Tag Archives: yarn

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.

Reading List: My favourite blogs

22 Feb

Mmmmm, pondering what to write today, it occurred that there are a gazillion great blogs out there, but tracking them down can be tricky.

Some of the ones I like are well known, some not so much, but all are worth a peek, I hope you’ll agree.

So, here we go!

1. Posie Gets Cozy

Portland designer Alicia Paulson has an impossibly beautiful home, an incredible collection of sweet felt, cross stitch, embroidery and crochet patterns, and takes truly beautiful pictures. I’ve made A LOT of her designs. Go Alicia!

2. Yarnstorm

Quilting, baking, knitting, crochet, art and gardening, with Jane Brocket, who has a spectacular eye for colour and a ‘can do’ take on life.

She started me on my quilting journey. And hurrah for that! (More quilting here this weekend if that’s your bag)
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3. Brooklyn Tweed

Jared Flood has superstar status in the knitting world, but is also an accomplished photographer, and now has his own yarn range. If any designer will persuade you to get into knitting, he is it.

Here’s his Rock Island shawl. Not one for beginners but totally GAWJUS.

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Photo (c) Jared Flood.

4. Craftiness Is Not Optional

Mum of two and sewing genius Jess posts daily about clothes, with regular free tutorials on kid’s and women’s clothes and accessories. Great for last minute presents. I love her ric-rac flowers.

5. Feminist Ryan Gosling

This blog exploded just a few months ago, and riffs with exceptional humour on the whole F*ckYeah web meme that won’t go away. Succinct feminist theory and hot pictures of Ryan Gosling. What’s not to like?! This is my favourite post.

6. The Sartorialist

I love Scott Schuman for his coverage of the shows, but his street snaps are second to none. A superstar fashion blogger who deserves to be so.

7. Needled

Scottish knitwear designer Kate Davies takes you on adventures through the Highlands, and regularly reveals her latest, exceptional design. She has a penchant for ‘woolly wool’ and Fair Isle and great taste in dogs and hats.

Like this one…
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8. Cotton and Cloud

Kyoko Nakayoshi is a talented Japanese knitwear designer, who I feel privileged to have worked with regularly over the past year. Her blog is full of useful knitting tips and techniques, as well as links to lovely products like these fab knitting needles. Knitscene recently named her one of the top 8 knitwear designers to watch in 2012, and deservedly so!

9. Birdface

Helen Ward is a graphic designer with a sideline in amazing paper art. She has occasional tutorials for everything from pretty Christmas decorations, to  leg warmers and is always inspirational. She rocks!

Here’s Helen with her fabulous knitted gate, which she created during Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland
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10. Jen Arnall-Culliford Knitwear

Jen AC is a widely respected technical editor with a sideline in just-so designs. She’s also my friend, and the person who encouraged me to go for my job on The Knitter. Thanks Jen!  Her blog is a lovely mix of knitting, stitching, foodie loveliness and good old common sense.

Enough from me. I’d love to hear about your favourite blog, so leave me a comment!

I finished the hat…

2 Feb

It only took me a few evenings (aran weight + mostly stocking stitch =  speedy gonzales). Friday, Saturday, Sunday and it was done.

I quite like it, but only quite.

It’s not the hat’s fault. It is a lovely hat. But the sad truth is, my head is the head of a giant, so this Almond Comfit just doesn’t look big enough. More of a soldier’s beret than a sauve Parisienne’s topper.

I knit the largest size. OK, I went one needle size down, but I always have to do that ‘cos I’m a loosey goosey when it comes to gauge. If you look at Ysolda‘s and my pictures, my stitches are still looser than hers, even with the smaller needle! Grrr…

 
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Anyway, I currently have five hand knitted winter hats which is verging on greedy, so I was already pondering who might like the scrummy red colour, and it was Helen’s birthday on Monday…

So hello and goodbye hat. I may make you again with thicker yarn on bigger needles. You shall not defeat me!

It is still a clever pattern. Well played Ysolda. Perhaps you could consider adding a freakishly large size for the next one.

Mmmmmmmm… Saturday Treat: Almond Comfit hat by Ysolda Teague

28 Jan

I am such a sucker for knitting patterns. When I went on my yarn diet (well, fast really) this year I seriously considered giving up buying patterns too. But hey, one step at a time.

So I’ve just indulged in Ysolda Teague‘s new Saturday Treat collection. It’s a small, but beautifully formed group of patterns with Fyberspates popular Scrumptious yarn, a silk/ merino mix.

Saturday treats for me definitely include seeing my family, going for walks, eating scrummy food, and knitting something non-work related.

Sometimes we go to Treasure Island Sweets in Bristol’s amazing St Nick’s Market, to stock up on Sherbert Fountains, Caramac bars and Liquorice Allsorts.

For my calorie-free goodie this weekend I picked Almond Comfit, a sweet hat design with an unusual construction. You start with the pretty leaf motif at the front and then increase at the sides until it’s wide enough, then decrease towards the back. Very clever.

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I’m making it in one of the signature colours Ysolda picked for Fyberspates to complement her patterns – Empire Biscuit, a lovely fresh red which is available in aran weight.

The full yarn collection is made up of six colours, each with a sweet name (Dandelion & Burdock, Flying Saucer, Sugar Mouse). There are two new colours each for Scrumptious Lace, Sport and Aran.

On a professional note, you can read more about Ysolda’s collaboration with Fyberspates in the next issue of The Knitter, which comes out on February 25.

But in the meantime, it’s the weekend, so it’s time to get some knitting hours in! What’s your Saturday treat?