The State of the WIPs/FOs

It feels like a long time since I last updated what I've been making, but I've been busily working away, and the pile of WIPs has diminished significantly. So without further ado, here they are:

My Islay cardigan (pattern by Gudrun Johnston) is complete!


I'm really thrilled with how it has turned out. I added about 2 inches to the body length as I'm fairly tall (5ft 9in), and also continued the garter stitch "seams" down the arms, in the same way as they are worked on the body. Apart from those two small mods, I've knitted exactly as per the pattern. I used just over 10 skeins of gorgeous Buachaille yarn in Between Weathers, and I'm really pleased with how well this yarn works for Islay. It's such a smooth st st fabric, and the lace and ribbing pops really nicely too.


I had a dilema over which buttons to use for this cardi, and my cheeky side really fancied some red octopus buttons that I've had in my stash for a while. In the end though, they didn't sit nicely on the i-cord edging, so I went for these elegant fretwork buttons instead, and I'm delighted with how they look! I shall just have to knit another cardi for the octopi!

I have also finished my Pawkie mitts (designed by Kate Davies) from the Seven Skeins Club that ran before Christmas last year. I finished one mitt back then, but the bag languished waiting for its partner.


These are also knitted in Buachaille Between Weathers, this time with a Ptarmigan contrast. I'm really pleased with them, and I'm sure they will get plenty of wear in the office on chilly days this winter.

And last but not least in the FO parade is my Fractal Danger shawl (designed by Martina Behm).


I so enjoyed making this! I completed it as part of the Summer Strickmich Showdown in Martina's Ravelry group (though as a moderator I'm sadly not eligible for the wonderful prizes!). If you have a pattern by Martina on your needles, or fancy making one during August, then do head over to her group and join the fun!


I used a sushi sock roll from Easy Knits that I've had sitting around for far too long! And I'm really happy with how well it showcases the lovely construction of this shawl/scarf. This is another accessory that will get a lot of wear once the weather turns colder.

That's it for FOs, and I'm down to just two WIPs... My Golden Wheat shawl (yes, I know, yawn... one day I'll pick it up again!), and my Alfrick socks. Looking over at the project page for the Humungous shawl, I last worked on it on a car drive to Chester, and funnily enough we are off to Chester at the end of next week. So who knows? Perhaps I'll dust it off and work a repeat of two. My socks are coming along well too. I've finished the colourwork on the leg of the second sock and I'm ready to start the heel, so look out for finished socks before too long as well.

Whilst I love having a nice choice of projects to work on (and it's always good to have a portable, easy project alongside something larger or more tricky...) I also reach a point where I need to clear the decks. And that's the place I've been for the last few weeks. It's possibly the end of the school year that does it. I need to sort out my spaces and declutter. The same goes for my knitting projects and I'm eagerly anticipating my next few projects - a Harewood Hap and possibly Knitter's DNA. Both gorgeous designs and I've got the perfect yarn just waiting...

What are you working on over the summer?

Moder Dy by Kate Davies

Thank you all for your excitement over The Book of Haps - we've been working hard on it for a year, so it's fantastic to finally be able to share it with the world!
Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to Kate's stunning hap - Moder Dy
KD9 copy
The Moder Dy (mother wave) is is the name associated with an ancient form of Shetland navigation. By reading the movement of the water that produced the Moder Dy, experienced fishermen were reputed to be able to find their way safely to land, without additional aid of light or compass.
Jen: You talk about how your design was inspired by this idea of the Moder Dy (mother wave), can you tell us a bit more about how you developed this into an actual knitted thing, and put the colours together?
Kate: Sometimes, when I’m working on a design, everything comes together all at once in a bit of a spooky way - and this was the case with this one. I always tend to begin by thinking about colours. In this case, I knew I wanted a nautical theme, with wave lace edge and familiar auld shell pattern, and had beaches and shorelines on my mind. My starting point was to picture a palette that recalled painted beach huts... so I began swatching [in Buachaille - Kate's own yarn] various stripe sequences, and soon came up with a beach-hutty combination that I liked. I knew that the hap would follow the construction which I’d been learning about from the Shetland knitters I’d been interviewing - so at that point the hap began to almost design itself. At the same time, I was reading a lot about Shetland author, Jessie M.E. Saxby, and I had just acquired a new CD - a wonderful album by Shetland fiddler Chris Stout, and Scottish harpist Catriona McKay, called Seavaigers. Weirdly, I had just read Saxby’s poem Moder Dy  when I put on the CD - and discovered a marvellous track on the album of exactly the same name. The Moder Dy is a familiar idea in Shetland culture, so in some ways this coincidence was perhaps not particularly unusual - but I did feel that the idea of the Moder Dy spoke quite powerfully to me. It seemed an entirely appropriate name for my design - which speaks to the hap’s historic Shetland roots - and it also reminds me of the happy creative time I was having, designing my hap, working on the book, reading Saxby’s poem, and listening to Seavaigers (which I urge everyone to hear if they can).
KD1 copy
Jen: The photographs of your Moder Dy design show your hap being blocked on a Hap blocking frame. Could you tell me a bit more about how these frames work, and what the benefits are to blocking haps in this way?
Kate: Hap boards or stretchers were (and are) used in Shetland for blocking haps and shawls. They stretch the knitted fabric of the hap to shape in an even way, and provide a simple way to shape and block lace peaks / points. Blocking a hap in this way gives the fabric a beautifully professional and even finish, and is the way that thousands of haps would have been blocked, before being sold and exported from Shetland. You can see them in use in countless photographs from the early 1900s, as well as in Jenny Gilbertson's films about Shetland, and they are still in frequent use today. When we vistited Shetland for our photoshoot, I really wanted to be able to block my hap on a good local board... but there was a problem. My Moder Dy turned out to be a rather large hap - just under 6ft square - and we had trouble finding a board that was big enough to block it! Several friends searched through their attics and under beds, and eventually wonderful Anne Eunson came to my rescue. Anne had acquired a large hap stretcher at an auction some years previously - it was not only big enough for my hap, but a really beautiful example of a vintage board. So I have Anne to thank for the photographs we took of Moder Dy!  When we came home, Tom (who by this point had examined many Shetland hap boards) suggested he make one for me. He’s promised to write a blog post about the process for those who would like to make their own hap board. 
KD3 copy
Jen: When I was writing my part of the introduction to The Book of Haps, I noticed that there are many threads running through your books - their Shetland roots, Yokes and Haps as knitted jewellery, the way that these were knitted for sale… Could you tell us a bit more about how your research has moved from Shetland to Yokes and on to Haps?

Kate: I’ve been interested in haps for a long time. About a decade ago, I read Sharon Miller’s Shetland Hap Shawls Then and Now and was completely intrigued. What really fascinated me was that these were knitted textiles whose beauty was imbricated in their usefullness - and I do like a simple aesthetic which combines form with function! The first time I visited Shetland was to research a piece on lace, so in one way, I think that haps got me hooked on Shetland... or perhaps Shetland got me hooked on haps. In broader terms, I suppose haps interest me, just as many aspects of Shetland knitting do, as a feminist with a deep admiration for the resourceful and creative women of those islands, as well as someone who enjoys researching and writing about cultural and textile history more generally. The more I researched, the more I realised that Shetland haps have a really important and very specific story to tell about the history of women’s working and domestic lives, as well as the history of dress. I hoped I might be able to find out more about "famous" hap knitters, like the legendary Mrs Hunter (which I did) but there were other paths I didn’t expect to take. The most moving thing I discovered in the process of my research was just how important haps had been to so many women in their family lives, when they knitted them for babies. I suspect haps haven’t done with me yet...

KD7 copy

Jen: That's great news! I won't be alone in keeping my fingers crossed for more beautiful hap patterns from you. Thank you again, for asking me to co-edit this book with you. It's been so much fun!

Moder Dy uses 19 skeins of Kate's Buachaille yarn (for full technical details see the Ravelry page for the design), and Buachaille yarn kits will be available to purchase from Kate's shop in June.

The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

Keep up to date with all we're doing:
Arnall-Culliford Knitwear on Ravelry | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Twitter | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Instagram

All images are © Kate Davies Designs.


Good morning all!


I'm delighted to say that The Book of Haps is now available.

You can read more about the cover design, Montbretia by Carol Feller, over on Kate's blog: O Hap-py Day

Be sure to pop back here tomorrow, when I will be revealing the next design!

Keep up to date with all we're doing:
Arnall-Culliford Knitwear on Ravelry | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Twitter | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Instagram

All images © Kate Davies Designs.

What we're working on now

The title is probably a bit misleading  since this is not about what we're doing business-wise, but what we've got on our needles.

I've stalled recently with my knitting - I just don't seem to be motivated to get anything out. So here's my sleeve and a bit of Jon from Lopi 31. It will keep me warm next winter, or maybe the one after that if I don't get a move on.

Jon - 1

In stark contrast, and despite the fact that we've been deep in editing (for what seems like months) of The Book of Haps, Jen has been madly casting on projects. 

Jen's Breezy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, from Knitbot Essentials looks nearly finished. The neckband will take some time as it is so long. I'm sure it won't be long though. This is a project that's used some rather old Fyberspates Merino/Cashmere/Nylon in Jen's usual blue/green palette.

Breezy - 1

Before she's finished one cardigan, she's cast on another. This is Gudrun Johnston's Islay cardigan in Buachaille. If you look back to the last post, you'll find out a little more.

Islay - 1

While picking through the mound of project bags, I found this lone Pawkie from Kate Davies' Seven Skeins club. There's plenty of yarn left for the other and I'm sure this will come with us on holiday as it's a compact project.

Pawkie - 1

There is of course the inevitable sock project. This is one-and-a-bit Alfrick socks by Rachel Coopey in Lang Jawoll. These have steadily grown over the last few months and I'm sure will be ready well in advance of next autumn - particularly since Jen has fished them out for the Mason-Dixon One Sock Knitalong. Do you have a single sock lurking somewhere? Dig it out and join in.

Alfrick - 1

Finally, there's a super secret project that I can't show you. Yet. It's one of the haps from The Book of Haps that Jen couldn't help but cast on in Tosh Merino Light. Have a look at Jen's project pages once the book is published to see her progress.

Tosh Merino Light - 1

This won't be the last project from The Book of Haps that Jen wants to make. Join our Ravelry group to find out how she's getting on and to join the conversation about what's new and exciting in the knitting world.


March Pattern Round Up - 1

Hi, I'm Jim. I've been half of Arnall-Culliford Knitwear Ltd. since last September. One of the most common questions I was asked when I changed jobs was, "What exactly will you be doing?" So, for those who've asked that question, here's what I've been up to.

Each month I'll be putting together a digest of published projects and patterns that we've worked on. March has been particularly busy, so I'll split things in half.

We pattern write and check for both Stylecraft and Yarn Stories and it's deeply satisfying to see the designer's intentions translated into a garment, particularly when you've really had to work hard to produce a pattern that works for a range of sizes. The Botanics collection from Yarn Stories has a range of spring/summer garments and we're both really pleased with how they all look, but particularly those we worked on.  

Sequoia (Photograph ©Charlotte Johnson)

 After turning out extra sizes for Mary-Jane Mucklestone's Stopover sweater, featured in the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog's Bang Out a Sweater KAL, the next pattern we looked at for her was the Nash Island Sweater. Designed to be a throw on/throw off affair, it is knit in flat pieces and features a modified drop shoulder and a lace-up placket.  

Nash Island (Photo ©Kathy Cadigan)

  We're deep in edits for The Book of Haps that we're working on with Kate Davies. As someone who is never not thinking about design, she's published three new patterns in the last month.

Funyin is exactly what is sounds like - a fun hat. Inspired by a Hornsea Pottery cruet set, designed by John Clappison, it really is eyecatching.  

Photo ©Kate Davies Designs

 Miss Rachel's Yoke and Gauntlets are named after Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, founder of the textile collection at Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley. The colourwork on the yoke of the sweater and the gauntlets was inspired by a Kashmir shawl from the collection. 

Miss Rachel's Yoke and Gauntlets (Photo ©Kate Davies designs)

While all of these have a different feel and style, we pride ourselves in making sure that the patterns are concise but comprehensive to ensure that anyone can have a go at making anything that crosses our desks.

There's loads more to share with you and that will be in the next round-up post.



Cross-Country Knitting Volume 3


I recently spent a few days up in Scotland with the wonderful Kate Davies. We had such a great time, and it was the perfect antidote to what has been the toughest few months of my life. We went for walks with gorgeous Bruce.


And worked on a book for next year (I can't wait to tell you about that... but not yet!).

And we went out to Inveruglas with Tom, and he photographed us at An Ceann Mòr in our latest Cross-Country Knitting collaboration - bird inspired accessories...


Kate has designed the magnificent Murmuration Scarf. It's just stunning.


And I got carried away by puffins...


And designed the Fufnip Hat (above) which features puffins around the sides, with a crown inspired by a kaleidoscope of beaks with a central eye.


And these Fufnip Fingerless Mittens which use the same puffin motif. The silhouettes are created by stranded colour work knitting, and the single full-colour puffin is added by embroidery at the end. 


We had a great giggle on the photo shoot (I am incapable of being serious at these things!). And Tom did a magnificent job at capturing the joy of the shoot.


We even found some wild blackberries and blueberries to nibble on. It was a wonderful afternoon.


After the shoot we headed up to Bridge of Orchy, where we went for a wander, and tried to dodge the midges, before having a slap-up meal at the hotel there. It was amazing. Thank you Kate, Tom, Bruce and Jesus for a wonderful break!

If you fancy some birds of your own, then head over to Ravelry, where you can buy the Cross-Country Knitting Volume 3 eBook containing all three patterns as well as an essay by Kate on the inspiration of birds. The eBook costs £5.95 


Or you can purchase a print copy directly from MagCloud for $12.00 by clicking on the link below.

FO: Fantoosh

I often fall in love with the knitting patterns that I edit, but it's not that often that a pattern crosses my desk and gets cast on as soon as the pattern is released! But that's what happened with Fantoosh! A beautiful shawl designed by my great friend and awesome colleague, Kate Davies.


It's been a while since I knitted a triangular shawl, and I had forgotten how much fun they are! I absolutely flew through knitting this. Cast on to cast off in under a month (and I got slightly distracted by another shawl in the meantime...)!

When I started knitting I didn't know who this would be for. I love the yarn, but it isn't a colour that I wear much, so I had an inkling that it might be a gift for a friend. I just wasn't sure who! The yarn is some absolutely delicious Touch Yarns Possum Merino 4ply that came all the way from friends in Australia (awesome gift!). It has blocked beautifully - holding the lace pattern well, and the stocking stitch sections are so even and flat. There is a slightly darker halo of presumably possum fibre that sits over the purply-pink of the main part of the yarn. It's really pretty!


The shawl was kindly admired in the playground when I was working on it, and I instantly knew where it would be finding a new home, once it was complete. I hope you enjoy wearing it once it's cool enough, Jo!


For those of you who enjoy a more geeky photo - here is my blocking picture. I tend to use my blocking wires, and a metre ruler. I thread the wires through all of the yarnover holes along the top edge, and then down the centre spine. I sprayed it liberally with starch, and then left it to dry completely.

Next up is another shawl, from another pattern I recently edited...

For more details on my Fantoosh!, see my Ravelry project page: JenACKnitwear's Fantoosh!