March 15, 2018

Introducing Kadigan – fun with short rows!

I had so much fun with Kadigan, my newest design. (Kadigan is an old placeholder word – a thingamajig, a wotsit. How could I resist using that?) I love the style, which offers three different looks, but the making is the best part. It’s a bit quirky, but so rewarding.

You start with a basic shrug, then pick up stitches and work the skirt sideways using garter stitch short rows, ie basically the most enjoyable knitting there is. This construction has two great benefits. One is the simplicity of it: you follow an internal logic rather than the numbers, so although there’s always something going on, you don’t have to check the pattern much. The second is the adaptability. You can adjust virtually any part of it to fit your specific shape, without any maths, and I wrote the pattern specifically to encourage knitters to make the most of this.

Start by picking your size based on upper arm measurement, because that’s the most fixed aspect. Adjust the sleeve length if needed. Try it on as you go to get a perfect fit across your shoulders. Then grab an inchtape and choose the right size for the front pieces. Follow a different set of instructions depending on whether you want to lengthen or shorten the back, and by how much. See? Perfect custom sizing, and no calculator required!

It’s surprisingly addictive. My testers are already talking about their second Kadigans, and I’m planning at least two more. I hope you have as much fun with it as I have!

January 26, 2018

If one is good, would four be better?

Everybody loves a bargain, and I love giving people an excuse to look at more of my patterns. So I’m offering one free pattern with every three bought from my Ravelry store. There’s no voucher – just add four patterns to your cart and the cheapest will be free.

There’s something for everyone, from accessories (many offering child-to-adult sizing) to sweaters. I do seem to have a particular cowl thing going on at the moment, though, so if your neck needs a little extra warmth in the winter – and really, whose doesn’t – I might have just the thing! Elfbaby, a hat with three brim options, is a popular baby gift; or if you’re looking for a grown-up lace challenge, how about Pavonis?

Most of my patterns include photo tutorials for special techniques. Whatever level your knitting’s at, there’s always something new to learn.

December 5, 2017

A fast gift knit with two clever tricks up its sleeve

If you have a tiny amount of wild and crazy yarn in your stash – brightly coloured super bulky, or maybe some fabulous but baffling handspun art yarn – Nullkommanix could be the answer. It might also solve a gift knitting crisis. AND it has a couple of nifty tricks to teach you.

Nullkommanix (meaning 0.0 seconds, which is about how long it takes to make) is knitted in simple elongated garter stitch, then twisted to make a moebius loop. Here’s the fun part: you can use the simple backward loop method as a nearly perfect provisional cast-on; I do that all the time in all kinds of yarn, but wild yarn like this will camouflage it particularly well. Photo tutorials teach you how to do that, and how to kitchener in garter stitch, for a super-easy and satisfying result that you’ll find yourself applying everywhere.

It’s free for newsletter subscribers new and old. My newsletter goes out every two weeks and is full of linky goodness, so don’t be shy – join us!

November 20, 2017

Ready, steady, gifts a go-go!

It’s Giftalong time on Ravelry – but you knew that already, didn’t you? It’s hard to miss the excitement! KALs, games, prizes, non-stop (*really* non-stop) chatter and, oh yes, 25% off thousands of patterns from hundreds of designers… including me.

If you’ve never joined in the GAL before, stop by and see what all the fuss is about! Every year it gets bigger and better. You’ll be sure to get motivated and fill your knitting basket (not to mention your queue) with heaps of inspiring projects. It’s also a great chance to get to know indie designers better, as most of us turn up to chat in the threads, plus there’s a lot of action on social media. I will be posting interviews on my blog regularly, as well as sharing my favourite designs from this year’s bundle (and my makes from past years) on Instagram. (There is of course a GAL Instagram challenge – join in!)

October 23, 2017

Here be dragons: two one-skein cowls

Did you ever wish you could channel the strength of a dragon?

I admit it’s a lot to ask of a knitted accessory. But that’s what I was thinking of when I designed Haku and Chihiro – companion one-skein cowls using the dragonscale stitch pattern. I love the thought of casing my vulnerable neck in steely yet elegant dragonskin. And I really love how this looks.

Haku uses silky fingering yarn and beads for a glamorous, grown-up accessory with a flared base. Chihiro is a straight tube in worsted weight that makes a quick gift knit for kids or adults. You can buy the set for just €6, more than 25% off the price for each separately.

Incidentally, the names come from Miyazaki’s anime classic Spirited Away. It took me ages to find a named dragon who wasn’t scary – which probably shouldn’t have surprised me, and yet. Do you find the idea of wrapping your neck in protective but totally elegant dragonskin as appealing as I do?

September 26, 2017

Better brioche edges

In designing Wraparoche, I wasn’t happy with the usual brioche cast-on options, so I went looking for something a bit different. I found this braided two-colour cast-on to be perfect (and a good match for a two-colour brioche cast-off), and have shared the technique on my blog. It’s sturdy and decorative; it isn’t elastic, so you’ll need to take care to work loosely to match the brioche fabric, but the results are perfect.

I’ll also be publishing the cast-off tutorial shortly (both are of course included in the pattern). You can find plenty more tutorials for unusual techniques on my blog, including this one for one-pass brioche – ever wished you could do away with the hassle of repeating each row or round to work two-colour brioche? Turns out, it’s really not that hard… and makes challenging patterns like Pravigan that much faster. Of course it also works great for Wraparoche!

August 29, 2017

Introducing Wraparoche

Have you got the brioche bug yet? Wraparoche is an easy and very satisfying introduction to two-colour brioche. You can make it with two skeins of whatever you have on hand – as long as each skein is about 100g and about the same weight. The sample uses Wolff & Schafe Romulus (a really lovely, squishy Merino worsted!), but the pattern also includes instructions for fingering or sport weight, and a worksheet to figure out your numbers for any other gauge.

The pattern includes notes on how two-colour brioche is worked and how to read the instructions, plus photo tutorials on the special cast-on and cast-off techniques used.

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