Diary of a Design: Release Day!

I’ve been cagey so far about what I’m calling my latest design – I hit upon what I think is a great name some time ago, and I didn’t want to jinx things by naming it publicly too early. I hear all sorts of stories about perfect names with no other dupes in the Ravelry database being snapped up the week before release.

I give you: Nostepinne

(and yes, I aliased it to Nostepinde too!)

Before I knit Nostepinne, on cold days I would wear an old grey jumper of my husband’s. It felt like wearing a cuddle, but it looked like a sack of potatoes. For Nostepinne, I took the best features of that jumper – the pure wool, soft grey colour, roomy ease, slightly-longer-than-usual sleeves and added other, more feminine features. The U-shaped neckline is flattering and leaves plenty of room for layering, while the elegant “Nostepinne” cables hide subtle waist shaping and create a “sweetheart” shape over the bust.

A nostepinne is a tool for winding yarn into centre-pull balls or cakes. The balls of yarn created gradually get bigger the more you twist.

Image courtesy of TricksyKnitter
Image courtesy of TricksyKnitter

The pattern is available on ravelry for £6

However, I’m also running a competition in my ravelry group to win a copy of the pattern for you and a friend. All you have to do is nominate your friend and say why you think s/he would like the Nostepinne pattern.

And sure, while you’re there, why don’t you join the group? I make sure to post all my latest news there, plus sneak peeks of what I’m up to next!

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My name’s King, I gotta have a Crown Pattern!

I know there are a thousand crown patterns out there, but I didn’t find the exact one I needed on a Ravelry search, so I made up my own.

Simple Crown

This crown is worked sideways on.

First, measure around the kid’s head at the widest point. [My two have enormous heads for wee ones: 21 inches (53 cm)]. You’ll need to make the crown approximately 2 inches (5 cm) shorter than your measurement so that the FO sits on snugly, but not too tight.

  • Height of crown: 1.25in/3cm to 2in/5cm at point
  • Width each repeat: 2in/5cm
  • Yarn: Rico Essentials Merino (DK; 100% wool; 120m/50g ball) in shade #65 (yellow)
  • Needles: 4mm
  • Buttons; one for each point. Sample used 9.
  • Abbreviations are given below the pattern text

Crown Closeup

Pattern

Cast on 7 sts.

Row 1 (WS): Purl.
Rows 2,4,6,8 and 10 (RS)
: K to last st, M1, K1. 1 st inc each time; 12 sts after Row 10
Row 3 and all WS rows to Row 19: Knit.
Rows 12,14,16,18 and 20: K to last 2 sts, K2tog. 1 st dec each time; 7 sts after Row 20

After Row 20, start again at Row 1 and repeat until the crown is long enough to go around your child’s head. I did 9 repeats and mine ended up being about 18in long, which was perfect for the Kings junior!

Then just sew up the ends and add some buttons or beads.

Abbreviations (given in order used)

  • WS – Wrong side
  • RS – Right side
  • K – Knit
  • st – Stitch
  • M1 – Make 1 (use whichever method you prefer)
  • inc – Increase(d)
  • K2tog – Knit 2 together
  • dec – Decrease(d)

			

Seaglas on the cover of Knit Now 35!

Images courtesy of Practical Publishing.

Seaglas is a sheer, crop top, with seafoam panels at hem and sleeve caps and a sheer stocking stitch ground. Seaglas is bang on trend for Summer, as it’s thistle-down light. It’s knit with gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace, which is buttery smooth to work with. You only need 2 skeins, too, and only a scrap of the second! Actually, the total weight for the sample was less than 60g (for size Small), so one skein might even cut it, if you would prefer a monochrome version.

To knit Seaglas, start with the Seafoam lace hem. This is worked sideways on, and creates a column of YO’s on the very edge. Then, pick up from the edge and work straight up to the neckline in stocking stitch. The neckline is a simple YO pattern within a garter st ground. The back is worked in a very similar way. Last of all, the sleeve cap edging is picked up from the side of the top and worked all the way around the armhole, tapering at the start and end.

 

I was absolutely stoked when I saw Seaglas was going to be on the cover. This is my second ever cover, the first was Crystl from Issue 33. I have saved the printing proofs of these covers carefully away and I intend to get them framed for the glory wall in my “studio” – a little private space I’ve carved out for myself in the house.

Sombra

Main image courtesy of Pom Pom Quarterly, taken by Juju Vail.

Sombra is my latest pattern, and I am very excited that it has been included in the Summer edition of Pom Pom Quarterly. This floaty top is really easy to wear, and will quickly become a summer wardrobe staple.

I am quite proud of how Sombra turned out. The material is sheer and delicate. The Non-Twist Cotton Boucle from Habu Textiles is incredibly soft to touch and has quite a different drape to other yarns I’ve worked with. It’s a fine laceweight, but because the top is worked on 4mm needles, it still works up reasonably quickly. Plus, it’s stocking stitch throughout, the colourwork requires no twisting or stranding, and the colour pattern is easy peasy.

Sombra is worked flat, bottom up. Then the back and front are seamed together at sides and shoulders. The sleeves are picked up from the armhole edges and worked to the cuff (3/4 length). Sts for the round neckline are also picked up. Hem, neckline and cuffs are worked in garter st.

The colourwork technique is simple. There are three shades used: aqua, teal and violet. The aqua areas are worked with the main colour of yarn held singly. The darker green areas are worked with aqua and teal held together, and the darkest area including neckline is worked with all three yarns held together. When worked this way, the yarns automatically lock into position, so no stranding or twisting is necessary – just knit! From the picture below, of the back blocking, you can see just how the sheerness of the material is also changed with the number of shades used.

As an aside, this is my first design swatch for Sombra in kidsilk haze-type yarns (very cosy)! So glad my editors at Pom Pom suggested Habu! Hmm, wonder if it would work as a Winter garment too…?

Big Gay Fund Raising

Bristol Ivy has done a mega job of organising a bunch of us designers to donate pattern sales to LGBT causes for the duration of the Olympics.

I have two patterns in this, proceeds from which will go to Stonewall UK.

I have no gay, lesbian, bi or trans, heartwarming or tear-jerking stories to share. I just believe consenting adults should be allowed to love each other in whatever way they want.

1. Collared for £1.50

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It’s a quick knit! This is one I made this morning from Lilith at Old Maiden Aunt’s “Nothing to Hide” colour way (serious amount of money raised for Stonewall UK). I used beads instead of sequins.

2. Bow Ties Are Cool Cowl for £2.95

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This cowl plays with 3d shapes and bad Dr. Who puns. It looks Amazeballs in a rainbow yarn, check out creatingincanyon’s project!

Apples and Pears Stole

Knit Now 31 has 2 of my patterns in it; Biennial Jumper and Apples and Pears Stole.

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(Photo (c) Practical Publishing by Dan Walmsley)

This is knit in an alpaca/merino mix, which means it’s lovely and warm and has great drape. The yarn is Rooster Almerino DK available from laughinghens.com.

This stole was a very easy knit, if large. The pattern is completely predictable and memorisable, there’s no shaping and it’s all stocking stitch except for the garter stitch border. The “stairs” divide the pattern into sections, so you can easily see how much progress you’re making. For some reason, I find that knits with clearly defined sections go much faster than knits that just say “keep going until it’s x long” – perhaps because I keep getting out the tape to measure it!

Here’s a pic of it blocking so you can see it full-length.

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This is a great project to practise intarsia. There are a manageable number of yarns to work on each row – up to 4. The blocks are straight-edged, so there’s no worrying about carrying yarn or stranding, and if you have yarn to use up, there’s no reason you have to stick to the colour scheme given; you can put the colours in whatever order you like. Stashbust, anyone?

Celebrating my Biennial as a Knitwear Designer (with a Giveaway!)

I picked up my copy of Knit Now 31 today.

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I have two designs in it this month. I’m going to talk about Biennial, the jumper today.

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Two years ago, I sent off my first proposal, and I have been calling myself a knitwear designer ever since; tentatively at first, but with ever-growing confidence. The last few months have been crazy busy with 6 garment designs and a number of accessories. Biennial started the run and it was my first garment for Knit Now.

Biennial was hard to design. It looks very simple, but it took a lot of brain-cranking to get it that way. The diagonal line that cuts across the arms and body had to be calculated just right for all seven sizes.

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To get the line to look like it was slicing straight across the arms and body involved trig and maths I haven’t attempted since college (in case you’re new to this blog, I’m a qualified engineer). Each size has a different line gradient, as I wanted the change from one colour to the other on the body to be complete by the start of armhole shaping. The larger sizes have a gentler slope. I eventually found a simple way to calculate the placement based on seam length.

The editor of Knit Now, Kate Heppell, has been very generous in her praise of Biennial. In the page 3 editorial, she writes “I am absolutely besotted with Elanor King’s Biennial jumper (page 24). Elanor and our technical editors put a lot of work into making sure the design is right, and I think the result is just stunning.”

Wow.

And then there was this conversation on twitter

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Jaw-on-floor WOW.

:)))) @clairelneicho (also in Kate’s list) said at the time she had a Cheshire Cat grin when she saw that tweet. Well I still have one, and it’s almost a week later!

Giveaway time!!!
The lovely, generous people at UK Alpaca gave me too much yarn for Biennial, so I have some to pass on to one lucky recipient. If you would like to win 3 balls of this springy, soft, warm, resilient, beautiful British yarn, comment below with your own answer to Karie’s question: “Who are your favourite knitting designers? And why?”

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Yarn giveaway restricted to UK and Ireland only (soz! postage!). Draw will take place on or after Feb 21st

Photographs either my own or (c) Practical Publishing by Dan Walmsley

How I came to design the Eleven Hundred Dollars Sweater in Hitch

Hello! And welcome to the Bonfire Night Stop on the Hitch Blog Tour! I live in London although I’m originally from Ireland. I’m not quite sure why the British celebrate Guy Fawkes nearly blowing up the House of Lords, but he’s the reason we English speakers use the word “guy” meaning a bloke, man or fella. In any event, tonight promises lots of bangs and explosions and sparklers and melting marshmallows with my over-excited kids.

These wee ones are the reason why I knit at all. I taught myself to knit when I first found out I was pregnant – I had previously been known to churn out the occasional bad oil painting, but oils and their associated chemicals are bad news for curious babies. Not to mention the clean-ups. So it was time to find a new hobby. Knitting is perfect because you can put it down and pick it up at a moment’s notice, there’s no mess and best of all, you can wear it to keep warm when you’re done. I made a LOT of hats that first year.

Then I joined a local group of knitters, The Harrow Knitters, and they were so supportive and sociable that I found myself trying out fabulous new yarns, newer techniques and more ambitious patterns. Around about when my eldest turned 3, it got to the point where I knew exactly what I wanted to make, but I couldn’t find the pattern for it… so I just wrote it myself. By March, I had read enough about swatching and blocking that I thought I was maybe ready to design a washcloth or something, and I tentatively started looking at the calls for submission on the Ravelry Designer’s Forum.

Which where I saw Stephannie Tallent’s post.

I was very excited by the call. I swear to high heaven, the design for “Eleven Hundred Dollars” popped straight into my head almost fully formed. Nothing like that’s happened since, so I can only take it as an explosion of pent-up creativity; and possibly a sign that knitwear design was something I should consider seriously. Was I crazy? For a first design? Well, let’s just call me naïve…

When I look at the proposal I drew up now, I cringe. This thing was 7 pages long. It had charts. It had schematics. It had a long-winded inspiration essay. I’m not sure why Stephannie picked it out, but I’m very glad she did!

Original sketch and schematic from the proposal:

pillow

Imagine my delight when Stephannie got in touch to say I was in! I danced around the dining room table and muffled the screams with a pillow so as not to wake the kids. I called my Mum and tried to explain all about it (much to her bemusement) and then I sat down with a thump as I realised now I really would have to design it!

I ran full-tilt into the world of designing and set about creating a jumper I am proud of. Eleven Hundred Dollars has a lot of details:

  1. Welted hem in 2 colours
  2. Deep mosaic chevron waistband with princess seams
  3. Cross-over top with slip-stitch edging in a contrasting colour
  4. Short-row shoulders and 3-needle cast off
  5. A simple lace pattern on the sleeves
  6. Highly shaped ¾-length sleeves, with shoulder puffs
  7. Applied I-cord cuffs with a contrasting trim
  8. Buttoned keyhole at cuffs

This is NOT a beginner’s knit. This is a treat for you or a loved one. I would LOVE to hear how you get on with it, so please get in touch!

Competition Time

Ah good, you’ve made it this far. If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a PDF copy of the book, please comment below with your favourite integer and why you like it!

E.g. I like the number 120 because it’s divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 and hence can be used for all sorts of knitting patterns!

Le Grand Tour

Watch out for the Fyberspates Blog Stop on the 9th! I used their scrumptious Scrumptious to make Eleven Hundred Dollars.

10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami
11/22013: A B-ewe-tiful Design