Sneak Peek – Collection Information

So far we’ve seen the yarn (all 4 Ply) and some beads… I’m not going to talk about the theme or inspiration of the collection yet but I can share a few more details.

As I said in the first preview (on the yarns) that there were eight patterns. And there are, eight shawl patterns to be precise!

Each pattern takes 1 skein, and there is a mix of top-down, bottom-up and side-to-side patterns. All have lace as their main feature, and most will have charts and written instructions for their motifs (at present only one does not have a chart, but the motif is simple enough on its own). Two add beads for some extra detail (though as I said earlier, these are entirely optional).

And while I cannot share the specifics, I can share the shapes:

Shawl Collection (Shapes)

As you can see there is a mix of shapes, some more familiar than others!

Next up… some information on progress.

Sneak Peek – The Beads

Two of the patterns in the upcoming collection are beaded. If you’re not interested in adding beads, never fear, both patterns with beads include notes for un-beaded versions.

Beads add a new dimension to your knitting, and there is a lot of fun to be had when matching beads to yarn. Should they contrast or co-ordinate? Both the bead choices I made for this collection opted for the latter.

Equinox yarn and beadsFirst up, the Skein Top Draw Socks in the Equinox colour way. This was paired with antique 4mm copper beads.

OMA yarn and beads

And secondly, Old Maiden Aunt Merino / Silk 4 Ply in the Cold Sheep colour with silver-lined glass Matsuno beads and Swarovski 11mm Drop Crystals. Instant sparkle!

Etsy is a good source for beads like the antique metal ones shown above, but there are plenty of online bead retailers to choose from. Just make sure that if you want to use beads with knitting that you opt for ones of a suitable size (Size 6 is good for fingering weight yarns) and that the holes are of a sufficient size for the yarn to pass through them. I sourced the Matsuno beads shown above from The Bead Store Scotland. These are 4mm beads and are listed as being suitable for knitting.

As a useful tip, the numbers assigned to beads are the quantity it takes for an inch, very similar to a gauge swatch! The smaller the number, the bigger the bead, and the fewer beads it takes to reach an inch. But always check that the holes are a suitable size, just because a bead is bigger doesn’t meant that the hole has it is larger!

Next up – More information on the collection itself!

Sneak Peek – The Yarns

Part of the fun of working on a larger project is choosing the yarns! I shared this image on Instagram a little while ago.

Yarns for Shawl Collection

Clockwise from top: Handmaiden Fine Yarns Sea Silk (Sweet Tea); Skein Top Draw Socks (Sandstorm, Equinox); MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Mare); Ginger’s Hand Dyed Yakety-Yak 4 Ply (Toasted Walnut) & Swell Ewe Sock (Cantilever); Old Maiden Aunt Merino / Silk 4 Ply (Cold Sheep); and Yarn Pony Show Pony 4 Ply (Sandalwood).

When picking the yarns, while it is fun to choose a big mix of colours, it is also important to ensure the colours work together as a group. You can see in the image above that the colours are quite varied but they do work together.

Looking over the assortment, you’ll probably spot that all are 4 Ply / fingering weight yarns. And that there are 8 of them. So 8 yarns = 8 patterns. Yep, this is going to be a collection. 8 patterns, each using 1 skein of fingering weight yarn.

As a note, if you’re familiar with some of these yarns, you’ll know that the Yarn Pony one is no longer available. However, it was the best match for the pattern planned for it, and a suitable currently available substitute has been identified (Ginger’s Hand Dyed Splendor 4 Ply in the Selkie colour way if you’re interested).

Next up… beads!


Are You Ready? #giftalong2014

The Indie Giftalong 2014 starts at 8pm (EST) tonight!

I’m participating this year as a designer – you can find my bundle of discounted patterns on Ravelry here and also look at them on Pinterest as well. The offers are only available via Ravelry so you’ll need to log on over there.

And it is going to be huge! Check out the stats…

Apparently I cannot count

I had planned a to complete a full month of blog posts for November in honour of not only NaBloPoMo but also Wovember!

However, some things have got in my way. Primarily my inability to schedule posts successfully. It is not 2015, nor is it January, February or March of 2015. When I’m scheduling posts, I really need to make sure I’m correcting the day not the month… Oops!

Rather than publish a glut of posts in one go, I’ll restart the month and act as though November started on the 3rd (so today is post #1) and continue through until December 3rd with the daily posts.


NaBloPoMo returns, which is always a good incentive for me to start blogging again!

So in terms of what is coming up over the next month, expect photoblogs, socks, event recaps, socks, new pattern launches, socks, future design projects, socks, the abomination known as moths, socks, darning (see the moths again)… And did I mention socks?

Also in shopping news, has everyone spotted the Indie Gift-a-long on Ravelry? I’ll be taking part this year, so a number of my patterns will be on sale later this month and I’ll also be contributing some pattern prizes too!

The Knit Now Patterns – Peeping Sheep & Planetarium

I didn’t really get the opportunity to post about the two patterns I had published back in March and April in Knit Now Magazine at the time. So, since they’ve both been released for sale via Ravelry now, it seems the right time to finally show them off.

First up, the Peeping Sheep Hat. This was one of the Designer Challenges that Knit Now offers, using their very own Bloomsbury DK which was developed in conjunction with Blacker Yarns. This yarn is exclusive to the magazine and was, I believe, one of their subscriber gifts (along with a pattern booklet) earlier this year.

The challenge was to design a pattern using two balls (and two colours if possible) of this yarn. And since the yarn was very sheepy, a sheepy motif seemed the way to go. The hat is available as both a fitted and slouchy finish, with sizes going from XXS (baby size) all the way up to XL (mens).

The second pattern (again, more colourwork!), is the Planetarium Wrist Warmers. This was for the April issue’s ‘Space Oddity’ theme. These use Blacker Yarns Swan Falklands Islands 4 Ply – which is beautifully soft and richly-coloured. Knitted flat and grafted for a seamless finish, this wrist warmers can be customised to fit any hands. And as an added bonus, the Ravelry edition has a complete map for all the planets and other bodies featured on the mittens. And yes, that is a meteorite in the background.

Creative Blog Hop

I was nominated by Jess over at GingerTwist Studio, so four questions, then I get to nominate two other people!

What am I working on?

Currently I appear to be inundated with WIPs (no change there then). Of my own designs, there are two shawls on the needles (one is a circular version of Tesserae – using Ginger’s Handdyed of the aforementioned Jess at GTS, the other is a secret thing which will be revealed in October) and a pair of socks – the fate of which is currently undecided (I may finish them just for me, or the pattern will become available).

I also have a half-dozen or so ideas rattling around my head for other designs, which I need to start considering in more detail and work out if they are feasible or not!


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, tricky. A quick glance at all my currently released designs clearly shows my slight obsession with colourwork. I’d like to think that while I’m not designing ‘traditional’ (and I use that word reluctantly) colourwork, I am picking up on the heritage of the technique whilst bringing a modern (and sometimes quirky) twist on it.

I came to knitwear design through a slightly odd path, my roots lie in art and graphic design but I escaped when I went to University and ended up in archaeology and ancient history, which I done for the last ten-twelve years. Over the last couple of years, I’ve gone back to the creative stuff (whilst still doing some freelance archaeology bits and pieces) and have been working with a Edinburgh-based designer who works exclusively in Lego. Yup, for the last two years I’ve played with Lego. Seriously.

While I can safely say at this point that the Lego has not had an impact on my design aesthetic, I can also emphatically say that the archaeology has. My first design, the Kentigern blanket, is directly derived from not only my interests in history and historic buildings, but also from the art movements I particularly appreciate (Art Deco I’m looking at you).


Why do I create what I do?

Because I can? Honestly though, I create what I do because I enjoy it. And secondly, because I get the idea in my head and I have to push it through to its conclusion. It is hard work, and there are times when I will spend more time muttering at the knitting (or more likely the computer) but it is worth it.


How does my creative process work?

Most of it tends to happen in my head, rather than on paper. When I am out and about, I tend to keep an eye out for motifs or textures or even just views that I find interesting. I will take a picture, but these tend to stay tucked away until I need them. I don’t really sketch, or plan out ideas on paper until they’ve rattled around my head for a while. For instance, I was on holiday earlier this year, one of the museums I went to had a great number of pieces with motifs or ideas that could be adapted for knitting patterns. At present, nothing has been done with these pictures. However, I can remember two or three stand out images that I took which will be the ones I take further. So I’ll go back and have another look at the pictures, then consider them for a while. Next up will be charting, swatching and notes. Then I’ll either draft the pattern first and knit it, or knit it and write the pattern as I go.

Now I get to nominate people!

First up, Lauren Smith, over at Lauren Smith Knits – a Yorkshire based designer whose most recent pattern is out in the Knitty Deep Fall 2014 issue.

And secondly, C.C. Almon, at JavaPurl Designs – designer and podcaster!