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!

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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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

Diary of a Design: Day 7, what happened there?

Oh dear, not much at all this weekend… I finished the back and did a row or two of the front.
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And what I’ve done here was cast in at the doctor’s surgery this morning- my youngest has ear lurgy. He’s on antibiotics now and is completely wiped out, but we’ve had a couple if all-nighters this weekend. Poor little tyke. For the record, I don’t take antibiotics lightly. Without going into the gory details, this is definitely a bacterial infection, and I’m not taking chances with his hearing.

That said, I may have had a little go at writing up a different pattern on Sunday evening…

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The yarn is 24 karat gold. (In colour)

Diary of a Design: Day 3, just keep trucking

Yesterday saw a few more cables added. Because these cables are graduated, every other one is .75 the number of rows of the previous one. So my sections are speeding up.
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I have about half of the back done now. You can’t tell from the pic above, but there is a change in size in the width of the piece, which will give flattering shaping to the finished item when worn.

I have to show you where I’m keeping the project and yarn when not in the hands:
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Isn’t it a lovely basket? I got it at a wedding in Ireland at the end of last month and had a divil of a time getting it on board the flight home. It was my “handbag” (I already had carry on)!

Diary of a Design: Actual Knitting, Day 1

Well actually, I started knitting it on Friday, but decided to frog back yesterday.
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The photo above is what I had Tuesday night at knit club. I asked the others there their opinion and they were frank enough to point out that the cables didn’t join up well with the ribbing. To be honest, I knew the moment the question left my lips that a certain amphibian would be making an appearance. This is what I have now and I’m much happier.
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It’s got flow now, and so it’s knitting up much faster. I want sneak a row in on it all the time, whereas yesterday I kept putting it down because I was doubting it. It has meant a few extra swatches though! IMG_6127.JPG
These are just the ones I had handy!

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:

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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