May was all about the pinhole cast on, and for many that has meant toys. Alex the Mouse by Ella Austin has, as we'd expected, been a big hit, even amongst those who have previously avoided knitted toys.Read More
This isn't one of the monthly AYoT video tutorials, rather a bonus one for May to show you how to work an applied i-cord edging to join 2 pieces. If you're nearing the end of Alex the Mouse, this could be invaluable.
And that's not all. Ella Austin has shared her expertise on finishing toysRead More
Jen caught up with Ella Austin (BomBella Designs), colourwork toy designer extraordinaire, recently to find out all about her inspiration and process of design.Read More
This last month has been (nearly) all about haps. As I write, we're waiting eagerly to see the first proofs for The Book of Haps so we can iron out creases. I'd love to show off all of the amazing photos, but can't........yet.
We haven't been exclusively working on big book projects this month though. I've been working little by little on a couple of projects that won't be released until later in the year. Both of us have also had techniques articles published in magazines. Jen's most recent was in The Knitter issue 96 on pleats and tucks, her latest favourite things in the whole world and I've written about different methods for decreasing in Simply Knitting issue 146.
Gudrun Johnston has refreshed her Tirrick shawl pattern, with re-edited instructions, new charts and new photographs. It is worked in wedge sections, followed by the edging. You may recognise Ella Gordon, this year's patron of Shetland Wool Week modelling.
Gudrun also has a brand new cardigan, Islay. It is sized to fit anyone from baby to adult and features the diagonal lace patterning and an i-cord bind-off at the neck.
It is simply stripes, but by careful use of increases and decreases, the stripes become more and more pointed into chevrons as you work along the scarf. Basically, it's a study in gradient pointyness.
In a month of cleverly designed neckwear, Ella Austin's second instalment from her Colour and Line collection really catches the eye. Her Rachel Castle inspired Venn scarf is essentially a tube that lies flat to give the impression of overlapping circles. Because all of the ends are within the tube, it looks the same on both sides.
Don't forget to join our Ravelry group to keep up to date with what we're up to.
March was a busy month for publishing patterns, so here's the second half of a post that should probably have been called, "What We've Been Up To."
Anyone familiar with Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People, Interweave Knits, or Pom Pom Quarterly will know the name Bristol Ivy. Her designs are innovative in their construction and she thinks about space in a way that would stop my brain dead for days. Jen worked on her Selkie Hat and Mitts for Taproot magazine. Taproot is not a knitting magazine, but a quarterly magazine for "makers, doers and dreamers." Looking at the website immediately put me in mind of Oh Comely, or Selvedge.
The cables in the hat and mitts are inspired by the myth of the selkie and movement of water on the shoreline, the ripple of seaweed just under the surface and the gentle patterning of a seal's skin.
Ella Austin publishes as Bombella and you may have seen her recent collection of colourwork animals, Dovestone Smallholding, with Baa Ram Ewe knits. Her Delta Hat and Mitts are the first patterns to be published from her graphic inspired Colour and Line collection. She is releasing a pattern a month and patterns can be bought singly, or altogether. I've misplaced my mitts that I wear in the office when it's chilly, so may have to whip up a pair of Deltas to stay warm until summer comes (if ever it does).
Sue Stratford runs The Knitting Hut and has a large back catalogue of knitted toys. That's not her only skill, as her Swanpool Cardigan shows. It is worked top down and features mock cable details on the yoke to give it an interesting look.
April has started busy and there should be plenty to share in a month's time. Hopefully I'll be able to share some sneaky peeks from the Book of Haps too!
I am so easily enabled. It's ridiculous! I have a number of great projects in my queue on Ravelry, all waiting patiently with yarn and pattern in a bag and ready to grab at a moments notice. But all it takes is the feeling of excitement emanating from scores of knitters online, and I'm diverted - printing off a new pattern, and searching for the right yarn. Exactly this has happened to me, not once but twice in the last fortnight!
First up was Bombella's Colourwork KAL. I've been talking about making colourwork socks for some time. And up until now, I've not taken that leap. I wouldn't say that I was exactly scared of them, but something deep in my psyche has definitely pressed my pause button. I love colourwork, and have made a good number of colourwork accessories and garments, but never socks. So Ella's KAL with the promise of support, and plenty of fun chatter around techniques and tips, was the perfect opportunity to jump in the deep end! I'm casting on a pair of Alfrick socks. It's a beautiful design by Rachel Coopey - and I've had the yarn waiting in my stash since I first edited the pattern last year. I'm using Lang Jawoll which has the added bonus of coming in 50g balls, so I only needed to purchase 100g of yarn (rather than 200g for sock yarns with the more common 100g put-up). I also plan to use the little bobbins of reinforcing thread for the heels and toes, since that's where I wear through my socks most frequently.
Image © Rachel Coopey
Then as if one KAL wasn't enough... I've been following the Mason-Dixon blog for a good while now. It's been a joy to see Kay and Ann return to regular blogging. They really make me laugh and I love the feeling of community that their blog has created. They started to post about wanting to Bang Out A Sweater in a few weeks... A sweater you could wear before the weather improves... Tempting. Their chosen pattern was Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone.
Image © Kathy Cadigan; Design © Mary Jane Mucklestone
It's a design in létt lopi, knitted at a loose gauge to give a light airy fabric. Sounds lovely! But I got tipped over the edge when Mary Jane emailed to ask if Jim and I could add some extra sizes to the pattern, ready for the KAL. I'm a sucker for being made to sit and look at pretty sweater pictures all day! I just couldn't resist! So I made a swift yarn order, and I'm ready to go. If you want to see a heap of pretty lopi sweater pictures, I recommend checking out the #BangOutASweater hashtag on Ravelry and on Instagram in the following weeks. There are some lovely colourways in progress. Who knows? One sweater may not be enough...
Given how easily lead I am, can anyone else be tempted into joining me? Gwaaan, you know you want to!