed. But I can’t sleep. Because I have to knit my hat.


Yes, I realise it’s too hot to wear it, but that’s not the point. Last week I finally managed to find the time to write about Kate Davies marvellous Peerie Flooers hat for Fabulous Pattern Friday on The Knitter blog.

Then, having hit my design submission deadline for next season (more Fair Isle for next spring – hurrah!) and having also written a feature for the brand-new redesigned Simply Knitting magazine, I sat down, took a breath and cast on.

I started my version of Peerie Flooers on Monday night. Having been up to my eyeballs with work for some time, I’ve given myself the week off to knit it. Happily, if I keep going like this, I’ll be weaving in the ends by the weekend.

This hat has me OBSESSED. Kate previewed the design on her blog so I already knew I wanted to make it before she released the pattern a (thankfully) short while later.

I raided my stash of Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight yarn, bought three balls of the delicious Rowan Fine Tweed the pattern calls for (3 quid each, last of the big spenders), and dived in. Happily I’ve been able to share out what I don’t need with some other knitting friends, so at last count there are 5 of us, all in the various stages of making it.

I’ve modified the pattern, by using cream instead of oatmeal for one of the background colours and working the red and blue flowers in two, tonal, shades to give them a bit more depth.

Meanwhile  61 other people are already knitting it on Ravelry, and more of my knitting friends are casting on as I type. Obsessed? I’m not the only one…

Works in progress. A WIP confession

19 Aug

Every now and then someone says to me something like: “I don’t know how you fit it all in.”

Which is very flattering, but always gives me a bit of a giggle.

Because from the outside, I may look like I’m getting loads done. But actually, for every finished project that makes it onto this blog, or Ravelry, there are about a dozen in stasis.

Here is my confessional of unfinished objects, a list as long as well, this…


A rabbit in snowflake yarn, still in pieces. A request from Storm. Well, she can have it for Christmas!


A blue dress for Storm – 5 inches knitted.

Another blue dress for Storm – fabric cut out.

Primrose tee shirt for Storm – still in pieces.


Unfinished cross stitch.

Unframed embroidery.

Hearts banner which needs sewing onto ribbon.

Cardigan for a friend’s little boy. In progress so long it’ll have to go to his younger brother, although I’ve done about twice as much as is in this pic!

Cardigan for me.

Mad frayed jumper for me.


Blanket 1 – giant stripey granny square.


Blanket 2 – natural granny squares.


Blanket 3 – sock yarn hexipuffs


A quilt for Storm (I have now pieced half of it, but it’s flipping huge!)


Shawl I probably need to start again due to many dumbass mistakes of utter foolishness.


Sock I knitted 2 years ago which still needs a partner.


Ditto, a mitten I knitted 3 years ago!

Plus, oh, 5 unfinished designs for knitting patterns in various states of progress and swatches for the next season.

I’m writing this at 1am. Now you know why…

Christmas Knitting

30 Dec


I should be doing about five other things project wise this holiday season, but I found myself drawn back to my me-sized version of the Northern Lights hooded fairisle cape and haven’t been able to put it down. I’ve now got to the point where other tasks are becoming pressing and so I must rest it for a while, but I’ll make it my commuting project once I’m back at work so it should be finished before it warms up too much to wear it!