A Card for Valentine’s Day

I made a Valentine’s Card for my lover, and I’m pleased enough with the result that I’d like to share it with you. Since it’s me making it, it’s partially knitted, of course!

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Finished Card

Yarn
Easyknits.co.uk Deeply Wicked in Mulling (about 10g required)
100% Superwash Merino
400m/100g skein

Needles
One pair of 2.25mm needles.
Cable needle

Measurements
The finished motif is 9.5x9cm (3.75×3.5in)

Notes
All measurements are given horizontal width first, then vertical length.

Non-Knitting Materials Required
I bought my materials from Hobbycraft, but you’ll find similar products in most good stationers
1 A5 blank greetings card with pre-cut window
(If you want to make one yourself, cut some card to 44x21cm (17.25×8.25in), fold into thirds, and cut a window 9.5x12cm (3.75×4.75in) into the central panel.)
1 sheet decorative card (from the papercraft/scrapbooking aisle)
Scissors
Scalpel
Ruler
Stick glue
Glue dots
Optional: Computer & printer for interior motto

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The back of the card with sunlight streaming through.

Abbreviations
Cdd: Slip next 2 sts knitwise, knit next st, pass 2 slipped sts over
CN: Cable needle
K: Knit
K2tog: Knit 2 sts together at the same time
LDC: Slip 1 st onto a cable needle, ssk from LH needle, K1 from CN
LH: Left hand
P: Purl
RDC: Slip 2 sts onto CN, K1 from LH needle, K2tog from CN
RS: Right side
Sl: Slip
Ssk: Slip 1 st knitwise, slip a second st knitwise, insert LH needle into front of 2 sts just slipped and knit together
St(s): Stitch(es)
WS: Wrong side
Yo: Yarn over

My lover and I skipping stones on Killiney Bay once upon a time.
My lover and I skipping stones on Killiney Bay once upon a time.

Instructions
Cast on 33 sts.
Rows 1 – 7: Knit.
Row 8 and all WS rows to Row 38: K4, P25, K4.
Rows 9 & 11: Knit.
Row 13: K15, K2tog, Yo, K16.
Row 15: K14, K2tog, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K14.
Row 17: K13, K2tog, Yo, K3, Yo, Ssk, K13.
Row 19: K12, K2tog, Yo, K, Yo, Cdd, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K12.
Row 21: K11, K2tog, Yo, K7, Yo, Ssk, K11.
Row 23: K10, K2tog, [Yo, K, Yo, Cdd] twice, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K10.
Row 25: K9, K2tog, Yo, K11, Yo, Ssk, K9.
Row 27: K8, K2tog, [Yo, K, Yo, Cdd] 3 times, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K8.
Row 29: K8, LDC, Yo, K3, Yo, K2tog, K, Ssk, Yo, K3, Yo, RDC, K8.
Row 31: K9, LDC, Yo, K, Yo, RDC, K, LDC, Yo, K, Yo, RDC, K9.
Row 33: K11, P3, K5, P3, K11.
Row 35 & 37: Knit.
Rows 39 – 45: Knit.
Cast off.

This motif is also charted in full. Read RS rows from right to left, and WS rows from left to right.

ValentinesCard

Block gently, following the care instructions on ball band. Weave in ends.

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Assembling the greetings card

1. Take the decorative card and cut a piece 13.5x15cm (5.5x5in).

2. On the reverse of the card, mark out a square 6.5×6.5cm (2.5×2.5in). Centre the square on the horizontal. Position the top edge of the square 4cm (1.5in) from the top of the decorative card. Use a scalpel to cut the window from the decorative card.

3. Glue the decorative card to the inside of the greetings card on the middle panel, to give a “frame-within-a-frame” effect. Take care to keep the edges straight so your frames dont look wonky!

4. Use glue dots to stick your knitted heart to the inner flap that “looks through” the window in the front of the card. Put a glue dot at each corner on the WS of knitted motif. Position it neatly at the window. Close the card, thereby sticking it to the card’s inner flap.

5. Print out a motto (save my one below, or write your own) and glue it to the inside of the card.

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Centred frames
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Use glue dots to stick the knitted motif to the card.
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The knitted motif is attached to the interior flap of the card.
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The assembled card. Note the decorative card is printed on both sides.
Download for your own use, or make up your own!
Download for your own use, or make up your own!

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Knitting Embellishments Workshop at Unravel 2015

WorkshopImageI will be hosting a workshop on Knitting Embellishments at Unravel in Farnham Maltings this year, I’d love if you could come join me.

Start: Saturday 21 February – 10:30
Estimated End: Saturday 21 February – 12:30
Auditorium: East Wing Dance Studio 2
Knitting Embellishments with Elanor King

Admission: £26 (including same day entry to unravel)

This workshop will explore what kinds of materials can be used as embellishments and where it’s appropriate to use them. We will consider the properties of the yarn, how the finished item will be used and what decorative effect the knitter wants to achieve.

Embellishments demonstrated will include knitted-in and sewn-on techniques e.g. thrums, loom bands, sequins and couching..”

Please bring 4mm needles and Dk yarn leftovers in your favourite colours OR a pattern you want to knit and decorate as well as yarn and needles appropriate to that pattern.

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!

Giftalong 2014 and an Interview with Dani Berg

So the #giftalong2014 sale happened last week and it went quite well for me – a good few sales generated because of it for me, and I’ll definitely be participating again next year, if the lovely organisers hold it again – sure looked like a lot of work from over here! Thank you, if you happen to read this!

One of my fellow designers, Dani Berg, was also participating in the giftalong, and I took the opportunity to ask her some questions about her work.

Dani Berg
When and where do you get a chance to design: what’s your day like?
I mostly design in the afternoons.  After I’m done with my day job and pick up the kids from school, but before dinner.  I knit on designs in the evenings as well.
What pattern are you most proud of and why?
I’m really proud of the Snowscape shawl. It was knocking around in head for almost 2 years before I was finally able to have it look exactly the way I envisioned it.
Snowscape Shawl
What’s your best selling pattern? Did you have a feeling it would do well or was it a surprise?
The Serendipity Ear Band is far and way my best seller, although the Harvest Fling Shawl is catching up!  I never expected it be as popular as it is, but I’m very pleased and grateful.
Harvest Fling
There’s a thread in the designer’s forum on frustration. What frustrations have you had?
Time.  Time is biggest frustration.  There’s never enough to accomplish all I wish I could, plus spend time with my family.
 
What tips would you give to an aspiring designer?
It takes a long time to build up a stable of patterns.  Don’t rush it, quality counts!  Tech editors.  Get a good one!
How long is your design process? Where do you start and what does it take to get it published? How do you go about working up your original idea? Sketches, swatches, see how he yarn takes you? Where do you get your ideas in the first place?
I usually start with an idea, maybe from a stitch dictionary or a fashion magazine or the ether. I swatch – a lot. Then I sketch, and possibly work up a submission or proposal for yarn support.  I try to write the bulk of the pattern before knitting the sample, but there are still a lot of changes and note taking during the knitting.  Then there is rewriting, tech editing, and photos.  The whole process varies wildly depending on deadlines
If you didn’t have yarn, how would you release steam/ relax? Do you *have* any free time?
I love to read, cook, bake.  I generally love anything crafty.  I don’t have much free time, but I try to take a little time each day for myself.  Even if it’s just a few minutes to read before bed.
 
Who have you worked with in the industry that you’d love to work with again? Who inspires you?
I loved working with Stephanie Tallent on both Hitch and as my tech editor for most of self published patterns.  She’s always a pleasure to work with! I hope to continue working with her for many years.
Alicia Tam and Mitts from Hitch
Inspiration:  Anne Hanson.  She’s amazing.  She seems to have unending well of pattern inspiration and work her is just breathtaking.  I would love to meet her one day!
What are you really glad I didn’t ask you? ;)
What are my future plans?  I’m really flying by the seat of pants lately.  ;-)
Dani blogs at http://www.turnknit.blogspot.co.uk/ about her designs and what’s on her needles. Go take a look!

Diary of a design: Nearly Knit

Getting there!IMG_6343.JPG
Only have to attach the sleeves. All the “knitting” is done, and I am waiting for the sleeves to dry, so I am about to cast on my knitmas gift! Yayness! Can’t wait to see how this jumper looks on Friday at the shoot. The weather looks absolutely woeful, so I’ve had to wrack my brains for an indoor location.

p.s. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know of my penchant for etymology. I just had to look up rack v. wrack. Quite interestingly, either is useable wrt brains and nerves… Rack is edited so more often, but I prefer wrack myself in this context.
Xe

Grading Hats

When I write a hat pattern, I like to make sure it can be made for just about any size head. I notice this is something not all designers do. Quite often, patterns will be for one size only (e.g. average woman’s size) and I wonder whether there is much value-added if I produce a hat in a range of sizes? Do people actually want hats scaled for babies all the way up to adults? Certainly, if a stitch pattern doesn’t allow for small grade changes, fewer sizes might be appropriate. Usually though, stitch patterns just aren’t that big or can be tweaked to accommodate patterns with a range of sizes.
Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think.

P9010109_medium2
Kildare Beret in size Women’s (22 inch)
P9050188_medium2
Kildare Beret in size New born (12 inch)

Here is a table of my existing hats (7 different patterns) and the sizes they are written for.

On average, the circumference of a head of a Baby (Toddler, Child, S Adult [Teen], M Adult [Woman], L Adult [Man]) is 14 (16, 18, 20, 22, 24) inches or 35.5 (40.5, 46, 51, 56, 61) cm

Hat Pic Pattern Name Sizes in Pattern
P9010109_medium2 Kildare Beret New born, Baby, Child, Small Adult, Woman, Man
PB090126_a_medium2 Roxbourne New born (Baby, Child, Young Adult, Woman, Man)
PC150123_small2 Uppingham Hats (2 hats in 1 pattern) New born (Baby, Child, Young Adult, Woman, Man)
petals_and_plaid_hat_small2 Petals And Plaid Hat Newborn (baby, child, Adult S, Adult M, Adult L)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abbye Hat Preemie, (New Born, Baby, Toddler, Child, Woman)
image_small2 Loom Band Hat Baby (Child, Teen, Woman, Man) To fit head circumference: 15.25 (18, 20.75, 22, 25.25)in/39 (45.5, 52.5, 56, 64.5)cm
Corona Beret Corona Beret Baby (Toddler, Child, Small Adult, Medium Adult, Large Adult)

Diary of a Design: Day X

I’ve forgotten what day I’m on, but things are progressing well after a crazy month. I have booked a photo shoot for next week, but I have a bit of catching up to do. My front is complete, and the front and back have both been blocked.
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IMG_6326-0.JPG
When I was making the front, I decided to make the neckline wider and this had the knock-on effect of making the shoulders narrower, so I frogged back some if the back and redid the shoulders. No biggie. I pinned the pieces together with safety pins and had a little try. I’m loving it so far.

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I also have half a sleeve

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Sorry about the woeful lighting, I’m blogging this from my local swimming pool!
All that’s left to do is the other sleeve and a half, sew it up and the neckline. Getting there! Need to get cracking with my knitmas gift too, so plenty of knitting for the month!
X

New pattern: Corona Beret

I have just released my Corona Beret, a slouchy, warm ray of sunshine for Winter.

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Corona Beret is available to for £3.

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This oversized regal beret in gorgeous Skein Queen Blush yarn is slouchy, soft and warm. The interesting stitch pattern is made using just knit and purl stitches. The textured effect on this hat will look especially well under oblique winter light. From different points of view, the Corona Beret can look like a star, a crown or a flower.

The gold colour of this skein of yarn inspired this knit. The idea was to create a crown of stitches, but to emphasise the softness of the yarn I made the beret oversized and slouchy. It was only when I started the decreases that I realised the back was going to look like a multi-petalled flower. I’m delighted with the end result and I hope you are too.

Sizes

Head sizes vary widely. These measurements fit average sizes for Baby (Toddler, Child, Small Adult, Medium Adult, Large Adult).
To Fit Head Circumference
35.5 (40.5, 45.5, 51, 56, 61)cm/
14 (16, 18, 20, 22, 24)in
Finished Circumference
34 (38, 42.5, 46.5, 51, 55)cm/
13.25 (15, 16.75, 18.25, 20, 21.75)in
Finished Length (Brim to Crown)
14.5 (15.5, 19, 19.5, 23, 26.5)cm/ 5.75 (6.25, 7.5, 7.75, 9, 10.25)in

Tension

28 sts and 38 rows to 4in/10cm over stocking stitch using larger needles.

Yarn

Skein Queen Blush (4-ply (plump); 80% merino, 20% cashmere; 400m/100g skein)
Gold 1 x 100g skein

Needles and Accessories

1 set 2.75mm (UK 12/US 2) circular needles
1 set 3.25mm (UK 10/US 3) circular needles
1 set 3.25 (UK 10/US 3) DPNs

Abbreviations

DPNs Double pointed needles
inc Increase/increasing
K Knit
K2tog Knit the next two stitches together
Kfb Knit into the front and back of the same st
P Purl
Pfb Purl into the front and back of the same st
rep Repeat
Rnd Round
st(s) Stitch(es)

On reading books

I remember now why I don’t read books any more.

I used to read them all the time. Up a tree, in a fort, in my bed with a torch, under my desk, in the loo at a boring party, in the arches waiting for a program to compile, on the train to work, making an excuse and reading instead of going on that blind date.

When I read, books suck me in, own my life, hold me mercilessly, don’t let me go. I cannot physically leave them until they’re done. I cannot sleep, I eat without tasting, wee only when I really have to and then rush back before my hands are dry. I ignore the television, the phone, my children.

And when they’re all done, gone, evaporated, I am bitter. I am affected. I write in melodrama, like this. They leave me here, go on to other adventures, fight to the death, make endless love, tragically go down in flames, get reborn in ashes. But they don’t tell me any more about it. Turning that last page shuts the window and draws the curtains. Off they go about their crazy, risky lives, and they never think about me again.

Here I am, I feel like I’ve just woken up. Get out of the cosy, warm bed, go about my day, prepare the meals, figure out how to avoid doing the hoovering. Wonder what they’re up to, those madcap, fictional characters. Yearn to do something big, dangerous and exciting.

Maybe I should go on an adventure.

But that’s not allowed any more, is it? It’s too big, too dangerous, too exciting. I have people that need me now.

And what should it matter? I love my life. I love my babies, my husband, my job, the suburbanality of it all. It’s safe, comforting, warm, cuddles, soft, quiet except when we’re laughing or cheating at scrabble or tickle-chasing each other round the house. It’s the present pluperfect.

But still. I don’t window-shop when there’s no budget. And I don’t read books anymore.