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!

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

“Hitch” available for preorder next week!

Way back in March last year, I tentatively answered (for the first time) a call for submisssions. The project was a book to be “curated” by Stephannie Tallent, and the theme was “Patterns inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock”.

This was my initial sketch

Image

I wanted to create something sublimely feminine; echoing the graceful look of Grace Kelly as Lisa in Rear Window. This is a top that would really look sexy on a woman with curves. I used a whole bunch of tricks to enhance the hourglass look: a crossover top, ease difference between upper and lower body, deep waistband, geometric chevrons at the waist and some deep waist shaping. The sleeves are 3/4 length, coming to just below the elbow, with lots of curves to echo the body. Instead of chiffon, I made the sleeves loose, worked up with a mesh stitch so when the light’s right, you can see through them. I am VERY pleased with the result. It’s by no means an easy knit, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Image

This photo by Nick Murway.

 

Preordering will begin on September 5.