When Basic Lace Sings

I have a few catch up posts to make. So I am starting by telling you all about Joelle;

Joelle - Copyright Let's Knit Magazine

Joelle – Copyright Let’s Knit Magazine

The first thing I remember about designing Joelle was knitting the lace swatch. It was the swatch that made the design, not a design in my head that I needed to get down on paper. It was the other way around.

I like to flick through my stitch bible and knit up anything that appeals to me when I swatch. Sometimes they get ripped out or slung in a drawer until they call out to me, but sometimes they sing immediately. Telling me what they want to be. This lace was a songstress. I got the image of Joelle in my head immediately. I knew exactly what to do and I was super excited.

Joelle swatch

Joelle swatch

I quickly sketched out the idea before it vanished like “poof!” That happens sometimes and it sucks. I was really pleased with the sketch and I had the design all planned out in my head, exactly how I was going to work it.

Joelle Sketch

Joelle Sketch

Once the yarn arrived (the gorgeous Artesano Superwash Merino), I set to work. I had lots of testers working on this and although there were some tiny problems, nothing major sticks in my head.

The top is knitted from the bottom of the back, up and cast on for the sleeves, then over the top and down the front, casting off the sleeve stitches as you pass them. This was so there was no break in the beautiful lace pattern. I really didn’t want an ugly seam running through the middle of it.
The top has no waist shaping and I did wonder if I was right to go ahead with that, but I love the fit of this. It is a slouchy, comfortable top, that could be worn during the day or evening while having a few drinks with friends.

I am super happy with the way Joelle turned out.

Have you ever had lace sing to you?

The Lace Wrap and the Persian Poet

I’ve disappeared again, I know. Christmas got so busy here I barely had chance to actually celebrate it. I was knitting Christmas gifts up to the 11th hour and I had commissions to complete too. But you didn’t come here to listen to me winging! I know that much :D

My new pattern for Let’s Knit magazine is out today and I wanted to tell you all about it.

Saadi Wrap
Saadi Wrap

As soon as I saw the lace used in the Saadi wrap I knew it had to be made into something that let it be itself. I know that sounds proper poncy, but what I mean is, it didn’t need to be messed about with. It just wanted to be knitted and show itself. Like, “Look at me. How cool am I?” kinda thing… Yeah well. So I decided to make a straight, easy to adjust wrap / shawl that embraced the lace work. I added a picot edge to keep it simple and knitted my swatch.

Saadi Swatch
Saadi Swatch

Then, with the swatch in mind and knowing I wanted to make a wrap, I drew my sketch:

Saadi Wrap Sketch
Saadi Wrap Sketch

I was quite happy with the sketch. A few people have asked me about the croquis I use (the female figure). I got them from here. A great resource if, like me, you can’t really draw too well. I am determined to learn to draw croquis this year though. It’s on my to do list.

I like to name my patterns with something that means something to me or to the pattern. After looking up tulips and flowers and endless trails to find something suitable, I came across Saadi Shirazi, a Persian poet from the medieval times. One of his most famous works was The Gulistan (The Rose Garden) which contains this verse:

Its red roses were like the cheeks of belles, 
Its hyacinths like the ringlets of mistresses 
Protected from the inclemency of mid-winter 
Like sucklings who have not yet tasted the nurse’s milk. 
And branches with pomegranates upon them:
Fire suspended from the green-trees.

I thought that was beautiful and fitting for such a gorgeous lace and so decided Saadi would be the name of the wrap.

Then it was time for the submission:

Saadi Submission info
Saadi Submission info

I submitted this to the editor of Let’s Knit and waited. She accepted the design a week or so later and ordered my second yarn choice, the lovely Rowan Wool Cotton. As soon as it arrived I got to work.

To be honest, there is nothing else to tell. This was a straightforward pattern. My testers didn’t really have a problem. One tester preferred to knit it in lace weight yarn as she felt the pattern didn’t open up in the DK. I let her do that as I wanted to see the lace version, but my goal was to create a stunning lace wrap that could be worn in the colder climates. I knitted my sample, blocked it and parcelled it up for Let’s Knit.

This wrap is an easy knit but it takes time and concentration if you are not used to lace. I didn’t learn this pattern after so many repeats. I was still looking at what row came next even when I was nearing the finish at 100+ cms. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort you will be rewarded with a beautiful piece.

 

Free Pattern Alert!

Just what it says on the tin, here is a new free pattern, just for you. Yes, you!

Cup Cosy

33 Cup Cosy

This is a sweet little cup cosy which can be knitted until it fits your favourite mug. The cable pattern is so simple yet elegant and creates a dense fabric, perfect for keeping your cuppa warm (and not burn your hands!)

Cup Cosy

33 Cup Cosy

It is a perfect stocking filler or last minute Christmas gift.
You can download this pattern for free from Ravelry or right here, right now! (instant pdf download)

 

New Pattern: Athena Cowl

I am really excited to introduce you to Athena;

Athena Cowl for Artesano Yarns

Athena Cowl Copyright Artesano Yarns

I have been very privileged to work with Artesano and their gorgeous brand new yarn Artesano Nebula.
The new yarn, made from Alpaca blends with Merino Wool is a double-knit roving yarn with flecks of Donegal adding texture
to create a sophisticated tweed finish.
It is amazing to work with and so soft and snuggly I was reluctant to send the cowl back to Artesano!

Athena Cowl for Artesano Yarns

Athena Cowl Copyright Artesano Yarns

Athena comes in two sizes, a short cowl for yanking over your head as you head out the door (60cms / 23.5 inches in length) and the long one pictured for a more luxurious feel (120cms / 47.25 inches in length).
It is beginner friendly with options for knitting flat or in the round.
The pattern is a mix of moss stitch and dropped stitches, with a moss stitched ribbing on either end.

Needles: 4mm needles (US size 6)
Yarn: Artesano Nebula, DK, 270 – 450 yards (247 – 411 m)
Gauge: 20 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches in st st before blocking

Athena Cowl for Artesano Yarns

Athena Cowl Copyright Artesano Yarns

I can’t show the design process of this one since I didn’t have to do a sketch or submission. I have nothing to show you other than the finished cowl but I have to say I love the styling and the finished result in general.

You can download the cowl on Ravelry and you can also see all the other wonderful patterns from the new Nebula range.

I hope you like it!

What Kelsey Did Next

I mentioned in my last post that I would explain my design process for the patterns I’d shown you. I think it could get pretty tedious if I go through every single one so instead, I decided to pick a few out of the bunch and today I’ll start with Kelsey.

Kelsey Pinafore Dress

Kelsey Copyright Let’s Knit Magazine

I had wanted to use the lace from Kelsey for a long time. I had this style of top pictured in my head but it was an adult top with puff ball sleeves. When I started to sketch I realised that I liked the pinafore idea much more and sized down to suit a child instead.

Bearing in mind that I cannot draw for toffee, here is my sketch of Kelsey!

I told you I can’t draw!

With this sketch in mind I knitted the tiniest sample known to man. I think a newborn would have had problems getting into it;

Kelsey swatch

I was happy with the result of the tiny dress so I decided to go for it and submit my first garment. At this point I had no real idea how to work out the different sizes, the yardage, or if I was ever going to actually pull this off. I had knitted plenty of hats for Let’s Knit but this was a totally different ball game for me.

I made my submission sheet and called the pinafore “Kelsey” after my cousins brand new little girl*

Kelsey Submission Sheet pg1

Kelsey Submission Sheet pg2

 

Once I clicked the send button on my email to the editor of Let’s Knit I started to panic. Really panic.

I immediately started to work out the calculations for the pattern. writing down all the sizes I needed, the yardage needed and pretty much the pattern itself. I had no idea if it would be accepted for the magazine but I was so frightened I set up a test knit and put the pattern through testing without knowing if I needed it or not. I was pretty much a bunny in the headlights thinking numerous amounts of swear words on an hourly basis and wondering why the hell I had just done this to myself.

My partner, Terry, would sit and listen to me ranting, and then calmly say, “But you want to do garments and this is all a learning curve. You’ll be fine.” I felt like I was up shit creek without a paddle.

When the submission got accepted by Let’s Knit I was pretty close to meltdown but the test seemed to be going ok with a couple of minor glitches like the maths being wrong on the increase rounds for the skirt section, and numerous typos and things written backwards or missed out altogether. Minor…

I had some pretty amazing testers on this dress and they stuck with me and held my hand through the tough bits. I couldn’t have got through that month without them!

Once testing was complete, and I had tweaked a couple of things I didn’t like about the original pattern, I knitted my sample, blocked it and happily parcelled it up for Let’s Knit.

Kelsey Pinafore Dress

Kelsey Copyright of Let’s Knit Magazine

And there she is! After a shed load of stress (most of which I didn’t learn from since I did it all over again with Carmen, which I’ll talk about later) Kelsey was done. I was over the moon with the result and it looked exactly like the picture in my head.

This dress is a really easy, relaxing knit. A pretty pinafore dress that’s practical for summer and winter. Worn over jeans or shorts, it is extremely versatile and easy to wear. It is knitted in the round from the top down with an easy lace skirt and garter stitch edging.

From Issue 69 of Let’s Knit, it is currently the most popular design from that issue on Ravelry (at time of writing this) which makes all the stress, sleepless nights and bald patches, from ripping my hair out, worth it.

It is also free to download from Let’s Knit! Here (you need to subscribe) and is one of my personal favourites of my patterns to date. Let’s just say I got there in the end!

Kelsey Pinafore Dress

Kelsey Copyright of Let’s Knit Magazine

* Why the name Kelsey?

My aunty Gill always wanted a little girl. She tried over and over for her own daughter and after 4 boys, she gave up. Three of her boys have children of their own now. All of them are boys. Then around 7 years ago, Gill’s youngest son, Lee, and his wife became pregnant with a girl. Everyone was overjoyed, but no-one more than Gill. But as the birth grew nearer, things went wrong and Demi was born sleeping.

Last year Lee’s wife became pregnant again and found out it was a girl. The whole family were on tenterhooks waiting for the baby. Then in January 2013 Kelsie was born. It felt right that I name this first garment after her. Although I spelt her name wrong! Ha! Never mind, the thought was there!

 

 

 

What’s up Slacker?!

Ok…I’ve been a big bad slacker with my blog lately. Like massively slack. Big bad slacky blogger. Pfft. So here I am to tell you why I’ve been slacking and what I’m gonna do about it. That’s if anyone really cares anymore… Anyhoo, here’s what’s happened since the last time I blogged which was like 6 or 7 months ago apart from the measly happy birthday blog cop-out post.

Since March and my last free pattern release, Pearl, I have released lots of patterns through Let’s Knit magazine. It’s been going pretty well actually. I think I stopped blogging because everything for Let’s Knit is secret. It’s kinda hard to blog about secrets, but what I’ve decided to do is tell you all about the patterns once they’ve been released and show you the process. That way, I can still tell you stuff.

First though, let me run down all the things I’ve released since March 2013.

First there was Anais, my first Kindle cosy from issue 65 of Let’s Knit. This pattern is now available free!

Anais Kindle Cosy

Anais Kindle Cosy

Followed by the Ceres market bag and the Azealia wide-brimmed hat, both in issue 68.

Ceres Market Bag

Ceres Market Bag

Azealia Wide Brimmed Summer Hat

Azealia Wide Brimmed Summer Hat

After those I had another two patterns in issue 69 of Let’s Knit. Kelsey – a little girls pinafore dress in sizes 12 months to 6 years, Plus Hyades, a lace work slouchy beanie.

Kelsey Pinafore Dress

Kelsey Pinafore Dress

Hyades Lace Slouch Beanie

Hyades Lace Slouch Beanie

These two were followed by Monroe from issue 71. Monroe is a hat, gloves and cowl set. The cowl pattern is available for free.

Monroe Hat and Gloves

Monroe Hat and Gloves

Monroe Cowl

Monroe Cowl

Next I was accepted for the designer challenge in Knit Now issue 25. Détour is a French feel Fair Isle beanie with bow to the side.

Détour Fair Isle Beanie Hat

Détour Fair Isle Beanie Hat

And finally, my first ever garment was selected for issue 72 of Let’s Knit! Carmen is a lace topped cardigan for sizes 8 to 22 (UK sizing).

Carmen Cardigan

Carmen Cardigan

Busy busy busy few months and not once did I blog. Wow I’m bad!

So I will tell you all about the design process of these soon – I mean it! And I have a few other things I’d like to start to do. I promise to sort out my blog once and for all.

Ooh also, since March, I have moved house and this also happened:

I got Engaged!

I got Engaged!

Wedding in 2015 (or never if we can’t save up enough after the house move)

And this happened:

Sansa

Sansa

Along with our family of 3 cats we now have Sansa. She is a Japanese Akita with a tiny bit of Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossed (Her mum was a Staffy crossed with an Akita, her dad was all Akita). She is now 7 months old and a huge beast! More photos later. I’ll just leave you with the cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelsey is available free.